FILLING UP THE VOIDS IN THE KEEL – ANTI OSMOTIC TREATMENT- NEW STEAMHEAD
We returned to the boat in the beginning of October anxious to proceed with the filling up of the keel and start the hull treatment.
After many months of drying out, we took the following steps using Polyester Isophtalic Resin to fill up the keel voids. The temperature was in between 20C and 25C so we thought it was better to add only 1% of catalyst which is a strict minimum. This gave us the time to work and also permitted the resin to flow down into the voids. On each side of the keel we had previously drilled about 7 holes of 10mm diameter and began filling up the lower holes. We used 60ml syringes to pour the resin into the holes, which had the advantage to give a little push inside the void. When a hole was starting to overflow we had to block it with duct tape until cured. We decided to stay on the safe side to avoid any exothermic reaction and only poured 100 ml (max 200 ml) on each dose. In between doses we waited about 1h30 to 2h00 to make sure the resin was well cured. The whole procedure lasted 6 afternoons and the total amount of resin was nearly 3000 ml.
In the end we used a rubber hammer to check if all the voids were filled up. We finished the job by patching the holes with epoxy filler and a piece of fiberglass cloth.
After many months of drying out we measured again all the hull with a moisture meter (Tramex Skipper Plus) and found that the boat was even dryer than in June. The summer heat had a splendid result and the hull was ready now for the first coat of epoxy resin. We did monitor the weather forecast to be sure the conditions were optimal for this work. We needed very low humidity levels and temperatures between 18C and 25C.
Before painting the first coat, it was necessary to prepare the surface thoroughly. We sanded lightly the hull with the eccentric sander and then cleaned all the dust. The next day, just before starting the treatment, the hull was degreased with cloths and a bit of acetone to guarantee a perfect bond.
The first coat was the most important and that day we were so lucky to have about 44% humidity and just above 25C ! These were ideal conditions for painting and the epoxy cured as we expected.
On the second day, after checking if the epoxy was well cured, we sanded again the hull lightly by hand, using 180 grade sandpaper and wipe off all the dust with dry cloths.
Then it was time to fill up all the small imperfections that appeared after the first coat. Actually, we were expecting to use a lot more filler but the hull was so smooth that we only used about 400 gr epoxy filler for all the surface !
The next day, sanding again by hand and then cleaning again….and paint the second layer of epoxy from International (Gelshield Plus).
A small comment concering the epoxy we used. We chose Gelshield Plus because it is a solventless epoxy especially made to be used on hulls without gelcoat.
Next day, again same procedure: sanding lightly by hand, wipe off the dust and paint the third and fourth coats ! That had to be done as fast as possible, because with this temperature, the epoxy does dry quickly. Technically we call this a “wet on tacky” application. You have to apply the second coat just when the epoxy is still tacky but not fully cured.
The next day, sanding again by hand with a smoother sand paper…clean everything again…
The last coat of Gelshield Plus…was the fifth layer.
The last day, we sanded again all the hull and finally applied a normal epoxy paint called Gelshield 200 which will seal and protect the previous coats. Above that we will later apply a normal antifouling.
This whole preventive treatment took in total 8 days of everyday work and we were really lucky with the weather conditions !
The next steps in the refit was now concerning the preparation for the new standing rigging.
The pulpit had to come out in order to remove the old steamhead.
This is the original steamhead….
…and this is what we found underneath….an old filler used probably as a bonding component to fix the steamhead in to place.
This filler had to go away and the area had to be prepared for the new stainless steamhead.
The new steamhead provided by the Jeremy Rogers yard was a real piece of jewellery and we were very excited to fit it on.
Some little modifications had to be done because the holes weren’t matching exactly the U-bold. But that wasn’t a big deal.
You can clearly see the difference between the old steamhead and the new one !
A first temporary fit showed that we had to fill up the area to make sure the new stainless piece was matching the bow.
Some more epoxy work was needed before trying again the steamhead. The umbrella is not a strange decoration, it is there to protect from sunlight when working with resin….
Those are the stern chainplates. The old and the new ones. These parts were easy to manufacture here in Greece. We did choose to make them slightly longer, thicker and add a couple of holes, just to be on the safe side.