Hauled Out, Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 8 Nov 2013 10:46
Position:  On the hard, CCYS
Wind:  South east,  F4 moderate breeze
Sea: Asphalt calm
Weather:  sunny, warm.
Last Monday we hauled Sylph out for the 18 month maintenance chore of cleaning and painting her bottom.  All went well, until Tuesday, when I was sanding some of the old rough antifouling paint smooth and broke through some shiny metal which was bulging a little suspiciously out from the smooth curving line of Sylph’s hull.  I decided to give it a good whack with a hammer and sure enough, it buckled under the blow.  It was clear that the hull plating was very thin in this location.  I knew what had to be done, and, with a resigned sigh, I broke out the angle grinder, donned goggles, dusk mask and gloves and went to work, cutting out the cancerous rust.  An hour or so later I had the worst of it removed.
The big picture:
The rust was along a stringer behind the decommissioned fridge, a section of the hull which unfortunately has always been inaccessible from the inside of the boat.  I had to cut out the insulation and some timber work so that when it came time to weld I would not send Sylph up in flames. 
Wednesday I went for a short walk to a metal fabrication shop and managed to acquire an appropriately sized piece of steel and spent much of the rest of the day cutting it into the required shape to fit the hole, then bending it ever so slightly to match the curve of the hull – not easy.
My patented plate bending machine:
A perfect fit:
From the inside (most of it is inaccessible):
Thursday I had a go at welding the plate in place.  Peter, owner of a neighbouring boat, came over to look at my handiwork and gave me some advice to improve my non-existent welding technique.  I was very grateful.  A short while later a professional welder arrived who was doing some work on the neighbour’s boat.  He also came over for a look.  He just shook his head and made some very desultory remarks in his strong German accent.  I was rather embarrassed, but even more grateful when he offered to end my misery and to complete the welding for me.  About an hour later the job was done, and to a much higher standard then I could ever hope to achieve.  And we didn’t burn the boar down.
My neighbour’s boat:
The Professional:
Like new, almost:
The view outside:
And a short walk to the watering hole after a hot and dirty day of work:
So indeed,
All is well.