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Old 27-11-2015, 15:53   #1
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Long long long time, but finally some progress

It has been a very long time since I last posted here, but I have an update for my Bruce Roberts Offshore 38 refit.

Well I have been working hard on the boat this past week. Lucky for me, while the weather started out crappy with both Saturday and Sunday being too wet, the rest of the week has been nearly perfect, with the breeze being the only complaint.

Here are the photos of the progress:

To recap, I started with this:
P1000708 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

Which I did not like as it took up too much living space below.

I began to cut and wound up with this hole in the deck:
P1000756 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

I left the old cockpit floor in place as I would need this to stand in when I put the new deck frames in.

In order to cover the hole I needed to make some new ribs to replace the ones removed with the seats. I made a template of the camber from one of the remaining ribs and used the scrap from the old cockpit to cut some new ones:
P1000766 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

That is where things have sat for a while now, but the hiatus is over, and here is where we stand:
In order to have enough lifting power to get the steel and tools into place on the deck I first had to fabricate a new crane. I had built a crane for the boat before, but it did not have the swing or height to get things where I need them to be. I repurposed the mast from the old crane and built a new boom. I added a remote controlled electric winch to do the heavy lifting. I mounted the crane on the existing mizzen mast step to utilize the compression post and chain plates already in place to support the crane. Dyneema was used for the guy ropes on the crane.

I am finding that I spend nearly as much time building the tools that I need as I do working on the boat itself.
20151124_120608 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

Two new ribs needed to be welded into place along with new stringers to provide the framework for the new decking. I started with the central stringer to align the ribs with, then welded in the first rib. Next was the second rib and the stringers on either side of the mid-line:
20151124_120531 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

20151124_140025 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

Once the framework was in place I removed the last of the old cockpit floor as this had to be done prior to putting the new plates in. There are also some old batteries that I will remove prior to plating over the hole as well. They weigh about 100 pounds each and the winch will be used for them too.
20151124_140040 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

I purchased the steel plate to cover the hole and it is ready for cutting once I get the templates marked and cut out of fiberboard. Yes, I had to make that cutting table as well. Like I said, just as much time making tools as working on the boat:
20151127_122542 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

Today was spent cleaning up the old cut lines and making them straight. It is much easier to cut straight lines in the plate with the torch, so all of the lines are getting straightened out. They donít have to be square, but they need to be straight.
With any luck I should be able to get the templates made and at least one plate cut tomorrow. That leaves Sunday for cutting the last plate and tacking everything in place. Unfortunately it is not safe for me to leave my expensive tools like my welder and tanks at the boatyard, so I will need to pack it all up and bring it home on Sunday as well. I will not be able to finish up the welding until next weekend at the earliest. but I will need to keep an eye on the weather.
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Old 28-11-2015, 08:35   #2
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Cool steel boat, love it.


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Old 29-11-2015, 16:43   #3
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Well I managed to get the plates cut for the decking this weekend, but not welded into place yet. I simply ran out of time. Everything is stowed and buttoned up as we are expecting some rain by the end of next week.

Hopefully the weekend will be clear and I can get the plates in. I still have to seal all of the new steel with epoxy primer before I tack in the deck. That will be the job for Saturday along with removal of the batteries.

Sunday will be welding.

My latest issue is one of access. With the old companionway location sealed up I only have access through the forward and aft utility hatches. These are plenty long, but just a little tight in the width for easy use. I guess that soon enough I will have a new hole for the new cockpit location, but until then it will be a squeeze.

Anyway, I promise more pictures next time.
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Old 30-11-2015, 12:16   #4
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Impressive!😎
Hats off to that.


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Old 06-12-2015, 20:03   #5
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Thanks for the encouraging words.
While I did get some work done this weekend it was not nearly as much as I wanted.
The spirit was willing,




but the body said that it needed a day off.


I managed to acid bath the under side of the steel plates for the deck to remove the mill scale and get that side in primer. I was going to put off cleaning the tops until after I had them welded in, but after seeing just how nasty the acid was, I did not want it on my decks. I will clear the tops and primer them too next weekend prior to tacking it all in place.


That is all for now, pics next weekend.
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Old 13-12-2015, 19:42   #6
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

I came down with bronchitis this week, so no progress.

I will try again next weekend.
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Old 13-12-2015, 20:28   #7
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Oh, rustypirate,

That's bad news. I wish you a speedy recovery.

Ann
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Old 13-12-2015, 21:08   #8
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

G'Day RP, and good onya for all the progress.

FWIW, our first ever Aussie friends, whom we met in Tahiti Iti in 1990 had a Roberts 38, and they had done the same mod that y ou are essaying: cut out the c/c to increase space below decks. Worked out well for them, for they did an 8 year circumnavigation in her (named Currikkee) and then lived aboard for a few years after their return.

Hope that you are as well rewarded for your efforts.

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Old 14-12-2015, 04:34   #9
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

That's a really impressive job you're doing. Good luck and hope you are out sailing soon.
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Old 14-12-2015, 04:44   #10
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Absolutely GREAT job RP!

This is coming along nicely, and has all the makings of coming out spectacular...
Hats (head scarf) off to an impressive job!
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Old 20-12-2015, 21:28   #11
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Here is the progress update from the weekend:
Saturday was a total BUST! I had to get some work done on the truck, so no boat work.

Sunday we actually got some work done! :0

Not as much as I wanted to get done, of course.

The old batteries are now gone. I moved the jetski next to the boat and backed the truck right up next to it. I was able to use the crane to hoist the big old Trojans up one at a time and drop them directly into the bed. It went exactly as planned without any hiccups or drama.

Next I tackled removing the last of the rust and mill-scale from the stringers and ribs. This is where things went sideways - fast.

The normal headroom in the boat from cabin sole to coach roof is say six feet. Once you remove the cabin sole, that distance jumps to about seven and a half feet as you can tell by this six foot ladder standing in the bilges.
P1000758 by Campbell Fisher, on Flickr

Have you ever tried to use an angle grinder while trying to balance on a sloped surface and working two feet over your head? It sucks.

Never one to give up, I tried to use the ladder, but it was simply too unstable what with no flat surfaces to stand it on.

The solution was to take the two loading ramps I use to get heavy things like my compressor or generator in and out of the truck bed, and to clamp them together so that they are wide enough to span the distance between the stringers in the center of the middle chine. This gives me a flat stable work platform sitting about four feet below the coach roof. I can now work with the material at chest height.

Unfortunately by the time I figured this out, I was out of time for the weekend.

What with Christmas and New Years, I won't be able to get any more work done until at least the 2nd.
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Old 22-12-2015, 07:42   #12
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

The unwelcome break will actually be welcome after it happens!

Yes on the angle grinder over the head... and yes... no fun...

PS: Don't take the guard off one and use it on the inside of a tank... blind through a new inspection port... Bad things are likely to happen...
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Old 27-07-2016, 23:16   #13
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Re: Long long long time, but finally some progress

Well, more progress...
On a side note, I have finally received the last of my winches. One of the upgrades I wanted to make was self tailing winches all around, and I have been purchasing them as I found good deals. I also wanted to step up the sizes used, so here is what I have now:
Genoa sheet winches are older Lewmar chromed bronze 43's. Big beasties...
Main mast halyard winches are a pair of Lewmar chromed bronze Ocean 30's. One shared for the Mainsail and drifter, and the other for the genoa and topping lift.
Main sheet is a Lewmar chromed bronze Ocean 16.
Mizzen halyard is a Lewmar chromed bronze Ocean 16.
Main sail reefing winch is a Lewmar aluminum ocean 16.


As for progress on the "great big hole", I have managed to get the new deck plates cut and painted with primer to keep the rust away. That part was actually rough because when you get typical steel plate it comes with a layer of what is called "mill scale" on it. This mill scale is oxidized steel (rust) that forms when the metal is rolled to thickness at the factory. It must be removed before any painting can occur. One way to remove it is sandblasting (which I am not equipped to do, and is not allowed at the boatyard where I am doing the work). Another way is with a grinder (if you have all the time in the world and then some...). The method I wound up using involves some really nasty acid to dissolve the scale and leaves the bare steel. The acid used is not only dangerous to get on your skin, but produces toxic fumes which can burn out your lungs if inhaled. Needless to say a full body hazmat suit with a full face gas mask and special filters was needed, and with the Florida summer raging, it was torture, but I finally got both sides of each plate cleaned and painted.

I wound up with a dilemma however. Once I get the new deck installed, I will have no access to remove the engine, or any other large objects from the interior. The old cockpit companionway was the designed access for these items. I decided to design, fabricate and install a new hatch to give me the necessary access. I wanted the new hatch to have an opening of 24 inches by 48 inches to fit the current engine or any upgrade I may install later on. The next consideration was that I wanted to be able to have both light and ventilation through the hatch, but did not want to build a custom opening hatch for this purpose. I settled on buying two Bowmar 22 inch square aluminum hatches and having an aluminum plate cut to mount them into. So, the design is to have a steel plate with a full opening of 24X48 with a rim welded to it, which is then welded into the deck over the engine. An aluminum plate with cutouts for two large hatches will be bolted to the steel plate, and the opening hatches will then be mounted to the aluminum plate. This gives me the light and ventilation provided by the standard hatches, plus the ability to unbolt the aluminum plate and remove it hatches and all when I need the large access hole. I had the steel and aluminum plates cut with a CNC water jet machine to get a clean professional finish and nice rounded corners to keep things looking professional and prevent lines form catching on it. I welded a lip of formed steel to the bottom of the steel plate to provide the interface to the bowed cabin top. I had holes cut in both the steel and aluminum plates for the fasteners used to secure them together and tapped the holes in the steel so that the machine screws will thread directly into it and I don't have to mess with nuts on the underside. I also sourced some nylon bushings to keep the stainless machine screws isolated from the aluminum plate and causing galvanic corrosion. Other touches were countersinks on the underside of the holes in the aluminum so that when the sealer is applied it will squeeze the sealant up around each fastener for a better seal. Now I just need to grind down the excess weld material and paint it. Once the new deck plates are welded in I will mark out and cut the hole for the new hatch and weld the steel frame into place.













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