Hey, thanks very much guys for the quick replies and kind words !
Camelgas - I had never thought for a second about it being for a nav light on the bow, havnt seen any new sibs with lights mounted on the bow like this, i really like the option for making a safer boat.
Would like to fit lights to fish early mornings or into the evening, but that will have to wait until later until i get familiar and comfortable in handling the boat in daylight.
M chappelow - Thanks very much for the explanation of marking out the keel line, have some sheets of hardboard here which would be ideal for a template.
I can see the ease of just getting an inflatable keel and fix it in place, but I'm thinking that won't work as well as a rigid one? not as durable, wont burst etc? I don't mind making one if it will make the boat handle much better, is this worthwhile or should i just throw a tube in and forget about it ?
The underside of the floorboards have a worn section ( varnish rubbed off ) down the centre where the keel should be, this is what gave me the impression it must of had a rigid keel fitted. ( See photos ) There is also a metal fitting of some sort in the front panel - locking bracket ?
Landlockedpirate - What height should the windscreen be? Is there alternative plastic sheeting that might not be as brittle as the perspex ?Polycarbonate sheet ?
I just had a vision of the perspex sheet breaking and a sharp corner puncturing the tube !
Locozodiac - Been searching around online reading reviews on various Hypalon cleaners / restorers but most seem to say pretty much the same thing that they last only a few days then the shine will fade and not really do anything for the fabric other than give a little UV protection, being a boater on a budget I worry a little after seeing the prices of the cleaners and if needing re-applied every week or so.. it will leave no money for fuel!
Will keep searching for a suitable product at a friendly price.
I have so many other questions guys but don't want to ask too much all in one post !
After the keel and fading tube issues, my next question is on how best to re-finish the floorboards / transom and oars.
They have been varnished long ago, but now started to peel / fade.
Light sanding all over with 120 grit to remove loose varnish, degrease then varnish / paint ?
Is it better to use a hard finish polyurethane or soft - will a soft varnish absorb dents etc and reduce chipping ? or should it be hard as possible ? Also - i am undecided wether to varnish or paint, thinking black floorboards might suit the boat well...
After varnish or paint, I need to figure out the seating and make it comfortable for 2 people to sit and fish all day and have easy access to tackle / gear etc - i first thought of the standard wooden board across the tubes with a foam cushion or some sort... but a backrest would really be great for long fishing sessions.
We have a large fishing tackle box that doubles as a seat that has a backrest attachment. I wonder if it might be possible to fix the box on the floorboards somehow to prevent it moving around but also be easily removable... Do any of you guys have custom made seats / backrests ?? if so, I'd love to see ! please post up some photos of your boats and setups !