Sunday 8 August 2021

Flipping The Boat | Over She Goes!

At 6.30pm on Friday 6th August 2021 a momentous event took place in Tanners Lane, Eynsham.

PocketShip was flipped upside down!

It went perfectly without any drama, and was a lot of fun.

The boat is now sitting securely on dollies in the workshop, awaiting completion of the lower hull sides and bottom.

Here is the boat seen from the stern.

And here she is viewed from the bow.

At 6pm I assembled a large crew consisting of seventeen or eighteen friends and family members.

I had anticipated that the beer would be consumed  after the flip had taken place, but the crew decreed otherwise. Cold beers, chilled wine, and G&Ts soon flowed freely.

We lifted the boat off the supports and carried it out onto the driveway, where I had laid six 8x4' sheets of Sterling board to provide a flat surface for the dolly wheels and to protect the boat from damage on the gravel. Nine or ten people carried the boat with ease.

Then we turned it over and set it down carefully on the wheeled dollies and pushed it back into the workshop.

The whole thing took a matter of minutes!

Here we are carrying the boat out.

And here we are turning her over.

Here the boat is being set down on the dollies.

And lastly here the crew is pushing the boat back inside.

And that was that!

This is son Nick's crew.

And this is my crew ...

A fabulous evening was had by all, with a delicious meal of home-made pizza and salad provided by the two Alisons and Nicky.

A very proud and happy day - thank you everyone!

Flipping The Boat | Finishing The Dollies

I had previously made a pair of dollies to support the boat when it is flipped upside down, but I had not finished them.

They needed vertical supports to support the hull at the bow and stern at a height of 10 1/4" and 17 1/2" respectively.

So this is how the front dolly looked when finished. It's just a block of wood attached to the dolly.

And this is how I completed the rear dolly.

I fixed a vertical post to the dolly to take the compression load, and used a strong plastic bucket securely fixed to the post and the dolly to take any lateral load or twist when moving.

The bucket happened to be exactly the right height!

So the dollies are now ready for the big day.

Flipping The Boat | Test Run Disaster

I decided to have a test run for moving the boat out of the workshop onto the driveway, on its wheeled cradle.

I had laid some sheets of Sterling board on the gravel drive to provide a flat surface for the wheels. It was the cheapest sheet material available and I bought six sheets.

My lovely wife Alison advised against this without the assistance of more people, but I went ahead anyway.

There is a raised hard rubber strip across the garage floor, just behind the bottom edge of the closed main door. I installed it to prevent rain ingress, and it does that just fine.

However, as soon as the wheels on the rear cradle hit the strip the cradle collapsed.

The boat was now half outside the workshop with the keel resting on the driveway and the bow still supported by a partially destroyed front cradle.

This was a serious setback. There was no way we could lift the boat by ourselves, and rain was likely.

I should have foreseen this. The two halves of the cradle are held apart by a length of MDF, which is very flimsy and snapped as soon as it met resistance.

We managed between us to raise the stern enough to slide a furniture dolly under the keel, and we then carefully pushed it back into the workshop still supported by the collapsed front  cradle.

Somehow we managed to slide the dollies which I had made for the flip under the keel to support the boat.

I then clamped blocks of wood to the sawhorses to prevent the boat from falling over. Like this.

You can see the rear cradle on the bench with the snapped off MDF spacers.

This is the dolly at the front of the keel, and the partly collapsed front cradle still supporting the boat.

And here is a view from the port side, with the rear dolly clearly visible supporting the stern.

I put a cargo strap around the hull to hold the blocks against the topsides while I made permanent supports to fit on the sawhorses.

Here is a view from port of the fully supported boat.

I also made a pair of keel blocks to take the weight of the boat so I could remove and finish making the dollies. Here they are.

The boat now looked and felt even more stable than when it was on the cradle!

It was clear now that we would have to carry the boat to move it. I guess it was better that this happened now rather than when we make the flip.

Onwards and upwards!

Cabin | Painting The Interior

The build manual tells us to paint the rest of the cabin interior when the boat is upside down, because it's more accessible.

So that's the upper half of the cabin and the underside of the cockpit deck.

I decided to make use of the delay in flipping the boat to at least start painting the interior.

This the first coat of undercoat on the starboard side.

Pretty patchy, as expected. A second coat was applied.

That's a bit better!

I was running out of time now because a date for the flip had been set, but I managed to apply a single top coat. It will definitely need a couple more coats when finishing, as you can see here.

It looks quite nice though. It looked even nicer when I removed the protective layers from the floorboards.

Here is a view of the starboard side.

And here is a view of the rear of the cabin.

She is looking quite smart now!

Ballast | Lots of Lead

As I thought about about turning the boat upside down I started to think ahead to completion of the build and when to purchase two vital items needed for launch day.

A lot of lead for ballast in the bilges, and a trailer.

The lead time for the trailer is about six weeks, so I decided to order that when I flip the boat right way up again.

But I might as well get the lead ballast now, since I didn't know how hard it would be to find a large amount of the recommended lead shot.

A call to the supplier of lead for the keel revealed that they could not supply any shot but they knew someone who could.

The new supplier did not make lead shot, which is apparently very expensive and I'm not even sure if you could get it in the UK now because it has been banned for use in shotgun ammunition. It's poisonous and kills wildfowl which ingest spent shot when feeding on mudflats and in shallows.

The good news though was that they can supply lead pellets, about 1cm in diameter. Ideal!

The build manual recommends a minimum of 36kg in each side of the boat, so 72kg in total is required.

The pellets are only available in 20kg bags though, so I purchased 80kg at £2.77 per kilogram plus shipping. I didn't think that was too expensive.

This is what 80kg of lead pellets looks like, in 4 heavy bags.

I'm not convinced it will fit into the compartments under the lift-out floorboards. We will see!

Upper Hull | Final Sanding

The time came for me to sand the third and final clear coat of epoxy resin on the upper hull.

I had been prevented from doing so by the failure of my Festool sander, so I had it repaired. It turned out that the brushes were worn out. I didn't even know it had brushes. Oh well, I suppose that three years of more or less constant use isn't bad for one set of brushes.

This is the sanded cockpit viewed from the starboard quarter.

And here is the view from the bow.

That's the upper hull structurally complete now.

This is in mid July and we could flip it now to work on the lower hull, but pandemic restrictions on social contact do not yet allow a crew to be assembled. So we just have to wait.

Ship's Cat | Again!

I mentioned in a previous post that our feline friend had started to visit my workshop.

She continues to do so, sure in the knowledge that she owns all that she surveys and tolerates us as guests in her house purely because she needs someone to feed her.

Here she is, trying to decide if there is anything of interest to her here.

Apparently there was nothing, so she left and went to be fed.