Esper Refit 32 – welding and polishing swim platform

Yoong the welder at PSS Boatyard

First week without Liz. After dropping her off at Hat Yai airport Moo and I visit the machine shop to try and get the swimming platform bent. Instead we get told off for filming on their premises. I wonder why?

Weekly Video Round-Up

If you want to see a master welder in action, look no further. We also show you how to plug old deck fitting holes in preparation for refitting.


Our new electrician, Pam (pronounced something between a ‘P’ and a ‘B’), has been great. Because he speaks English I’m able to not only communicate with him, but discuss in detail the aspects of the wiring. He started the week by cutting to size the acrylic that goes over the top of the breakers; then moved on to cutting holes in the cockpit box for the instruments and speakers; and spent the rest of the week installing the mains circuit.

Pam installing the B&G repeaters in the cockpit box

Pam installing the B&G repeaters in the cockpit box

Ongoing Carpentry

Whilst Pong continues to make up various boxes, platforms and trim…

Pong with our anchor windlass mount

Pong with our anchor windlass mount

…his son, Tui, tackles the galley cupboard doors. We purchased some chrome handles from Hat Yai which are designed for pulling outwards, not sliding, so we had to counter-sink the fittings and secure the backs with washers and stainless screws. Unfortunately Tui wasn’t thinking things through and mounted one of the handles in such a way that it prevented the door next to it from sliding open! Fortunately we were able to turn the door around.

Galley handles for cupboard

I’ve gotta say, they look pretty neat.

Swimming Platform Saga

Onto the saga that is the swimming platform. After offering the bar up to the transom last week we realised it was too wide. Installing it would have had the platform too far up the transom so we decided to take it back to Hat Yai to see what the big machine shop there could do. It was they, afterall, who had bent the platform to the wrong dimensions. No sooner had I pulled out the camera did they tell me to stop recording. On top of that, they said there was nothing they could do. The pipe had already been bent and could neither be straightened or bent further, so back to PSS…

…and in the hands of Yoong, master welder, a section was taken out of the centre of the pipe and was welded back together.

Yoong prepares to weld

Yoong prepares to weld

The weld is ground back

The weld is ground back

It's then polished

It’s then polished…

... and the result is a seamless, shiny join!

… and the result is a seamless, shiny join!

It's so shiny Mr Gon was able to use it as a mirror to comb his hair

It’s so shiny Mr Gon was able to use it as a mirror to comb his hair

Preparing the deck fittings

Onto the deck fittings. The first thing Moo did was to drill small holes from underneath in all the deck fitting holes. I decided that we should attend to these holes once and for all and have followed a practiced way of preparing them. You can see this in more detail in the video, but it goes something like this:

      1. Using a tool that looks something like an Allen key, it is used to drill out the cavity inside the hole. This removes any loose core between the deck and the underside.
      2. Strong tape is then used to seal the holes from underneath
      3. The holes are filled with a thick consistency of chopped fibreglass and epoxy
      4. The tops are then sanded back to deck level
      5. New holes will be drilled. The idea will be to use a drill bit just a fractionally wider than the through-deck bolts
      6. The entrance to the hole will be countersunk. This means that when Sikaflex is applied it leaves a larger seal around the hole, increasing the chances of retaining its waterproofness.

You can read more about this technique by Don Casey of BoatUS here.

Chopped fibreglass to be mixed with epoxy for deck fittings

Chopped fibreglass to be mixed with epoxy for deck fittings

Holes filled with chopped fibreglass and epoxy

Holes filled with chopped fibreglass and epoxy

Installing The Pacific Plus Windpilot

We took ages installing the Windpilot. We got the machine shop to turn new legs for the lower struts.

Mr Hammock turns the struts

Mr Hammock turns the struts

When we were happy with their position, Moo and I proceded to drill the bolt holes through the transom… and through the lazarette drain pipes! Biggest mistake of the project so far. Not a major issue but that’s a day’s work to cut out the pipe and reinstall it around the Windpilot bolts!

What’s Next?

I’d like to think the carpenters are close to completion, though there’s always something else for them to do. We have to continue with the deck fittings before we can take the tent down though. The electrics is moving quickly so it’ll be interesting to see where we’re at next week.

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5 Comments on “Esper Refit 32 – welding and polishing swim platform”

    1. Hey Gee, nice to hear from you. I don’t normally like answering that question because whatever I answer I times by two 😉 Let’s say I’d like to be done in a month. Things are starting to take shape but there is still much to do. Hope you and yours are all well.

  1. It looks like a fantastic job, Jamie. You will have one beautiful boat when all this is finished. I am so impressed by what you are achieving. Glad to see you are getting back to enjoying taking photos…. What are your future plans?

    1. Nice to hear from you, June. No future plans as yet, we’ll think about that when we’re almost back in the water but there have been murmurs of heading north towards the Surin Islands. Love the Gravatar, by the way! You can get your own Gravatar though. Head over to

  2. What a hideous Gravatar image I have ! Vile looking bad tempered little sod. No, not like me at all… Hahahah

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