What I really wanted to do was build a little
18 footer so I could sail under the bridge to my neighbor’s
house. But when Chuck died and left his derelict
Sailmaster unfinished I took a friend, David Loughton,
and went out to check it out. Chuck was a real master
when it came to refinishing and he had all the spars
beautifully re-done. That’s as far as he got
when cancer got him and he went off to join his ancestors.
The hull was
still in very rough shape. The deck was totally
separated along with the hull below the water
line have 30% exposed fiberglass.
The hull was still in very rough shape. The deck
was totally separated along with the hull below the
water line have 30% exposed fiberglass. Above the
waterline huge gouges due to total neglect where she
was allowed to bounce between pilings unprotected.
I asked David what he thought, he being an old boatman,
world traveler with numerous restorations under his
belt. Dave said it was restorable and I asked “How
much?”, he responded with a confidant “twelve
grand”. I then told David, if I bought this
boat I would want to change the looks a bit, give
her more Friendship characteristics and Chat, my other
friend suggesting we drop a diesel Yanmar 9 horse
in it, rather than the outboard motor well. David
adjusted his first quote by saying, “That would
be a little more”.
|Chat, my other friend
suggesting we drop a diesel Yanmar 9 horse in
it, rather than the outboard motor well.
I went home thinking about the commitment and asked
my wife what she thought, she came out with the usual
“it’s up to you darling”. Sometimes
I hate when she says that, but she also knows I need
a project from time to time. The next morning I got
a hold of Chuck’s Daughter Mary and bought the
boat and trailer for $900, still not sure if it was
what I really wanted to do. It was like someone or
something else was making this decision for me and
I was just an observer.
When I first
saw the boat I had this vision of what I wanted
it to be, I saw the transom being extended being
made more delicate
When I first saw the boat I had this vision of what
I wanted it to be, I saw the transom being extended
being made more delicate, the old coach roof torn
off and rounded, cockpit extended and rounded, 3 inch
bulwarks, bow sprit and change the rig to a cutter.
Without hesitation I brought the boat home, parked
it next to the garage and started tearing it apart,
all the while still not knowing for sure this is what
I wanted to do but being guided by some other force
outside of my control.
|I brought the boat
home and started tearing it apart, all the while
still not knowing for sure this is what I wanted
In two hours I had all the hardware and old teak
off the deck, the old cabin cut out and laying on
the ground. With my skill saw, I cut all the way around
the outside of the deck through the first layer of
fiberglass and just lifted it up and threw it on the
ground also. The old balsa wood core was just saturated
with water so I scraped it out leaving the bottom
layer of glass to start rebuilding from. Well, if
I was ever confused, it was now too late, I was committed.
Well, if I was
ever confused, it was now too late, I was committed.
My usual medium for boat building is wood, I love
working with wood because I can cover up my mistakes
or change it or just paint over it. When I told my
friend Chat I was a bit intimidated working with fiberglass
and epoxy he assured me it was just like wood only
with plastic. That made sense to me but I must confess
through this whole project I was never comfortable,
never positive that I was doing it right or what the
final outcome would be. I realized I was over my head
and needed help. My first savoir was David Loughton.
|I must confess through
this whole project I was never comfortable, never
positive that I was doing it right or what the
final outcome would be.
First project in the restoration was to extend the
transom, David showed me how to do that by making
a mold out of old paneling, tying it into the old
transom and shaping the new. Then the engine, after
waiting for what seemed forever, David showed me how
to make a mockup and build the motor mounts to that
before installing the new. We had to cut away the
deadwood and mold it in for the new shaft and prop.
I remember thinking once we got the engine installed,
WOW! We are almost there; little did I know it would
take a whole year before we actually got wet.
in the restoration was to extend the transom.
I did O.K. building the new cabin, bulwarks and cockpit
combing, I was in my element. It was re-storing the
hull and tying everything in with fiberglass and epoxy
that made me nervous. That’s when Chat showed
up, he walked me through it all, got me pointed in
the right direction and then stayed drunk for most
of the time. The cost started to soar out of control,
gallons and gallons of epoxy, four or five different
types of fillers which I constantly ran out of and
had to get more of. Epoxy primers and paint by the
gallons, the sticker prices that still have me in
shock. And then the tools, 8” grinders, straight
line sanders, orbital sanders, air compressors, air
tools, all stuff I had to buy. Not to mention the
reams and reams of sanding discs, slabs and belts,
50 different grits.
|I did O.K. building
the new cabin, bulwarks and cockpit combing, I
was in my element.
Where I hit the wall was the sanding, hour after
hour of sanding. The straight line sander gave me
tendonitis; I just couldn’t use my right arm.
The pain in my elbow was excruciating. Finally after
about six months of hard work, I just didn’t
want to do it anymore; I hit the wall and hit it hard.
I was already way over budget and couldn’t see
the end it was just too painful to work. The boat
sat for a full three months with no work being done
as I tried to figure out a way to get rid of it. I
would walk past it and not look at it, totally ignored
it, and even hated it with an everlasting hatred.
Where I hit
the wall was the sanding, hour after hour of
Then one day, right out of the blue without even
thinking about it, I went into the garage, loaded
the orbital sander with some 220, climbed on the boat
and started buffing out the primer. Then I couldn’t
stop, I had to get this boat finished. I even quit
work and donated all my time to finishing this boat
like I had been taken over by some demon. I was out
working at 7am and quit at dark. I stopped adding
up all my receipts, didn’t even look at them,
just went and bought what I had to, to finish the
job. People even began to come on board; Chat wanted
to see what it was going to look like so he showed
up as much as he could until we had it painted. The
rigger got excited and did the rigging for cost. The
sail maker put other jobs on hold so he could get
my sails made.
|Chat wanted to see
what it was going to look like so he showed up
as much as he could until we had it painted.
My wife was even getting excited and came down to
look at it once we got it in the water. As we were
looking at it together I had to confess to her that
I had no idea it would take so long and cost so much
money. With eyes of pride, she turned to me and said
“Well, you are going to sell it………..aren’t
My wife was
even getting excited and came down to look at
it once we got it in the water.
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