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Me & My Collection of Project Boats

Hello! I've been lurking for a while, and now that I've got a few posts under my belt, I figured I ought to introduce myself. Been told I'm a bit long winded, so this might be bit long. My apologies for anyone looking for a quick read.

Over the years, I've found that I enjoy being out on the water, but I also enjoy building & repairing watercraft. Years ago, I was tempted by some folk that paddle kayaks on a regular basis, and was bit by the bug. Did some research, and I really wasn't in the mood to buy a standard plastic "rubbermade" kayak. At the time, they were either expensive, short, and/or heavy. I wanted something I could carry from the car to the water without expending so much energy that I didn't want to paddle far afterwards. Couldn't afford one of those lighter fiberglass sea kayaks, either. A bit more research online, and I found a website run by a guy named "Tom Yost", and built one of his skin on frame designs in my basement. Carved myself few Greenland style paddles out of 2x4s. Went paddling, and confirmed that I really enjoyed it. Word got around among my friends and family... I'm currently working on my fifth skin on frame kayak for a close friend. I've even built a second one for myself... 17' long, 19.5" beam, originally built to help me learn to brace and roll. I live next to a major river in Upstate NY, and there's plenty of lakes within an hour's drive when I need a change in scenery.

Fast forward a few years, and a friend of a friend offered up a Force 5 dinghy for nearly free. I picked it up and hauled it home, intending to repair the damage to the hull and learn a bit of fiberglass work in the process. It's still sitting in the backyard, mainly as a result of my learning that sailing that dinghy isn't really my style. Sailing fast, hiked out... sure, might be fun here and there, but I'd really like to be able to drop the sail and just relax out in the middle of the lake. The Force 5 has a sail design that slips over the mast... so short of letting the sheet out and having the sail flog itself, there'll be no relaxing in the middle of the lake. Some of the fiberglass work was a little daunting, due to the location of the damage on the hull, so I've been procrastinating on getting it repaired. The lack of a workshop (heated or otherwise) doesn't help. Current plan is to wait for decent weather (warm and dry), complete the repairs to the hull, then donate it to a local sailing school. Rather hoping I can barter an educational session or two out of it as well, but I'm not relying on it.

Last winter, I happened across an ad for an O'Day 19 Weekender, advertised with a "hull in excellent shape". As it turns out, it was anything but... still, the fiberglass repairs it needs are in easy spots to work on, so I picked it up more as a project to improve my fiberglass skills. Get enough practical knowledge, and I'd hope to get confident enough to tackle the dinghy. Should be finishing up the hull repairs to it by late spring, and short of a few repairs to the topside (bent turnbuckle, knackered backstay tail, some trailer repairs), it should be hitting the water this season.

The winters are bad for me, though... I sit inside, stare at my tarp covered boats in the yard, and dream. One thing that's been tickling my thoughts is that the O'Day is gonna be great for weekend trips. 12" draft means launching won't be a problem, and it'll be easy to trailer and quick(er) to set up. I grew up in the Adirondacks, spending a lot of time camping, so having a cabin the size of a pop-up tent isn't a real detriment... at least for a weekend trip. Even if the weather's rainy, I can curl up with a good book in the cabin and relax. It's even big enough to take a significant other along, as long as the lady takes to the same camping attitude. It's going to be rather tight for anything longer than a weekend, however... even an extended weekend (Friday through Monday) might be pushing it a bit.

My neighbor has an English built twin keel 21' sailboat that's rotting away in their front yard (adjacent to my backyard). She bought it as a project, and didn't get any further than tearing out what little wood existed in the cabin. Most of the interior furniture is molded out of fiberglass and tabbed into the hull. Her landlord (her mother) had dropped a few obvious statements that she'd like to see it worked on and out of the front yard, so I expressed interest. That went to naught, however... the owner hasn't quite let go of it emotionally (her words, not mine), and wasn't ready to see it passed on, despite not having time to work on it nor the skills. I was able to convince her to at least throw a tarp over it until she's ready to tackle it.

I still had it sitting in the back of my mind, over the winter, though.... and stumbled across a twin keel '67 Tylercraft 24'. It was listed on an external site, pointing back to an eBay auction that expired summer before last. Only had one cheap bid on it, but the auction had been relisted (bidder backed out?). Second auction went without any other bids, so I reached out to the seller. Turns out that the boat had been sold, but the boat had sat ever since. The eBay'er passed along the contact information for the newest owner... fast forward a few months, and I bought her for the price of the trailer. She's in rough shape... rotted plywood bulkhead under the cockpit, delaminated cockpit floor, interior veneer delaminated at the bottoms. Standing rigging needs to be scrapped, and the majority of the running rigging needs replacement, even to my novice eye. That said, she's manageable within my current skills, and I'll have plenty of entertainment fixing up an old boat. Her twin keel and 2' draft means I can trailer sail her, though nowhere near as easy as the O'Day. Give myself five years or so to get her back into seaworthy condition, and there's enough room on her to keep me from going stir crazy on extended trips.

Now, I know there's a bunch of folk out there that consider me crazy for taking on even one of these boats. What they might not consider is that I'm not normal . I actually enjoy doing the repair work; I don't mind the financial costs, as I'm considering it a hobby. Some folk pour money into the local bar. Some buy old vehicles and restore them. I live across the street from a yacht club full of folk pouring money into some really big fuel tanks. Point is, we all got our hobbies that'll never pan out from a financial standpoint, but they keep us sane and occupied.

I grew up the son of a farmer, who was constantly picking up old neglected equipment and getting them back into shape. Tractors, balers, hay rakes, a payloader. I've seen my parents free up the pistions of an old backhoe by with judicial use of ATF, a pine 2x4, and a big hammer over three days. My dad even picked up an old 28' powerboat... he got the gasoline engine up and running long enough for a season of waterskiing, but decided he'd rather go fishing with it... so he pulled the gas engine out and installed a diesel, rebuilding the engine mounts and supports underneath. When I wanted to go kayaking, I built my own. When I wanted a motorcycle, I picked up an older non-running Honda Shadow cheap; a quick carb rebuild and I'm still riding it today. Point is, I've grown up in that environment of fixing things instead of throwing them away, of taking an old piece of neglected equipment and rebuilding it so it can be used again, sold for a gain, or just to keep me occupied and out of trouble.
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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

Welcome! We all need a hobby, right? There's absolutely nothing wrong with fixing up boats and pouring your money into them for the sheer pleasure it brings you. Do you sail them, too? There are hundreds of similar boats in the San Francisco Bay area that I wish people would donate to an organization or to an individual who also enjoys and has the money for this sort of thing. Once fixed up, they should be sailed. I know lots of tinkerers with boats, but they don't seem to actually enjoy the getting out and sailing part. Now that seems kinda crazy to me...
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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

Welcome, I am big on kayaking and sailing too. Decided to combine the two. Now I have both a sailing sea kayak and a sailing tandem kayak so my son and daughter can come with me.

I still have my 21 ft trailer sailer too for when heading out with wife and kids for more than a few days to a few weeks.

I was starting to get quite a collection of boats too, this week I managed to sell a kayak, a canoe and a stink pot, which of course gives me more money to spend on my sailing kayaks...

It's a viscous cycle.

Welcome.
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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

Thanks for the welcome!

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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
Do you sail them, too?
If I've got a crazy bit, it's that... I haven't actually been out saiing in any of them yet. Last major repair on the O'Day is a three inch crack where the prior owner let it sit on a cocked bunk, so the edge of the 2x4 was pressed up against the hull, bad point load instead of spreading it across the face of the bunk. Probably would've been fine, if they hadn't let the cockpit drain hose go, too, or if they had bothered to throw a tarp over it. Y'all can picture what happened next... hull and cabin fill with water, bunk cracks the hull, and enough weight on the trailer to bend the frame a bit.

The Tylercraft came with a set of stands (those ain't cheap, even used), as it tends to hog in storage. I'll use the stands to get the O'Day off the trailer, get the hull repaired, and the steel frame on the trailer straightened and reinforced. I've already done some fiberglass work on her... cabin drain being broken soaked the plywood backing for the rudder gudgeons. It's more backing than coring, but the process was the same: cut out the fiberglass skin, chisel out the rotten plywood, and replace the now missing fiberglass, making sure to bevel the surrounding fiberglass and fair in the new fiberglass.

Opted to use epoxy instead of polyester for the hull repairs, so I'll have an excuse to paint her instead of replacing gelcoat. The thought of color matching gelcoat gives me the willies... I've got more engineer in me than artist, and matching colors is definitely an art. I'll likely just use Rustoleum Topcoat to paint her, seeing as she'll be trailer sailed.

Oh, I'll drop the swinging centerboard while I'm at it, too. There's at least one good notch taken out of it by previous sailor.

After that, I'll definitely be sailing them. It's my end goal. Wouldn't be much sense otherwise...

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Welcome, I am big on kayaking and sailing too. Decided to combine the two. Now I have both a sailing sea kayak and a sailing tandem kayak so my son and daughter can come with me.
Been tempted to try a sailing kayak, but most of the paddling I do is on the Mohawk River in Upstate NY. There's a few straight stretches where I might be able to get enough wind to sail, but there aren't many. Maybe if I hit Saratoga Lake...

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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

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Been tempted to try a sailing kayak, but most of the paddling I do is on the Mohawk River in Upstate NY. There's a few straight stretches where I might be able to get enough wind to sail, but there aren't many. Maybe if I hit Saratoga Lake...
No problem kayak sailing on rivers, one of the best places for it in my opinion. When John Macgregor first invented the recreational sailing kayak 150+ years ago, it was the canals of Europe he had in mind.

I sail mine the Rideau River in Eastern Ontario, which is smaller than the Mohawk. Its the great thing about sailing kayaks, you can paddle them upwind in a river and sail them down.

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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

Welcome to SailNet. I too am a fix up rather than through away type myself. There's nothing wrong with that if you are not afraid of a little (or a lot) of hard work.

when people ask me about getting free or nearly free boats to fix up, I generally advise them to pick boats which were of a good design, that sails well, and began life pretty well built. That way they will end up with a good boat when they are done pouring good money and a non-returnable portion of their lives into it.

Looking at your fleet, you have collected a couple good candidates for fix up, and one that is not so much.

The O'Day was a centerboard-overnighter version of the Rhodes 19. These were really nice boats to sail in their day, and would be a great choice to learn how to sail on. The Force 5 would also be a good boat to improve skills aboard once you master basic sailing skills on the O'Day. Unfortunately, the Tylercraft is a pretty mediocre sailor and you can easily end up with way too much money and time in a boat that is hard to sell, and not particularly appealing to sail.

In general, Bilge keel boats do not sail all that well, so you might want to avoid adding them to your fleet.

I too personally prefer working with epoxy for structural repairs, but polyester and vinylester work well for minor repairs and are less expensive.

I saw that you mentioned Rust-Oleum. Rust-Oleum makes a very affordable and easy to use Marine paint that has gotten good reviews from folks who have used it. I assume that is what you are referring to since regular Rust-Oleum doesn't adhere to fiberglass very well or hold up well in the hard knocks world of a trailerable sailboat.

Good luck with the fleet.

Jeff


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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

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No problem kayak sailing on rivers, one of the best places for it in my opinion.
That video looks mighty cold . I really gotta get me a drysuit one of these seasons...

It's got me thinking, though. Wouldn't be too hard to build a mast step into a skin on frame. Place a former or two in the right location (gonna need some math to figure out where), build the step on top of the keelson, and use the same method for sewing the coaming in with a small ring to support the skin where the mast exits the fuselage. I'm thinking another build in the future .

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Welcome to SailNet. I too am a fix up rather than through away type myself...

Good luck with the fleet.

Jeff
Thanks! I'd heard the same with regards to all three, though there does seem to be a crowd of folk suggesting I start out on the dinghy. They might just want to see me get soaked a few dozen times, though . I did pick up a junior sail for it, on the off chance I do decide to keep it rather than donate it... couldn't hurt to take it out a few times before making the decision, too. Ethics says I ought to test those repairs I made, myself. The O'Day gets a lot of rave reviews, as well, and there's a decent group of folk doing the rOnDAYvous out in CT every year.

As to the Tylercraft... I spent all winter researching twin keels and reading all I could. Opinions are all over the place... everything from "There ain't no good twin keel" (with apologies to Hal Bynum and Dave Kirby) to Hunter claiming their twin keel designs being almost as efficient as their fin keels *shrug*. Only things folks seem to be able to agree upon: twin keels don't make any given design faster; a lot comes down to the sailor, not the boat. The secondary features to the twin keel sound nice, but whether they make up for any loss in performance... well, suppose I'll find out when I sail her. It's also been mentioned that I might do some good by fairing the keels to a proper NACA airfoil; might also be that would simply be putting lipstick on a pig.

Best case scenario, I'm happy with it. Midline: I sell it off and recoup (some) of the refit costs. Worst: I market it as a playground for some redneck kids on forty acres (being unable to sell it otherwise) after stripping her, sell off the nice galvanized tandem axle trailer that came with it, and I eat the repair costs as an educational expense.

I've used regular Rustoleum on my skin on frame kayaks... haven't been exceedingly happy with it, but it's outperformed everything else I've tried. Can't see putting it on fiberglass, though, when Rustoleum makes their TopCoat product and it's not exceedingly expensive.

Gimme a few years, and I'll report back!
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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

We are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I love nothing more than sailing, but I detest nothing more than working on sailboats.

Sadly, since I am not a millionaire, I cannot have one without doing the other. I would buy my way out of it in a heartbeat, if I could just pick six correct numbers on a little scrap of paper.

It takes all kinds, doesn't it!
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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

Don't we all dream of that! I wouldn't mind getting those numbers right, too... I'd still be fixing those boats up, but I wouldn't have to wait on ordering parts, nor spend valuable repairing time at work instead.
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Re: Me & My Collection of Project Boats

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Originally Posted by theluckyone17 View Post
As to the Tylercraft... I spent all winter researching twin keels and reading all I could. Opinions are all over the place... everything from "There ain't no good twin keel" (with apologies to Hal Bynum and Dave Kirby) to Hunter claiming their twin keel designs being almost as efficient as their fin keels *shrug*. Only things folks seem to be able to agree upon: twin keels don't make any given design faster; a lot comes down to the sailor, not the boat. The secondary features to the twin keel sound nice, but whether they make up for any loss in performance... well, suppose I'll find out when I sail her. It's also been mentioned that I might do some good by fairing the keels to a proper NACA airfoil; might also be that would simply be putting lipstick on a pig.

Best case scenario, I'm happy with it. Midline: I sell it off and recoup (some) of the refit costs. Worst: I market it as a playground for some redneck kids on forty acres (being unable to sell it otherwise) after stripping her, sell off the nice galvanized tandem axle trailer that came with it, and I eat the repair costs as an educational expense.

I've used regular Rustoleum on my skin on frame kayaks... haven't been exceedingly happy with it, but it's outperformed everything else I've tried. Can't see putting it on fiberglass, though, when Rustoleum makes their TopCoat product and it's not exceedingly expensive.

Gimme a few years, and I'll report back!
I would like to comment on Bilge keels (Twin Keels). I know that there are people who advocate for bilge keels, and have made extraordinary claims about their performance, but these claims are often bumping up against the basic principles of physics. I apologize that this is draft of an article that I had written for another purpose but it talks about some of the issues surrounding bilge keels.

"Bilge keels (or twin keels for our English friends) are a pair of keels (usually fins these days) that emerge on either side of the boat and angle out. They offer some advantages. If you let the boat dry out (stand on the ground when the tide goes out) the boat can stand on the two keels and wait the next tide. They tend to have shallower draft than a fin keel or even a long keel on the centerline.

But any advantage they offer comes with some serious liabilities. From a sailing point of view, bilge keels have significantly greater drag in most sailing conditions. This results from a number of factors. To begin with, while either of the two bilge keels will have less wetted surface than a center line fin, combined they have significantly greater wetted surface area and much larger frontal area than a fin keel with similar lift. They also produce a lot more induced drag since each keel will generate its own very large tip vortex, and being shallow, they tend to be low aspect ratio with a long bottom on each keel and so tends to produce larger tip vortexes as well.

Then there is the asymmetry issue. This one is a little difficult to explain. As a boat moves through the water, it does not move parallel to the center line of the boat. In order for the keel to work, the boat makes leeway and so is passing through the water at an angle. That angle creates drag. A number of strategies are used on a bilge keel to minimize drag and that typically includes some mix of using an asymmetrical foil shape, angling the front of the foil towards the centerline slightly, and canting the bottom of the keel outward so that it is more perpendicular side forces against the water. While this helps the leeward keel work more effectively, it places the windward keel in an orientation that it is working to create more drag There are dubious theories about increased efficiency since one keel is vertical like a good leeway resisting foil and one is canted like a good stability inducing foil. With computer modeling there has been greater success in approaching that theory on larger bilge keel boats.

While a lot has happened to optimize both fin and bilge keels, the increased drag of having the extra foil in the water is hard to overcome. While bilge boards (operable) are being used on modern race boats these are raised and lowered on each tack. A good example of this are the last generation of Volvo Ocean Race and Open Class boats which use bilge dagger-boards in concert with an operable keel that can swing a big weight to windward. The tremdous stability gains of an articulated keel allows enough sail area to overcome the greater drag of the extra bilge foil.

One of the biggest disadvantages of a bilge keel is that when you run a bilge keeler aground accidentally, you are seriously aground and there is no easy way out. On a center line keel you can heel the boat to reduce draft. That is not an option with a bilge keel boat because one keel digs in harder while the other is being lifted only slightly. Similarly with a fin keel you can often ‘fish tail’ yourself free. With two keel bottoms planted you better hope you've grounded on a rising tide.


In the side by side sailing that I have done in identical models except that one had bilge keels and the other a fin keel, the fin keel had greater speed, pointed higher, tended to roll less, and made less leeway. I used to teach sailing at a small charter fleet down in South Florida that used a small fleet of Westerly's. They had a mixture of both fin and bilge keel versions of the same model. It was very apparent that the bilge keel model was much slower, more tender and did not go to weather as well.

Structural design and engineering of bilge keel boats is tricky as well. The transverse loads need to resisted at two separate locations that are close together resulting in high sheer and bending moments between the keels

More controversial are issues related to interaction between the two foils. As a boat moves through the water there is a zone of turbulent and disturbed water that extends outward of the foils. I have seen it posed that on small boats with bilge boards there is an interference between the fins that further reduces lift and further adds to drag.

Lastly there is the issue of stability vs weight. In and of itself, weight does absolutely nothing good for a boat. It does not improve motion comfort, stability or strength. Secondary stability comes from the shift in position of buoyancy relative to the center of gravity. The lower the center of gravity the greater the relative shift. In calculating the righting moment, each weight in the boat is multiplied by its weight times its distance to a the center of buoyancy. Since a deep keel allows the ballast weight to be lower than a shallower keel less weight can be used to achieve the same righting moment. In the case of bilge keels these are generally shallower draft and so the ballast weight is carried higher than on a deeper fin, and while the longer keel bottom may permit the ballast to spread out longitudinally, this does not offset the advantage that a deeper fin tends to have. "


Respectfully,
Jeff
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