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Swab
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Boat maintenance is an ongoing chore. Every few years there has to be a major refit. We have had several in the 25 years I have owned Lealea, now 40 years old. She needed a new engine in 1993 and a major engine overhaul In 2010. The standing rigging was replaced in 1996 and again in 2007. She got an Awlgrip paintjob in ’96 (She’s definitely due for a new one now – *next Summer) and we replaced much of the interior furniture in 2007.

Now the old girl definitely needs some TLC. The mast support beam is showing signs of deflection and the main bulkhead has visible water damage. The remaining original sapele veneer plywood is finally beginning to show its age, peeling and chipping, looking shabby next to the newer sections replaced just 7 years ago. The bulkheads you can’t see are worse.

Basically, I have to take down the mast and gut the hull then put it all back like new.

Here is the plan:

First I have to secure a place to do the work. An empty two car garage will do. I think I have that part covered.

Next figure out how much and what type of materials to order (We are in SE Alaska so it is not as simple as driving to the nearest lumber yard)

Then, when the materials and tools are assembled in the workshop, take down the mast. Easy enough with the deck stepped mast mounted on a tabernacle. It is a one man job, though it is quicker and easier with two.

The interior of a Vega has been described as “Ikea furniture” – very simple. It can be removed and reinstalled with nothing more than a screwdriver.

It sounds easier than it is. But it is not complicated.

Keeping it a simple as possible, I intend to use the old pieces as patterns, fabricate and finish the new pieces in the workshop. Then reinstall the new interior in the boat.

What I am not sure about is what to use to seal and finish the new furniture. I intend to use marine plywood but have not decided what veneer to choose. (Laura has the deciding vote). The original furniture is sapele, aka African Mahogany and is the default choice.

Now that I have written this out and tried to visualize actually doing it, I realize that I do not know if the hull will compress/deform with the main beam and bulkhead removed. Glad I thought of that. It is not something you want to learn when you are trying to put it back together. Anybody know? :confused:

Then, also, of course, there is the inevitable "While we have it apart we might as well...."
 

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Senior Member
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I suspect the Vega will be tough enough to essentially hold its shape OK, but extra jackstands evenly loaded will provide some piece of mind there, I'd think. Perhaps temporarily inserting a scaffolding jack in place of the mast support (or near enough to allow the Re & Re might be some extra insurance on that score too.

I'd probably be considering a final finish/veneer incorporating some light coloured formica type material to brighten the interior - I think the so-called 'Herreschoff' look can be very attractive, clean and bright. Varnished wood trim in contrast can look very sharp, but I realize not everyone likes that look. A friend changed just the interior cabin sides from dark, stained teak to ivory or white laminate on his Ericson 33 and brightened things up considerably.
 

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The videos will be forever changed.. I liked seeing the sexy 70s retro interior..

You have the skills.. but damn.. SE Alaska, in the water, with winter approaching... How long do you expect it to take?
 

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Frozen Member
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565 Posts
Where are you? I have been in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Kake (twice), Sitka and Angoon this week. Actually, Angoon is tomorrow. Would love to drink a beer and watch you work :D
 

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Barquito
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I should mention that the boat will be in the water during this process.
For the whole refit? I thought you were looking for a 2 car garage to put the boat in. If it was me doing this project, it would take more than one winter. Keep the, While-we-have-it-apart-we-might-as-well-list as short as possible. Also, take pictures, and keep us updated.
 

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Corsair 24
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youre fine in the water...we opted to not do all bulkheads at one time but 2 at a time to spread loads, we didnt have to jack up the cabin top or anything as the hull on my boat was solid enough.

Im sure youll do a much better job and more detailed since you have had and cruised your boat so much but there are a few pics that might help you to visualize bulkhead replacement while on the water, if you care to check out on my refit thread...

in any case good luck!
 

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Swab
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Where are you? I have been in Ketchikan, Wrangell, Kake (twice), Sitka and Angoon this week. Actually, Angoon is tomorrow. Would love to drink a beer and watch you work :D
I am in Petersburg and will be here for the winter, but I am flying up to Juneau for a doctor appointment on Wednesday. Back on Thursday. I probably will not start until later in September.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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3,688 Posts
Good luck with the project. It always sounds nice to rip out completely and start from scratch but it's sometimes wiser and a LOT less expensive to determine if a complete gut job is necessary. Sometimes being really careful about not destroying all the surrounding structures, you can save work and $. Bulkheads can be extracted and replaced, leaving everything else undamaged if you're careful. For the deflected deck beam/header, building in a new, stronger laminated beam is very possible by doing the laminating in place or even just adding a flitch plate to the existing beam if it's not rotted. I don't know if your deck has a balsa core but often the core is what deflects, not the beam itself. I ripped out all the balsa under my mast step and glassed it solid. It's a common problem with cored decks, a real engineering/construction mistake by the builders.
 

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Now that I have written this out and tried to visualize actually doing it, I realize that I do not know if the hull will compress/deform with the main beam and bulkhead removed. Glad I thought of that. It is not something you want to learn when you are trying to put it back together. Anybody know? :confused:
I can't imagine that being much of a problem with a boat as stout as your Vega. Not sure if your main beam and bulkhead are completely integrated, but it might be wise to try to re-do them as separately as possible, if you're really concerned...

I reached a point when gutting my old 30' Allied, where the only original structural components remaining in place inside the boat were the aluminum tube that serves as the mast compression post, and the pair of mini-bulkheads that serve as the attachment points for the inboard chainplates. The boat was in the water at the time, with the new engine in place, and the rig was in the boat, but tensioned as loosely as I was comfortable with for riding out the winter in New Jersey... If the boat changed shape at all throughout this process, I certainly wasn't able to detect it...

In my opinion, you definitely want to go with something light for the surfaces of the interior, I think the difference it can make on a small boat is huge... I used to deliver a fair number of Bertrams, and always admired their use of ash veneered bulkheads, stained white, so that's what I went with in my boat, coupled with teak trim... Even in a space usually as dark as the vee-berth, it helps keep things pretty bright...





Good luck, I'm glad the one Good Old Boat rebuilding project that should be enough for any lifetime is long behind me... :) It was fun, and rewarding, but once is enough, at least for me...
 

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Swab
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The videos will be forever changed.. I liked seeing the sexy 70s retro interior..
Some of the large flat surfaces may be changed to a lighter color but the design and layout of the interior will not be changed from what it is now.

You have the skills.. but damn.. SE Alaska, in the water, with winter approaching... How long do you expect it to take?
With the input we have received since sharing our plan, we think the more prudent course is to spend the winter building up the kitty. Then,after the usual spring commissioning, we can sail her down the inside passage to Port Townsend Boat Haven for a total make-over inside and out. She deserves it.



Lealea setting sail from Honolulu for Alaska in 2012
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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you are welcome to my current project:

My Sea Sprite has/had a very badly damaged keel, rudder, and stern. I did not know this when I bought her due to some very skillful filling somebody did. When I sanded down the paint, I found an awful surprise.

Right now the back of my keel where the rudder sits is open as I cut out the aperture the rudder rides in.







The repairs should be complete this week after my tues and wed off
 

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Good Luck, look forward to following the project on youtube and your site. I, too, am beginning a refit of my Alberg 30. I expect it to take me more than 2 weeks;):D...
 
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