Showing posts from 2010

Creative Deconstruction

I'm starting to think that they built this boat without even considering that someday someone would take it apart. All the deck hardware, save for a few items at each end, has been removed.

The removal of the stanchion bases just about killed me yesterday. Contorting into spaces and positions that my old muscles were not intended for. At several points I was holding on to a ratchet that was slipped on to a nut I could no longer see, while reaching outside as far as I could strain against the porthole, holding a screwdriver in a pair of Vice Grips so I could reach the slot on a bolt that was six inches beyond the reach of just my arm. I didn't do any boatwork today. Tomorrow, if it doesn't rain too long, I'll begin grinding a small radius all along the sheer for glassing the Hull/Deck joint.

End of Summer Wrap Up

Whoever thought that my Trucker Tools would come in handy while working on the boat? The Rub Rail and the Toe Rail have been removed from the gunwale. Some of that work was with a crowbar. The deck is the current big project. I am working on backing the deck hardware [backing plates from previous post], patching some defects, replacing the cockpit floor and glassing in the Hull/Deck Joint - though not necessarily in that order.

Since early June, I've been driving part time and working on the boat full time. It turned out to be a great Summer to be a part-timer. I had the privilege of being able to pitch in and help with some family things that came up as well. There were several projects needing more time than money that I completed and scratched off my list. The list is still long, but the time spent this Summer will help to increase the possibility of getting the boat wet next year [the sound you hear is me rapping on the nearest wood].

There were, of course, some surprises a…

Backing Plate Factory

I haven't been on an assembly line in a long time. This week I set up to epoxy coat each side of the backing plate parts I had made. The backing plates are two layers, one of plywood and another of tempered hardboard. The plywood is the strength, and the hardboard is the hard surface. We've all seen screwheads or washers bite into the soft surface of plywood, the hardboard will prevent this. There will be plenty of stress on the various deck hardware from wind gusts or while tacking. I was shocked at the lack of backing of the winches, padeyes, etc. There are plenty of signs of hard use on the boat, the hull especially, its amazing that no hardware was yanked out of the deck.

The backing plate parts are epoxied and now need to be laminated together. In the meantime, I finished epoxying [see a trend here] the spacers for my opening ports. The ports I ordered should come in this week. The backing plate project is my fill work. The Port Installation is going to be a la…

Call of Ports :: Ports of Call

In the last couple weeks, I decided to bite the bullet and get new ports. I knew I had to, really. In an effort to hit a price point in the 1970's, Cape Dory installed plastic ports rather than bronze on their 28 footer; my model boat. After a couple years, with the plastic ports somewhat unpopular and likely making little difference on the overall price, Cape Dory went back to bronze. My ports were showing their age and one was damaged. For a water tight cabin, in the rain or in a storm at sea, I needed to replace the ports.

I removed the old ports and began replacing some soggy wooden spacers with epoxy. This week, I ordered three car payments worth of new ports. Bronze was out of the question because of the cost. I ordered six 5" x 12" Tri Matrix ports from New Found Metals in Port Townsend, WA. The company rents out a drill template and sells the appropriate counterbore. The ports are reinforced composite with stainless steel hardware. It will be nice to h…

Hangin' In the Hanging Locker

Some days you just have to take the good with the bad and keeping going. Besides, its still April. I shouldn't even be able to work on the boat yet - in Michigan. So I had a frustrating and stupid day at the boat on last Friday. Bad Boat Karma.

In order to let the Sun come up for a while before we arrived, Dad and I waited until mid morning to head down to Douglas. I had a couple things to check on. And, though it is never hard to convince Dad to come along, I especially needed him this week to hold a screwdriver on several bolts on deck while I contorted myself into the hanging locker [closet to you landlubbers] and remove the nuts on the other end. The bolts are those that hold the chainplates, and ultimately my mast. Cape Dory employed a unique system that avoided some of the disadvantages of modern chainplates jutting through the deck or cabin of a sailboat. The system, of course, has a few compromises and disadvantages too.

The first problem I encountered, and should…


A new year begins! Another belated post, but two weeks ago, it was a beautiful sunny day. I went running down to Douglas and uncovered my baby. It was beautiful and sunny and . . . I hadn't had near enough sleep. I tried to kill myself Thursday came off the road and headed to the boat on 1.5 hour of sleep. However, I got some rest and put in a great day on Friday.

There is now only ten or twelve feet of wire left on the entire boat! It all had to come out. My philosophy is that in order to know exactly what I have, I have to replace all the wiring. If there were any corrosion or damaged wire anywhere aboard, I wouldn't know it until something quit working. And even then I wouldn't necessarily know the location of the problem; better to start fresh. In order to start fresh, all the old had to come out. I left a few stray bits to trace a few wire runs I couldn't figure out.

After I got started, I was increasingly comfortable with the choice I had made. Behind…

Belated Year End Wrap Up for 2009

This is a belated Year End Wrap for 2009. The most important event of the year was the moving of the boat. I'm saying "the boat" now because I am in the midst of negotiating the renaming with myself.

Dad had been accompanying me to Bay City to do boatwork. After being driving all week, Dad and I drove 3.5 hours over to Saginaw Bay to work. It was difficult, at best, to get the gumption up to do anything significant. Dad was inspired, after speaking to Mom, to front me the funds to move the boat. The first quote I got, three years ago, was outrageous and I never considered moving the boat. With the backing, I searched anew and found a company out of Holland that was amazingly reasonable.

We got an early start last year. I had finished stripping the bottom paint and started sanding off the last blush of it. This was quite a job; a 28' foot hull to a depth of 4 feet with a palm sander.
The boat was loaded on to a very cool adjustable trailer and hauled from Bay C…