The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly!
07 November 2016 | Herrington Harbour South
Clear, Sunny, Cool
Continuing the saga of building the Hard Dodger and the Hard Top...Our fiberglass tradesman brought the rough-glass dodger frames out for fitting to our center-cockpit.
Ugly at first glance: I gotta say - don't judge a book by its current cover - our boat looks like a "trailer-park reject" with the raw fiberglass dodger frame sitting on it as we do the final structural fitting! The design will mimic the original shape of the canvass dodger and bimini and we like the "lines" of the design but MAN is this thing UGLY (right now)! We had to put the frame into place; fit all of the aluminum superstructure into it and adjust for gaps (thank goodness for filler foam as a template that is shape-able). We built molds to hold the foam in place so that when applied and removed, our tradesman could shape and then glass the right fit to ensure a good seal by the high-density neoprene sealing gasket that will sit between the dodger and the cockpit base.
Engineering is Everything! - We spent a lot of time and effort with the design of the divynacell core material that will provide the shape of the fiberglass work. The ergonomics are right! Fiber-glassing is hard - complex curves and structural support integration made glassing the "core" challenging in tight spaces where lots of things come together.
Sequential construction is slow: Can't fit the top without the Dodger being right and the aluminum superstructure finally adjusted...Can't fit the radar arch and sides without the top in place and fitting perfect...Can fit the windows without the final gelcoating...its a slow and deliberate process. An OBTW...its a custom, one off job - nothing else like it out there (that I am aware of)....You just can't order something like this from Amazon or a boat dealer! So - there is a lotta love in this project.
Visualizing the Finished Product: Many design and engineering decisions remain to be made but are waiting on the project to evolve to the point of making those decisions - like - hard window thickness, interior trim, wiring, instrument and lighting runs/placement, top viewing windows (or hatches) to provide sail shape visibility...the list is seemingly endless!
Plus - we are racing the weather - its now November and getting cold - and the top is still yet to be built (perhaps a few more weeks of crossing fingers)! Although this project is taking on a tortoise and hare shape...the tortoise needs the win - do it slow - do it right so it will last!
More updates later.