26/08/2019 at 7:57 pm #19044
Hi, me again!! I’m the person considering replacing the bottom panels on a wooden mk1.
Today, I’ve been offered an early grp hull.
Would it be a case of just swapping all the parts from the wooden boat over to the grp, to effectively make a complete boat? Is there anything specific I should check the grp boat for too?
26/08/2019 at 8:57 pm #19046ChrisParticipant
Depending upon what you intend to use the boat for, the wooden one will be faster, lighter, stiffer, stronger, and if in otherwise good condition less likely to go wrong than an old single skin grp hull.
I’m not a fan of the old glass boats for anything other than pottering purposes. And even then it needs to be an exceptional example these days! Most lost their floorboards decades ago and as a consequence have leaky buoyancy. Then you get those that are over tensioned (remember, highfield levers were not standard in this days, you used a horn cleat and hook rack) either pulling out the shroud anchorage or breaking the boat’s back under the mast.
A really good one will be an excellent cruising boat. but these are very few and far between!
I’d sort the wooden one, especially if its by a good builder and in otherwise decent order.
26/08/2019 at 9:29 pm #19047
Thanks for that. I’m still a little torn myself to be honest. Cruising and pottering about sounds perfect though. It’s a pastime I do with my 8yr old daughter.
I’m definitely going to give both hulls some serious thought, I’m assuming that it is just a case of swapping parts over if it came to it?
26/08/2019 at 9:35 pm #19048Oliver ShawModerator
Matt It is certainly an idea to consider, but it is not necessarily a panacea. Fundamentally it is a matter of first deciding what it is that you want to achieve.
In principle, the fittings can be switched across.
GRP boats are often perceived as being free of maintenance and repair problems. There is some (limited) validity in that, but see the recent string on serious problems in Speed Sails GRP boats. And long before the Speed Sails boats, the first generation of GRP boats had a number of structural weaknesses (with reports of trailers and launching trolleys going through the bottoms of the boats, and shroud plates pulling out, in particular; indeed I myself experienced the first of these problems, in a nearly brand new boat). Nonetheless, an impressive number of them have survived to this day.
Your wooden boat, if you choose to repair her, has the potential at the end of the repair process for being a thing of beauty, and also of being a boat in which you personally will have invested a considerable amount of TLC and in which you can take a justifiable pride. Those aesthetic considerations may, or may not, be important to you, and they are almost impossible to put either a financial or a time value on; only you can decide that question.
If your primary concern is simply to get a boat, any boat, into sailable condition as quickly and easily as possible then the GRP option would seem to be a potential way forward, always provided that the hull is reasonably sound.
If you decide to repair your wooden boat, it is a major undertaking, but it is all do-able – and plenty of others have been there before you and done similar (and even bigger) repairs. There are some inspiring photo albums on the GP14 Owners Online Community site, and even more on our archive site.
Removing the keel, in the context of the size of the rest of the job, is not the major bogey which you seem to fear. My personal take on it is that the GP14 is somewhat over-engineered, and massively stronger than it needs to be, and that the keel is essentially non-structural in terms of the strength of the hull, although important for taking the rub when beaching the boat. The main backbone of the hull is the hog (the longitudinal timber inside the planking), not the keel, so you can afford to cut away the keel with impunity in order to effect the necessary repairs, and replace it later.
(For comparison, The Heron – a later design also by Jack Holt, and in some ways a smaller sister ship to the GP14 – is much more lightly constructed. I have heard it suggested that the Heron is the better engineered design for that reason; but I know nothing about their comparative longevity. I am no longer involved with that class, and I have no information on how many of the first 100 boats, say, are still around and in sailable condition!)
Hope this helps,
27/08/2019 at 12:54 pm #19056steve13003Participant
i think that Chris and Oliver have said all you need to know about swapping fittings and the rig from your wooden boat to an old grp hull. It is possible but may take just as long as refurbing your wooden hull. One show stopper on cost would be if the shrouds supporting the mast are either too long or too short for the grp boat, there are no standard positions for the shroud plates and therefore shrouds are unique to the boat, you may be lucky but you would need to put the mast into the boat and try for length
27/08/2019 at 8:50 pm #19057
I’m really struggling with making this decision.
My limiting factor of repairing the wooden hull is indoor space. I originally planned to erect a small polytunnel in my garden to do the work. However, because I live within a world heritage site, I will now need to apply for planning permission, which bumps the repair bill up considerably.
I’m going to view the GRP hull tomorrow, I’m also going to explore some more indoor working ideas.
I agree with your comment about the wooden hull being a thing of beauty once sorted.
28/08/2019 at 7:58 pm #19059
Ok… you guys win! Haha.
I’ve actually had a stroke of luck today. I’ve managed to arrange some indoor space to work on the wooden hull. So my original plan of replacing the bottom continues!
Quick couple of questions if I may?
Are the hull stringers and rubbing stakes usually made from ash timber? As I’ll likely need to source these in advance, ready to replace them.
Marine ply or Birch ply for the bottom? All the marine hardwood plywood at 6mm seem to only be made from 3 plys. 2x thin veneer, with a thicker solid core. This material seems hard wearing, but also difficult to bend? Or do I need to find a different supplier?
Thanks again for your help.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Taffymat.
28/08/2019 at 9:14 pm #19061ChrisParticipant
The stringers tend to be Obeche which is light weight but quite soft. Readily available.
Hull ply wants to be 6mm 5 core marine ply. Robbins in Bristol supply the best stuff, Elite should be sufficient as it won’t need to be a Sapele face. Be very, very careful with wood from other suppliers as ply sold as “marine” can vary enormously in quality and the last thing you want is to spend hours fixing your boat with 3 core okume ply and for it to fail in 18 months time. Buy cheap, fix twice.
29/08/2019 at 6:18 am #19062
Thanks Chris. I’m a bit far away from Bristol. I’m over in North Wales, I’m going to call around and see if I can find a knowledgeable local supplier.
I’m also going to direct my comments to my original thread, as it’s gonna get confusing if I keep the two going.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Oliver Shaw. Reason: Removal of formatting marks
29/08/2019 at 10:26 am #19065Oliver ShawModerator
Robbins routinely supply across the country, using either their own transport or a courier. You would (presumably) be charged carriage, but they are nonetheless worth considering.
Alternatively, in North Wales you might try Scott Mecalfe at Waterfront Marine, Port Penrhyn; he is a nationally known traditional boat builder and restorer, in a seriously big way, but he might well stock Robbins’ materials and be prepared to re-sell them. That is at least worth an enquiry, although I have never had any dealings with him myself, so I am not committing him in any way.
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