Starting on the Cockpit

Having wrapped up the laying of fiberglass on the cabin top, I decided to move on to working in the cockpit for a change, and to give the cabin top more time to cure. I found previously that epoxy that hasn’t had it’s full 7 days tends to gum up the paper faster – the less time it’s given, the faster it gums. So I’ll give it at least a few days to cure before I start sanding and fairing. And there’s plenty to do in the cockpit, so no trouble there.

I started by cleaning out the detritus that had been accumulating over the past several weeks – turns out that carrying stuff back down the ladder isn’t my forte. Among other things.

In order to prep for painting I need to:

  • remove the non-skid
  • fill in any and all holes in the cockpit floor, sides, coamings, and around the outside of the coamings – and there are a lot!
  • decide what to do about the big opening at the back which gives access to the rudder post and the lazarette
  • remove the cockpit locker lids and recore them
  • anything else I’m not thinking of at the moment that I remember later

I had already removed the winches, but not the silicone underneath them, so that was the first order of the day.

I have a great scraper purchased at Lee Valley for varnish removal (also great for taking off bottom paint, but I’ve never needed to go down to gelcoat on any of my boats to date, thank goodness).

No more silicone!

Here’s the second section of non-skid I’m tackling (forgot to do a before picture of the first):

And here’s the same section, now non-non-skid, or simply “skid”. Once again the rotary elliptical sander proved its worth, taking this down (with 40 grit 3M imperial) in about 5-10 minutes – and essentially no need for cleanup when I finished. The only way I could make dust with it was to tip it on edge to work faster, which is guaranteed to produce divots and other undesireable effects anyway. Pretty good.

And the back of the cockpit done – you might be able to notice that the many fastener holes have been reamed out also – this is in preparation for filling them, but this is as far as I got – I ran out of steam before actually doing the filling.