Wow, I'm feeling just a touch guilty as I've realised it's been nearly a month since I updated the blog which I didn't even notice as I put a post on our Facebook page a few weeks ago and clearly got too sidetracked with Christmas and New Years to even think about updating our blog.
I hope this finds you all well and you've enjoyed Christmas with your loved ones and all toasted 2017 goodbye and welcomed 2018 with open arms. We sure did. While we still have a fair amount of work ahead of us, we are super excited about what 2018 will have in store for us. We will be launching Camara and set off for the islands once again. First time on this boat, however we have done this trip many a times before on our old boat and can't wait for the passage up, our first swim in the warm tropical water AND having fun in the sea & sun doing all the things we love doing and most of all going kite surfing every day and living the island life again!
But as I've just said, heaps of work ahead of us yet. Saying that, we have been busy inside while waiting for gaps in the weather to continue work on the keel which is now finished as well. If you are following our Facebook page you would have already seen her new keel all painted and finished, but for anyone who isn't on social media, here are some pics of the keel sandblasted, primed, faired, sanded and finished painting.
We are really stoked with how the keel has turned out and are equally happy to have been able to move on from this part of the project at last! Well, it was nice to be done with the dirty steel and back braking lead work, however this also meant to get straight back into the grinding to start tackling the next part of the interior job. The starboard diesel and water tanks. Having already done the port side we knew what to anticipate and how much grinding and dust was coming our way but it had to be done to start building again on the next part inside. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the tanks after the grinding and glassing was done but took some photos once the main work was done and the first coat of epoxy flow coat was on as well as once the tops of the tanks were glassed closed again.
We also once again landed up demolishing and removing the entire section of the boat so we could start afresh to build a more practical bathroom with a toilet, shower and to save space the vanity built into the cupboard space of the adjoining berth that will be built above the tanks. To accommodate guests and their needs, we also built a separate head with just a toilet and vanity. As mentioned, above the tanks will be a double berth with cupboard space, however this is open and not a separate cabin as such and can also be utilized as a daybed/couch. Here are some pics of the 'rough' initial built stage. As you can see it becomes more difficult to capture the area with my camera off my phone. I will try and capture some better photos with my proper camera once I get a chance but it gives you an idea of what we are doing. Once again, the focus is on simple, functional and hopefully avoiding any queues for the head (toilet) due to two separate ones available :-)
We've also done little jobs here and there that are hard to capture in a photo but are all the many little things it takes to get the bigger jobs done. It certainly has been a bit more challenging for Peter as well since we have taken down the shed and are more exposed to the elements, especially when it comes to jobs like the building phase when we need to cut ply and can't fit full sheets inside the boat anymore. Luckily on the hard he can still utilize the space below the boat, just a lot more dependent on the weather gods.
This is one of the reasons we have decided to postpone our launch until June. This means we can have everything finished when we launch rather than trying to finish some of the building projects while on the water. The logistics of transporting sheets of ply in our brand new dinghy and then cutting on the deck on the water don't seem very logical or time efficient. June also offers us a few more higher tides which we are relying on in order to launch at Norsand Boatyard due to our draft and the slightly unknown of where exactly she will float after all the modifications.
The plan is to launch in June, do some shake-down sails and then depart for Fiji once we have given all the systems a proper check over. While it is a month or two later than we initially anticipated, considering the size of our project we are more than happy to still make it this season and can't wait for the launch, passage north and living the sailing and cruising lifestyle again. 2018 - here we come xx
It's been a while since the last blog post and we are patiently waiting on a southerly wind to sandblast the keel but - we are still waiting!!!
Lucky we have so many other jobs to do that we don't go crazy just yet waiting for this change in wind direction! The 'break' from the keel meant we could make a move on the Nav station, setting up our batteries and solar power, as well as finishing off the lighting inside.
While this was quite exciting to see the switchboard jump to life along with the Mastervolt and Raymarine gadgets...it was also time to tackle the remaining interior while we are waiting to sandblast the keel. So yes - demolition time once again...
And then of course grinding follows the demolition phase before the rebuild starts. By the end of the weekend the new sole supports and bulkheads are glued and glassed in and the first area painted where the first part of the sole (floor) will be glued in.
While it is frustrating waiting for the wind to change, we are quite excited to tackle the last area inside the boat even though it brings back the much dreaded grinding and dust! Once again we have to give the next area some thought and figure out how to make use of the space. Either way - heaps to keep us busy (and out of trouble) and more building and photos on the horizon so watch this space xxx
It seems not that long ago that I posted the last blog post but looking at the progress since the last photos there sure has been a lot accomplished since! At the time of our last update, a lot of the fabrication was done with the keel still lying on its side. It was a big moment when we called the crane back to lift the keel upright and with that it marked the next phase in the process. It also gave us the weight of the keel since we cut down the draft (with the lead removed and most of the new steel construction on) weighing in at 9 tons.
With the keel upright it was time to finish the welding, build a temporary shed and start melting the lead we removed as well as the additional lead we purchased to meet the requirements of the new keel design. As you can see in the pictures, Peter packed blocks of lead in the 'compartments' and then melted the remaining lead and poured it over and around it to fill all the air voids. Pete's never done so much 'cooking' in his life than he did in the last few weeks sitting in front of his gas cooker with his big pot melting 5-6 tons of the lead he'd just removed from the bottom of the keel as well as nearly a ton of additional lead. Completed, the keel will be weighing approximately 15 tons.
After the new bulb/wing was filled with the lead it was time to cut and weld the top plate on. Once the plate was on and Pete rounded the edges it started to look like its all coming together. All the weeks and weeks of Peter's hard labor paying off!!!
The next steps are to finish any welding and remove the paint on the other side before it will be time to sandblast, followed once again by painting, fairing and more painting. So it is yet a little while before we will focus on a new project but this has been a major project on its own and the hardest part of it is over now.
On another note - We've also received our new clear screens for our aft cockpit not long ago which has transformed it into a nice comfy dry area. The guys from Canvas and Covers Whangarei have certainly done a great job! We've also bought an early Christmas present and added an awesome new Magma BBQ to Camara's inventory - exciting! Check it out xx
It's been a miserable and back breaking job for Peter over the last few weeks but the last of the lead has been removed. In order to reduce the draft by 1.2m we had to remove all the lead from the bottom of the keel, which has been quite the task considering all the steel framework inside the keel. Many many hours of cutting steel with the grinder, cutting the lead with the chainsaw, hammering and splitting off blocks of lead and at last the final task to break your back - carrying the heavy blocks of lead away. Needless to say this has been a back breaking job and certainly one of the less enjoyable ones but it had to be done and we will be able to re-use the lead for the bulb. Here are a few pics of the process...
Once the last of the lead was removed, the final cut was made and with the help of our 4WD we literally drove the bottom of the keel away. Peter then focused on having a clean and straight line and plumb bottom surface in preparation to fit the bottom plate on. With the bottom plate in place it was time for the extension fore and aft and the framework for the bulb and steel plates is what keeps Peter currently busy. Yet again not the nicest of jobs but at least it's a turning point of starting to build again rather than removing and cutting out.
When we first thought of reducing the draft we looked into different options such as bolt-on bulbs and looked at different keel designs that have hauled in the yard as well as some designs like the keels of the AMEL's. As always it is a compromise on what is fairly easy to build, cost-effective and functional and this is how this keel modification was born with the guidance of a keel plan the original designer provided us with in regards to how much extra lead we require etc. After all we do want to make sure we don't lose traction upwind and certainly want to ensure that she rights herself despite the shorter keel. Kevin, one of the engineers in the yard has been most helpful and regularly checks on our progress and the direction the project takes which is always reassuring and great to have someone else's brain to pick along the way.
We have been fortunate with the weather which has been really good this last week and allowed for progress on the keel but on the odd day that it was drizzling or raining a new 'inside project' has emerged that is the next in line to get done and a good one to keep busy with on the less favorable weather days...the Nav station. Exciting to be planning where all our instruments and switchboards will go even though of course the keel is our main priority at present!
So as always, watch this space as we are making progress on the keel and depending on the weather potentially even the Nav Station :-)
The Keel project - the next job on the 'To-Do-List' and certainly one of those dirty and dreaded jobs. Peter's been having loads of fun cutting through the steel and chopping out the lead. Reducing the draft by 1.2m involves removing the lead, cutting down the keel, extending the keel fore and aft, building a bulb and re-using the lead we recover and some more...
One of of those back breaking, dirty and strenuous jobs for sure!!! I still believe we should be sponsored by Ibuprofen and Deep-heat :-)
But as some may know we have a tendency to get stuck in projects...a Refit on our old boat while having a new born, building a house next to full-time jobs or perhaps rebuilding an 80ft maxi...we thought after 5 years of working 7 days a week we deserved a little break and so we took a few days off to spend some time at the beach and by the ocean to recharge our batteries and focus on the final push ahead of us to finish this project and go cruising again!
So stay tuned as we once again get ready to push hard - we are certainly amped - can't wait to be living the dream again!!!
While it's been a bit different this morning with all the usual changes that daylight savings brings with it, we are thriled it's finally here! Besides the initial few days of getting our bodies accustomed to the earlier starts, it's also a welcome change to gain more daylight hours and the general feeling and motivation that Spring brings with it!
Since removing the shed the main priority was to finish the stainless work on the aft rail and bow rail so we can mount those and finish the lifelines. We also had to make a plan getting on and off the boat having 'lost' our scaffold steps so Pete found a solution so we can use the steps that usually go on the toe rail to also be used for our steps up the transom - he's a smart man alright!
With the lifelines done and daylight hours increasing it's time to focus on the next part of the project and process which is reducing the draft/keel. Out came the plan for the keel modifications, off Peter went with his huge grinder and we are now waiting for the crane to arrive tomorrow to turn the keel over so Peter can cut the other side. We've already bought a few sheets of steel and the dirty work is about to begin. It will be a challenging new project but we are looking forward to having a more manageable draft while maintaining safety and performance aspects.
Just in time to keep our motivation going we also received a surprise letter from the designer, David Alan-Williams, with some encouraging words and a good luck token enclosed - what a fantastic motivation booster that was!
I will be documenting the keel modifications over the next month or two so make sure you check back and watch this space xx
As our last blog suggested we have been busy prepping the boat in order for the scaffolding to be removed. Last week the last of the plumbing for the cockpit drains was fitted, a massive clean up on and around the boat and scaffold and all these other last minute jobs one has to do! One of these jobs included getting the sign writing organised and we are absolutely trilled with the job Vitalsigns has done - we love it and it is great to see her new name :-)
Yesterday we used the last day of the scaffolding up to do anything on the topsides that needed to be done and Pete even went around and polished the odd spot that required it and I surprisingly found enough energy to wash down all the topsides after running the Whangarei Half Marathon in the morning. The end result was a shiny and tidy looking boat and we both admired her from various angles yesterday afternoon. This is what she looks like with clear and clean deck and topsides.
Let us know what you think but we are pretty wrapped with how she looks! With all the prep done the big day has arrived and today Palmer Scaffolding has returned, 16 months since putting the scaffolding up to remove it. With them the rain came as well which didn't make their job any easier or faster but the shrink wrap is off and so is the roof structure and as you can tell in the last pic we can actually see out the sky and hear the rain drops falling on our hatches - a very unusual sight and sound after 16 long months...I'll be updating the blog soon again once the scaffold has been fully removed and the sunshine has returned so as always - watch this space!
With the last of the tracks down, chain plates back in and general waterproofing nearing completion we are getting ready to have the scaffolding removed. That means besides the waterproofing jobs we needed to have lifelines installed again and move our workshop and materials below deck and into the next area inside. Here are a few pics of the tracks and newly serviced cars, chainplates, new forward cockpit entrance hatch and washboard, repaired stanchions and new lifelines.
The odd caulking seam, new filler caps (diesel, water, waste) and no doubt a few other little jobs to complete but we can't wait to see her 'unveiled' even though we will be missing the shed and the protection from the elements - no doubt about that! But it also makes it feel like we are getting closer to launch date which we all can't wait for (especially with all the winter colds and flu getting hold of everyone). We definitely can't wait for summer to arrive and the trip back to the tropics next year!!!
And that's the last of the painting on the deck done and she looks awesome with the non skid and all the rails back on and fitted! It is quite amazing to look around on the deck with all the shiny paint wherever we look. Incredible to think what a mess the deck was just a few months ago...
With the deck finished painting we are now ready to fit all the tracks back on. Over the last week Peter prepped all the backing pads. Today we fitted the first track back on. We opted for the main track as this is the shortest one and a good one to figure out the best and easiest way to do it. I must say it went a lot easier than anticipated and feels even better to just see the boat put back together more and more!
So it's all about fitting the tracks and finishing touches on the deck and then the next big project shall begin...watch this space xx
After emptying the anchor locker and forward section two weeks ago, we've jumped into action once again. For a few days Pete locked himself in there armed with his grinder to prep for painting, see the area prepped below:
And after a few repairs on the deck, it was time once again to get some paint on. It's always amazing to transform an area within a week or two and this time we haven't even made any major changes but it looks much better! This will be our 'toy' locker so all the more exciting :-)
With the fumes keeping Peter outside, he prepped all the remaining toe rails, did some more prep on the deck and cut another hatch above my stove. Over the weekend we've been fitting all of the toe rails as well as the anchor assembly/bow roller. It's awesome to put her together again - slowly but surely!
A bit more prep and we will be able to non skid the last area on the deck. This is very exciting for us!!! I'll be updating the Facebook page and blog - so watch this space xx