The Schooner Sara B Log

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June 14, 2007     Post 14
The Floor Job (but afloat again!)

The new taff-rail is tortured into place
Sara B was scheduled for launch the third weekend in May (the marina likes to keep their lift and slip free over Memorial Day weekend) . We went into high gear caulking and painting the topsides and bottom. Toby and I put in several weekday mornings on this. We rolled on a quick paint job using a can of pricey "flattener" for a less glossy finish and were pleased with the look.

The morning of the scheduled launch, Chris, cleaning the bilges, noted a loose floor (a large transverse timber in bilge that is a key structural element tying frames and keel together;) Within a half hour the floor had been uprooted, its steel drift almost totally wasted at the interface between keel batten and floor. Hmm. Not good. Referring back to Dennis Montgomery's consultation in the fall of 05 this was an issue he had warned us about telling us it was NOT easy to evaluate drift condition. Well we had a pretty fair idea of the condition of this drift. What are the odds of the rest of them being any better?

Where the floor was
At first charged up as we were for a May launch, we said hey we'll fix it with a couple of lag bolts and angle iron and slap it back in. But upon further thought, we decided Sara B was sending us a message - "I'm not ready for launch!" - so we scrubbed. Put us down for the first available weekend after Memorial day-June 10.

Suddenly the pressure was off. Disappointed but also relieved at finding a potentially very serious problem in our bilges,we packed up and drove home. Chris ordered enough half inch threaded rod to refasten six floors. We hope the floor drifts forward out of the bilge water are still sound and we can't access the several under the engine beds. He also ordered a 24 inch drill bit and bought several extensions to get through all the wood. The original drifts were driven into undersized holes drilled into the keel through the floors like giant two foot long nails. He would drill through the floor and the entire keel (trying to keep the drill straight and not come out side of keel) and install a bolt. Hopefully this plus additional four inch screws through the planking and ribs into the floor would help strengthen the bond between floor timber and hull.

The floor and wasted drift
Off the order went to Macmaster and we settled back. Three weeks now 'til launch. We were sad, but there were other things to do until then. Like go back to work and earn some money! The day the bolt and screw order was due for delivery the marina called and said hey if you get her ready, we'll put her in and let her soak over Memorial Day. Thinking of Sara B baking and dehydrating in the hot June sun despite our efforts to keep her bottom shaded with plastic tarps and the ground damp under her, we said Yea, we'll sure try! An hour later we were at the yard preparing for the re-fasten job on a very hot 90 degree May afternoon.

Two days later after a LOT of hole drilling screwing and bolting, she went in. As of this writing June 14 we think the new bolts installed with as much caulk on them as possible, are not leaking much if at all. In hindsight straight rod with threads cut into the ends might have been better.

Sorting out the rigging
In the long haul effort to keep an old wooden boat operational, progress often seems to be two steps forward and one and a half back. There are good days and bad days. Sara B's first sail on a cool afternoon of sunshine and mirages on June 10 was one of the good ones. Stay tuned for more adventures in the life of Sara B and our battle on her behalf against entropy. Special note a BIG thank you to Scott and the other marina folk who arranged their schedule to put the old girl in Memorial Day weekend.

Attaching the triatic

At her dock at Pleasant Beach Hotel/Restaurant - still not quite put together

Out for Sara B's first sail we get a spectacular mirage along the south shore

Porthole view of Cap'n Sue at the helm

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