Cal 20 restoration - "el cielo" - SailNet Community

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Old 05-25-2010
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Cal 20 restoration - "el cielo"

I thought you gentlemen and ladies might be interested in following the restoration of my recently acquired Cal 20.

Cal 20 Restoration - "el cielo"

Since multiple updates to different sites can be a bit of work, I'll post teaser intros here with a link to the entire post. I hope you enjoy.
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Old 06-01-2010
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5. The Great Flood

We had a week of solid rain here and, while the boat's hatches were covered by a tarp, water still got in. A lot of water. There were at least three inches of standing water in the cabin of the boat. I'm pretty sure water is not supposed to be sitting in there for a week. I spent an entire day siphoning and sponging water out of the various flooded areas and put a fan on things to dry them out. It was clear that the area around the keel bolts was compromised. I took the keel bolts out and water squished out when you stepped in that area. Perhaps this was a good thing, because it was quite clear that there were some serious delamination problems going on down there. My plan was to grind out the fiberglass sole and check the integrity of the area underneath. Read More...


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Old 06-08-2010
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6. Fairing

The headrests (you can see the strip where they once were) were old and crappy and I'd originally thought I'd just sand them and re-varnish. Yeah right. Sage's thought process: "Hmmm, these don't seem glued down very well. I bet I could rip those out without too much trouble...oh, and I have some scrap meranti marine plywood that's just about the right length. Let's just pry on this a little bit." The temptation overcame me and out they came with a good deal more effort than I expected. Of course after the starboard side came out (pictured) I found a previous hull repair that I wasn't comfortable with, so I then ground it out and re-fiberglassed the area. You can see the shiny repaired area in the left. I still have a little bit more fiberglassing to do here, but I feel much better about it already. Read more...

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Old 06-24-2010
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Rudder work

7. Rudder Work

My weekends have been taken up with crewing for sailboat racing (2nd place, thank you) and various other events, so not much has happened progress-wise. I've been able to squeeze in little things though. To get a nice foil shape on the rudder I intended to build it up with Core-Cell structural foam and fiberglass the whole thing. Let me tell you, that foam is NOT cheap. A single 4' x 8' sheet of 6 mm thickness is over $80! The price seems to increase exponentially with thickness, so I ordered 6 mm offcuts (scraps left over from other jobs) at a 50% markdown. I built up the profile with three layers of foam and glued it all down. Read more...

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Old 07-06-2010
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8. Mighty Mite to the Rescue!

I've been looking for an outboard for el cielo and I've been surprised at how expensive they are. An outboard of 2 to 8 horsepower is recommended and even a used 2 horsepower is around $300. That seems crazy expensive to me. I've been looking without much luck until my brother's father-in-law gave me this teeny tiny little thing called a Mighty Mite. He found it abandoned in a rental house of his in what looked like new condition. It had then been sitting in his garage for who knows how many years. It's so little it's actually hard not to laugh at it. This little guy was made in the late fifties and is a little 17 pound, 1.7 horsepower, single cylinder, 2 stroke, water-cooled outboard. I believe it was only available by mail order. How cute! And free! Read more...


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Old 07-25-2010
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9. Light at the End of the Tunnel

9. Light at the End of the Tunnel

Suited up in a coverall, safety glasses, gloves, and a respirator while performing contortions inside a small boat in 90 degree weather with fiberglass dust flying everywhere probably doesn't sound like your ideal weekend, right? Not mine either, but the wifey is far too smart to subject herself to such masochism. I've only been able to do this on the weekends because it takes about a week for the horror of the previous experience to fade enough to do it again. I don't care how well you think you're protected from fiberglass dust, it WILL find your skin! And then let the suffering begin. I've been grinding out poorly fiberglassed structures in the boat to properly fix and re-fiberglass them to my standards. I've ground out both quarter berths, the mid bulkhead and the rear starboard bulkhead. Why only the rear starboard bulkhead, you ask? Because there wasn't a port one. Seriously. You can see the before and after below. They still need to be fiberglassed in. Read more...

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Old 08-13-2010
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10. Nothing New

Well, the broken rib and crazy heat have kept me from doing much work. According to my mother-in-law, who is a nurse, and of course common sense, if you want a broken rib to heal you must not move around that much. For several weeks. It's very difficult for me to sit on the couch and not do anything for weeks at a time. I've got stuff to do dammit! I ignored the advice of professionals and spent the weekend sanding the bottom of the boat. Oooh, bad idea. It messed up my rib so much I couldn't do aything at all for a week. Dammit. I'm trying to take it easy, but surely there are things that I can get done. Read more...

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Old 09-13-2010
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11. Let's Get Horizontal

Well, my riblets have healed enough to allow me to crawl around inside the boat again. I'm not entirely sure that's a good thing, though. I had to fiberglass the seams of the bulkheads that I replaced, and once I'd glued them in, they effectively divided the rear of the boat into little 3' x 3' boxes. I then had to climb over and into these bulkheads with about 1' of headspace. The inhumane contortions necessary to crawl around back here are difficult to imagine. You're either curled up in a fetal position or you've got a bulkhead cutting into a random body part. And then your thigh cramps up. Having fun yet? And then I had to lay fiberglass tape and epoxy it all. Thank god epoxy takes time to cure or I would be a permanent fixture in here. If boats could speak, I'm sure this one only knows curse words. Read more...

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Old 10-06-2010
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12. Raising The Roof

When I went to reinstall the deck support beam, I realized that the deck had seriously sunk and I was going to need to jack the sucker back up if I ever hoped to get the support poles back in place. Using my car's scissor jack again, along with a scrap piece of steel conduit, I was able to raise the beam back to its original location. I temporarily attached some of the fasteners to make sure that the beam stayed in the correct location. I really don't want to drill more holes in the deck. I was quite surprised by the amount of force needed to lift the beam and bend the deck back into shape, but I'm really glad that I rebuilt the lower support structure now! Read more...

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Old 11-12-2010
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13. Working Vacation

I needed to see some serious progress so I took a week of vacation to work solely on the boat. First up was sanding and painting the bottom. I'm not sure if you can imagine what it feels like to hold a sander over your head for hours on end. My arms ached and cramped so badly. I even resorted to pressing the sander up with my head and only using my arms to keep it in place. Seriously. This went on for hours and hours. Why did I decide to coat the entire bottom with fairing compound? Was this meant as some sort of Zen moment of learning to push through pain? I really started to think perhaps I could go to an employment agency and hire some desperate people to do it for me. Nope. I got myself into this and I'll damn well see it to the end. Read more...


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