Paul Gartside 18' Racing Gaff Cutter • Cabinversion designed by Dominik Gschwind


Week 12/13 - Benchbridge / Bulkheads / Deckframing

it's time to get more life into the hull...
After fitting the centreboardcase we went on working on the fullbeams, bulkheads and the benchbridge. As visible on the photo beside there is a strongbeam in the aft end of the cockpit which both got the deckcamber on top and a convex curved shape for the coaming on the front side.
Beams are chiseled into the beamshelf and glued with epoxy. A very nice job and once one has got the trick with the marking it's pretty much a straight forward process.
Time to spile for the first bulkheads. It's a bulkhead below the benchbridge which is split in 2 pieces by the centreboardcase.
Spiling is a technique to mark curved shapes on a template with a dummystick. Nowadays we also use the selflevelling laser to make alignments.
And this is the view from the cabinside. The benchbridge is indeed a bridge athwartships which both gives more stiffness to the boat as well as creates an extended cabinspace for baggage etc..
Benchbridge and bulkheadparts are connected by very strong epoxyglued tongue and groove joints. The two pieces of lead on the photo are used to but weight on the structure while glueing because there are no direct possibilities for clamping.
After fashioning all the fullbeams the carling was put in place. A laminate out of 7 strips to be able to bend all in to it's curved shape. That method worked surprisingly well thank's to 4 extra positioningpoints to the 3 existing ones on each side (with assistingbeams). The carling is the fore and aft member of the deckframing which supports the halfbeams.
Now after having glued and skrewed all halfbeams in the deckshape has become more and more imaginable. All deckframingwork is done in douglas fir, a very easy to plane timber and with a beautiful slightly redbrown color. This is even bettre visible on the last picture which shows the varnished framing.
As a preparation before laying the underdeck we fashioned all the reinforcement pads (1" plywood) for all the later through bolted deckfittings like sheetleads, running backstays etc.. Their function is to spread the loads on the structure. To get them flush with the topsides into the framing we rebated them in (see photo).

After sanding we varnished the whole deckframing with 3 coats of EPIFANES Rapid Clear and 2 topcoats of EPIFANES traditional 1-pack Clear Varnish...