Are we sitting comfortably ?

Pathfinder build project, November and December.

Blog time ; “now is the winter of our discontent” and so on…’s early December and increasingly hard to get anything done on the build because it’s been dank and cold most of the time. As i write we are in the tail end of a strong wind storm here and iv’e had to keep going out and refit and re secure the tarps covering the boat as the wind direction is such that it’s blowing about 40 mph straight into the open end of the shelter . My work output has slowed right down as well because iv’e mostly been ripping through the garden jobs where it doesn’t matter what the weather is doing : today for example it was cold and damp so i planted about 500 bulbs, moved a load of soil and scrubbed some of the decking which gets green and nasty this time of year.

To get anything done on the build i have to put the heater on inside the tent and let everything warm up for a while , especially when iv’e tried to glue, coat or paint anything ; if anything it’s worse in my workshop which has reverted to it’s winter mode of cold and damp. Just for interest’s sake it’s just gone 4pm here and the light has gone – in a while i’ll go back out and turn the heater off for the night as the primer paint that i applied earlier should be at least touch dry.

Today i applied the second coat of primer to the two forward compartments starboard side that i will be using for stowage – the smaller ones ahead of the primed one i won’t normally need to access and won’t be used to stow anything in. Of the 2 compartments primed so far the aft one is where i’m going to store my reserve (and ballast) drinking water and the one forward of that will be for light personal gear only. So far iv’e applied two coats of primer to the insides of those compartments and once that has dried i’m going to mark out and mask off the underside of the bunk flat boards and then prime them as well. If you like that kind of thing then the compartments and cockpit lockers will be all finished in a simple one-pack Alkyd paint i plain light grey.

My intention is to finish the insides of the forward compartments by the middle of the month, fit (glue and screw) the tops down and glass/epoxy tape all of the long joins in the plywood. In terms of work forward that’s about it done before i think about turning the hull over – my main constructional work now is aft in the cockpit and in fitting out the large storage compartments in the middle. I might take a look at building a mock up of my proposed cuddy but what i have to work towards as a priority is getting the hull turned over, faired, glassed and sealed. I had to quickly go out and buy a space heater because my new fan heater packed up after just a few weeks on the job.

Forward compartments primed.


My construction work for the last week was all in the cockpit – making and fitting the many bearers and doublers that will support the boards that form the cockpit seats/locker tops ; there are 5 separate compartments and 3 boards so that’s some 20 individual pieces to make and fit. I haven’t been doing that all in one go, rather what iv’e done is a couple of bearers or frame edge doublers, fit and glue those and then go a do another coat of primer in a compartment or mark up, mask and prime another bunk board.

This week i had a little bit of retail therapy when the anchor that iv’e been watching out for turned up on a secondhand sellers Ebay site – it’s an Admiralty pattern anchor of 10.6 Kg (23 pounds), which might seem excessive for a 17 foot boat except that’s almost all of the weight involved because i’ll be experimenting in using it with an all rope (weighted) rode…i would show that all set up except that the 100 feet of low stretch Kernmantel is currently acting as the build tent ridgeline. Given that iv’e often written about modern anchors and that my other anchor will be ‘Rocky’ (Rocna) which i kept back from the Liberty sale i’m still a great fan of the Admiralty pattern anchor in it’s ‘heavy’ form which is a lot stronger than and a lot more effective than the similar looking fisherman style anchor.

My experience with the Admiralty pattern anchor is that they bite and set quickly even on the 2 opposite extreme bottoms – particularly very soft silt/mud where plough type and plate type anchors just pull straight through. I also find that the Admiralty pattern anchor will still hold at ridiculously low warp/depth ratio , even as little as 1 : 2. I realize that both the all rope rode is contentious as is using an Admiralty pattern anchor in the first place – the primary objection to that type of anchor being primarily that the anchor has to be a lot heavier than a modern anchor and that tends to rule them out for medium sized and fine bowed modern cruising yachts.

Just for a first look this week i positioned 2 of my regular water containers where they’re going to go and mounted the new anchor on some home made chocks as well. While it might look completely in the way i found that my feet always go right over the anchor when i’m sitting and that i seem to stand naturally in the cockpit with a food either side – that should allow me to stand comfortably to scull the boat later on. As with the other features that i’m doing the thinking and planning for i’ll write a much longer post about the total anchoring system which is only partially about the anchors and a lot more about stowage, deployment, handling and recovery.

The next essential piece of kit that i’m watching out for is the first of a pair of bilge pumps – one will definitely be manual and because i’m going to have a large battery i’m thinking of having an electric one as well. Interestingly , today i was in town and i came across an old style bilge pump on a stall in the market and i was tempted except that the plunger seal seemed to too slack to be effective so i passed it by.

In next week’s work i intend to finish painting the insides of the forward compartments – the slight delay on the job is that i can only do half the compartments in any one session plus i also have to mask off and then paint the undersides of the sole bearers and the sole boards themselves. It’s funny but i was just about to say that i would then glue and screw the bearers and boards in position, run the fillets around the outside and then glass tape the joins between the boards – except that having just mentioned the bilge pump which reminded me that iv’e got to put in 2 runs of wiring first so….

Iv’e made provision for a large AGM sealed battery that will go in the large compartment next to the centerboard and just ahead of the cockpit – i won’t put the battery in position until iv’e rolled the boat over and rolled it back upright again as there’s no point in having that amount of extra weight (45 Kg) in the boat. What i have to do at this stage is run 2 electrical cables through the forward compartments ; one will be the feed that links the battery to the isolator switch and switch panel and the second one will be for the charging circuit which will join the PV panel/s to the battery via a MPPT charge controller. It’s one of those jobs where nearly everything is contingent upon something else because i haven’t worked out where anything electrical is going to be fitted except for the battery and perhaps the 12 volt switch panel which i think is going to go under the foredeck – the one place that stands a chance of being permanently dry unless i do something spectacularly stupid.

At this stage i think i know where i want to run the 2 cables and that it would be a good idea to run and secure those cables before i close the compartments – friends have said to run the cables through a conduit which is a sound idea except that the best cable runs would seem to be alongside the top bearers on the centerline girder except that the cable will also have to go through at least 3 frames on the way. Mostly it just means a bit of admin time ordering some cable, having a search through my electrical fittings box and spending some time just playing around with the best cable runs. Once the cable runs are in i’ll finish fitting the bunk flat bearers and the bunk/sole boards – if then we get some better weather i might even prime most of the boat back to frame No 3.

First cockpit seat in, anchor stowage first look.

Planning time.

As i slow down on the practical work for this year i’m spending a bit more time planning some of the systems and features that i want to work on early in the new year ; the electrical system for one because iv’e got to install some cable runs before i seal the forward compartments but also the rig and the shelter which at this stage i’m thinking will be an open backed cuddy. I’m also trying to keep my eye on the bigger picture which still has to be to get the hull ready to turn over which i want to do some time in February and so that i can finish the outside/underside of the hull – iv’e yet to fill and fair the screw holes, fair all of the clinker plank edges , make and fit the skeg and outer stem and then glass coat the entire hull. I intend to go back into full time work on the hull in March with hopefully some dry spring weather….. that doesn’t always happen here.

Having rushed some recent posts and in doing so made some factual errors i’m going to take a writing/blogging break over the Christmas and New Year period partially to give myself a breather and partially to try and write some better posts. Today then instead of rushing a few ideas about the shelter mock up, the rig, electrical system, stowage, storage……..and so on, i’m going to write all of those as separate posts : it also means that i’ll have actual work, even just mock up versions to show.

What that means then is that this post is the last project post for 2021 so i’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone who has followed along and commented on the project so far.

Best wishes to you all.

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