Friday, June 28, 2019

________________________ MAKING PROGRESS ________________________

I washed the hull in methylated spirits which draws out any rot inducing moisture and helps get the hull down its minimum weight.

 Repairing the holes by laminating on layers of 1.5mm Gaboon plywood in strips.

The first stage of the fairing process. I have used a belt sander (on the first stage of reducing the height of the laminated repairs) and a manual long board sander. I must say, having all the holes in the hull closed off and the timber faired up feels like a bit of a milestone.

The next stage in this long process will be 4 coats of '2 pot' Everdure wood preservative with the first coat heavily diluted with thinners which helps the Everdure penetrate deep into the wood. These coats seal the timber, prevents the re-absorption of moisture and provides a base for the fairing proper - with West System resin and various fairing compounds. All of this is time consuming hard work, but for a Zephyr sailor - a fair hull is a fast hull.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

__________________________ SUNDAY SAILING _______________________

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest - one way of resting is to lean into the day doing something that you really like to do. I am all for that, so I went sailing. Don and I raced the Fifteen. My brother Tony who was the official photographer thought he was going to be shooting from the end of a jetty but ended up getting a helpful passage on a local boat and was out among the action.

Every race is a learning experience and we are certainly learning a great deal. I am finding being the crew rather than the skipper a rewarding experience. Skippering for me usually means racing solo in my own boat, so I am enjoying being part of a team.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

___________________________ 'BORROWED' __________________________

Here she is - the Flying Fifteen 'Borrowed' that Don and I will be sailing for the third time tomorrow. Our placings to date have been a 6th and 2nd place. Today was an alteration / preparation day. We tweaked a few things, sorted out the hiking straps and placed some non skid tape on the side decks in strategic places. We will be hunting for a good breeze tomorrow.

Friday, June 21, 2019

......................................... AND IN THE MEAN TIME

In the spaces between restoring 'Slipstream' my 60 year old Zephyr sailboat and wondering why it's taking me so long to get around to doing some work on 'Mariner' my much neglected keelboat I am racing a Flying Fifteen with my fellow Zephyr sailor Don Currie. The Flying Fifteen is about 20 feet long (The 15 in its name refers to the boats waterline length), has a small keel (aids the righting moment for us elderly crews) and is an absolute rocket ship. There is a small and growing fleet here in Whangarei and we have been able to borrow a boat, or rather Don has entered into a lose lease agreement with the owner of a slightly neglected but basically sound boat. The boat comes without a name so we have called her 'Borrowed' which reminds us to take all responsibility and care. To date all our first few sails have been in very light winds so we looking forward to the sashaying flare of huge bow waves and rainbow inducing rooster tails from the stern that a strong breeze promises - bring it on I say.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


                                       Great to have some friendly help for my arthritic sailors legs while getting my boat ashore.

Well shipmates I'm at it again - another boat renovation. This time it is a much needed repair and renovation job on 'Slipstream' my 60 year old Zephyr class yacht. It's all a labour of love, something that I can lose myself in. There is a hard to explain deep satisfaction and achievement to all this that is kind of spiritual. Some would find such a notion as ridiculous or even profane; but there you are.

Making a start so off comes the paint.

There were about eight holes in the boat. The large one in the bow combined with glue lines and evidence of the scarfing of timber shows that the boat had in the past been extensively damaged. My guess is that some time in her 60+ year life she has possibly come off a road trailer or run up onto rocks with great force. The holes were exposed when I removed all the chopped strand fiberglass cloth and a considerable thickness of fairing compound.

The deep areas that look like someone has taken to the boat with a grinder are exactly that - areas ground out. I thought that it might have been areas of rot, but I think it is more likely to be areas of de-lamination of the three skinned hull.

Everything is off or out that's coming off or out except for the centre case.

Dealing to the damage with strips of 1.5mm Gaboon plywood, the ubiquitous West System Glue and a staple gun - rather than chopped strand mat and bog - shiver me timbers, but this is a Wooden Boat!!

My good friend and fellow Zephyr sailor Don Currie removes the centre case with my good friend and fellow Zephyr sailor Bernie's renovator tool. Both of these Zephyr sailor friends are frequent visitors, lenders of tools and the source of boat loads of advice and encouragement.

Don then fitted the boats new centre case which he had very, very generously made for me. Don is an extremely talented wood worker, who like me, revels in any kind of woodwork to do with boats.

Here is the reason that this renovation was timely. When removing the old mast step, a large part of the keel came crumbling out as well. This part of the keel was saturated with water and was soft and manky. The loading in this area is huge and I am lucky that the mast hadn't been driven through the bottom of the boat a long time ago.

I have scarfed in a metre of new keel and installed a new mast step on top of two layers of double bias fiberglass cloth which provides a "pan" for the keelson and maststep to sit on. The "pan" repairs and strongly reinforces this area of high mast compression stress.

So far, so good. Yesterday (With Bernies help) we flipped the boat upside down again and I have begun the job of fairing the hull. There is some distance to go before I am sailing again, but a few of the main construction jobs are now completed.