Statement of ConditionPlanking
Plank seams overall were tight with Portland cement adhering well. There were no overly wet seams except for the upper edge of the ballast seam being damp. Seven plugs were pulled during survey to reveal the original bronze fastenings. The putty was removed and the area re-faired with epoxy. During the haulout in 2019 she was re-caulked at and below the waterline.
Overall the planking tapped hard (a quick hammer bounce back and minimal vibration of planks). In March 2016 five planks were replaced; two planks below the waterline at the port bow,
Propeller and Cutlass BearinGThe Propeller is two bladed and showed without damage from impact. The blade tips were found true when tested, and the propeller is held in place with a single thick nut with a safety cotter key aft of it.
The engine shaft cutlass bearing showed a minor amount of wear; set screws are provided to contain the bearing in its housing. The cutlass bearing was replaced in 2019 as a prudent measure. The engine shaft was found centered in the bearing and easily turned by hand. In 2019 the shaft was pulled and cleaned; a graphite sleeve for the shaft log installed, and the shaft reinstalled.
Stem Tap-testing the stem found all surfaces to be hard; the upper forwardmost section at the bow may be a replacement due its length, and was found with ferrous staining from through bolts and deep cracks at the top and aft surface. There was deterioration on its aft face which penetrated 2”. These areas were treated and fiberglassed in early 2021.
The Samson posts had deep cracks on its aft face with rot at deck level and penetration about 2”. Its top was checked and dried out, and copper covering plate was loose. This was addressed after laying the new deck, where the checks were paid with System3 epoxy and micro-filler; and wrapped in fiberglass.
Decks and Deck Beams The decks are teak planked with 3” wide x ~ 1 5/8” think planks of Burmese teak. The outer covering boards are 6 ½” wide. The deck planking was dado’ed to accept the hatches which give the planks ends when viewed inside the appearance of being thinner. Deck beams are white oak 3 ½” wide x 3” thick on 16” centers or 12” between the beams. The deck planking appears to be fastened by bronze spikes. The main deck house carlin is 4” wide and ~3 ½” thick. The shear plank is pitch pine ~ 7 1/8” x 3 ¼” thick. The shear clamp is notched to accept the deck beams which are through-bolted with single ½” diameter bronze bolts.
On survey, evidence of deck and cabin leakage was found in the full length of the vessel at many areas. Deck planking had loosened from the deck beams with many areas showing a gap of at 1/8” or more. There were a moderate amount of deck beams that tapped with a distinct hollow sound as is typical of beams that are degrading from the top surface downward into the beam’s core. This condition minimizes the holding power of fastenings, hence the vibration discovered during tap-testing.
Many of the deck beam to carlin joints showed gaps from prior movement and are dry and checked and show water staining. Carlins under the starboard side of the pilothouse were fully deterioration and leakage had deteriorated portions of the framework below the pilothouse cockpit and caused excessive corrosion deposits on the steel knees.
Overall, the deck was in such a weakened condition that in order to be viable as a sailing vessel, dramatic repair and re-structuring would be necessary. WBFV had a steep mountain to climb, if it was to move beyond this essential part of the project.
During the early phase of the restoration all that could be done was to stop further damage by covering the existing deck with a mixture of fiberglass cloth and aerobol, to provide a protective barrier from rainwater. This was not put on the cabintop however, which continued to leak if not ocvered over with a tarp. In October 2020 work began to reef our the seams and caulking of the cabintop, sand the deck planking smooth and caulk the seams with cotton and pay with teak sealant.
Still the decision on addressing the main deck loomed. As the project progressed, there was much discussion over the practical approaches to addressing the surveyor’s ominous pronouncement. The first was an outright replacement, which would involve removing the cabins and hatches, and remove the deck planking carefully to reuse, and finally replace all of the deck framing structure underneath. This was judged beyond WBFV’s capabilities to raise the necessary funding to make this happen. WBFV consulted with many experts on an alternate approach to build a new deck and attach it to the existing structure; this was the path adopted.
Finally, in January 2021 WBFV pitched a tent across the entire vessel and
The protective fiberglass covering was ground off and the original deck prepared, with all deck fittings – light prisms, bronze padeyes, the two wooden hatches up forward as well as the steel bitts, and the Bomar hatch on the fantail – removed and restored. Two layers of 3/8” okoume marine plywood were cut to shape using patterns and successively glued down and screwed into the existing deck framework. System3 with epoxy and micro-filler was used to fill all of the voids between the original and new deck material.
On top two layers of fiber multidirectional reinforced cloth were laid, adding significant strength to the overall structure. At the edges fiberglass cloth was brought up two inches around every cabin and hatch, and up the first strake of the bulwarks (and around their top timbers). The bulwarks were stripped, repaired and restored as well.
The result is a new main deck on top of the existing deck that altogether doubles the thickness of the deck and restores the structural integrity of the boat.
Hatches and CabinsDuring and after the deck was repaired, many problems with the hatches and cabins were attended to.
The forward hatch with a 21” x 20” opening was removed from the boat and the glue joints epoxied; it was then faired and remounted atop the new deck and secured with drift screws.
The hatch forward of the mast has a 36” x 53” footprint and three hinged lids, fitted with glass tops and bronze rod deflectors. There was widespread glue failure which was repaired, and it was also adjusted to sit flush on the new deck, and glassed and screwed into place.
The hatch aft of the mast has a 40” x 41” footprint and two hinged lids, similarly fitted with glass panels and bronze rod deflectors. There are further repairs needed that are described further on in the report.
The companionway hatch and its adjacent storage lockers on the cabin top have a 72” x 50” footprint. The port side is a sliding bronze plate hatch, teak framed which slides on stainless steel flat bar attached to teak cleats.
The aft bridge deck hatch has a 39” x 37” footprint and four hinged lids with glass tops with rod deflectors. The hinges for all four hatches were refastened and the lids tightened, and the glue joints were renewed.
The pilothouse cabin is a large structure measuring about 7’ x 7 ½’. It is a solid teak framed construction with a fixed bronze framed window forward and two downward-sliding plate grass windows on each side. There is a central sliding companionway hatch on top. The glue seams have been renewed with epoxy. The pilot house was removed and reinstalled in 2019 and glued onto the original deck. In 2021 when the additional deck material went on, the pilothouse was not disturbed but rather the marine plywood was fitted around it and glassed in. The carlin underneath the port and starboard side of the pilot house, and the adjacent deck framing was removed, new framing scarfed in, and the new structures sistered with white oak. There is much remaining to strengthen the structure, described later in this report.
Aft of the helm is a deck mounted “Freeman” or “Bomar” hatch. The hatch ring was removed sand-blasted and hot-dipped. The deck framework under the hatch was repaired by removing the deteriorated sections, and the new sections scarfed in and sistered.
Steel Floors Luke Brothers used steel strap floors through the hull, except for three wooden floors in way of the bilge section immediately forward of the engine compartment. Some floors in the waist of the vessel were provided with a transverse beam at the upper level which joins at the opposite sides. The floors are bolted through the keep and extend upwards about five plank widths and are through-bolted to a single frame with bronze bolts.
The surveyor warned that many floors needed to be removed and replaced so that their contribution to the vessel’s structural framing system would be realized.
After the haulout of 2016, the floors under the main saloon the were chipped free of rust and repainted. It wasn’t until the haulout of 2019 that we were able to go to serious work on the floors. Removing the aft cabin, the engine, and fuel tank, we could finally see how bad the deterioration extended. Six floors under the engine and fuel tank were removed and replaced with steel plate that was painted and installed. Three wooden frames forward of the engine compartment were replaced.
Hull FramesThe white oak frames are double sawn with staggered joints. Most of the frames tap hard with no vibration or cracks noted. Many of the bulwark frames (aka top timbers) fitted loosely to the inside plank surface of the bulwarks and tapped with vibration; these were addressed during the deck repair phase in 2021.
Keel BoltsThe keel bolts are 1 ¼” bronze securing the cast lead external ballast. The keel bolt nuts viewed in the forward section of the main salon bilges showed without significant deterioration. Washer plates are small in size and show a slight amount of compression in the wood keelson.
Main SalonThe frame structure underneath the cabin sole was supplemented with new beams sometime before WBFV received the vessel. The aft most cabin sole beam beneath the doorway was significantly deteriorated from water damage. In 2016 it was replaced with a new beam. The paneling and upholstery were fully restored.
Steering and Rudder Steering is via a varnished woo spoke wheel attached to a traditional worm drive atop a bronze rudder shaft. The wheel was repaired in 2016. Steering is generally smooth and tight without sloppiness. Components of the worm drive move easily, and pivot points show without significant wear. The rudder was found without deterioration. Gudgeon and straps are secure without evidence of movement or significant wear.
Sea Connections The following table lists the initial condition of all through-hull valves; each has been replaced.
Engine ShaftThe engine shaft is a flanged base type lag bolted to the keel. Above it long term leakage caused corrosion of steel floor timbers and the resultant ferrous deposits drained forward, coating the timber and the stern gland. The entire area was cleaned by Carlos and re-examined by Jeff.
Engine Compartment The engine’s statement of condition will be provided in a separate report, as at the time of this writing we are waiting for the outcome of the decision on the Carl Moyer Grant WBFV is pursuing from the May Area air Quality Management District. The engine bed logs and rails were removed, and new material fabricated and installed in 2019.
Spars and Rigging CLOVER was converted from a gaff topsail cutter to a Marconi rig sometime in the 1960’s in the Caribbean, with an extension scarfed onto her original mast. In 2021 her spars were moved to Rutherford’s Boat Shop where work began in earnest to repair deterioration, remove all fittings, and cut the mast back to her original dimensions.
This was a painted wooden mast stepped on the keel, masthead rigged and equipped with double inner forestays and a baby stay. The mast was removed in 2018 and stored. It’s components were removed and given a thorough inspection. In 2021 fittings to be reused were sand-blasted, hot-dipped, neutralized, primed and repainted. The new bowsprit was installed during the 2019 haulout. The boom and staysail boom are original and were likewise stripped of old paint, and varnished bright. The mast showed evidence of having been extended and changed to a Marconi rig. The standing and running rigging was badly corroded and except for the bronze turnbuckles were unusable.
A primary goal of this restoration project was to return the vessel to her original gaff topsail cutter configuration. Using photos provided by a former shipmate of the original owner, Mr. Michael Thomas of Devon, we have cut back to scale the existing mast and completed repairs on the mast and boom; many areas needed graving pieces and splines to repair previous damage. The spreader fittings for the intermediate spreader were re-installed in their previous location to become the single set of spreaders. These sketches provide an idea of the new scheme for the running and standing rigging. A detailed sail planning is next to provide the rigger with the necessary dimensions to make up the rigging.
Terry founded WBFV in 2014 to build a community of veterans and their families around wooden boats.
Service, Sailing, & Community