It's only a small hole!
Chris Mark on how to rebuild your Twelve!
It all started when I spotted a notice on the board at Yorkshire Ouse in January, "National 12 free to a good home". Douglas my eldest (15) was showing interest in sailing his own boat so this seemed the ideal opportunity for him to acquire a boat he could afford. Unfortunately a quick phone call revealed that this bargain had gone to Yeadon SC for two teenagers to take up 12 sailing. At least it had found a good home. The idea had been planted; surely there was a boat out there that would meet our requirements, 1) it sails 2) it's cheap. Looking at the 2nd hand boat list revealed several possibilities, phone calls to some confirmed that they were certainly cheap, whether they would sail was dubious. Then someone in our club, Ripon, mentioned that there was a Tiger that might be for sale. It was in the owners' garage in need of repair, a project he had abandoned when he bought an RS200. It seemed worth pursuing, as it had been a quick boat in its day.
Taking along fellow 12 sailor Terry Spence for moral support and to provide the voice of reason, we went for a look. It was N3078 an Andrew Turner built Tiger. Hanging up in the garage it immediately failed the first requirement as the bottom two planks were missing and the keel had been removed. Convincing myself that this was an advantage as we could see all the problems, we made a close inspection which revealed the bottom of the centre board case was rotten, particularly near the bolt-hole where the hog had also rotted. There was also a split in the laminated inwhale. At least it had been hanging up in the garage for 2 years so everything was bone dry. Time to look at the rest of the boat. Better news, the mast was only 2 years old; 2 suits of useable Alverbanks; a good cover; combi trailer; and a large box of assorted fittings. The owner told us it had been rigged with adjustable shrouds and jib halyard. The boat also came with an interesting Roger Angel carbon sheathed centre board. So apart from the gaping hole in the bottom of the hull it looked a good buy.
With the boat at home Doug enthusiastically started stripping the decks back to the bare wood, while I took some pictures and wondered what I had let myself in for. First, repair the inwhale by cleaning the split, injecting epoxy and clamping. Doug primed and varnished the decks and I measured up for the ply and some mahogany to repair the hog. We turned the boat over to tackle the problems. Firstly cut out the rotten section of hog and epoxy in a new piece, then plane what remained of the bottom plank back to the first stringer.
Time to call for Terry, the new bottom planks would run from the transom to the front bulkhead, this would require a scarf joint at the front. Mike Saul assured me this was not as difficult as it sounded, as you plane the 3" joint use the different layers of the ply as a guide to keep the joint square and even, it worked! For the edges we routed the second plank to half the width of the stringer to create a good area for the epoxy. Next dry fit the plank to the centre line with brass screws and bend down the outer edges to the stringer. Starting at the front we planed the plank to fit, this went much better than either of us dreamt it would. Once the plank was dry fitted to our satisfaction it was glued with epoxy and held in place with brass screws and panel pins, which were removed when the epoxy had cured. Tape and epoxy over the joint then fair into the hull. We now had something that looked like a boat again.
Turn the boat over and work out how to do the centre
board case. Several evenings of looking at it produced the conclusion
that it would be easier to replace the case than try to bodge a repair.
Measure everything (template of rocker line, position of bolt-hole,
mast step etc.) check measurements, twice, then half an hour with the
jig saw and there was a big hole on the inside of the boat. Construct
the sides of the new case, fix the rail to match rocker, laminate
inside with formica. Calculate the width of the packing pieces to match
the centre board and purchase the wood planed to this thickness. Time
to call Terry again, it takes a whole day to dry fit the parts of the
case together, make sure the board will fit, then dry fit in the boat
checking it is straight and central. When we are finally happy
Fair up the bottom of the hull, prime and paint, as always this takes much longer than I or my wife thinks it will. There are comments about painting windows never taking this long I can't think what she's talking about! We now have a shinny new boat ready to go sailing apart from that box of fittings in the corner, it is like doing a jigsaw without the picture, particularly identifying which screws go with which fittings.
What lessons have I learned?
We have enjoyed doing this project and I have learnt a lot. It is very satisfying to have restored a 12 that could have been destined for the graveyard and see her sailing again. what is next, well the decks look worn, but that will be another story.
Chris Mark N3306