11/1/2012 – Getting to the bottom of the bottom.

When we got to the yard yesterday, the crew had finished sanding our bottom.  So, I fired up my grinder with an 80 grit sanding disk and proceeded to try to uncover more information about the unexplained patch that showed up on the stem.  Turned out that the patch ended just below where the crew stopped heavy sanding.  And the craters below the patch turned out to be more of the gel coat blisters like we saw along the water line except these were a lot larger.

a close-up look at the craters

Since the crater picture was taken, I have attacked the cracks with my pocket knife and dislodged and loose white gel coat.  What’s left seems to be pretty well attached to the layer below.  They must have really been having problems at the factory the day they laid our gel coat down because this looks terrible.

But, the problems may not have ended there.  Another boater in the yard, one who built his own boat from a bare hull some thirty years ago and is still sailing it full-time, asked about the red stripe.  He said that it must have been the original waterline.  I said, “No way!”  She’d bob like a cork if she was floating that high out of the water.  Take a look at the next few photos. The one below is current and shows the mystery repair as well as the mystery stripe.  You can see that the bobstay chainplate is fitted just above the mystery stripe and also just above the mystery repair.

In the next photo, taken when we hauled the boat for a pre-purchase inspection in 2007, you can see where the water line was when we bought her.  The red boot stripe was above the water.  The bobstay chainplate was on its forward end and you can see that the cockpit drain outlets (white circles) were sitting right in the middle of the boot stripe at the aft end of the boat.

Haulout in April 2007

The next photo shows how high we raised the boot stripe after loading the boat down with cruising “necessities” in 2010.  In this photo, you can see that the cockpit drain is now about 2-3″ below the new water line.

haulout 2010 showing new, raised waterline

Let’s go back to the picture of what the bow looks like now:

See the red stripe that’s not quite sanded away?  The one that ends at the bobstay fitting? That’s the boot stripe before we raised it as it was when the boat was Drifter.  The boot stripe is supposed to be out of the water so, if the lower red stripe is the original boot stripe, the boat would have been floating a good 6″ higher than it did before we raised the waterline and 8-9″ higher than she does now.  What makes this really improbable is that, when we bought her, she didn’t have anything on her that didn’t come with the original boat except a Webasto diesel heater that must weigh all of 5 lbs.  And even at that, if that was the original boot stripe, it would have been completely under water judging by how Drifter floated.  Not likely.

So, another scenario arose as we discussed what we were looking at.  What if somebody at Westsail wasn’t paying attention back in February of 1976?  What if they put the boot stripe too low?   And then what if they installed the bobstay chainplate ate the end of the boot stripe like the drawing showed?  When they finally floated her, the boot stripe and the bobstay chainplate would be completely underwater.  Nothing to do then except bring her back up and move the chainplate up out of the water and repair the spot that it had been in.  And then paint a new boot stripe on.  Which would explain why Drifter’s boot stripe, which should have been gel coat, sanded off of the layer of white gel coat so nicely while the mystery stripe stayed put.

Finally, looking at the original line drawing of the W28, it looks like the boot stripe should be just above the turn of the rudder, right where it was on Drifter and somewhat higher than the mystery stripe.

Below is a photo showing Drifter’s waterline (red) before it was sanded off.

Drifter’s boot stripe (red), Siempre Sabado’s boot stripe (black)

So?  Nothing.  It’s just kind of interesting.  If all this conjecture is right, it really points out that Westsails were truly hand-built as a machine would probably never make a mistake like this.

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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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5 Responses to 11/1/2012 – Getting to the bottom of the bottom.

  1. Eric says:

    A while back I heard something about a design flaw in the original W28 where when they splashed the first boat it was so under ballasted that it nearly fell over! Their solution of course was to add a thousand lbs of additional lead in the keel. Solved the falling over thing but it forced them to increase the size of the mast and caused the boat to sit 4 inches lower in the water.

  2. Huh. That is a mystery….As to your blisters I do not envy you. We paid to have ours done because its such a messy, long job. I think its the only bit of work we hired out. Hang in there!

    • sryoder says:

      I’m going to start the blister filling operation today so I’ll know by this afternoon just how odious the job is. Right now I’m approaching it like it’ll be no big deal. Hope I’m right.

  3. Chuck/Jacaranda says:

    The hull blister photos cleary show a case of gel coat failure. Could have been moisture on the hull, not perfectly clean mold or even moisture in the gun. Gel coat like anything else hates moisture when its applied.

    You will be glad you did it after the pain wears off. Just keep plodding along taking care of those problems as NOW is the time since your out and the mess is started!

    Good Luck
    Chuck

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