Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yard work

Hi Everyone,
Its been awhile since my last post as I have been working quite hard fixing GL. Apart from identifying that I was right about the coach screw, it was obviously put in because the through bolt had snapped, so its spent some time sort of holding things together until it rusted away. What has been taking all my time has been the upper and lower stempost scarf joint. This starts just below the Bob Stay fitting and has always been a proplem to keep filler in. And as this filler was washed out on last years attempt to bring GL home with the resulting water rushing into the boat, this was another leak identified on the recent sea trial. The shpwrights here know their stuff so I sought their advice on what was wrong and more important, how to cure this problem. The stem post was concidered suspect and has become the first structual problem I have had since owning GL. Under pressure whilst sailing, the top part of the stem has been flexing with the jib forces on the bob stay fitting. It's been scary work, as I have been sawing the bow off! Morgan is the chief shipright here and pops round saying things like, "if it was my boat I would like to see this part" then he disappears, I then pick up the saw and hammer chisels etc. and spend 2 days chopping a bit more wood out! I kept doing this because I nor Morgan could understand what we were seeing as I went deeper into the scarf. Eventually I had to release 3 plank ends each side, to enable deeper cuts into the stem until I finally reached the first frame rebates. It still wasn't obvious what was wrong, so inside I removed the Iron floor! Low and behold, underneath this the stem post coming from deck level was broken across a knot in the oak, I could see the branch going from port to starboard, both frame ends had split off with it, and it has been like that we estimated, for about the last 50 years!!! and this was a build defect, this piece of oak should have been rejected during build. I now had no bow left, just a huge hole with a great heap of oak wood chips lying on the floor underneath. I formulated a plan for repairing it, consulting Morgan all the time to confirm that stuctually it would be stronger than brand new when completed, (as long as I did it properly). I have now begun using west epoxy, glueing screwing and bolting new oak piece's onto the two ends of the stem post, its been a long process for me, I have basicaly been carving the wood into the right shapes required, and its taken a lot of trials fitting and removing the pieces until they fit. I'm still not finished yet, but the big hole is now a lot smaller, inside the frames are glued back into the new stem and screwed in place with the modified iron floor bolted back in position, a new block of wood now holding the frame ends bolted and glued as well to the stem.
I have now of course lost any chance of traveling north or back to the UK this season, having had 2 mini hurricanes already, Bret and Cindy. And I have no plans as yet on what happens next but will post again soon. I have no internet here so can not show the photos of the work so far.
More later


  1. At least she has got you back to land and said she was not happy on the journey! Hope you will fly back here before you sail her back next year since it will be 25 years since you should have been in the Seychelles!

  2. where r u? no message for a long time! does no one care any more; Randall still waiting for your next posting! Please respond soon!!