Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Scratch That Itch

 Well, it took me about 10 years to miss the sweet smell of old fiberglass dust, but I'm back at it.  After taking an inventory of everything that came with the boat and labeling everything for a later date, I busted out the oscillating saw and the old angle grinder with 24 grit disc and got to work on the boat's biggest problem.  Rotten floors/ribs.

First, I marked the location of the old ribs so I could install new ones in the same location and then moved onto the keel bolts.  The boat has 8 keel bolts (2 per rib) on ribs 6, 7, 8, and 9.  I was originally going to lift the boat off the keel but I didn't want to spend several hundred dollars to build a gantry so I decided to leave the keel in place and replace the 2 aft ribs with keel bolts (6 and 7) along with 1 - 5 first.  Fortunately, the keel bolts came out easily and only required me to chisel away a small bit of fairing on the hull to access them from the outside.  

Once I had the bolts out I used the oscillating saw to get the bulk of ribs 1-7 out of the boat and then ground down all the loose bits and lumpy old glass with the angle grinder.  I forgot how much dust the angle grinder kicks up and was glad that I hadn't put the boat in the shop.  

With everything all ground flat (yet still pretty ugly), I noticed that the seat tank tabbing on both sides was a bit wonky, so I cleaned up the joint a bit and laid in a filet of cabosil thickened epoxy and a layer of 2" tape to keep it in place. I don't think I took a photo of the joints once the tape was in place, but there is a photo below with the filet laid in.   

With that complete I sanded everything down with 80 grit paper with my 6" RO sander and went to the Goosebay Lumber to find some new wood for the ribs.  The original wood was likely white oak, but for some reason, domestic white oak is stupid expensive right now ($14 bd/ft) so I ended up choosing a lovely 2-1/4" x 8" x 8' piece of douglas fir.  Most of the doug fir I have used in the past is wonky plantation grown crap with about 10 rings per inch, but this piece was 30+ rings per inch in places and was really straight grained and very hard, so I think it will be a good choice.  Granted doug fir doesn't have the compressive strength that white oak has, but it is lighter and I am planning on encapsulating all of it in 1708 biaxial fabric to give it a good bit of strength.   Additionally, the white oak ribs call for 1-3/4" width, but I decided to go with 2-1/4" (width limit under Rhodes 19 class rules).  

Next up, I'll be cutting, shaping and glassing in ribs 1-7.


Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Oops, Something Followed Me Home

While doing my usual Sunday morning Craigslist review of sailboats a few weeks back, I came across a listing for a 1963ish Rhodes 19 for sale in Rhode Island for $300.  Of course it was a mess, but all the parts were there and the trailer appeared to be in decent shape. The boat issues were all correctable and well within my wheelhouse and I've been without a project for a while now and missed that itchy feeling of old fiberglass dust.  

I've always loved the look of a Rhodes 19 under sail, they just have that classic daysailer look about them and apparently there is a pretty large one design racing fleet up and down the east coast.

So the following weekend, my son and I loaded up the car with everything I could think of that would require us to get her home and drove down to Rhode Island to check the boat out.  When we arrived, we pulled the boat off the lawn to get a better look at it and replaced one of the wheels that looked pretty sketchy (I brought a spare wheel with me).  About 10 minutes later the other tire went flat and I was fresh out of spares.  

I was ready to call it quits and head home without the boat when the seller told me that there was a tire shop about 5 minutes down the road and they might have what we needed. So we gave it a shot and drove down and they luckily had 1 tire available and swapped out the old one in about 10 minutes.  I was still a bit worried about travelling 190 miles from Rhode Island to New Hampshire via Metro West Boston with a trailer that I wasn't sure was up to the challenge, but we decided to go for it anyway. If the thing fell apart on-route, I could always just leave it on the side of the road and walk away even if it meant losing $300.  

We spent the next 2 hours changing the bad wheel and securing the mast and gear on the deck and strapped everything down for the road.  By the time we left it was about 2:30.  Fortunately, the ride was extremely uneventful despite a few traffic jams along the way (par for the course in Boston).  We stopped every 30 minutes or so to make sure the bearings weren't on fire and the boat was still secured so it was definitely slow going.  We finally made it home around 6PM and tucked the boat and trailer in the shop driveway for the night.  Mission accomplished.

The next morning I started taking everything apart and putting stuff away.  First thing up was I labeled the floorboards and put them up in the shop attic.  Some were broken, but I think several can be saved.  In any event, I need to use them as templates when I get around to rebuilding them.  My son and I pulled the mast off the boat and set it up in a mast rack on the side of the shop.  I went through a box of miscellaneous stuff and found everything I needed to re-rig the boat.  

With everything stripped off, I got started assessing what I think needs to be done and compiled the following list:

  • Replace 9 of the 10 rotten wood floor ribs that serve as a platform for the deck and more importantly: hold the keel on the bottom of the boat.
  • Replace all the chainplates.  They are probably original and were glassed to the hull. It's likely that they are suffering from crevice corrosion and could fail once under load.
  • Strip and fair the keel and bottom.  The 400lb cast iron keel is pretty rusty and will need to be stripped, coated, and faired.
  • Sand/Grind the hull. There is a lot of old nasty paint that needs to be stripped off, faired and then repainted.  
  • Scrub the decks. If I can get away without painting, I will, but will have to see because they are covered in lichen at this point.  I kind of like the baby blue color though so I hope they will clean up reasonably well.
  • Re-rig the mast.  I'll probably replace most or all of the shrouds, but I won't get to that for a while to see how bad they are.

Stay tuned...

I think those ribs look ok don't they?

Nature in progress

An oldie but a goody?