fireball restoration

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Johanna, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. Johanna
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Johanna Junior Member

    Hello :)
    This is the first time I've written something on the Internet for others to read... Kinda strange... Anyways, I've read through some stuff here and it's all very interesting! Hope I'll also get some interesting and helpful answers.
    The thing is, I love sailing. I havn't done it for very long, only on a fireball and not very often, so I don't really have a clue about anything (just that sailing is so much fun!). My dad recently bought an old fireball that I'm dying to sail, but it has to be restored... My dad's too lazy, so I thought maybe I can find out how to do this, and once I know, I'm sure my dad will help me. (In case you're wondering why I keep on referring to my dad, it's because I'm only 16...)
    So, we took all the old paint off and some strips of fibreglass aswell. Can anyone tell me what has to happen next? I thought sanding, fixing, and painting? The fixing is more the tricky part. I don't know what to look out for, what the critical things are and how to go about it. The fireball has some patches that need attention, the previous owners half-heartedly smeared some stuff on it...? Here and there are some small chips in the wood, don't know whether it's worth worrying about those. Thought about fibreglassing the whole hull, but that would be way too heavy. Plus, from what it sounds like, fibreglass is a hassle.
    About the paint I've found stuff on the internet and on this site. My hope is more that someone could point me in the right direction regarding what has to be done...
    I'm sorry, I feel incredibly stupid. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!
    Johanna
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    You're going to need someone with some understanding to look her over. very often an old boat simply isn't worth the bother, in terms of materials or labor, say compared to just building a new one.

    So, find out what the real condition of the structure is, then work out a plan to get it fixed. The finishes (paint, varnish, etc.) are the last things you'll do, so don't even worry about them yet. The structure and planking are first up, after it's accessed to be worth the trouble (read not in too bad of shape).
     
  3. Johanna
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Johanna Junior Member

    Thanks for the welcoming :)
    It's not like the boat was standing outside in wind and weather for years like many other old boats I read about on this forum, but it's been used a lot and simply is just old. And yeah, thought of having someone look at it already, but it's kind of difficult to find someone... Don't know someone who has the knowledge and finding someone on the internet that's located in Cape Town...? But I guess the boat's going to go nowhere without someone else's help. I'm sure finding someone isn't impossible :)
    Thanks for the advice
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Try the local sailing club and societies in your area. There's always an old fart that is dieing to have a look at something he hasn't seen in a few decades.
     
  5. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Johanna welcome to the forum. You have no reason to feel stupid because you are only a beginner and that is where the learning cycle begins.

    It would be most difficult to advise you about restoring the Fireball. That is because without examining it we could not make a sensible assessment of its needs. Be assured that many of us would help you if it were possible.

    A city the size of Cape Town is certain to have sailing clubs. There are almost always small boat sailors who would be pleased to find a willing crew. Do some investigation into that possibility. You might be sailing next week end if you hit upon a favorable situation.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  6. Johanna
    Joined: Apr 2015
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    Johanna Junior Member

    We're already members of a sailing club, where I learnt the little sailing abilities I have. Sometimes I just hang around hoping to find someone who's looking for crew. Not successful so far.
    Anyways, my dad spoke to this guy (hasn't seen the boat, knows about as much as you do) yesterday who says we should just cover the entire thing with epoxy. Is that a good idea? On the one hand we could do that, paint it, get over with and get sailing. It would probably be fine for a few years, right? But if it gets brittle it's apparently a mission to fix that.
    Hoping to get two further opinions today, but the thing is they're too much of old farts to be willing to drive to our place in order to have a look at the boat. Pictures and description is all they'll have. Is that good enough? Judging by what you said, someone experienced really has to have a look at it.
    Thanks for the best of luck, going to need that :)
     
  7. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Welcome to the Forum Johanna. I'm with PAR, ask someone who has built a few boats or decked some at your local club to cast an eye over the boat. It most likely is not economic for any pro to repair it but they will (should) give you an honest appraisal.
    How old is the boat? There is quite a lot of rig tension on a Fireball at least in rigs from the mid 80s' onwards and they need to be built quite reasonably to stay in good shape. If a composite as it sounds there should be a whole series of stiffening ribs in the bow tank. Without these it won't take a modern rig properly and would actually start to fold up if you applied modern tensions to it. Equally the side decks should have a series of closely spaced ribs, you should be able to feel these by putting an arm inside the tanks and feeling.

    A description is not quite enough to make a decision as there may be other little things lurking or of no importance ie gel crazing. Ideally get a couple of different people to be as honest as possible, but they will have to see it. I've burnt a couple of wooden boats and jigsawed up a few glass ones that have long past their best. Sometimes it's easier to build new than repair an old'un, and also a better experience to sail. Good luck.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    "Coating the whole thing in epoxy" isn't going to fix anything, though it will provide a plastic covering of which the broken and rotting mess can be contained. If things are broken or worn out, they need to be fixed and no goo in a can is going to do this. This said, you will probably need to use epoxy during the repairs and/or restoration, but leave the wholesale coating thing idea aside.

    Again, an assessment of the boat, it's equipment, structure, sails, etc. needs to be made, only then can you plan an attack on the issues it has. Posting photos will help, at least with us.
     
  9. Johanna
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    Johanna Junior Member

    Yeah, I'm also not convinced with this whole epoxy thing. However, if your picture of the boat is a "broken and rotting mess", I don't think so. I'll attach some photos, please give me your opinion.
    The age of the fireball is unknown... And it doesn't look like closely spaced ribs to me (can't tell whether it has stiffening ribs, because I don't know what they look like). What exactly are the implications? Not worth it because the whole thing would just collapse? Then again, it didn't collapse until now, so maybe the better option is just to ignore it. Added a picture of the side and one of the tank...
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Johanna
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    Johanna Junior Member

    Light isn't great but maybe this gives you more of an idea...
     

    Attached Files:

  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It doesn't look all that bad, though she appears to have developed a bit of a hook, probably from living on a poorly fitted trailer. There are no ribs in this boat, just longitudinal stringers, chine logs, sheer clamp and some bulkheads.

    Clean the surfaces good, so you know what you have to deal with. When dry, it's time to start sanding the finishes down, because they're shot and need to be redone. While working the finishes down, poke around with a screw driver to see if you find bad spots, which will feel much softer than surrounding wood. These are the areas you'll have to patch in new wood.
     
  12. Canracer
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    Canracer Senior Member

    I agree with PAR. The boat looks pretty good.
     
  13. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Whilst I would agree the boat is far from rotten, I'd guess this about 1970s vintage. The later wooden boats have complete, almost ring frames inside to support the loads both under the foredeck and massive support near the shroud plates to stop the things from flexing under say 180+ Kg (400lb+) shroud tension. The king plank is usually ply on edge with holes and stiff supports on floor and under deck, on later boats.

    You'll be OK with it, but don't try and get a modern rig to work on it, unless you remove the deck and beef it up a lot - which isn't worth doing. For a bit of fun and learning to trapeze etc it will pass muster, just be easy on the shroud tension! Good luck with her.
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you can, it would be a good idea to tape the seams. It will prevent any leaks in the future .
     

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Does anyone else see the hog, or is it just me?
     
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