Monday, January 4, 2010

Finishing wheelhouse, rubrail, airtesting welds

Finished drilling all the holes for wheelhouse windows and engine room vents. Almost 500, 3/8" holes in all. Thankfully the wheelhouse is only 3/16" plate and we have a very good drill bit sharpener in the shop. Did some final cleanup on the wheelhouse over the weekend, and it looks like we'll be getting a crane from CS Marine to come out and do the lift up onto the hull this week. Sam and I did the drilling and fit-up for the hatch in the # 3 bulkhead up forward as well. This space is at the very front of the boat and will be maintained as a watertight compartment at all times. We will probably keep emergency anchor gear there. Aft of this is another space that is larger with a watertight hatch leading up to the anchor deck and a watertight door leading aft to the main living area. This gives us a second area at the front of the boat that can be sealed off in the unlikely event that we find ourselves faced with a big hole in the front of the boat. This compartment will be used as our "attic" for storage. Sam and I also test fit two of the aft portholes and they look very slick. These are from New Found Metals and from what I've seen so far, I'm very impressed (especially for the price). Spent a few days air testing all the external hull welds and watertight bulkheads. Kind of a tedious process that involves blowing air at extremely high pressures through a large nozzle directly along the weld while someone else is on the other side spraying a soap solution on the weld and watching for bubbles. It really works quite well. We found six pinholes this way that were invisible to the naked eye, but blew a mass of fine bubbles when pressurized from the other side. Six pinholes in a boat this size is very minimal and they were fixed easily and re-tested fine. Speaks well of the quality of work that Jesus and his crew are doing. Rubrail started going on today. Looking forward to getting the wheelhouse installed this week. I'll be fabricating hatch coamings and through-hull fittings over the next week or so as well. -PB

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