While in India last year, I came across boatbuilding in MANDVI Gujarati.
- First we found rotten wood under the teak decks on the port side. This project set us back a full month in our schuduled departure date for the crossing. A bit stressful as we had crew and hurricane season approaching.
- Waiting an extra day in Provincetown to finish shopping and fueling up cost us 5 long days at sea motoring. We should have jumped on that lumpy ass low but there was still so much to do .Because we only carry 40 Gallons of fuel we had to head into St. John’s newfoundland with out charts. We were able to do it when Julien found a navonics chart downloaded four years prior still on his iPad!!!! I found it rediculious as Julien had sailed around engineless before I came into the picture. It was an ocean we were crossing with no obstructions. Oh well captains orders.
- Captain Julien hits a weather buoy along the coastline of St. John in fog with the auto helm on and the engine blasting. Who auto helms into a new place with out charts and in fog? We found out a day later that we passed a tanker size ice burg .
- our prevented main does a jib in a building brisk wind with the Aires steering and breaks the wooden boom. Two days of repairs during 2o – 25 knot winds with out a main and we are back at it waiting for the next low to bring us heavy 30-35 knot winds. Let’s hope the boom holds out. He slyly repaired it with a 2 by 4 scarf in three spots, west system and several large hose clamps.
- Tomorrow is half way day and I have been told to keep the captain crunch cereal at bay until we are tied up at a dock. Captains orders.
We were preparing for an Atlantic crossing on our cold molded wooden sloop tiger Maru, when Julien spotted rot in the port deck. ” people do ocean crossings in open row boats” I said knowing how long our project list was already. It was to late he had already chiseled back the rot and was letting it dry in prep for his Dutch men repairs.
He knew it would be a messy job so we headed across the Hudson River and tied up to a rust barge where he proceeded to get loud and dirty. We also pulled the mast and placed it on the barge for a total refit. New inter stay with running backs for a storm sail. New halyards, rigging, staylocks ( norsemen is out of business) and new beefy spreaders.
Re doing a teak deck
Julien has decided to us west system g flex as the glue for this project.
- our decks are plywood with double diagonal mahogany. Once the decks were repaired, we milled the teak wood and scarfed the pieces together full length. Most of the source of rot was at butts so Julien wanted tight splices with no end grain exposed. next we removed all fastenings and filled the holes, while fiberglassing thin spots on the deck.
- First deck piece was thru bolted with 2 by 2 cross clamps. This clamp would bridge the following strips so that we could wedge each strip with out fastenings.
- It is a messy affair. I lay down g flex with 403 and 407 filler on the teak strip. Julien spreads it on the cambered deck with a sculpted plastic squeegee. We only lay enough goop for one teak strip.
- Next we bend the teak in the shape of the deck, the breadth of the boat, while trying not to mash up our glue. We tuck it under the cross clamp and wedge the ends tight as we go down the deck.
- Next we insert our separating string which is . 155 inch weed walker cord. This creates an even separation of the teak strips and a breaker for the future caulk.
- We clean up epoxy that has used out of the wood strip so that we will not have to scrape and sand tommoroow when installing the next strip.
- Each day we knock out the wedges and install a new strip. It takes a long week to do the port side.
- After all the strips are laid down we remove the cross bar and plug and fill the holes that were holding the cross bars. We sanded the deck with a belt sander and caulked with PL roof polyeurithane. We has sampled it 8 years prior and ir worked better then the expensive teak deck systems caulk. It is easy to remove and does well in the sun and costs $ 5 a tube at Home Depot.
We estimate about 100 Hours ( we charge $110 an hour for both of us so that’s about 10,000 plus $2500 dollars in materials for this job.)
After two months of determined work we are almost ready to hit the high sea. It has been a long time dream for both Julien and I to cross the pond in our own boat. Little did I know the amount of energy it would consume. I am tired, frazzled & worn. To view our journey by tracking latitude and longitude goto https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/TigerMaru
Two months prior to leaving , Julien was putting in some structural beams and found rot in the deck. Here we are replacing the port deck without fastening. Up came the old teak. A bit of scarfed wood went in and then some fiberglass. On top of that we g flexed new teak wood clamped down with bolted down cantaleviered 2 by 2 . We then wedged the teak as we went. We also used .155 inch weed whacker cord as a bond breaker between the caulk and bottom. It was difficult to work with. Next we pulled the clamps off and finished the deck with black roofing pl bought at Home Depot. I found it easier to apply and less air bubbles then teak deck system. It also only cost $5 a tube. We had previously tested it seven years
We also installed an inner stay to hang a storm jib on. Running backs so the mast won’t pump. I have just finished sewing 116 drogue cones with the help of Michele, Julien daughter and crew. We deliberated about how to get weather out at sea and finally came up with predict winds offshore weather and an iridium go. Michelle has been setting it up and soon we will be able to receive weather and get texts and email as well as calls. Our Eperb, Winslow life raft and spin lock PDF were bought at landfall navigation in Stamford conniticut. We will use C- Map on the iPad for charts of Western Europe as we don’t know where we will land. Once I pay the $40 I can download them for keeps. This is very scary for us as we are paper chart people. I will let you know how iPad navigation works out for us,
Lots of wooden boat owners can not afford the major refit option here in New York. Many of us realize that plugging away in Martha Stewart style is the way to go. Some of us keep lists with structure being the priority. Not to many, plunk money in the cushions and varnish while ignoring bleeding fasteners, broken ribs and cheesy looking planks. Every wooden boat owner has a plan and we often stick to it.
Urbanboatworks ( thats us Julien & dana) is honored and pleased to keep these New York Wooden boats alive & sailing. Check us out at www.urbanboatworks.com if your in need of help and live in New York or CT.
Heavy Duty Utility Canvas French Sailing- Fisherman’s Smocks
Coming soon to WWW.WORLDSENDNY.COM
As owner’s of a wooden boat, Julien & I understand varnish and the stable surface that needs to exist below the varnish. We address the under lying cause of varnish failure. ( caulk seam gone bad, bad bung, leaking port lights, not enough build up) When perfection is not required, we know how to lay on for protection. Prepping and painting wooden hulls – cold molded, plank on frame or strip construction is our pleasure. We work with Awlgrip, Kirby Paints and Fine Paints of Europe. Varnish is always Epifanes.
Late fall is always a time for me to work on my own boat. The build up on TIGER MARU was thick. It had been 8 years since the last strip. I use an inferred heater to strip large surfaces. The build up was thick but it only took a half hour to strip the cabin sides. Next I cabinet scraper the wood back to a uniform red color. If not done properly yellow oxidized wood will remain. The scraper ( when sharp) levels the wood out to an even plane. When the sun hits the varnish the rays will bounce off. If the surface is not fair then the rays will absorb into the wood. After the scraping I check to make sure everything is fair. You can run your hand over the surface with your eyes closed. I promise you will feel divits, high and low spots. Scrape away until it feels even. Then I sand with 150-180 to make sure all marks are out. Next comes the varnish which is played on across the grain and thinned for the first 3 coats. This ensures all the pores are filled. Full strength varnish is played on and sanded back with 320 sand paper until the build up looks right. Round eyebrows and the top of coamings gets more coats and is sanded back with a 400 grit sponge.
although our 5o foot wooden mast is springy and 500 pounds, that doesn’t stop my dear darling from pulling it from a floating dock in the wake infested Hudson River with a 30 foot derrick made of repurposed 2 by 8’s.
here are the steps:
spend 5 hours making a wooden frame derrick from 2 by 8’s. cross bracing made from 2 by 6’s.
next bring to the site and bolt together the two half’s.
Then stand it up with the halyards of the mast. guy lines going back- tied and fastened to the dock. we borrowed a power winch for the lifting operation. We mounted the winch on the bottom cross brace and used a lift line for the mast which the winch cable was tied to. The cable was not long enough to go thru the block and back down. When we were ready with the set up we then unpinned all the rigging. Jay worked the winch while we guided the mast.
It was nerve wracking to say the least- as our wooden mast is very slinky. Motor boat wakes didn’t not help.
at one point when the mast was nearly out of the deck we had some troubles. The dock was under water and the derrick was lifting off the dock. Julien and I were so hyper focused that we did not notice the halyard was still attacked to the pulpit. Thank god Etna was around and saw the trouble.
Out and down the mast came.
It was a really good experience but i begged julien to find a crane to put the newly varnish mast back. And that he did. Steve with a crane on a barge came to the rescue. It was slick as snot and I did not have to worry about people knocking there teeth out or losing a months pay due to injury. After all Julien is batting about a 600 as he has dropped it twice and broken it once under sail.
IF YOU ARE INNEED OF PROPER MAST REMOVAL, WOOD ROT ,REPAIR & VARNISH HEAD TO WWW.URBANBOATWORKS.COM