Over the years, we have standardized our procedures for restoring sailing yachts. A complete restoration typically includes replacement of all of the frames and floor timbers, the deck, and other parts as needed. We generally remove the hull from its ballast and deadwood for access to floor timber bolts and centerboard trunk fastenings. Replacement of the deck and all of the frames allows us to use molds where necessary to re-establish the fairness of the hull, eliminating any hard spots caused by lines of broken frames, bilge stringers, and years of inadequate out-of-water support. With the deck and frames removed, we can also re-establish the original sheer line, which we feel is one of the primary factors that differentiates a restoration from a repair job.
A typical complete restoration of a small sailboat (under 30′) follows these steps:
- Remove the deck as expediently as possible, saving the hardware and possibly the cabin and cockpit coamings; record the position of all hardware and compare with the original plan. Strip the paint from the outside of the hull for access to the plank fastenings.
- Remove several sets of frames and floor timbers, patch the fastening holes in the planking and install molds, taken from the original lines, at these locations. Then remove the rest of the frames and floor timbers. With the frames out, strip the paint from the inside of the hull.
- Separate the boat from its ballast and deadwood for access to floor timber and centerboard trunk bolts. Remove the trunk and the remaining floor timbers.
- Fit new floor timbers at non-mold frames.
- Bend in new frames except those at mold locations. These frames are held in place by temporary fastenings, only as many as are necessary.
- Remove the garboard planks (possibly the next planks as well). Install the floor-frame fastenings in the non-mold frames.
- Remove the molds, fit the remaining floor timbers, and bend in the rest of the frames.
- Depending on the size of the boat we may turn the hull over.
- Install the remaining floor-to-frame bolts. If the stem and transom are to be replaced, these jobs are done now.
- Replace the keel (if necessary). A new centerboard trunk may also be installed now. Re-establish the proper keel rocker with shores.
- Remove the planks from bottom to one below the sheer, in succession. If necessary, make new planks; otherwise, repair their edges as necessary, eliminate butts by scarfing in new sections, and replace them, setting them tight against their neighbors, and permanently fasten them to the floors and frames.
- Fair and prime the bottom. Begin fairing the topsides.
- Right the hull and replace it on its ballast and deadwood.
- Eliminate any twist, set the sheer planks and sheer clamps to the original sheer line measured from the plan. Install the shutter plank (the plank below the sheer plank). Fair and paint the topsides.
- Install new deck beams and lay the new deck. Fair the deck and lay the fabric covering. Reinstall the cabin/coamings. install new toe rails and other trim. Install the hardware.
- Rig work already started is now completed and the boat is moved to the boatyard for launching, rigging, and commissioning.