Restore a Sailboat - April 2018

WelcomeI made a rule for myself, I would only go to the shipyard on days where the predicted high was a minimum of 50-degrees.  January and February didn’t deliver and in March I picked up a side job that kept me away.

98. I install a pilot light next to shore power inlet in the cockpit. Plug in the cord, if it lights, the boat has power.  It turned into a nightmare project. The prior owner installed wires which are short, and they came loose (not cranked down tight at all). There is a buzzer that sounds if the dock is wired wrong.  The only way to turn off the buzzer is to unplug and go somewhere else that is wired right.  That was a nice safety feature discovered.

99. There was missing cabinetry when the boat was purchased, I built mounting and trim pieces and veneered mahogany to cover up the chainplate in the cabin.  It looks so good, that no one during the season ever made any comment about it, such as it looked different.  Add “Finish Carpentry” to the list of skills I have – Ha!

At 100 tasks, is it time to pop a champagne cork? Hardly, its just another day of making things right.  “Right” can be that you are sure something will work, or it makes the boat “seaworthy,” or pleasant on the eye, in compliance with laws or rules, there are so many reasons why to either fix, or make all of these improvements.

100.  There are sharp screws near the ceiling inside cabinets.  These could snag clothing, puncture hands, and shred anything that comes into contact with them.  I take the Dremel and cut many of these off (then having to vacuum up the dust later).

101. There is to be a marking at the end of the boom and the top of the mast called a “Band” to allow other competitors to see that you have not stretched your sails beyond this point (or cheating putting on bigger sails than you are measured for and allowed to sail with.   We are having a larger mainsail built, and the bands need to be moved to the right spot.  The old bands are impervious to chemicals and won’t come off.  I resort to a 3M Scotch Brite pad with Ajax.  That does the job.  Then installed a new band of black electrical tape at the legal length.

102. On the front bulkhead in the forepeak there are two doors with latches.  But I gotta tell ya, those two doors never closed from the day this boat was built. They were overlapped by so much, there was no way they could close. I inspect to see if the hinges were bent, nope. I inspect to see of the cut out hole was bigger than the doors, nope.  And the holes all match showing these doors were original to the boat.  I trim off the edges where the doors meet, sand it down, apply four coats of varnish on these edges and then install and re-install them 5 times to get everything aligned so they close, just right.

103. The mirror in the head has a corner broke off with a jagged edge. I don’t want anyone injured, so removing the mirror, I take a glass cutter and trim off the corner and smooth the edges so no one can be cut.  At the same time, I take a one sided razor blade and scrape varnish and other crud off the mirror surface, wash it down with lacquer thinner, and then a soap wash. She shines well now.

104. Inside the cubbie at the back end of the starboard berth is some rusty steel angle iron fiberglassed to the hull.  It was original to the boat 42 years ago, I have no idea what it might have held as it is partially cut off. I chisel off the fiberglass removing the rusty steel, then use a 4-1/2″ angle grinder to remove most of the remaining fiberglass and filler.  I sand the whole cubbie and apply a coat of white paint.  No other cubbie on this boat looks this good.  It puts all others to shame – ha!

105. A thin instruction plate for the LNG (liquid natural gas) tank is sharp going in and out of the lazarette.  I install a small screw in the corner which holds it down making it safe.  My scraped up arms appreciate this.

106. After last years disaster race where the bow of the boat was swinging wildly from left to right some 40 to 60 degrees the whole time we were sailing we have been asking around learning, why?  We have three theories: 1. The original rudders for these boats were under-sized and many of the sisterships have replaced the rudder with a new larger one; 2. The mainsail was under-sized, a new bigger one is on order; and, 3. The mast is tipped slightly forward of plumb and should be plumb.  We “think” we can give the existing rudder to our professional fiberglass guy, so I take a trip to a sistership that has the new rudder style down on the Calumet river and take dimensions, make templates, and shoot some pictures delivering them to the professional fiberglass guy. He informs me that he has to cut off parts of the old rudder, add onto some areas, and his labor hour cost will be greater than just purchasing a new one.  The order is placed to a rudder builder in California that made the one for our sistership that I had measured.  We’ll get an exact match.

107. In the olden days, there were lights on the underside of spreaders on the mast that shone on the deck when needed.  In reality, moonlight, starlight and background city light is ample to see the deck almost all of the time.  I remove these spreader lights, and their wiring, filling holes with pop-rivets where possible, and cover the larger holes with black electric tape that anyone would assume is being used for a trimming point – but they’re not.

108. Lightning Theory on masted boats is thus – some boats have “Bonding Systems” in them where the wires that hold up the mast and the bottom of the mast all have a solid copper cable that connects them together on the interior of the boat, then are connected to the metal keel that sticks out the bottom of the boat.  This tries to “steer” lightning, with the hopes that the lightning doesn’t decide to go elsewhere, such as blowing a hole out the bottom of the boat – I have seen the aftermath when that has happened with 1/2 of the mast sticking above the water on some boat in a harbor after a lightning storm.
The second theory is, the heat in lightning can be up to five times hotter than the Sun and can be up to 1 Billion Volts of power.  Do you think man can tame Mother Nature with some little wires? So some boats do not have any Bonding System, and this is one of them.  I like the idea of a bonding system so I have a wire made that goes from the base of the mast to the keel and install it.  This isn’t as good as a system that connects all of the chainplates to the keel, but hey, it’s a start.

The next owner is really going to enjoy this boat.

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