Bottom Job

I decided to bite the bullet and get the bottom on Helios fixed up. It had many years and layers of different types of bottom paint, many scratches in the hull and a keel and skeg that was in horrid condition.

I had been talking with Lars Guck of Guck, Inc., in Bristol, RI about doing the work. Lars has a great reputation, but he is on the pricy side. That said, he was very responsive and took the time to come look at the boat and to answer my endless questions.

By contrast, I went to the Newport Fall Boat Show (Fall of 2009) and spoke with representatives from about ten different boat yards. All seemed excited about the idea of getting the job and all promised quotes within a week. Can you guess how many quotes I got? If you guessed zero, you win the prize. Even with follow up phone calls, no one quoted the work.

So Lars got the job. The boat spent the winter at Bristol Marine, because Lars' shop is right next to them and they will bring Lars the boat when he is ready for it.

As of now, the boat has been soda blasted. This opened up a wealth of osmosis blisters and exposed years of damage. The keel is much worse then I realized, and the skeg and rudder are in tough shape as well. I snapped a bunch of pictures and created an image gallery for them.

Lars is currently planning to get the boat started April 13th, 2010. That's later than I had hoped and expected, but then again I signed up for ther work late last season as well.

Updates to come...

UPDATE: Pictures of the hull after soda blasting and before any other work are posted.


Yesterday (April 24, 2010), Lars took the boat into his shop!

All day yesterday, he had someone go over the hull with a bright light and look for any blisters or other issues the soda blasting didn't open, and also widen and smooth some of the holes it did open. Here is what that looked like:

Today, he and Chad spent the day grinding away at the hull. The keel is down to its lead.

Chad told me he used a crow bar to loosen and remove the old fiberglass and whatever else was piled on there over the years. They showed me a bunch of what came off and it didn't look good. A lot, but not all, of the waste went into a trash bucket, and it was too heavy for me to drag with one hand.

When they are done, the keel should be both lighter and narrower, for reduced drag, in addition to making better lift.

I'll be back mid next week to check for more progress! Also, they are going to let me do my other projects while they work on the hull. Very nice of them!


I went over to Guck Inc. today (Spril 30, 2010) to check on Helios and see how well the bottom was coming along. It seems to be coming very nicely.

The blue-gray color is Interprotect, an epoxy barrier coat. The pinkish dots are the blisters, now filled with a thick epoxy. They are going to put a bunch more coats of that epoxy on the hull, sand and then see if it needs any more.

Here is a closer view of the filled blisters:

The keel got a lot of attention.

As you can see, it is now covered and faired with fiberglass and was still drying when I snapped that picture. Chad measured the chord length at the top, bottom and center. Those and some other numbers were put into a computer program that told them what the shape of the keel should be. From that, they then built three templates, two of which are shown here...

Using the templates as a guide to keep the shape correct, they faired the keel with fiberglass. The trailing edge of the keel was made nice and flat, with sharp corners on each side. Here is Chad showing me the hard work he has done and celebrating that its Friday afternoon...

Next week they will sand it nice and smooth.

The rudder got some work as well. It also has a nice sharp trailing edge.

Lars and Chad tell me that they will probably be painting a week from today (May 7th). We'll be using Baltoplate from Interlux. The original plan was to use Vivid, but that is much softer than Baltoplate and will be removed too easily when cleaned. Baltoplate should hold up for three seasons. The down side to it is that it has much less anti-fouling capacity than Vivid. That's okay, the boat needed to be cleaned weekly anyhow. Fast bottoms don't win races by themselves but they sure help!


Lars just (May 3, 2010) sent me an email saying the first barrier coat is done, and he included this picture: