Shearwater Bulkhead Gaps

I've just completed the "tack welding" step on my Shearwater 17, and I have arge gaps between the tops of the two permanent bulkheads and the deck.  The top of the front bulkhead is quite round whereas the deck has a more angled shape where the top and sides of the deck meet.  Therefore, I have about 1/4" gap above the rear bulkhead and almost 1/2" gap at the corners of the front bulkhead.  I think this is normal based on prior threads, but I'm concerned with the size of the fillets necessary to fill those gaps.  Have others just filled them with thickened epoxy (and was that strong enough), or have you fabricated wooden gap fillers?  I really don't understand why the bulkheads would be cut the way they are....

Thanks for the help as always!


4 replies:

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RE: Shearwater Bulkhead Gaps


First fiddle with the bulkheads a bit.  How does the top of each bulkhead match up with the sheet line.  You may want to elevate the bulkheads slightly to get a better fit there and to split the difference between deck and bottom.  Do they need to move forward or aft just a little bit?  Filling a 1/4" gap w/ thickened epoxy would not bother me, 1/2" however is a bit much.  Hopefully you will hear from others who have faced this problem.  My Shearwater is ahybrid so my actual deck fitting was a bit different.


RE: Shearwater Bulkhead Gaps

I had a fairly large gap on the top of the rear bulkhead on my Shearwater 14 also (I moved the front bulkhead and made a new one so it was a custom fit).  I put a piece 4" fiberglass tape, soaked in epoxy, along the top of the bulkhead that spanned the gap.  When that hardened I filled the gap from the opposite side with thickened epoxy and smoothed it.  Seemed to work fine, and gave the thickened epoxy something to hold on to.


RE: Shearwater Bulkhead Gaps

Paul and Kathy - Thanks for the help.  I pulled the stitches tonight and I think the filets and tape (per Kathy) will fill the voids.

Paul - in thinking about your comments, it seems like the bulkehead may have been designed with the hybrid deck in mind.  At least on the S&G version, there's really no way to move the bulhead forward or aft because it largely forms the top panel.  Plus, my bulkhead's top is already in contact with the top panel of the deck - the side panels where they meet the top panel is the issue.  On the hybrid, I suspect that this isn't an issue since you can make a more rounded deck. 

 Anyhow, I think it will all work out just fine.  It's interesting that my hand drawn/cut day-hatch bulkhead will be (by far) the best fitting of the three.  It gives me hope to learn that a CNC machine can't always beat a few basic saws, a block plane and a bit of "eyeballing"...

I'm haning a great time seeing it all come together.


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