Saturday, May 5, 2007

Have you ever vacuumed grass... in the rain?

The fiberglass aft deck cover under construction is turning into a very big deal, mostly because we are working outside. With many layers (each of which must cure) and winds up to 30mph this week (at one point, a gallon jug of water was used to keep a box with materials from being blown off the cover as Doug was working), progress has been slower than we’d planned; now an impending nor’easter is bringing just enough rain that he can’t lay down the next layers of epoxy resin.

Doug has done many fiberglass projects, including building the dinghy itself (see photo to right); he was fortunate to have used our former garage, finishing two days before we sold our house. This deck cover is truly a custom job, fit to the framework surrounding the aft deck; the Winnie W is 12 feet wide, and measures 6 feet from edge of the deck to the aft cabin.

In the first part of our current project, Doug pieced foam together and laid fiberglass on only one side, using the porch of our “land base” as his workshop; he wanted to fiberglass the other side when it was on the aft deck frame to get a rounded shape. We then brought this 60 square foot foam model to the marina on the top of our van, fortunately a short trip with little traffic. It was like riding with a huge sail on the van’s roof: every time the breeze picked up or the van built momentum above idle rpms, Doug would report that we were about to take off and we stopped the van to get this sail under control.

Now after a week of work in the marina while the cover was clamped to the framework above the aft deck, it has fiberglass on all sides and edges, with custom chocks for the dinghy, a mast crutch so we can lower the mast to go under fixed bridges, and pieces of foam strategically placed to keep cover correctly aligned with the supporting framework. Our task tonight was to prepare file the edges of the cover and prepare the underside for a second layer of fiberglass.

So we moved the cover from the boat to the dock and nearby grass so Doug could file the edges in preparation for the next layer of fiberglass. Trying to help keep the project moving and beat the rain, I was vacuuming the fiberglass shreds from the cover itself, the dock, and the grass to minimize the environmental impact of doing this project outdoors. The crazy things we do to complete these projects!

We don’t have photos of current projects (too busy to take pictures); these are both pictures of the dinghy that Doug built last fall.

We hope that you are well, Kathie and Doug


Ron Rakestraw said...

Just great! Another addiction that must be fed. You guys have me "riveted" to see your progress and you have not even departed yet.
My best wishes and prayers for a safe and wonderful journey. Call if you need anything.

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
Today the winds are even higher!!
Sounds like the project will take even longer!

I've been following your 'Blog' and will continue to do so.

Your Computer Friend,

bentwood said...

Kathy and Doug: Great Blog. I am avidly following