Monday, 19 April 2010

A big mess

I hadn't been to the boat in three weeks as I was away to Greece for easter. As much as I want to finish work on Ting-al-Ling, the roast lamb, family, sun and sea lured me away.

I re-visited Ting-a-Ling this weekend with quite low expectations really, as I wasn't sure I'd be able to do much. The next job on the list was to build the chainplate knee. This was quite tricky as the inside angle between the knee and the hull was difficult to glass. I reinforced the knee-chainplate attachment with two bars of 316 stainless steel to provide a stronger bond. However, the glassing did not go perfectly well as there were right angles where I couldn't get an air free bond.. I do hope though that it is strong enough to withstand more stress than the shroud can..

The lack of proper tools made the job even more difficult as my Bosch multitool struggled to cut through the stainless steel bars. And while drilling the holes on the bars I managed to break all the steel drillin g bits.. Frustrating.. Meanwhile, the weather was perfect and I kept thinking that if I had spent a bit more money I would be sailing instead of being stuck iat the marina doing dirty boat work. But I'll get over it.
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Friday, 2 April 2010

Constructive work

All my effort till now had been mainly destructive, i.e. cutting off wood, taking apart parts of the boat, drilling holes etc. While this was progres, there was nothing to show for all the work I've done, just dust, missing parts and rotten plywood lying around the cabin.. But this time it was different I really felt that I made some progress as I installed the missing part of the bulkhead! I have to say that it was quite a difficult job and while it took me about six weeks to figure out how to do it, order the required materials, tools and prepare the area, I now feel that I can do the same job in just two days. The result can be seen in the photo. However, it's not yet complete as I have to install the lower shroud chainplate knee which was essentially the main reason I started all this work. And then I discovered more rot on the deck above the knee that will have to be dealt with at some point. The plan is to bulletproof the chainplate attachment so that it will never fail again. I know, never say never, but at least I'll try to build it as strong as I feel I have to. I've ordered some 316 stainless steel bars that I will use as backing plates that were not in the original design. Of course, the trick here is to build a very strong hull-to-knee bond as the design seems inherently weak..

Coming back to the bulkhead, I have to say that I'm not 100% pleased with the job I did. The main issue is that instead of soaking the fiberglass strips in epoxy, I applied the epoxy after I laid the strips. This made it quite difficult to get rid of the air between the layers. However I think I've overbuild the tabbing and having used epoxy instead of polyester I believ the bond should be stronger that the original. I still have to lay a bit more tabbing after I install the knee.
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Project management

When I started this project I thought it would be a good idea, perhaps a necessity to use some proper project management methods to de-construct the project into smaller ones and deal with the complexities. This seemed to me to be the only way to deal with the fact that I had no idea how to go about organising and doing the work step by step. I used a free online service for this (called Zoho projects) which helped me get my head around the various tasks. However, I soon discovered its limitations, such as the lack of resource planning tools (at least for the free version) and essentially gave up on this approach. And while I knew what tasks needed to be done, every time I arrived at the boat to do the work I never carried out the tasks as planned.. Instead I followed a guerilla approach, tackling tasks as I thought necessary at the time. I must admit now that while this method works, there's always something that you will miss, it could be a tool, a minor task that you should have done but forgot and now it's too late.. I may try to find another project management tool as it can really help simplify the work.
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