I've been busy building my hardtop out in the barn the last few rainy days. The weather is slowing me down.
I have finished most of the E-Box. I still need to work on the front face a bit, install a mount for the electronics, and then prime and paint
Here are a few shots of the E-Box after test fitting it. It fits my T-Top frame perfectly. It looks like it belongs there. When painted it will look like it has always been there.
I still have to decide how to finish the front. The plan is plexiglass. However, I have plenty of teak so I may make a teak frame for it. I'm leaning against that. In fact I want to remove all the teak on the boat and replace it with starboard. Once I finish this boat I want the maintenance to be very low. On the other hand the front face won't see much sun, so varnish and bright work may last a long time.
I've started sanding off all the old paint
on the bottom. I found three layers in places and, a crappy epoxy repair with no glass. You always want to use a little glass. So I will grind that out and redo it. The trailer is in the way for much of this work, and so I will looking for some poppet stands to do the rest.
It is going slower than expected. Because of the strakes, I will have to hand sand much of it. It would have been easy to just slap another coat of ablative paint
on it, but an ultra smooth hard finish will give me an extra knot or two. My goal is 44 knots, (50 mph) on flat water.
I really hate the look of the aluminum plate on the back of the boat. My transom is solid, I may redo that next year for a cleaner look.
I have the trim tab hydraulic pump and controls installed.
The outboard installers left the two drain scuppers full of sealant. It was a PITA to get that out.
Now that the bottom paint is removed, once the rain stops and I can prime and finish installing the Trim Tabs.
My shrink wrap T-Top cover idea would probably have worked very well--it is on there very tight. It did help keep the sun off of me while I rewired the boat--but it will be cut off in the next few days when I test fit the hardtop. The four corners of which need to be trimmed.
I found 7 feet of 1.5" fiberglass tubing. I plan to cut that and use it for grab bars fore and aft on the hardtop. The after one will be perfect for people standing behind the helm.
I didn't quite have enough material for the entire hardtop and wanted to extend it out with a bit of overhang. So I used 2.75" strips of 1.2" birch around the outside to stiffen things up a bit on the edges. I am thinking about adding two stainless steel rails on each side so I can strap things down on top--like a kayak, or to use as a grab bar on each side of the boat for people moving forward. The birch will provide some compressive strength to the hardtop, and the fore and aft ones, will help bond the fore and aft grab bars.
I used a router to round the edges of the wood, and then two boards, a plastic garbage bag split open and many clamps to get a nice finish on the edges. The will need only a little work to make them perfect. The left side shows a mark made by a clamp. The boards were a little thinner than the Nida-Core, so I built that up with a layer of mat and two layers of cloth. Then I wrapped two layers of cloth completely around the wood with about 6-8" of overlap on each side.
One of the aluminum tabs on the T-Top frame is missing. So I'll need to weld on a new one. I'll need all four tabs to bolt down the hardtop and in particular, to secure the two grab bars.
I'll have some final shaping of the corners and bonding the mounts and grab bars to do after the last of the birch is tabbed on. Then I'll be fairing it smooth and ready for paint.