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


Week 18/19 - Canvas / Rails / Benches

Sheating with canvas was one of my big wishes but I didn't want to use it on the maindeck. So the plan was to use it on the coachtop.
I found an excellent quality of canvas at John's Traditional Boat Supply

John was also very helpful with tipps about the correct use.

My idea was to use that traditional material with the possibilities and the high durability of modern epoxy.
And indeed the idea worked really well. We started with some samples to find out which would be the best way to apply it.
That canvas comes in a width of 2.74m which allows to lay quite big surfaces without any need for seams.

After cutting to size with an appropriate overlapp at the edges we first coated the whole coachtop with plain epoxy resin. Then we layed the canvasfabric relaxed over the whole surface and molded it from the centre to the sides just with our hands (with gloves for sure). It's really important to do this with 2 persons so that all molding can be done symmetrically.
The next workingstep is to add epoxy with a wide brush and stipple it on the canvas until all is fully wetted through. It finishes by using squegees and working again from the centre symmetrically to the sides.
The target is to achieve a topsurface showing a relatively rough fabricpattern which acts as an antislipsurface.
At the edges the fabric should be pulled and glued over the edge with coppertacks. The amount of overlapp depends on the later covering  rubrail, just make sure to cover all fabric and some mils more.
As visible on the photo all edges and roundings have to be treated with all necessary cuts and the canvas can be cut after getting green (time depends on the temperature).

Before finishing the boat for all painting and varnishing we had to fashion and fasten all rails and rubbers. The photo below shows the rubber along the coachtop, the quadrant covering the deck-coaming joint, the toerail and rubber along the sheer with holes for waterdrainage and fenderfastenings as well as the slotted rails for the slidinghatch on the top.

All these elements were fashioned from sapele mahogani, scarfed to extend the length were necessary and smoothly rounded.

The toerails needed beeing steambent some weeks before allready otherwise there would have been to much stress in the material with the risk for cracking. During the decklayingwork we had possibilities to fix temporary wooden blocks from the underdecktop into the beamshelf. This allowed to use the boats sheer as a former when steambending (see photo).

This works really well but two aspects are important to be considered. One is the fact that after clamping for about 24 hours when releasing the clamps there is quite a bit of springback in the material. This is no problem but the elements should then be stored somehow in the bend shape.
The other point is that there should be an appropriate time of drying to get the moisturecontent in the timber down to 12-15 percent before glueing with epoxy.
All fastenings are both glued with epoxy and screwed with siliconbronze screws. We used screwdiggers and grainplugcutters to get all mechanical fastenings covered with wood (see on photo).

And this is how the finish looked at the end.
I should name that the filigrane quadrant between the deck and the coamings is fastened with brass panelpins instead of screws... to get a more descreed detail. But the panelpins are punshed 1 mil in and the gap got filled with thickened epoxy with also added sapeledust to get a similar color.

Now some details about the benches in the cockpit. The basic construction consists of marine plywood combined with some hardwoodframing.
Connected to the cabin there is a benchbridge which can't be opened. It works as a extension of the insidespace! The aft bench towards the stern is a buoncytank with a watertight hatch (can be used to store fenders).
The sittingarea of the benches ends with a smoothly rounded hardwoodpiece which sticks up about 3/4" over the surface. Behind thisone there is a storagesurface for all kind of things which are in use when sailing (polsters, books, lifejackets etc.). We called them backbenches.
This is also the space where the two oars are stored but hanging on the deckunderside.
The two sidebenches are equiped with openable lids (benchboards hinched to the sapeleframe) with a waterdrainagechannel to keep water from the sea or rain outside. They are not fully watertight but will in case of an emergency also act as buoncy, at least for a limited time.
The benches are fashioned of prudently selected sapele mahogani boards. We will later see pictures of the final varnished look!

On this picture you can see the storagespace which is available round the whole cockpit. On those backbenches we used normal marine plywood which later will be painted white.
Considering the fact that Glóey is a little cruiser I designed the benchdepth extra generous.
The photo to the left gives an idea of the dimensions :-)