SWYC El Toros

In 2010, The South Whidbey Yacht club followed up on its mission to reach out to youth and others in the community to engage them in sailing activities. Although we have  a small fleet of Pelican dinghies, they are not suited for sailing single handed by a child or a complete beginner. The club members then began searching the community for cast off, neglected, unused and abused El Toro's. It was a huge success and we begged, borrowed or otherwise  acquired a fleet of 12. All in various stages of need from a quick lick of paint to a heart transplant and body makeover. There was one complete basket case that did not make it onto the very successful summer circuit of training, and remained traumatized in the darkness of the garage. That could not be, I took her home on. Here are pictures of the start of the project which I will update as we progress.

For more information about this very informal club,go to www.swyachtclub.org. and our membership absolutely "refudiates" the following definition of a Yacht Club. "A troublesome seasonal infestation in coastal areas of large numbers of a particularly unpleasant marine organism with a stiff neck, cold shoulders, and clammy extremities that tend to clog inlets,bays. and coves during warm summer months, often making ordinary recreationl boating difficult."

< These  pictures show what one sometimes find when the patient is first opened up >

< On the left  the patient is prepped for re-constructive surgery.

 < New gunwales

New mast step & foredeck beams >
< Cold molding ( very cold) the cockpit coaming

The coaming ready for fitting >
< and the very dead mast step1
Three layers of 3/16 " cedar. This was the first effort. which was not fully set when I took the clamps off. So I took it into the heated office and got on with other tasks. After about an hour I heard this tormented crack-zing-whing! I dash in to find that the heat had intitally softened the glue. Now I know what cedar spaghetti looks like and that it can take days for expoxy to go off.. 

As I work through this project I remind myself time after time " Preparation, preparation, preparation"! and the fact that restoring a boat, even a little one, is a much longer project than building one, one has to cope with the little quirks of the original builder . Now I am well into it and made the decision to remove 4 generations of paint, which will certainly lighten her up and contribute to her competitiveness. I also discovered at the membership meeting last night that people actually read this, good .I hope that others in the club will start to make more dynamic use of the website. Many of the members have really interesting projects going on and it is now so easy with digital photography.

Back to the boat.  Removing the paint and old gel coat was a bigger job than I had originally estimated, and a very high potential for a health hazard. I am generally not very good at protective clothing,but this was a "no brainer". However, I initially started the job inside. Mistake mistake.! It will take me months to get rid of the dust, doing it outside made it much easier and vacuuming up the dust work quite well.
Removing the gel coat revealed that the layup had been very badly done. The fiberglass is coated with pitting from air bubbles and other layup flaws, all very depressing. It naturally leads on to a fairing job which is now almost complete.
 Originally I had planned to use the boat as a platform to develop spray painting skills. I was going to use automotive paint... WOW! I was quickly disabused of that idea. The cost of the paint alone, primer. base colour and clear finish would come to more than $500.. So maybe next time..

 It would have been less time consuming to build a new boat! Even now I realize that one cannot "make a silk purse out of a sows ear" But it's OK for the kids. The final paint job never happened as my mistress "Nokomis" was urgently demanding attention before departing for Vancouver Island round trip. Her name is
 " Feenix"