Roll me over and start again.

Pathfinder build project post March 2022

Blog time : it’s March 2022 and iv’e just spent two hard days work lifting and turning over the hull of my John Welsford designed Pathfinder cruising dinghy during a dry, mild and breezy break in the weather. Earlier this month we had a series of three major Atlantic depressions sweep over the country with gusts reported at over 80 mph near here and apparently some of over 100 mph elsewhere in the country. My build shelter stood up to the battering because luckily we have high ground to windward but my greenhouse literally came apart at the seams and i had to carefully take out all of the surviving glass panels…..not exactly fun in that much wind. Anyway, the hull now upside down, back on it’s build frame and ready for this year’s work – today’s work will be right here at the computer because it will be raining and blowing hard again soon so today i’ll just start working up the job list and maybe get around to sorting out all of the lifting gear i used.


Where i finished off last year – hull all planked and the bunk flat and locker spaces going in.

For this post i just thought that instead of writing a lot that i would instead just quickly describe each stage with some pictures – here goes …..

Stage 1.

First i removed all of the loose gear from the hull – mainly stuff like the locker/seat tops which i’d only dry fitted, the full size model of the cuddy top and any loose material. Second job was to lash the centerboard lifting eye to the compression post so that the board didn’t crash around during the turnover. The main work at this stage was to add a pair of bracing timbers across the boat at frame no’s two and five – basically a pair of 2 x 4 timbers bolted to those frames and which the hull will sit on when it’s upside down.

Hull cross brace at frame 5

Stage 2, suspend the hull.

My plan was always to suspend the hull with a pair of lifting straps inside the build shelter so to do that i dead-ended each strap from a roof beam close to the low side of the shelter – i also added a vertical brace to the beam at the lift point. Then, fed the lifting straps under the hull, over the build frame and lashed each strap up the high side of the shelter which is the stronger side of my construction. With the slings under the boat i then jacked the whole boat and frame up by a few inches at a time each end and tightened the strap lashings. I admit to a bit of a ‘doh’ moment when i released the jack’s valve aft and the frame stayed up with the hull…..i thought i’d taken out all of the screws that held the bottom panel to the frame but missed or forgot about the aft pair.

Slid the build frame out from under the hull.

Hull suspended from roof beams.

Stage 3, lift and lower.

The longest part of day 1 was in getting the hull as high as possible under the roof and then adding diagonal lashings from the port (left side) across to the high side of the shelter – by heaving progressively on them and slowly easing the sling end down i slowly tipped the hull completely onto it’s starboard side. At the end of day one i left the hull suspended in the slings but with the hull side sitting lightly on a pair of sandbags at the braced points.

Hull up on edge.

Stage 4, tip, lift again and lower away.

To take the hull over it’s balance point i slowly moved and lashed a pair of preventer lines at the top (port) side and then attached a tackle to the bottom end (starboard) of each cross brace – heaving on those combined with gently lifting the hull took the hull over it’s balance point. The final stage was to gradually heave the low side across and then up again and then to get the hull as high as possible before sliding the build frame back in and under again.

One major benefit of having the hull up on it’s side was in creating enough space to completely clear out and sweep out all of the leaves, dust and debris that ended up under there last year – i noticed that it also smelt strongly of ‘cat’ under there so with heavy rain due i sluiced the build floor with rainwater too.

Stage 5 lower and re-position.

The hull now sits on just the 2 cross braces on top of the build frame – they needed packing up by about 4 inches and the hull is now in a slightly different position as the bow sits just inside the forward build frame end brace and the frame sits inside the hull aft.

The hull over and down, back on it’s support frame.

Today’s work, if i get out there today, is to coil and sort all of the lines i used and then have a big sort out of all the scrap timber that ended up under the frame…..that and all of the build stations and station risers that are now a pile of scrap. The workshop is a bit damp as well having been mostly closed up over the winter – it’s supposed to be dry and sunny later in the week so it will be good to get it all aired out and ready for work again.

The first job on my spring worklist is nothing to do with the boat…..instead iv’e got to move the greenhouse which will mean several people get ‘volunteered’ to help me pick it up and carry it up the road and into our back garden via our new neighbour’s drive.

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