590Hrs – Keel Strips Still
Despite still feeling crap I managed a good session tonight and got both skeg strips dry fitted and shaped and also dry fitted the full length of the port hull keel. If I can get that shaped tomorrow I will be ready to remove and refit properly onto the bedding compound. Thanks to Matti and Jacques for the comments, you will know that I spent a lot of time researching and thinking before I opted for this method. I spent a couple of years living on a bilge keeler drying out between tides and I’ve seen the damage that even apparently soft mud can do. That’s why I wanted really tough sectional strips that could be replaced if necessary. For that reason I can’t bond the screws into epoxy. I have seen Sikaflex type compounds harden up after a few years but I finally found one from a traditional shipwright supplier that is guaranteed to remain flexible for at least 20 years, a good layer of this beneath the UHMW and in the screwholes should keep the water out. I will also use it to plug over the countersunk screwheads. Theoretically this will allow me to unscrew and replace at some future point. I think this poses less risk of water penetration into the fibreglass layer than having potential unseen damage to the bottom of the keels.
Using a heat gun to bend the UHMW skeg strip into shape
Left: Skeg strip bent and screwed into place ready to shape
Right: Skeg strip planed and sanded to skeg profile.