Monday 21 August 2023

Fitting Out | Tabernacle & Mast

With the mast complete and ready to go onto the boat I now needed to make sure that it fitted into the tabernacle.

So I made a test fit with the mast horizontal and the tabernacle dropped onto it, like this.

Two problems were immediately apparent.

The pivot bolt did not slide through the mast and out the other side of the tabernacle, and the mast could not be lowered sufficiently because the rear face of the tabernacle was too high.

I expected to ream out the pivot holes to get a good fit but I was very surprised to find that the tabernacle was wrong.

I checked the tabernacle against the pattern for the rear face, and it was exactly as specified. Like this.

So the pattern is the wrong height. Annoying, but not the end of the world. All I had to do was remove a piece at the top of the rear wall.

Some time ago I bought a multi purpose tool after seeing a plumber cut a neat square hole in our ceiling with just such a tool, to fix a leak.

If I had known that such a thing existed I could have used one to remove the floorboard cleat on bulkhead two which turned out to be 1/2" too high. As it was I went to enormous trouble to modify the floorboards and the cleat to resolve the problem.

So when I saw a tool which could make neat vertical plunge cuts I bought one, knowing that I would have a similar problem again at some point in the build.

This was it.

Here is the tool kit which I deployed.

I marked up 1/2" to be removed from the rear wall, and used the large Japanese pull saw to make the vertical cuts.

Then I used the multi purpose tool to slice out the waste, and a chisel and sandpaper to clean up.

This is what it now looked like.

That will look fine when touched up.

Another test fit followed. The problem had been solved, as here.

There is now good clearance for the mast to be fully lowered.

I used a 10mm rod in the mast and in the tabernacle to find how badly the pivot holes were misaligned, using the engineer's square to measure it. Like this.

You can see that the hole through the tabernacle is not perpendicular.

A similar check on the mast showed the same thing, but in the opposite direction. No wonder the pivot did not fit!

I marked up the diverging pivot holes to show what was happening. This is it.

The hole through the mast slants to the left, and the hole in the tabernacle goes to the right. The pencil lines are indicative - not actual angles.

Not out by much but together making it impossible to fit the pivot bolt.

The problem was quickly solved by reaming out each hole on the appropriate side so that they aligned properly.

The pivot bolt was now in place and the mast fully lowered, as in this pic.

Time to fit the boom gooseneck to the tabernacle.

The manual says that it is through bolted to the rear face, but I did not see how that was possible because the mast lies flat against it when raised.

Except it doesn't, does it? The manual also tells us to place a small block of wood on top of the bowsprit inside the tabernacle, 18mm thick. This is to dial in a small amount of mast rake, to make PocketShip sail better.

Hmmmm. Would that allow enough room inside the tabernacle to allow through fastening?

I found a bottle top that was 18mm tall and stuck it in the tabernacle, where the block of wood would go. Then I again simulated raising the mast, like this.

Plenty of daylight in there! This is what it  looked like at the top, with the 18mm cap in place.

There seemed to be plenty of room for fastenings, so I went ahead with this approach.

Here I have marked up for the gooseneck, as specified by the manual.

And this is the gooseneck in place after final fit with sealant.

While I was at it I made a block of Ash to fit inside the tabernacle. Here it is.

And here it is inside the tabernacle.

I think that's the tabernacle finished.

I can't complete fitting out (spinnaker sheet cleats, chainplates, mainsheet blocks) until the boat is moved outside onto its trailer and the mast installed.

So now I need to organise that momentous event!

Fitting Out | Boom

There were not many fittings to install on the boom, but drilling for the gooseneck pin required some care.

The boom simply slides onto a sturdy pin on the gooseneck, and is apparently held in place by the mainsail outhaul.

So we need to drill a 12mm hole into the end of the boom, at its exact centre.

I marked up the the boom, like this.

It was at this point that I realised a piece was missing from my gooseneck.

The drawings on sheet 1 of the plans show the tack of the mainsail held in place by a pin through a bracket on the top of the gooseneck. This is the drawing.

My gooseneck does not have such a bracket.

Here it is, next to the photo in the manual also showing the bracket securing the tack.

The gaff gooseneck has such a bracket to secure the mainsail throat. You can see it here.

I duly informed the kit supplier and I will wait to see what they say. I don't need a new gooseneck - just the missing bracket.

Anyway, we can still install the gooseneck.

Once again I used the drill guide to drill a nice perpendicular hole in the boom end, fixing it to a bench to keep it rigid while I drilled. Here it is.

That worked well. Here is the gooseneck, slid into place.

Lastly I had the mainsail outhaul cheekblock and eyestrap to fit.

I marked up for both at the same time. This is for the cheekblock.

And here are both fittings in place, after final fitting with sealant.

The manual states that the outhaul is secured to a cleat near the gooseneck, but no such cleat is provided and there is no picture of it in use so I will worry about that when rigging the boat.

Which will hopefully be soon ...

Fitting Out | Gaff

I turned my attention to the gaff and of course immediately realised that it should really have a flat surface on its lower face, to seat the sail track.

I had spent ages giving it beautifully rounded top and bottom edges, and I wondered why the build manual told me to do this.

A closer look at the manual revealed the answer. CLC tells us to use an "external T track". In other words, the sail slides go around the outside rather than inside the track. The T track will sit on a rounded surface.

My sail track works in the opposite way. The slides go inside the channel, so it is wide and needs a flat surface to bed down on.

Not a huge setback, but an annoying one. So I first had to restore a flat surface to the bottom of the gaff.

I decided not to take it back to a completely flat face, but to take off just enough to provide a good seating for the sail track.

First I used the cutting gauge and a pencil to provide parallel lines to guide the plane. Like this.

This shows me exactly how much material should be removed.

Then I used the block plane to reinstate a flat surface, as here.

This is what it now looked like.

Next I drilled a hole for lashing the sail to the peak of the gaff, and countersunk it. This is it.

And then I fitted the peak halyard block attachment. As here.

The gooseneck was next. Inspection of the holes in the straps revealed that they were too big for M4 and too small for M5 machine screws, which I intended to use for through spar fastenings.

So I drilled the holes out to 5mm, using a cobalt drill bit and cutting fluid. Like this.

Next I drilled 5mm holes through the gaff, to fit the gooseneck. I used the drill guide to get perpendicular holes, like this.

The resulting holes looked like this.

Thus far I have been been pleased with the quality of the fittings, but this gooseneck was the exception. It's from Racelite, and very poorly made.

The outer cage had been squashed to accept a short pin, and the inner cage had been very roughly ground to allow it to pivot freely. This left a very rough, jagged and razor sharp edge which would very easily slice through a halyard or remove a finger tip.

So I took it apart and filed the inner cage to a smooth edge. As here.

This is the gooseneck after final fit with clear sealant.

It was while fitting the gooseneck that I realised I had fixed the peak halyard block at the wrong end of the gaff. So I plugged the first screw holes and marked up in the correct place, like this.

Finally here is the re-sited block attachment in place.

That's the gaff finished!

Fitting Out | Sail Track

I carefully marked up the mast and the gaff for fitting the sail track, like this.

The screws supplied for fixing the sail track in place were too small. I think they were #7, whereas #8 are required.

It seems that you can only buy stainless steel wood screws in quantities of 100, so that's what I did.

Here the sail track has all been screwed in place for the test installation.

The #8 screws hold it snugly in place at six inch intervals. Here they are on the mast.

Lastly here are the mast and gaff after final fitting of the sail track with clear sealant.

Each spar takes two pieces of sail track - one piece at six feet as supplied, and one at a shorter length cut to fit.

I had an afternoon of drama when I started the final fit on the mast because I installed the first length the wrong way round, meaning that the second length did not fit!

So I had to unscrew the first piece and remove all the clear sealant from the track, mast and screws. It was not an enjoyable experience, so I gave up and did the whole installation the following day when I was in a much better frame of mind ...

So that's the sail track finished.

Fitting Out | Mast

It was time to install the mast fittings, so I studied sheet 1 of the plans very carefully.

At this point I had little knowledge of how the rigging is set up, so it took some time to work it out in my head so that I didn't have to blindly follow the build manual instructions.

Then I used masking tape to mark up the sides of the mast - front, back, port and starboard - and the exact location and name of each fitting. This is the fully marked up mast on the bench.

This is an example of how the fittings were labelled, in this case the peak and spinnaker halyard padeyes.

I even added instructions on how to drill holes for the machine screws. It is important to drill from the back because it is a flat surface - the front is tapered.

Next came the drilling. I wanted to be sure that the screw holes were in the right place and perpendicular, so that the various blocks and eyes would fit properly.

Previous experience when drilling freehand - by eye - had rarely gone well. So I set up the drill guide for this purpose.

I set the drill guide up on two identical pots placed either side and slightly above the mast, using a level. Like this.

I was able to drill the through holes with a fair amount of accuracy. Still not perfect, but as good as I could get it and very much better than drilling by eye.

Then came test installation for each fitting. This is the jib halyard padeye, through fastened with machine screws.

And this is the peak and spinnaker halyard padeye.

Here is the cheek block for the throat halyard, fitted with wood screws.

And this is the peak halyard eyestrap, to secure the end of the halyard.

Lastly, when all the fittings were in place I cut the mast sail track to length and secured it in place with a couple of temporary screws in order to mark up the screw holes. Here it is.

Now we move on to the gaff and the boom. Exciting!

Fitting Out | Bowsprit Test Fit

In the last post I described how I made new pivot bolts for the tabernacle, to secure the mast and the bowsprit.

There should of course be no problem in using the new bolts, but I have been caught out in the past by assuming that an identical part is exactly that - identical.

So I made a quick test fit of the bowsprit in the tabernacle using the new bolt. Here it is.

As hoped, it fitted with no problem. Here is the new pivot bolt in place.

I haven't test fitted the mast in the tabernacle yet. That will come soon and I fully expect that the holes will not line up!