Well, I am back to work on my Lavro Dory project.
First I moved the boat into my smaller workspace, which is heatable for winter work. I needed it off the trailer, because of work I need to do on the full length of the hull bottom. I wrapped a tow strap around the stern, and slowly pulled the trailer out from under the boat, adding in boat stands at four points during the process. I thought this was going to be a nerve-racking process, but it was actually easy and fairly low stress.
The boat will stay up high on the stands for all the hull work. Then I will lower it onto some floor dollies, to complete the work inside. After the cabin is built the boat will not fit out the door on its trailer, so it will have to be hauled outside on the dollies, before going back on the trailer.
Currently I am still in deconstruction mode, cutting out every bit of weight and non-essential structure in the boat. Previously I had removed the v-berth to get at the old fuel tank. There was also a number of small water diverting ribs on the floor that were going to be in the way with the new cabin layout, as well as some supports for the old helm station. All of these were made from plywood ribs covered in fiberglass. Those all were cut out. The bow tow ring was also removed. The bolts were so corroded that they had to be broken off, and would not have lasted for one good tug on them. It’s good to go through every item on a 43 year old boat.
There were also two heavy duty pads on the stern rails for mounting fishing outriggers, that you can see in the picture above with the strap. This will be a photography/mothership work boat, not a fishing craft, so these also needed to be cut off. I carefully used a sawzall and discovered they had a core of what appears to be cedar, with about a quarter inch of glass around them.
In the stern, to each side of the motor well, are two sealed buoyancy chambers. And in front of those were some curved seats that I cut away. They were designed to have portable fuel tanks below them, or a battery. And I also think they were designed to keep people from sitting too far back in the boat, for better weight balance. They limit the cockpit space too much with my new layout.
I will also be removing the bulkheads, and moving them forward, adding structure between the motor mount and the hull sides, while increasing the size of the buoyancy chambers. I plan to build some truly watertight hatches on the tops of those chambers for storage access. On one side will be stored my old 2hp 2-stroke, twenty pound Suzuki outboard, for emergency power. I will be able to run it right behind the current motor, in the well. The chamber on the other side will be a good spot to store big fenders.
Finally, I removed the wood rails on the stern. You can read the full details about what these rails are for, why I removed them, and what will replace them, on this page. The rails were held on by three big stainless bolts, screwed into about 1″ of solid glass. The wood was very dense and heavy.
I also used a razor blade to remove all the lettering and numbers on the boat. The lettering was in vinyl stickers. But I discovered that someone had done a wonderful job of hand painting the grey shadowing around the letters and even the bow numbers. The boat hull is going to be painted, so all the lettering has to go. Besides, by the time I am done with this boat, it will be modified so much that it will not be fair to call it a Lavro Sea Dory anymore.
Between all the unused metal hardware and unnecessary fiberglass structures, a bunch of weight has been stripped from the boat, which should help this narrow waterline boat. Soon I will get to start building, and I will be keeping a keen eye on added weight.
This project is a bit crazy. There are simpler ways to go boating for sure. But I do enjoy the process, of thinking through a boat, and trying to improve it, and make it just right for my personal needs. And it is also kind of cool to give a 43 year old boat a second life. Instead of it hitting the dump, I expect to personally use this boat for another 20 years.
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