I must say how pleasing this step is. Seeing the topsides dry fitted really feeds the mental image of what I am building. It also rewards all of the hard fairing work that I have been doing; you set those sheets on and they kiss the bulkheads in just the right way…
So it is worth spending the additional time on the fairing, and it is worth not worrying too much about little gaps. I have managed the gaps by screw-clamping only where there is contact, and not pulling it in tight. By drawing the screws tight I will distort the topsides, so the gluing will need to go slowly.
I have set the clamping distances by eye attempting to minimise the number of clamps thus allowing the ply to find it’s fair curve. Heavy close-together clamping will create small divets. It feels “zen” leaving the wood to do it’s thing.
Inside my head, I am still planning the glue up. I have read the posts on the forum and asked Chris Dearden and Robert Ayliffe many times. My concern is; do I butt join off the boat and use a team to fit it? Do I attach a butt to one end of each sheet first and put the sheets on one at a time? Do I do it all wet at once to maximise the chance of fair joins?
I suppose the easiest will be to work one panel at a time, but do it in one day. Keep it all wet, add the butts as I go. This should be three person job (one mixing, one cleaning up, one fitting).
Robert suggests I dry fit and assess the joins to see what is needed. This is what I am doing. The first fit is great, the butt should pull in sweetly. Hopefully this is sign of things to come!