Noel has been back in the water since just before thanksgiving. We've made the move from working on the hard on the outside of the boat, to working inside. With three people, and a working wood shop inside a 10 foot by 50 foot upper cabin, it takes about two days to a boat that looks like a tornado went through it.
I continue to be amazed at how much weight it takes to put a boat on her lines. The other day we filled sandbags and set them out on her bow. It takes roughly 1,100 pounds to drop her bow an inch. That means roughly 2,200 pounds to drop her an inch if placed middle way between the bow and stern. Right now she is floating around 14 inches high in the bow, and is out 6 from where she used to float in the stern. The fuel tanks are nearly empty, which will bring down her stern quite a bit, but in the meantime it is a blessing.
It is a lot of fun building the interior of a boat that has had one before... and is currently floating. The bulkheads are plumb, and are our reference point. If you take a panel and stand it up to where it looks like it is standing straight up and down, the bottom aft side is kicked out of square almost an inch. It takes a little bit of head scratching, and a fair bit of notating which side is purposefully off to keep the finished product true to her lines.
Progress slowed a bit, as we were not totally finished with the glass work around her stern before getting splashed. In Dececmber, most of the time was spent completing the glass work down her starboard side, while in the water working on a barge.
The hull is now sanded, faired, and primed... We are using glass microballoons and west systems epoxy for rough fairing, followed by Awlgrips Awlfair for the final glazing.
Now that she is water tight to rain, work has begun fitting out the interior.
We insulated the upper cabin, and hung plywood on the ceiling.
One window on the port side was moved aft, making the rear six sliding windows symmetrical.
The two bulkheads at the front of the engine room have been skinned in okume plywood that has been epoxy coated and have 2 layers of sound insulating lead lined foam inside.
Heading forward, the master stateroom's head (bathroom) has been roughed in. 3/4 marine grade okume plywood stood on edge, fit to the contours of the hull and deck beams.
In the forward cabin, the starboard side of the hull has been skinned in 3/8ths marine plywood, and the forward head has been roughed in.
Exact dimensions of counter tops, plumbing chases, and showers will be decided next week when we fiberglass all inside surfaces of the head.
We are working hard to reuse the bulk of the mahogany doors and trim that came off of Noel during the deconstruction, as they are superb quality... and we want to hold on to some of her classic 1960's motor yacht feel. Her bunk boards are close to 16 inches of varnished mahogany, and though her doors were narrow, they set the style for the boat.
This past thursday we made a repair to a rotten stretch of fore deck, where the hull to deck joint was compromised, leading to a section 6 inches wide, and close to 6 feet long rotting along the edge of a piece of plywood skinning her deck.
Noel has a layer of 1/2 inch plywood nailed over her deck planks with monel nails. The plywood has a layer of fiberglass on top, to make her a very dry boat. The reason for the plywood, is that it is almost impossible to fiberglass directly over old wood that was painted and tarred due to the oils that penetrated the wood. Bit by bit we are going around and replacing any plywood that has gone soft since she was fiberglassed in 1986, with fresh pieces of marine plywood and epoxy resin.
It is a bit of a battle with the weather at times, but with a heater on board we are making progress none the less!