the restoration handbook
Publisher *Wiley Nautical
the restoration handbook
Before starting to work on the boat it is a good idea to make a list of the problems that need to be solved and have as clear an idea as possible of the overall approach of the refit.
Making an inventory of the jobs that lie ahead is much more important than you may think. From this first inventory must emerge the first ideas, approximate as they may be, regarding the budget for the repair work, how long it is going to take and the necessary planning of the different stages.
Few yacht owners have either the technical know-how or enough free time to completely rebuild or restore a boat themselves. The usual situation for boat owners is that they find themselves with a boat, either a second-hand boat or one that used to be new but no longer is, and are prepared to carry out, on their own account, some kind of limited repair or refitting work.
There is no clear dividing line that marks the level of technical difficulty that amateurs should not cross in terms of the work that needs to be done on their boats. And in the same way that the best professional mechanic is not necessarily a great painter, some amateurs will find their metier replacing the electrical wiring and, at the same time, will be incapable of cutting a plank of wood with a handsaw. Or vice versa.
Honestly appraising your own do-it-yourself ability, with all of its pros and cons, forms a vital part of the initial refit inventory. From this process of self-evaluation a series of jobs will emerge that you feel you can take on yourself, others for which you will unavoidably need professional help and some that you will be able to do yourself as long as you can pick up a few tips. We hope that this book will help you with this breakdown.
A complete refit
We are going to renovate Samba from keel to masthead including all the installations between and her interiors. The solutions that we will be adopting are not absolutes, it may be possible to do them better, worse or simply in a different way altogether, it's not a question of laying down the law. Our intention here is to contribute ideas and working methods that might prove to be of help to anyone finding themselves in similar positions to the ones we were in.
By presenting the different jobs in independent chapters we are also offering the opportunity to limit yourself to specific areas. One year you might be interested in replacing the water installation or the electrical wiring, while the next you may wish to subject the hull to treatment against osmosis or to strip her out and redo the interior furnishing.
For our part we will try to explain each of the jobs that we take on in a practical sense, explaining what we did and why and giving you some idea of how long it took us. This will be accompanied by a sequence of photos that illustrate these different processes. In this way we hope that some of you may pluck up the courage to do the work yourselves while those that decide to entrust the work to professionals will have a good idea of what is involved and what bills they can expect.
Thirty years before the mast
Samba was originally delivered to her first owner, a charter company, in kit form and the initial distribution of her interiors provided space for as many as 11 bunks. After a short interval as a private owner's boat she was sold again, returning to charter use in the eighties and early nineties. During these years some of her berths were removed and her accommodation space summarily refitted.
For one reason or another, she never managed to present a definitive aspect with regard to her interior finishes, which little by little began to lose their shine and their comfort. Much the same thing was also happening up on deck where, since the day she was launched, the only work that has ever been done was limited to fixing whatever got broken.
Our aim is to rescue Samba from her ostracism and to return her dignity to her. A hull as secure, good looking and seamanlike deserves nothing less. There is one consideration that we feel it is important to make at this point: one of the first mistakes that an amateur must avoid when faced with an important refit is mistaking his boat. When considering the possibility of investing a lot of time and money on rebuilding your boat you have to be sure that the model of the boat in question, and her sailing schedule, are as close as possible to what you are actually looking for. If this is not the case it is far too easy to become discouraged at any time during the refit, or even after you have finished the work.
North Wind 40: A real classic
The North Wind 40, designed by a British man, Angus Primrose, was very active for almost two decades in many international and local races. This was the boat in which Jose Luis Ugarte finished his first and hard single-handed Transat. Many years later, the veteran North Wind 40 'Orion Iru' continued to be this great Basque sailor's own personal yacht.
Angus Primrose's celebrity was endorsed by the racing success of many of his designs, including Sir Francis Chichester's 'Gipsy Moth IV'. Primrose also had a long-term collaboration with Moody, where he designed the majority of this boatyard's models in the seventies. After Primrose's premature death, Bill Dixon, his chief assistant at the time, took over the office and has continued to collaborate with Moody up to the present time.
The North Wind 40 story started in November 1972, when Primrose drew up the plans for a prototype that, sailed by Bruce Banks, finished second in the trials for the British Admiral's Cup Team. Barcelona-based company Manufacturas Mistral bought the plans of this yacht and managed to build the first 12 units before the boatyard closed in 1975. Industrial North Wind (nothing to do with the current company of the same name) then acquired the mould of the boat one year later and went on to build another 25 units.
In 1980 the original model was redesigned, to become the North Wind 38, with her stern trimmed, a new keel and the accommodation laid out with more cabins. At least 35 examples of this new version were built before the definitive closure of the boatyard in 1984.
The success of the North Wind 40 was based on her good performance levels and robustness. Her silhouette, with low freeboard, notable beam and fine sharp stern are the marks of identity of the years in which she was designed. Yet even now, in the 21st century, this slim and classical hull shape still evokes the spontaneous admiration of anyone who loves a yacht with personality.
The North Wind 40's trapezoidal keel (2-metre draught) ends in a slightly bulbous form. Including the keel, over 50% of the boat's weight is below the waterline, which explains her hull's excellent stability when heeling, the way she cuts through the waves and her capacity to fetch to windward.
The section of the mast, rigged at the masthead with spreaders, is generous and, for the majority of units in service, has withstood the test of time. The same could also be said about the reinforcement bulkheads and laminate bulkheads, which have rarely showed signs of weakening.
Leaving apart questions such as finish or maintenance, which certainly must vary from one unit to another, where the North Wind 40 has suffered most from the passage of time is in the concept of her manageability which, despite being complete, has become rather obsolete. The winches on the mast or at its base and her antiquated returns are not very effective in terms of the possibilities offered by modern-day fittings.
The North Wind 40's accommodation also suffers from a lack of volume aft, the low ceilings so prevalent in earlier decades, and has only two cabins for a boat with a length of almost 40 feet. On the other hand, the ample stowage capacity that she can offer is equal to, if not greater than, the space most modern yachts have to offer.
Step by step
* Painting the hull and deck. When it comes to fixing up a boat there are few jobs that work as effectively as a good coat of paint on hull and deck. Samba's gelcoat, thoroughly coarsened, lacking shine and with the wounds of twenty years of service is just crying out for this to be done.
* Redesigning the rigging. Although the North Wind 40's rigging is complete and relatively straightforward, its antiquated layout, around the base of the mast, is a nuisance. If we want to be able to manoeuvre the boat with only a reduced crew we will have to modernise it by running the halyard returns right into the cockpit.
* Hatches and companions. As you would expect after almost thirty years of exposure to the elements, the plexiglass of her front windows has become completely glazed, to the point where they are almost opaque. These will have to be replaced, as will the boat's different hatches, including weather seals and badly worn fittings.
* Interior furnishing. Originally delivered in kit form Samba was never furnished to the level that she really deserved. A number of changes made to the layout of her accommodation over the years, always done amateurishly and without any great care being taken have, along with pretty slipshod maintenance, left a hotchpotch of mismatched finishes that are sadly in need of sorting out.
* Head and shower. The actual head is truly austere, not to say minimalist, despite the pressure unit and shower that were installed a few years ago. On the port side you can still see the remains of the original berths, now converted into improvised shelves. An in-depth refit would be very welcome indeed.
* Forward cabin. The forward cabin is relatively large for Samba's overall length. If nothing else we need to fit some decent stowage space, as well as giving the mismatched finishes a thorough once over.
* Galley. While conserving the useful size and overall layout of this galley, both the furnishings and equipment need a complete overhaul if they are going to be used again.
* Water and drainage fittings. The water installation, obsolete in all sections, will have to be completely replaced. Another of Samba's dark areas is the drainage system, which has also earned retirement for its component parts. This is a question that will need serious consideration.
* Electrical wiring installation. If this was far from ideal in its day, after over thirty years of service the whole of the electrical wiring installation is in urgent need of replacement, in order to make the boat safer and more prepared for the demands of modern life.
* Electronics. The boat's electronics are also long past their retirement date. The advances in this sector over recent years would make any attempt at repairing the existing equipment a waste of time.
* Upholstery and foam rubber. Seating and berths are an important element of comfort on board. Thoroughly worn out through use Samba's old upholstery and foam rubbers will have to be replaced.
* Linings and claddings. The claddings on the ceiling and interior textile linings are another of the boat's aesthetic aspects that we are going to be taking a close look at.
* Deck works and fittings. Deck fittings are an authentic disaster. Except for the cockpit winches, which are in a reasonable condition, all the rest is old, broken down or jammed (if not all three at once). A complete update is essential.
* Engine. Unusually robust and reliable, her original 40 HP Perkins 4.108 is now well past its useful working life. We have to consider whether it is worth repairing or whether it would be simpler just to go ahead and replace it.
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