Given that we’ll be largely working Kensa out of Portscatho it was important that we built her not only strong enough to take the ground in the drying harbour, but also with keels resilient enough to not mind a bit of wear and tear in case of adverse weather. So once we’d added the bilge keels themselves and finished painting the hull, the last job to do before turning over was to fit a strip of stainless steel to the length of the keel as well as to the two bilge keels.
Si drew up a simple design for them and Steve at Fibrefusion profile cut them at his workshop. This was the quickest and easiest way to get them to fit Kensa as closely as possible, using as little material as possible and therefore saving on both waste and cost. Obviously getting a single strip of steel the length of Kensa from Falmouth to Portscatho would have been a bit impractical for us, so Si had it cut into smaller segments, which Robin Edwards then welded together for us to form a single length.
Once we’d checked them against the hull, we drilled holes to match the pre-drilled holes in the steel and filled them with thickened epoxy to avoid any water ingress. We then re-drilled them and bonded the strips to the keel and the bilge runners using a combination of screws and Sikaflex, in order to allow for some flexibility of movement. The first rule of Sikaflex seems to be that no matter how careful you are or how many pairs of gloves you wear you will always end up with just as much on you as on the thing you were applying it to; judging by how much black adhesive we were covered in by the end of the job I’d say those keel bands aren’t going anywhere!