Prep for the Deck

Finishing Up Everything Inside

All of the wood inside the boat must be sealed with an epoxy coating. If moisture were to come in contact with bare wood, there would be serious issues. Even though we use a marine plywood, the wood itself doesn’t like to get wet. I masked the surfaces that will mate to the underside of the deck.

There is a strip of wood at centerline called a kingplank. It is required on the kit build to join the deck which ships the deck in two pieces. Although my deck is one piece, I retained the kingplank for added structural support.

Bow Handle Mounting

I fabricated stainless steel backing plates to attach the bow handle. The plates are drilled and tapped for a 10-24 stainless bolt.

The plates were sealed in place with an epoxy/wood flour mix.

I cut some bolts and ground a point on one end, installing them in the holes that will mount the bow handle. I positioned the deck for gluing and tapped on the top to make indentions on the underside of the deck. After drilling the holes, I had a guide to index the bow at the perfect position while gluing.

Wiring Conduits

I wanted to be able to run unexposed wiring from the engine to the accessories without compromising the integrity of the tanks and also providing flexibility and maintenance access. The kill switch conduit runs from the aft of the cockpit to the front cockpit frame. The second conduit provides a path from the engine to the bow flotation tank for a tachometer sensor wire.

I selected the forward port side for the kill switch location in order to keep clear of the throttle and shifter controls.

I used a small plastic bottle as a mold to form a chamber that will contain the kill switch. I added some backing blocks for the screws that will hold the switch in place

The kill switch is mounted on a fabricated stainless steel plate. It is waterproof, yet still serviceable.

This view from inside the starboard flotation tank shows some stainless steel backing plates for the throttle and shifter controls. The plates are drilled and tapped for either the classic or the newer aftermarket Evinrude controls. A vertical stiffener was also added.

Clamping the Deck

The area where the deck meets the cockpit sides needs some significant pressure to clamp down while gluing. The build manual called for placing screws screws with some small blocks with temporary screws into the carlins, a strip of wood below the joint area. I added a temporary strip of wood placed parallel the carlins and a long clamping block to run the screws through. After the deck is trimmed flush, the coaming will replace the lower temporary strip, so all the holes will be concealed.

The wood strips were taped with clear packing tape in order to remove them after the glue sets.

A wood screw was placed for alignment at the stern during the gluing. Epoxy gets very slippery and wants to move around as you get busy clamping. The heads were cut off and a slot cut for removal later. The coaming will completely cover this hole.

Another index screw was placed above the steering wheel mount. After trimming, there will be no holes showing.

Gluing the Deck

A huge moment! The deck is on, and it looks like it is pretty well secured.

It was a big day when it all came together. I was a little nervous about getting it all in place and clamped before the epoxy kicks, so I got some assistance from a local experienced hydroplane boat builder and driver. Pete Sushinsky built two small hydros which he raced extensively over the years. I was fortunate to have him help with the deck and have learned a lot from him.

As you can clearly see, anything that has a little weight comes in handy for holding it all down.

My Harbor Freight bandsaw made quick work out of cutting 10′ lengths of both 3″ and 4″ PVC schedule 40 pipe into 1 1/2″ pieces. I got about 32 pieces from each, but the just 4″ would have been enough. I was guessing about the optimal diameter and width, but the 4″ was a little easier to apply and seemed to be the right pressure. Too much pressure can push the epoxy out of the joint and create a weaker bond.

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