The story so far…
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Starboard side windows out

Finally a break in the weather

After the awful cold and wet weather we've had this winter, we took the decision not to relaunch this spring. Most of the work on our winter to-do list had remained undone, so we've decided to spend the spring, and possibly the summer, working on the boat.

Even if we lose most, or all of the season, at least we can get her watertight and the rotten timber replaced.

Removing the windows

We started by removing all the screws from the starboard-side main window, then attempting to gently prise the frame away from the cabin sides. We were then confronted with our first problem, the window was stuck fast. Somebody had Sikaflexed the bugger in! This window was refusing to budge – despite leaking like a sieve.

We decided to leave removing this one for another day and set about investigating the rest.

After removing another gazillion screws, the rest of the windows practically fell out! These were sealed (well almost) using various compounds including silicone and foam tape.

As the windows came away, all the bits of wooden trim began to fall off inside the boat. These were held in place by the window screws and a motley collection of adhesives and sealers. In one area the trim was held in place by
We began to wonder if we'd ever get the window out in one piece
the strangest looking glue we'd ever seen, some kind of vivid orange concoction, which we can only assume to be some sort of hot-melt glue. However, most of the trim seemed to be attached using brown bathroom sealant.

The time then came to tackle the stuck window. We sought advice as to how you remove a Sikaflexed window and were basically told 'with great difficulty!' They weren't wrong, in fact we began to wonder if we'd ever get the window out in one piece.

After trying various tools, we settled on a thin wallpaper scraper, a thicker chisel-edged stripping knife and a club hammer!

We worked around the window hammering in the thin scraper and levering with the thicker one. We also applied some leverage from the inside. In some areas we had to hammer in the thicker tool, which did bend the frame a little unfortunately.

After several hours of struggle the window eventually came away. We covered her with a tarpaulin and went home to nurse our aches and pains.

Having stripped and refurbished the windows on our previous boat, we vowed never to do it again, so the windows were handed over to a specialist for refurbishment.

The frames are in quite good condition although some of the original pattern seals are no longer manufactured, so suitable alternatives will need to be used.

Stripping out the rotten timber

Once the windows were safely dispatched we turned our attention to the interior panelling.

This threw up another slight problem, the panels lining the cabin sides were fitted before the bulkheads. We didn't want to remove the the bulkheads, so we had to cut the side panelling flush with them.

After experimenting with a flush-cut saw, we found it easier to cut through with a sharp Stanley knife. This was easier than it sounds as a lot of the timber was water-damaged and soft.

After removing the awful car stereo speakers from the bulkheads, the extent of the water-damage became apparent, as can be seen in the picture on the right. You could poke your finger straight through it!

Fortunately only small areas are rotten and we'll just re-face the whole panel with 3 or 4mm marine ply.

The ply linings in the front cabin completely disintegrated on removal and we had to try and tape the bits back together as we need to use them as a template for the new ones.

Having removed the curtain pelmets we found another source of water ingress, the screw holes for the external wooden trim. We even found a screw fixed into a rawlplug – never seen one of those in fibreglass before!

We now need to measure up and order the plywood for the new panels and bulkhead facings. We're thinking of using Gaboon (Okoume) ply. Its colour is a little lighter than mahogany which we like, it's also cheaper, more lightweight, readily available and FSC certified.

The paneling in the heads (loo to you land lubbers) will be either Melamine or uPVC.

We haven't decided whether to make the new window trims from solid hardwood or plywood yet. Either way, hopefully we can use the the existing trims as router template guides when making the new ones. The new trims will be a little more complex than the originals, as we want to bolt the windows in, rather than use self-tapping screws. Therefore a rebate will need to be machined in to accept the ends of the machine screws and nuts.

We're also thinking we'd like to place a little insulation beneath the paneling, but not sure this is worth it as 80 per cent of this area is window anyway. Maybe we'll just reserve that for the below gunwhale linings.

Screws, screws and more screws!

We have started to strip the external woodwork from the boat in order to prepare the hull for painting.

This s going to be a long job…

…First the wooden toe rails have been removed – loads of screws. We made a start on removing the upper rubbing strake, which is layered up as follows: Aluminium rubbing band screwed to a thin square section piece of timber, which is screwed to a pyramid shaped piece of timber, which is screwed to a straight piece of timber, which is screwed to the hull and the screw heads epoxied over! on the underside of all this, there is another wooden trim screwed in.

We reckon this may well take a couple of days to remove as a lot of the screw heads are in poor condition.

We've also made a start removing the lower rubbing strakes and quarter flanks, these are warped and rotten so will need to be replaced. Haven't worked out how we're going to transport 14' long rubbing strakes to the boat though.

The strakes are screwed on from the outside and the screw holes plugged, but originally I think they were attached from inside the boat as there appear to be lots of brass screws ground flush with the hull.
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Marina removing wooden trim pieces
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Struggling to remove the large port-side window which had been sealed using Sikaflex. It took absolutely ages to remove
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Port-side main window and ply lining removed
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Close-up of the water damaged bulkhead
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Front cabin windows and panelling removed
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The rotten bulkhead from the from cabin side.
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Some of the rotten panelling removed from around the windows.
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Rear quarter flanks removed.
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Quarter flank end-on showing the warp.
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Split bottom rubbing strake.