Posted by: Mike Randall | April 3, 2011

Cockpit Sole

Motivation is high at the moment and I’ve made some good progress recently, maybe because the end of the construction phase is fast approaching or because the family is excited about the boat and have begun planning our next summers sailing adventures to Rottnest Island of the WA coast!


A family visit to dad's obsession!

This level of enthusiasm may wane again as winter approaches and I face final painting and varnishing! In the meantime here is what I’ve been upto.

Before starting the cockpit sole I put bungs in all the screw holes on the Gunwale Cap and Rubbing Strake, about 40 holes needed to be filled. The edges of the countersink holes didn’t drill as cleanly as I’d hoped, so I’ve had to use a bit of filler to finish them off, luckily most will be covered by the Toe Rail.

Bungs for days

Then it was time to tackle the cockpit sole which will be made from oiled Oregon planks. This looked pretty straightforward on the plan but as I looked more closely at the plan detail I realised there was a fair bit of work in making the removable hatches, pre-drilling, screwing and installing all the underfloor battens.

Laying out the planks and under floor batten positions

Removable sole hatches - under floor batten positions

Removable centre hatch layout

Final fixing with battens in place

All done!

The sole planked

It took about 150 screws to secure the sole planks and I had considered for about a microsecond countersinking them and filling with bungs or the more complicated option – screwing the battens down from underneath! I got over this whole train of thought once I decided I wanted to be able to unscrew these planks easily and at anytime for maintenance and easy replacement. I’ll be pulling this all apart again for final painting and oiling – oh joy!

The Helm Seat

Next task after the Cockpit Sole is the Helmsman Seat. This is going to be made from the same timber as the cockpit coaming – Jarrah. I’ve purchased the exact amount for this job so I don’t want to make a mistake. To avoid this I made the whole thing first out of some left over ply, here is how it looks.

Helm seat pattern temporarily in place

Helm seat pattern

The lumps of Jarrah I have are quiet chunky – 350mm wide by about 40mm thick. I have to mill these to 20mm thick then cut them to my pattern shapes. I hope my little thicknesser is upto the task!

We’re not going away this Easter, so I hope to get close to finishing the build stage over the next few weeks. Looking over my posts I see that last Easter I still hadn’t turned the hull over – geez part time boat building takes a long time! Though it is getting exciting now.


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