Fitting Out (Year 7):

Date Discussion
April 2016 Here we go again - it's hard to believe that yet another chapter is due in the saga of my Retirement Project. They say that everyone has to have a hobby - well, I recommend building a boat. It occupies almost all of your waking thoughts and even some of those whilst you're asleep! It is a pitiless consumer of time and money and repays you handsomely by highlighting your complete lack of skills in so many areas. However, it does give you something to tell all those people who insist on asking "what are you going to do now you're retired", when all you really want to say is "nothing". Added to which, there is the delicious incentive that you may, just possibly, end up with a beautiful vessel, built by your own hand to satisfy your own design fantasies, in which you can sail off into the sunset for destinations unknown, or simply through the back of the wardrobe to Narnia.

Now dear reader, if you've been with me for the last eight years and read through all of the preceding 100,000 words - you must be as mad as I am! No, not really. My heartiest congratulations to you and a sincere thank you for your company along the way. To those "newbies" who are starting their journey with me here (wimps), then a small history refresher is in order.

"Rhapsody in Glue's" first plank was laid in July 2008. The hull was completed in February 2010 and turned "right side up" on March 5th 2010, signalling the start of the "fitting-out" process.

Total construction time is now approaching eight years.

Incidentally, the name "Rhapsody in Glue" for a boat, was not my idea. It was suggested by an acquaintance at a boat building class many years ago, whose name now escapes me and it made me laugh and it still does, which is pleasing. It is a corruption of the title of a musical piece called "Rhapsody in Blue" written by George Gershwin in 1924, which was special because it was then and still is, a unique mixture of "classical" and "jazz" musical styles, just as the boat "Rhapsody in Glue" is a mixture of an older style timber "Thames Cruiser" from the 1950s and modern materials, such as marine plywood and fibreglass. Changing the "Blue" to "Glue" highlights the fact that there are almost no fixings in the boat other than epoxy glue. As for "Rhapsody", one of the definitions in the Miriam-Webster dictionary that appeals to me is "an ecstatic expression of feeling or enthusiasm", which seems extraordinarily appropriate...

16/04/2016 The major effort this month has centred on the galley roof. The roof had to be completed in its entirety before the final dimensions for the windscreen could be established. The roof is three layers of 4mm of double diagonally planked plywood glassed with 200gsm fibreglass cloth and finished with Peel Ply. It still needs to be sanded and painted, but that can't be done until the windscreen is made and installed.

I have been putting off thinking about building the windscreen for a long time because it has a significant number of complications and competing design requirements. Originally, it was going to be a three window design, but because of the width of the boat, which is about 2800mm at that point, I decided on five windows in order to make each glass panel a bit smaller. However, after standing in the approximate position of the helm, I quickly realised that one of the windscreen frames would then be directly blocking your line of sight ahead, which would not be good. So, back a three window design.

The galley roof has a cut-out section across its aft edge to provide the necessary headroom to comfortably use the galley steps. The steps are offset to the Port side, so the cut-out was extended to the Starboard side to even things up partly for aesthetics, but also to provide additional light and ventilation in the galley and avoid it becoming too claustrophobic. All good stuff, except when you consider that now, because the glass panels on either side of the windscreen's centre panel have to angle backwards to join the cabin sides, they cut across the parts of the galley roof which have been removed - oops! After some lengthy deliberations, it became clear that the cut-outs in the roof, at least on the Port side would have to be partly filled in.

To achieve that and not make it look like a "fix", I decided to make some curved quarter knees to fit into what were the right angled sides of the cut-outs. I had an off-cut from an old roof beam and realised that I could thickness it down to about 3mm so that it would bend and apply it as a veneer to a plywood quarter knee. Then, it would match almost perfectly into the existing galley roof beams and give the impression at least, that the design was intentional. Hmm...

The appropriately veneered quarter knees have been finished and installed and look terrific. Usually, compromises made to correct a design "oops" are just that, compromises, but in this case the curved cut-outs in the galley roof are actually an improvement and look really good. In fact, if I'd thought of it before, I might have done it anyway, regardless of the pesky requirements of the windscreen!

OK, back to the windscreen. The centre of the three windscreen panels should be the easiest right? Well no, not really, because I wanted it to be an opening, hopper style window to improve ventilation whilst travelling. Never having made a hopper window before, this involved some serious consideration about the profile of the support frame timbers, how they should be made and how they could be sealed against bad weather. I decided to make them out of laminated plywood pieces rather than routing various slots and shapes into solid timber, which actually worked out quite well, in the end. By the second version, they were actually pretty good!

Now, making a hopper window doesn't seem that difficult. However, consider that the window isn't upright, it is raked backwards at 22.5 degrees. Also consider that the galley roof, upon which the window has to sit, isn't flat - it's domed and of course, the saloon roof above is curved as well, to match. The final difficulty is that the side-screen sections are not only raked at the 22.5 degrees, but angle backwards at the sides in order to meet the saloon side walls at an empirically determined angle. And, just to complete the picture, it's a not very well kept secret that the whole vessel isn't quite symmetrical down its centre line, which involves having to offset the centre windscreen panel off to Starboard. So, you get some idea of the issues involved.

Having frightened you with all that complexity and detail, (well, it frightened me), you can relax because it's all done. Well, it's not actually glued in yet, but it is all made and fits very well.

I mentioned last time that the aluminium framed side windows have been made and received, which is great. The other items that came back last week were the two portholes for the front wall of the galley. They are very old and my dear friend Peter, who is an expert at restoring and polishing brass has done a great job. Thanks Pete!!

I bought the portholes some time back at a local market, from a couple who explained that they live near the water at Goolwa and that during the drought and very low water levels that occurred some years back, an old wreck had become exposed. There wasn't much of its timbers left, but some of the brass and bronze bits had survived and were still there, lying in the mud. The couple had salvaged them and were selling them off. So, the portholes are from a long-forgotten river boat and could be very old, which is really rather nice. One day soon perhaps, they can continue their riparian ramblings on a new vessel...

I was interested to note an advertisement in some "Junk Mail" the other day for a 12volt electric blanket. That is of interest only because the main justification for planning a full 2.5Kw, 240-volt power system for the boat was for the electric blankets. Maybe it's not necessary? Although there is still the microwave and the towel rail...

I'll finish up this post with a "beef". If you buy Australian Standard 2272 Marine Ply, it is what it says it is. The sheet size is 2400 x 1200 and in my case 12.5mm thick or half an inch in the old money. Reliable and predictable and simply the "Rolls Royce" of plywood.

However, if you buy imported marine ply, supposedly to British Standard 1088, the only good thing you can say about it is that it is half the price. British Standards are not enforceable outside the UK, so what you get is marine ply, usually from Asia, that's simply labelled BS1088, but that means nothing, it could be anything. The variations in sheet size, the huge voids and dodgy, lifting veneers don't matter that much in practice, because you are going to cut the sheet and re-finish it anyway. What is a bloody nuisance, is the variations in the sheets' thicknesses. They call them "half inch" sheets, but I have measured them at anywhere from 11mm to 13mm. Again, in a single sheet use it doesn't matter so much, but once you start laminating or cold moulding multiple thicknesses, or mixing BS1088 plywood with AS2282, it's an absolute pest!!

Now my carpentry is not good enough to worry about half a millimetre here or there, but once you start laminating bits together it becomes significant. Two 12.5mm thicknesses should be 25mm not 22 or 26 and four thicknesses is a nightmare because they should be 50mm not 44mm or 52 etc.

Ah well, as the old adage says, "you get what you pay for"...

7/05/2016 This is the "windscreen" chapter. There are a number of complications surrounding the making of the windscreen. Some of those have been described above, some are still making their presence felt. There are issues to do with usefulness, aesthetics and "buildability". However, we can all relax, because the whole thing is built, installed and apart from some more glassing and some paint, it's finished.

The centre panel with its hopper window, was described in the last posting. It has finally been fitted and glued in. The timber for side screen panels were cut and laid over the area where they had to go and by simply drawing around them, the final, rather odd shape became clear. The panels are actually laminated from two thicknesses of 12mm plywood. The window hole in the top panel is cut 12mm bigger all around than the lower panel to create a rebate or landing for the glass.

The size and shape of the glass panel was pretty much already set by the sizes and clearances of the existing windows. Although as noted earlier, the boat isn't quite symmetrical down its centreline, simply offsetting the centre window panel 15mm or so before it was glued in allowed for both side screen glasses to be identical. A pattern for the glass was made at the same time in readiness for actually ordering the glass and a template for the centre window glass was made too.

With all the parts for the side screens made and dry-fitted, they were finally glued in. Because of its shape, the whole windscreen is now quite a strong structure, which may be just as well, should there be any "mooring by ear" events in the future. The side screen edges were cleaned up and sanded to size and it all looks pretty good.

By laying a straight edge along the saloon roof beams in various positions across the boat, it was then possible to mark out where the top edge of the windscreen frame should be. Some "green" or spare timber had been left deliberately along the top edge of the window, which was then removed down to the required level.

The "brow" or peak of the roof sticks out over the top of the windscreen to provide shade and rain protection. It could now, finally be positioned in its correct spot and trimmed to size. The brow sits in a groove along the top edge of the front most roof beam and a couple of other, smaller grooves in the top of the saloon side panels. These were cut with a special router that is equipped with the tricky depth stop gauge - thanks Moose! Not difficult in the end, although it did make a bit of a mess.

The front or leading edge of the brow has not yet been trimmed to shape because I'm not sure what shape would look best. The more I think about it though, the less choices I think there are. So, next job is to trim the front edge of the brow and then take it back to the bench and paint it before its final installation. Like a car, I imagine the underside of the brow should be painted matt-black to stop glare, but that might seem a bit oppressive perhaps? We'll see...

It's astonishing to realise that there are now only two wall panels left still to be made in the whole boat. Those are across the very back of the bedroom, either side of the centre panel, which was installed quite some time back in order to solidly locate and support the back of the bedroom roof frame. The rear side screen panels will have windows as well and now I've made a few, they seem quite straightforward. They won't have plain glass fitted however. Some years ago I did quite a bit of stained glass work and it seems like an interesting eccentricity to have stained glass windows in a boat, but hey, why not?

With all the fixed glass window panels finished (almost), it raises the question of what sort of window frames they should have. The glass will be edged with UV-stable nitrile channel and glued in with SikaFlex, which means that any outside frames are really only for decoration, not for actually holding the glass in place. However, they need to be removable so, what to make them out of? The sliding windows all have a plain aluminium frame about 30mm or so, by 3.2, but bending aluminium bar on its edge is not easy. We could make them from timber, which is OK, but a lot of work and still doesn't match the rest of the boat. The latest thought is to get a sheet of 3.2mm aluminium and simply cut the frames out in sections and put them together on the job with some dome head screws. Seems like a good idea - time for a cuppa and a think about that one...

28/05/2016 The "brow" is now trimmed to size and shape and looks very handsome. It has been dry fitted, but is presently on the bench being glassed and painted. The parts of the brow that end up as ceiling inside the boat will be gloss white, whilst the outside areas will be the same honey brown colour (called Deep Buff) as most of the other exterior woodwork. The outside edges are not particularly well supported and may need a pair of hanging knees in due course.

Whilst I was doing a bit of painting (I hate painting - did I tell you that?), I thought I would mark out and mask up the first couple of panels of the saloon roof, since the bench space was available. The saloon roof will have the same three layers of 4mm plywood as used for the galley, although given that the roof beams are more widely spaced, it's not really intended as a general "walk-on" area, it will only need to support solar panels, lights etc. etc. The first two panels were dry-fitted and the roof beam lines drawn on to allow for masking and painting on the bench. So now the brow and the first two (of about six) roof panels are on the bench and painted.

I've almost run out of 4mm plywood to make more roof, so it's time to buy more. I calculated the requirements for the remainder of the saloon roof and the sun-deck as needing about 25 sheets, so they have been ordered along with some more glue. I am tempted to wonder if that's the last large volumes of timber that will be required for the boat aside from some internal furniture perhaps, but we'll see.

Before the saloon roof can be finished I finally have to address the matter of the entry hatch. Entry to the boat is now via the front starboard window area. There is no aluminium frame, but two vertical supports have been installed with rebates for fixed glass. There will be a sliding door there, which I'm hoping will be relatively straightforward, but the remaining issue is headroom. I had designed a set of tricky folding steps to be built into and combined with, the helmsman's seat and got as far as making a mock-up from MDF. It is the sort of thing you make and then leave lying about to see if a better idea turns up. I did and it didn't. So, accepting that the folding steps are a workable proposition, what are the ramifications for headroom? As you ascend a flight of steps, your need for additional headroom is immediate. In fact, extra headroom should be available slightly before the first step to be able to descend comfortably, without a head bang along the way.

So, now I knew where the first rise in the steps occurs, I could plan for a rise on the roof at more or less the same point. I had originally envisaged a fully opening sliding hatch, but there's a couple of issues with that idea. The first is that it is hard to make and seal and the second is that it would have had to slide back right across the roof to the portside of the boat and I had wanted to reserve a place down the middle of the roof long enough to store the gangplank when it is not in use. So a lifting hatch, hinged 250mm to the starboard of the roof's centreline and rising like a "Gull Wing Door" seemed like the best plan. A pair of Gas-Lift struts from our local friendly Wrecker's Yard to help with the weight, should complete the picture.

A straight piece of laminated beam that had the same timber pattern as the roof beams, was left over from the saloon's vertical pillars and was just the right length to make a carlin to fit between beams two and four and form the hinge support for the Gull Wing. The carlin was let into the two beams on hanging half lap joints and the starboard portion of Beam Three was then removed altogether. Now it is possible to step into the boat from the side deck (not built yet), down the steps (not built yet) and stand upright all the way. Yeah - almost finished!!

That's access sorted out, but I still have to make the hatch and the sliding door. Although since the design is now resolved, I can proceed with making the remainder of the saloon roof.

At the very front of the boat is the anchor locker. It is a very deep space that goes from the raised deck, down in front of and under the gas bottle locker, to end up behind the fridge. Whilst that area is finished and painted, it is still open to the shed and therefore full of sawdust and bits and pieces which are very hard to remove because it's getting on for 1800mm deep and quite narrow. The only way to effectively clean out the bottom of that area, or retrieve anything dropped in there, is to remove the fridge and the hatch cover cunningly installed behind it with "malice aforethought" for that purpose. However, that's a pain, so it occurred to me that it would be better if the anchor locker had a floor half a metre in. Now any such floor has to be removable because there is no way you'd want to create a closed off area, particularly there! Furthermore, the area is a tapered triangle under the hawsehole lights, so any floor in that area cannot simply lift out - no, that would be much too easy! So, a cover in two halves is required supported by a small beam down its centre, which also has to be removable, of course! Simple! The small laminated beam has been made and suitable hanger brackets also made and installed. I'll cut the actual floor panels when I get a minute.

The aft cabin sides are 4650mm long and had to be cut from two sheets of ply scarfed together. The forward edge of each side panel also needs to be quite tall and to be able to squeeze out the required shape, the MDF template had to be turned at an angle across the two joined sheets. This left, what is now the top edge of both aft cabin sides sloping down toward the aft of the boat at an odd angle. It was a nuisance, but the intention had been to simply butt join some additional ply onto the sloped edge to bring it back up square to make the sides of the sun-deck area.

Not having a pre-conceived plan and having the sloping top edges of the aft cabin side in place for the last couple of months, I had not only become used to the shape, but realised that I actually quite liked it! The original proposal had been to have bench seats down both sides of the sun-deck, although since the boat is designed for just two people, that has always struck me as a bit odd. So, if we lose the idea of the seats and accept the shape of the existing sloping cabin sides, it starts to look like a solution and quite a nice one at that! I would be the first to concede that it is totally serendipitous, but why not? Blind-arse luck works for me!!!

Whilst considering the roof line and related bits and pieces, the fact that the shed is not tall enough to allow construction of the anticipated fly bridge structure, is rapidly becoming a real nuisance. Also, since I'm not operating from a plan it's not even clear what the fly bridge should look like and to make matters worse, it's hard to design something in place because it is not possible to get far enough away from the boat to get a sense of what would look best. So, I am reduced to a series of scale drawings and a serious assault on the shed's stock of tea bags, whilst the various options are considered.

The thinking at present is to build the sun-deck area just to the height of the saloon roof. This will include the air-conditioner and the BBQ table and the top of the sun-deck stairs. The area will be made weather proof so that once the boat is out of the shed, the fly-bridge can be constructed inside the shed as a separate "bolt-on" piece and installed once it's ready. Well, that's "Plan A" anyway...

There's been a slight pause in proceedings, starting this week, to allow for another visit to hospital to have a previously repaired hernia re-done. It turns out that fixing a previous repair that has failed, creates a bit of a problem. So, for the moment my range of movement, particularly bending is a bit limited and walking is also problem. The Medicine Man has also decreed "No Lifting" for two months! Hmm, I'm not sure how that's going to play out......

11/06/2016 The hernia operation is out of the way and I'm back at the shed - only painting for the moment of course, except for having to pick up 25 sheets of 4mm plywood! The timber had to be moved on that particular day to take advantage of what seems to have been the only dry day for weeks! The wood yard loaded the trailer for me with a forklift and by luck my friend Mark was at the shed working on his boat when I got there and was happy to help unload. Actually, he did it and I more or less just watched, but I was grateful - thanks Mark!

I had also ordered some more epoxy as well and of course that arrived for collection at the Captain Sturt Marina at the same time! Grr! It weighs 30Kg and I was not sure I should be lifting such a weight. Anyway, Moose to the rescue this time and the glue was duly delivered to the shed - thanks Moose!

This week, I also had to go to Woodville for my Father-in-Law (as will be)'s 96th birthday, so it was a good opportunity to pick up more paint supplies from Alberton. Des helped me load the 16 litres of paint into the car and when I arrived at the shed the next day, the system broke down altogether - I had to unload it myself - and in the rain! Bugga! Still, the hernia didn't complain too much, so all seems to be well.

Speaking of paint, last week I had the first opportunity to use the "Deep Buff" paint that Des Strudwick (Seahorse Marine Paints) supplied with a view to making the cabin's woodwork look like a varnished finish, well from a distance at least... It has come out really well and the colour is a great match. It will never be the same as a real clear timber finish, but it looks pretty good! I have only used it on the underside of the windscreen brow so far, but it looks great.

On the subject of ordering bits and pieces, I have finally placed an order with Boat Outfitters in Florida, for a set of sliding door tracks for the main saloon entry door. You'd think you could get such things in Australia, but no, not of that sort of quality anyway. The only downside is that now I won't have any excuse for not starting the construction of the saloon door. Perhaps I should rest my hernia repair some more? Flimsy, I know...

The first two ceiling panels for the saloon are now painted and ready for installation, but I might just delay that for a little while. I want to change the cable that supplies the dining table hanging lamp from one with plain copper conductors to one with tinned wires to avoid any corrosion potential because I will absolutely not be able to replace it after the roof is glued down, ever...

I have now cut panels three and four (of the six) to continue the saloon roof and they are now all masked up and on the bench ready for painting. A thick coat of two-pack epoxy timber preservative has already been applied. Panels five and six actually have to fit over the top of the brow section, but that can't be installed just yet, not until the windscreen frame glassing is finished.

One big job still to be addressed is to install the stern tube and propeller shaft. I had made a plastic plug to fit very snugly in the stern tube with a hole drilled down the middle to accommodate a laser pointer unit with the idea that it would then allow the shaft to be aligned properly fairly simply. It turns out that the idea was fine except that the laser light source within the laser pointer's metal body, was badly made and not centred properly. So, the light beam was completely out of alignment with its own body and quite useless. I have been trying to think of an alternative for some time.

The solution is quite simple, as it turns out. I bought a new high power LED torch recently and it has a very intense light output for something so small. I then realised that I could use it as my light source for aligning the prop shaft instead of the dodgy laser. The only addition was to make another plug for the forward end of the stern tube, with a small hole in it, to focus the light beam on the back of the gearbox. So, back to the lathe and refit the new bits and it really does seem to have the potential to work very well. It produces a 40mm diameter circle of light at a distance of 4m, which is just fine.

It also occurred to me that if I attach a mirror to the back of the gearbox, it should reflect the light beam directly back down the path of the incoming beam. It should then be possible to ensure that the engine mounts are properly aligned as well - bonus! All good in theory of course, but as always, the proof will be in the - well, you know....

26/06/2016 The engine alignment tool and method described above actually worked pretty well. The stern tube was inserted loosely (both parts, to account for it being made too short - and no, I don't want to talk about it)! The turned plastic alignment plug, with new LED torch light source, was then installed as a very snug fit in the stern tube and a shorter piece of alignment plug material, with a 10mm hole, was inserted in the front end, where the stuffing box will go. When the torch was turned on, it produced a 40mm circle of light that, with a jiggle or two of the stern tube could be aligned precisely with the centre of the face plate at the back of the gearbox. Even with the centre steady bearing in place, it was possible to line everything up really well, which is a great relief!

A couple of timber blocks were cut and installed to hold everything in the right place and, whilst it's hard to believe, the stern tube is now ready for gluing and glassing into place. The plan is spray low-viscosity epoxy wood preservative into the deep hole through the stern post with a sacrificial plastic spray bottle to finally seal all the open end grain timber and then install the stern tube. I have a couple of old silicon dispensers left over from another job and I'm going to use them to inject thickened epoxy into the stern post and around the stern tube. Hopefully I'll be able to completely fill all the gaps. I turned up a lump of Oregon on the lathe some time back, to make a fairing block to fit where the stern tube emerges from the hull and it should be possible to make a gasket and seal that area completely.

The idea of putting a mirror on the back of the gearbox to check the engine alignment seemed to work pretty well too! The light beam shone almost directly back to the centre of the steady bearing, which suggests that the engine is in almost exactly the right spot, or at least it's within the range of adjustment available from the engine mounts, which is nice...

The windscreen frame is in place and has now been filleted and glassed all around, except for the top edge. All the carpentry sins and the bits that didn't fit quite so well are all covered up and it looks great. I thought it would be useful to have cable ducts in the outside windscreen pillars (the ones that would be called the "A" pillars if it were a car)! So, I played with trying to glass in 12mm conduit, but that looked really ugly. Then Moose suggested that I cut a piece longitudinally from the wall of a length of 90mm PVC tube, and glass that in. It leaves an odd shaped "conduit" hole, but more than adequate for what I had in mind and looks very tidy. I need wiring for headlights, horns and I'm sure I'll think of something else along the way, so it's a useful facility.

The first layer of the saloon roof is made up of seven pieces of 4mm ply. Painting for pieces 1 and 2 is finished. Pieces 3, 4 and 5 have just received their last coat of gloss on the bench and sheets 6 and 7, need the brow to be installed before they can be cut.

The brow is quite a beefy lump. It is 1m deep and 3m wide and weights about 25Kg so it seemed like a good idea to take advantage of a friend's visit to the shed, to get some help. It had been dry fitted and after masking all the joint areas, we spread the glue and popped it on. Remembering that this is all taking place 2.5m in the air and we are up a pair of ladders trying to turn a gluey lump of plywood 3m wide over, where we don't quite have enough room under the roof to do it in one motion, you start to see that "popping in on" is somewhat of a euphemism... Anyway - thanks for your help Jan - couldn't have done it without you!!!

Next day, I decided to install Sheet 1 of the roof and given that it is much smaller and lighter, decided to do it by myself. I duly masked up the roof beams and ceiling panel appropriately. Once all the surfaces were covered in glue however, I realised that I couldn't lift the panel into place without either scratching the paint or spreading glue everywhere. I should have thought the operation through more clearly - humph! In the end, I got the panel into place and aligned with its marks, but had to spend ages cleaning up glue smears afterwards. It's awkward lifting glue covered panels over your head at the best of times, but then leaning forwards with a new hernia operation beginning to complain loudly, to reach the centre of the roof was positively unpleasant.

However, the worst part of this operation was still to come, because I had been used to balancing the panel on my head before sliding it into place whilst dry fitting, I realised a fraction of a second too late, that this was not a good idea when the panel is covered in glue. I ended up with wet epoxy all over my hair - yuck! Later, in the shower, I found myself removing large chunks of hair and leaving bits of scalp covered in scabby brown glue. A tedious experience and very painful!! Now, it will take weeks for the glue to wear off my scalp and the new hair to grow through the glue and there's little enough up there as it is - that's hair not glue, unfortunately.

I mentioned the "A" pillars of the windscreen earlier. I had planned that one of the uses for the Port side pillar was to be to carry the black tank breather up to the roof. It's the portion of the boat that is furthest from any living are area or entry and exit area. However, the EPA requires the breather to be 40mm diameter and that simply looked obvious and really ugly up against the windscreen and readily visible from the saloon. So, we need another solution.

Actually, so long as the top of the breather is well above the highest point of the black tank plumbing anywhere in the boat, it doesn't actually have to be on the roof. So, another alternative seems to be to head for the galley roof above the sink. It's much easier to route the plumbing to there and with a little mushroom vent on top, it won't be obvious or in anyone's way. Another job for later...

9/7/2016 The windscreen frame is now all filleted and glassed both inside and out. It turned out to be a big job because of the awkward access under the brow and the need to produce an acceptable level of finish on every join. This is particularly true for the inside joints where the helmsman, specifically me, may well spend hours looking through and at the windscreen not wanting to be constantly reminded of the lack of boat building skills that were employed in making them!

As I've noted before, getting the windscreen frame to fit properly was a challenge, but as my shipwright friend always says "Bog is you friend", and now all the carpentry sins are completely hidden under carefully applied epoxy fillets, now glassed and finished with Peel Ply and looking terrific. Some sanding (and then some more, I expect) and several layers of paint and all will be well.

All the saloon ceiling panels have been cut and painted, but have been left abandoned on the bench for a couple of weeks after the debacle described above of me trying to install one by myself. I've got most of the epoxy out of my hair now - thank you for asking, but mostly due to my partner's efforts making like a chimpanzee and "nit picking" at some length. Not a pantomime to be repeated!

So once again, unscrupulously using up my friends by inviting them to the boatshed ostensibly for a BBQ, but suggesting that they bring their overalls, Jan stepped into the breach once more. Shabby, I know... Anyway, all the saloon ceiling panels are now installed and look absolutely outstanding. It's deeply satisfying to be able to stand in the saloon and sense it as a closed in and therefore nearly completed area. Install the windows, which are ready to go, and some paint and furniture, and it's done - well more or less. Thanks Jan!

There are still two more layers of 4mm ply to go on top of the ceiling layer to complete saloon roof, but these will be done in 300mm wide strips laid in a "double diagonal" pattern as with the galley roof. I can handle the smaller pieces myself, so I don't need to call another shed "BBQ" just yet - although, the bedroom roof still awaits! One minor constraint when working of the saloon roof is that in places I'm only 200mm below the iron roof beams in the top of the shed. This makes access tight here and there and I'm really glad I'm doing this in winter! It would be no place to be working in 44 degrees, but waiting until my hernia operation has healed a bit more has some appeal!!!

The saloon roof is supported amidships by laminated vertical beams made to match and intersect with the roof beams. Where the upright section joins the roof beam it needs a triangular piece inserted to provide additional strength against sideways impact. Naturally on a boat, these "triangular" supports are not really triangular and they're not actually called "supports" either, of course! They're called "hanging knees" and they are a more or less right angled triangle with a fetchingly curved hypotenuse. In days of old, they would be cut from the branch of a tree where the grain naturally turns through 90 degrees, but we're stuck with plywood. However, to brighten things up I decided to laminate the "fetching" curves with two different coloured timbers to match the beams.

Cutting the right-angle'ish part of the triangle was easy. Finding the radius of the circle necessary to produce a "fetching curve", whilst allowing for the thickness of the proposed laminated bits was a bit more time consuming. (I think I had an interest in other fetching curves when I was younger - can't really remember now) ...

Drawing a circle with a radius of a metre or more is another challenge, at least it would be if I hadn't bought a pair of trammels at a local market some time back. The seller didn't really know what they were, which was reflected in the price, happily. However, trammels are a couple of cast (often brass) lumps, one with a pointed bit and the other designed to hold a pencil and you provide a length of material to connect the two that is long enough to suit your purposes. Things are always easier with the right tools!

I had made a pair of hanging knees previously for the bedroom however, for the saloon, I decided they could be a bit bigger to become more of a "feature". I had cut the laminations for the bedroom sized knees at 3mm thick, but for the saloon, I thought 5mm would be better. So, I thicknessed some lathes of Hoop Pine and Meranti down to 5mm and then thought "I'll just glue these into the curvy bits of the plywood blocks I had made and all will be well". Well, no! Clamping five strips of 3mm timber into a curve had turned out to be a bit of a challenge I then recalled. Now, trying to bend and clamp five strips of 5mm timber into a curve turned out to be beyond my "Cheap as Chips" G-cramps and at the limits of my own physical strength for that matter.

After some head scratching (and another cup of tea, of course), an ancient Greek came to mind in the form of Archimedes. I once wondered why we had to learn all this stuff at school, but you see, it comes in handy sometimes, eventually! Leverage - that's what we need! Some little time later, with a balk of timber bolted to the bench and a long sash cramp, I was able to persuade my timber laminations into their new curvy home with enough epoxy to keep them there - I hope. It has been very cold, something to do with it being the middle of winter I suppose, so epoxy has been taking days to set, but in this case, it can have all the time it needs. I wouldn't want to be standing anywhere nearby if it decided to let go!

Rhapsody's hull is 37 feet long, so the coach house needs several sheets of plywood joined together to cover its length. The walls of the three main sections, that is the galley, saloon and bedroom, are themselves made up of multiple panels that have been scarfed on the bench and then installed separately as units. Now, it's time to join the three bits together on the job. The three sections are not exactly in-line with each other either of course, to allow for the curvature of the hull. The joins need to be reasonably substantial to avoid cracking in the future with the flexing of the structure. So each join area was rebated down by 2mm for a width of 40mm on each side. A piece of 625gsm bi-axial glass cloth was then laid across the join like a bandage. The whole area was then covered with fairing compound and sanded down to become almost invisible. Once it's painted, no one will ever know - except you and me...

The LED strip lights for the galley were installed quite some time back and are spectacular - when they're working! However, it turns out that the tiny plastic plugs recommended for connecting power to the strips are only part time performers. In fact, if you touch or move any of the strips once they're installed, the connectors will fail. I tried applying silver paint to the printed circuit pads on the light strips to reinforce them, but with limited success.

The only reliable solution seems to be to solder flying leads directly onto the LED strips and connect them into the system from there, but joining them into a wiring harness, which is inside a 10mm square trunk, in such a way that they can readily be replaced in the future is interesting. Then I came across "jelly button joiners"! They are intended for telephone cables and are filled with a water repellent jelly to allow them to be used in all environments. A packet of 100 turned up today from China (of course), so I'll keep you informed of progress - if any...

20/7/2016 Visiting our local DIY car wrecking yard (which is called 'U-Pull-It'- much to my partner's amusement. Can't think why), on a non-boat related mission, reminded me of another decision made earlier. As mentioned before, the entry hatch into the saloon will be hinged toward the centre of the boat and lift up at the Starboard side. It will be 12mm laminated plywood and about 1200 x 600mm and therefore, quite heavy. So a pair of gas lift struts seem to be a good idea. The wrecker's yard provided two likely candidates (from a 1993 Ford EB Falcon, note - in case they ever need replacing) for a modest $32.

Sitting down somewhat later, with a piece of paper (and the inevitable cup of tea), trying to determine the proper mounting requirements, made me realise that it is not quite as straightforward as I had thought. The first thing I needed to know of course, was the gas strut's closed length - have you ever tried to compress one of those rascals by hand? No, nor had I and I quickly discovered that it takes some significant leverage and sheer strength to do - all whilst carefully holding a ruler in the other hand to get that really accurate measurement - yeah, right! Even then, it turns out to be an interesting design problem to achieve the correct maximum lift height and still allow room for the strut to fully close. Since the strut keeps changing length, so does its arc of operation. Hmm - tricky!

The two hanging quarter knees required to reinforce the wall/roof beam joints in the middle of the saloon walls, that are described in some detail above are now finished. I made them a bit bigger than their bedroom counterparts and whilst they presented some issues to make, with bending the thicker timber, they are now installed and look great.

However, the back corners of the saloon now look a bit odd because aesthetically, they should have hanging knees as well. That's no problem on the Port side and although it would be simply for decoration, serving no useful purpose, it would look good. Putting a knee on the Starboard side however, presents an issue, because it would partly occlude the Sun-Deck access doorway and get in the way of the proposed door frame. So, a little 'wait and see' seems to be the more prudent approach here.

The "jelly button joiners" described earlier, have arrived and seem to be just the thing to solve the problem of making reliable connections to the LED lighting strips. The plan now is to have 200mm of flying leads coming out of the main wiring harness at all the light connection points and solder a similar length directly on to each of the LED strips. They will then be connected with the little joiners, that will fit happily in the trunking allowed for them. In the future, if an LED strip fails, simply cut off the joiner, together with perhaps 15mm of wire and install a new LED strip. The LEDs have an expected life of 50,000 hours, and with the length of wire provided can be replaced about 10 times. That means that in theory, the new arrangement should be fine for the next 114.46 years, or so...

The downside is that the wiring harnesses made previously have all had to be re-made to suit the new scheme. However, there's always a silver lining! I had not really considered the type of wire required for this application and had used simple copper wire. Plain copper is not so good in a marine environment, where tinned wire would be much less prone to corrosion. So, the harnesses have all been remade using tinned wire rated a 16amps, and I made ones for the bathroom and bedroom lighting, whilst I was "at it".

The second of the eventual three layers of 4mm plywood making up the saloon roof has been cut and installed. The first layer was laid with the surface veneer grain running across the boat, whilst the plywood for the second layer was cut into 300mm wide planks and laid at 45 degrees to the centre line of the boat. The third layer is also made of 300mm planks, but laid the other way, that is at 90 degrees to the second layer. This is called "double diagonal planking" and produces a very strong result with very little wastage, although being somewhat more tedious to do.

It will be interesting to see how solid or "firm" the saloon roof feels with some weight on it. It was not intended as a high load area, so the roof beam's spacing was set at about 375mm. The sun deck roof however, which has the same span as the saloon, has its roof beams every 275mm, since it may have to bear the weight of a number of people on the deck at once. It occurred to me that if some additional support for the middle of the bedroom roof was needed, a frame could be installed on posts above the bed (like a four-poster) and serve dual purpose as the mounting for a mosquito net as well. Having thought about this proposal at some length, I'm beginning to think that the mosquito net might be the more important of such a structure's dual role. Better have another cup of tea and think about that some more...

10/8/2016 There are some problems you just don't anticipate when working inside a shed. You wouldn't think that gluing up the saloon roof would be affected by the weather. However, a hail storm and what the weather bureau called "damaging winds" was an experience! Firstly, I couldn't believe the noise! Whilst I'm fairly tolerant to loud noises, at least for short periods, being so close to the shed's iron roof in a hail storm was almost painful! The other rather unusual problem was that the very high winds were blowing hail stones right under the shed's ridge capping and onto the surface of my wet glue. What can you do? Well, wait for all the bits of ice to melt so that the plywood panel sits down properly of course. I have no idea what the presence of ice does to epoxy's exothermic chemistry and that's probably just as well.

The saloon roof despite the hail storm, now has all of its three layers of 4mm plywood and feels very secure when "kneeling" about on it. (Given that in places, there's only 200mm between it and the shed roof, "walking around on it" isn't really an option)! Some making good, sanding and a layer of fibre glass will complete the roof - yeah!

I have installed hanging knees on the roof pillars in the saloon and they look really good. And, as noted above, the back wall of the saloon, on the Port side, would also look better with a knee, so I have set about making another one for there. The force required to bend 5mm veneers to the fairly tight radius required for these knees is significant and so they have to be done two veneers (of five) at a time. Also, given that it's winter and temperatures are low, epoxy takes a couple of days to harden sufficiently to risk removing the clamps ready for gluing the next pair of veneers. All of which is very time consuming! I have decided not to put a knee at the back of the saloon on the Starboard side because it would partly block the access doorway, and would also have to be fitted in amongst the door jamb and the wall. All of which would look very cluttered.

On the subject of "knees", there is a very similar pair on the roof support pillars in the bedroom, albeit slightly smaller and I am very pleased with them. However, the pillars themselves are bothering me. They sit halfway down the walls on each side of the bedroom, in between the windows, and closely match the equivalent pillars in the saloon. Except that they don't quite match. The bedroom roof pillars were made a long time back, before I had the idea for the saloon, of making them from two different coloured timbers laminated together and clear finished. The ones in the bedroom were made from several thicknesses of plywood and are simply white painted - nothing like as nice! It is true that in the end, they will probably be hidden behind the curtains and so whether they match the saloon pillars or not is probably moot, but - they still bother me! I'm just trying to decide whether they bother me enough to rip them out and replace them. Not a nice job to do, but the result might just be worth it.

What started that whole train of thought was loafing around in the bedroom for the first time in a while, measuring up for the aft window panels. These are the last two panels that are required to finish the boat's coach-house, (Note the use of the "F" word there - scary). There will be two windows looking astern, one each side of the head of the bed. The plan was and still is, to make them from stained glass, although I will clear glaze them in the first instance just to get them finished. The window panels will need to be double thickness to cater for the glazing and they are a fairly odd shape. The inside vertical edge is upright, whilst the outer vertical is not and of course, the top and bottom edges are both curved. As the aphorism scrawled on the wall of the shed says - "Nothing on a boat is flat, square or level - it's OK"!

How very comforting...

19/8/2016 As a follow-on from the last paragraph, the aft bedroom windows are now made, albeit not yet installed, but this changing of one's mind along the way has to stop! The centre panel of the aft bedroom wall above the bed, installed many moons ago, is stained and clear finished timber. I had decided that the panels on each side, given that they were going to be mostly glass, could just be white painted. However, having cut the first panel and popped it into place for a "look", decided that it would be better as a stained piece to match the centre. Well, that was not a problem except that because it was going to be painted, I had cut the panel from the cheaper BS1088 plywood, which doesn't carry a stain at all well. (See previous experiments - from back in what seems like the Jurassic period, I think)! Anyway, taking my freshly cut and dry-fitted panel and simply using it as a pattern before discarding it seemed a pity, but two new panels were then cut-out from Hoop Pine ply, which will stain beautifully.

I was reminded during the week that even when things go wrong, it is never as bad as you think; it's just a matter of perception! The two aft window panels should be the same size but they're not. Buried back in history somewhere, a centre line wasn't quite as carefully placed as it should have been and the after part of the boat is not symmetrical as a result. As a consequence, one window panel is 10mm wider than the other. When drawing the opening for the window glass, I was somewhat concerned that a difference of 10mm would be very obvious. As my Shipwright friend pointed out - "It's not 10mm out, it's only 5mm each side, which is only half as bad". Interesting logic, but comforting none the less. He went on to tell the story of another amateur built boat that ended up 200mm longer down one side than the other. It steered to Port very easily, but getting it to turn to Starboard was a real drama...

The aft window panels have to carry sheets of glass of course, which in their rubber mouldings, are 12mm thick. So, a single sheet of 12mm ply is not thick enough. My original intention was to laminate two 12mm panels, but now I realise that 12 + 4 making 16 should be fine. Accordingly, two addition panels of 4mm ply have been cut and laminated on the 12mm pieces to provide the necessary thickness. Grooving and staining to follow...

Another job that cannot be put-off much longer is the installation of the stern tube and propeller shaft. (That's the new, longer version of both - and if you want the gory details of that very expensive debacle, go backwards in this tome a considerable way and find it yourself - I don't want to talk about it)! The stern tube has a flange on its end that sits behind the propeller to locate, support and secure the whole apparatus. The flange has to bolt onto something and the hull, at that point is just that - a point, which is not useful! So, a moulding was required to sit behind the stern tube flange and smoothly streamline it into the hull shape. I made the raw moulding sometime back and now it has to be trimmed and fitted to the back of the hull. It's an odd, asymmetric shape because the propeller shaft is offset from the centreline of the hull, so one lobe is much bigger than the other and although the hull comes to a point, it tapers vertically as well. Tricky! (Have a look at the photos...).

The final size of the moulding is critical, because it not only sets the final distance of the bearing behind the propeller and therefore defines the loading, but its length also positions the stuffing box within the hull. Again, an important consideration ensuring that adequate maintenance access is provided for the stuffing box. The dry-fitting of the moulding is now finished finally and the unit glued into place. Some filleting and glassing is still required to finish it, then the stern tube and prop shaft can be permanently installed.

I have noticed that two of the floor panels in the saloon have broken. I have jumped down into the boat on occasion, and their design is clearly not up to that sort of treatment. So, that will have to be revisited at some point. I suspect additional support blocks will need to be attached to the main floor joists to better support the panels. I have laminated up some blocks of the right thickness and I'll give them a try at some point.

Work has been interrupted a number of times this week by friends dropping in, which is really nice. The stainless steel marine BBQ I bought so long ago, ostensibly for the boat of course, has actually done sterling service once again in the boatshed, providing tasty lunches for all. Just another one of the joys of building a boat...

15/9/2016 Well, the third Olympics to occur since starting to build Rhapsody has been and gone. In 2008 for the Beijing games, I had just started cutting and setting out the station moulds for the hull. By 2012 for the London event, the hull was finished and right side up and I was putting the floor in the saloon. Now in 2016 for the Rio games, I've been putting in the last two wall panels of the coach house, which apart from the sun deck roof, is now complete. All of which, is pretty good, I think.

What was not so good was a late night visit from some less than savory folk intent on robbery and helping themselves to gear from the yard, rather than getting a job and buying it themselves. They didn't get around to breaking into the sheds, which is good. However, it's only a temporary respite probably, so as a precaution, all the as-yet unfitted bits and pieces for Rhapsody and anything else of value, has now been removed from the shed and will only be returned when needed. A bloody nuisance, but...

I mentioned above that the last two panels of the coach house have now been fitted. They are the aft facing windows in the bedroom of course. They are now stained and clear finished to match the rest of the headboard area above the bed. They will contain stained glass windows in due course, but in the meantime, I have made templates to have tinted toughened glass panels cut. Whilst painting the panels with clear polyurethane, I was reminded of another truth. On any particular day, don't paint first and then sand something else before that paint is dry. It makes dust all over your new work and you have to sand it off and start again. Grr...

These two window panels incidentally, represent a milestone of sorts, as they are the last two parts needed to finish the coach house walls. I suppose a ceiling would be a useful addition too perhaps, but apart from that, the coach house is now complete.

Whilst cutting the MDF templates for the glass, I realised that I had made a mistake in the other unframed glass panels around the boat. Each pane is now going to be mounted in its timber frame using a "U" shaped rubber (nitrile) moulding. Originally, the idea had been to simply press each piece of glass into a bed of SikaFlex sealant, then add more sealant on the outside and clean up to finish the job. The templates therefore, were made to exactly fit their respective rebates in the timber frames, however adopting the "U" channel approach, means that the glass has to be 4mm smaller all around to allow for the thickness of the bottom face of the "U" channel. The two templates for the windscreen glass and the two either side of the entry doorway then had to be reduced by 4mm in all directions and new radii cut for the corners. It's a pity that the two glass panels for the entry way have already been made, because now they will have to be re-done. Not such an expensive error perhaps, but annoying...

There are four other panes of glass still to be sized. They are for the sliding entry door and the three panels that will make up the Sun Deck access door. I just have to make the doors first.

The aft bedroom windows slope forwards for aesthetics and to allow for a set of steps up the outside of the boat to access the Sun Deck from the transom. Since the head of the bed is vertical, there needs to be a cute little trim strip across the boat to tidy up the area of the join. A piece of Meranti has been made to suit and stained and clear finished ready for installation. Looks good too!

However, the trim strip has to be altered a little because I have decided to install laminated vertical supports in the back corners of the bedroom. This is mostly for strength, but also for aesthetics. The trim piece has to be shortened by the thickness of the two posts. It's not a problem, but much easier to do before the posts go in!

Having decided to use laminated posts in the back corners of the bedroom to match the general theme throughout the rest of the boat, it creates another problem. The two vertical posts on each side of the bedroom, between the windows, now don't match. They were made many eons ago to hold the bedroom roof frame in place whilst the coach house sides were constructed, but are made of plain, white painted plywood when, if they were going to match the evolving "theme" for the rest of the boat, they should be laminated clear finished two tone timber.

I have been trying to ignore the issue of the plain white posts, especially since I have made and installed such nice laminated hanging knees for them to brace the roof, but they are still bothering me. So, on the basis that I should fix it now, rather than be irritated by them for the next couple of decades - they have to come out. It is really dis-spiriting to have to attack one's carefully made and finished timber work with sharp implements and destroy them, but they have to go! Well, "gone" now actually... The only upside is that it's not until you have to take something out that you realise once again, how bloody tough that epoxy glue is! Which is kind of re-assuring really.

I'm preparing to fit the laminate sheeting to the bathroom walls. It was purchased a couple of years back and has been rolled up under the boat since then. To give it a chance to flatten out a bit, I have laid it out on the bench, which is a real nuisance because the sheets are 3m x 1.3m and severely reduce the remaining bench space - I know, get on with it, then it won't be a problem! Actually, it's not a job I'm looking forward to really. The trouble with using contact adhesive is that you only get one chance to install the cut pieces correctly. Once that glue touches, that's it - it's stuck. No room for errors or adjustments. You only get one chance! Arghhh - the pressure!

In preparation for installing the laminate, I have sanded and filled all the bathroom walls, which is itself represents a number of days' work. Some of the wall areas are going to be painted white (and have mirrors), and whilst the bright blue laminate is really nice, you can have too much of a good thing. Then I realised that it would be prudent to paint the bits of wall that are to be white first. That's much easier than splashing paint all over newly installed laminate and having to scrape it off! So, out with the paint brush and more delays.

I also realised about here that it would be better to have the remaining bathroom furniture installed first, since you don't really want to glue bits of timber to painted or laminated walls. So, out from the store of "goodies" came the hand basin purchased so long ago. That's the one that's big enough to be a training pool for a swimming team. Actually, it has to double as a laundry sink as well, if you're going to live on the boat for any length of time. However, it needs a bathroom cabinet to sit on and whilst I had made some of that a while back, it was not installed in the boat, awaiting final checking of dimensions.

The idea was to have a bench top extending to one side of the hand basin to provide a work space during laundry and shower times. However, this was overlooking the fact that if you want to actually use the toilet, you have to have room to open the lid. A minor oversight I grant you, but...

So, the solution seems to be that half of the extension of the bench top has to fold up out of the way when the toilet is in use. It has to fit under the lip of the side deck under the windows and still allow enough room for the toilet seat to come up far enough to stay up by itself. There's nothing worse than having to hold the toilet seat up with one hand whilst you - well you get the picture. I suppose the female version of that problem is a pain in the err... well, back perhaps?

So, lots of things still to design and build and all with two enormous sheets of laminate on the bench taking up most of the space. Could have thought that one through better I guess!

The top of the saloon roof has been receiving some attention to get it ready it for glassing and painting. The timber has all been sanded and the gaps between the diagonal planks filled and the whole thing re-sanded. The edges of the roof will be rounded over ultimately, but that will only look any good if they're straight first, which currently they are not. Some "variations" seem to have crept in to the manufacturing process - just prove it is hand made of course - yeah, right! Anyway as a cure, a timber batten was screwed down the edge on each side of the roof and the gaps filled with epoxy. Now re-sanded (again) and it looks terrific; ready for the rounding over.

I'm proposing to put various bits of equipment on the roof such as lights and horns and anything else I think of "down the track". Accordingly, whilst making the windscreen pillars, I left hidden cable conduits on each side, to be able to get wires up to the roof. However, the cables still have to go through the timber of the roof itself, so 25mm holes were drilled above the conduit slots and filled with epoxy using waxed pieces of 18mm conduit pipe as moulds. The resulting cable entries are very convenient, quite large enough and fully sealed. All good.

I've mentioned before that doing anything on top of the roof is made doubly difficult by the lack of headroom. In fact, I'm using an orbital sander whilst lying full length on my stomach and if I were twenty (or thirty perhaps) years younger, it wouldn't be a problem. As it is, after a day on the roof, my back says "a day at home please"! (Good day to update the blog)!

Another job still waiting in the wings, actually it's underneath the boat really, is the installation of the stern tube and propeller shaft. It is all dry fitted and ready to go except for finding some suitable bolts. There are four bolts required that have to be 10mm by 55mm in 316 stainless steel, which are surprisingly difficult to get. Most suppliers, even marine chandleries, only stock 304 stainless, which for permanent immersion, is not good enough. So, back to the trusty Internet (have the NBN now and it's terrific although most of the additional speed is wasted because the sites you interact with are themselves too slow to take advantage, so you're no better off - ah well). Anyway, a company in Qld. was very happy to supply the required bolts for $3 each, so no excuses now I suppose...

19/10/2016 The last week or so I have been busy goofing off, being a riverboat captain. There has been a much higher rainfall than usual across south eastern Australia this spring and it is all ending up in the River Murray. The usual flow rate is about 3000 mega litres per day; at the end of last week it was 38,000! This week it has risen to 44,000 and the prediction is that by Christmas it could be 90,000. As the flow rate increases, so does the volume and therefore the depth of the water. The level is up about 1.5metres at present. The high flow rate makes handling a boat much more difficult. Trying to moor or navigate a bridge or lock can be quite a challenge...

Anyway, back to Rhapsody!

The majority of the bathroom furniture is now made and some is glassed ready for painting. The hand basin cabinet is installed, but its mid-level shelf is not. It has to have a cut-out for the waste trap and pipe and it turns out that the position is dependent upon other things (like everything else)! In this case the toilet waste pipe has to have a clear downhill run from the macerator pump to the black tank inlet to reduce the risk of blockages and so has to be installed first. The pipe has to go via a goose neck of course, to set the static water level in the toilet pan. It is surprisingly difficult to get information from the manufacturer (TMC in this case) about the depth of water that should be left in the toilet pan after flushing. I found an obscure document on their Web site that suggested it should be about 8 inches. It's as good a suggestion as any provided that when you sit on the toilet none of your sensitive "bits" dangle into the cold water - think about it...

One area that had not really been "designed" yet was the area behind the toilet. The pan is up against the wall at the bottom, but well away from the wall at the top because it's the side of the hull and therefore curved. A simple vertical panel was all that I had originally considered, but once you think about it, you realise that there is actually a significant space behind any such vertical panel that should be used for something. So, the area now has a shelf to separate the toilet plumbing from the real world, which creates a very useful storage area. Just the right size for spare toilet rolls maybe? Given that the toilet is in the same room as the shower of course, any such shelf should have a drop down door to reduce the amount of steam/condensation getting in. So now the simple vertical panel starts to become much more complicated. Oh, and it has to be easy to reach around for cleaning and - it has to be completely removable to be able to service the back of the toilet. Easy!

This now quite complex, vertical panel also has to hold the toilet flush controller electronics and flush button. TMC offer a nifty half flush/full flush timer switch that operates for either 5 seconds or 10 seconds. It claims to use two litres or four, which is quite modest. I hope it's sufficient... The side of the hand basin cabinet also has a cut-out for the toilet roll holder, which is a simple plastic box (flush fitting - if you'll pardon the pun) with a door to keep your powder - err, sorry - paper dry. (A simple plastic box for $50 - Hmm).

I described in some detail in the last post (not with a bugle), a bench top to go under the hand basin that also extends over the area at the back of the toilet. It turns out that it makes a rather nice top face for the spare toilet roll locker as well, but since you need to be able to actually lift the lid/seat of the toilet, the front part of the bench top has to be hinged so that it can be lifted up out of the way. On the basis that you don't use the toilet and the remainder of the bathroom for showering or doing the laundry at the same time, the hinged part of the bench top, when folded down, makes a large bench space for putting laundry or a wet pack, which should be very convenient.

I had long ago decided that the bench top in the bathroom would be finished in plain timber slats to match the galley. I had some very old Redgum, which is a really dense timber and impervious to water and so ideal for benchtops. It came from a friend who moved into a new house and found it in the shed. The house had been built in 1902, so the Redgum could have been cut many years earlier, making it quite old. This week came the time to finally saw it into lathes and then thickness it down to 12x45mm. Sound easy? It is certainly quicker to type the story than actually do it! My circular saw wouldn't cut the 50mm thick planks in one pass, in fact three separate passes were required, using a length of aluminium to form a fence to keep the saw cut accurate. Then into the thicknesser (after having new blades fitted, but that's another whole story) to bring it down to the right size. Incidentally, have you ever wondered why an electric planer that can only make things thinner is called a thicknesser? Odd!

The 12mm thick Redgum lathes have now been glued to a 12mm plywood backing panel to make the complete benchtop. The lift-up section has been treated in the same way even matching the lathes so that when it's in the down position, all the grains match. It has yet to be sanded, but it looks terrific, my only concern now is that it is such a very deep dark red, it's almost black. It's actually a fabulous colour, but unfortunately it will only get darker when it's oiled. It may lighten off a bit over time or I'll get used to it or a bit of both- we'll see.

I have made a splashback panel to fit behind the hand basin and I will cover that with silver stainless steel look laminate to "lighten" the effect of the very dark bench top wood. The splashback, like the panel behind the toilet, has to be removable of course, to access the hull area underneath where cables and/or pipes may need to be installed. The splashback is held in place with stainless steel screws and cup washers. Finding cup washers in 316 stainless steel turned out to be a challenge too! Thanks to eBay, yet again!

The bathroom is still being painted, so the laminate is not yet installed. Still not looking forward to that job!

Don't want to talk about bathrooms anymore? No, nor me! I'll actually be glad when it's finished. It's like many other areas in the boat, after wrestling with a design to meet all the competing requirements and come up with a workable and good looking compromise, in the end, it all looks so obvious. I have arrived at the conclusion that if any solution ultimately "looks simple and obvious", then it is probably the right one. It is just a pity it takes so long to think of those "obvious" solutions sometimes. Occam's Razor comes to mind...

Another "bullet" was bitten this month; the three evaporative air conditioner vents were fitted into the saloon wall. These had been planned many moons ago and by chance I discovered recently that a suitable manufacturer was fairly local. Just as well as it turned out, because I bought the wrong size and had to return them. I had anticipated that 300mm vents would be the right thing not realising that the overall diameter of the front face was actually nearer 390mm. I cut circles of paper and stuck them on the wall and they looked ridiculous; much too big. So back for the next size down, which were much better.

You will understand that cutting great big holes in my nicely stained and clear finished saloon wall was not something to be undertaken lightly. I needed almost perfect circles in 12mm plywood about 260mm across and quite by chance I saw an advert for a Ryobi laminate trimmer that came with a circle attachment; great! I had been meaning to get a laminate trimmer for some time because my other router is quite large, heavy and generally a bit cumbersome. The little laminate trimmer did a great job and three perfect circles were cut in the wall and now the vents are fitted, they look terrific.

I made yet another important purchase from eBay this month; a set of headlights! I had always planned to put a set of headlights on the top of the saloon roof for night cruising. I had looked around for cars that had low profile headlights that would not look too obtrusive that I could get from a wrecking yard. Since I have been building Rhapsody for so long now, technology has moved on and we now have LED light bars. The ones I have purchased are only about 50mm high and 300mm wide and whilst they only consume about 70watts each, they produce a significantly higher light output than an equivalent car headlight. I have tested them in the backyard and their combined flood and spotlight output is quite extraordinary. This seems to be one of the few times when the seriously extended build time for this boat has actually provided some benefit.

And, you can never have too many gadgets...

7/12/2016 Ah Ha! - No new posts for a few weeks and you thought I'd given up, didn't you? Gone away, packed it in, resigned defeated. No, no - you don't get off that lightly! I haven't written all this stuff to stop now and if I've gone to all the trouble of writing it, you can bloody well read it!!

The last few weeks have seen a number of distractions both medical, social and seasonal, given the time of year. The social part will only get worse before it gets better, of course. Still, occasional microscopic progress within the boat building sphere has still been detectable - just.

The Redgum benchtop for the bathroom is finished after a significant amount of filling, sanding and dry fitting (more of which in a minute). The surface is really nice, albeit a little dark. However, with the white hand basin and splashback dry fitted, it doesn't look too bad. I'll get used to it. I had decided to finish the timber surface with oil rather than clear epoxy; it's longer lived and easier to remove wear marks and small scratches. With that in mind, I had been to Ikea who sell food grade finishing oil for kitchen benchtops. It is predominantly a blend of Tung and Linseed oils plus a bunch of other "stuff", which it turns out, has a limited shelf life. I couldn't help wondering if that was deliberate? Cynic - I know! I then came across a source of pure Chinese Tung Oil, without any additives, which seems to be a much better proposition. We'll see.

The rear wall of the coach house has been finished insofar as being actually built, for some time. However, it needed to be filled, rounded off at the corners and glassed into the coach house sides to complete the structure. The centre panel, between the two windows was deliberately made 25mm thick to support a proposed stairway/ladder to get from the swim deck up to the sun deck as an alternate method of entry to the boat. The window panels were made only 16mm thick, which was all that was necessary to accept the glass panels and was a bit of a compromise since only 12mm had been allowed and space was a bit tight - oops! All of which is fine except that the change in thickness was very obvious on the outside wall and had to be planed off. It was a bit like making a scarf joint vertically with no guides and without enough room to swing the proverbial... It turned out to be a very time consuming, tiring and frustrating job. Still, now it's all finished and glassed with 425gsm bi-axial cloth, it looks good and continues the overall theme for the boat of being "built like a brick outhouse"! (My overseas readers, and yes there is at least one, will have to do their best with that piece of Australian idiom).

I said in the last post, that I didn't want to talk about bathrooms anymore - well, that would be fine except that the bathroom still has plenty more to say - unfortunately. I have also said repeatedly that I had not been looking forward to installing the laminate sheeting to line the walls of the shower and bathroom. Still, the biting of that particular bullet could be put off no longer, so the two rolled sheets of laminate were extracted from their hidey hole under the boat and laid out flat on the bench to help get the curl out ready for installation. They were there for some days just getting in the way, whist I was doing other things. The sheets are quite large, about 3300 x 1400, and were a real nuisance to work around until one day I tripped on an extension lead and put out a hand to steady myself - right through the middle of the two laminate sheets splitting them both. Humph! The Gods were sending me a message, but I soldiered on.

I decided that I could still cut one of the smaller pieces from the material that was still in one piece and proceeded to do that. Cutting laminate sheet is a tricky business. The stainless-steel look laminate was easier and I eventually cut it with tin snips without a problem. The plain blue laminate didn't like the tin snips at all and promptly cracked and split at every opportunity. In the end, the new laminate trimmer / router came to the rescue and although it required setting up a guide "fence" for each cut, which was really time consuming and very tedious, it didn't do a bad job. There were a couple of small cracks, but I decided that I could get away with those.

So, to dry fitting the newly cut-out piece. It fitted reasonable well, but was extraordinarily fragile - it is only 0.9mm thick and very brittle. Fitting to a flat surface like a bench top is quite straight forward, but on a vertical wall is a whole different ball game! I did get it to fit properly eventually and then thought I would have a practice at rolling it into place as you must with one-touch instant contact adhesive. This type of adhesive only gives you one chance to place the sheet in the correct position. One touch - and that's it, it's stuck - scary!!! So, the trick is to line up one side whilst bending the sheet away from its destination in a curve and rolling it gently into place. You notice the word "bending" in that sentence? Laminate sheet doesn't like bending much. So, after a couple of tries that were actually starting to look quite good, the whole sheet snapped across the middle! I was in the same state as the English when Hitler marched into Poland i.e. A bit cross!

Now, I did the only thing a mature, controlled, adult, would be boat builder could do. I took the entire stock of pretty blue laminate sheeting amounting to $700 worth, out into the yard and jumped on it, breaking it into 500mm square pieces and putting it in the rubbish. It didn't fix the problem of course, but gee, it felt good...

There was then a small break in proceedings of course whilst I cast around for an alternate wall cladding solution. There was also a pleasant distraction provided by a project to help my partner select a new car. Test drives of new cars can be a lot of fun "It's amazing how fast it'll go in Reverse" - I told the salesman - childish, I know! Fun though!

The wall cladding alternatives come down to tiles - not suitable for a plywood wall that flexes. MDF sheet with a tile lookalike vinyl coating - no, won't last five minutes on a boat. Some solid plastic and vinyl wall claddings had some potential, but the colour range consisted only of forty-seven shades of beige. Boring! So, then I went and looked at acrylic sheet that used to be called Perspex. It is 3mm thick, can be flexed quite a bit before it breaks, can be sawn, routed, sanded and heat formed if necessary. It is also cheaper than laminate by a very fair margin. (Just as well), and is available in some great colours. No worries - well, not quite!

I selected a very bright blue, which is really nice and bought three sheets. When I picked it up and got it to the shed I realised that I had selected a translucent colour instead of a solid colour, (the prettier of the two, to my eye), but that presented a couple of new challenges. The walls that were to be clad are plywood that has been glassed, filled and then sanded flat. Fine, except that some of the plywood is light coloured Hoop Pine and some is darker Meranti, whilst the filler is pure white all of which is clearly visible through the "translucent" acrylic sheet of course. The solution was to paint the walls before attaching the cladding and I think I may have mentioned somewhere how much I enjoy painting! Never mind all the masking and yet more preparation.

I also mentioned that the acrylic sheeting is 3mm thick compared with the laminate sheets at 0.9mm. Not much you might think, but enough to ensure that both sides of the Redgum benchtop, toilet surrounds and back panel all have to be refitted to cater for the change. And, then all their edges repainted of course - Grrrr!

Another consideration with translucent sheeting is the colour and density of whatever type of glue you decide to use. If you were to put on swirls of Liquid Nails in the recommended fashion for example, which is a solid brown colour, they would all be clearly visible through the blue sheet. Hardly desirable! The other required feature of any selected glue is that now it has to be able to stick to epoxy painted surfaces and not all glues will.

The solution (I think) has turned out to be a Belgian product, Soudal Crystal Clear adhesive / sealant from Mitre 10. I have tested it on some scrap material and it doesn't set too quickly, which is nice for properly positioning the sheeting and it certainly is crystal clear. All the required acrylic panels have been cut and dry-fitted and the first has been glued in place today. So, we'll know how successful it has been tomorrow.

(Stop Press:- all panels glued in - looks terrific)!

Given that one of the panels has to carry the taps and shower head, one of the other areas of experimentation has been drilling holes in the acrylic sheeting without chipping or breaking anything. As it turns out, a relatively blunt hole saw and / or drill bit are the easiest and the job is really quite straightforward.

Now you're as bored with bathrooms as I am, we'll change the subject. Actually, I will just point out that it still astonishes me how little you have to show in the end sometimes for days or even weeks of work. If any job looks simple in the end, it just means that you found the right way to do it, but it doesn't mean that you found it straightaway or that it was your first choice...

Sometimes however, other people do appreciate what has been done and that happened this week when "Rhapsody" had her first construction survey by a Marine Surveyor for insurance purposes. The boat was described as "well designed, solid and very well built", which is nice.

And, a happy Very Significant Birthday to my son and no, you can't have Grief Counselling!!!

23/12/2016 The acrylic wall cladding comes in 1200mm wide sheets and of course, the forward wall of the bathroom is 1250mm. So, a 50mm "bit" was required to finish the job. It is glued in as a simple butt join, which will be visible, except that it will be up behind the right-hand corner of the hand basin, so it won't be particularly obvious - I hope...

I haven't removed the protective paper covering from the acrylic sheets as yet, but it looks pretty good, even if it's still in fetching shades of light brown with "Please Remove Me" written all over it. The clear polymer glue seems to have worked well, but would have been better if I had gone right to the absolute edges of the acrylic sheets with the glue bead. I have since discovered that if you get a fingernail under the edge, it is possible to prise the cladding away from the wall. That may improve after the glue has a longer curing time, but an additional precaution seemed prudent. Enter Super Glue! Super Glue is great stuff, it is clear, sets it zero seconds flat and sticks to anything. So, I have been all around the edges of the acrylic sheets with Super Glue and that seems to have fixed it all very securely. I'm not sure about Super Glue's longevity, but we'll see.

With the wall cladding in place, the benchtop has been re-fitted to account for the additional thickness of the acrylic sheet. It was also time to add the trim pieces across its front edge. I thought I had enough leftover pieces of sawn and dressed Redgum for the edges, but of course, not one of the several pieces languishing under the bench was quite long enough. So, back to the saw bench and thicknesser to make some more and another five-minute job takes half a day. Grr! Looks pretty good now though!

The benchtop has a lift-up section to allow for comfortable access to the toilet or provide maximum flat space if you're doing the washing. This is based on the assumption that you wouldn't be doing the two things at once. I thought a "piano hinge" would be the way to attach the lift-up section and given that it's in a bathroom, it should be Stainless Steel. It's not so easy, as it turns out, to find a SS piano hinge and when I did, it should have come complete with the piano for the price! Fitting a piano hinge becomes a really fiddly job too, if you're trying to set it down as near "flush" with the work surface as possible. With the hinge set flush, the lift-up section won't open more than 90 degrees and of course, I needed a bit more than that. With a bit of experimentation, a suitable position was found and it certainly now works very well.

The benchtop has also had its final sand with 400 grit paper and is now a lovely surface and so smooth it almost shiny. Nearly ready for the Tung Oil finish. Terrific!

The splashback has been re-fitted as well and is now on the bench ready to have silver stainless steel look Laminex applied. I have some left over from doing the galley walls and because I'm too miserable to buy another sheet (yet), there will be a join behind the lift-up section of the bench top. It won't be too obvious I don't think - or I'll get used to it. Mounting the splashback turns out to be interesting because it's a flat sheet and the wall behind it is part of the hull and therefore curved in all directions. Designing suitable mountings turns out to be a very sophisticated mathematical and engineering task, or at least it would be if I knew how to do it that way. The alternative is of course, to glue in some big blocks in likely looking spots and then sand them down until it fits! Not very technical, but it works! The only other complication is that the splashback has to be removable of course, because it has plumbing and wiring for a fresh water tap and power points behind.

Now the wall cladding is finished, the other bits that can be dragged out from the "I made this so long ago I've forgotten how they fit" department, under the boat are the bathroom door jamb mouldings. Again, they had to be modified a bit, but are now on the bench sporting their first coat of clear polyurethane.

Whilst it's hard to believe, we're almost ready to install the toilet and it would work better if it has some plumbing to connect it to the black tank. A 40mm PVC pipe will run under the hand basin and through the main fuel tank locker on a gentle slope to the tank using standard plumbing connections. The outlet from the macerator pump however, is a 25mm hose fitting. Matching the two needed a plastic hull fitting turned down in the lathe and fitted into a suitably modified blank 40mm PVC end cap. Surprisingly, the whole thing works quite well.

Also, a toilet needs a "goose neck" or "S" bend, to ensure that the pipes drain properly and that the necessary depth of clean water remains in the bowl after flushing. To ensure that it doesn't syphon the clean water from the bowl, an anti-syphon valve is required as well. This is simply a valve that allows air into the system if needed and none of the either solid or vapour err, "stuff" out. I had bought a commercial goose-neck with valve, but it turned out to be really inconvenient to fit. I tried to separate just the anti-syphon valve component and make an adaptor, but the thread the manufacturers had used was really weird - why would you do that? (To stop people like me modifying it I suppose)! Anyway, my son's father-in-law Kevin, came to the rescue and made me a whole new anti-syphon valve mounting. Well done Kevin - great job, many thanks.

It is just another occasion when building a boat reminds you of the enormous range of skills you don't have.

And, given that it's Christmas Day on Sunday, I'd like to give anyone who's been reading all this stuff my deepest sympathy together with my sincerest good wishes for a very happy and safe Christmas - and may we all get out bottoms wet in 2017...

31/12/2016 Having just re-read my post from this day last year, I realise that quite a lot has been achieved. Which is comforting I suppose. Last year I was still dry fitting the coach house walls and worrying about the windscreen structure, main entrance and a whole bunch of other things that are now not only resolved, but made and installed.

This week has seen more work on the bathroom. The door jambs are finished and painted (Oh, joy of joys)! Although, it has occurred to me that the aft-most door jamb may not be wide enough to space the door out sufficiently to allow room for the towel rail behind the door - I have to check on that one. I could end up making a new door jamb! (Now it's painted - of course. Grr)!

The red gum bench top has had a trim piece added across the front and the whole thing finally trimmed, sanded and fixed into the boat and it looks terrific. All the exposed edges of timber around the piano hinge have been painted black - (very tidy). The support for the folding part of the bench top when it's in the "down" position was going to be a simple piece of timber attached to the wall, but whilst in the hardware shop yesterday, I realised that a shiny stainless and rubber door stop would do the job and look much better and for $8 - hang the expense...

The splashback is on the bench ready for its stainless-steel laminate. Also, since the whole panel has to be removable, it has screw holes in all the right places, but of course they have to be lined with epoxy to avoid moisture intrusion. All the holes are over drilled to 10mm and then epoxy filled and the holes re-drilled to the right size. The panel behind the toilet bowl similarly has to be removable and after trimming for the new thickness of the wall cladding, has had a bunch of epoxy lined holes cut in the same way.

Earlier in the week, my son came to lend a hand to apply 200gsm fibreglass cloth to the saloon roof. It's a difficult job to do by yourself, so thanks James - well done!!!

Epoxy glue is fantastic stuff, but it does have a down side in that some people can develop a "sensitivity" to the chemicals in the hardener. It produces an excruciatingly itchy rash and after a day up to my elbows in epoxy doing the roof, I seem to be developing that sensitivity, which is a real nuisance. I suppose long sleeve shirts or overalls become mandatory to see if that helps and I'm only glad that I'm at least within sight of the end of the building process. In some folk, an allergy to epoxy hardener can cause breathing problems as well. Not good!

Today is the last day of 2016 and for some of those around me, they are very glad that it's finally over. For me, 2017 looks good - maybe a wet bottom for Rhapsody - who knows? We'll see! For you dear Reader, I wish you both (?) a very happy, safe and fulfilling 2017.

9/1/2017 The down position supports for the lift-up leaf of the bathroom bench-top have been installed, including the stainless steel "door-stop" mounted vertically, which looks good and works very well. Although it did manage to turn itself through 30 degrees whilst the glue was still wet. I have no idea how that happened, but no-one will notice - maybe!

The bench top has had its first couple of coats on Tung Oil and although it's almost black, it looks very smart. For new timber, it is recommended that the Tung oil be diluted 1:1 with thinners to ensure that it soaks in well. Thinners can be mineral turps, although that's not considered "food-safe" for bench tops. Whilst I'm not proposing to prepare food in the bathroom, I am going to use the same products and methods in the galley. The best "food-safe" thinners is apparently "d-limonene", which occurs naturally in the skins of lemons, but is actually produced in quantity as a by-product of making orange juice. It seems to work pretty well, but it the smell is extraordinarily strong and lingers for days.

The splashback has received its cladding of brushed stainless steel laminate and looks very smart. Especially when dry-fitted in place with the dark bench top and sparkling white sink. I have mounted a 240v power point in the splashback for shavers, hair dryers, etc. and will fit a double USB and cigarette lighter style 12v socket there as well, since it will make a convenient charge point. I have to source a fresh water faucet too, at some point.

One rather distressing event has, I suspect, been the result of the very hot weather over Christmas and New Year, where the Adelaide day-time temperature exceeded 43 on a couple of occasions. I can't imagine what the temperature in the shed might have been. Anyway, it looks as though it has softened the glue under the acrylic wall cladding and allowed the biggest pieces to lift here and there. I also suspect that I didn't allow a big enough expansion gap around the edges of the main sheets. It all just fits too well really - not my usual problem I hear you say? I can only agree...

I have been all around the edges of the acrylic sheets squeezing endless little tubes of Super Glue into any gaps I can reach, which seems to work for now. And, I have drilled all the holes for the taps and shower head etc. as well and put Super Glue in those gaps under the acrylic sheet too. We'll see how effective it is in due course, especially when it all cools down again!

A big job that I've been avoiding (yes - another one), is installing the connecting pipe between the toilet and the inlet of the black tank. It is about 2.5m long and passes through the main petrol tank locker. The floor level in the bathroom is at 550mm above the Design Water Line (DWL), whilst the top of the tank inlet fitting is at 640mm. (Remember that the bottom of the boat and the DWL are not the same thing, it's just a design level to measure everything else from. The bottom of the boat actually slopes up from the stern as it moves toward the bow).

However, having the bathroom floor and therefore the bottom of the toilet below the top of the black tank sounds like a recipe for backflow, but not so. Remember that the toilet has to have an "S" bend in the pipe to seal the feed to the black tank and to ensure that sufficient water remains in the toilet bowl for its next use. The effect of the "S" bend is to raise the apparent level of the toilet to about 730mm above DWL allowing for a "fall" in reality, of about 90mm to drain the pipe. I have cut elongated holes for the waste pipe as it passes through the walls so that the height and fall can be adjusted in practice.

I had previously installed a fitting in the black tank to accept a 38mm hose, because that's what I thought I would be using. However, when considering that making right-angle turns in a hose always has the potential to create a "pinch" point that might result in a blockage, I decided to change to 40mm PVC pipe. That in turn, meant that the inlet fitting to the black tank had to be changed and to remove the inlet fitting of course, one has to first remove one of the black tank inspection hatch covers. This is a job much better done whilst the inside of the tank is unused and pristine of course, but even so! Undoing 30 painted over nuts and getting the inspection hatch off turned out to be quite a job!

After careful measurement and another scale drawing, the holes were drilled for the toilet drain pipe, which was duly installed. At least, it would have been had a bilge blower motor not been in the way. The vapour scavenging system for the fuel tank locker involves a bilge blower fan assembly and an air trunk to an outside hull vent, all installed many, many moons ago, but of course, now it was in the way. What to do? Move the bilge blower down 200mm and extend the trunking - easy. Well yes, not so very difficult I suppose, but time consuming and more than a little frustrating to be re-making something so long ago considered "finished".

Still, that's boat building. Grrr...

14/1/2017 The bilge scavenging blower in the fuel tank locker is now moved down 200mm and the trunk re-made to match. I have simply made a plywood cover for the old mounting "hole" so that it could be used for access in the future, for cleaning the trunking perhaps. Anyway, there was no way to get the 5mm stainless steel studs out, so I might as well use them for something and at least make it look as though the modifications were intentional.

Extending the trunking downward involved cutting a 90mm hole upward into the existing bottom panel first. Drilling such a big hole "upward" with the use of a torch and a mirror, because you can't see what you're doing, was tedious to say the least. The confined access also made it necessary to use a right-angle drive attachment on the drill as well and I quickly discovered that it was not really up to such a job. It split its case in half and all the gears and bearings fell out, which was disconcerting to say the least. I realised I could repair it, which I did, but there was another morning gone - just drilling one hole. And, people wonder why it all takes so long...

With the blower moved, the toilet waste pipe could be re-fitted and tested for downward slope or "fall". The pipe only drops 90mm along a length of nearly 2.5m, which is very much on the low side of ideal. It is important that it doesn't have any flat spots along its length either, so how to test it? I didn't want to put water down it - not yet anyway, but then I thought of using a marble. The sight of a not-so-young, would-be boat builder putting a marble in one end of a long pipe and then rushing down the other end to catch it when it came out with evident glee, is not perhaps a sight you would have expected to see in a supposedly serious undertaking. Fun though! And happily, it worked too.

Having established the final position of the toilet waste pipe, it was time to check the set-up for the anti-syphon valve made some time back and discussed in some detail previously. Yep, thought so, it's not going to fit. The valve had been built into a 90 degree PVC elbow fitting with some difficulty and sealed with enormous gobs of very tough silicon-like sealant which sets to an almost solid state. Destroying all that hard work just to release the anti-syphon valve unit to be reused in another way was depressing to say the least. For the next iteration, the valve has been fibre glassed into a straight fitting on the basis that the "S" bend function will then be provided by the shape of the flexible hose connecting the toilet. You'll have to look at the pictures; it's too hard to describe. The upside of all this re-design (for want of a better term), is that the height of the water remaining in the bowl after each flush will now be adjustable by re-positioning the pipe up or down slightly, which is probably a good thing.

On the subject of pipes and plumbing, whilst the holes had been drilled in the shower wall for the plumbing fittings, there were none actually installed. Most readily available right-angle brass fittings for shower heads and the like, are designed for houses oddly enough, which doesn't really help much when you're building a boat. There are actually two such brass fitting required since I'm putting a "bath spout" low on the shower wall, beneath the shower-head proper. Three reasons for this arrangement. Firstly, the shower tap has a two-way action designed for switching between shower and/or bath, and I had to use it for something. Secondly, a bath spout at mid-calf level is useful to put your foot on whilst washing your feet and thirdly, it occurred to me that it's the only place on the boat that you can fill a bucket with water for cleaning etc. So, two brackets had to be made from sheet brass to properly mount the available right-angle fittings to plywood instead of behind tiles on Gyprock.

Whilst dry-fitting the hand basin and splashback panel, I realised that the two components weren't in-line with each other when I had thought that they would be. I had intended to seal the basin to the splashback with Sikaflex, and this discovery was a nuisance. Of course, after a little thought I realised that the hull is still curving out towards its full beam width at that point and is not parallel with the fore and aft line of the boat; naturally! So, some ugly little packing pieces were required to bring the splashback panel into alignment with the basin. Another set of equally ugly packing pieces were also required as it turned out, to get the splashback upright as well. But, as the aphorism writ large on the shed wall says "Nothing on a boat is flat, square or level - it's OK"! Very time consuming, all the same.

I must be getting old! I noted in the previous post above, that because the hand basin tap only provides hot and cold river water, I would have to source an extra tap to deliver drinking water to the basin. Whilst looking around the shed for something else last week, naturally, I found the tap I had already bought! (I didn't find the other thing I was looking for and can't even remember what it was for that matter - bloody "old-timers'" disease)!

Still, it's an ill-wind... Finding the drinking water tap to use for the bathroom reminded me that I needed one for the galley as well. I remember pondering this problem before because the galley has a twin sink unit and finding a swivelling tap set-up that will allow hot and cold river water in addition to drinking water to be delivered to either sink without interfering with each other was just too hard. However, finding the drinking water tap also provided an answer to the galley sink problem as it turned out. Whilst reading the installation instructions (and, I wouldn't admit that to many people), I discovered that the same manufacturer also makes a three-way tap especially designed to solve this particular problem. Great!

I don't like finishing any of these posts with a beef, but here's one. When I went to order the three-way tap as described above, I was horrified to find that it cost $380. However, that was from a local supplier and as is only prudent these days, it pays to check with eBay and AliExpress. After a little hunting around, I was able to find exactly the same product, same specification, same brand-name, even the same packaging, for $78 including freight from - guess where? Which is probably where the Australian supplier gets his stock as well, although if he buys in bulk, then he probably pays less than me. That's a mark-up of somewhere near 400 percent and they say that the days of the Bushrangers are past - they were honest men by comparison to some Australian retailers.

21/1/2017 It has been very hot this week. One day, it was 43.1 in Adelaide and certainly no time to be in a steel shed working on a boat. However, some minor jobs are out of the way.

Many years ago, 240volt power points used to have a pilot light to indicate when they were on. I was installing a standard double power point in the bathroom splashback and realised that a pilot light would be handy for a boat, but a quick tour of the big green hardware shop showed that they are no longer available. Actually, I realised that my pilot light would need to have a slightly different function anyway, because I want to know if the inverter is on and whether 240volts is even available at the power point, never mind whether the point is actually turned on. So, this involved buying a tiny 240volt indicator light from Jaycar and drilling a hole in the facia of the power point to fit it. All done and it looks good.

The electric towel rail is installed. It is actually upside down judging by the manufacturer's instructions, but I have tried it and it doesn't seem to mind. Early towel rails were oil filled and relied on the heating element to be at the bottom because heat rises yada, yada - I don't know how this one works and don't much care. I decided that I would use a separate inverter for the towel rail so that it could be "on" independently of the boat's main 240v system. It only draws 85w, so a separate little inverter hidden through the wall in the wardrobe with its own 12v switch, is a more efficient way of doing it.

The cabinet under the hand basin has a mid-level shelf, but it had not been installed yet because there were a number of holes still required for pipes and it's easier to drill them on the bench. Now the toilet waste pipe is in place, the 38mm hand basin waste pipe and its "S" trap, could be sited and the holes drilled accordingly. The waste pipe has to connect to the shower waste, so some 38mm elbows and "T" joints have been bought to do that.

Passing through the bottom of that cabinet is also the pipe for the toilet flush water, which is river water, but not at pressure. The toilet is actually very close to the water line, so the flush water pump (part of the macerator), only has to lift about 100mm, but I decided to put a one-way valve in the pipe anyway, just to ensure that the pump primes quickly when required.

I had originally planned for the flush water pipe to get to the back of the toilet via the back of the wardrobe. To see exactly what space was available, I needed to finish the aft engine space bilge scavenger trunking first, because it goes under the bathroom floor and through the back of the wardrobe to exhaust outside the hull. This trunk is all 75mm PVC pipe and very satisfying to work with. Choose all your angle fittings, cut the bits of pipe to length and whack it all together. The glue sets in about 15 seconds - there, job done. Well, if it fits it is...

The shelf in the bathroom, now replete with all its holes (each lined with epoxy of course) could be installed. Once it was finished, I realised that I hadn't drilled any holes for the hot/cold/drinking water supply pipes. Ah well, you can't think of everything; it's no big deal, it's just more difficult.

The shower tap is a single brass casting that does water temperature control and switches it between shower and bath spout, but it is obviously designed for a wall that is only the thickness of a single tile. My shower wall is 12mm ply, with epoxy and glass both sides and then covered with 3mm acrylic on the front. Say, about 18mm all together. This makes the tap assembly really hard to mount and although it can be done, I quickly realised that there was insufficient clearance for the pipe fittings behind. So, I had to reduce the thickness of the wall at that point by about 7mm. On the bench, this sort of little job is absolutely no problem, but inside the bathroom's triangular trunk, with no clear access through the inspection hatch for a router, it is not so easy. A combination of router bit hand held in an electric drill and a "power file" sander did the job - eventually...

I've said many times that nothing on a boat is flat, square or level, but you could be forgiven for assuming that some things are - flat that is. My very expensive hand basin wasn't sitting on its bench top properly, it wobbled. Having spent a long time trying to find why, it finally dawned on me that the bottom of the basin isn't flat. That really is poor manufacturing and for $400 I had expected better. The other item that I realised this week wasn't flat, well straight at least, was the bathroom door jamb moulding that I had made so long ago. Having recently resurrected both door jambs for painting, I realised that one of them now has a serious twist along its length. I have left it for the weekend with one end clamped to the bench and the other in mid-air with a sash cramp on at 90 degrees trying to twist it back somewhere near straight (or break it more likely). I don't really hold out much hope, but we'll see next week.

27/1/2017 Off being captain on an 1897 paddle steamer again this week for Australia Day - good fun. Both weather and current were really kind and we had lots of happy passengers on board for short cruises on the river. Have a look at if you're interested.

The door jamb with the twist in it mentioned above, sat on the bench for four days clamped at one end and with a significant twisting moment applied to the other and it actually straightened it out quite nicely - surprise, surprise! I had expected an extreme result, either no discernible change or break the thing in half, but neither occurred in this case - it worked well! I better get it finished and glued into place before it twists again! (There's a good name for a song - shows one's age doesn't it)?

It turns out that I had been a bit enthusiastic whilst applying the clear finish to the door jambs last week and realised that I had significant "runs" all over the place, which looked awful. In too much hurry to get the horrible job of painting finished of course! Now the only solution is to sand it all off and start again - silly me. I realised the problem last week, but had to wait for this week whilst the paint runs dried enough to be sanded off. You cannot sand a paint finish that hasn't really set, because the "goo" simply clogs the sandpaper.

Whilst sanding the offending runs this morning, the orbital sander suddenly made a rather anguished mechanical noise and started to smell a bit odd. Grr! It was immediately obvious that the sanding plate was wobbling on its mounting and was very loose. Oh, Oh thought Mr Smarty-Pants - bottom bearing expired. This is a Bosch sander and not a cheap unit. I have long ago learnt my lesson with cheap tools, which unless it's something you expect to use very rarely, like a biscuit joiner (used about eight times so far), then don't buy them. After finding a Torx screwdriver and managing to get the bottom plate off, it wasn't the bearing at all, it was just its retaining screw come loose - easy. Faith restored, it was back to sanding... How lovely!

One of the frustrating things about putting off seemingly difficult jobs is of course that the "fix-it" fairy doesn't actually visit and do it for you, but in the end, it often doesn't actually take very long to do. Such a job has been lurking in the bathroom for months and I could put it off no longer. Because the hand-basin is quite large, I need to use the space under the side deck to comfortably accommodate it. So, where the vertical wall that contains the window extends down toward the hand basin it then has to turn 90 degrees out to the edge of the hull. That has all been built for quite some time, but the two raw edges of the plywood panels needed to be hidden with trim strip. This was to be cut from a piece of Meranti to form an "L" shaped moulding. I had envisaged some awkward and frustrating battles with the router to make the trim piece and had been putting it off for that reason. Today it occurred to me that with a careful setup, I could use the table saw. Easy - job done in twenty minutes! So, what was all the fuss about? Hanged if I know! Now of course, I have more painting to do. Hmm.

Actually, the reason for attacking the trim piece today was to try and complete all of the currently identified clear finish painting. The roof beams in the bathroom have suffered a little damage and paint splashes whilst making and fitting the rest of the room, and after a little sanding the roof beams were repainted as necessary together with the door jambs and the new wall trim. First coat of three really, but it feels good to actually say something is sort of finished...

I have a solar powered ceiling vent fan that I bought from a market and was going to put in the bathroom, but all of the space above the ceiling is used for the air conditioner and BBQ table etc. So, there's nowhere obvious at present to locate the vent - we may just have to be old fashioned and open a window for the time being, until some better idea occurs.

I am rapidly getting to the point where I need to start installing some of the wiring and to that end, need to plan "what goes where" for switchgear and distribution systems and such like. After some thought, I'm going to split the system into two parts and locate them behind removable panels in the bedroom. The "domestic" electrics will be on the Port side and the "engine" electrics on the Starboard. There should be plenty of room in those locations, access is easy and it's relatively near the batteries. I'm going to site the 240v inverter under the bed, which whilst not ideal from a ventilation perspective, does allow the battery cables, which may need to carry up to 250 amps, to be kept very short. Ultimately, ventilation fans could be fitted if they become necessary.

18/2/2017 Rhapsody has provision for side decks all around the hull to allow people to walk safely anywhere outside the coach house. The width varies from 150mm to 250mm because whilst the hull is nicely curved in all directions, the coach house sides are straight. This allows for the windows to have sliding panes. (You can't put a sliding window in a curved plane - well, not easily).

The side decks will have replaceable rubbing strakes attached to the outside face, which will make the side decks 50mm or so, wider. Rubbing strakes are simply sacrificial timbers that stick out past the hull so that if you hit a dock whilst mooring, it's the rubbing strakes that do the "rubbing" and not the hull; hopefully!

The area under the side deck in the bathroom is used to gain extra space to more comfortably accommodate the hand basin. As a result, the side deck needs to be finished so that it's undersides, which hold the top edge of the splashback, can be painted allowing the splashback to be installed. The side deck is curved to allow for the shape if the hull and has one straight edge and one curved. It also forms a structural component providing extra strength for the sides of the hull and so has to be both glued and glassed into place. This turns out to be a really fiddly job considering you can't see what you are doing and you have to do it in a mirror. Anyway, all done.

The trim strip described in the previous post fits in the same area, to finish off the edge of the coach house, and was cut from a solid piece of Meranti. It has been clear finished over the last week or so and it's now installed and looks terrific.

Much as I hate painting, it was time to finish and indeed re-finish here and there, all the seen and unseen areas in the bathroom. After much filling and sanding, all the remaining surfaces were painted with polyurethane "Texture Coat", which is a thick, satin finish product that covers well, and is really hard and durable once dry.

One of the less obvious ramifications of the change to thicker wall cladding is that now the floor panel no longer fits properly. It is only a temporary chipboard floor at the moment of course, but even so, it had to be trimmed by 4mm all round. It is really nice to be able to walk in and out of the bathroom without having to balance on the floor frames.

The floor, toilet and its backing panel were all installed today to get a feel for the finished room and it does look pretty good. All the plumbing has been dry fitted as well, but I'm just waiting on some "red" coloured polybutylene pipe for the hot water system. They make it in different colours, so why not? I'm actually wondering about green pipe for the drinking water, but that needs to be 6mm and may be a problem.

The whole room is now looking oddly finished, which is seriously spooky...

I mentioned straightening the door jambs in the previous post and now they are clear finished, it seemed a good time to glue them in place so that they can't warp anymore! As part of holding them in place whilst the glue was going off, I cut six lengths of scrap and jammed (just the thing for a door jamb) them in place. Then I realised of course that the bathroom door opening was now effectively blocked like a jail cell and I had to get in to clean up the wet glue. After some serious gymnastics getting in through the window opening, all was well, and you can't think of everything...

Whilst waiting for all the paint in the bathroom to dry, I actually had the opportunity to move on to something else in the bedroom. Gee, it's nice to work in a different area for a change. The pesky bathroom has simply been such a big job, it has occupied all the available hours, seemingly for weeks. The wardrobe has had its upright door jambs in for some time, but still needed its top and bottom rails. This work was brought to a standstill some months back whilst waiting for the bi-fold door hinges to be specially ordered. These have now arrived.

The bottom of the door frame is a simple piece of timber with a 12x12mm slot cut in the underside to allow it to sit securely on the edge of a vertical plywood bulkhead panel. The top frame however, is complicated by the fact that whilst it is straight, the ceiling is curved. So, a matching spacer is required to fit into the roof and to make the top frame parallel with the bottom one. The top of the frame also has a 10x10mm aluminium track let into it to take the bi-fold door guide pins that hold the doors in line whilst opening and closing.

The upper and lower frames are both made and clear finished. As soon as the paint is dry, they can be installed. The colonial style bi-fold louvre doors are the correct width, but are too high. So, they have to be cut down, which is no trivial job if they are to look professional. Happily, Moose has offered to do all the clever cutting and dowelling for me, so they should look terrific. Thanks Moose!!!

Waiting for paint to dry presents a good opportunity for a cup of tea and to wander around the boat enjoying what has been created. The down-side is that it also presents an opportunity to remind yourself of problems that are yet to be solved. The range hood in the galley is one such "little" problem.

When I bought the stove, I also bought the matching range hood that includes fans and a light etc. I have replaced the light globe with an LED version, but otherwise have done nothing with it. The problem is aesthetic to some degree, but is also about headroom. The range hood is 60mm thick and because of its width, needs to be fitted across two ceiling beams, which are also 55mm thick spacing the unit well away from the ceiling. In fact, the available headroom over the stove is reduced by 115mm and if you want to look into a saucepan of your favourite pasta sauce, there just isn't room, without sticking your face almost into the pot. The look of the range hood mounted so low also makes the galley feel very claustrophobic. Hardly desirable!!

The unit is brushed stainless steel and was quite expensive and I do actually want an operational range hood for proper ventilation as well. So, what to do? The only real option I realised yesterday is to turn the unit sideways and fit it directly to the ceiling between two of the roof beams. It looks a little unconventional, but should work quite well. The down-side is that whilst the shiny front panel is a convenient size to do that, the body of the unit is too big. The inescapable conclusion is that whilst I can use the front panel, the body of the unit gets abandoned and replaced by a timber framed box to exactly fit in the roof. Pity, but the result should look good and be quite effective as well.

In fact, as the expression says "It's an ill wind"... The range hood has two filter pad/air intakes, which strongly suggest that it has twin extractor fans inside - no, not really. The unit only has a single blower, which is actually a bit of a "con". Whilst having to build a new timber box to mount the original shiny front panel is a nuisance, it does give me the opportunity to fit twin blowers inside - yeah!

Another problem that has been "lurking" in the wings, awaiting a solution, is that of raw water intake and distribution. Many, many moons ago I fitted a raw water inlet into the hull. It is immediately in front of the foot of the bed and is accessed through a lift up floor panel, which also exposes the propeller shaft seal for maintenance. I had been a bit concerned because there are a number of items of equipment to be fitted into that area such as shut off valves, filters and a bilge pump and space is tight.

The more difficult issue is that the raw water then has to be piped to a distribution manifold of some sort where it can be distributed to the engine, hot water unit, toilet flush pump and the general domestic supply. The problem being that I have since built the fresh water tank into the bottom of the hull, which makes piping the raw water forward problematic because the plumbing would have to be raised up to almost the external water line to get over the top of the fresh water tank. This means that the flow of raw water would be very slow and could not actually be guaranteed under all circumstances.

Having wrestled with this problem for some years, the solution is blindingly obvious and simple. Move the raw water intake! Just because I built it so long ago and it represents a hole in the hull, the position is not sacrosanct. I can simply fill up the old hole with epoxy and make a new one in a more convenient spot - easy! The "more convenient" spot in this instance is just outside the bathroom door, under the general access hatch for the gearbox and shower waste filter, where there is plenty of room and access is easy.

The other part of that system still to be determined was the distribution of the incoming water to its various destinations without one pump pulling water away from and starving another. The answer is a "Sea Chest". Apparently, it's common on larger vessels to have a single water inlet from outside that is used to fill a sealed tank inside the hull. All the water systems then draw their water from there rather than from a myriad of separate hull fittings each with their own filters.

I have a length of 150mm PVC pipe left over from something else, and with the addition of a couple of fittings, it will make an admirable sea chest. It will fit under the steps beside the gearbox, where there is space and access is easy. Another problem solved....

How many more to go I wonder????

9/3/2017 I think "Sea chest" is not a good name for device on a vessel that will only ever wet its bottom in river water. So, it's now a "Raw Water Reservoir" - much better.

I purchased a "T" fitting and some end caps to go with my left-over piece of 150mm pipe and my initial idea that it could be hidden under the aft steps proved to be correct. In fact, it's such a good fit, it might have been designed to go there! The engine being on a slight angle leaves just enough space for the reservoir, without being in the way of anything else. Ah, well, I did have to trim a bit of the reinforcing out from under the removable section of the steps, but no one will know.

The reservoir would have sat directly in the bottom of the hull except that the Tunnel shape starts about there, and so the bottom is not flat. As a result, a spacer block was required that turned out to be 50mm thick, just to give the reservoir a flat and level base to sit on. A recess was cast into the top of the spacer block to locate the reservoir and a stainless-steel clamp added toward the top to steady it in position.

The reservoir is essentially a "T" pipe fitting on its side, with a length of plain pipe fitted above, a blank cap fitted below and a screw cap in the side for the various connections. The length of plain pipe has a screw cap on top with an air vent. Up to the water line, the reservoir will hold about eight litres, with 350mm or more spare above to allow for any "surging".

The reservoir has seven connections. One is raw water inlet of course, the uppermost one is a float switch to warn if the raw water level in the reservoir falls too low, whilst the lowest is the engine cooling water feed being the last to "fail" if the intake becomes blocked. The remaining connections are for the domestic water supply including the hot water service, the toilet flush water and the air conditioning unit. The return drain from the air conditioner will also return here so that it doesn't make "dribbling" noises all night, which can create many night visits to the loo - not good...

Whilst visiting my friendly marine chandlery store, I decided to buy a sheet of sound insulation for the engine space. (I've been calling it the Engine Room, but that's a bit of a grandiose term for an area under the floor that's not much bigger that the engine itself). The soundproofing consists of two layers of foam separated by a sheet of rubber-like material that ends up 25mmm thick. Although, it is surprisingly heavy! The foam is faced with thin aluminium foil on one side and a layer of double sided adhesive on the other. I installed it today only because I had nowhere else to put it that would keep it flat and free from damage and more particularly, dust. I'm not sure how much difference it will make to the engine noise, but you have to try these things - it may be a complete waste of $150. Who knows?

One of the bigger jobs that is becoming harder and harder to avoid is the fitting of the side-decks. I had to put one piece in place to be able to finish the bathroom, but the remainder will become an issue very soon. At the very aft-most corners of the hull is the intersection of the sheer rails, the transom and the lazarette bulkhead. It is the very spot to mount some serious rear mooring cleats. I had made some blocks 50mm thick to fill in the gap where these timbers intersect and glued them in place to become the mountings for the rear cleats. Once the deck is added, the cleats will end up mounted on more than 60mm of solid deck - that should be strong enough! It was nice to be in the chandlery shop and be able to select some very highly polished, solid stainless mooring cleats that will work well and look terrific.

28/3/2017 The big news this week is that the stern tube is installed. There has been a fair bit of dry fitting happening, because there's really only one chance to get this process right.

The hole in the stern post was drilled out some time back to the required 60mm and a streamlined cowling shape turned up in timber in the lathe to take the mounting flange of the stern tube. The four holes for the mounting bolts were drilled oversize and over-depth and filled with epoxy. Once the glue had set, they were re-drilled so that the bolts could just be inserted, allowing them to cut a shallow thread for themselves on the way. The bolts are 316 stainless M10 x 65mm long with matching washers.

The 60mm hole in the stern post is about 200mm deep and to provide the best seal for all the exposed end-grain timber inside, epoxy wood preservative was sprayed in from both sides. The spray equipment needed was expensive and quite sophisticated - actually a second-hand plastic spray bottle that had once contained bathroom cleaner. Nothing but the best for Rhapsody? Actually, it worked very well, although now the preservative is dry, the bottle's future is problematic...

The stern tube alignment was then re-checked using a light beam from the special torch and hollow section of nylon dummy shaft made for the job as explained in excruciating detail elsewhere. I'm sure that the hull is quite rigid and hasn't moved, but it was worth checking. The propeller shaft was then installed and temporarily attached to the back of the gearbox, just to keep everything in line.

The stern tube is to be set in epoxy through the hole in the stern post and exactly how to get the glue that deeply into the hole had been the subject of some thought. In the end, an empty silicon sealer cartridge was cleaned out and filled with wet thickened epoxy. The cartridge was then loaded into a standard cartridge gun and epoxy squirted into the hole (and everywhere else it seemed), from every possible angle, both from outside the hull and inside. The stern tube was then slid forward on the propeller shaft into its final place. The amount of glue squeezed out all around was very satisfying and seemed to confirm that every nook inside the stern post had been filled with glue, which should provide a good seal.

The four mounting bolts were then smothered in more epoxy, inserted in their holes and tightened as much as possible to hold everything in place. The epoxy squeezing out around the outside of the stern tube flange was then smoothed back into the relatively small gap outside to complete the seal, (hopefully).

Inside the hull, most of the squeezed-out epoxy was cleaned up and the remainder shaped into a neat fillet and then wrapped in 625 gsm fibre glass tape to complete the seal. There's a fair bit more sealing to be done in that area inside the hull because ultimately, it will be the aft trim or ballast tank and may well be full of water much of the time.

It was convenient that it was a relatively cool day so that the pot life of the epoxy was about 25 minutes - still, it's not a long time for all the things that had to be done and done with some accuracy as well! Time will tell if the shaft is really set true into the hull - too late now anyway!

Once all that epoxy has had a chance to cure properly, there are two more frames to be finished that will lock everything into place. More on that later.