I forgot to mention I have uploaded some of the better pics I have taken to a site where high quality prints can be ordered. So if you see any pics along the way check here to see if it's available for purchase. If it's not there. I'll happily upload any photo I've taken just drop me a line telling me which one you'd like.
Ok so... much has happened since I last posted. In short I finished my work and got down to sailing every free moment I could find. This turned out to be something to the tune of 2 - 4 days a week with lots of camping trips in there. I continued to take pics so I'm going to post the remaining repair pics and just tell about each step of the way. Then I'll start a new post for the various trips I have pics of. So here it goes...
I left off last post having stripped the keel of each hull and from there I let them dry under cover of a inexpensive tarp carport bought on Amazon for something like 80 bucks. It was excellent for the 5 - 6 months that I needed it and it lasted for about 4 more before the tarp material degraded to the point of literally falling apart at a touch. Still not a bad buy for a temporary project and now a have a steel frame for a quick green house over my garden in the spring.
The de-lamination at the keel weakened the glass quite a way up the hull side in some places. I stripped anything away that came freely since it was no longer providing any of the strength or protection it was meant for and roughed up the wood underneath and allowed it to dry. None of the wood felt wet to the touch but laying plastic wrap sealed over various sections revealed that moisture was indeed escaping. So I continued to let it dry and occasionally sprayed the wood with acetone to aid the evaporation action.
After a month or so of drying I painted each hull with Raka epoxy sealing the wood. I then layered 2 layers of 6oz fiberglass cloth overlapping the old glass on the hull sides to ensure a complete seal and as much strength as possible. Next I glued down a layer of 1708 biaxial tape along the keel edge to take the abuse of repeated beaching and/or any accidental groundings. This made the keel quite a bit beefier and much much stronger. There are a few other pics I'll add to show different angles and stages of the glassing stages.
Next came the job of fairing the thick biaxial tape to hull. This entailed 2 or 3 rounds of spreading fairing compound over any low areas in the glass and using a plastic drywall spatula scraping off any excess. This spared me quite a bit of sanding as only a minimal amount of fairing compound was left after scraping and most of it being at the edge of the biaxial tape. After a few rounds of sanding and filling the hulls were quite fair and I was ready to start painting the surface with epoxy to finish filling in the weave and creating a smooth and even surface. I also made sure to thoroughly scrub the entire surface with acetone if the epoxy layer was ever allowed to fully cure before the next coat. This was to insure that any amine blushing couldn't spoil the bond between coats.
Here are a few more shots and angles...
Finally I decided that if I was going to paint the bottoms I might as well give the topsides a couple of coats too. I scuffed up any painted areas that I intended to paint over and then washed both hulls with dish soap and water. After they dried I wiped them down with acetone to remove any waxes or oils that still remained. Next both hulls were taped off and painted. I first painted the topsides the same Brightsides ocean blue. I used the roll and tip method which gave amazing results but I'd recommend having a partner to follow behind and tip. I was lucky to have my girlfriend Julia Nance there to help. She was also kind enough to protect the boats name and Wharram symbols by taping over them and cutting away the excess with an X-acto knife. This allowed them to be painted over without worry only having to peel the tape off once dry. Once the final coat was dry I pulled all of the tape and re-taped for the painting of the bottoms. The bottom paint I chose was the Interlux Fiberglass Bottomkote NT this is a blend of hard coat technology and ablative. The result is a very durable bottom paint that self cleans. It also had the added bonus of a very very easy application and super quick dry time of 30 min. This made painting the bottoms go very quickly.
Again here are a few more shots of various stages and angles.
Next came the beams, decking, and well basically everything else. All of it was thoroughly cleaned and prepped and painted in Interlux's 4208 Hatteras Off White. I seem to have lost alot of the pics taken of this process and not many were taken during this stage as is was the end of May and the weather and wind were really nice. My focus was to finish and get my butt out on the lake sailing and that's what i did. My following post will be on many sailing trips I took at the lake over the summer. Sorry it took me so long to post.
Alot has happened since my last post. I've flipped both hulls using a chain hoist and the doorway to my shop. This took quite a bit of planning to do safely solo and in the end it worked out that I had someone their to help me balance her as I rotated her onto the dollies we built for this project. I've added the canvas walls to my carport addition to help cut down on wind and rain being blown in on the exposed hulls. Finally with the help of a good friend Charles Price and his power planer I was able to cut through the layers of fiberglass and reach the bare wood in a day. I was pleased to find that the wood was in great shape with very few and minor spots of rot. For the most part is was dry and I don't think I'll have to wait long to be able to re-glass them.
It was really interesting to strip away layer after layer of fiberglass and discover so much of elements past. Small dings and repairs hidden by the bottom paint and I'll be adding mine to them. In doing this I really began to realize what 20+ years meant for this boat. I feel proud to be apart of her history. Her over all quality and strength inspire me to do the best work that I can. I hope that with this repair she'll continue on for another 20 years.
In her down time she'll also be getting some new paint. I've done quite a bit of research on paints including some side by side comparisons found in Practical Sailor. It was a difficult decision based on how the flexibility and durability of the paint would stand up to the flexible fiberglass over wood Tiki construction. In the end I felt that with the ease of application, cheaper cost, and not as hard finish of the single part poly paints was the way to go. I'm hoping that they will be able to bend with the boat so to speak. I've bought the two topside paints I decided to use the same Interlux Brightsides Ocean Blue for the topsides and to change the deck paint from the current rustolium Sand Tone to Interlux's Hatteras Off White also from the Brightsides line.
Looks like I have quite a bit of work to do before the Spring Wharram Meet this year so I'd better get back to it.
Finally I have managed to gather the friends necessary to disassemble Element and bring her home. I've unloaded the beams and deck pieces and am making homes for them in my shop and have have extended my shop by an additional 20ft x 10ft with a tarp style carport. Wednesday I plan to build the cradles to support the hulls inverted. Once those are built I'll be able to remove them from the trailer and flip them over. These should give me the best access and angle to work on the keels in the coming months, and it will free up much needed space to have the trailer out of the shop.
A big thanks goes out to Charles Price, Nick Traini, and Russel Lackey for help with the boat on that cold winter day, and a very big thanks goes out to the Gods and Goddesses of fair weather for giving me a 65 deg day in January to lift my spirits and allow me to build the carport in shorts. I'm forever grateful!
Well after some poking around I've found that the damage to the keels is worse that I initially thought. Delamination extending up to around 4" from the keel bottom in more than one place. Each was hiding quite a bit of water and revealed some scary soggy wood on the starboard hull. Time for disassembly and a trip to the shed. Element needs a new pair of shoes. I plan for at least one layer of 6" 1708 biaxial tape possibly two, and a layer of 6oz in there for good measure. Here are a few pics of some of the worse off sections.
Element's first camp outing on Percy couldn't have been better timed. The weather was amazing, and the trees were just beginning to change. Also with 6kt winds the night of, an average temp of around 70 degrees, and winds of 10-12 kt on the following day sailing was also very nice. Element performed perfectly going easily to weather in the lighter air, and really flying as it picked up the next day. I also got the opportunity to use the outboard for the first time after having it fixed it was really nice to be able to drop sail and fire up the engine and get to where I needed to go quick, or head in to a beach or protected cove under power.
The trip was to Hole-in-the-wall Island on Percy priest lake. Here's the GPS for Google maps, N 36 05.855' W 086 34.786'. This is now one of my favorite islands on Percy. It is quite a diverse topography with pebble beaches on one side and 40 -60 ft cliffs on the other.