Restoring a VJ

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by brian_n, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. brian_n
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    brian_n Junior Member

    Hello all.
    Any Australian Sailor will know what a VJ is but for many of you the name Vaucluse Junior wont mean much. The class was designed in 1931 by Charles Sparrow who is said to have laid down the lines in a week for the Vaucluse club in Sydney. The class went on to extend to 10,000 boats in many countries. They are a 12ft sealed hull high performance dinghy, with a low aspect bermudan rig and two sliding seats. This rig means that the boats are very fast indeed in moderate to heavy weather and will show up many newer and larger boats. The first boats were planked but they were soon being built in ply. The idea was that a man and his son could build for about 10 pounds and crew the boat. I know from bitter experience that an adult and a small and agile teenager make a devistatingly effective crew. They are still sailed by a few clubs today, although with modern hull structure.
    My boat "Humalong" appears to be a fairly early example. She has a very unusual cockpit with self draining vents leading to the topsides. This leads me to believe that she was amateur built. The hull is in quite good condition but has some problems. There is some erosion of the top ply layer around the chainplates and the join around the transome looks to be somewhat open. Also some of the chine fastening has been redone in brass screws which have corroded quite badly. I will post some photos when I figure out how to do it.
    Cheers Brian
     
  2. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Hi Brian,

    I sailed VJ's and VS's later as a kid, all good fun. The Skate was a later and faster boat , similar to the VJ.

    I am sure that they are still sailed on Port Hacking.
     
  3. brian_n
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    brian_n Junior Member

    Hi Landlubber. Yes they are both later and faster and if I had seen one sitting neglected somewhere I would probably have grabbed it instead but the J it was. However as a boy I sailed several J's at Port Hacking and was delighted to find one in fair condition. They are a great boat and I have two grandsons coming up. I want to teach them to sail on something that is not made of plastic. Did you ever sail at Port ? I was a member of the Gunnamatta Bay club in the early 60s sailing a Mk2 Moth. That was when David [Shorty] Mackey had the first Imperium. After that I went round to Burraneer Bay and sailed VJs. A few years later, as an adult I sailed with PHOYC on Freeloader and other boats. If you are an old Port Person we probably know each other.
    Cheers
    Brian Needham
     
  4. pamam
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    pamam Junior Member

    VJ Plank Rail

    Hi Brian,

    My name is Mel Pama and I'm building a VJ is the USA, California. I have the official plans from the association where these plank rails are mentioned, however there are no further details regarding the design of the planks or the rails on the deck of the boat. Therefore I am hoping that you might have some data in regards these areas of the boat and the planks. It has been bloddy murder trying to get any type of info about this boat and it took me about 2 years to get the plans.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.:)
    thanks in advance.

    Mel Pama
     
  5. brian_n
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    brian_n Junior Member

    VJ Restoration

    Hi Mal It's great to hear that someone is are actually building a new J from plans. You wont be disappointed by her performance. They are a very exciting boat, a real classic. My girlfriend and I used to practice tacking and jybing by sailing at speed through crowded moorings. They really come into there own in the heavy stuff. Then just point the thing and hang on while all the other boats capsize or break. As for the info that you need I am sorry that I cant help you in the first instance. I do have the planks but they are not as I remember them from the boats I sailed as a teenager. One is much longer than the other and probably reflects the difference between the sizes of the crew. That may be a matter of choice for each builder since plank dimension does not seem to be a factor on the plans as it is not stipulated. In fact in later years it became legal for Js to have a trap.The planks on my old boats were laminated timber whereas the long plank on my "new" boat is a hollow fabrication. I can supply you with the dimensions, curvature etc of the planks in a later post.
    It does not surprise me that you had trouble with the class association. I have tried time and again to contact them re my boat without result. They don't reply to emails. How you managed to extract a set of plans from them is a matter of wonder to me. I would really love a copy of the plans. It would make my restoration much easer to know where the stringers etc were located. Also the rudder is missing on my boat and has been replaced by a modern blade. I would love to build a new one to the plan. As for the deck furniture, I have it but it is not attached to the boat at present. When I work out where it all went I will let you know. There are a couple of "I" bolts in the bottom of the [non standard] cockpit that I suspect held some gear which supported the inboard ends of the planks. There is a picture of a J in the Powerhouse museum website which unfortunatly does not show a lot of detail in the deck area. I will try to talk them into supplying us with some images of the deck setup. That museum is in Sydney which is about 3000 km from here so I cant just slip down the road and have a look. If you havnt tried entering VJ Yacht into google and looking for powerhouse museum give it a try. At least it is something. You could also try contacting the Vaucluse Yacht club. They have several boats there. Well good luck and stay in touch
    Brian
     
  6. pamam
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    pamam Junior Member

    brian_n

    I would be glad to send you a copy of the manual. Do you need all the measurement certification data as well. This is the original design by C sparrow, the naval architect.

    I got mine from Allan Kildey in september 2006. His address is as follows
    12 Third Street
    Booragul
    NSW 2284
    Australia ( well you won't need that)

    It took me many emails before I finally got a response from the association, but he seemed very interested in my request since there had been one other from Brazil a year earlier.

    He is the registrar for the Australian Vee Jay Association, at the time he was there 64 years already, so I'm not sure about his situation at this time.

    He gave me plans for the larger easier to handle spinaker and the larger jib as well and the new centerboard and rudder design.

    The only problem might be the larger 11 by 17 sheets, I could copy them in halves and you can join them together when you get them. If I can scan them in I will email them to you.

    Send me your email address and snail mail address so I can get these to you asap.

    I would be thankfull for any help you could give me regarding the planks and rails for them
    thanks,

    Mel Pama

    Ps I noticed I can do attachments so I might also try that.
     
  7. Landlubber
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Hi fellas,

    I have private emailed both of you now, great to think that someone is playing VJ's after all these years.

    I actually put a jib and spinaker from a VJ onto my MkII moth at one time, now that was a handfull.

    I then went and bought the very fibreglass first Contender from M&W, Aus2, and named her YES.....still have the original brochure that Craig put out.
     
  8. pamam
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    pamam Junior Member

    Brian_n,

    Attached please find the files that make up the manual.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    hey thanks pamam,

    we used a piece of Duralium (alloy) for the centreboard, I only remember a few that still had wooden ones.
     
  10. pamam
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    pamam Junior Member

    Landlubber,
    Did not get your private email message
     
  11. pamam
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    pamam Junior Member

    I think they are using DivinylCell cores these days, so that's what I'm going to be using. I'm building mine from scratch. getting the sails and mast/boom built for me from dacron and aluminum. I think dacron would be a good material, what say you??
     
  12. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    ...yes of course, the old sails were cotton, too much work looking after them, and they really only last a season anyhow cos of stretch, dacron is ideal for old boat sails. Wash out with fresh water and dry after use, folded up correctly they will last for many tears and still have some decent shape left.
     
  13. brian_n
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    brian_n Junior Member

    VJ restoration

    Hi Pamam Thanks for the drawings etc. They will be a great help. My boat has a very different cockpit setup from the plan and also from what I sailed in the old days.Then the cockpit was a small well with a curved bottom, a bit similar to the modern but very much smaller and not reaching right aft, which was only usefull for throwing the mainsheet into to stop it washing overboard. My "new" boat has a large, rectangular self draining cockpit, more like a normal yacht cockpit. Anyway I will try to get some detail on the planks etc for you tomorrow.
    Hi Landlubber how did you keep the mast in your Mk2 with all the sail on her. I bet she wanted to nosedive even more than usual with all that extra pressure forward. My Mk2 was of the "lets get more sail area by making the mast very wide" era. The mast, a very nice of spruce, had, wait for it, a triple diamond rig. All good until I took my mate out for a sail and the extra weight sitting out broke it. Even with all that rig it still wasn't stiff enough.
    Cheers
    brian_n
     
  14. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    .....well Brian, all that rig proved to be way too much for me to handle (duh) except in up to 10 knots, I was a very skinny kid as a teen, weigh was about the same as a dry pretzel, so only actually did it for a few weekends then went back to the standard rig (80 feet was more than enough anyhow then.

    My Contender was 120 feet, now THAT was a handful for a beanpole.....I cut off the Bundeena ferry more than a few times cos I was totally out of control and could only broad reach her to stay the "right" way up......wehat a blast, playing in the swell and surfing the waves downhill......those were the days....boats were fun for us all then, today it is all too serious, rules and regulations, bouyancy vests, bailers, GPS, etc etc, it is a wonder the boats can even sail......
     

  15. brian_n
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    brian_n Junior Member

    VJ planks and rails

    Hi Pamam
    Here are some details. all measurements in mm.
    Rails
    1372x38x18 strips. Start 40 aft of shroud chainplate. End 683 forward of transome. 3 slots for sheding water [scuppers] 100x17 slightly splayed toward the bottom to 110. One 70 from each end, one centre of rail.
    7 holes between fore scupper and centre each 10 flaired to 15 either side. Each 51 [2" ?] appart. 68 from centre of foremost hole to rear of fore scupper measured at upper [100] dimension. Last hole 85 from centre to forward edge of centre scupper measured at upper [ 100 ] dimension. Between is a slot 40x15 chamfered out to 48 on ends. A plastic and therefore probably non origonal jam cleat is screwed to the inside such that the lead from the second hole from the aft end feeds into the cleat. This hole shows wear on the outside forward edge. The foremost hole also shows much wear in the horozontal plane and also at about 45 degrees up and forward. I am assuming at this point that the cleat and the holes are for the kite sheet and or brace and reflect shy and square kite settings. [ I may be wrong } However the boat has the old wire luff kite and so your set up will be quite differant.
    The top of the rail has had leather or somthing nailed onto it to protect it from the planks.
    I have no information about the inboard fitting of the planks but if you email me I will keep you informed as I discover more.
    Hope this helps
    brian_needham@bigpond.comCheers Brian
     
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