Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Petrel Build #11 - Seal Coat

A seal coat is a layer of epoxy applied to the boat before laying down the fiberglass to limit the absorption of epoxy when wetting out the glass later.  It also adds an extra layer of protection and therefore more weight.  Some people lay a seal coat some don't.  As I am taking my time this layer will protect the wood while it sits about in a dusty cattle shed. 
I first take the hull off the forms to prevent any drips from the deck running down.
I'm using West Systems 205/105 hardener/epoxy as recommended.
The deck was a bit of a nightmare.  I mixed up a small quantity of epoxy, poured it on and spread it about with a squeegee.  The result was a thick gooey mess.  
Practice makes perfect I guess.  For future reference don't use so much epoxy.
However from a distance it doesn't look too bad.
Four sanding disks later and I'm still nowhere near getting a smooth clean finish.
I run out of disks and take the deck off the forms.  I couldn't resist taking this first opportunity to sit between the cockpit.  Quite a special first glimpse of what my build might look like when paddling.  
Hull back on the forms and a quick sand and brush off and it's on with the epoxy.  This time I used a roller and spread the layer very very thinly.  It's looks lovely and really brings out the colour of the wood.
Hopefully once the hull has set it wont need much sanding unlike the deck which is going to take some time.
Next stage fiberglassing...cant wait!

Friday, 20 April 2012


A few days off work beckoned.  I joined the family mid week who were already at Fishguard, West Wales. 
On arrival I shot up the road to Strumble Head to check out the conditions.  The race in the background of this picture was very impressive.  A strong northerly wind and big swells I was mesmerized at it's power and so glad I wasn't down there.
I followed the coastal path for a few miles to take in the fantastic scenery.
This was only my second time to Stumble Head.  The last time was a couple of weeks ago down on the water.

I was tempted to wait around for the 'twilight' pictures but promised I'd be back for the kids club at the holiday park.
After a day spent with the kids in the rain the sun finally made an appearance late afternoon.  We all went down to Pwllgwaelod and while the kids paddled in the shallows I had a play in the waves.
Further out the swells were fairly massive and with the onshore wind made for some intimidating water.  I caught a few good waves then made my way back to Fishguard.
As this was the only full day I was here I stopped off at Fishguard Old harbor for a quick paddle in the last of the light.  Again further out in open waters the swell and wind made for some choppy water.   
I did a little rock hopping between the sets...

And a little exploring.
Then just took in the fantastic views.
Friday and my short stay comes to an end.  The rest of the family head home early but I wasn't in a rush.  So me and my little boy Zakk headed back up to Strumble Head for a walk along the coast path.
Strumble light house.

 Zakk taking the awkward way over every gate.
We got out the rug and Zakk had a play with his toys while I sat back and took in the stunning scenery.  Not much paddling but who cares I had a great time.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Holms

Today I was meeting Taran and Marcus at Sully for a paddle out to Steep Holm on to Flat Holm and back. 
Marcus actually emailed me quite a while back, maybe a year or longer, to join us for a paddle.  He hadn't paddled since last September so I think he was a bit reluctant to paddle today.  But we managed to persuade him to dusted off the cobwebs from inside his boat.
Out on the channel the wind on tide made for a little bumpy ride over.  We were following Taran today who had worked out vectors to follow to practice for his 5 star assessment next week.
It was quite chilly with the wind over our shoulder, my hands went numb in no time, and I was hoping to wear only a t-shirt today.
We took ride around rudder rock on the south and paddle around the back of the island to land on the beach to the north of Steep Holm.  Only a quick stop and we were off on our way to Flat Holm.
I jump on Tarans Etain for a quick go over to Flat Holm.  Leaving Steep Holm we noticed a very large ship heading our direction at quite a rate of knots.
Thankfully it passed in front of us beyond the green starboard buoy between the two islands.

Within no time we were approaching Flat Holm.

 Not without a quick stop at the cave.

We took a quick trek up to the lighthouse.
The seagulls are back in their numbers, not quite up to their feisty selves yet though.
Flat Holm sheep with Penarth Peir and Cardiffs' Millennium Stadium in the background.

Back on the water we were hoping the conditions would flatten out a bit with the turn of the tide but they were pretty much the same, to Marcus's delight...
We take a detour around Sully Island for a spot of gentle rock-hoping.
Typically the sun comes out and the sea looks to flatten off as we land back at our start point.  Another great day out to the Holms and great to finally meet up with Marcus.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Petrel Build #10 - Sanding and Fairing

I began the fairing way back before Christmas but then the build went on hold for a good few months.  I ordered the fiberglass and today finished the sanding.  It was nice enough to move the boat outside in better light and get some decent photo of the whole boat. 
I'm pleased with the outcome of the sanding.  It has opened up a few of the strips and requires a little filling with some 'dookie schmutz'.
First I scraped the entire boat with a heavy duty paint scraper, then plained and finally sanded with a random orbital sander using 80,120,180 grit sand paper.  I started with 40 grit on the hull as I manged to rip some of the strips with the plane.

The next stage will be to roll on a thin under coat of epoxy resin before laying on the fiberglass.  To do this I'm using 130g plain weave fiberglass.  Then it's flip the boat open and start on the inside, this way the separated deck and hull parts will be rigid enough to plain and sand.