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Hardtop Project, Part 7

Lay Up Begins!

While the previous post the work happened over 4-5 days in this post the work was done in about 5-6 hours. Even with the extra slow hardener (West Systems) the team has to work very quickly.

The technique is referred to as “Wet Preg”. All the cloth is precut, wetted in a bath then run between two rollers saturating the fabric and squeezing out the excess resin. The cloth is then layed out between 2 thin sheets of plastic, this allows the cloth to be handled, cut and trimmed as needed. To apply the cloth the plastic is removed from one side then the cloth is laid by hand and formed into place. Once in position the top layer of plastic is removed. Once the lay up including coring is completed the entire structure is vacuum bagged which squeezes all the layers together and pulls out any air and excess resin. The technique was first developed in New Zealand and is now a fairly common technique.

Below: Paul laying down a strip of  Wet Preg carbon cloth into one of the ribs. The plastic film has been removed from the underside of the cloth but not the topside……yet.

The center “beam”. This channel is hollow for solar and light wiring.

 Wetting out the Corcell® coring.


Below: Bagging the entire structure.
Under vacuum!

Below: You can see the excess epoxy being pulled up into the bleed cloth. Pauls says the pressure is approximately 9 pounds per square inch, over a ton of pressure on this structure.

Hardtop Project, Part 6

The support structure is mostly carbon/epoxy/foam core construction but the “flange” that will be bonded to the flybridge coaming is solid glass/epoxy. In the previous post you can see the planning and mock up of the design. This way Paul uses the boat…

Hard Top Project, Part 5

The guys are waiting on some material to finish up the mold so they start on the support structure. Spent a whole day building a mock up, measuring and making patterns.Above: Cutting out patterns.Below: “OK it will go like this, right?” Discussing deta…

Happiness is a new Exhaust Elbow

Ten years, 4540 hours and four exhaust elbows, the genny is just fine!  Northern Lights has changed the design a bit, new part number. Still a casting so not sure if they have improved the life expectancy. I use a mirror and flashlight and inspect…

Hard Top Project, Part 4

Things are moving along nicely, I knew molds take time to build but I had no idea how much time. The sanding, faring, sealing is endless. Now we are in the late stages, Paul and his team are applying Teflon® release tape to the mold, almost ready to do the layup!

Above: Sand, fair, sand, fair, apply sealant, sand and fair, on and on, big job building a mold.

Below: The brown material you see is a very cool Teflon® release tape. It is called “tape” but actually comes in a large roll. Paul tells me “nothing sticks to it”. I am very impressed with Paul Ammon and his team, Caribbean Carbon Works Ltd. Paul understands what we want, appreciates nice lines and understands functionality. So fun to work with someone who is passionate about their art.

Hardtop Project Part 3

So for most of the week Paul and his guys have been working full days building the mold for the bottom side of the hardtop, the side you will see. I think it is almost done. The mold is made up of multiple layers of 1/2″ MFD. Very labour intensive. It …

Hardtop Project Part 2

The lamination begins! Starting with a release layer wetted out with epoxy, then a layer of woven bidirectional carbon also wetted out, topped with 1/2 foam coring. On top of the foam coring both bidirectional and unidirectional carbon all wetted out w…

Hardtop Project, Part 1

I am back at Peake Yacht Services in Trinidad and Tobago. Sylvianne stayed behind while I am doing boat work and watching our hard top come together. I had previously mentioned the project to Greg Downes, the service manager at Peake and he said, “I ha…

Yes, We Actually Did Some Cruising!

We had a really good cruising season, Carriacou, The Grenadines and a 6 week Circumnavigation of Martinique. If you like adventure the East coast of Martinique is wonderful.Petite St. Vincent                &nbsp…

Stabilizer Rebuild

The rod end bearings were getting sloppy, I decide to do the work myself.  It made good sense as we were replacing the washer dryer and that made it easier to cut a nice big hole for access under where the washer dryer would normally be. Since we …