Updated: May 4
By Terry Moran
In August 2012 I bought her and had the bow fitting recast, the main hatch rebuilt and the main hatch turtle cover replaced. I replaced the head at that time also. In 2013 we focused in on her floors and interior. My father and my oldest son did a mountain of work to remove tankage and get at the main floors, nine in the center of the boat which are steel. A lot of effort went into removing all the rust, and Carlos Campos and his crew ground out what we could not. Each was treated with osphoic acid, primed and the whole space finished off with two coats of bilgecote. At this time the aluminum mast step and the chain plates were treated as well.
The deck had been replaced in 2000 with marine plywood and was in good shape but badly needed repainting. The covering board and bulwarks were also in good shape except for water damage in way of the chainplates so that was removed and graving pieces ("dutchmen") were put in to seal the openings in way of the chainplates coming through the deck. We then we turned our attention to the cabin top and the cockpit. The after part of c/p coaming at the bend had split and the iron drifts were shot, so we had Jody Boyle (now with the NW School of Boatbuilding) fabricate a replacement, beautifully scarfed in. Meantime every surface in the interior was washed and repainted or revarnished during that happy summer of grandfather and grandson working together.
By this time I took her out for a couple of sailing outings but was awfully uncomfortable with the performance of the BMW engine which was on its very last legs and even at full power could barely stem a strong ebb off yellow bluff - not great in the light airs of wintertime.. so the decision was made to repower her, and List Marine got the project, beginning in January 2014. These guys are wonderful. Hans and Bill are perfectionists and managed to build new engine beds from the original, as today's engines mount higher to accommodate the typically spoon-shaped sterns in current sailboat designs. Two months later and with the entire engine room repainted and three cracked frames under the engine beds braced, the project was finished and I could take her out with equanimity.
2014 was a busy year of restoration and replacement as I was keen to have her out sailing as much and as soon as possible. By this time her deck was really in need of repainting and her brightwork which was already tired when I got her was by now done screaming for attention and it was clear it would have to be taken down to bare wood. Carlos was given both projects and removed all deck fittings and lifelines, prepped and primered the surfaces, then tented the boat and sprayed her deck. (My crew and I were anxious to race in the Master Mariners that year, but at the race the deck had only been sealed and premiered... the foredeck was an ice rink; suffice it to say there were no headsail changes were made that day.) When that was done we proceeded to take the cabin sides, cockpit coaming and well, and the toe rails down to bare wood, stain them back to their original Honduran Mahogany color, and used 8 coats of Pratt & Lambert varnish to bring them up. Also in 2014 we replaced a worn down teak veneer on the cabin top with a product called Ameriteak which we were very pleased with, and replaced the primary winches and added a snubbing winch for the Main.
I hauled her again in 2015, this time at Bay Marine, and painted the bottom and had Jeff Rutherford repair two cracked frames just forward of the cockpit, under the pilot cabin, where the turn of the bilge is extreme and due to her long cabin trunk the boat's narrow hull is loaded up at that location. He braced those frames and we also doubled the cabin after bulkhead, where large holes had been cut out to take the original knotmeter and depth sounder instruments but had weakened the bulkhead as a result, this doubler is as thick as the original bulkhead. Since then the boat has been sailed in typical bay summer conditions and there are no cracks or evidence of weakness in the pilot cabin area. Also during this haulout I replaced the set screws that attach the rudder post to the rudder - a stainless steel post had been installed at some point during the boat's career and set screws bored into the post from the rudder itself. The theory is sound and we bored a little deeper and tapped a little wider diameter. I replaced the cutlass bearing at that time.
2016-2018 were spent happily sailing and showing her at the Wooden Boat show and I even lived aboard her during 2017 and got to the know the boat and her ways really well. She is the most well balanced sailer you can find, a real performer upwind but loves every point of sail equally, except perhaps the beam reach. Having a tiller on a boat of her size is really terrific, and the boat will talk to you through the tiller instantly. Her main is mighty powerful and at 705 square feet of sail she will demand your attention but she will also be merciful and round up like an intelligent thoroughbred. Olin Stephens her designer was truly a remarkable man, an artist engineer and designer all rolled into one.
In October 2018 I decided I had put it off long enough and needed to paint her hull. I hauled her at San Rafael boatyard and turned again to Carlos Campos who did a wonderful job on the project. He also replaced the through hull fitting for the discharge to the head at that time. During 2018 I have re-chromed or re-plated just about every metal fitting, bow chocks, fairleads, the capstan, the companionway ladder fittings, it was coming close to a fetish to make her the ultimate restoration. She was simply, skookum.
After a few coastal trips COVID arrived and with it many life changes, causing Valiant to be sold. I dearly loved that little sea-boat; she carried me through tough times and provided the spark for WBFV.