Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Alberg 30 refit: Lazarette recoring cont.

The re-coring of the lazarette continues.It has been a lot of work but also a great learning experience. It takes great deal of courage to make that first cut into a fiberglass deck. I was very green at the start and I still have a lot to learn, but now I am starting to see it all come back together. Knowing what to expect will help the rest of the deck re-coring move along a bit more quickly. As of today I have the third and final layer of 1708 biaxial cloth laid. The deck can now bear weight. Below are photos of various building stages of the lazarette deck. 

After I had installed the new balsa core I still had some sanding to do to get the edges of the balsa level with the edges of the old deck. You can see in the above photo there are lighter areas along the wood, This is where it is sanded to make everything flush.

After the sanding of the balsa core I began cutting the new 1708 biaxial fiberglass. I used the balsa paper templates and laid them out over the fiberglass. I cut the fiberglass 2 inches wider than the template to overlap the beveled edges of the old deck. This 2 inches provides the bond between the old and new deck surfaces

After laying on the the 1708 fiberglass, I used a special roller to get the air bubbles out. This was very time consuming. I rolled each piece out for about 10-15 min. Once that was complete, I cut the second layer of fiberglass. I wanted to get 2 layers on.

Here you can see the second layer in place. I made this piece out of one single swath of fabric. I did this because the first layer was made from 3 separate pieces, so having one contiguous second layer will add to the overall strength of deck. 
You can see the fiberglass cloth is still white in this photo, before it has been saturated with epoxy resin.

This is the result of one afternoon of glass work. You can see the fiberglass had become translucent from being saturated with resin and all air pockets are removed.

A few days later I broke out the trusty Bosch orbital sander and armed it with 36 grit disc. I began fairing in the edges of the old deck with the newly laid fiberglass. After I had all the edges sanded I moved to the second layer of glass, knocking down any extreme high spots and giving it an all-over good sanding in preparation for the third and final layer of 1708 cloth.

On this day the overnight temps had gotten down into the 40s. I needed to wait until temperatures came up to at least 55 degrees before I began laying any epoxy. In the meantime to help the epoxy along, I brought out an electric skillet. I set it to about 200 degrees, and after about 30 mins and some gentle shaking the epoxy was warmed up and ready.

Before starting I tagged the second layer

The 3rd and final layer of 1708 biaxial cloth. After I finished laying in the last of it, I let the area set up while I went and ate a good lunch the first mate had cooked up. During that time the epoxy became tacky. This was the perfect time to add first layer fairing, so it would bond with the tacky epoxy already on deck and fill in the weave of the fiberglass cloth. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the area before adding the West Systems 407 fairing; my hands were quite sticky.

Just a skim coat of the fairing epoxy on most of the deck area. I also made sure to keep marking the spot for the chainplate as I did each layer.

Another angle of the port side lazarette. I am really happy how the last and final layer finished up. I still have lots of fairing and finishing work to make it look all pretty and smart but I'm quite proud of how it has turned out so far.

I want to thank James Baldwin of Atomvoyages.com, Matt B. of Alberg35.com and Neil R. of berhia.wordpress.com. You guys talked me through this process and helped tremendously. I learned a lot on this small area of the boat and feel confident I can tackle the rest of the decks.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Alberg 30: Meeting the Captain of Jean-du-Sud

Every week while running a ferry at mile marker 0 on the Intracoastal waterway, I see hundreds of cruisers tie up at the free docks in Portsmouth, VA. There are boats of all sorts; power boats, sailboats, 100-300ft mega yachts...you name it, and chances are I've crossed wakes with it on the river. The boats I like most are the plastic classic cruisers, the 25-35 ft sailboats from 1960-1985. Those are the people I can relate to. I love walking the docks when I spot one, and chatting with the people who own these boats. 
The sailboat community as a whole is rather small and has a few celebrities, if you will. A few names, whether of the sailor, the boat, or both, are quickly recognized within the community.My own celebrities are the well-known seafarers of the small plastic classics that I admire. If you own an Alberg 30 or a Capehorn windvane then you probably know the names Jean-du-Sud and Yves Gelinas. Yves designed the Capehorn windvane for his circumnavigation of the globe on his Alberg 30 Jean-du-Sud. Yves documented the voyage, and produced an award winning movie from the footage. Below is the trailer from YouTube:

Last Sunday on my way to run the ferry I saw a shorter mast than all the others at the High Street free dock. I decided to swing by the dock before heading to the ferry. As I drove closer I could not believe what I was seeing: another Alberg 30...and not just any Alberg 30. It was Jean-du Sud. I quickly parked and went to the see if Yves was onboard. Unfortunately, he was not. However I did meet another couple cruising a beautifully restored Tartan 34 docked nearby. They told me Yves was out but would be back. Before leaving I snapped a few pictures of Jean-du-Sud, and then headed to work. People come and go so often at these free docks I wasn't sure if I would actually get to meet Yves Gelinas.

Jean-du-Sud with side mount outboard

Taken from wheelhouse of ferry

Famously one of the best windvanes, the CapeHorn.

After completing my day on the ferry I returned to the dock and found Yves onboard. He was very welcoming, especially after I told him I was a fellow Alberg 30 owner. I enjoyed a lengthy discussion about his Alberg. He invited me down below and showed me all the modifications he had made for the "roaring forties" as he called it (referring to latitudes in the southern hemisphere known for their boisterous conditions, for our non-seafaring followers).

Yves onboard his Alberg 30

There I am with Yves onboard Jean-du-Sud.

Jean-du-Sud is without a doubt the most famous of all Alberg 30's, and Yves is one heck of a sailor, filmmaker and inventor. He and Jean-du-Sud have sailed 40,000 miles together to prove it. It was an honor for me to tour Jean-du-Sud and even more of an honor to meet Yves Gelinas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Alberg 30 refit: A Small Bit of Deck Progress and a Whole Lot of Nova Scotian Maritime Adventure

Hello everyone sorry for the delay in posts. October was a crazy but wonderful month. We didn't get much done on Sal at all. However, we did take a wonderful and relaxing vacation to Nova Scotia, Canada. More about that later down the page. 
On Halloween our schedules finally allowed for some boat work. We installed the new core into the lazarette area. Not much to see except some balsa core and thickened epoxy. 

The lazarette completely cored, there is still much work to do before new skin goes on.

The whitish stuff that outlines the balsa core is thickened epoxy. The reason for the large gaps is because in this area the lower skin transitions up. I should have cut the top layer out farther away from the deck's edge. 

More of the same on the port side

G10 place where chainplate and hinge fasteners will pass thru the deck....no more water leaking into the core.

I learned a lot during this process. First mate and I work together like a well-oiled machine. She mixed the epoxy and thickened it (just like mixing up a batter in the kitchen, according to her), while I spread it and filled the gaps. Together this little area took us about 2.5 hours.
There is still lots of work ahead but it feels nice to make some progress.

Now for the exciting stuff: a trip to Nova Scotia! We decided to take a break from our normal vacations to family this year and go somewhere different. Somewhere we could relax, enjoy the outdoors in a cool climate, and most importantly: somewhere with a strong maritime heritage! 

We started out in rural western Nova Scotia, exploring the area around Yarmouth.

 Waves crashing on the rocks at Cape Forchu

 Bates Motel (actually The Lakelawn Motel & B&B in Yarmouth, NS; we loved it!)

 Town of Lunenburg's Waterfront. 
The entire town is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 Crew of Picton Castle getting her ready for a voyage

This boat and name looked familiar to me but while looking at it I couldn't figure out why. A few days after returning I was paging through one of my sailing magazines and there she was. The Picton Castle is advertising their search for crew members for a major worldwide voyage.

Beautiful coastline along the northern shore of the peninsula, along the Bay of Fundy.
Monster 12-16 ft tides here in Digby, Nova Scotia.

 Eventually we made our way to Halifax where we spent several days. This photo is at the Halifax Public Gardens. 

Halifax Waterfront from from across the harbor in Dartmouth. 

First mate posing for a picture with town of Lunenburg in the background

Bluenose II in her home berth at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. This is a replica of the famous lightning fast schooner Bluenose. Unfortunately she was already closed up for the season when we were there.

October was a great month. First mate and I took an amazing journey to Nova Scotia to celebrate our 12th anniversary. It was a trip that I will not soon forget. Only a small amount of boat work got done, but that's okay because small progress is better than no progress. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Alberg 30 Refit: Alberg 30 deck recoring in progress, plus major tidal flooding!

It has been a month since my last post and honestly almost as long since I made any real progress. A 40 hour work week coupled with a few side projects to earn some refit cash and before I knew it a month had passed. Some good news is that the weather has cooled down and humidity has moved out for the most part. However, I cannot be totally blamed for the lack of progress: As many of you know we were hit with a blast of rain and wind from a couple of major storms.The inclement weather lasted for nearly a week, and finally cleared out of here just a few days ago. 
Today I was able to get most of the lazarette balsa core cut and into place for a test fit. 

About 3 weeks ago I was able to get all the old, wet rotten core removed.

Once all the old core was removed I beveled the edges of the decks to prepare them for the new layers of fiberglass that will be added after new core is laid down.

I was able to score some additional G10 3/8 fiberglass board at a very reasonable cost. This board is the same thickness as the new balsa core. It will be used wherever the deck is penetrated by a bolt hole or chainplate slot to keep water from getting to the new balsa core.

In this picture you can see where I cut a piece of the G10 board to surround the chainplate hole in the lazarette.

After I cleaned the area I started making templates so I could accurately cut the new balsa core pieces. I used heavy rosin paper to make the template.

I have all the new core for the lazarette in place. You'll notice at the top I cut the core around the G10 fiberglass board. I still have to cut a few more pieces of G10 for hatch hinge bolts but for the most part I am about ready to start epoxying in the new balsa.

Lazarette nearly ready to have a new core glued in.

It has been a bit slow going, and while I get frustrated with the lack of progress I am happy that it is starting to come together. Once the lazarette area is finished I will continue around the entire deck as needed.

Now to the major flooding!
We dodged a pretty serious storm last week. Hurricane Joaquin was forecasted to head right for us. Luckily the weather peeps were wrong again and the storm moved out to sea. However, the Hampton Roads area was pounded with several days of gale force winds and heavy rain. This caused some fairly major surge and tidal flooding.
This is what my ferry passengers had to deal with at Waterside in Norfolk. The pier and boardwalk were eventually under about 2.5 ft of water at high tide. This photo was taken 3 hours before high tide.

The heavy wind and surf tore up Virginia Beach's oceanfront. The beach suffered some major erosion and to top it off, a navigational channel marker washed up onto the beach, This Green #5 buoy was 100-150 ft from the normal waterline, a good indication of how bad the flooding and surge were during the height of the storm.

In Portsmouth, VA the water was coming over the sea wall and onto the promenade. 

Here is the first mate chilling at Rudy Inlet. We took a walk along the beach the day after the storm. Winds and surf had subsided some but not completely as you can see.

Stay tuned for more Alberg 30 refit work!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Alberg 30 refit: Lots of Holes & Rotten Balsa Core

Saturdays have been designated as "boat work day" by the first mate. She stays quite busy but has decided that on Saturday afternoons we will work on our Sal together.

Here she is poking out of the lazarette. Yoga training comes in quite handy on a sailboat- she fit in there quite nicely and helped get the fittings stripped off the decks.

Not too happy to have a photo taken :)

All the fittings and hardware have been removed from the lazarette area. This is the very aft area of the sailboat and looks very barren without anything attached. Its quite an accomplishment getting all hardware removed. There are no less than 84 holes through the deck in this small area.....84! Unfortunately all these holes through the deck led to water leaking into the core of the deck.

Here are the cheesy backing plates that secured all the rear hardware...most of them were so rotted and brittle they could be broken by hand...Just sad.

And this is what rotted core looks like. All that back mush is rotted balsa core.

I cut a very small area just to get started. Boy did I open a can of worms....this Alberg 30 is gonna be getting a new core...pretty much everywhere.

Closer look at the rot.

I cut a little further back....no surprise there.

This is a look at the underside of the top skin of the deck. What is surprising is how much of a fight it was to get off. While all the the core is wet, some of it is not quite rotten. 

A wider view of the work area

Still cutting and chasing wet core.

Even though this core is rotten, the deck will not just lift off after being cut...it's really hanging tough. It's going to be hard work removing all the bad material.

As the fiberglass top skin is being pried off it is cracking and separating...I am no fiberglass expert but this deck seems as though it was starved for resin...meaning not enough resin was used when the deck was originally constructed. I am not sure though; perhaps this is normal? If you are reading this and have some experience please feel free to leave a comment below.

All of the core on the port (left) side of the lazarette is saturated as well but the deck is very much still adhered. Prying the top layer has proven quite difficult so far.
I am not at all happy with how wet the decks are but as with everything else, I am not surprised. This area of the deck has always flexed quite a bit when I walked on it. I started back here because the area is small and seems to be in the worst shape. 

Stay tuned