Stern extensions - Phase III

The next step after making the new stern was to attach it to Reach's hull.  Sounds easy when you put it that way.  Of course, there were many, many details on the road from the build to an integral hull addition.    

After the steps were cored, bulkhead made and attached, the lower stern piece was evaluated for fit.  An appropriate amount of glass was trimmed off from the lay-up.  This section was secured with screwed wood plates and stanchions so that it was in-line with the curves and matched the length of the upper stern.  

All glassing of new stern to original hull must be done on a sanded/grinded, raw surface to ensure a good chemical and physical bond between old and new.

At this point, the bottom stern was attached to Reach using epoxy and biaxial fiberglass inside and out to form a solid base for the extension.

Next, there needed to be rounds of thorough fitting and trimming of the upper stern to "torture" the shape and make sure it followed the complex curves of the existing hull.  Small wooden cleats were glassed up the original hull to serve as screw points for the fitting.  

As the hardened fiberglass structure is now stiff to work with, this took plenty of cranking, jumping, banging and hanging to get a tight fit!

The upper stern was screwed into the cleats along the original hull to ensure the same fit after each adjustment, peeking-in to see what might be touching or not and trimming or grinding along the way.  Each iteration checked the flushness of sides, conformity to the internal bulkhead and/or original steps, levelness of new stairs, etc & etc.  

Listo?  (Ready)?  Not so fast...  Once aligned and excess glass edges were trimmed fully, there were still a few more details to attend to before we could glass the upper piece onto the boat.   

Insert a lot of rain days in January (think all of those cold fronts from North America) and time waiting for more materials & you will appreciate that this phase took plenty of patience and good humor.

  1. Install stainless steel backing plates for railings and swim ladder:  Measure new rail positions, cut stainless backing plates to fit and glass in underside of hull.

  1. Install interior drain and limber holes in bottom of "crash box":  Flange the end of a 1/2"x8' PVC pipe, epoxy into bottom step of original hull and lead to bilge.

  1. Design and install engine ventilation air intake and output:  Make fiberglass 3"x18" tubes and install mini-bulkheads for dorade-like air vents.

  1. Decide on how to access the inner hull for interior glasswork:  Cut >4" holes in glassed side-hulls (non-nidacore sections) so you can reach inside for glass tabbing.

The last touch was to glass nidacore onto the inner sides ~ followed by just one more fitting ~ to be sure the hardened sides still aligned properly.

Okay, here we go!  In this moment of truth, my blood pressure went back up as I was contemplating the exothermic reaction of the kicking cabosil/chopped-mat/resin when gluing the upper hull onto Reach.  

Becoming familiar with the fiberglass drill, you realize that this is a step that things could go very wrong if the hull glue "kicked" (polymerized) too soon in the blazing sun and all of that meticulous alignment went out the window.

Fortunately, those with more experience than I knew that you could mix the resin "cold" with less catalyst and it would cure over a few hours rather that a few dozen minutes.  

The final attachment step was still a bit harried even after all of that preparation.  It seemed like everyone in the boatyard had a question for Noé ~ even by phone, right when the glue was plastered all over our boat, but the hull made it on and was screwed into its alignment after a final push and jump or two.  Listo!

Mark then started the process of glassing biax across all of the internal joints to secure the final connection of old to new.  Good thing he has monkey-arms (brazos de mono!) so that he could reach the internal sides and tab along the bulkhead to upper hull as well. 

Once the glue and tabbing hardened, screws were removed, a fresh surface was ground-out along the outside and the glassing continued along the outside joints.  

Reach's port stern is all zipped up!  Brilliant work!!

© M&M 2019