The Schooner Sara B Log

Back to indexPrevious PostNext Post

June 01, 2006     Post 10
Afloat Again

The new plank went in, was sanded down to fairness and caulked and a total of 1200 screws went into Sara B's bottom. About two thirds of those were in the starboard side which had not received as many supplemental galvanized screws in a refastening effort by a previous owner. The bottom dried out a good deal more this year than last, and the need for additional fasteners was obvious in the form of several loose planks. While the general rusted state of the original nails was vaguely alarming, the consistent presence of solid oak to screw new fasteners into was reassuring. In a few cases we fell back on using a machine screw and thru bolting when we were using an old nail hole that a #14 wouldn't "bite" in. I speculate that perhaps iron nails in salt water aren't as prone to creating the pockets of mush that galvanized steel screws so often do that result in "fastener rot".

Chris installed 2 sister ribs amidships running them up about five or six planks from the keel. He laminated them in place using three thin white oak battens and 5200 caulk and temporarily held the layers together by drilling and screwing a few fasteners from the inside out. The dry walls crews poking out through the bottom helped locate the new sister frame for final fastening from the outside.

Guaranteed leak-proof!
He also drilled for and installed three 3/8 inch stainless threaded rod in the stem-keel joint finding plenty of solid wood there. The bottom blocks to seal up (we hope) the rudder shaft liner's bottom edge went on and were caulked with the same Interlux bottom seam compound that we used on the bottom this year. This caulk is supposed to be more flexible and squeeze out of seams more readily as the boat swells than BoatLife if the magazine article experts are to be believed.

In the engine department he moved the oil pressure gauge that had been languishing back in the darkness under the bridge deck to the instrument panel so at least we can make an attempt to check the oil pressure. He also drilled out the pins for the shifter connection (which he needed to move in order to access the plank repair) and replaced the pins so now the removable connection rod is actually removable.)

Ready to launch
After a couple weeks of caulking, puttying, sanding, painting, and fitting we declared Sara B ready to swim. The marina staff made room on their busy May schedule for a Sat am launch so she could spend the weekend soaking up in the travel lift. On a surprisingly chilly (upper 40's) and very windy gray Saturday she went in. Both battery powered bilge pumps kicked on and the water level rose steadily. I went ashore to plug in the sump pump. But it didn't turn on. No power said Rick the marina owner. It's off at my house and in town too.

Uh oh. We pondered the options as the water rose. We could of course raise the boat up again with the lift but in so doing half her bottom wouldn't be soaking up. Not good if we were to part from the slip as expected on Monday. After a partial lift to buy us time, we hit upon asking a nearby trawler yacht if they had a generator handy. No problem said the friendly skipper-5000 watts available at the turn of a switch. We plugged Sara B's sump pump into the trawler's on-deck outlet and lowered her back down onto her lines. Three hours later the grid came back up. We were very very grateful to the trawler's crew!!

Our friendly trawler with Sara B's masts ready to step
By mid afternoon a single battery operated bilge pump was keeping up (barely) so we switched over to it via the battery charger connected to shore power so as not to run the battery flat. We loaded ballast in two installments some on Saturday the rest on Sunday with Deb and Toby on the crew. The weather remained cool, with a gusty wind and occasional chill rain squalls pelting down. Very miserable weather with the old boat snug in the Travel lift slip.

Monday the spars went up. Enroute to the marina with the main mast lashed alongside the truck we passed a trooper. He apparently decided that this was just something he didn't need to deal with that morning as he went on his way- we aren't sure what if any ordinance we're violating by transporting a 40 foot mast on a 20 foot truck but it LOOKS like it ought to be illegal! We ran into a case of mental amnesia on what side of the mast butt the main mast should have been wedged. We settled for centering it with a temporary wedge and after using a come-along the next day to shift the butt forward (for more rake on our backstay-less rig) we learned from fitting the floor boards that we'd goofed. So we conclude contrary to expectation the foremast has a butt wedge aft but the mainmast has its butt wedge on its forward side.

Soaking up
Sara B parted from the marina (and the electric grid) three days after the launch and the following weekend we got her settled on her mooring. By then she was soaked up enough to take a gentle first sail on the Sunday before Memorial Day.

Sara B's great helper Debra searches new horizons

The spars go in

Back at her mooring Sara B awaits the wind

Back to indexPrevious PostNext Post