Restoration of Laser #811
The individual pages have larger JPEG versions of the images, along with the text.
- Wendy sailing Laser #811 at Harborfields in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, July 1983. As you
can see, she's about to go over. Wendy, a lightweight, has become quite adept at
capsizing, even turning turtle, and then righting the boat without getting
more than her ankles wet in the entire process.
She's named this boat "State of Alert," and you can see why. By the way,
#811 was the very first Laser ever in the State of Maine.
- Broken mast step and wrecked deck. The mast step failed while somebody was
sailing the boat (of course). Water getting in the hull, through holes in the
mast step and other places had rotted the wooden blocking that reinforces the
bottom of the mast step where it sits on the hull. When the thing let go, the
mast cracked some of the deck, too.
To repair this, we got a "Mast Step Repair Kit" which included the mast
step tube attached to a deck piece a little less than 1 meter square, a
mounting flange, a plywood block with a hole for the bottom of the mast
step, and a template with instructions on getting the proper rake, etc. We
had to supply bondo, fiberglass and resin. The repair was undertaken in July
(We got our Mast Step Repair Kit from Team One Newport of Rhode Island.)
- Cutting an opening for the Mast Step Repair Kit, using an electric saber
saw (jig saw) following a line drawn from the template provided with the Kit.
Since this is a noisy and dusty operation, be sure to wear appropriate
breathing and hearing protection.
Lots of water came oozing out of the deck's foam core. This was (is) a leaky boat.
- The deck cut out for the Mast Step Repair Kit.
- Rotted plywood and broken fiber glass of original mast step reinforcement block.
- Close up of the rotted plywood and broken fiber glass of original mast
step reinforcement block.
- Working through deck opening, grinding away the old, rotten stuff of the
mast step, using an electric sander/grinder. Since this is a noisy and dusty
operation, be sure to wear appropriate breathing and hearing protection.
- The new plywood mast step reinforcing block held in place with bondo.
- The new plywood mast step block glassed in place, also showing additional
glass layed in place on the keelson, where it was wearing thin from beaching
of the boat. We also put some extra resin and glass around the base of the
Centerboard trunk to repair some damage there (very convenient to do with this big opening in the deck).
- Installation of the mounting flange that will be used to hold the Mast
Step Repair Kit tube-and-deck piece in place. (As Norm Abram says, "You can never have too many clamps!")
- The new mast-step installed. It consists of a trapezoidal deck piece with a
tube attached for the mast. It gets glassed to the reinforcing block installed on
the bottom of the hull and to the flange installed on the underside of the deck, as well as bonded to the top skin of the deck.
All of this work must be accomplished through an inspection port, and the piece is "clamped" simply by piling weights on it.
- Another view of the new mast-step installed. You can also make out the access
ports we installed, one on the stern deck beneath the traveller, and one next to
the centerboard trunk (port side). This mast-step repair has not been without
problems: it appears to leak around the joint between the new mast-step and
the old deck; the gel-coat on the new mast step has chipped right at the top of
the tube (you can see it in the photo, port side); and as of June 2000, the new
mast-step's tube has cracked (you can't see it in the photo, though). The old
deck is starting to delaminate just outside the new mast-step deck piece, too.
- We also took the time to sand and re-varnish our centerboard and rudder.
- Tim sailing Laser #811 at Harborfields in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, July 1995, after
completion of the Mast Step Repair.
What would we do differently if we were to do it over again? We would use a
marine epoxy such as the Gougeon Brothers' WEST System instead of the polyester
resin and bondo we got from the auto body section at a hardware store... Recommended is their application manual 002-550 "Fiberglass Boat Repair & Maintenance." We would also
take special care in making sure we got a good bond and seal in the final step,
where you set the new mast-step deck-and-tube in place.
For more information about Laser sailboats, check out the Laser FAQ, the Laser Class Association, and Vanguard Sailboats
website by thorpeallen.net
Last modified January 19, 2001.