Tuesday 2 June 2020

Rear Cabin Wall, Seatback Supports & Topsides | Installation

With the cockpit deck installed I could move on to the upper hull assembly, which was very exciting!

I wired in the seatback supports and the rear cabin wall, having lifted the angle for the wall from the drawings.

In this picture we see the angle of the cabin wall being checked with a bevel, and the supports held upright by spring clamps.

I first installed the cabin wall with just three wires along the bottom, to make sure that it fitted correctly.

When satisfied I put in stitches to the deck at six inch intervals - six in each side and one in the middle.

I quickly found that a really sharp 3mm bit is required to drill holes for the wires. I started off with a dull bit which tore out the plywood under the deck where it had been coated with epoxy and was too hard to drill through easily. A new bit quickly solved the problem.

Here is a view of the stitches from inside the cabin.

I managed to get a really nice edge-to-edge join on both panels, and it was a good stiff fit.

Next I wired in the topsides panels.

This is the wire stitching toolkit. A supply of premade stitches and a selection of pliers ...

… and a drill with sharp 3mm bits, and a sharp bradawl to mark out the holes for accurate drilling.

You will note that the bit in the drill chuck is extra long. It will drill holes up to 80mm deep, and I got it specifically to drill the holes in the forward deck area where we have to drill at 45 degrees through the sides and sheerclamps and up through the deck to take the very long stitches required to secure the topsides at the bow.

The port topsides panel went in easily enough. Here it is viewed from the bow.

And here is the starboard panel going in.

Here is a view of both sides from the bow.

And another view from starboard, looking forwards.

In just a few hours PocketShip had changed dramatically! As so often with this build, weeks and even months go by without any visible change and then overnight ... hey presto! It really is a boat after all!

Next came tack welding of the topsides and the seatback supports.

The supports at frame 6 were riding a little high off the deck and needed to be pulled down tight against it before tack welds were applied. The build manual suggests using a hot glue gun for temporary positioning of components, so I tried that.

All went well until I applied the tack welds. The epoxy softened the glue and it let go, and the supports sprang up from the deck again. Oh no!

I quickly needed some means of pulling the topsides together at frame 6, but I don't have any clamps long enough to span the hull. But I do have some steel sash cramps which can be bolted together to make them really, really long.

So I rapidly measured the breadth of the hull and assembled a pair of sash cramps accordingly, and deployed them. As follows.

That worked just fine, and is what I should have done in the first place. Hot glue - whatever next?!

I tack welded the topsides and side panels together at the same time, carefully avoiding the joint with the rear cabin wall in case it needed to be tuned.

Accordingly, with the topsides in place and welds cured I made a quick test fit of the seat backs. This is what I found.

You can immediately see a gap at the bottom of the seatback, caused by the cabin wall being at too acute an angle.

It was clear that the wall needs to sit on top of the deck, and not meet it edge-to-edge as I had first thought. This would move the bottom of the wall back half an inch or so.

So I pulled the stitches and rewired the wall in the correct position. All was well.

I then tack welded the cabin wall in place, and poured a glass of something cold to celebrate.

Next up, it's fillets … whoopee!


  1. You are really coming along! The boat looks great. I had this same problem and just sat the back of the cabin on the deck and did a small fillet on the inside. Looks fine.

    1. Thanks Ron! I have been referring to your blog at each stage of my build, so I wasn't surprised or concerned when I found that the wall had to be moved a little - as you did.