Sailing is all about sailing, right? For some this may be true, but for me it is being a partner with your boat by treating it with TLC. I do this with maintenance, replacing parts, and stowing and cleaning gear. One of my sailing hobbies is to get others involved in sailing. I like doing this by buying boats out of back yards (the ones bought sailed a few times, then life pulled people in a different direction with the boat sitting for a few years and the back yard is needed for something else.
This story is about two such boats, a Venture 222 and a Venture 17.
I did some handy work for a neighbor and they wanted me to take the Venture 222 because I wouldn’t take any pay for helping.
I said ok but I didn’t know what I was in for, the inside was trashed, the outside needed washing, waxing, reseating all hardware, new lines, the keel needed repair (500#), etc. I not only helped the neighbor with some work but took away their big backyard headache. What was I thinking?
I look at these projects as potential ways to get others involved in sailing.
A positive side was it had four good sails (main, jib, genoa, storm jib) and a good long shaft kicker. The hull and deck were not damaged, and the stays and shrouds were ok.
I started out making a list of things to do:
Replace all lines (sheets, halyards, outhaul, downhaul, etc.)
Clean and repair the tiller and rudder (this mostly involved reworking the tiller)
Reseat or replace all the deck hardware as needed
The mast and boom were in good shape, just required a good cleaning. A few rough spots needed filling
Clean and/or replace the interior maybe
Keel: What to do with the keel, which looked like a major job
Clean and repair the deck and hull (surprisingly these were in good shape)
Update the trailer
Any miscellaneous items
Minimize my expenses (the project is not to make money but to break even)
Where to begin? When you get a boat, you want to put it in the water, so I did. It sailed ok but would not point well and in low wind conditions it was hard to control, good to have a kicker. The problem was the keel; it wouldn’t go down very far, I didn’t know why until I removed it from the boat. You’re looking at 4.5 feet and 500 #s of casted iron (what a beast).
This is what I started with, the keel. I dropped it from the keel cavity to see what gives. The keel was jammed with debris, so it took some time to get it loose. Once out I could see it was incased in fiberglass. I removed the fiberglass, cleaned it, and took it to a welder friend. He rounded the leading edge and tapered the following edge. I then cleaned, primed, and painted it.
I used two floor jacks and a heavy-duty four-wheel dolly to remove and reinstall the keel. I replaced the keel cable, bolts (all stainless steel) and rebuilt the winch (this took about 2 weeks, not bad for a Texas summer).
Next came the interior. There were no cushions, galilee, or potty. Rather than buy these I focused on cleaning and painting.
This went fast, so moved to the exterior. This is where a power washer is handy and some elbow grease. The hull and deck were cleaned, holes were filled, and hull was waxed. All deck hardware was reseated with new ss bolts and screws. Another 2 weeks in the summer, what you put yourself through when retired.
Trailer: Repacked the bearing, power wash, rebuilt the winch, and redid the wiring.
Lines: What is nice about working on boats is you acquire a lot of useful stuff. Replacing the halyards and sheets was easy (no cost), everything was in the stuff pile including blocks, etc.
Tiller, rudder, and other wood items: These items were in good shape so a good cleaning and treating took care of them. The tiller needed more attention. It needed sanding, staining, and polyurethane, but looked good when finished.
The boat was then traded to a family of four for a Lido 14, which is another story. This sounds like an unequal trade but having only time invested in the Venture it was ok. The two pluses were: working on a boat and seeing a family sailing together.
I also found the Venture 17 in a back yard with weeds growing all round it (needed a lot of TLC). Hauled it home and stored it in garage for a year. This boat required a lot more work but was in sound shape.
This is actually a nice little sailboat: 17 feet LOA, 900# displacement, 270# ballast, 151 ft2 SA, and 6.33ft beam. The big plus was it could be pulled by a small SUV.
I started this project in the interior (it had been sitting for a few years and was covered with mud dauber nests). It took three days to get them out, filling three medium trash cans. The interior was washed and scrubbed to remove any remaining mud. No power washing, just elbow grease. To do this all the positive flotation had to be removed, what a chore. This is not job for those who do not like close spaces, it was close for me at about 6ft 4in. After cleaning, we replaced all the flotation and painted the interior. The cushions were good, just needed a good cleaning. SS screens were installed below the V-berth to keep out the mud daubers and other critters. While doing this, I reseated the rudder bolts.
The mast needed some work. The bolts used on the mast were not stainless, therefore had rusted, and I stained it. The stuff pile contained a block that fit in the mast head so was added. This keeps debris from inside the mast and I replaced the existing broken block. There were nests inside the mast too. The sheets and halyards were all replaced with lines from the stuff pile.
The previous owner stated the sheets and halyards were hard to use when sailing. When replacing them I noted all the old ones were 1/2“and the blocks were sized for 3/8“, which explains the hard to use.
The deck came next. All the deck hardware had to be reseated, which included reworking the tabernacle. This boat had been sailed with tabernacle bolts loose and the holes were larger than the bolts. Luckily, water had not gotten to the core balsa and dry rotted it. Holes were filled, drilled, and a larger plate was added between the mast compression support and deck inside the cabin. This improved the sailing characteristics by being able to adjust the stays and shrouds correctly.
I moved to the keel next. This was mostly a cleaning job. The swing keel is 270# painted cast iron with no rust. The keel cavity was full of mud doper nest, which held it in place. Carefully running a two-foot-long flat narrow steel bar along each side of the keel worked well. I dropped it with aid of a floor jack and keel cable. Once out, I checked the hull integrity, then reattached it and replaced the rusting cable with a stainless-steel cable.
There is a board in the cockpit that supports the cable winch. This winch was rebuilt, and the board was replaced.
Next project was the tiller and rudder. The tiller needed sanding and oiling, but the rudder needed a lot of work. The rudder was a kick up style with the middle part casted aluminum, with the upper and lower parts mahogany. I ran the upper and lower parts through a planer (helps to have a wood working shop, my wife is a wood worker). This cleaned it up nicely, so I treated it with oil and reassembled the rudder and tiller.
I moved to the fore deck next. Reseating the docking cleat and replacing the below deck support plate. Next came the vent stack, which is held in place with eight bolts, the existing setup was removed and cleaned. A new cabin circular support plate was cut by my wife and all the items were reseated and installed.
The hull and deck were cleaned. A good power washing did wonders for this boat. They both could have used a paint job but left this for the next owner.
This boat was sold to a retired family and their grandkids.
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