We went to Maryland this weekend, and I finally got to work on the boat. This is the boat which my father-in-law has been restoring for many years. When he started it, he planned to sail it. Now, he just wants to finish restoring it. I’m going to help him finish it, at which point I think he might let me sail it, too! I had planned to go down during my spring break, but the weather didn’t cooperate.
In any case, the wooden Luders 16s (the class of boat to which this one belongs) were mostly built in the decade or so after World War II. This particular boat was moored in Baltimore, until it sunk at its mooring (apparently it was struck by something). It sat on the bottom for a while, until the boat yard operator towed it out and told the owner that he had two weeks to do something with it. That’s when my father-in-law bought it. He repaired the damage in the hull and replaced the whole outer layer of wood (the hull is 5 layers thick). Then, he started fairing, which is where we stand today.
The object of fairing is to make a surface which is perfectly curved in every direction. There are two goals. The first is to make the boat slice cleanly through the water; the second is to make the hull look smooth when you apply a glossy bottom paint. I describe it as making a wooden hull look like fiberglass. In any case, the process of fairing is simple, but very time consuming. You roll a straight edge along the surface at various angles in order to identify which areas are high and which are low. You sand the high areas until they aren’t high any more. You apply an epoxy-based filler to the low areas in order to make them high, and then you sand them too. As you might guess, there is lots of sanding involved.
In any case, hopefully we’ll be ready to paint the bottom soon, after which we can move on to the interior. I’m learning a lot, and it’s nice to work with my hands once in a while.