Sunday 11 December 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

When visitors see PocketShip for the first time they frequently ask two questions.

"When is the launch date?", and "Does it have a name?".

I wish I knew the answer to the former. At one point I thought it might be the summer of 2021, but that year came and went, and we were still nowhere near the end of the build.

I started to believe it could be the summer of 2022, but again the year will shortly draw to a close with the boat still in the workshop.

But I am now feeling quietly confident that she will be in the water in the summer of 2023. After all, all I have to do now is finish painting her and do the fitting out. Right?

In the final analysis, the only honest answer is that it will be launched when it is finished, and not before. It has taken a lot longer than anticipated to get things finished to my satisfaction, and that's just the way it is.

The answer to the second question is yes, she does have a name. But only one person knows it, and that's me ...

And again the name will be announced on launch day, and not before.

Here's to launch day, whenever it may be!

Rails & Other Bits | Finishing the Finish

I left the varnished rails to harden for several days before finishing them in the now usual way of wet sanding and polishing.

Rub rails, toe rails and companionway hood and slide grab rails were all initially wet sanded with P800 through to P2500 grits to achieve a smooth, flat surface.

Here we are sanding the port rub rail.

All rails were then buffed with P5000 and finally P9000 polishing compound to bring them to a nice shine.

This is the starboard rub rail being polished.

I did all the polishing by hand rather than use a machine. I found this to be more effective when finishing the spars, so continued the practice with the rails.

This is the companionway slide grab rail being finished.

I had previously managed to sand through to bare wood in a couple of places when wet sanding the drop board retainers, so I revarnished the bare patches and wet sanded them back to a smooth, flat surface before finishing them off with polishing compound. As here.

They turned out well.

And this is the starboard toe rail after polishing.

Things were starting to look quite nice!

The polishing was completed, and the great moment came when I pulled all the masking tape and coverings.

Here is a front view of the topsides.

And here is the side view from starboard.

This is a close up of the starboard rub rail at the bow.

All the sapele rails turned out really well, I'm relieved to say.

The ash grab rails on the companionway hood and slide turned out nicely too.

Here is the rail on the hood.

And here is the rail on the slide, back in the house for safe keeping.

The hull is nearly finished.

All I have to do now is finish painting the blue and white frame around the transom and tidy up inside the companionway hood and the cabin.

We should then be ready to start the fitting out!

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Spars & Other Bits | Finishing the Finish

While waiting for the varnish on the rails to harden I finished off all the spars and other varnished bits and pieces.

I wanted to achieve a smooth, flat, shiny finish - like the paintwork on the upper hull.

So, I started with the tiller. Being quite small it would not be a big deal if it didn't go well and had to be revarnished.

I went through the same routine as employed on the paintwork. Wet sanding with P800 through to P2500 grits and finishing off with P5000 and P9000 polishing compound.

Happily, it turned out well. Here it is sanded and polished.

The boom gallows followed. Here it is being sanded.

Next came the bowsprit. Here it is being polished.

The gaff followed. This is it being sanded.

I left the mast until last, being the biggest task by a long way. It also turned out really nice.

Here it is being polished.

That's the spars all finished. We are definitely getting there!

Transom Frame | More Primer Required

While working on the rails I also started to finish off the transom.

Specifically, the blue and white frame lines around the edges of the transom needed to be completed.

Here is the already varnished transom with its protective covering removed.

You can see that the lower edge of the blue line across the top of the transom had already been masked off earlier in anticipation of this activity.

The varnish needed a little bit of tidying up but otherwise looked great, whereas the two white lines across the bottom of the transom had a nasty surprise in store for me.

They had both partly blistered while covered up and didn't look very good at all. Like this.

I have no idea how it happened. It looks like they have been exposed to solvent or something corrosive, but the adjacent blue paint and varnish are perfect.

It's yet another PocketShip mystery.

Both lines will have to be repainted.

In this pic the top blue line has been masked off, and both white lines at the bottom have been sanded to remove the blemishes and also masked off.

I covered the transom with plastic sheeting for protection.

Lastly the top and bottom lines were primed, as here.

This is the first coat. I will apply at least five coats before sanding ready for gloss.

Rub, Toe & Grab Rails | Varnishing

When the paint on the upper hull was fully hardened, I removed the masking tape from all the rails and then masked them off from the hull for varnishing.

This is what the starboard rub rail looked like.

Similarly, here is the starboard toe rail.

You can see that I have masked off the companionway hood grab rail as well, ready for varnish.

I also prepared the grab rail on the companionway slide, as here.

Five coats of varnish were then carefully applied by brush.

This is the starboard rub rail after varnishing.

I will now leave the varnish to harden off for several days before wet sanding and polishing to a nice, shiny finish.