Tender/Lifeboat, Page 5
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Once all the interior carpentry is done and glued in, it's time to fit the foam that makes the boat unsinkable. I used Styrofoam building insulation, sold in 2' x 8' x 2" slabs at building supply stores. This stuff is easy to cut either with a hand saw or on the band saw. Either way it makes a mess of statically charged foam particles all over the shop.
The plans show the 8" watertight access hatch to the forefoot as being mounted to the hull bottom in a recess in the bottom foam layer. I was concerned that since our boat would be stored upright on the deck of our cruiser, this recess would collect water that would be difficult to drain effectively. So, instead of mounting the hatch to the bottom, I cut a plywood square with appropriate cutout for the hatch, and two spacers to raise it off the hull bottom by the thickness of the foam plus the 1/8" ply flooring. This view shows the hatch mounting arrangement along with the dry fit foam for the forward section of the hull. The remaining empty volume inside the hatch opening will be filled with spray-in insulation foam to minimize air pockets and condensation potential.
Gluing in the foam up forward where the hull bottom curves upward takes some creative clamping techniques. Here, the 2" foam slab has been deeply scored on its underside to allow it to bend smoothly along the curve of the bottom. After the epoxy is poured and spread, various lumber scraps are used to push this foam into its final curved form tight against the bottom of the hull. Forward of the scored slab, I simply cut several narrower pieces of foam to complete the curved bottom section up to the bow locker face. Any gaps remaining between pieces were filled with spray-in insulation foam.