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.


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

I was only thinking this morning "I wonder where Alden is?", and lo and behold... looking forward to how she progresses!

Alden Smith said...

Thanks Steve, I have been a little distracted lately (and there is still a lot of work to do) but I am going to try and blog again between the intense bits of work.

George A said...

Just getting back to the computer after a two week vacation. Looks like you've made an impressive start on the restoration.

Alden Smith said...

Thanks for the comment George. Yes I think I have made a solid start and to date all is going well. The next big job is to use West System resin and fairing compound to fix the outside of the hull. I am glad to have a good friend to help me who knows what he is doing (always helps)!