Posted by: wrmcnutt | June 8, 2009

Sailboat Update

The Snark in the storage mood where it sat for at least 30 years.

The Snark in the storage mode where it sat for at least 30 years.

Sorry – I have boat brain.  You’re probably not going to hear about anything else this week.  For the newcomers, I’ve got an old sailboat hull my father aquired about 40 years ago.  There was nothing left but the hull.  Today we worked on making replacement parts for all of the missing wooden fittings.

My Apprentice Fritz came over to give me a hand, so things moved considerably faster than they would have other wise. We made the mast seat, rudder, and rear transom.  They’re all dry fitted and ready to seal up.  I’m in a hurry, so I’m just going with one coat of stain, and then one coat of polyurathane.  They only have to survive one week at Lilies before I take them back apart and re-seal them.  I also still need to make and fit a tiller handle onto the rudder.  After that I’ll start on the rigging.

The snark, bow on, sporting a new "dry fitted" bow ring, mast seat, and rudder.

The snark, bow on, sporting a new "dry fitted" bow ring, mast seat, and rudder.

I didn’t have a pattern to use for the rudder, and I was concerned about not having enough rudder in the water to control the boat, so I ended up making the headof it a little too short, so I’m going to have to extend it before I can mount the tiller.  I had really hoped to get that done today, but I just ran out of time.

Same Snark - Aft end, new rudder and transom

Same Snark - Aft end, new rudder and transom

Oh god, the hull is so  butt-ugly.  It’s sound, but when dad put the original fiberglass treatment on the hull, it was his first effort, so he didn’t know to use a single sheet.  He put it on in patches.  So there are pretty nasty lumps where the different sheets overlap.  And the epoxy he used had this nasty, yellow color to it.  It’s almost snot colored.  Now, of course, I didn’t take very good care of it over the years, so it got the slop beat out of it.  I had forgotten that about twenty or thirty years ago, I’d started to refit it, and never finished, so some of the fiberglass has been peeled away from the bumper.  I’d started cutting away all the blisters where the fiberglass had started to bubble away from the styrofoam.  So now there’s a bunch of exposed styrofoam.  I’d also started filling in the damaged areas with Bondo.  So in addition to the original sick-yellow fiberglass, there are patches of rough, grey bondo on it.  And, of course, the reason I was restoring it back in those days anyway was because mildew had started forming where water had gotten between the fiberglass and the styrofoam.  Oh, and when I was eleven I had taken latex housepaint and given it  white coat.  My logic at the time was that making it all one color could only be an improvement.  But, of course it didn’t stay that way. It peeled and flaked everytime the hull flexed.  So between the yellow, the grey, the green, the blotches, and the white, plus lumps, that she looks like she’s got jaundice, acne, leprosy, and plague. 

But there’s not time to re-glass the boat.  Not even remotely.  I will take comfort from the fact that the hull was initially designed to be used without the protective glass coating, and put it in the water this weekend.

Maybe this winter I’ll re-glass the boat.

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  1. congrats on the progress with the boat.


    chapter five better be REAL good when it finally arrives.


    • Well, I’ll see what I can get together by the end of Lilies. No promises, thought. It’s real hard to get myself into any frame of mind other than “Lilies,” at Lilies.

  2. Good luck Will….and you have to take a photo or two of you with it on the water at Lillies….if anything to show that it still floats even in the shape it is in.

    I hope the weather holds for you, I know that Lillies can be nasty at times in the weather department.

    • I’ve got pictures of the “in development” process, but I forgot and left them at the house. I’ll certainly get pics at the War. And yes – Lilies weather can get “exciting,” but it’s also changable. We’ll get one or two days of heavy weather, but I’ve never been to a “Bad Lilies.” Of course, I have been to one that had almost no wind at all. Let’s hope that this is not the case this year.

      The interested can check out the wind speed for a given day at the lake here:

      I won’t be out in anything above a small craft advisory. The snark is so light that even using proper handling, it can just be blown backwards in moderate winds.

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