Starting work…

While I had the chance to do a thorough inspection before purchasing Spirit of Aurora, issues and projects will always crop up on an almost 40 year old wooden boat. Luckily, to date, knock on wood, none have been too surprising.

The inside of the beautiful cold molded WRC hull, before painting, varnish, etc. Deck delamination and water damage is visible at the top of the picture. 

Our Carol is cold molded out of 3 layers of Western red cedar with Mahogany sheer-strake that has always been finished bright. The stems are both clear VG douglas fir, the deck is douglas fir plywood sheathed in fiberglass, and the deck beams are also Douglas fir. The keel also appears to be laminated Douglas fir, and the interior is marine ply painted white with mahogany trim.

The issues that we knew about were:

  • soft spots in the cockpit
  • original 1982 stainless rigging with corrosion and broken strands
  • delamination in areas of the deck
  • very rough spots on the hull, either the result of poorly done repairs or painting / delamination
  • water damage throughout the interior
  • all wood in need to re-finishing
  • portlights badly scratched and leaking
  • thru-hulls in need of replacing
  • wiring badly corroded
  • Outboard motor in questionable condition
  • sailplan in need of updates, in particular a yankee (100% high cut jib).
  • Bulkheads detached from the hull in places
  • Leaking water tank
  • All running rigging in need of updates

And I’m sure that there were more. She was definitely sail-able when we got her. She only had a huge genoa and a spinnaker, along with a fairly rough but serviceable main. Structurally though, she appeared entirely sound with no rot to the hull, just to areas of the deck and extensive areas of the cockpit.

So I got to work, with lots of help from family and friends.

First, sand and grind off many years of non-skid deck paint, including some aweful rubber stuff, to get back to fiberglass and epoxy. In places with delaminaton or rot, I just kept going until I got to something solid and then got it dry and saturated with epoxy before building back up with layers of epoxy filler and glass. 

The deck once fully sanded clean. 

The cockpit needed some more major surgery. This is about half way through chasing the rot. It’s now all been replaced with Meranti hydrotek plywood, glassed, and faired smooth. Once painted, you wouldn’t know it wasn’t original unless you opened a hatch. 

And sanding, sanding, sanding and more sanding. Enough that my sanding vaccum went belly up mid project and had to be temporarily replaced while it got fixed.  I think that I’ve filled about a dozen vaccum bags with sanding dust. The entire hull has been sanded smooth, epoxied wherever there is exposed wood, and then faired with epoxy fairing compound. The interior got entirely sanded to prep for new white cabin coat paint (thanks mom), the deck and cockpit are entirely sanded down to fiberglass and re-faired, and the woodwork is in the midst of being sanded. Unfortunately it’s not very inspiring work, so I don’t have many pictures. More in the next update.



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