I have always had reservations about the steering pod as presented on the plans. It has an enclosed watch bunk athwartship, a couple of small benches, and no protection from the elements. I disliked the design so much that I had considered dispensing with it completely, and having an open deck.
I have now decided to design my own pod, the aim being to have a useful living space while at anchor, but having a safe enclosure with all control lines led to the pod while at sea. I have pretty much copied the pod on Stewart and Zaya’s Luckyfish. Check it out on their YouTube channel “Luckyfish Gets Away”. I have tweaked it a bit, having liaised with Stewart, who has been living with his pod for a couple of years.
The biggest challenge is to build the pod without any plans. I have spent many hours capturing screenshots of videos and having sleepless nights trying to work how to build it. I have drawn my own scale drawings and have started to build the frame. It is easier to make judgements on sizes and dimensions with the pod in front of you.
Its winter in the UK and so I am putting it all together in the workshop. I’m not sure if I will be able to get it out of the garage. I may have to move the whole caboodle to a temporary shelter (taupalin draped over the beams) when the weather improves.
The weather has been a little kinder today, so the supporting blocks have been dowelled and glued into place. There were no dramas and everything went according to plan.
You can see how useless epoxy resin is in resisting UV radiation. I had quickly slapped a coat of epoxy to protect the oak hatch side one season ago. It has already peeled off. The fairing skim coat on the topsides is no better either. Epoxy needs to be varnished or painted over for it to cope. Perhaps it isn’t the wonder product of our age after all.
You can start to see how the foredeck is to be constructed. There will be deck support beams running from the square holes in the side of the mast case to the corresponding support block on the tumblehomes. The slatted deck (similar to patio decking, but hardwood not pressure treated softwood) will then run longitudinally. The whole caboodle being secured in place with some lashings (the reason for having a hole in the support block).
And the deliberate mistake? The top picture shows that the hatch handle will foul the deck. Bugger! I knew it would be tight but I thought I would get away with it. I will have to cut the ruddy thing off and put it on top of the hatch and not the side. One dropped stitch in life’s rich tapestry.
Normal service has now resumed with regard to the weather. I came out of shorts for the first time in weeks as the temperature dropped; the driving rain pretty much restricting all outside work.
That said there was a nice job of making some support blocks for the foredeck. It is nice to have a task that has a beginning middle and end.
The slatted deck requires some bespoke hardwood blocks attached to the tumblehomes. They don’t need to be super strong, as the weight of the mast, anchor and chain is taken by the two beams and mast case. The tumblehomes are made from 9mm ply and Mr Wharram advises that the support blocks are bolted through the boat. Aesthetically I think that it needs to be done better. Neil in Gleda glued his on but when I visited him one he said that a couple had fallen off. I have decided to glue them on, but reinforce things with a couple of 10mm dowels drilled right through the tumblehome. I can then simply trim the dowel back from inside. A bit of sanding and paint and you won’t see a thing.
I’ll try and fit them tomorrow (weather permitting) and post more pics.
The picture above is of the sun setting from the beach at Seasalter, north Kent. It was so peaceful and calm when taken 2 days ago, but now we have awoken to the news that there has been another mass killing just up the road in London. Here we go again.
Recently we have been sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding, filling, sanding sanding sanding sanding, filling a bit more, sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding, filling a bit, then sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding sanding…….
There has been much experimenting (using the inner hull sides which will always be hidden by the central deck) to find the finish I want, with the least effort possible. Unfortunately, the least effort possible is still a lot of effort. So far it seems that a skim of Hempel Profiller and hand finishing with 240 grit on a longboard is the way to go. Who needs expensive gym membership when you can longboard? I’ll look like Popeye when I’m done!
The stern post acts as a support for a beam. The beam is not structural, and merely supports the main sheet traveller, boarding ramp and the like. It would have been easy to have cut the notch before fitting it into the boat, but at the time I was minded to make an “I” shaped beam resting flat on top, and not the circular aluminium tube as shown on the plans. I’ve changed my mind and will now have a hollow wooden beam and so I needed to cut a 140mm diameter semicircle through 60mm of solid oak and ply. Not an easy thing to do neatly. After much head scratching I finally devised a jig cobbled from a router side fence and a steel rod. I cut it with several passes of a palm router. It went without a hitch and very nice it looks too!
This morning I braved the unseasonable May weather and fixed the first toe rails to the boat. I was worried before the job started that I would have a problem bending a rather stiff hardwood rail in place while the epoxy cured. I even set up a English longbow affair with scrap wood and a ratchet strap anticipating the arc.
I needn’t have worried as it was simplicity itself to put in a hefty screw (6x60mm) and then manually bending the wood with my free hand.
I am really pleased the aesthetic result, and will now press on fixing a further 7 rails to both hulls.
I pressed on today with the fashioning the toe rails. I took my time and did it carefully; they should look really good when sanded, fitted and painted. I decided to invest in a roller support stand, as I am fed up with supporting the wood with one hand while using the other hand to guide the stock to through the blade. It was a revelation to work with; I should have bought one years ago. Weather permitting, I will start fitting them to the boat tomorrow.
I had a trip round to my timber supplier (East Kent Timber) and bought a new supply of sapele hardwood boards. Spent the morning ripping and thicknessing stock. In the process I realised that I have been using the radial arm saw the wrong way round when in ripping mode! There is a sticker showing the correct rotation of the blade in this mode but it is very unclear. Anyway the blade no longer jams and apart from the noise and fountain of saw dust is a pleasure to use.
I had great fun marking up, making simple jigs, and working out the work stream to make the toe rails. I wasn’t entirely sure whether a toe rail is absolutely necessary, but it does perhaps lessens the risk of slipping off the deck and is a way of securing fenders. A quick internet search of other Tiki 38s show that some do, and some don’t, fit them. Build number 123 is having them!