Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Cockpit Table

When we bought Finisterra it was equipped with the standard steel and fiberglass cockpit table. It was great for dining but inconvenient for sailing the boat and for general living aboard. Last year I removed it and replaced it with a small pedestal that was really nothing more than a combination drinkholder/handhold/GPS mount, and it works great for all those purposes, but we still need a table of some sort in the cockpit. On our last voyage to Mexico we used a couple of plastic folding tables which worked okay for that trip, but I had always intended to build a fold-down table. Now that we're home for awhile I got busy and built one out of teak.

Here is a typical table installation with the removable drop-leaves in place
Finisterra with the table removed. I used the existing mounting holes to install a teak footrest.
The pedestal is handy when we're underway. The GPS is mounted on a swivel so it can be seen from anywhere in the cockpit. 

The new table measures 15.50" x 24.00"
I found a nice piece of teak at my local hardwood supplier. It was about 9 inches wide so I cut it to about 25 inches long and edge-bonded two pieces together to make a single piece. Then it was a simple matter to round off the edges and attach a folding leg to it.

In this photo you can just see the bolt that I used for a pivot. The table is attached to the underside of the wood part of the pedestal with a pair of stainless steel hinges.

I drilled a hole in the bottom of the leg and epoxied a stainless steel pin into it. It sticks out of the bottom about half an inch and fits into a  hole in the footrest. 
Table in the folded position.
When underway, the table is folded down and secured to the pedestal base, leaving the cockpit wide open. It took about 12 hours to make and install the table, not including the varnish work. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Cockpit Project: Installing the Teak Decking

The synthetic teak was waiting for us when we arrived back home. The package included 8 tubes of M1 polyether adhesive, a serrated trowel and 13 precut pieces of the teak material. They had sent me a first article back in August that didn't come close to fitting properly, but we worked out the problems and they remade that part and shipped it along with the rest of the pieces. The first thing I did was check fit each one on the deck, and they all fit reasonably well. 

Once I was sure all the pieces fit, I taped off each recess, applied the adhesive and installed each piece one at a time. The finished cockpit looks a lot better than the weathered teak look that we had before. The total cost for the teak, adhesive and trowel was $1,009.00. I added two rolls of tape, some sandpaper, a carpet roller and a little acetone so the total material cost added up to about $1,040.00. It took about 20 hours spread out over a week to install all the pieces. 

I started with 3M #2050 masking tape which worked well. When I ran out of it I tried  #2090 blue tape. The lower tack allowed the M1 adhesive to penetrate between the tape and the teak which I had to sand off after it was cured. 
I applied the adhesive with a caulking gun then spread it with the trowel.

The adhesive was evenly spread across the seat, with a thick bead of it around the perimeter.
I used the carpet seam roller to press the teak into the adhesive. To get it to lay perfectly into the recess, I started rolling in the center and worked toward the edges, squeezing out any excess adhesive.

I pulled the tapes as soon as possible. The temperatures hovered near 100 degrees every day while I was doing the installation, so the adhesive started curing almost instantly. 

The finished installation looks good. The black "caulking lines" are aligned within about 1/8" from piece to piece.

Of course the project wouldn't be complete without new cockpit cushions. 
We're pretty happy with the final results and now that Plasteak has accurate digital files for the teak inserts, it should be easy for any Beneteau 423 to be fitted with synthetic teak. Feel free to call on me if you have any questions about the material or the process.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Days in Yellowstone

It was a long drive from Mammoth to Twin Falls. We took the "road less traveled" through Ely and Wells, Nevada. There is a lot of open space in central Nevada and we enjoyed the solitude of the open road in one of the more remote parts of this country. We arrived in Twin Falls a little before sunset and had a nice dinner not far from the spectacular Snake River gorge. The next morning we were on the road early and arrived in West Yellowstone, MT in the early afternoon. This became our base of operations for next five days, from which we made day trips into the National Park.

We had planned to arrive in Yellowstone a couple of days after Labor day, thinking that with kids back in school, the park would be fairly uncrowded. Apparently a million other people had the same idea. The place was packed from dawn to dark. In several places, the very large parking lots were maxed out, with cars backed up on the roads. It would have been easy to let the crowds ruin our time there, but we made the best of it, and did the tourist things along with the rest of the tourists, but also found lots of outlying places where the crowds and tour buses didn't go. The weather was near perfect every day and the hiking was excellent. We fished the Madison River and caught only a single brown trout. There were fishermen in drift boats, in waders and lining the banks at nearly every likely looking spot on the Madison, Firehole, Yellowstone and Gibbon rivers so we didn't fish much at all. I could bore you with dozens of photos of geysers and other fantastic Yellowstone attractions, but they look just like all the others you've already seen or taken.

After five days of beautiful scenery in Yellowstone, we drove south to Jackson, Wyoming and spent a few days in Grand Teton National Park. The crowds were much smaller and we did a couple of wonderful hikes. In the evenings we watched elk and moose, bears and coyotes in the meadows and along the banks of the Snake river and Moose Creek.

When it was finally time to head home, we decided to take Highway 189 out of Jackson and pick up I-15 south out of Salt Lake City, which would take us back to our hometown in southern California. On the way out of Jackson, the news on the radio was that I-15 had been flooded out just north of Las Vegas, so we changed course and took I-80 west to Winnemucca then south to Bishop and down Highway 395 toward home.

We arrived home a couple of nights ago to find Finisterra wearing a thick coat of grime but otherwise in good shape. Now we're back at work getting her ready for her next adventure.


People visit Yellowstone in all kinds of vehicles but none as cool as this one. Notice the econobox parked next to it.

Peregrine falcon

Bull Elk