The last few days before the launch passed in a bit of a blur. Fibreglassing the decks was the last bit of structural work we had to do and by the time we finished this we had ten days left before our launch! Plenty of time…
Most of the remaining work involved painting or fixing. We got an undercoat on the deck and fitted the coamings (the wooden border around the cockpit in the picture above). Coamings are designed to prevent water on deck from getting into the cockpit and ours are made of epoxy coated ply.
We also bolted and sikaflexed the rubbing strakes to the hull; longitudinal lengths of iroko which prevents damage from occurring to the hull. In traditional wooden boatbuilding, a thicker plank (or strake) was built in at this height to allow for inevitable wear, but nowadays rubbing strakes are added as separate fittings, which makes them replaceable if necessary. Miraculously we managed to fit both strakes without getting black Sikaflex all over our newly painted cream hull!
We also fitted the stem band, which we were unable to add until the boat was the right way up. This was bonded with Sikaflex and screwed to the stem and welded at the bottom to the rest of the keel band by Robin.
Adding the final coats of paint was satisfying; it was lovely to see Kensa come together as the boat we’d had in our minds’ eye for the last few months.
Admittedly it would have been nice to have had more time, but we were incredibly lucky to have an army of friends and family who all pitched in to help in the last few weeks.
We wouldn’t have completed Kensa without them and we especially want to thank Debs, who gave up every minute of her free time in the last few weeks to helping finish Kensa. She has been an important part of our project from the very start, helping with everything from clearing the path to the workshop to painting the sole boards with particularly noxious floor paint without complaint and we are so grateful to have her support.
The only real issue with painting – apart from too many solvents on a warm summer’s day – was the difficulty in moving round the boat and the workshop with wet things to avoid!
We painted the floorboards, the planks inside, the blue detail strip around the sheer. We painted the deck, the coamings, the rudder, our faces, hands and feet. There was a lot of paint.
What else? We varnished the transom, painted the rudder and got that and the tiller ready to fit. Our best mate Fergus, who also happens to be a talented sculptor and furniture maker, made us eight beautiful cleats out of oak. Si’s parents shifted lead ballast, went shopping for last minute paint, parts and screws and cooked for us for the last few days. Without this we would have probably lived on crisps and Haribo for three days.
Name boards, very kindly and beautifully made for us by Richard Smith, were attached and that was it. Done! Suddenly we could stand back and see Kensa as a ‘proper’ boat.
Or at least, we could have done, had we had been able to stay awake….