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So just what do we have here?!

30 August 2013 Phil Smidmore

Floor repair

"Floor repair"

Photo by:
Phil Smidmore

I never cease to be amazed at what I find. There is always the rusty anchor chain, the bilges full of rubbish and countless gunwale repairs, but one beauty I found recently was a copper swage sleeve on the cap shrouds to stop the spreaders drooping. The poor alloy spreader tips did not stand a chance, and it was all a mass of powder in there when we unwrapped it. Fortunately, the spreaders were not glued in. In fact, they had been well greased prior to assembly, so fitting new ones was easy.

Whilst on spreader tips, the combination of the dyform type wire and Brolga turnbuckles leads to the cap shroud sawing into the spreader tip. I have found a couple of spreader tips almost sawed right through so this area needs to be checked regularly.

Another good one was replacing a traveller track, which had been replaced previously. At the first replacement, the track had been changed from imperially spaced fastening holes, as the old Australian deck mould with cones had been made for, to new metrically spaced holes. However, no attempt had been made to seal off the old holes and only a token attempt had been made to seal the new fastenings. The result was a wet core with some delamination. With no decent core, the nuts were deflecting the bottom laminate and the deck was bulged due to the delamination. I did my best to clean out the disintegrated core with my special little de-coring tool, which is very hard through a 3/16" diameter hole, filled the area with resin, and then drilled new holes. On every fastening through the balsa core, I go to great lengths to get a good seal. This includes drilling the hole, resin coating the core and then really working the sealant around both the hole and the fastening.

I use 316 grade stainless steel fastenings wherever possible, but rust staining around fastenings still occurs. A good way to clean this off is by using welder's'pickling paste'. Coat the area using a small brush, leave for five or so minutes, then wash it off using heaps of water and a low abrasive scouring pad. NB. Be very careful when using this paste, as it is highly corrosive and will burn your skin very quickly. Always use gloves, goggles, etc and have a running hose at the ready. Test a small area first and also avoid contact with plastic fittings.

Our floors have always been built towards maximum weight, but as we are limited in the type of materials we can use, they are very prone to breakage. We worked very hard with our new mould floor design to make our floors as strong as possible, but they will still need repairs over time. I often repair old floors by adding a small web along the inside edge, which adds significant stiffness for minimal weight gain. This process is also incorporated into our new floors. In view of the difficulty of building a strong floor, and recognising the fact that many repaired floors are already over maximum weight, I have suggested to the class body that we increase the allowance to 25kg. The 15kg minimum would remain unchanged, but with that extra 5kg, we can make a floor that will last a lot longer than they do now.

A couple of interesting jobs we have done recently include a new floor and console for Nev Wittey's, Yandoo XX, and we are currently putting a new keel on Jon Harris's boat, after its grounding during the NSW State Championships. This means his boat will have a keel with the now favoured maximum weight. After sailing with his new floor and console, Nev Witty was very impressed with the lift in the feel of the boat.

I have stocks of our regular parts such as masts, standing rigging, halyards, tapered sheets and pump spares, including parts for the old Ferrari pumps, but get in early as a few sales can lead to stocks running out.

Good sailing,
Phil Smidmore.

What goes on under the veil of tape!

"What goes on under the veil of tape!"

Photo by:
Phil Smidmore


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