Corel 45 prep
Here is a brand new J80 fresh from display at Sail Expo 2000. You can still see the hi-gloss finish of the hull fresh from the mold. We've laid the boat down on her side to make it easier to work on the bottom. The gray finish on the keel is the factory issue epoxy coating. PLEASE NOTE! DO NOT try this at home. Laying a 2900# boat on it's side is not something to be done without the proper setup. Don't try this with just any boat either.
Here is the same J80 a little later. The keel and one section of the bottom have been "inked". This allows the worker a very clear visual indication of the condition of the shape of the bottom surface as it is being sanded. (The Tripp 26 you see to the left in the photo was rolled in for a quick inspection.)
This is another J80 that underwent similar treatment the season before. When the owner of this yacht brought her to us she already had a multi-season antifouling paint (black) applied over an epoxy primer (tan). After stripping the AF paint, we used the existing epoxy primer as sanding base, hence no need to ink the surface.
The bottom now faired, the boat is brought back upright to finish off the keel work. Low spots have been marked and will be filled & faired as required.
Further down the blade fairing stage. The shape for this blade was derived from the designer's keel offsets, which are frequently available from either a class website, or by contacting the designer directly. When this is not possible, such as on some older designs, we will shape the blade to a fair, smooth, and most importantly, symmetric profile, free of undulations. In this photo you are seeing a raw epoxy application. This will be sanded down leaving behind only the material needed to fill in the voids.
Although the eventual finish on this yacht will be a white epoxy bottom, the keel is primed after fairing with a different epoxy primer for maximum protection of the metal surface. This primer is then sanded down in preparation for the eventual finish coat.
After getting multiple coats of white epoxy finish, the boat is once again laid down, inked, then the new finish is DA'd free of all orange-peel, and finally wet-sanded. Bottoms usually go to #400, blades to #600 and then polished.
Of course should your preferences lie toward wetsailing we can apply Baltoplate, or any other antifouling finish you like. Although they say the customer is always right, we might grimace a bit if you ask us to apply a bright pink boot stripe.
Here is a J24 undergoing a similar fate as the J80 in the prior pictures. The haze in the photo is actually dust suspended in the air. Here you can clearly see how laying the boat down is an advantage in applying adequate pressure to sanding. By the way, Custom Offshore assumes no responsibility for team preferences displayed by it's employees. You may rest assured however that the Cowboys fan was dealt with appropriately.
Risky Business is a custom built Andrews 30 MORC racer, which over the course of two seasons and multiple visits to Custom Offshore received a new keel, rudder, and some electronics upgrades. In this shot we have removed the original keel, a trapezoidal lead fin, and are reinforcing the hull in preparation for her newly designed keel, which would sport a narrower fin and a bulb. To handle the increased righting moment of the new keel, Custom Offshore, guided by notes from the designer, reinforced the keel mounting area by fabricating new keel stringers in S-glass and epoxy, as well as vacuum bagging new laminate layers to the underbody
The new rudder for Risky was built by employing the original rudder shaft, to which we fabricated a new blade. The blade is vacuum-bagged S-glass over Divinycell in epoxy, which was then faired to templates based on the designers shape. This would eventually be finished off much as the J80 in the prior sections.
Lest you think we only tinker with hi-tech racing boats, Custom Offshore has worked on everything, from Optimist prams to world cruising yachts and a lot of things in between. Here is a new centerboard being built for a Herreschoff designed A-Cat. Being in excess of 4ft in width required splicing multiple sheets of marine grade plywood to build the blade. The wooden blank was then vacuum-bagged with biax glass, faired and finished off in Baltoplate. This particular owner's A-Cat is classic looking yet optimized for performance
Detail of sheave box for lifting line on A-Cat centerboard. Delrin sheaves ride on composite axles and side plates faired into board body. The original bronze sheaves were prone to seizing after prolonged immersion in salt water.
A J105 owner faced with the dual need of having a shoal draft keel to compete in a "shoal only" fleet, as well as wanting a deep keel to attend specific major events, had us design a 2 keel program that once in place would allow rapid and inexpensive keel swaps. The photos to the left and below reflect a simplified explanation of the program. Here the yacht with her shoal keel is lowered into a keel cradle to begin the process.
LIFT OFF! After undoing the keel nuts the hull is lifted off of the SD keel. Keep in a mind a substantial amount of prep was done prior to this step to allow the process to go so smoothly. Brevity precludes showing the entire process.
Meanwhile back at the shop The deep keel has already been fully faired, primed, Baltoplated, and wetsanded to speed up the process. Here it is loaded onto the keel cradle and readied to be moved to the boat.
The hull is aligned and lowered onto the DD keel. During the process careful steps are taken to ensure that 1) water will not find its way into the boat thru the keel bolt holes, and 2) the marriage of the boat and the new keel is not so strong that the next keel swap becomes impossible.
Here the joint region has been refaired to make the progression from sump to keel seamless. After priming, the refaired area will be Baltoplated once more, wetsanded, and the yacht is ready to roll in her big blade. We've swapped keels on this yacht numerous times, and now do the whole process from haulout to splash in 24 hours.
Later that season it is time to swap back to the shoal draft keel, but a very tight regatta schedule precludes the yacht from making the trip to our yard. Here we've modified the owners powerboat trailer to hold one keel on its cradle over the axles, and the empty cradle up front. We then took this rig to meet the boat at a marina en-route between two events and performed a keel swap there.
Here a J120 undergoes a soup-to-nuts grand prix bottom job, including faired bottom, keel and rudder (hanging in foreground) followed by a wetsanded Baltoplate finish. In this photo the bottom is being longboarded after primers have been laid down. Unlike the J80 shown earlier on this page we do not lay down J120's.
Many owners of less cutthroat yachts still see the need for improved performance. Here a Sabre 34 keel/centerboard yacht has been brought in for blade work. The keel section was stripped, lead primed, faired, and prepped with a racing finish.
The centerboard from the Sabre was dried out (laminate was wet), faired, shimmed in its slot to remove the play, and finished in the same manner as the keel. The c/b slot was fitted with a gasket to reduce turbulence offwind. The owner of this yacht reported drastic improvements in performance.
Here is a series of photos from the prep of a 1D35 project undertaken in 1998. In this photo you can see the inked bottom being boarded down. This is backbreaking work that some owners might undertake once, but rarely do a second time.
Here other sections of the hull fairing can be seen. The brown material is low-density epoxy filler. The forward areas of the yacht are deserving of the most scrutiny as the entry region is what meets the water most head-on.
Here is the faired rudder of the yacht prior to priming
Here the yacht is being readied for the primer to be applied to the bottom and keel. The rudder (not visible in this picture) will be coated at the same time. Atlhough 35ft long, the 1D35 has a single point lift. With most of the boats weight supported by the overhead hoist we've balanced the boat on a single jack under the keel and a pair of stands aft & outboard of the bootstripe. (kids....don't try this at home) This means that the entire bottom and blade, except for a tiny area of the keel, can be painted in full coats without pad marks. This assists in providing superior coverage of the surface, very important in that a certain amount of the paint will be lost during the final wetsanding.
And here she is, on the water moving to weather with a no-excuses bottom.
This next section covers a full-bore bottom & blade project on a Corel 45 for one of our more demanding customers. The program also included a complete electronics package based around Ockam instruments as well as some deck hardware modifications. Here you can see the hull, sans keel(lying in the foreground) suspended from the ceiling via a set of straps wrapped under the hull. Without the keel the Corel weighs under 8000#. More importantly, she is low profile, allowing us access to the deck. With the keel on we would be forced to crawl on the deck to get under the ceiling. We've tilted the hull here to make it easier for the workers to sand the bottom.
Another shot of the hull taken from the loft at the stern. The shop has an end loft which allows access to the deck of most project boats without having to move up and down via ladders. This is far safer for the shop crew, and facilitates having owners visit to meet with us onboard the boat and detail their desired services without undue risk. In the background one can see Linday Clarkson's successful Mumm 30 "Blurrrrrr".
Here the rudder of the Corel undergoes fairing. Whereas we normally employ two, maybe three templates for shaping a rudder, and perhaps three or four on a keel, this owner had us plot every section made available by the designer, some 9 on the rudder, and roughly 17 or so on the keel (blade & bulb).
Here is the bulb region of the keel being faired. You can see some of the numerous templates lofted to insure an exact shape. Again, not every owner... in fact very few, demand the kind of detail in a fairing job that this yacht's owner did. The Corel is but one of numerous projects Custom Offshore has undertaken for this person.
After the epoxy finish has been applied the final DA and wetsanding takes place. Once again you can see the blue ink which helps in tracking progress while sanding the surface. To get an idea of the size of this keel, the guy behind it is about 6'3", the one standing on the sawhorse is 6ft tall. The overhead hoist is still attached to the keelbolts to prevent it from falling over.
Ready for the bottom to be painted, the Corel sits suspended from the overhead beams. As the straps would interfere with a homogenous bottom coat, here the hull is being hung by four hoists riding on two beams. Two hoists are attached to the chainplates, with the other two on the cockpit traveller. A single boatstand is positioned in the empty keel recess in the boats bottom, with another pair placed aft outboard of the bootstripe.
The Corel 45 "RUSH" on the water.