Surveyor's Comments April 2013
This is classic pilot house tug/trawler yacht from the drawing board of Charles Wittholz and built by Rice Marine Railway in Reedville, Va. Constructed of yellow cedar planking on sawn white oak frames with plywood decks and superstructure.
"Charlie Noble" is a quite unique vessel, originally built in 1971, but over the last six years she has undergone the transformation from a wood vessel to what can only be considered composite. The owners have wooded the hull, refastened where necessary, splined between the planks, and sheathed her with 18 oz. FRP and West System epoxy. reportedly the topsides have three layers, the chines have five layers, and the keel and garboard areas have eight layers. The hull at this time is virtually bullet proof.
Designed by Charles Wittholtz Built 1971 by Rice Marine Railway Co., Reedville, VA as hull #5 Rebuilt 2007-2013
Propane 2 burner stove
Vitrifrigo fridge/freezer (new 2013)
Microwave oven Head
WC Skipper, manual
Pressure hot & cold water
Upholstery in saloon and galley (new 2013)
Garmin 440S chart plotter (new 2013)
CPT autopilot (new 2013)
Xantrex battery charger and inverter, 2 solar panes with Morningstar regulator photovoltaic controller,130 amp alternator, One 8 D 12 Volt battery for starting and Windlass, Six 6 volt batteries (house bank)
12 volt anchor Windlass (new 2013)
1 Danforth & 1 Delta anchor with chain (new 2013)
10' West Marine dinghy with 3.5 Mercury outboard (both new 2013)
Espar diesel heater in pilothouse
SHIPWRIGHT'S previous notes covering restoration work from 2007-2013:
First, we removed all the paint, caulking and hardware from the hull exterior (we replaced two “iffy” planks and all was sound), next we re-fastened the hull using silicone bronze screws. We built a large tarp structure to cover and keep the boat dry.
13 months later (with the help of space heaters at intervals we achieved minimum 12% moisture levels. Seams were routed out and splined with 3/16” yellow cedar splines and an epoxy/colloidal silica mixture. Coat after coat of a very thin “saturation epoxy” was applied as yellow cedar soaks it up like a sponge. When thoroughly saturated and cured we did a final sanding and fairing, then started applying gunwale to keelson strips of 18 oz biaxial cloth with epoxy resin.
Working in an overlapping pattern we added extra layers in appropriate places. The keel and stem are 6-8 layers thick, 5 layers at the chines and 3 as it wraps up and across the deck. We finished it with 10 oz finishing cloth and faired with epoxy and West system 410 Filler.
Topsides, deck and cabin and pilothouse roofs, as well as the eyebrow, are all covered with fiberglass. We finished it with 3 coats of Awlgrip Epoxy Primer and 4 coats of Awlgrip “Off White” topcoat. Below the water line there are 8 coats of Interlux 2000/2001 epoxy barrier coat and four coats of ablative bottom paint. At projects’ end we had gone through 165 gallons of epoxy resin and 280 yards of 18 oz biaxial fabric. The boat still sits on her original water line.
The success of a project like this hinges on keeping a totally dry bilge so we built sumps for the main stuffing box and the rudder post. There is now only dust in the bilge! The receipts show an expenditure of over $65,000 on materials alone. We have continued to perform upgrades and recently installed a new oak sole in the aft salon.
Our shakedown cruise to the Florida Keys exceeded all of our expectations. We cruised at about 7 knots at 1400 rpm with a 1& 1/3 gal per hour fuel consumption. The boat has a nice easy motion in a seaway and about an 1100 nautical mile range .