The Schooner Sara B Log

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July 13, 2011     Post 36

Deploying 500 lb barrels of resin
We began the big cover up at the beginning of May hoping cool weather would keep the resin from kicking off too quickly while we worked. As the month progressed and the temperatures rose we did occasionally experience some rollers getting hard and resin getting jelled in the tray, but we generally were pretty successful with our small batch mixing technique. ( We mixed one yogurt container at a time- hundreds of times!) A brief experiment with the sprayer prompted a decision to stick with basic fluffy roller covers as they seemed to work pretty well for wetting out the cloth.

We started with a first pair of mat and roving on the ballast keel up to and over the garboard. The next layer the next day covered about two thirds of the bottom and by the next weekend we were up to the whole bottom and some full length deck level to keel pieces of material. Ultimately we ended up with two pairs of mat-roving plus two layers of mat on the topsides, and a total of up to ten layers on the keel each overlapping the other on the keel bottom. Two layers of 'reinforcement' roving were also laid up where the ballast keel joined

1st layer of mat/roving, stapled
onto the wooden hull for extra peace of mind. It took five weekends with crews varying from two to six people. On May 14-15 we had a crew of six and there was serious energy in the boat barn with bustle and hustle. Rich measured for and cut mat and roving, Jim Aspenwall manned the mixing station, Queeno, John, Chris, and self hung and wetted out pieces of fabric.

We also stapled the first two layers to the hull using one inch stainless staples. This was a noisy task, as the air gun stapler shoots the staple into the plank with a bang much like a small firecracker going off next to your ear. The impact sometimes moved the strake a bit. Forceful, noisy but fast. A total of 6000 staples, one every three inches were used. We soon learned if the glass was a bit soft and not fully cured the staples went in flush. If it was harder,

The mad chemist (Jim Aspenwall) mixing resin
they stood up a bit and subsequent layers left a bump adding to fairing time and labor.

The big pieces of glass fabric when wetted out on an overhead surface like the boat bottom didn't always stick and often slid and sagged and wrinkled. Chris rigged up a spring loaded adjustable curtain rod with a wooden T on top. This he cut at an angle to fit against the boat bottom and when this was jammed against the ground and against the glass fabric it worked well to hold it in place. A couple of two by fours clamped around the top edge of the long pieces and laid on the deck served to line up and hold the top of the piece and made it
easier to 'hang'. We got pretty good at working out bubbles and wrinkles after awhile, but sometimes we resorted to making some cuts in the mat where there were compound curves. The roving conformed pretty well to the more shapely sections of Sara B.

The glassing technique evolves
Always after each session there was plenty of grinding to be done. This was perhaps the nastiest of all the jobs, though the smelly sticky resin saturated glass application was not exactly pleasant. We went through most of the two barrels of resin, too. At last, we finished up the major work by mid June. We still have to do the dynel and epoxy on the deck and make a fiberglass/epoxy tube to go around the shaft, but the worst is over! We celebrated by taking a short cruise with Titania to Canada. While at the Waupoose marina we encountered a small wooden Nova Scotia built schooner about Sara B's size. She had been given a Vaitses job back in 1989 we learned, and she looked like she was still going strong. We had earlier gotten a phone call from a fellow who worked for the resin company in response to an e mail question. He told us a number of inshore fishing boats were covered in the 1980's and the boat yards figured the 20 years added to the boats' working life came at about a quarter of the price of a new boat. Tia Maria, the little schooner, had according to the Internet recently sold for about 18000 dollars asking price, so clearly the method has some credibility at least in Nova Scotia and in Ontario Province. This made us hopeful.

Almost finished
We hurried home and went back to work on Sara B. Now we are in the fairing up the hull phase and finishing up the deck. Then there will be lots of putting back together issues such as how to deal with the dry stack exhaust, the shaft bearing ( the bolts holding the old one on sheared off so it has to be replaced) bedding all the deck hardware so water won't intrude under plywood or glass cloth etc. etc.

If anyone reading this hasn't already heard, Sara B's author associate, Susan Peterson Gateley, has recently completed a sailing memoir of our life with the little schooner- It's called Living On The Edge with Sara B and you can get copies through the chimneybluff store www.chimneybluff.com and I'm told it's a great read!

p.s. Probably no surprise to anyone but we've abandoned any idea of getting Sara B in the water this season. We'll slacken the pace (a little), enjoy the summer, take our time to do it right, and for sure get her in early next Spring. Soon as the ice is out!

Sue and Queeno happy this job is about finished

Chris, John Papparo, Queeno and one of the last sections of mat

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