by Tom & Agnes Westran
It is time that I gave my fellow Albergers a progress report on the refit/renovation to BRIGHTLINGSEA II. She is not finished, but by the time this is published we will be out of our condo and living aboard. Our place has been leased for July 1st, the packers and movers are here on the 24th-25th, after that we are "boat people"
The refit/renovation has taken much longer than anticipated for one main reason, I succumbed to the "might-just-as wells". I can now appreciate how someone can spend years building or refitting a yacht. As one job is underway, another is identified that "might-just-as well" be done before the first is completed, and so it goes. BRIGHTLINGSEA II has not finished this process, but the end is insight. Having the condo leased two months earlier than expected certainly adds a sense of urgency.
I could make this note much briefer if I described what has not been done to our boat. The hull-to-deck joint has not been broken. I think those are the only two parts of the boat that have not been separated from each other! I'll start the description of the work at the bottom and work up.
Twenty six years in the water resulted in some blistering of the hull that I was aware of before buying her. The gel coat and damaged laminates were removed and the bottom refinished using MAS (Matrix Adhesive Systems) materials. The MAS epoxies are very low viscosity to penetrate and wet the original fibers. After the blister cavities were filled with mat and MAS epoxy and the hull faired, an additional layer of mat was added to the bottom and 12 coats of MAS epoxy applied as a barrier coat. Petit ACP 50 should keep the barnacles at bay.
A gel coat wizard patched up the few battle scars on BRIGHTLINGSEA II'S topsides and buffed the original gel coat to a like-new finish. The repaired areas can only be detected if you know where to look and the light is right. The colour match is near perfect. All the deck hardware was removed and rebedded,with much of it replaced because of the "might-just-as-well's", not because replacement was essential. The original aluminum ports were replaced with stainless steel and an 11th port added to the aft of the coach roof to permit viewing of the radar display from the helm, and provide additional light and ventilation.
She has been completely re-wired and re-plumbed. None of the original wiring remains and only bits of the original plumbing I kept were the water tank vent hoses. The wiring was done using the ABYC standards and when in doubt going up a size in wire. There are 26 DC and 5 AC circuits on the new panel and I might just end up with one, two at the most spare DC breakers, with all of the AC spots filled. DC power is provided by six golf cart batteries (660 Amp-hr) charged by a 125 Amp alternator while on the motor and by the 50 Amp charger in the Freedom 10 Inverter when hooked to shore power. A solar and/or wind generator will be added at a later date. The DC electrical system is controlled and monitored via a Link 2000R system.
All the thru hull valves were replaced as were all the hoses for both sea and fresh water. I would advise checking the thru hull valves based on my experience. I was not going to replace the 2 inch valves on the cockpit/deck drain lines because of the cost and difficult access. When I was in the starboard cockpit locker working on the back side of the engine panel, I accidentally kicked the valve and it BROKE OFF with very little force! The bronze valve had a brass bushing retaining the ball and seat, and the brass had "de-zincified" leaving only spongy copper holding the whole thing together. The valve on the Port side was in the same state. This is a boat sinking situation. Getting plumbing parts that you can be sure are all bronze is not easy. The source of and Quality Assurance on these items is suspect. I have been ordering from a Nova Scotia based marine supply house since in our fresh water location, the suppliers seem to think that brass and bronze are the same thing.
We gave BIGHTLINGSEA II a complete Autohelm /Raytheon electronics suite, ST 50+ LCD Radar, 6000 autopilot, ST 50+ instruments (Tri-data and Wind at the helm and a Multi at the nav station), NAV 398 GPS and the Alpelco (another Raytheon product) Loran that came with the boat is also interfaced with the system. The antennas for the radar, etc. will be mounted on a mast on the lazaret deck.
The interior was completely redecorated. This project was the first major might-just-as-well. When the bottom did not dry as completely as anticipated the first winter out of the water, we figured we might-just-as well use the time to re-do the interior. Most of the dark teak has been finished in off white polyurethane, with the trim in bright varnish, custom cabinets replace the Starboard pilot berth, galley and head counter tops have been replaced, the engine/refrigeration compartment hatches replaced for better access, new DC lighting installed, galley lockers modified and new dark blue upholstery added. The services of a cabinet maker and friend was invaluable in this stage of the process. Bert Hayward's work certainly has enhanced the appearance and utility of our boat.
The engine has been rebuilt. It was pulled to cure several oil leaks and the rings and bearings were replaced and the head and injector system rebuilt before reinstalling. The engine wiring and plumbing is getting major attention to suit the new charging system and to tidy up the engine room.
While we were at it, the rig also received major attention. The standing rigging has been replaced with all Sta-Loc fittings used. The "J" measurement is increased by 18 inches with the addition of a custom bow sprit/anchor platform (similar in design to the Niagara 35), and an inner forestay added to the rig. The Hood Sea Furl system is replaced by a Shaeffer 2100. Joe Hernandez, the original sail maker for the Whitby Albergs is making a new radial cut genoa, recutting the working jib to a Stailsail, and doing the minor repairs necessary to the other sails. I had the sails cleaned through the local Ottawa sail maker. They came back clean but with some abrasion damage to the stitching and despite claims to the contrary, some of the resins were washed out. Joe is sending the main to Sail Care to try their resin replacement process. I'll let you know how it works.
Since most of the time cruising is spent at anchor, the ground tackle system also received attention. The anchors include a 20 kilogram Bruce, a Delta of the same weight and the original 22 pound Danforths. The primary anchor, likely the Delta for its self launching character will be on 150 feet of 3/8" chain with a back-up of another couple of hundred feed of 5/8" nylon. Retrieving the anchors is being left to a Lewmar electric windlass and the cleaning of the system to an electric wash-down pump.
There are details I have left out and there are more things I would like to do, but we have to get on with it. It has been a long and often frustrating process, but the end product looks like it will be worth the effort.
If the current plan is followed, BRIGHTLINGSEA II will be sea trialed in July/August, and likely trucked to the Chesapeake to start the journey south. If possible we hope to make the Great Lakes Alberg Rendezvous at Kerr Bay in August and the A-37 IOA Rendezvous in the Chesapeake on Labour Day Weekend. We hope to see you all very soon.