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post #181 of 296 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

I would argue that restoring a 60s boat is not analogous to restoring an old car. I had a 64 Valiant (car, slant 6) and loved it, and would love to find a convertible with push button transmission again, but once restored it will never compare to even the cheapest of modern cars in even basic performance characteristics, except perhaps reliability. But the CCA boats, restored, next to a modern boat, can certainly still compete in many ways, especially in terms of value. But in our boats you need to use the reef points, you need to know how to load them and you need to understand that sailboats are supposed to heel. BTW if anyone is interested I posted the letter from Olin Stephens to the original owner of my boat regarding metacentric height on the Columbia 29 in my album.
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

I've seen some British boats, intended for the North Sea, where the shrouds did come down to "U bolts" on the deck.

But their purpose in doing that, was because the U-bolt is welded onto a flat plate, and then a matching piece is installed under the deck. The two are joined by four heavy bolts in the plates, so the only "deck penetration" is for four plain well-sealed bolts holes. That way is is very unlikely the chainplates [sic] will leak. And they're easily replaced.

The u-bolts inside the cabin were tied to the keel or the floor beams, as I recall. So the strain was really well controlled, and all parts easily accessed.
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post #183 of 296 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

I saw a boat at Shilshole, a Cascade 42 I believe. It's shrouds came down to shackles in the holes in the aluminum toe rail! I walked by that boat for years. I never did see it out. Just as well.

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post #184 of 296 Old 11-02-2015
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaner97 View Post
Jeff and I have been having a discussion on the B34 and T34c threads that I thought deserved its own spot.

Starting from the acknowledgment that nothing lasts forever, newer hulls are faster and more commodious, but far more expensive than those that are on the market from the CCA era of the 60s, I began asking about the 'Moderate build quality' tag that gets thrown onto some boats (Pearsons and Bristols, mostly) from that era. Jeff pointed out two U.S. Brands that he felt were superior in their glasswork- early Grampians and Tartans, but had no experience with others he could speak to. I posit that all makes from that era are essentially handmade items and exposed to similar QI issues, making them hard to really compare, and that as there is no universally recognized system, this seems somewhat unfair to the Pearson cousins as they seem to get singled out with this, with rarely any other U.S. company other than Hinkley, and now the two above (although only in Jeff estimable opinion, which I don't doubt) ever gets mentioned as superior.
Thoughts from the rest?
Also- if you were to attempt to make a FRP boat from this era last forever, how do you do it(setting aside those of you that would say why bother- this isn't meant as a referendum on their value. Suffice that many of us like these old, slow, pretty boats and want to play caretaker to these antiques.)? And what structural upgrades could you retrofit to make them 'superior'?
OK, back your original post: specifically for my (Columbia 29) and Tritons, with deck-stepped masts, new arches spanning the bulkheads or some other support needs to be added/replaced. The only place in my boat that needs work is the mast support. Tritons may need a new rudder too, originals were wood I believe. Old wooden hatches need replacing and the main hatch on mine needs to be redesigned with better tracks. I will someday upgrade my rig to run 2 lowers instead of singles and put chainplates through-bolted on the hull. Mine don't show any problems, no leaking and chainplates on bulkheads are still fine, I just thought it might be a good idea and it will eliminate the "pumping" of the mast. I have one spot in the deck where it seems the glass may have separated from the ply core, but there is so much glass I am not concerned about it one iota.

Don
1962 Columbia 29 hull #37

Last edited by turboduck; 11-02-2015 at 04:08 PM. Reason: misspelling
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post #185 of 296 Old 11-03-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

Pulled the rigging and the chainplates. Can you say crevice corrosion? Definitely worth doing. The head refurb (cosmetic) may need to wait until next year.

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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

Jeff responded off forum as he hadn't fleshed out his outline. I thought it was pretty darn good as it was. I'm going to cut and paste the whole thing out of my email. I got distracted by attempting to talk sense into someone on another thread.

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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by seaner97 View Post
1. A superior build quality boat has still not been clearly defined beyond fibreglass handling, and while I'll give you the single study (although I've still not seen it or the data), you seem to have come around to my point of view that these are all handmade and used variably over the years, so one that started out as superior may now be more used up than one that started as moderate. I'm going to put words in your mouth here and paraphrase what I see as your major thrust, which is that NO boat of this era is likely to be up to hard use any longer. I'm not sure that I disagree with that, but I also don't see that there is definitive data to that effect.
Sean
Sean,
I think that the above thread should be useful in exploring the issues surrounding early fiberglass boats constructed during the 1950’s through the early 1970’s. At this point, reading your comments, I agree that your view of this has ended up much closer to mine than when this thread began.
In the quote above, I definitely would not say that there are “that NO boat of this era is likely to be up to hard use any longer.” What I would say that the majority of boats in this era (like in most eras) were built to be affordable rather than of a high quality, and that to keep costs down the larger builders of this era cut corners that impacted the strength and overall lifespan of the boat. While some of these cost saving measures can be reversed, albeit at a cost which might not make these ‘bargain boats’ much of a bargain, some of these issues are ‘baked in’ in ways that cannot be reversed.
I do think that the emphasis on the term “hand-made” may present an incomplete understanding of this issue. While it is true that the lamination of these boats was predominantly ‘by hand’, in the better factories of the era resin formulations were carefully measured out, and quantities of resins were carefully monitored as well. Lay-up procedures were standardized and performed carefully by skilled technicians, vs factories who employed the lowest cost labor and poorly monitored the quality of their work. Even within a hand-made item, there can be very large differences in the level of care and the quality of the item produced.
And while even a higher quality boat may have been subjected to harder use and poorer care than a inferior made boat, and therefore not have much life left in it, as a broad generality, more expensive boats tend to be bought by people who can afford to put a little more care into their maintenance and updating and so may actually be in better shape than for no other reason than that. Which gets to my central point in most of these discussions. If a person is looking to purchase a boat in any given general price range there are better built, better laid out and sailing designs, and better maintained boats. Given the options, in my mind it only makes sense to steer away from the more poorly constructed, inferior designed, or badly worn out versions.
But to get to the thrust of your question, I think it may be helpful to differentiate ‘better practices’ vs. ‘questionable practices’ and sort them into categories of ‘those which cannot be reversed’ vs. ‘those which are very hard to reverse’, vs. ’those which may be considered long term maintenance or updating’. And while not all of these may apply to any single boat, some may apply to most boats from this era, and all may apply to the worst examples.
Questionable practices which cannot be reversed:
• Carelessly mixed resin and catalyst:
Mixing procedures varied but they were pretty casual in many of the value oriented plants. Not enough catalyst was not a problem long term, but too much resulted in a brittle matrix. I have no information on which factories were careful and which were careless other than a single story that I heard from a fellow who did laminating at Columbia who claimed that they were careless enough that they literally had a pot catch fire it got so hot (too much accelerator). That is not a verifiable story and so I would not hang my hat on it, but when I worked at the boat show in 1965, I was privy to a discussion between the folks at Hinterhoeller and Grampian about measures they were going through to be more precise in their metering procedures in which they were talking about sloppy practices at Paceship.
• Accelerators:
Accelerators were very common during the 1960’s and into the 1970. The popular accelerators helped the manufacturer in two ways, they retard the initial reaction of the resin to allow a longer working time and also cause the resin to achieve a higher portion of its ultimate compressive strength sooner. To explain this second aspect, resins cure over a comparatively long period of time and the sooner they reach a higher portion of their ultimate strength the sooner the boat can be removed from the molds. Molds are a significant portion of the cost of producing a boat so the quicker the boat can be removed from the mold the quicker the mold could be reused. Ironically, accelerators actually gave the workers a longer pot life to do the lay-up since they altered the cure curve on the set time.
• Resin rich/ resin lean laminate:
The importance of proper resin ratios was not fully accepted in this era. It took time, skill, and care too properly wet out the laminate with just the right amount of resin. When there is too little resin, (lean or dry glass) the laminate was not properly adhered creating an area with minimal compressive strength and ripe for delamination due to horizontal sheer, impact, or fatigue. But the good news is that dry glass was fairly obvious visually and so was comparatively rare. More common was resin that was resin rich. Resin does poorly in sheer and tension, so resin rich laminates tend to brittle, create a failure plane for a sheer failure, are more prone to fatigue, further reducing the strength of the laminate. When resin was cheap, resin rich lay-ups were common since they were a quick way to bulk up the laminate and assure that there was a complete saturation with less expensive, less skilled, and less motivated workers.
• Lack of internal framing:
Early value oriented fiberglass boat manufacturers avoided having internal framing largely so that they could rightly claim that their boats had larger interior volumes than similar design wooden boats. They chose to use thicker hulls to make up for some of the stiffness lost to wooden boat construction. They were trying to achieve largely ‘monocoque’ construction with the shell taking the bulk of the loads axially. Because fiberglass is so much denser than most wood planking materials, and is not all that much stronger per unit of area, and is not much stiffer per unit area, a compromise was made in the thickness of the hull that matched or slightly exceeded the strength of a fully framed wooden boat, but did not match the stiffness or lighter weight of most planking.

The net result is that the panels of these boats flex a lot more than the framed hulls on the better built boats of that era and in the eras that followed. Fiberglass is a fatigue prone material and so losses strength by the cyclical flexing which takes place in all boats, but is especially prevalent in unframed boats.

The better builders of that era included comparatively closely spaced hat-frames and hand-glassed frames that reduced the panel size and reduced flexure. This was especially popular with British boat builders and in the Commonwealth countries. It was also a very labor intensive way to build a boat.

• High ratios of non-directional fabrics:
Pretty much all production boats have some non-directional fabrics in them. Non-directional fabrics (mat) are used to hide the courser fabrics from showing through the gelcoat, but structurally more importantly to bridge between the individual layers of courser roving. It does not take much mat to bind the layers together, and the better manufacturers would use ¾ oz. mat for that purpose. But mat was a cheap way to build bulk in the laminate and cheaply get thickness without the higher cost of woven roving. Mat was seen as acting like the web in a I beam and so it was thought that its inherently greater weakness was not a problem. Value oriented factories would use 1 ½ and multiple layers of matt within the middle of the matrix.

• Poor reinforcing fabric handling practices:
• Poorer quality fiberglass: (Length of fibers, brittleness, edge condition)

Description of how these items impact the life of the boat and why they cannot be reversed.

Questionable practices which are very hard to reverse:
• Encapsulated ballast (non-structural bilge encapsulation, delamination and water intrusion)
• Plastic laminate encapsulated bulkheads
• Inadequate width, depth and continuity tabbing
• Mast supporting structure, mast step/ mast heel, deck to bulkhead tension connections, and mast hold downs on deck stepped masts
• Roll-out hull-to-deck joints and shoe box deck joints or deck joints through core materials.
• Glassed in tanks
• Lighter than currently required standards for rudder posts especially on keel hung rudders (plus fatigue, crevice corrosion, and connection issues)
• Steel and stainless steel keel bolts
• Poorly constructed deck cores and deck core materials (plywood)
• Use of non-marine grade materials on interiors
• Failed gelcoat


Items which can be relatively easily repaired, upgraded or reversed and which may be considered as long term maintenance or updating: (discuss minor and elective nature of some of these items vs. safety and long term maintainability of others)
• Chainplates and standing rigging, running rigging
• Mast hardware such as sheaves, wooden spreaders, and failing component connections on masts and booms
• Roller reefing Booms and mainsails
• Replacement and upgrading of sail handling gear and other missing or out of date hardware due to sizing, ease of use, and convenience (reefing, winch sizes and gearing, control lines and positions), and safety issues. (jack line strong points, engine fire extinguisher ports)
• End of life steering gear
• Engine installations which do not meet current Safety standards
• End of life sails, and/or engines
• Localized damage to the laminate (Lifeline bases, cleats, impact damage, etc)
• Electrical systems which do not meet current Safety standards or patterns of use
• Past their use by date plumbing systems and components or which do not meet current Safety standards or patterns of use
• Normal safety measures such as latch down hatches and lashed down batteries
• Instrumentation and other electronics
• Galley and cooking equipment
• Backing plates and reinforcing of high stress areas
• End of life exterior wooden trim items
• Aesthetic issues (Gelcoat crazing, fading, worn out non-skid, interior finishes, upholstery, etc.)

Discussion of boats with construction related damage beyond repair:
• Pearson Ariel- Torn topsides and hull joint failure
• Coronado: Keel area failure in glasswork
• Article in ‘Sail’ about the Triton whose hull tore parallel to the hull deck joint.
• Alberg bow failure

Concluding summary discussion of the economic and physical lifespan of a boat
• Physical limitations vs economic limitations on these older boats.
• First cost vs ‘improved cost’ vs long term cost
• Discussion of best bargain in the short and long run
• ‘Like working on boats’ vs buying a boat as a perceived ‘deal’ and sweat equity
• Cost of boat during restoration process (immediate restoration vs long term restoration vs use as is)
• The argument for ‘cheap boats’ vs better quality cheap boats. Given similar pricing buying the best designs, why it only makes sense to buy the boat with the best build, and best condition from an era vs buying a mediocre design with mediocre build quality, or a boat in poor condition, and why the argument that ‘I can’t afford to buy better’ rarely makes sense, except from an upfront purchase price.
• Accepting the risks vs mitigating the risks, the role of personal tastes vs the science, vs the more general marketplace.
• Painting the bilges white.

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post #188 of 296 Old 11-10-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

I had to ask about the white bilge thing.

This was his response:

The "white bilge thing" is an old joke between my Dad and I. Years ago we got close to buying an old boat that on closer inspection turned out to be a wreck. But when we did our first look, we both were amazed to see the bilges were spotless and painted white. We agreed this must be an owner who really loved his boat so much that he painted his bilges white. Whenever things look close to hopeless, we say, " its getting time to paint the bilges white." Years ago I wrote this up as;

"And finally if you buy an old fiberglass boat, paint the bilges white. It does nothing for the boat, but if you ever have to sell the boat, then someone may look in your bilge and say “Lets buy her because any owner who would love a boat so much that he went through the trouble to paint the bilge white must have enjoyed this boat and taken great care of her no matter what her age.”

I had planned to add that paragraph at the end of my discussion.
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post #189 of 296 Old 11-15-2015
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Re: Refurbishing CCA boats

Reading through the long list of things that need attention in our older boats I feel pretty good about my own boat and think I was right to look for a Columbia early in its run, even though they all seem to have come out really well. My Mark 1 C29 is dry and solid still BUT the mast base support, it is true, needs replacing. I have heard that the MK 2 had some hull to deck joint issues (leaking) but I have zero so far. And I am going to get a gallon of bilgekote, brilliant white, and start painting!

Don
1962 Columbia 29 hull #37
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I'm working on a detailed post regarding my view on that, but in the interim- I've decided to do the compression step on mine while I'm doing rigging and lifelines this year.
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