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Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Decking and Stern Plating

Its Been a busy week... all decks are now plated and the transom and swim step are assembled. Also production welding on the keel and engine room has been started. This is the final continuous welding that makes the structure permanent. The welding is outstanding. I'll put some pictures of their work in the next post. 

Sam and Sue came up with me on Sunday to do some climbing around on the boat.

I spent a lot of time this week finalizing the position of the watertight doors and hatches that will go in the hull. The changes in deck elevation as you move through the hull from one compartment to the next have made this a real challenge, but I think we've got it figured out. We will probably have to elevate the wheelhouse deck on the port side to allow full headroom at the entrances to the passageway leading to and from the aft cabin, past the engine room, on the lower deck. If we build in seating as planned on this elevated platform in the wheelhouse, it should allow for a nice view out the windows. Ordering lots of bits and pieces for the steering and running gear. Also finalizing fuel system plumbing and deciding where we are going to run all the pipe to and from the tanks and vents. 

I had bought a 21 foot length of 2.5" shaft material a while back, and now that the stern tube and rudder tube are in place, we cut it into 3 rough lengths: 6" for the stub shaft on the bottom of the rudder, 82" for the main rudder shaft, and the rest for the prop shaft. I must have measured over a dozen times before I started cutting. A miss-cut would have been an expensive mistake on this stuff. Our shop saw has an air drive mode that keeps a preset pressure on the cut automatically. This allows you to cut hands free - a nice feature when you are doing a long slow cut through heavy material like this. The rudder and prop shaft will be headed to the machine shop soon to have tapers and keyways cut for the propeller and tiller arm.
Had a visit from Noel at Westar, who dropped off a nice surplus hatch from an Army landing craft. This will be our engine room door.

Bottom plating should be starting soon. Also need to finish the engine plumbing and give it a test run one of these days...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Engine and Gear Assembly

Sam and I spent our Sunday assembling the freshly painted engine and gear box on the temporary engine stand that I built last week. Everything went together very nicely. Still have some parts to put together but we are very close to done with this part of the project. Next up is sourcing a couple of more hatches and a watertight engine room door. Also need to start putting the rudder and steering gear together. The list seems never-ending right now, but we are making steady progress...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Forward Deck Plating

Jesus installed the all forward deck plating this week. The big forward deck plate went up without any drama. Took a little more tweaking than we expected to get everything straight, but its looking very good now. Boat is definitely starting to take shape. Got to stand on deck for the first time... it's a long way down, especially without real hand rails. Forward deck area will be huge. Next week we'll be installing the aft deck, and fitting up the transom parts and rudder post tube.   

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Everyone took a day off today for Labor Day. Yesterday, I spent the day at Mare Island working on prepping and painting the engine. It takes a lot of work to take a used engine that is painted black, and make it white. Here's the before and after. Jason, who is one of our engineers at Baylink Ferry did a nice job welding up a re-enforced right angle engine oil drain assembly so we can run a drain line to an oil change pump. We'll be doing the same with the gear oil drain. This makes oil changes relatively painless. Thanks Jason! We also had a visit from Mark and his family who own what I believe is the first Diesel Duck built in steel. She is also designed by George Buehler. At 38 feet long she is a lot smaller than the Swan55 that we are building, but shares the same basic design concept and is one stout little boat. Mark has done a really nice job re-designing the interior and many of the systems on board. 
As for our boat, I have been working diligently on designing the fuel system. With six tanks (all with fills, vents, supply and return lines, and clean-outs) it is a bit of a trick designing a system that isn't too complex, yet still allows for the flexibility we need (like transferring fuel from tank to tank and supplying our day tank during normal operation). The diagram shows what I have come up with. I am also figuring out where all the fuel pipe runs will be located in the hull. A lot of the pipe fitting work is easier to do now before the hull plating goes on. Still need to figure out fire/bilge pump piping, and hydraulic runs for the anchor windlass and steering. This is definitely a great education in vessel systems design.
This week we should be starting on some deck plating, which will hopefully tie things together a little more solidly. Even with all the bracing we have, we still get a lot of movement in the steel as the individual parts expand and contract with changes in temperature at the build site.
First up Tuesday is lifting a 2000 lb deck plate (sitting on ground to the left of the boat in the last pic) onto the foredeck. Jesus and his crew will also be setting the rudder tube and transom parts soon. More pics to come later in the week...