24 June 2011

Happy Birthday to me

June came along rather quickly and the bottom of Varekai hasn't been wet since October last year.
How time flies when you own a boat, when you can't afford to wave the magic wand of wonga and get it all done by someone else.
I took a week off, my birthday as it happens was during the holiday, so time to sit back and enjoy the world go by.

As if!
time to get busy. First, strip the keel back of layers and layers of old antifoul.



then get the antifoul on, touch in a few marks on the rudder, borrow a polishing machine to cut back years of not being polished and then finish, two coats of waxing by hand. I am the karate kid. Wax on, Wax off. There are no bingo wings here.


Launch day, Friday. but no.

The wind was blowing, hard. The guys in the marina asked if I could wait a few days.
Two more days booked off work, and the crane finally came to hover over Varekai for lift off.

such was the shock of the boat being ready to go back into the water, a bird literally fell out of the sky and landed in the cockpit, thus:




and then, ever the professional photographer, my battery died in my camera just the moment before it went in the water.

total bloody amateur.

The rudder problem

The rudder took me by suprise.
I should know to always expect the unexpected, but I wasn't really expecting what I saw when I removed the rudder earlier this year.


clearly action was needed. I wrote to my friends at yachting monthly magazine to see if they knew anyone who would give me their opinion.
I wrote to the Dehler owners club too.
opinions varied from stripping back the entire rudder and replacing the stock, getting the stock turned down, replacing with new rudder, getting a new rudder made using the old one as a mold, put a stainless sleeve over the existing stock to replace the old sleeve and epoxy resin to fix the rudder blade.

The latter choice came first, since I have the best access anyone could have to a precision engineer. Enter, my dad once again to find a solution. He worked out the flex and strain capacity of the stainless sleeve, and although an expensive lump of metal and heavy, it works out to be stronger than the original stock, he machined a matching pair of bearings, upper and lower to resin into the boat and epoxy resined the rudder back to the shape it once was.

Dehler 36 CWS rudder repair

the result is a vision of beauty to my eyes. The machining was absolutely spot on, despite the bearing being sent in advance and the sleeve being machined afterwards.

Once the rudder was slid back in place, with the bottom bearing epoxied into the rudder sleeve build into the hull, the top bearing screwed in place in the top bar in the cockpit, the rudder turned smoothly and swung easily.