Current Projects

 

Disassembly
Currently the boat has been disassembled. I removed all of the deck hardware and the balance of the interior before beginning the hull and deck fiberglass projects.

The materials I found, are in quite good condition and were generally not that difficult to remove. The sea hood that I removed is a very nice part, made of aluminum. The fore and aft vents are solid bronze. The winches are all bronze and in good shape although they obviously are dated. The boat was only about two years old when the overhead material began flaking off of the coach roof interior. To fix it, the boat was taken to what is now Derecktor Shipyards, Mamaroneck Facility, on Long Island. There, a mahogany interior was applied to the coach roof. All of that work is in remarkably good condition today with one problem. When they applied the interior, they epoxied (or polyestered) everything to the fiberglass interior but left all of the fasteners to external stuff, under the new woodwork. This makes it impossible to remove anything or rebed external parts without destroying the interior. I feel bad about it but am keeping all of their pieces as patterns to redo it like it was.

Stb. vee berth before stripping    Stb. salon before stripping

Port salon after stripping    Stb. salon after stripping

I also found that during the boat's life, it was involved in a collision. (During a race, another yacht "T-Boned" her in the cockpit area when the other captain thought he would clear her transom. The bow of the other yacht came over the cockpit coaming and was finally stopped by the port genoa winch and the steering pedestal.) The collision required replacement of the Port cockpit coaming, a section of port toerail and included a little fiberglass work under the main sheet winch. I am trying to save all the coamings as they are difficult to replace (at least the large mahogany blocks tying the coamings to the coach roof). After the collision, one of the joints was redone as a flat scarf instead of a box scarf like the Starboard, and may require a whole new coaming. The other interesting thing about the cockpit area is that the main and genoa winch pedestals were fabricated by the first owner of aluminum. Although they may have been good for racing, they will be replaced in wood.

While disassembling the plumbing, I found that the port seacock that drains the cockpit and other stuff, was rubbing on the exhaust pipe and had a significant hole in it. Since it was hidden behind the exhaust pipe, I wonder if the previous owners wondered why the bilge pump was always running?

On the amusing side, in removing the rudder, I had to dig a hole under the boat to allow the rudder shaft to drop down from the hull. The shaft is about 36" into the boat and thus the hole had to be about 36" deep. In true form for Jamestown, I hit a major rock about 12" down. The rock was too large to move (we are talking MAJOR rock here!) and thus I had to break enough of it away to get the rudder out. I knew that moving the boat was not a very viable option at this point.

One interesting thing that I noted while removing the mahogany trim pieces that go all around the coach roof, is that these trim pieces are not decorative, but functional! The boat has a seam there that gets covered by the trim. Apparently these boats were assembled quite differently from boats today. The deck was molded without the "lid" over the coach roof. The deck was apparently mounted before any bulkheads were installed, and then the hull - deck joint was completely glassed for a permanent bond. After that, apparently the bulkheads and furniture were installed through the open coach roof, followed by the coach roof "lid" and then the overhead and ports could be completed.

Image showing coach roof seam

Now that the hull is completely disassembled, I have pretty much decided to replace all of the exterior wood. It seems a shame to replace some of the nicer pieces, but I found that in several places, there have been repairs to the toe rails, coamings, hatches, etc. If I try to save it, the new pieces probably would not match very well. The toe rails look as though they will present a challenge in that they change height from 3" forward to 2" aft and they are rotated to follow the changing hull angles.

Another interesting point that became very apparent during the disassembly, was the way she was built light for racing. The hull is solid glass but quite thin. She has longitudinal glass stringers for support to augment the stiffness obtained from the bulkheads and cabinet frames, but is only about 5/16" thick in the bilge slack. I thought that the hull would be a lot thicker at the through hull fittings, but found that they actually molded a step in place to keep the same thin section throughout. There is some core in the boat (not very much!!) along the side decks, in the lazarette deck, the cockpit sole, around the mast penetration and a little in the deck forward of the coach roof. The core is urethane foam and thus there is zero rot anywhere. I can't find any delamination in the deck but will have someone else give her the second look to be sure I don't miss anything.

Image showing through hull geometry   Photo of molding for flush style thru-hulls.

Hull Exterior Projects (Updated 12-29-02)

1) Remove bottom paint
I elected to sand off the bottom paint because of the time of year. I might have used chemical stripper in the summer but know that it would not be effective in cold temperatures. I started by using a 4-1/2" Milwaukee angle grinder with soft pad and 36 grit paper to remove the top layers of paint, but had second thoughts when I found it to be very easy to gouge into the gel coat. Thus, I tried using the Fein 6" Random Orbital with vacuum attachment and 40 grit disks for removing the bottom paint. After some very labor intensive work and many disks later, I had second thoughts again, (There has to be an easier way!!) and purchased a Sears 7" right angle sander, a 3M 8" soft PSA pad and 36 grit PSA disks. I was very disappointed in the sander as shown below.

In the process of removing the paint, I found a fairly large area (about 12 square feet) on the starboard bow that I thought had all the gel coat removed. Actually, it is a layer of fiberglass cloth applied over the gel coat to cover some surface damage. Apparently The boat overrode the mooring hardware and has several gouges in the bottom and bootstripe area. There were some repairs made for the surface damage by adding polyester filler, then covering the repair area with cloth and resin. None of this is apparent inside and thus I don't think the damage was beyond cosmetic. There are some small blisters on the edges of the repair and I may remove the repair materials to redo it right.
Damage repair on Stb. Bow gel coat   This photo shows old repaired damage on the starboard bow.

2) Remove boot stripe
By December 29, 2002, I have finished removing all the bottom paint as well as the boot stripe. The bottom paint took about 40 hours of sanding and the boot stripe took about 6 hours. I found that I couldn't handle more than 3 to 4 hours per day without feeling like my arms would fall off. The bottom is generally completely covered with surface crazing in the gel coat. Had I used chemical stripper, I probably would never have been able to get it completely out. Now that I realize that, I would probably never recommend chemical stripper for a restoration project where the gel coat was likely to be crazed. Overall, the condition of the hull is good. There is a repair to be made on the bottom of the keel and the repair noted earlier to the starboard bow. There are a bunch of small gouges in the port side of the keel from an apparent earlier grounding that had been filled and didn't show through the paint, but most of them will be fine to put epoxy barrier coat over. The rudder is a different story. I found a lot of core delamination and bad repairs. I am certain that I will have to take it apart to repair the core and other problems.
Crazing  Photo of removed bootstripe area.
This image shows the crazing in the gel coat. It is interesting that the boot stripe apparently protected the gel coat under it. Note also that the light green on the bottom is apparently a very old bottom paint that penetrated the gel coat.

Sanding Stages      Sanding Tools
These images show the stages of sanding and the tools I used

Equipment for this part of the project
The preferred method for removal ended up being my Milwaukee 4-1/2" right angle grinder with 36 grit disks on a soft pad to get through the thick bottom paint layers. As soon as I was close to getting through the paint, I stopped to prevent nasty digs. Style was big. I had to use the grinder at a very low angle and attack the surface while moving, and remove it from the surface while still moving. The 36 grit disks on the small grinder can tear up gel coat in a heart beat. I tried a 7" right angle sander (Sears) with 3M 8" PSA soft pad but found that with the lower RPM's, it loaded up too quickly and was really hard on my arms because of the weight. The Milwaukee grinder runs at 10,000 RPM while the 7" sander runs at 4600 RPM. The 3M pad is only rated to 3000 RPM and I found it hard to keep the PSA disks from coming off. I also tried the flexible 7" disk that comes with the Sears machine and standard 7" disks (with mounting holes in the center) but just didn't find it to do as good a job as the 4-1/2" Milwaukee. Once I was down to a thin layer of paint, I switched to my Fein 6" random orbital with attached vacuum and 40 grit disks. That did a real nice job on the bottom. For the boot stripe, I used the 6" RO exclusively, with 80 grit disks to prevent serious scratches that would be tough to remove. Overall, this (the bottom paint) was a real horrible job. I used a drop cloth and two vacuums but the material goes everywhere when you grind it with the right angle grinder. It is really amazing how much material comes off the bottom of a 38' boat!

When I started the job, I was using coveralls, goggles and a cartridge style respirator. I quickly graduated to tyvek coveralls with hood, and then I used an SAS Safety Corp. supplied air repirator with full face mask. It is available from Tool Paradise for just over $500. I couldn't be more grateful for the supplied air respirator. Since I will be painting in confined spaces and will require it for many other aspects of this project, I think it to be a good investment.

Trestles
To do the sanding for the boot stripe and for other future hull projects, it is necessary to have some sort of staging to be at the right height for the work. I was always envious of the trestle staging that the guys in the boat yards used. There is even an article about building a set on the "Practical Sailor" site. I built a pair with 8 - 8' pressure treated 2 x 4's and 4 - 12' pressure treated 1 x 6's. I figure they will be good to have even after this project is done. The lumber is just enough to make them with 6 - 15" level increments. These are 30" at the base tapering to 20" on top and fold up on 1/2" galvanized hinge bolts. If you are building a pair, the angle for the miter cuts is 3 degrees. I found it easy to cut the rungs with my circular saw and Swanson quick square. I clamped the 2 x 4's together during construction, so they would fold up correctly.

Building Trestle    Trestle Staging
Really "Cool" Trestles

3) Remove white topsides paint
By the middle of January, I have removed all the white paint on the outside of the hull. It appears that the boat was never dewaxed properly before the white paint was applied, and thus it was fairly easy to remove with 80 grit on the Fein 6" RO sander. I also removed the gold leaf cove stripe by scraping and sanding. To do that, I made a steel scraper with a cross section like the cove indentation. Even so, the gold was kind of a pain to remove since the cross section of the groove is not very constant. In the process of removing the white paint, I found a lot of scrapes, digs, chips, gouges etcetera. Every docking sin ever committed shows up big time when you spend so much time "up close and personal" with the hull. During the process, I also scraped and sanded the hull-deck joint that had been covered by the toe rails and taffrail. Fortunately, the process only uncovered one major "gonk" that will need some glass fabric in the repair. The majority of the digs can be filled with thickened epoxy.

OUCH  Photo of 8" port side nasty "ouch".

I then started to remove the white paint from the deck and coach roof. This has presented several problems. The first became obvious when I removed paint from a test area on the coach roof. After removing the paint, I dewaxed with acetone, lacquer thinner and finally TO-115 Awl-Prep Plus Wax and Grease Remover. Incidentally, I found a local source for U.S. Paint products (as well as other fiberglassing and painting supplies) that offers very reasonable prices. It is www.compositesone.com. Then I tried sanding to see what the surface was like. I found that the surface has a glaze like ceramic tile. The only way I was successful in breaking through the glaze, was with my belt sander or right angle sander. The Fein RO with even 40 grit paper, did nothing but buff the surface. Obviously, if I use a very aggressive device to break the glaze, I'd never get the surface fair again. An additional complication is that the gel coat is completely crazed. The gel coat is only about .015" thick and the crazing seems to stop at the first mat layer. However, I don't know if the epoxy primer will let the crazing resurface. Presently, I am waiting for a US Paint rep to take a look at it and offer advice.

An additional complication is in the non-skid deck surface. The original non-skid is a very deep diamond check pattern that is worn in several places and damaged in several other places. It has also been painted, further rendering it difficult to address. I have elected to sand it down to the bottom of the diamonds and then renew it with one part polyurethane paint mixed with non-skid grit. There are three main methods with their respective proponents' commentaries for repairing non-skid: repair the original (by making a small mold from the existing deck) versus painting with added grit, versus bonding special non-skid mat to the deck. Although I am sure the mat approach could look very nice, I personally think the paint and grit is a more practical approach. The restoration of the original pattern is not really an option because of the extent of required repairs and the fact that it has been painted and is quite crazed. Because of the volume of material to be removed, I will likely use a belt sander on most non-skid patterned surfaces to get close to the required depth. This surface has an advantage for such aggressive removal tools in that I can see clearly when I am getting close to the final cut depth and non-skid has a tendency to hide minor surface fairing flaws.

The last complication that is a temporary problem, is the weather. We have had an extremely cold January. (The enclosure has no heat source other than the sun.) We have also been having gale force winds nearly every week since November. The wind tends to be more annoying than a deterent since it is pretty well blocked by the enclosure. I am actually surprised that the enclosure is holding together so well for all this wind. Although it is usually quite comfortable to work in the enclosure during sunny days, the temperatures have been very close to freezing. It is difficult to dewax and clean in this weather as I can't use water spray to check the surface for contaminents. I won't be able to try a paint adhesion test until the temps are consistently above 40 to apply some sample primer.

4) Pressure wash inside and out
I actually took this one out of sequence a little to take advantage of a warm weather lull around New Year's Day. With the weather forecast to be above freezing (even at night) for about three days, I pressure washed on December 31st. I covered all the inside and outside surfaces with detergent and allowed a little time for soaking. I did some scrubbing with a brush but primarily just started cleaning. I found that very little was removed from the exterior but the interior benefitted nicely. The pressure washer removed a lot of the paint (but not all) from inside the cockpit lockers, main salon and the hanging lockers. There gets to be so much debris flying around that you have to pay attention to what is cleaned and what isn't. I was not using the supplied air repirator and found that my goggles were so fogged up that it was difficult to work. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to use the supplied air just to have better vision. Of course, all the crud ends up in the bilge, which fills quickly with a powerful washer. The bilge and sump have 1/2" holes drilled at the bottom for drainage, that obviously would never keep up. The bilge however, has a 1-3/8" hole leftover from the knot meter about 20" up from the bottom of the keel. That hole generally allowed drainage without clogging. After I finished, I had to keep clearing the small holes to drain the hull completely. I installed a fan inside the boat to dry it out over the next several days, then vacuumed it completely to remove all the paint chips and crud. I found that pressure washing is a great start but does not get the surface clean enough to even paint the inside. When this hull was built, I don't think they were using finishing resin for the last layup and thus a lot of stuff "stuck" to the surface later. It does clean up with acetone or MEK.

5) Dewax fiberglass with acetone (or MEK) and Awl Prep Plus
6) Grind out and fill gouges and dings
7) Repair keel damage and hull core holes
8) Sand entire hull with 80 - 120 - 220 grit
9) Apply 2 to 3 coats Epoxy Primer