February 14, 2017 Hours spent building to date: 3,406
February is a cruel month in New England. We always get a few 50 degree days early on (60 degrees this year) then get slammed. So between a blizzard, a regular snowstorm and a weather-delayed trip to New York, it has been hard to keep up a head of steam on Tardis.
Nevertheless, the bow thruster installation is done, and the doors are up to their fourth coat of varnish. The installation is quite complex since the thruster needs its own battery, a very heavy fuse, an emergency off switch, two-part paint inside and out, and finally bottom paint in the tunnel itself. But when I plugged in the controller today and hit the switch, it buzzed away mightily and looks and feels extremely solid.
According to the manual and a friend who has worked in boatyards for 40 years, once the thruster is sitting up on the tunnel, and all wired up, that’s it. But it has always seemed to me that in a heavy, cork-screwing sea, the weight of the motor bouncing around would put an awful lot of torque on the connections between the motor, tunnel and planking. I had a surveyor look at the installation on Memsahib, a 50-year-old conventional wooden boat with all kinds of plank movement going on, and he suggested building s substantial support cradle to hold the thruster motor absolutely rigid at all times. We did, and experienced no problems. Tardis is much more stable to begin with and the thruster and tunnel are much smaller, but I decided to add bracing to be absolutely sure the motor would never move. Vetus makes this easy with a sort of dome on the motor, which means I could fit a piece of plywood and brackets that would both hold the motor down and prevent any side-to-side movement.
Next up will be exterior varnish, hanging the doors and decking.