Friday, 11 January 2019

We Have Snow On The Trent!


...Well ok not outside but definitely inside.

That spray foam is flippin messy stuff. 

The two man team from cosy home wasn't an even split. One stayed outside monitoring the tanks and making sure lines were not snagged. The other was taped into a slightly crusty suit, ushered into the boat, sealed in and only allowed out a couple of times to replace his removable visor once he couldn't see anything, not my Idea of fun. 

For the first half an hour the guys tape up the timbers on the bearers and windows, and door surrounds. Not for the first time on this build did we hear "got a lot of doors and hatches hasn't it!"

Two and a bit hours later they'd finished taping the 9 portholes, pigeon box, dog box, front and rear doors and slides and the 6 other side doors and hatches. I do keep reminding everyone that it was due to be an extra pair of doors/hatches in the galley too. 

We'd been told by our back cabin fitter Steve (works independently at Paul's yard) to bring a wedge of cash as that's how they work for this kind of price, about £1400 to £1500 depending on what we want done.

The cosy home guys weren't aware of that, and that price was for their usual 58 foot cruiser stern (so 6 foot less aft cabin) well decked (so 8 foot less bow) kind of boat. 

Now NB Ernest is 70 foot (well 69' 10.75" to be exact when we measured it) and with a fuel tank under the back cabin floor not under the back deck I wanted foam right to the very back as far as they could reach. The cocooned inside guy said he'd managed to get a 'lick' around the whole of the back including the weed hatch - a lick is what they do for an adhesion coat before the proper insulation layer, they lick the whole boat then start again from the beginning; it's not a thick insulating coat but it'll stop condensation forming.

As we will have some sort of bed under the tug deck (looking more likely to be a pull out rather than a crawl space due to head height) we wanted to spray as far forward as possible too. With no water tank in it was fairly easy to get to so we ended up with all 70 foot insulated instead of their usual 46 ish feet. 

We shook hands on £1350 cash and I gave an extra £10 so they could stop off for a pasty at the bakery in Long Eaton before their drive back to Wales.

So was it a perfect spray foam job? Well not far off, there were some small gaps when we started stripping back to the timbers in the back cabin. These seemed to be mainly at the top of the pieces of wood on the cabin sides near the cabin top, so an easy fix with a can of foam from Tool Station, although I will have a thorough check over and see if a proper kit may be better value if I can find any areas that are too thin.

Steve was due to start fitting out the back cabin soon after spray foaming was completed so we got to stripping some of the over spray from the back cabin and engine room, this is not an easy job and not a quick one. If cabin height wasn't an issue we would have cut the foam off from the timber cross members and extended the batons by 6 or 9mm to keep more insulation in place and save time and mess trimming back (I may still do this in the rest of the boat forward of the engine room, but I'm conscious of the fact that we'd already dropped the cabin sides a while earlier - link here, see the last paragraph).

As with so many plans the weather changed and was too cold/damp for Steve to finish his paint job over in the shed to start our timber work on time so we had an extra week of fettling and needn't have stayed one cold night until 9ish scraping the cabin top filling pockets, ears and noses with dusty white deposits, and no it wasn't making me feel festive! Dudley wasn't too enamoured by it either, it was his first time in the boat as the yard was shut and after a quick walk around trying to shake off 2 foot long pieces of spray foam that had adhered to his paw, he sat in one position staring into space for the next 3 hours. Patterdales must have this special mental state hardwired.

There is one area of insulation concern that needs some thought. The back cabin top has steelwork bending in two directions. It has the standard curve from left to right (as you're stood at the tiller), but also curves up from front to back to give the cabin its traditional shape. This construction needs steel fortification underneath, now these rows and rows of steel are about as deep (a couple of mm less) as the timber cross members so as we scraped back a few bits were exposed (and since covered with canned spray foam). This is the absolute last thing we want as it'll be where the condensation gathers, tracks across the cabin top and down the sides. 

The simplest solution is a flexible thermal wrap type insulation roll with aluminium tape between the joints. Next would be small batons and Celotex type insulation which goes down to about 12mm. Time will be a consideration as we will have to fit in around Steve's tight schedule.

Whichever way we go, we'll be bulking up the insulation in any possible gaps for the rest of the boats length as we go. It seems prudent to spend a a few hundred £££ more now even if results aren't guaranteed. It may seem a bit paranoid but we struck lucky with LJ. Even in last years -15°C our only heat source being out Arrow Bunny multifuel stove it was never cold. Today its about 6°C outside and with the stove just about as low as it'll go in the very front of the boat, its 25°C in the galley and 19°C right at the back. This can only be down to the insulation/combination of spray foam and solid oak cabin lining.





Well the blog is getting closer to 'up-to-date' so next post will probably be launch day :)