Thursday, November 1, 2018

The resurrection of Swiss Miss: Part Two

After Joe got the boat home he quickly decided that the cracked decks and side panels which were providing sanctuary for water logged flotation foam needed go in order to save the hull.

Port side decks were the first to go.

Joe basically gutted the hull.

When first laying up the hull in the 1960s the workers at Fletcher Marine Products painted the  words "smile" and "wipe out" inside the hull.  These little secrets have been waiting over fifty years to be discovered.  What's hiding deep within your boat?!

"Wipe Out"  No doubt a reference to the tippy nature of this narrow water line design.

Once the decks and support structure had been removed, Joe squared the floppy glass hull with timber to keep her from twisting during the installation of bulkheads.

The first two bulkheads taped into place.  The clamps seen here hold a bit of timber while resin kicks. The timber strip will define the new top shape of the transom and give aft deck stringers something to land on.

Keepin' her on the straight as well as the narrow.  As can be seen the original dagger board trunk was also removed.  Joe closed the hole where the original trunk was located and move both it and the mast position to the same locations as on a stock Mistral.

The old glass decks and side tanks ready for the dustmen.  Note the bathroom scales on the left side of the photo.  Joe kept track of how much the hull weighed as he added structure back to the boat.  More of Joe's magic to come in a day or so.
Oh, and remember the comment I made about the excessive roached, low aspect "transitional" sail on the previous post?  I just rediscovered a photo of those two sails, one of which is a "normal" low aspect sail, that I placed on top of the big roach sail.  Vive la différence!


  1. The term "Wipeout" is a surfing term. It means the wave crushed you. Surfing was a big deal in NJ when that boat was built!!

  2. Yep. We all listened to the Ventures back in those days.

  3. As some time in the future I will do a similar renovation to my NZ Zephyr - not quite as far (remove the deck, center case, dry out, seal hull, re deck etc). I will be very interested to read about the weighing of the new components and how the weight either increases or (hopefully) decreases the original boat weight. The boat was weighed before dismantling?

    1. Alden: I don't know if Joe weighed the boat before the rehab, but previous rebuilds of old glass Moths have given us a measuring stick--if the gutted hull weighs around 35 lbs. then the builder has a sporting chance of bringing the refurnished boat in at close to our minimum hull weight of 75 lbs. Typically, most attempts of this sort weight a bit more than minimum weight. When measured at the Nationals this boat weighed in at 92 lbs, so the glass hull at the starting point was no doubt heavier than 35 lbs. However, the skill of the skipper and the shape of the boat more than compensated for a few extra lbs.

  4. George, this is a similar scenario with the Zephyr rebuilds here in NZ. Boats lose a lot of weight with drying out and heavy timbered center cases replaced with light cedar and most usually end up close to minimum weight or a bit over. I agree that skipper skills and boat shape (In non rigid one design hulls such as the Moth) makes the most difference. The winning combination with the Zephyr seems to be in this order - Skipper skill, medium weight skipper, boat hull pretty much down to minimum weight.

  5. I'm beginning to believe that for the courses on which we typically race, boat handling trumps most other variables. Behind top-notch sailing skills, I think the next most important things that contributes to success are the condition of the sail and the blades (ctrbd and rudder.) Then the hull: its weight and finish and, yes, its shape. I think it would be interesting to race a minimum weight gen 1 design (e.g., a Cates or a Shelley) with a good sail and blades. I did race Aftermath at the nationals for a few years - I never won but did manage to get a second behind Jeff Linton in 2008.