IMG 4558 right way upI’m starting to feel like the kid in the back of the care, asking “are we there yet?”

I am getting closer, but there’s still a long way to go.

In December and January I was able to take advantage of my down time, and devote quite a bit of time to the boat.

The outside of the hull was spray painted, sanded, spray painted, sanded, and so on over several days. Eventually, after a final cut and polish, I was happy to leave it alone.

As this was the last time the boat would be the wrong way up for some time, I installed the bronzw keel rubbing strip, and also refitted the rub rails, to help reinforce the hull whilst turning her over.

I decided to add another bouyancy chamber in the bow, so I had to add some extra timbers between the side bouyancy chambers, and then cut ply panels to fit at each end. This area will also give me a bit more storage.

The bases of the five hatches were fitted, and glued and clamped in place, making use of the lap clamps I made at the beginning of this build. The sides of these hatches also serve as drainage channels for the seats.

The plywood seat tops have been cut out, dry fitted, and then glued into place, epoxy coated, and painted with several layers of clear Bote Cote. Following the advice of the manufacturers, this was thinned with 50% water, and rubbed on with a damp cloth, using a technique more commonly seen in French polishing. I have to say that I was very impressed by how effective this technique was! By the time I had worked my way around the boat, the first section was dry enough for me to start again, and the entire inside area of the boat was completed in a morning.

Both masts have now been epoxied, and in the next couple of weeks will have their ends sealed. I had debated whether I would epoxy the masts or use Deks Olje. Eventually, it was the decision to use sleeved sails, as I had previously used on Kirsty Ann, that made me choose epoxy.

By leaving the ends of the masts open for now, I was able to support them with steel rods, and rotate them whilst applying the epoxy. Several coats were applied over a few days.

The hatch lids were made, and rubber gaskets glued into them, hopefully making them watertight. The hatches use full length piano hinges, and some time was taken ensuring that these were fitted into the hatch frames and lids at the right height, to ensure that the lid tops were as close to level with the seats as possiblre. Shock cord is used to pull down the hatches - a simple, and hopefully effective closing mechanism.

The last of the long pieces of Oregon, plus some scrap I had put aside a few years ago, has been cut into strips, to make floorboards. These have been sanded and shaped as necessary, and as soon as I have ordered more screws I will drill the needed holes to hold them in place. The floor boards are going to be coated in Deks Olje, once I have finished the drilling.

My trailer won’t be ready until March (I couldn't get a registration appointment until early April), so the boat won’t be at Rye this month, but the end is, if not in sight, at least not that far around the corner...