Reconstruction – Part II

(Year Two, summer)

The mast support crossbeam that attaches to both main bulkheads. On the old piece, notice the gap between the bottom and the metal straightedge: 35 years of shrouds and stays pulling down on the mast did put a little warp into it. The new piece is 1 1/4″ sapele mahogany, planed to the correct thickness, the top edge beveled to match the slight forward slope of deck above. Nothing is easy: surprisingly, the curve is neither constant or symmetrical. Even when I jacked up the deck, the variations in the fiberglass made matching the piece a pain. I got it close and shimmed gaps with pieces of thin stainless steel bar. This was the beginning of the realization that she would NOT go back together as well as I imagined, planned for, carefully worked for, and therefore, I thought, rationally expected.
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Most of the new parts on the left, most of the corresponding old parts on the right. Every part successfully installed sent an old part into the dumpster.
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The replacement and original pieces (part of the V berth in the bow.) When I cut the old pieces into smaller pieces that would more easily stack in a dumpster, the saw just ripped through it; ya, it was just a bit rotten.
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The main bulkheads, 1/2″ thick marine plywood with veneer. She’s no longer just a shell!
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The forward and aft bulkheads of the port side galley. Attaching the corner and shelf supports was a bit of a puzzle, even with the old pieces lying on the floor nearby. From where do you measure? Answer: everywhere. To complicate things, I raised the countertop about 7″ from the original pieces, and the wood for the supports is not the same thickness as the original.
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Port side galley, countertop level raised about 7 inches ’cause the original height was definitely a back-breaker.
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Starboard side galley cabinet. Also, the two wooden strips on each side of the companionway are replacements for the wood that had rotted because of water exposure. I Dremmel’ed a straight line down each side, chiseled the old plywood out, and epoxied the replacements in.
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Port side bunk and locker. Originally this was just a low bunk (standard settee style), but since sailboat settees are always used mostly as a place to pile things that flop all over when underway, why not raise the bunk and store the gear underneath? Sure, it won’t be as convenient for lounging, but 90% of the time you lounge outside in the cockpit anyway.
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In the V berth area, forward of the mast.
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The forepeak. The cubbyhole forward is for chain and anchor rode (there’s a hole in the deck to pass the line through), and there’s a plastic watertank is in the Vee. I won’t use it for water, though: it’ll be used for dry storage.
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The stainless steel crossbeam support from the Vega Association in Great Britain installed, though it needs a little . . . um, uh, adjustment.
Yes, it was intended to be fit on the forward side of the bulkheads. I mounted it aft mainly because it better fit the “new” curve of my slightly compressed deck and because it will add strength to the original placement of the crossbeam bolted to the bulkheads, not to just the thinner trim piece mounted on the fiberglass tab. The crossbeam / bulkhead assembly is a good example of using careful attention when you take apart the old pieces and make new ones. I traced the old pieces onto new marine plywood, cut and sanded to a near perfect match, and pre–drilled the bolt holes by using the old bulkheads as a guide. Surprisingly, when I installed them, although the inside straight edges were parallel and square to the cabin sole, the outside edges were not a uniform distance from the hull and the admittedly slightly deformed overhead. Furthermore, on the crossbeam, one of the bolt holes was ridiculously near the edge of the starboard bulkhead, and the other bolt holes were not uniformily placed, appearing at different places near or through the overhead fiberglass U–channel tab. Next time (HA!), on the next boat (HA! HA!), I’ll pay much more attention and take many more pictures during the de-construction phase.
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The V-berth, pretty much complete
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The V-berth, starboard side (hanging locker and head)
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The dinette, sans table
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Port bunk / locker, lids just set in place
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Galley / companionway area
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Port galley shelves, pre-lamination and trim
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Starboard galley shelves, pre–lamination and trim
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Seacock components and thru–hull hole. I enlarged the old hole from metric size (almost but not quite equivalent to 1″ thru–hull) to fit a 1.25 inch thru–hull. I spent at least a day’s worth of time and effort trying to find a hole saw that cut accurately. Luckily I took the trouble to test my hole saws on scrap wood! Tip: use only the kind of hole saw that has a mandrel with two tabs to hold the saw cylinder in place.
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Note the thickness of the fiberglass – they don’t build them like this anymore!
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Seacock and thru–hull installed. Yes, it would have been better — but only slightly — if the seacock were mounted with its drain plug lower, but the bulkhead and shelf support were in the way. This should have been done earlier, when I removed and patched the other thru-hulls. I left this one, though, for the galley sink, figuring “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, trying to find a metric bronze ball valve proved virtually impossible, even from European boat dealers.
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