Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The disappearing post...

I composed this whole post on my tablet and thought I had saved it as a draft but it seems to have disappeared. Oh well. The pics were awesome, now you have to use your imagination.

One of my projects for this spring was to find a better way to attach the outboard remote to the cockpit so that it wouldn't fall off this season. I think I have achieved that.

The old and unimproved method was that the PO had drilled three holes through the cockpit and screwed directly to the fibreglass. I don't know how long the controls were mounted that way before I got the boat, but that was how they were.

Last year the play in the mounting screws became increasingly alarming until by the end of the season, 2 of the three screws had actually fallen out, and the remaining screw was dangling precariously. It was an important thing to fix pre-launch.

In order to fix this I had a number of ideas of ways to permanently attach the handle, but most of them involved some kind of clamping, which just wasn't feasible at this location. On the way home from work one evening the solution struck me and I ran with it. Here's my fix.

The gap between the cockpit wall and the quarter berth ceiling is about 7/8" so it is quite do-able to shove something in there. The hole that the handle goes through is about 2" across, so whatever you shove in there had better be small. Clamping is impossible. Unless you have either a lot of time and patience or a really cool clamp. I have neither.

My solution was to cut 3 blocks from a sheet of 3/4" plywood. Each block was about 1" X 3" X 3/4"
Each of these blocks had a pilot hole drilled through it to receive a very small screw. I would tell you what the screws were, except that they came from Grandpa's odds-n-ends tin, and were just marked "screen screws" I have no idea what screen they held on. The important thing is that the screws were of small diameter than the mounting screws for the handle.

To each block I assigned a screw, a fender washer, and a piece of waxed paper.

Using a Skippy peanut butter jar, I mixed up a mess of epoxy with some micro bubbles to thicken it. Each block was painted on all sides with the epoxy, then held with 2 fingers in the gap between the cockpit wall and quarter berth. A screw and fender washer was attached through the elongated mounting holes for the remote control handle. Waxed paper prevented the epoxy over-flow from curing to the washers. The screws and fender washers acted as a clamp to hold things in place as the epoxy hardened.

About 2 hours after getting everything in place, I went out and removed the screws and fender washers. The blocks were holding nicely.

Later still I placed the handle in the hole and used it to run new pilot holes through the plywood to attach the handle permanently. Now everything feels nice and tight, and there is no play when I shift.

Yay - problem solved!

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