|Forepeak with stains on stem, floor timber, and bilge.|
Once we got into the stem area and the forward bilge, we found just enough rot and discoloration to make us uneasy. The frame ends were soft (they'd been sistered in the past and the sisters were showing their age), and the floor timbers (probably original) were soft in spots.
|Closeup of the stem and bilge. Ugly... and is this safe? Notice the rotted frame to left of pen, with newer sister next door. The sister is bolted to the floor, but connection is not sound. A rather crude repair.|
I feel obligated to pause here for some general comments about wooden boat repair, so as not to alarm anyone with the pictures that follow. One of the wonderful things about wooden boats is that virtually everything is replaceable, given sufficient resources. This is very different from fiberglass boats, where the entire hull usually is molded as one piece, and structural repairs can be difficult and sometimes impossible. The following pictures are dramatic and may seem alarming to anyone unfamiliar with wooden boats. He's cutting big chunks out of the hull! Looks like a disaster! However, as I noted with our earlier work in the stern, removing a few planks and replacing frames is the stock-in-trade of any good shipwright. While things might look horrendous, the process really is pretty routine. So relax and enjoy the show.
|Matt opening up the garboard plank to have a look.|
|Opening a bit more. The Port Orford cedar planks were pristine, but no way to save them.|
|Two planks gone and we finally have a good view inside.|
It was almost heartbreaking to watch 80-year old Port Orford cedar planks, still in pristine condition, being ripped to bits to get access to the inside. Unfortunately there is no practical way to remove the planks without destroying them, so we had to accept that some of Compadre's original materials would be lost in order make her safe for the future. Alas, one of life's trade offs.
|Both sides open. And a growing pile of debris.|
|An old floor timber headed to the scrap heap.|
|Thin wood strips form a pattern for first new floor,|
|Two new oak floors in place.|
In our next post we'll have more pictures of the reconstruction and show you the finished product. Stay tuned...