The Schooner Sara B Log

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November 21, 2010     Post 33
November update

Stbd covering board removed
Sara B's refit progresses. After getting her into the barn in July we finished stripping the deck of all hardware, deck fills etc that hadn't been done previously in the boat yard. The toe rails, aft taff rail and arch were removed and a questionable section of the starboard covering board, approximately 12', was replaced with pressure treated pine and stainless screws. (John Pupparo fitted and installed the new wood for that job). To port the short four foot section aft of the covering board not replaced in 05 was also done. The wood underneath the taff rail was taken off and the transom top was planed down to make a flush surface back aft for the plywood layers and the rudder and rudder stock were removed.

Two layers of quarter inch meranti plywood purchased from Noah's boat building supplies in Toronto and delivered by truck to our location were fitted with staggered seams and screwed down with stainless screws after the deck's worst low spots were faired up with polyester putty. The first layer of plywood was painted with Titebond III glue before the second layer was screwed down. A total of about 16 sheets were used for the two layers. The lower layer fasteners were sized so as to be as long as possible without coming through the pine deck. Chris cut a hole in the deck to access the bolts for the main mast chain plate which were buried behind the fuel tank. The hole was then covered over with the plywood job. We'll cut a new hole in that spot and install another smaller access port when it's time to put the new chain plates in. The round headed carriage bolts that attached the old ones were reluctant to come out. Chris eventually welded a piece of threaded rod to the heads and put a short piece of pipe over these. Then he tightened a big nut down on the pipe to act as a puller and drew the bolts out that way.

Lifting in preparation for keel work; string indicates cut location
The current plan is to cover the plywood deck with a layer of dynel and epoxy. We think this will be more abrasion resistant and lighter than doing a layer of polyester mat and roving as per Vaitses. The cabin top will receive a similar treatment. It's been stripped of everything but hatch framing. Paint will be removed and it'll be sanded for epoxy and dynel. We think this won't weigh much more if any than the two (!) layers of painted canvas that were on there.

Before cutting back the wooden keel to install the steel frame for the lead ballast, Chris had to remove the beam on the trailer that was supporting the boat and devise another support system. This was done by blocking at the forward and aft end of the future external keel and also using the lifter to take some strain on the hull amidships. A wire baseline was established to check for hog and support accordingly. The four and a half inch oak keel was cut back using a circular saw cut in from each side. Except for minor worm damage in the bottom it was one very solid piece of wood.

Making the cut
In measuring for the steel frame work Chris found that Sara B has a bit of a curve to her keel. It's quite possible this was present even before we started in on the rebuild. At any rate, somehow he figured out where the bolt holes would go and how to weld together the ballast frame in the right spot. He installed nine floors for ballast keel bolts, screwed them into the frames and ribs using four inch stainless screws and drilled nine very long holes for the galvanized three quarter inch threaded rod keel bolts and installed same and welded flat bar to the bolts and to the bottom of the frame. The lead will be fitted and stacked on this frame, then encased in multiple layers of glass creating an encapsulated keel that is also bolted to the boat. See photos for some of this including his tricky little hole shape made with the router to allow the flat bar-rod weld to extend about an inch up into the wood.

Installing plywood
The frame has been primed and one layer of polyester applied to the outside bottom just to give subsequent layers something to bond too. The plan is to start fitting and stacking the lead on to frame work which will be supported. Eventually it will be raised about an inch to the final position.

Once the keel project is finished, additional hull preparation including removal of keel cooler and possibly the shaft will be needed. The old caulk on the bottom will be knocked off and something as yet to be determined will be done to fill the seams before glassing begins in the spring. We'll probably get new chain plates made for the starboard side similar to the ones made for the port side in 05.

There's a lot left to be done, ( and still a good deal of material to be bought) but we are making progress.

The 'theoretical' keel/ballast profile; the lower diagram represents the original ballast distribution

A new floor (no keel bolt hole yet); the rod in the old floor was added a couple of years ago and is raised because of keel cut

Stripping cabin top

Keel bolt hole from below

Keel bolt & flat bar tacked in place

Keel frame welded, primed and in position

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