Thursday, April 12, 2012

Preparing the Deck Fittings

Owners in the UK, where I used to live, are reporting that their boats are back in the water. Here in Finland it will be a while yet before it is warm enough to finish filling, fairing, sanding and start painting. In the meantime there is plenty to do.

 Last weekend I made a checklist of all the deck fittings using a combination of the list my son made when the fittings were removed last autumn and the new fittings that will be added to or replace them this spring. It may not seem possible on such a small boat but there is a lot to organise. To this end I sketched an aerial view of the boat and indicated where all the fittings will go.

Working from stem to stern I located where each fitting is stored. If necessary I recorded the size and head shape of any new bolts needed. These are mostly for the new fittings but some old ones need replacing. In some cases I will reduce the length of the existing bolts so their undersides protrude less into the forepeak to reduce the hazard for anyone moving about down below. As soon as I find something suitable I will also cap them because they hurt if you forget they are there!

I made backing plates for the new fittings. Those made of plywood will be Epoxyed. The white ones are, I am told, a sort of fibrous nylon. They are light, very strong and easy to work with. They are a little vulnerable to abrasion and large washers are even more necessary to prevent bolts pulling through over time than with with wood.

Another job I have been doing while marching time until the temperature improves is cleaning up the old deck fittings. At some point in Little Grace's history someone has let a band of monkeys paint the deck without removing or masking them. The resultant blobs of paint and accidental brushstrokes on cleats, genoa tracks, stanchions, push and pull pits and even portlights (windows)     were a disgrace. Similarly the cockpit locker hinges and latches were covered in either paint or varnish strokes.

These cleats alone took about an hour to clean up but to be fair that included removing old sealant from their aluminium backing plates.


Once each deck fitting is ready it is sealed into a see-through plastic bag, complete with backing plate, nuts, bolts etc. and added to this box for storage until fitting out begins.

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