Spring 2016 Boat Projects

During the winter of 2015-2016, we took a well-deserved break from boat projects and focused on our return to work. Saxony went back to working in Crisis Prevention, and then realized she had lost her appetite for this kind of work. She suffered through a few difficult months before actively searching for work. It was a frustrating exercise but through a mix of perseverance and good fortune, she landed a dream job at ViRTUS. In one move she went from the non-profit suicide prevention world and was catapulted into a for-profit business helping other companies through leadership development programs and strategic planning.

Emmanuel joined his longtime friend Mike in a small startup business called Leavetown.com. A big pay cut compared to the old engineering days but an extremely exciting and promising company in the world of adventure travel and technology.

By March, we were ready to tackle some much-needed projects on Leela. We had noticed that Leela would leak in a few locations when she heeled over. We did some extensive research online eventually communicating with Jim (s/v Moonshine) at now-defunct blog unionpolaris.com who had completely restored an early hull Union 36 like ours. Jim informed us that the design/construction of the scuppers was terrible and the Union yard had eventually changed the design altogether in later hulls. The early scuppers were prone to cracking thus introducing water in the deck core. Jim had proceeded to rip the scuppers out with a jigsaw and replace them with new moulds. We decided on a simpler approach. We sanded down all of the scuppers and re-glassed them completely using G-Flex epoxy which has some inherent flexibility.

leaking bulwark, union 36, scupper
Scupper in bulwark cleaned up and ready for fibreglassing. Note the cracks leaking water into the deck core
union 36, leaking bulwark
Fibreglassing one of the scuppers using GFlex (our new favourite epoxy)
Scupper now fiberglassed and sanded. Note the jib track bolt access hole we have fiberglassed and sanded top left

As we were doing this work we also noticed the jib track bolts appeared to be leaking which was also introducing moisture in the bulwark. As is the case with most old boat projects, removing the job track bolts turned out to be an epic can of worms. Back in the day, the Union Yard had simply installed a small nut which they bedded in epoxy of some kind within the bulwark. After 40 years of stress from the jib sheet, the nut had freed itself from the surrounding epoxy and did not allow the bolt to be free. Basically, they both turned together and the bolt would not pull out.

We ended up having to drill 3 holes in both the starboard and port side bulwarks to reach the nuts, free the bolt and then re-install new stainless steel threaded plates to ensure this would NEVER happen again. Both of these time consuming but extremely life preserving projects were completed in Spring 2016.

dremel, job track bolt
Dremel-ing the bulwark open in order to reach the job track bolt and remove
jib track bolt, union 36, leaking bulwarks
Inserting a new jib track bolt and custom nut made out of S/S flat bar and custom threaded
union 36, jib track, leaking bulwarks
The plan was to embed the new flat bar nut in epoxy. However, the bolt had to spin freely so we used foam in order to prevent epoxy from coating the bolt and nut
leaking bulwark, jib track, union 36
New job track bolt nut encased in epoxy. This new nut is not going anywhere and will never spin loose again
union 36, boatwork
This is an image for posterity. We always buy thrift store clothing to work on Leela. And we enjoy lunch sitting on the concrete in the boatyard sharing our favourite Trader Joe’s bread, St-AndrĂ© cheese, and tuna in oil. Mmmmmm!!
union 26, sailboat, jib track, leaking bulwark
Removing the jib track bolts
union 36, sailboat, hatch
Saxony re-bedding the hatch. Note to self: always close the front hatch when sailing to avoid getting the staysail sheets caught and thus bending the aluminium frame
Our boatyard dad and mentor: Phil
3 Responses
  1. Neila

    Oh so fun, more summer reading – love hearing about your adventures – even though I can’t understand a lot of the sailing and boat lingo – maybe I’ll learn something too!

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