What is it about taking on the challenge of rebuilding something old? The more that I repair, the more that I find that needs repairing.
Yesterday was boat building day. I went down to the yard at 1:00pm so as to spend a full afternoon and evening. I started with the newly finished Bosun dinghy. It needed the algae scrubbing off, so a bit of elbow grease later and it looked positively new. I also had to search out its mast and associated fittings. That was interesting as ivy had grown over some of the storage area on top of the shipping containers and I ended up perched on the roof of an iso container with a pair of cutters and a saw trimming bushes that could almost be described as trees. There are something like seven masts up there, so I hope I brought down the right one. I also dug out of the bushes two canoes and a launching trolley which I never knew were up there.
The second Bosun was brought into the yard last week for repairs to begin. It’s been lying upside down in bushes for a number of years, and it shows. It’s right way up now on a trailer, but with all the rain we have been having there was rather a lot of water in it. No problem – tip it up and let it out of the bung at the back. Except that the bouyancy tanks leak, so what was a sizeable pool of water turned out to be a tsunami when the water reached the back. It’s swilled out the bouyancy tanks though, bringing with it some nasties in the form of suspicious clusters of brown oval insect eggs. So I had to clean out the inside thoroughly, which took longer still.
I tried to tackle the second Bosun’s rotten gunwhales, but the screw holding the wood were steel not brass. Bad move! That means that the heads were disintegrating as they had turned to rust. I therefore decided discretion was the better part of valour, and went off to tackle the ASC.
The large ASC is my pet project. I alone have done the work so far on this, and I am determined to do something that this boat has never had done to it in some twenty or more years, and rig it for sailing rather than pulling (rowing to you landlubbers!). However the more I do on it, the more I find that needs doing. I discovered some rot in the bottom boards. The tops were fine, but suspiciously the sides were a bit spongy in a couple of places on close inspection, and with a sinking feeling I decided there may be hidden rot underneath. So the boards had to come up – not an easy task by a very long way. Screws were tight because the wood had swelled, and the heads were recessed and the holes had slowly backfilled with layers of paint. Oh, and there were around forty screws for EACH board (with four being present plus a few small pieces to fit the gaps). It took hours and blistered hands to painstakingly clean out each screwhead with a small screwdriver, then carefully ease them out. When I was done, I discovered the problem as being that some of the boards had only been painted after fitting. That meant the undersides were bare wood, and rot had set in. Duh!
I’ve found down in the sail stores a nearly complete set of ASC bottom boards which although slatted instead of solid, are in excellent condition. They do not belong to a specific boat; at least not until now. I can use salvaged good timber from the old boards to fill the one missing bit. However, it means taking out some of the ribbing in the bottom of the boat and moving them around slightly for the new bottom boards to fit. That’s even more work. *sigh* But I suppose it will be worth it in the end. On the plus side this is looking like being a very thorugh rebuild.