Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: western canada
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I have spent the better part of the last 2 1/2 years doing a restoration of a lower end production boat that I felt had a reasonable enough design, but rather poor execution.
There is a lot of satisfaction for me to put right the places where the original builders chose to save enough to make a profit. Things like minimal tabbing of bulkheads, no sealing of structural plywood members, minimum size on fasteners, and rigging, non sealed holes in a cored deck, etc.
Often the architect had something specific in mind when he drew up the plans but the builder was forced to make a profit in a very competitive world.
The key, and a difficult key to find, is to try to analyse what the designer had in mind and rebuild it that way.
There are many places where that is extremely difficult to do, such as a suspect design or execution of a hull/keel joint, or hull deck joint. At places like that it becomes a question of worth.
Then of course there is that line between having a boat to sail, and having a boat to restore/repair.
Let's face it, even the Hinckley and the Swan's didn't do everything the best way, and let's be realistic, not every boat owner can find the formulas and do the math to plot the scantlings for a boats structural members. Probably less than 5% of boat owners can look at a structure and even hazard a guess about how strong it might be, or even what loadings it might be subject to.
For someone with hand skills, but no formal engineering training it could/should be daunting to change the basic design of a structural component, especially one that affects the safety of the rig or hull, and one that changes the materials involved. I'm not sure that the "That should hold" mentality is in order here.
I do not argue the choice of carbon steel in the bilge, nor do I argue that fiberglass would be a better alternative where corrosion is an obvious issue, but I wonder why the original designer chose to use steel when it would have been easier, and probably less costly to use fiberglass. The steel piece was most likely an outsource for the builder when he had an entire staff of workers skilled in composite layup.
I also have developed considerable caution about people who blithely state that it should be done "this way" with no data, empirical or otherwise to prove the point. I had a professor in university who lectured a course on empirical science who used to talk about the desire to prove a point with no data as " Proof by violent waving of the arms..."