June 2007

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Around the yard, the local wags have taken to noticing the activity behind the shop. Usually, It’s a comment of, “Wow, what a beautiful boat! She’s coming along really nicely!” or some such.
They are, of course, referring to the boat right next to mine, my co-worker’s Alden-designed Bristol 35. Yeah, yeah; new rig, new paint, new varnish, all the right pretty bits, and a stylish postwar American shape. Never mind that she hasn’t any mechanicals, systems, or interior. Still, I have to agree that she’s outwardly easy on the eyes.
And my boat? A 1964 Laurin 32. Swedish. Sturdy. Burly, and getting burlier every day. Nah, the yachties will never understand. A great analogy came to me the other day, one that my 4×4 buddies should, however, immediately understand:
My boat is a 1964 Unimog. An old classic work machine, a tool for gettin’ things done. Moreover, I’m building it up to be a gnarly trail machine. Think outside rollcage, snokel, winches all over, crazy axles, plenty of lights, serious gears, onboard air. 38’s. Think torque. A real expedition vehicle.
Or how ’bout a bike analogy? That Bristol is an tricked old Silver Wing, polished and pretty for it’s time, never the best of the best, but with that certain retro collectability. My boat is a 70’s BMW under Johnny’s ass headed to somewhere the rest of us probably won’t see. A rat bike that does just what it needs to, and is never worth more than the joy it brings.
If you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down, I can see the grin forming on your face right now. And if you’re puzzled by all this… just keep enjoying the shiny boats.


A recent set of completed bits are found at the back of the boat; the sterngear. As always, click on the pics for a closer look.

rudder repair A

I finally got around to stripping all the foul old paint off the rudder, “just to see what was there”. Some repairs, not unexpected… The largest repair was higher on the blade, just above the waterline. This is a weak area on this design of this type of rudder, but of the repairs done, this was one area where the previous repairer had really done a burly job of it.

rudder repair b

The dodgiest bit was the stainless gudgeon tube that runs up the leading edge of the rudder. It was a case of “good from afar, but far from good”. The offending sections of pipe had to be cut out. I made the cuts some ways into the fiberglass structure, to have the seams staggered in the finished product.

rudder repair c

This shows a replacement pipe section fitted in during a dry run. The rust and pinholes were largely along the stell/fiberglass seam; inside the rudder the steel was good enough to remain. This made keeping everything lined up easier. Inside the 1 3/4″ heavy-wall tubing, I was able to slip-fit an length of smaller stainless tubing right through both the old and new sections, lining everything up. Of course, after all the fitting, everything was set in high-density thickened epoxy, and the cut-away sections of ‘glass were repaired with 5 layers of bi-axial cloth. Over that, I faired the whole rudder before ‘glassing the rudder edges. Then the whole works was covered in two sheets of biax in epoxy.

The other interesting project aft has been the boomkin. I’ve never seen an L32 with a boomkin. As orginally built, the backstay split above deck and came down in two legs to the top of the aft rail; definately a dodgey approach. A previous owner had moved the split legs down to hull-mounted chainplates, but these were both horribly rotten and awkwardly-placed, fouling the travel of the tiller and the opening of the aft hatch.
I also noticed that the original self-steering gear was mounted in such a way that reduced the travel of the tiller by half! A boomkin looked to solve all these problems.

boomkin from above

Here is the boomkin installed, as seen from above. The stainless hoop is the forward portion cut out of a Gulfstar 50 anchor platform, and it was the perfect radius and width. The tube is “only” 1 1/2″, but very heavy-walled. Here you can see the rudderhead, which when in use sweeps the entire area from side to side. I totally lucked out finding this piece of tubing!

boomkin from below

Here is a shot from below the rudder, looking up. The two tangs on the underside of the boomkin are for the boomkin shrouds, which will hold the assembly down against the strong upwards pull of the backstay. There needs to be two of them; the rudder makes it impossible to have a conventional single one on the centerline. At first I was concerned about the backstay being the only thing holding the tube up; the self-steering gear is pretty heavy itself, and will be mounted to this at some point. I tested the tube but hanging and bouncing on it just as it looks here, with no lines holding it… a little give, but definately strong enough, clearly more solid than I thought it would be. The mounting pads are recessed into the hull (the hull is a little over a full inch thick of solid fiberglass in this area), through-bolted with four 5/16″ bolts each side through massive backing blocks. No worries.

boomkin shroud lead

Here is a shot from low on the side. The string is being held in place where the shroud will go. Eddie was a massive help getting these tangs and shrouds lined up before the bits were welded… It was a bit of a freestyle eyballing, but it turned out exactly as I wanted it to.

And now the works… The rudder bolted up for the last time in a long while (hopefully!). Barrier coat bottom primer over all the fittings, aperture, etc., and the rudder head primed for paint. The line of the rudder really completes the flowing swoop of the keel… almost a pity that it’ll be out of sight below water.



I now feel that I’ve gotten far enough along on a few things to be able to show off a bit. First in a series… Click for a closer look.

bilge-before.JPG Looking aft in the salon. Notice the “waterlines” from the sludge and rainwater floodings over the years.


Here’s a shot looking aft, with the dirty sole in place. By this time I’d cleaned and cleaned, and there’s a few coats of epoxy primer on the turn of the bilge.


Now a shot of the new watertank cover in place over the cleaned and epoxy-sealed tank.


Now a shot with the newly varnished sole in place over the painted bilge.