While in India last year, I came across boatbuilding in MANDVI Gujarati.
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.
Brightwork is finiky work. As an offshore sailor who is pretty rough and tumble, I consider my varnish protection first, perfection second. As a wooden boat owner I am aware not only of the movement of the wood on the boat but also the area’s that take the abuse. Therefor I do things like coat all rounds and surfaces that lay flat to the sun several times. A typical cabinside will get two or three coats on the waterways and eyebrows- to one coat on the horizontal grained cabin wood. Some places will get three cost while others will get one.
Here are a few tricks I have learned over the years that make it a but easier.
- Clean your surface ( after Sanding ) 3 times. Once with a vacuum, then with a rag with spirits on it and lastly with a fresh tack rag.
I use to tell the people that worked with me doing brightwork in the tropics ” it is all about cleaning” and i would tell my clients “your paying for more then a seasonal coat. Your also getting a complete wash down to your openings including screens, tiles and walls. ”
- Wait until the pollen has passed and there is no wind
Everyone is in a rush to get evrything knocked off there list for boat season. It pays to do your brightwork on the perfect day with no wind, early in the morning but not so early that dew is around.
- Always buy and use a new brush.
I now charge one new brush to each job for the last coat. After someone has spent good money on sanding and cleaning they should not have a problem paying 12-18 bucks extra for a new brush, with no dust.
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
It’s not every day that some one comes along and wants a new cockpit. The owner of this almost 100 year old S Boat ALLEGRO did.
Julien loves to builds cockpits. He says ” i have always enjoyed rebuilding cockpits. Normally I am trying to keep boats afloat. Cockpits are the fluff. You have to get it right. It needs to fit. Basically that’s were you spend all your time.”
If you are in the New York area and have a wooden boat contact us thru our website at www.urbanboatworks.com
A bunch of 90 year old S Boats sail out of western long island sound. They are in various states of condition. Wooden boats always need something. We started out building a new cockpit for Allegro. She also needed 8 broken frames repaired.
Next we worked on Danai which is also kept in the Brewers yard. Julien removed stem to keel fairing because it was badly chafed and found iron drifts cracking the keel into the rabbet. We replaced six floor timbers and the mast step. The highlight of the job was steam bending 5 ribs into the bow. We replaced these ribs as they flattened on either side of the brake spoiling the shape of the boat.
Phillip came in with a new s boat now named Ingwe . We call it the Rhode island rat and wonder if he bought it from our friend Thorp. She is a bit out of shape and has been abused. A deck was put on a crooked boat which has to come off in a few years. This year Phillip is trying to get her sound and is doing a wonderful job. Julien and Phillip steam bent 8 frames. Julien will replace one plank and has removed three that will be added to. Splining loose seams will take up much of the week. Splining seams is a fairly straight forward procedure of evening up the wide seems and inserting a v shaped spline- glued on one side and caulked on the other.
We applaud the S Boat Owners at the Brewers Yard in Mamaroneck. They are all doing hands on maintenance and only require Urbanboatworks for extra ordinary projects.