New Life for a Gallant Little Wooden Sailboat
By Granger Whitney

Last March we announced our well underway program to restore a promising and surprisingly sound 1941 20' wooden, gaff-rigged sailboat. With White Bear Boat Works, White Bear Lake, Minnesota taking the lead, our band of brothers has met head-on the challenges that such an endeavor presents. We are now quite certain that a christening, re-naming ceremony can take place May 26, 2008 at noon on the lake right in front of the Boat Works. All are welcome and the event should prove to be entertaining. The activities of the VFW Post located on that same harbor will bracket our event without conflict, and so we might borrow from one-another s gatherings. Our ceremony is expected to incorporate Irish Drum and Bagpipes, an Um-pa Band, and presenters honoring the builder, a bygone era, the Boat Work s review of the joy of it all, and a renaming service with appeals to Poseidon and Neptune. Refreshments are expected, and we hope to have a great deal of fun celebrating this little boat s new life. With all these preparations, our splashdown will simply have to occur on time, so the work progresses apace.

Bow Gallant 1941 Sailboat Being Restored, White Bear Lake, Minnesota 

Restoration Principles And Challenges
Transporting the boat from Bayfield Wisconsin to White Bear Lake Minnesota presented its own issues, principally due to the very dry and fragile condition of both boat and cradle. Dismounting the boat from its cradle and moving it into the Boat Work s shop forced some creative rigging requirements, and in spite of my misgivings, and due to no small level of yard skill, it all went quite well. Work began in earnest. An existing cobbled together ballast assembly indicated strange reactions to the boat s higher aspect and sail power. It had to go. Naval architectural assurances led to my arrival at a sandwiched steel plate and fin assembly design that put our fabrication and installation skills to every test. To properly analyze the boat and her rigging as well as a launch-ready trailer design, I produced several to-scale drawings. The boat s hull planks were at the most 1-3/4 inches wide mid-ships with tapers fore and aft, making for a maze to work in. These joints running full length were filled with a large variety of failing and replacement caulk. Their irregular joined faces complicated the caulk s removal, and every tool imaginable was employed. Removing all fittings, sanding the hull to fair, re-caulking with state-of-the art material, and accomplishing various repairs went forward in a considered step by step fashion. Desiring to reach substantial longevity in this restoration program the decision was made to employ an epoxy-saturation system to reinforce plank integrity. This was done before re-caulking with an effort to fetch the epoxy into the joints where remotely possible. Reinforcing the through-hull fastening holes at the chainplates with bushings was also done. All was made ready for hull finish coatings, which were scheduled to commence the second week of April.

Stern Gaff-Rigged Sailboat being restored in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. 

The Spruce Mainmast
The ship s mast was a typically laminated affair, and the center lamination joint had accepted moisture where limited rot had occurred. The yard s recommendation was to open the mast full length to this joint, deal with the rot, rabbet each side for wiring to be now set in new conduit, re-glued, and wrapped in a fiberglass fabric sheathing for assured future performance. We accepted this recommendation to the letter, participating only in the stripping of the mast s former finish. All hardware had to be dismounted and re-established with slightly larger fasteners. All former functions have been retained. In so doing, I gained an intimate appreciation of the complexities of a gaff rig which seemed to dictate a need for labels on all leads heading aloft.

Finishing The Hull, Deck And Topsides
After some research, again seeking longevity in the program, we decided jointly to use a two part epoxy primer system applied in three coats, and a single part highly trusted epoxy finish above the water-line applied in two coats. Below the water line a respected anti-fouling sacrificial paint will be applied over the prime coats. The little boat s astoundingly detailed deck and cabin trunk in teak plank and caulked joints begs to be cleaned and oiled so as to encourage swelling, hopefully closing the joints, and presenting a fine finished appearance. This will be closely maintained and monitored over the next few years. To protect the topsides and hull from UV deterioration a full synthetic fabric cover (snapped at the gunnell) will drape to the waterline.

Equipment, Instruments, Rigging & Sails
Following the builder-owner s lead, we will retain, replace where required the instruments of wind, depth, speed and distance, compass, and bilge vapor sensing. Full galley features will be retained, restored, as will water, waste and fuel tankage. The yard will install a new toilet, and relocate the battery forward after we have finished the hull interior in an appropriate bilge paint. The question of a linseed oil preparation on the hull interior has been investigated and rejected. The likelihood of standing rig modifications will be taken on as the sail inventory and running rig expansion is done. We will sail the boat under its current configuration for the first year so as to confirm intentions to add a topsail, a baby stay (for a double headed rig), a light-air genoa, and a spinnaker.

Re-Naming The Boat
We have elected to re-name this gallant little craft DULCINEA, the heroine of Cervantes account of the Man of the Mancha, Don Quixote. Taking to heart that beauty and impressions lie primarily in the mind and heart of the beholder, we are willing to see this stubby little craft from a bygone era as something much more in our imagination than she might really be when measured by modern sailing standards. Dulcinea was a beautiful and fair maiden in the Don s eyes, much in contrast to her worn and hard personage born out of a barmaid s life in a 15th century Spanish countryside inn. The comparison and identity with our gallant little boat seems quite evident.

We happily invite you to help us commission her on noon the 26th of May 2008, White Bear Lake, MN. Inquiries into joining the unique partnership should be directed to Granger Whitney 651-493-3859.

Granger B. Whitney, lives in Roseville, MN.