Centaur “Collar and Cuffs”

My last post was a bit of a “woe-is-me”  moanfest about water in the boat.

A timely arse-kicking comment from an inspirational source, Neil,  of The Gleda Project and others made me realise that I just needed to get on with it.

The weather has improved, the days are warmer, longer and with it my mood lifted.

You might remember I was bemoaning the water in the bottom of the boat.
I had put this down to some of the re-inforcing webs that stiffen up where the bilge keels attach having come loose.

This is a known weakness on Centaurs that take to muddy drying moorings. The constant action of settling in the mud and then rising up through the mud each tide forces the angled keels out and in over and over again. The remedy was to reinforce the bilge area with webs like you can see below. Most Centaurs by now would have had this remedial work undertaken. Mine looks to have failed after a season on very soft mud.

So over a couple of weekends I got to work with a multi-tool, flappy wheel and general assortment of dust-making-tools:

The left web is very loose, attached only by some glass tape at the bottom. The right web is firmer but you can see a worrying crack.


The Bosch Multi tool is a great peice of kit!

The area was ground back with an angle grinder with blue sanding flap-disc and then sanded further with the multitool to make yet more dust, much to Her  dismay.

Then last weekend when the temperatures looked like staying consistently above 8 degrees celsius, I had my introduction to epoxy.

A coat of unthickened epoxy to hopefully give a good surface to bind on was left 24 hours. This alone seemed to stiffen up the whole area.
This was followed by some thickened epoxy fillets. The epoxy was thickened with MILLIFIBRE white cellulose fibres from Reactive Resins.

Thickened epoxy fillets are about 1.5 inches across. Clingfilm to protect the nuts.

I’d read loads of course in preparation.

My first intention was to pipe the epoxy in with a freezer bag with the corner cut off.

Not all bags are created equal! Mine had some kind of hospital corner fold that when snipped produced a double squirt. That was quickly abandoned.

So too was the hand crafted wooden large-radius-curved tool that I’d fashioned to make the nice wide fillets.

Much better was the Pot Noodle cup that I’d been saving for mixing in.  Cut into a tongue-shaped scoop/spatula it worked well enough!

This web wasn’t showing any sign of failure but I thought it prudent to beef it up whilst I was in here.

The plan is to cover all of these fillets with a couple of layers of glass matting that you can see in the background.  

I know it’s not pretty. But I hope it’s functional. If it does the job, then that’s what is important to me.

Reactive Resins epoxy was quite easy to work with. I hope that my application of it has done it justice!

Whilst I was inside the boat making a mess, She was outside making ‘FREE’ look beautiful:

Bottom scraped and taped, keels primered.
Thank goodness for small boats – even at 26ft small, she took a suprising amount of time to paint
Blue Skies and  Blue Skirts.



Now she matches, “Collar and Cuffs”!

She worked hard on scraping, prepping and painting and now ‘FREE’ looks as pretty as a Centaur can, Collar & Cuffs!


5 Replies to “Centaur “Collar and Cuffs””

  1. Thanks Alan.

    I just needed to make a start. Nothing quite like an internet “expert” that’s never done any hands-on for suffering analysis paralysis! I can read all about it for days but it’s only by getting dirty that we gain confidence I guess!

    Now that I’ve broken the seal on the epoxy bottles I’m looking round for more things to make/mend with it.. jobs on the VW, cups, jewelery, even the cat is getting nervous.

    Autarkia is looking gorgeous too. How is the head coming along? I’m quite interested in seeing how you handled the wet half!

    1. Thanks Jon. Just waiting for my fans to come in the mail and then I’ll finish it off and make a final blog post on it. Do NOT mend your cat with epoxy. They lick it off before it cures…. 🙂

  2. Looking good, i recognise the feelings you describe as well as the pictures from your keel work, i remember tapping my supposedly reinforced keel webs and broke two of them clean off the bilge. Turns out they had been glassed straight onto an oily/shiny bilge – absolutely useless.

    Apropos filleting – icing bags, i buy them by the 100 off ebay for a few quid here:


    They save on a lot of mess and dont forget your tongue depressors / large lollipop sticks also on ebay again for a quid or so.

    Keep up the great work


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