Monday, September 1, 2008

Tight Spots


Among many other forms of torture we have had to endure as yacht owners, among the worst are the extremely tight spots. One old timer has even warned me of the dangers of crawling into tight spaces and getting stuck. "Always have someone around who can pull you out by the ankles if necessary" he said. I have not gotten stuck yet, though I have come close on several occasions. Usually fatigue is a major factor. As you may imagine getting into and out of a sardine can sized space is rarely a one time affair. It is something you do twenty to fifty times throughout the job. It can become very tiring.

This week-end has been like that. Crawling into and out of small spaces over and over again. I started this labor day week-end by diving into the engine room and cleaning nearly thirty years of muck. Then I removed all of the wiring, hoses, and cables. At last I was confronted with removing the large timbers the engine mounts to. This is just the kind of job that requires a twenty pound sledge and a thirty six inch wrecking bar. Of course these would be far too big to fit into the confined space so I used a fourteen inch wrecking bar and a hand saw. The timbers were eventually removed exposing the composted mahogany planking beneath soaked in engine degreaser and body sweat. It's all yours Maggie
I then moved aft to the stern where there are four ribs that need to be built in so that the steering can eventually be hooked up. I decided to repair a small spot of rot that I have been putting off because of the spot it was in. One of the tightest spots I have been in. (shown in above and below picture) There is barely enough room to get my entire body into this spot, flexibility is key, then add a razor sharp chisel, a wooden mallet, small pry bar, and a few dozen cramps in various body parts and you have a recipe for progress in yacht restoration. Just a note, it's more than a little sobering to be using a really sharp chisel with limited maneuverability, so close to the genitals.

After repairing the rotten planking, I was free to crawl under the cockpit and begin laminating ribs. By the end of Sunday, I had finally fallen to fatigue. I was covered in epoxy and bruises and could barely load up the truck to return home. I was only able to build in one of the four ribs but it looks like the most difficult one. More of the same fun next week.

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