Repairs are the bread and butter for most boatbuilders who work in wood. I’m no exception. Fixing rubbing strakes, toe-rails, spars, deck leaks, leaky garboards, dislodged saloon tables, rotten king planks and the host of other things that go wrong over time is what I spend a lot of my time doing.
A few years doing repairs is the best possible education for any boatbuilder. As well as fixing the inevitable damage resulting from collisions, weather and old age you struggle (sometimes for days) with all the mistakes that previous boatbuilders make when building a boat. A small omission or shortcut, invisible at the time, can often have long reaching consequences in the years to come. If you can learn from the repair work you can devise ways to do things better in future and, hopefully, avoid some of these errors of omission when you build new boats yourself.
Given that many of these jobs are short quick items that take a few hours I don’t often photograph them. However, here are a few photos that did get taken to give you a flavour of what this sort of work involves.
Scarphing up a new mast tip for a box section mast to go on a Wharram.
This rather sturdy looking mooring cleat for a Nantucket Clipper was a straight like-for-like replacement for the existing cleat. I’m not sure what the owner did to the old one to break it.
Toerails and rubbing strakes get broken and damaged all the time. It’s amazing hard it often is to hold a repaired section of rail in place to ensure that the sheer remains sweet. This folkboat, with a simple toerail mounted normal to the deck was an easy clamping problem. When a toerail is a radiused moulding mounted at an angle then the clamping problem is more significant.
This pilot cutter needed her counter planking replaced after a small water seepage got into the end grain of the counter planking. This was not a job to do from the top of a step ladder!
When Paragon II needed a new breasthook it got done in the back yard during a sunny spell.
This repair to a Nauticat 33 involved removing the coachroof margin boards and trims before cutting out sections of the plywood sub-deck which had rotted. The margin boards and trims were then re-instated correcting the original mistake which had led to the leak along the front face of the coachroof.
Need another 4′ added to your boom? Scarph it on of course. Not sure if this job should be classified as a repair or a restoration as the end had been cut off deliberately a few years ago.