V-Berth Insulation, Part 2, Headliner Removal and Surface Prep

Brian finished the headliner removal this week. First, we unfastened a couple of stanchions, handrail bolts, and trim that were in the way. Next, Brian used a chisel, a multi-max, and some muscle to pull out the remaining sections of the headliner. Some pieces were tabbed to bulkheads with narrow fiberglass tape. These were more difficult to remove, but he got the job done quickly.  

The next step was surface preparation. The resin used to adhere the headliner was applied in large blobs. These blobs are now brittle and sharp around the edges. They stand out in green because the weave of the headliner remained attached to them. Removing the headliner unearthed a variable surface; resin in peaks and valleys, bare spots where the deck core almost peeks through. 

Leveling this surface completely is difficult and unnecessary. But Brian has used the variable speed angle grinder to smooth over the area. We are left with a more undulating and friendly surface to work with. In the coming weeks, we will attach a support framework or webbing to this imperfect, but improved surface. The webbing will support the deck from below. It will also create a network or grid of material that stands out from the overhead. Insulation will go in between the grid, and cover panels will mount to the grid.

The refit is moving along now. We have taken steps to make things easier: our tools are ready to go, our workspace is clear, and we have what we need to move forward with our immediate jobs. It took a day to clean and organize our tools. Our Grandpa tools needed some tender loving care. All the tools are fairly young, but due to conditions in some of the storage lockers aboard, they have aged rapidly. The rented apartment has come in handy. We have pushed in as much as we can reasonably fit. Sails are stacked on bins. Buckets are stacked on boxes. Now that everything is off the boat, we have trouble remembering how all this stuff fit aboard little Dawn Treader. Added to the pile are some materials we had sent to Lukeville, AZ. With these, we now have all the items we need for our epoxy and fiberglass kit. We also made a trip to the big box hardware stores in the United States, and spent a few hours navigating the aisles.  

There are still big things missing from our supplies. We wish it were easier to find insulation and plywood, and we’ll need these and other things sooner rather than later. But, for now, at least we can keep going…

12 thoughts on “V-Berth Insulation, Part 2, Headliner Removal and Surface Prep”

  1. This is all so detailed and very very interesting! It is really good to hear from the two of you again. You are our favorite adventure travelers! Can’t wait to find out where you head next! Love, Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim


    1. Hi Aunt Sue and Uncle Jim. Thanks for the note! We hope you are both well. We are definitely into the details! We’ll be in boat work mode for a while now, but afterwards, eventually, we hope to explore the Pacific more. Our long term goal is to sail Alaska. Lots of love to you both!


  2. Hi

    We are now in Trinidad . I don’t have your contact details as they are in the Falklands.

    Drop us an e mail so we can reestablish contact

    All the best



    1. Hi Andrez! We’ll send you an email update soon. We’re glad to hear that you have completed your epic Atlantic journey! It is amazing to look at your tracker and see how far you and Alison have sailed Kelper. We’re excited to catch up on your daily blog too. We enjoyed following your progress to St. Helena, and look forward to catching up on the passage to Trinidad. Congratulations!


  3. Wow looks like a lot of work but so glad you are both doing well. Love you guys!

    Lynn Klimp

    Island Dog

    412 Mallery Street

    St. Simons Island, GA 31522

    (912) 506-9769


  4. My sw30 1963 has that liner, and I thought that it added insulation as in the cabin top. I like that the hull doesn’t have a liner.
    Best regards


    1. Hi Jon, the liner has little insulation value. The balsa core in the deck insulates more, but much of the area is single skin. Where the deck is cored, the liner is glued directly to the deck providing no insulating airspace. Where the deck is single skin, much of the liner has a long edge open to the cabin allowing air to freely circulate and defeating the insulating properties of the air gap. Certainly having the liner is better than nothing and will contribute to a reduction in condensation in warmer climates, but we are looking for something more suitable for colder climates. The balsa core probably provides adequate insulation for its area, but we are attempting to achieve a more complete and uniform insulation of the v-berth. Hopefully it works out.


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