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Thai Refit

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60 Christmas
59 Fair Sugar-Scoops
58 Finish Galley Wood
57 Deck Filler
56 Fire Golf!
55 Hull Joint
54 Sink Cabinet
53 New Eyebrows
52 Foredeck Work
51 New Hatches
50 Test Bimini
49 Fwd Cabin Hatches
48 Hatch Frames
47 Glass Scoops
46 Inject Bimini
45 Cockpit & Bimini
44 Scoop Steps
43 Bimini Mold
42 Level Ocelot
41 Mast Conduits
40 Replace Helm
32 Fly to USA
31 Raise Transoms
30 Foam Foredeck
29 Rebuild Engines
28 Grind Spars
27 Foredeck Repairs
26 Transom Walls
25 Foam Helm
24 Shape Transoms
23 Start Transoms
22 New Bows
21 Cockpit Surgery
20 Dismantle Cockpit
19 Fair Topsides
18 Remove Forebeam
17 Dismantle Engines
16 More Deck Work
15 Start Deck Repairs
14 Rip Apart Galley
13 Remove Decks
Xmas Break
4 Strip Ocelot
3 First Extension
2 Remove Teak Deck
1 Haul Out

51 New Hatches

Houa epoxying down the 1st of 2 sheets of glass on port bow
Houa epoxying down the 1st of 2 sheets of glass on port bow

Summary:  We spent 1.5 days helping our neighbors get their mast stepped, lost a couple of worker days to illness, dental work, and the Vegetarian Festival, but we still accomplished some good stuff on Ocelot.  The strips of trim foam on each side of the main cabin got shaped and glassed in.  Houa filled and flattened the decks of both bows and epoxied on their final 2 layers of glass.  Baw finished and installed the port hatch‑frame over our new tank area, as well as the port hatch itself.  He also finished most of the starboard hatch gutters and modified Max's old hatch so it will work.  Amanda spent many hours preparing the stainless steel backing plates for prod's pad‑eyes, before we finished reinforcing the hulls where the pad‑eyes will mount and then epoxied the backing plates in place.  We found where the prod will go and marked the best angle for the pad‑eyes, and we drilled and tapped the mounting holes for the portside pad‑eye.  Once we finished, we gave Houa the go‑ahead to install the shelf in the port fo'c's'l, which got epoxied down but still needs to be glassed in.  Sue spent a lot of time cleaning up our hatches and Jon spent his idle time polishing the mast.

Baw's gutters for the portside hatch
Baw's gutters for the portside hatch

Monday, October 22:
Bit of a late start today as there was a Vegetarian Festival Procession on the main road to Phuket Town, and everyone was out watching it (or they couldn't get to the boatyard because the road was jammed up).  The strings of firecrackers were positively deafening.  Several of the idols from the temple brought up the back of the procession.  Firecrackers apparently frighten away evil spirits, so the idols were absolutely bombed with them, along with their bearers.

Baw and Houa arrived about 10:30 and things started to get underway.  Houa epoxied 2 layers of glass over the deck of port bow, covering the fairing compound that he's been smoothing down.  Then he started on starboard bow, sanding the filler smooth and flat.  Unfortunately, the rain started just as he was getting ready to glass in the late afternoon so we decided to leave that until tomorrow.

Amanda grinding the edge of a SS backing plate under Ocelot
Amanda grinding the edge of a SS backing plate under Ocelot

Baw was working on the hatches for the new tank areas just in front of the main cabin.  The hatch he made looks OK, if a bit thick, but it should be usable.  He made a set of gutters for the hatch to sit in, but they're quite rounded and use up 1" (25mm) of valuable space on each side.  Jon fits in there today, but he's also under 170 lbs (77kg) for the first time since we climbed out of the Himalayas in 1980!  Golf and Baw discussed this and decided to shrink the gutters a bit so they don't take up so much room.

Amanda took over grinding the edges of the stainless steel backing plates for the pad‑eyes.  The steel is so tough that it takes a long time to get even just the edges ground back to good native steel.  She finished one plate but then Houa needed the grinder for his foredeck work.

So Amanda decided to start on the cockpit table.  Our original table was teak‑faced plywood, but some of the plywood had gotten wet and rotted.  Jon did a functional but unaesthetic repair several years ago, but the table really needs to be replaced.  We can do it in solid teak (expensive) or teak‑faced ply (heavy) or foam and fiberglass.  After weighing the pros and cons, we've decided to go with foam and fiberglass.  It will be much lighter, should last forever, and will be easy to keep looking nice.  The teak might look nicer if we worked at it, but we tended not to.  The main problem with glass is that plates and cutlery slide on it pretty easily, but unless conditions are very rough, this shouldn't be a problem for us.

Sue cleaning up yet another of our 17+ hatches
Sue cleaning up yet another of our 17+ hatches

Jon started on the bimini, cleaning up the fiberglass that we laid on Saturday.  This ended up taking much longer than he thought, but in the end it looks good.  Then he dove into the port fo'c's'l to sand the area that Sue has been filling with epoxy glass.  We'll put 2 more largish sheets of biaxial over the area, then stick one of the stainless steel backing plates on with some epoxy mud.  We might have done that today except for the rain.

Tuesday, October 23:
Team Hacking reigned supreme today.  Without us, nothing would have happened!

Sue was feeling better, so she and Jon took the scooter to the yard about 9 to find Golf there, but neither Baw nor Houa.  Apparently, Houa had a stomach ailment and was being taken to the hospital by his father.  Baw was supposedly due to come in later in the afternoon.  Too much partying?

Before & after shot of Amanda's steel-work
Before & after shot of Amanda's steel-work

Sue once again set to work on the hatches, utilizing the bimini under Ocelot as a stand‑up workspace.   After 6 hours of chiseling, scraping, and digging silicon out of the fissures, cracks and valleys of the Goiot hatches she ended up with a full‑on carpal tunnel type pain.  No one said boat work was easy!

Amanda again donned mask and goggles and attacked the rough edges of a stainless steel backing plate for the pad‑eyes for the new prod.  Holding a powerful grinder is hard work.  Like Sue, she too found new muscles she didn't know she had.

Jon took the finished stainless steel plate and cleaned it so that it will be ready to receive a coat of epoxy mud and be stuck to the inner wall of the fo'c's'l where the prod pad‑eyes will be seated.  Up in the port fo'c's'l itself he did a final sanding and cleanup with R2D2, our handy shop‑vac, and then wiped down the wall with acetone.  The next step is applying the epoxy mud to cover any irregularities, epoxying 2 more large fiberglass squares, and then epoxying on the metal plate.  But we were unable to find the epoxy part B.  Goes to show how dependent we are on our workers!  So he took out his frustrations by polishing the mast.

Unfortunately about 1pm we got word from Golf that Houa's stomach problems turned out to be appendicitis, so he is in for surgery.  Golf went to the hospital to sign papers for him and to visit.  We are all wishing Houa a speedy recovery.

Wednesday, October 24:
The good news is that Houa did not, in fact, have appendicitis.  They checked his blood chemistry and eventually pumped out his stomach and he seems to be on the mend.  The hospital sent him home today.

Baw's new hatch-frame, to go over the hole to our tank area
Baw's new hatch-frame, to go over the hole to our tank area
Baw cutting away foam & glass to put down his new hatch-frame
Baw cutting away foam & glass to put down his new hatch-frame

Fastening the headstay onto our neighbor's mast
Fastening the headstay onto our neighbor's mast

We worked hard all day today but actually did very little on Ocelot.  Our neighbors have requested that a crane come early tomorrow morning to put their mast back on, and they're not nearly ready.  So Jon and Amanda spent most of the day helping them; replacing halyards, headstays, cap‑shrouds, running backstays, etc.  One of the joys of the cruising life is how supportive cruisers are of each other.  We also helped flip the mast over and move it so it's where the crane can easily lift it onto the boat.  We worked hard all day (and no shade where the mast is) and got everything except the genoa halyard put back because they only purchased the replacement halyard late in the afternoon, on their way home from the yard.  We'll try to put it in before the crane is ready to start work tomorrow morning.

Baw's hatch and frame, almost ready to be epoxied in place
Baw's hatch and frame, almost ready to be epoxied in place

Our neighbor's boat is much bigger than Ocelot: 58' (18m) long with a 69' (21m) mast.  The problem is that the bridge that we have to cross every day to get to the boatyard is washing out, and the big 15 ton crane no longer wants to cross it, so they're having to go with the smaller 10 ton crane.  The mast only weighs a ton or so, but the smaller crane can't reach as far or as high.

Sue had more dental work, so she went home early.  Amanda did get the second backing plate all finished before joining the mast work, so that's ready to go when the starboard pad‑eye hole has been filled with fiberglass reinforcing.

Houa, of course, didn't come to work but Baw got quite a bit done, trimming back the foam in his hatch so it sits down nicely on his hatch‑frame.  Then he cut away some of the glass and foam around where the hatch goes so his new hatch‑frame will fit.  It still needs a bit of work but he should be able to epoxy it in tomorrow.  (The brighter orange bit in the photos is a new piece of foam that Houa put in to shrink the hole, so the hatch will now clear the step that will go above the blacked‑out port.)

Thursday, October 25:
A LONG day, but despite setbacks and distractions we accomplished a lot.

We got to the yard early to help our neighbors step their mast - and found that several others were there as well.  A bit of a case of too many generals and not enough workers for a while, with lots of folks running around making (often contradictory) suggestions.  But all's well that ends well, and after only a few hours and a handful of distractions, we had the mast up, the rigging wires attached, the boom mounted, and both dagger‑boards snuggled safely in their trunks.  Then we could turn to our own issues.

Baw's new hatch-frame being epoxied in place on port side
Baw's new hatch-frame being epoxied in place on port side
Baw glassing in the portside foam trim
Baw glassing in the portside foam trim

Baw make good progress in the morning.  While we were all playing with the mast, he epoxied down the hatch‑frame that he's been building, and trimmed his hatch so it's now flush with the deck.  Unfortunately, Baw started having stomach issues at lunch.  We tried to send him home but he insisted on staying, which let him spend the afternoon sanding down the foam strip on portside and glassing it in.

Houa epoxying down the final 2 layers of glass on starboard bow
Houa epoxying down the final 2 layers of glass on starboard bow
Shaping foam trim on starboard
Shaping foam trim on starboard

Houa returned to the yard in the afternoon after spending 2 nights in the hospital.  He seemed his normal cheery self, despite not eating much in the last few days.  He finished laying the final 2 sheets of glass on the starboard bow, and then started shaping the bit of foam trim on starboard that they epoxied down last Thursday.

Painting the freshly sanded SS plate with epoxy ...
Painting the freshly sanded SS plate with epoxy ...
... and sanding it again, through the wet epoxy
... and sanding it again, through the wet epoxy

In the middle of this, Houa supplied us with the epoxy that we needed for our jobs inside the port fo'c's'l, building up the pad‑eye support for our new prod.  Jon epoxied in 2 more sheets of biaxial glass while Amanda was doing a final sanding on the stainless steel backing plate.  Then we painted some epoxy onto the plate and sanded it some more, through the wet epoxy.  This is how to get epoxy to stick to stainless steel (and aluminum), which it normally doesn't like to do.  Then Jon sploobed a good coating of epoxy mud onto the steel plate before pushing it against the inside of the hull and bracing it in place.  Sue also took advantage of all the epoxy work by filling more of the pad‑eye hole on starboard.

Working in the tip of the port bow
Working in the tip of the port bow
Pad-eye backing plate now firmly braced & epoxied in place
Pad-eye backing plate now firmly braced & epoxied in place

Jon trying to drill through the 9mm stainless steel backing plate
Jon trying to drill through the 9mm stainless steel backing plate

Next step is to drill and tap the 4 holes for the portside pad‑eye bolts, but one problem is that the hull is pretty thick there now, and our taps can only tap about half the necessary length.  We'll see if we can buy a tap with a longer reach, or we may grind the shank of a tap down so the threads stick out more than the shank, which would let us tap much deeper holes.

Friday, October 26:
A long and busy day.  We had a few minor setbacks but still accomplished a lot.  Nice to have both Baw and Houa back at full strength and working well.

Baw's glassing down his hatch-frame - note plastic around hatch
Baw's glassing down his hatch-frame - note plastic around hatch

Jon was working all day on the pad‑eyes for the prod.  First we had to determine the optimal angle for the pad‑eyes, so they'll be under tension only and not be subjected to unnecessary bending loads.  For this, we needed to know where the end of the prod will be.  So we tied a bamboo pole to one of the scaffold towers, measured out from Ocelot's front, setup the pole about where the prod will be, and marked the pole to indicate about how high the prod will be.  Then Jon climbed the scaffold tower and sighted from the mark on the bamboo pole to where Amanda was rotating the pad‑eye on Ocelot's hull, where it will mount.  When Jon saw that the loop of the pad‑eye was exactly in line with the end of the prod, Amanda marked where the pad‑eye bolt‑holes had to go.  We repeated this for both pad‑eyes.

Once we knew where the bolts had to go, we started drilling through all the fiberglass that Sue has put into these reinforced areas of the hull, and then through the stainless steel backing plate that Jon epoxied onto the inside of the hull yesterday.  The fiberglass was easy to drill through - the stainless steel most certainly was not.  We had to make several trips to various hardware stores, looking for high‑quality, high‑speed drill‑bits.  The stainless steel backing plate is 3/8" (9mm) thick and extremely tough, so we decided to drill 1/8" (3mm) pilot holes first before drilling our 17/64" (6.75mm) final holes.  In the end we broke 2 of the small drill bits and ruined the cutting surfaces of 2 more before we had our 4 pilot holes.  Removing the broken bits of drill could have been very difficult as they were both well inside their holes but neither one was stuck hard (the drills seem to have just shattered) so Amanda could remove them with a strong magnet pushed into the holes.

Baw's glassing in the bare foam on the underside of his hatch
Baw's glassing in the bare foam on the underside of his hatch

We were worried that drilling the much larger final holes would be proportionately more difficult, but by this time we'd found some good quality drill bits that went through the stainless steel in less than a minute.  But tapping a thread into the stainless steel was extremely difficult, taking Jon over 30 minutes for each of the 4 holes on port side.

All of this work caused us to change our design a bit.  We were originally going to cut the bolts off where they came out of the stainless steel backing plate, and then cover the plate with fiberglass so we'd be guaranteed of no leaks.  But now we've decided that some polysulfide sealant (5200 or Sikaflex) around the bolts will seal them very adequately and keep them from leaking, and then we can put locking nuts on the insides to lock the bolts in place.  This will also make it easier for us to change the design later if there's any need.  So we told Houa that we're now finished with the port side (we can mount the pad‑eye at any time) and he can now finish mounting the long shelf in the fo'c's'l.  Houa built it back in May and has been waiting for us to finish our pad‑eye work so he can epoxy the shelf in place.

Houa epoxying in the final gutter for the starboard hatch
Houa epoxying in the final gutter for the starboard hatch

Up on deck, Baw was working on his new portside hatch area.  First he put the hatch in place, put plastic spacers around it, and smeared epoxy mud up to the plastic.  This will make sure that the hatch nestles snuggly where it needs to go.  When the epoxy cured he removed the hatch and glassed in the naked foam on the underside.  He also put some glass both over and under his hatch‑frame, to bond it securely to the deck (yesterday he'd just glued it down with epoxy mud).

Houa was working on the starboard side of the bows.  The new hatch area on starboard was built differently (by Mee, at the end of August).  Instead of one modular hatch‑frame, Mee built 4 separate gutters, but only had time to install 3 of them.  So Houa finally installed the 4th gutter.  All of them will still need more fiberglass reinforcing, both inside and out, but it's nice to see progress again.  Houa also put some fairing compound and fiberglass on the sides of the starboard fo'c's'l hatch, which should complete the deck glassing on starboard (the same treatment is still needed on port).

Amanda and Sue were both cleaning up hatches when they weren't helping Jon.  Soon we'll need to buy the acrylic and the gaskets so we can start putting the hatches back together.

Saturday, October 27:
Another long but productive day.  An interesting development is that Golf has a new painting contract for a catamaran next to us.  It means he's a bit distracted, but Baw and Houa know what they have to do and don't really need much direction.  The good news is that it will improve Golf's cash flow, so we should get some more workers soon, which would be excellent news.

Grinding back the foam edges of Max's old hatch
Grinding back the foam edges of Max's old hatch
Sealing the foam & building the edges of the hatch back up
Sealing the foam & building the edges of the hatch back up

Baw switched over and worked on the starboard tank hatch area today.  He took the hatch that Max made back in May and ground a lot of the foam away so the hatch would fit Mee's gutters better.  Then he glassed over the areas he'd ground away to strengthen and seal them.  Baw also put small strips of glass into the gutters for the hatch, both to seal the exposed foam and to provide more strength.

Preparing to seal & reinforce the starboard gutters
Preparing to seal & reinforce the starboard gutters
Sealing the foam & glassing the starboard gutters
Sealing the foam & glassing the starboard gutters

Houa spent much of the day down the port fo'c's'l, working on the shelf now that we've finished with the pad‑eye reinforcement.  The shelf was cut into 2 pieces so it can go through the hatch, but once inside Houa joined the 2 pieces with epoxy and super‑glue and then epoxied them down as a single unit.  Being a careful and thorough man, Houa spent several hours measuring, trimming and making sure everything would fit correctly before finally mixing up a big batch of epoxy mud with which to stick the shelf down.  He finally knocked off about 5:30pm.  Tomorrow he'll glass the shelf in.

Houa trimming his 2 shelf pieces on Ocelot's foredeck
Houa trimming his 2 shelf pieces on Ocelot's foredeck
Laying epoxy mud to glue the shelf down inside port fo'c's'l
Laying epoxy mud to glue the shelf down inside port fo'c's'l

Team Hacking spent much of the day preparing to epoxy the stainless steel backing plate into the extreme starboard bow for the pad‑eye.  Jon sanded the area flat and super‑glued some small wooden blocks to the inside of the hull to hold the backing plate in the correct place.  Then he cleaned the whole area up and trimmed down 2 sheets of biaxial glass to go under the steel.  When Baw started his epoxy work we were ready and waiting, so he just mixed a bit more up for us.  Jon first put down some mud to fill any small holes, then epoxied down the 2 sheets of glass while Amanda painted the steel with epoxy and sanded the surface to insure a good bond.  Jon covered one face of the steel with mud and squooshed it into place, pressing hard to push most of the mud out the sides, where it became part of the filet.  Next we'll drill and tap the bolt holes so Houa can put the tip of the fo'c's'l shelf back together again.

Mudding the epoxied steel backing plate
Mudding the epoxied steel backing plate
Stbd pad-eye backing plate in position against our crush space
Stbd pad-eye backing plate in position against our crush space

The rest of the day Amanda and Sue cleaned more of the hatches and Jon spent a couple of quality hours in therapy, polishing the mast.

Thai Refit: Next | Up | Previous | 60 Christmas | 59 Fair Sugar-Scoops | 58 Finish Galley Wood | 57 Deck Filler | 56 Fire Golf! | 55 Hull Joint | 54 Sink Cabinet | 53 New Eyebrows | 52 Foredeck Work | 51 New Hatches | 50 Test Bimini | 49 Fwd Cabin Hatches | 48 Hatch Frames | 47 Glass Scoops | 46 Inject Bimini | 45 Cockpit & Bimini | 44 Scoop Steps | 43 Bimini Mold | 42 Level Ocelot | 41 Mast Conduits | 40 Replace Helm | 32 Fly to USA | 31 Raise Transoms | 30 Foam Foredeck | 29 Rebuild Engines | 28 Grind Spars | 27 Foredeck Repairs | 26 Transom Walls | 25 Foam Helm | 24 Shape Transoms | 23 Start Transoms | 22 New Bows | 21 Cockpit Surgery | 20 Dismantle Cockpit | 19 Fair Topsides | 18 Remove Forebeam | 17 Dismantle Engines | 16 More Deck Work | 15 Start Deck Repairs | 14 Rip Apart Galley | 13 Remove Decks | Xmas Break | 4 Strip Ocelot | 3 First Extension | 2 Remove Teak Deck | 1 Haul Out

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