Restoring a sailboat can be loads of fun since it is a hobby that is not terribly expensive. Many of the older wooden boats have tons of character and whether they are restored to mint condition, or just restored to take out for a fun weekend cruise, they are pleasant to behold, especially when you show off your work to your family and friends.
It has been stated that the best days of a boat owner’s life are the day he buys a boat and the day he sells it. That being said put the word out to friends that you are looking for an old boat to restore.
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Yacht clubs and marinas are great opportunities for sailboats as they will often post sailboats for sale on their bulletin boards. Placing an inexpensive ad in the local newspaper will often bring results, especially if the advertisement mentions that you will pick up the boat. Websites like Craig’s list, eBay and Boat Trader Online are great resources to find older boats to restore.
As long as the main structure of the boat is available, restoration of other parts of a sailboat will be relatively easy and enjoyable.
- Start by inspecting the boat from stem to stern (front to back).
- The first symptom to look for are rotting wooden parts of the structure of the boat.
- Usually some of the wood has gotten rotten and can be easily and economically changed.
- These repairs can be covered with epoxy and sanded.
- Most repairs can be made to look like part of the original structure.
Restoration of Hardware
Restoration of existing hardware is very easy, but can be expensive. Check all metal fittings and fixtures for corrosion and for security.
- Inspect to see that screws are adequately anchoring fixtures and not rotting.
- If plating has tarnished, it can easily be polished, but if corrosion has set in, it will be necessary to change the fittings.
- Lubricate and check all moving parts for ease of movement, and if necessary apply graphite spray or gel.
- Ropes and cables should be clean, serviceable and free from defects such as broken strands or rotting. These can be easily replaced, but also need to be checked for ease of movement and lubrication.
A good finish, be it paint or varnish, will go a long way toward covering up restoration efforts or construction mistakes.
- Start by turning the boat over and working on the hull.
- Start by sanding the hull with 80 grit sandpaper from end to end and side to side.
- Wipe the hull with a clean rag that has been soaked with mineral spirits to remove dust.
- Sand the hull again with 100 grit sandpaper and work up to 220 grit sandpaper.
- Wipe clean and apply the first coat of varnish or paint.
- Let this first coat dry for 24 hours, sand lightly with 220 grit sandpaper and repeat this process for at least 3 to 4 more applications.