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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We (AJ and Cindy) have decided too start this thread as a means of documenting theses beautiful salty boats. We are currently in the process of restoring a 1981 Vagabond 42 (Gypsy). When we were researching these boats, we found very little info available, and a lot of questions posted around the internet by others with no replies/answers. We will be posting the results of our research as well as documenting Gypsy's restoration. Hopefully this will be of some help to others who hope to keep these beautiful boats afloat a bit longer. We welcome any questions, advice, and other helpful input that the community may offer. So, we begin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Introducing Gypsy and a bit of background.



More before pix can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/c3b5033m6dlnn9h/upU3ZUUBSZ

Gypsy is a Vagabond 42. She and the Westwind 42 are the same I am told. I have never been on a Westwind. Both were designed by George Stadel III and built by Bluewater Yachts. They are members of the Leaky Teaky family.
Stadel also designed boats for Hans Christian, Shannon, and Mariner - a none to shabby collection of family members ;-).

VAGABOND 42 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

This is a very solidly built boat with a thick hull, modified full keel, 9200 pounds of encapsulated iron ballast, and lots of teak. Our girl weighs in at 32,000 lb empty (according to the crane operator).

Gypsy will be my 3rd, and favorite, boat restoration. She has tons of character and a beautifully salty design.
 

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Aquarian

I've moved this thread to the Boat review section. Mods cannot create new forums, and there is no 'Vagabond' in the builders' row. I can put it into the 'other brands' category if you prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Ron,

I think the Other Brands section of Builders Row might be best as we are not planning to review the boat, but rather document whatever info we can find and share pix and details about the restoration. Hopefully there are other owners who will contribute as well. We look forward to meeting them - or whatever you call it when you converse via a forum ;-)
 

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Hi Ron,

I think the Other Brands section of Builders Row might be best as we are not planning to review the boat, but rather document whatever info we can find and share pix and details about the restoration. Hopefully there are other owners who will contribute as well. We look forward to meeting them - or whatever you call it when you converse via a forum ;-)
Done... carry on!
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Vagabond 42 FAQ - 1

What follows in the next few posts is some answers to some of the questions we've run across as well as a question or two of our own. This is not intended to be taken as any sort of absolute. We are sure there exists some variation, but this is what we have found so far.

1. Chainplates - Yes, they really are encapsulated in fiberglass on the hull interior. You might be able to view the layup of some of them inside of the aft deck locker (propane locker on our boat).

Yes, those rusty bolts are holding our chainplates in place - yikes!
Accessing the Chainplates is difficult. Some of them are behind lockers. Others are hidden by the beautiful teak paneling on the interior.

2. This paneling is strips of teak glued to 3/8" plywood that is screwed to firing strips fiberglassed to the hull. The teak must be removed to access the screws in the plywood which must be removed to access the chainplates. We will be addressing this issue in the near future with much creativity expected. Any suggestions are much appreciated. .
3. Interior teak appears to be finished with a very light lacquer coat. Lacquer cut by about 50% and applied with a cloth seems to work well for touching up warn areas or for sealing areas after sanding to remove water stains and whatnot.
4. The interior head liner is made up of removable FRP panels that provide very good access to deck fittings and wiring. So far we've not been able to locate a source for matching FRP should the need arise for replacement. If you know of a source, please share.


5. Gypsy had only 1 black water holding tank of unknown capacity. It was a bag in the bilge near the forward head. This bag was not anchored to anything - very creepy.
6. Gypsy's showers drained into the bilge - yuck.
7. The anchor locker is large and drains into the bilge.
8. Decks - cored fiberglass with gelcoat top coat (under the teak). The coring appears to be plywood - we have not yet cut into it, but we will be as there is evidence of some moisture intrusion in a few places on deck.
9. Teak decking - does not appear to be structural. It is made of strips of teak butted together - no real gap at caulk seams. The seams are routed on one edge of each teak strip and do not go all the way through. The strips are laid in a bed of sealant on the deck and then screwed in place with a bajillion screws.
a. It appears the screw heads start showing when the teak has worn down to about 7/16"-3/8" thickness.
b. The caulk seams disappear when the teak reaches about ¼" of thickness remaining.


10. The bowsprit is mahogany
11. Engine - Ford Lehman model 2711E or 2712E, 80HP, parts for either are interchangeable.
a. Parts and service can be obtained from Bomac ( Bomac Marine- Ford Lehman Engines Parts, Remanufacture and Service )
b. Manuals are available from MarineEngine.com Ford Lehman Engine Manuals & Sabre Lehman Diesel Marine Engine Manuals
c. A free downloadable engine manual for a Ford Lehman 120 is available at: Owner's Manuals
d. I am told that removing the engine requires either disassembling it or cutting out the cockpit sole. The galley sink is above the engine and below the cockpit sole. So things could get messy.
e. Engine access is pretty good, but only from the sides.
f. Our water heater is located in the engine compartment.
12. Bilge structure and storage
a. Some of the supports located in the bilge are made of fiberglass encased plywood. In Gypsy's case some of these have rotted, namely those supporting fuel and water tanks and one located under the forward bulkhead.
b. Fuel, water, and holding tanks are located in the bilge. There is very little remaining space for storage.
13. Fuel and Water tanks - Gypsy came to us with stainless steel fuel and water tanks. We have heard that these boats may have had iron/mild steel tanks originally, but have no experience with that. This definitely worth verifying as changing them out would likely require removing part of the cabin sole.
14. Water lines are copper and run through the bilge. The main water manifold is located inside the engine room behind the companionway steps. The valves appear to be brass - ours are corroded badly and will have to be replaced. It would be nice to relocate the manifold and create an access panel in that location for better access to the front of the engine if it is possible to do so without compromising the strength of the bulkhead.
15. Gypsy's fridge has a couple of inches of added insulation on the interior of the fridge. This would imply that a PO thought the insulation was inadequate. We will be investigating this further.
16. ??? There is a mild steel beam corroding into rusty oblivion located under the aft berth. It is not clear if this beam is structural or not. The surveyor suggested that it was put in place to support the hull during construction and that it serves no present purpose except to incite speculation. If anyone knows, do please tell. Otherwise, research is ongoing.
 

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Thank you Aquarian! I noticed the post was four years ago so I was wondering how you made out with your Vagabond. I am considering pulling the trigger on a 1982 Vagabond 42 in Florida that comes with a deeded slip as a liveaboard. I don't know much about these boats and your post was very helpful. My first choice was a Hans Christian but I was afraid I would spend too much time on maintaining it so went looking at Vagabonds. I will be having it looked at by a pro in the area and I will be present. It is weathered outside and needs elbow grease inside. engine replaced in 2011 including trans and prop plus new fuel tank this year. It hasn't been under sail for a few months and has been sitting and lived on. Any info as to what and where to look other than what you have posted would be very helpful. I love these older classic boats and want to keep this one on the water where it belongs. Thanks and I hope you are enjoying yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This thread is actually only a few months old. I have been negligent with updates. We are still on the hard and in resto-mode.

Our newest challenge will be removing the main cabin floor to gain access to a leaking fuel tank. Gypsy came to us with aluminum fuel tanks, but she also came with a bilge full of water and a ground-faulted bilge pump - a prescription for galvanic corrosion for sure. So it is to be expected. This means we will be removing the saloon floor to access the tanks. You are fortunate that your tanks are newer. The SS water tanks could also succumb to the same fate if they are allowed to rest on the hull, and are regularly subjected to water. Both aluminum and stainless tanks need clearance to dry. Otherwise they corrode just like any other AL or SS part in an oxygen deprived environment. Our water tanks are SS and appear to be Ok, but something to consider is that they are both to large to be removed without cutting up either the boat or the tanks. My advise would be to look at and smell the bilge - does it appear to have been kept dry most of the time?

Gypsy also still has/had her original copper plumbing. Top-shelf for the era she was built, but if, as in Gypsy's case, you have a handful of copper tubing running in a narrow space between two aluminum tanks in puddle of water, you are asking for galvanic corrosion trouble. Gypsy will be copper free soon. We will be using PEX pipe to re-plumb.

The teak deck is definitely a source for water intrusion, but in our experience, mostly at the deck fittings. We plan to re-teak, but do away with teak under any deck fittings. The best way to tell if the "leaky teaky deck" really does is to remove the FRP ceiling panels in the interior. If she leaks, you will most likely see water marks on the spacers there. You will also see /feel rot inside cabinets along the hull and water marks running down the hull inside of /behind berths and settees.

We have discovered that our aft-deck locker / propane locker will not accommodate a modern/US-legal propane tank (modern tanks have a larger diameter). Not a big deal for us as we were planning to add an above deck locker on the aft deck anyway.

Make sure she has covers for her aft (captain's cabin) port lights. If she does, please send pix of them. Gypsy doesn't, and we really don't want to take a big wave in the rear without covers for those 2 big holes, but we have not been able to find a pix or pattern of how they should be made.

Gypsy still has tapered cone brass seacocks. Servicing Tapered Cone Seacocks Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at pbase.com
Most (95%) of them work, but they require more maintenance than modern ball valves, and given the likely age of them and the ground fault issue that we have already discovered in the bilge, Gypsy will be getting all new seacocks.

The only other thing I can think to tell you to look for is people-size. The aft shower is narrow for a broad-shouldered guy. The aft/captain's bed is barely 6.5 feet at its longest. But the headroom throughout for a taller person is great.

I should state that I am dredging for things that might be a problem. Otherwise, this boat is ridiculously solid and for us comfortable. We still have a lot of work to do to get her back on the water in a live-a-board state, but we wouldn't trade her. We owned and lived on a newer and reputable lighter displacement boat and sold it to buy Gypsy. A very good decision for us without a doubt.
 

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Thank you for the fast reply! I am excited about starting a new life as a liveaboard. I have owned boats and I know they constantly need TLC its part of the cost of the freedom. I will use the info you have generously shared with me to help me make my decision. I will definitely check all the items you have mentioned. I have been told she appears dry but with the help of the surveyor it will all get checked out. You and others who own these boats all say the same thing, these are sturdy well constructed blue water cruisers only rivaled by a few others. This one has been owned by the same person for the last 20 years and he and his wife have lived on it for most of that time. He has said the only problems he has is some of the wiring needs attention but everything works. Being an electronics Technician that is not a huge concern for me as with all my other boats the wiring takes a beating on the sea like all the other metal units. I will make you a promise for sharing your knowledge, if I do buy this boat and she has covers for the aft ports I will give you pictures and any other info to help you procure or make some for yours. Thanks again and good luck with your endeavor. I will keep you posted as to the outcome and if it becomes mine we can bounce things off each other as needed for future reference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Our latest discovery was not good. AJ literally tore Gypsy's king/samson post off at deck level with his bare hands - not what was supposed to happen.

We removed the bowsprit to sand and refinish it and to verify the source of a large leak into the anchor locker.

We were correct about the leak (the through hole is covered by aluminum tape in the picture). The fitting for the staysail stay passes through the bowsprit and then through the deck, then through the anchor locker and back out of the underside of the bow well above the water line. In our case, it also served as an attachment for a mermaid figurehead. This fitting had no sealant whatsoever at the deck. Water was pouring in.

This led us to discovering a small wet and rotting corner of the king/samson post inside the anchor locker just below the deck. This obviously prompted the removal of the king post. We didn't expect to be taking it out in pieces though.
Gypsy's king post was set in the anchor locker in a block of resin and glass that filled the entire bow/shelf space on three sides. The aft-most side of the post was covered with plywood and fiberglass with two bolts passing through the post into nuts set in epoxy on the forward side. There were no other supporting structures for the king post.


The water intrusion has resulted in a dangerously rotted king post and damaged deck core.
 

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Hello AJ & Cindy. I have a 1984 Vagabond 42 that I have owned for 8 years now. She was a mess when I got her so has been a project ever since. We have gone to the Bahamas a couple of times and some other trips so it has not been all work. I take a lot of pictures of all the stuff i do on the boat so could send you some ideas of what i did if you just let me know what area your attacking. I have the v-birth floor torn out right now replacing the crappy Taiwan plywood. You'll learn to really hate this plywood! Anyway congratulations on your new boat. Their beautiful boats. Cheers, JC

John Conrad
S/V Eleanor Rigby
1984 Vagabond 42
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you Helimech. We would love ideas and pictures. We are currently trying to decide whether to attack the damaged core forward of the king post from above or below. The glass on the deck top is a full half inch thick and sound - hate to cut that. But working from below and inside the chain locker evokes very itchy nightmares. We are also looking for ideas for hiding the newly exposed chain plates in the saloon and aft cabin. Our current plan is to create more storage by adding lockers, but we have no specific design. We want to be able to access the plates to check for leaks. Another modification that we are considering is a complete remodel of the aft head to gain more shower space. Any and all ideas are welcome.

You know our teak and ply floor is very solid. There is evidence that someone has delved there before though. So maybe we've been spared that repair. One thing is for sure. We will know this boat inside and out when we are done. P-)
 

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Yes you will definitely know your boat inside and out. My King Post or what I call my Samson Post had a small bit of rot where it went into the lower structure. I drilled 1/4" holes around the area and found little rot so just injected thickened West System epoxy in the holes and sealed the entire area with cloth and epoxy. i caught it in time but mine is 3 years newer than yours so I guess I was lucky. i also have a different interior layout than yours i think. My aft head is on the port side and I think yours is on the starboard side. As far as the foredeck issue i agree that cutting the topside is not the preferred way. As much as it pains me to think about it I'd probably put a full paint suit on and respirator and cut it from the inside. Is the deck soft up there? I've been on about 8 different 42's and never felt a soft deck. One did have a problem over the nav table where there was a light prism but even that deck felt OK. Most of the ones I've been on had the teak deck so that adds to the strength of the already thick deck so maybe that why they all felt solid. Mine was manufactured without the teak decks and has a molded in non skid design. I think they were all made with this molded in non skid texture and the teak was installed over it. That's how it was on this 1989 I saw that had taken part of the teak off. I had the chainplate in the port gas locker (only one i have, I think you have a locker on the starboard side also) crack so I had to replace it. Lots of fun cutting it out while stuffed in that little locker. I can send you pictures of that too. I'd love to see your pictures of your exposed settee plates. I'm thinking if I have another one break I might leave the old ones in place (cut off the exposed tang flush to the cap rail) and install outside ones using the old ones as backing plates. I will say that my bolts on that cracked plate were the worst rust bleeding ones and when i got them out they weren't too bad at all. That made me feel better about several others that bleed a bit. JC
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
We are doomed to the dreaded itchy nightmare - ugh.
The deck on our boat feels very solid - even where we know the core is saturated. They did not scrimp when they built her deck. The forepeak has 3/8 inch of glass with 3 layers of 1/2" plywood separated by resin and glass. The underside of it all is sealed with about 1/4' of glass. At the king/samsom post the upper layer of glass drops from 3/8 to 1/4 inch thickness while the 2 layers of ply separated by glass are maintained aft of the windlass and hawsepipes. The remainder of the foredeck has a single 1/2" plywood core sandwiched between two 1/4"layers of glass. We have removed teak and screws and drilled holes. We have a lot of wet core and the deck still feels solid. I believe it is the amount of fiberglass and the design of the deck. We will be re-coring because we are planning for long passages. I worked with a marine company repairing boats in the Caribbean for a while and one of the repairs I did was chainplates on a Hans Christian - gorgeous very solid feeling boat. I drooled every time I boarded her. I later learned that she failed (but survived) because her decks were so weak that they buckled. She needed new deck coring far worse than she needed chainplates, but you never would have known it without a moisture meter and a drill.

Pix of Gypsy's chainplates from the saloon port behind the dinette and the aft cabin starboard. We have not cut them out totally because we plan to use them as backing plates for new outboard chainplates. We will cut the originals off jut below the cap rail and plug the old opening with teak. I was impressed by the condition of our 30+ year old plates and by the fact that the builder made sure to leave an opening at the bottom of each for drainage should they ever leak - of course they all did leak. If I didn't know that they were 30 years old, I'd go with what we have.
The first pix is the saloon port. The second is the aft cabin stb.




Each plate has at least 2 pieces of stainless flat stock welded perpendicular to the vertical plate. All of this is encased in glass - except the bottom bit. All chain plates will eventually leak and the metal will eventually fatigue from use and then crack or break. The ability to inspect them is a big deal for us. As someone who works on boats and has done it for a living I can't say loudly enough, "ACCESS IS EVERYTHING!"
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There might be an easier way, but the way I do it is to upload the pix to an album in my User CP. Then I open the pix there and copy the BB code found below the pix and paste it into my post.
 
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