It’s a long time since the last update and we’ve made a lot of progress despite being held back by periodic flooding of the boat shed due to the exceptional rain of the winter.
The last 30 ribs have been installed using a new technique on the advice of Iain Nicolson. The problem was that the ribs had to be inserted behind both the beam shelf and the stringer and it was hard to achieve the reverse bend down into the bilge before the rib cooled.
The solution was to use a fine blade of the band saw and to split the rib up as far as the stringer, thus making the lower part more flexible. The ribs were subsequently glued with epoxy and then nailed as normal. In total some 3500 copper nails have been used and the last one was driven on 21 October 2015 – a major tick in the box.
We then moved onto internal work. Tim concentrated on making the frame for the cockpit seat and the bulkhead at the aft end of the cockpit and I got on with making the cockpit carlins and the short deck beams down the length of the cockpit.
We struggled with heights of deck beams and the sheer line and realised that Dione, in common with the rest of the class, had a flatter sheer than shown on the original drawings. We realised the best way to get a fair line was to rough fit the plywood deck and then to adjust the deck beam heights to get a sweet line and a good fit.
We needed to fit the new rudder so that it could be faired into the sternpost. That meant lifting Dione about 1.5 metres to get the necessary clearance. We did this using a single chain block from a frame in the shed roof down to a fabricated bracket attached to the keel bolts.
There was a second strop around the after end of the keel which controlled the height of the stern. This worked well and with the rudder in place we could start thinking about the shaping of the sternpost and the complex concave curves of the after end of the hull.
Meanwhile Tim was working on procuring the bronze fittings we needed, from the bow fairlead to the mast ring to the tiller fitting on the rudder head and he has now made the required patterns for the foundry.
Dione had, originally been caulked with traditional cotton. In some places the seams had then been stopped with putty and in others, perhaps about half the total, the seams had been splined (thin strips of wood glued into the seams). There was no pattern or logic as to which technique had been used in different areas of the boat. As the caulking cotton tended to disintegrate into dust when removed, we decided the only way ahead was to have the lot out and to start again. This was a long job and it was hard to remove the glued splines without damaging the planks either side.
We have now finished shaping and faring the hull below the waterline, two coats of primer have been applied and we are about to start recaulking – all 300 metres of it. She is beginning to look like a boat again!