Thursday, 13 May 2021

Spring 2021 refit

 Although we did get 'Enfys' afloat in mid July 2020 for a short season's use I had been unable to access the boat very much and did little more than give her a fresh coat of antifoul prior to launch.

I normally do paint and varnish refresh on a rolling basis every three years or so.. Hull topsides, Deck and Brightwork and had some upper works maintenance planned for 2020 that didn't happen.

So armed with a list of jobs to catch up on as soon as the 2021 early spring weather got better and access to the storage compound was allowed I got busy...

First on the list was the replacement of two of the guard rails stanction pads on the starboard side. These had gone soft and begun to crumble so the securing nuts were freed and removed and new pads cut from fresh iroko. This job was done on the bench at home and completed parts taken back to the boat.

Crumbling mounting pad

Deck sheathing was OK

Soaked in epoxy and then primed before bedding in on mastic and bolting down again.

New pad fitted

The next job I looked at was to try and figure out where her deck was leaking on the port side (the only side she leaks!) and I had it in mind to renew the 'quadrant' batten between cab side and side deck. The bungs over the screws were chopped out and I found the batten was secured by pozidrive stainless self-tappers - someone had done this job before.

With all the fastenings out a bit of levering and prising showed that this batten was not coming off without a fight and possibly damaging the deck sheathing and/or cab side. So I had a change of plan and decided to strip all the old sealant bead and varnish from batten and re-seal it again as I've done previously.

Whilst cleaning it all up and refastening the batten I found the possible source of one of the leaks; a hairline split in the deck sheathing where it is becoming detached from the deck below. This was given an injection of epoxy bonding primer and then coated in thickened epoxy.  This really is a bodge and a time will come when the deck will require major surgery.

Cabin sides varnish rubbing down

180 grit used on bare wood and 240 grit on old varnish

New plugs were fitted to hide fastenings

Once most of the external varnish was prepped (her winter cover was left on and pulled up on each work session) I started flatting down the topsides. The paint was still in pretty good shape after four seasons and a bit of chafe from boatyard slings and nail head filler to be prepped, primed and undercoated before the whole lot was rubbed down with 240 grit. Masked and just one coat of white topsides enamel was then applied and that's all she needed. Each re-coat has been the same and seems to hold up quite well with only a slow build-up of paint thickness.

Rubbing down - done over a few evenings

New topsides enamel freshly applied

240 grit paper was used but 320 may have been a better choice 
as sanding scratches are slightly visible in the finish

The battered rub rails were stripped of varnish next and given a thin coat of Sikkens Cetol to stain them and provide some UV filtering.

Rubbers stripped and sanded

A thin coat of woodstain applied to act as UV filter

The rest of the brightwork was rubbed down including the transom. A thinned coat of varnish was applied to the previously stained areas followed by three full coats with a bit of flatting down between coats.  Then two further coats were applied to everything coat-on-coat on consecutive days - fortunately the weather was settled in early April with a lightish easterly blowing in from the sea. 

Varnish going on - masking tape keeps it off the topsides

Finished brightwork

I turned attention to the below waterline areas next and wire brushed the rust and loose paint off the steel bilge keels and gave them the annual two coats of zinc-rich primer followed by antifouling primer before then antifouling the whole of the bottom.  I've always just used a 3" brush for applying antifoul as its the only way, I feel, to paint into the lands properly. International Cruiser 250 is my preferred anti-barnacle weapon of choice.

More masking off later the boot-top was applied - red Trilux 33 used here.

Dealing with this rust is an annual job

Last job before launch was to re-paint the fore, side and aft decks. The coach roof was done in 2019 and can wait another year.
A few rusty deck nails were picked out, epoxied and sealed and the tiny split in the port side deck sheathing was repaired before a coat of cream Interdeck was applied (more masking off).

Deck paint applied

The last jobs to do before launch were to remove the winter cover, re-stow her anchor and cable, hang the rudder (which was painted and varnished off the boat) test the engine and bend on the mainsail.

Waiting for the boatyard hoist

On the sand - waiting for the tide

Afloat finally

Thanks for reading,
Happy sailing in 2021

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Refit Part 2 - Repairs, Reassembly and Re-launching

All 'Enfys' keel bolts came out relatively easily, bar two centre ones that refused to budge. These were seriously wasted and either bent when we tried to drive or the punch slipped off and got jammed. A magnetic base drill was set up over them and we laboriously chewed away at the tops of these until we could get a drive onto the stump and push out the remains of one of the bolts. The other one we heated from below and managed to free it. On both these bolts the holes through the ballast keel were not true and the bolts had been bent when originally installed.

The original imperial 5/8" and 3/4" bolts were replaced with M16 and M20 and the holes were run through with long-reach drills to open them out.

New zinc-plated high-tensile hex head bolts were procured and were installed with a cotton grommet and bitumastic sealant around the outboard head and as they were driven up liquid tar paint was poured in from above to completely flood the hole and encapsulate the washers and nuts.

The pair of bolts aft of the bulkhead and under the engine were fitted longer and set onto dense plastic blocks about 25mm high in an attempt to keep them above the bilge water puddle.

On the underside of the ballast keel the bolt head recesses were filled with mortar with a waterproofer added.

The exposed faces of the lower part of the centreplate case that is only accessible from under the boat were found to be a bit worn and ragged from the effects of immersion, lack of paint and the chafe from the centreplate. A simple scraper and wire brush on long handle was used to clean the barnacles and loose stuff off and the bare timber was treated with penetrating epoxy followed by a couple of generous coats of underwater primer. A small paint roller on a long handle reached into all the corners.

The centrecase under bolts were plugged-over and the upper part of the centreplate case reassembled with newly-made sides in iroko. Sikaflex was used for all faying joints and it was here that I discovered a problem: the Sika has a problem with the underwater primer and seems to 'melt' it so that the Sika does not stick.

The centreplate case was finished off with new sill battens to help support the lower joints and cappings fore and aft.  A new capping piece was fastened down onto the lower casing with bitumastic sealing strip. Epoxy sealer was used on all faces that were potentially going to get wet or to be covered in sealant. The casing was varnished and the cabin furniture re-fitted.

Moving aft the ragged stern post was tackled.  The degradation of the timber was limited to the area surrounding the stern tube and the inboard section before the rabbet, only.  The upper part of the stern knee was chiselled away leaving the bolts in place (which we couldn't shift but were in OK condition). The stern tube was pulled out and the plank hood-end fastenings in way of the tube were drawn out.

The damaged area was built up with thickened epoxy around the tube and new timber was cut and morticed to fit in. The existing bolts were supplemented by coachscrews and the whole lot glued firmly into place. New fastenings were driven making sure that they did not make contact with the tube. The stern tube was wrapped in PVC tape to isolate it from the surrounding timber and the inboard and outboard bearings refitted.

The bilges were primed and painted again.

'Enfys' centreplate had been away having the pivot bolt hole closed up and re-drilled, blasted and hot-dip galvanised. It was wedged upright on a modified pallet and the yacht was lifted over it, jacked into place, pivot bolt fitted and wire connected and wound onto the winch.

The engine was serviced, filters changed, filled with gear and engine oil and was slung back into place. It was lined up with the re-installed propeller shaft and the exhaust, fuel tank, cooling pipes, control cables and wiring harness re-connected. A splash of diesel in the tank, bled and she was running!

Finally we took down the winter cover and cleared the boat of tools and surplus materials ready for loading. In between times I had de-rusted the bilge keels and primed them and applied two coats of antifoul.

'Enfys' was loaded back onto the truck and was taken back to Saundersfoot where she was unloaded direct  to the sand next to the slipway whilst the tide was out. Her mast was re-stepped and when at last the tide returned she finally floated.

Thank you for reading; the 2019 sailing season starts here for 'Enfys'...