17/09/2019 at 9:44 pm #19163
My son (sails modern boats, but includes Wayfarers when instructing) was helping fit a spinnaker halyard today and asked why the boat had floorboards, which he considers to be a nuisance in that if you drop something they’re a royal pain and they try to float free if you capsize,plus the extra weight, maintenance …
I didn’t know the answer for sure. The reason that sprung to mind was that the floor/hull wasn’t strong enough, but neither of us was convinced.
Are the floorboards a hangover from the early days, or do they serve a purpose? My boat is an all GRP one, ca 1974.
17/09/2019 at 10:28 pm #19164
in the original Series 1 GPs the floor boards were 75 to 100 mm wide slats with gaps, in later years most owners changed to floor boards from ply wood with no gaps each board being 300 mm wide so could be cut from half a standard sheet of ply. The single sheet without gaps meant that things didn’t get lost so often. The boards were there to serve two purposes to spread the crew loads so that the bottom panels were not bearing foot loadings, second they provide a space for water from spray and waves to be without wetting the crews feet. The bottom panels of Your 1974 GRP boat will be relatively weak compared to plywood and as such floorboards are needed to help spread the crew foot loads.
When boats are weighed the floorboards are included in the weight, the rules say that the floorboards must not be used to make up weight in a boat that would be otherwise under weight. The class rules say that the floorboards must be in place for the boat to confirm to the class rules.
Of course new boats built in last 20 years as Series 2 boats both grp and wood have a double floor with buoyancy tank under what would be the floor boards. Some Series 1 boats had risers added to the frames so that control lines could be run under the floor boards.
18/09/2019 at 8:34 am #19166
Yes, the early GRP boats were built in the comparative infancy of GRP technology, and at a time when we were still learning about the properties of the material (including learning about its strength and its weaknesses). Added to which, GRP is strongest when used to make curved surfaces, but the GP14 was designed to be built from an intrinsically flat material, i.e. plywood.
The result of that combination of factors was that the early GRP boats had issues of structural strength, including weak bottom panels. It was far from unknown for road trailers, and even launching trolleys, to push through the bottom of the boat; indeed I myself experienced such an incident in the very early seventies, in a virtually brand new boat, and all we were doing was pulling her up the slipway at Bassenthwaite after the day’s racing.
More modern plastic boats, and especially the modern epoxy boats, are very much stronger; the engineering has come a long way since those early days.
That apart, I agree with all that has been said thus far in the explanations.
18/09/2019 at 6:14 am #19165
If you take the boards out it’s a matter of time before you get leaky buoyancy tanks.
They do serve a purpose!
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