In the tent at Loughborough Marine Interests (LMI) during this Rhode Island winter, there’s been plenty of activity on, in, and beneath Dorade. A January tour with Joe Loughborough brought to light half a dozen projects underway for the upcoming summer season. As always, the goal is to make Dorade faster or look better, and preferably both.
First, Joe sent us into the tent where Dorade’s spars are stored. A new package of Harken winches are on order, and most of them will live on the boat’s masts and booms. We took a few pictures to refresh our memory of the current, 10-year-old package, and found at least nine of the 17 or so winches that Dorade’s crew utilizes.
The new winches should arrive in Portsmouth in early March. Since some will be of slightly different diameters than those they’re replacing, the winch pads on the spars will be rebuilt if needed by East Passage Boatwrights.
The deck winches will be installed by Newport Yacht Joinery, with particular attention to the replacement of the base blocks. Joe said he is very concerned about avoiding any damage to the deck, which can be tricky, as the old block is bedded, possibly glued, and through-bolted, and also attached to the coaming.
The rectangular pads supporting each bronze stanchion against the bulwark were rusting due to their high ferrous content and have been replaced with supports of a bronze silicon. The old bronze pads were cut off their gussets and new ones were welded in place; each pair of stanchion bases required a separate steel jig with a slightly different angle to fit against its section of bulwark. These should be in place by the end of February.
A new manual bilge pump has been installed below the galley, new plumbing added, and the bilge received fresh paint at the same time.
Also belowdecks, the head was removed and all chrome pieces were sent out to be re-chromed.
In 2011, during Dorade’s last major refit, Joe says that much of the interior was installed as new, even the cabin sole, new tanks, and plumbing. Ten years later, LMI is working to refinish and re-lacquer bronze pieces in the interior ranging from vents to countertops to prevent them going green over time due to water exposure.
Dorade’s single-planked mahogany hull is being refinished for the first time in eight years. The topsides remain in good shape, as the seams above the waterline were splined with cedar. Below the waterline, a two-part rubber LifeCaulk was used that requires attention periodically. Receiving special attention was the garboard plank, which runs along the lead keel; to fill any hollow sections, the seam was reefed out and a strip of Perspex (like Lexan) was inserted up to ⅜” so an epoxy build could be established on either side of it. Once built up, the Lexan was removed, leaving a perfect ¼” seam, which was then filled with the two part LifeCaulk.
The Life Caulk sands easily, and when I visited in January, Dorade’s bottom had been longboarded three times with 36 grit. Each longboarding was immediately followed by two coats of Interprotect 2000, maintaining some moisture in the planks and making it easier to see remaining hollows that need to be faired. (See circles drawn on the hull by Ben Garcia, of Diversified Yacht Finishes.) When I spoke with Joe in early February, he said Ben was ready to shoot the last of half a dozen coats of primer, after which he’ll be looking for a warmer weather window to spray on the antifouling paint.
Over the winter, Ben reefed and caulked 100% of the seams below the waterline. He also worked to reduce dampness, as Dorade holds a fair amount in her planks. Here are reefing tools and examples of damp areas left exposed to dry a little further.
Ben (shown taping the waterline again prior to spraying another coat of primer) has used 36 grit to longboard the hull and will use 80 grit to prep the final sprayed-on Interprotect coats for painting with 3 to 4 coats of Baltoplate race-finish antifouling paint, which will be wetsanded. Joe said LMI will launch the boat for two weeks in the spring, then haul temporarily for a full-crew wetsanding.