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A Perth Riviera #5 – to May 2013

On January 15, 2014, in Glen-L Styles, by Andrew

When pen was last taken to paper (or the electronic forms thereof), the Riviera was clad in mahogany and stained, ready for glassing.  I was not unfamiliar with fibreglass and so approached the task with a level of confidence and happily procured much 4oz cloth and resin.  A few test pieces were done to ensure that the stain gave the right colour and that the level of finish required could be obtained.  All seemed right with the world.

The cloth was laid out on the hull and then wetted out with a few coats of resin with minimal issue, and all looked good until the resin set and I began to notice cloudy areas in the resin across the whole boat.  Or at least where the darker stain was – the bare plywood bottom was perfect.  In the dimmer light of my shed, the cloudiness did not seem too bad and I prepared to accept the less than perfect outcome until the bright glare of sunlight streaming through the door hit the hull.  At that point I knew I had a serious problem.

Others have written about ending up with this cloudy effect caused by the weave of the glass not being fully saturated with resin or by micro-foam created in the resin by application getting stuck due to low temperature.  Further issues of this kind through the build have confirmed (in my mind at least) that it is the temperature issue that got me – the resin needs to be warm enough that the micro foam can dissipate and the hull warm as well (which is also necessary to avoid the “gassing” problem). The effect is certainly magnified by darker wood (stained in my case) under the resin – no visible issues have occurred on the parts of the boat left as natural maghogany.


In any event, once the shock had worn off, my view was that the hull looked good from a distance and so anyone that looked so closely that they could see the problem deserved all they got.  So I pushed on.

About this time, a picture of a Riva Ariston was turned up during an investigation into some aspect or other of the boat and it was instantly decided that this would be the aesthetic to be pursued.  As a consequence, the colour below the waterline was set as white with a green boot stripe.

The paint below the waterline was done using a spray gun which certainly simplifies the process of covering such a large area.  The boot stripe was masked out and painted by brush.  A few coats of varnish (the final coats will come later) to provide some protection and the hull was basically complete and ready to turn over.  The final step was to obtain some timber and build the cradle that would support the hull (and engine and me clambering around inside).


Preparing to turn the hull. The new cradle is lashed to the bottom ready to receive.

Turning the hull is one of those key moments in the building process and it has been well documented by a number of builders.  It was clear from this that all builders pursued an approach to the task that reflected their circumstances.  In my case, I made use of the roof beams of my shed (suitably reinforced with builders’ acro props because a calculation indicated that the roof beams at their full span would not support the hull weight and the thought of collapsing the roof of my shed was not a happy one), a couple of 1 tonne chain blocks with a pulley attached to each one to allow the rope line around the hull to move freely as it rotated.

In the end, despite much trepidation, the hull turned quite easily – the pulleys in fact reduced the friction so much that some effort was required to stop the hull turning too quickly.  The only moment came when the hull was fully on its side and the clearance above the floor reduced to zero.  But a small amount of lifting easily got past that point.  The act was achieved with two people doing the bulk of the work and another two people dealing with the odd issue that arose and providing moral support.  A video of the occasion, created from a series of time lapse photos shot with a GoPro camera, is here (the author is the worried looking person)

In the end, a right side up hull resulted and a key milestone in the build achieved.


The right way up for the first time and sitting on its movable cradle.


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