A WEIGHTY PROBLEM

by Jack Bartlett circa 1970

As anybody who has been around the scales at weigh-in time at the Nationals knows, many Rebels are becoming obese! Since the floatation was placed under the floor boards, those particular models have gained a considerable amount of weight. Playmate II weighed in at Vermillion in 1965 at 705 pounds. She had come from the factory light that spring and was returned to have 60 pounds of lead added to bring her up to weight. By 1967, she tipped the scales at 760. Most of the lead was dug out and found to weigh 50 pounds so we were back to 710. BV last year, the weight was up again to 765. A total gain of 125 pounds! At the Districts last fall, Don Robinson and Jim Jordan showed up with nicely done revamping jobs using ribs, plywood and glass. It had to be the way to go.

My reducing plan was to try to keep the relations of all of the deck supports and maintain the floor level. Ribs and floor were to be made out of plywood, glassed to the hull. We also knew that the 2400 series had especially thin hull skins. This necessitated first building a cradle to support the hull, as the trailer support would be insufficient. 2 x 8s were used, cut to hull contour and padded with carpet. The front support was just forward of the chain plates then 8 feet back from that with another in the middle.

Now with the boat in the cradle the fun began. Here's how it was done.

  1. Plywood sheets come in 8 foot lengths. A perpendicular line was laid out just under the forward edge of the cockpit. Here would be the most forward cockpit rib, directly under the deck support. The floor boards were then scribed with perpendicular lines e very 16 inches going aft. This would make 7 ribs in the cockpit area, and exactly support an 8 foot section of plywood. All deck supports and aluminum trim were remove

  2. A saber saw was used to cut across the floor board, starting at the aft mark. Care must be taken as the saw nears the sides, as the floor comes very close to the hull. It is easy to make a neat slit in the hull, I did it three times!!! The aft most secti on of floor was then pried loose, exposing the water soaked foam. (You can wring out water like a sponge!) Using a garden spade, trowels and a wide chisel the foam was removed aft of the saw cut. It is HARD work. With heavy poster board and scissors, a template was made that fit the hull and established the level of the floorboard. A pencil line was scribed along the side of the hull at floor level and each rib position marked boldly. This pr ocedure was repeated every 16 inches making the templates before cutting out the next section.

  3. After the 8 foot cockpit area was completely cleaned out and the templates made, the bow foam was removed all at once. There is really not enough room under the deck to take out exact sections so scribing on the hull was used to maintain relations, with templates to be made later.

  4. Half inch ply was used for all the ribs except the one directly under where the skipper goes across, just aft of the trunk. This rib was made of 3/4 inch material. The ribs were laid out using the templates and cut with the saber saw. Each rib was then ta ken to the hull and fitted with an electric sander. Half circles were cut out of each rib in the deepest section of the hull to allow water to pass underneath. Three inch holes were cut in all the ribs to allow air passage a s well. After all the ribs were fitted, each was notched to receive fore and aft stringers which were pine strips about 3/4" x 1 1/2". Two were set vertically on either side of the trunk. The trunk is somewhat irregular so the widest section established the distance between these two stringers. The main section of floor was to be a sheet of ply cut in two, giving two 2' x 8' pieces. Th e second fore and aft stringers were set in notches in the ribs centered 1 foot out from the center stringers, and the outsi de stringers centered at 2 feet. Thus the center and outer sections of floor would butt directly over the center of the outer stringer. The outer stringer intersected the aft rib right where it joined the hull,a tidy arrangement arrived at by chance.

  5. After all the stringers (6 in number) were fitted the ribs and stringers were assembled in the hull. With everything loose it was easier to tack the stringers to the ribs with nails, then after they were all in place go back and glue each joint and pound ho me the nail. Each rib was seated in epoxy paste to not only stand them up and attach them in the hull, but also to assure a perfect fit to the somewhat irregular hull shape. The ribs along the trunk were set against the trunk with epoxy assuring good lateral support for the centerboard.

  6. With the cockpit section of ribs and stringers set in place, a piece of flooring made a good platform to work from while fitting the bow ribs. Two ribs were made from ternplates, located under the mast step and the most forward deck support. The bow floor was to overlap the cockpit floor providing its posterior support. Then the bow floor was to taper up toward the bow so that no water could stand in the forward area. The center of the rib under the mast step was beefed up to add support for the mast compression and spread the pressure on the hull. These ribs were also seated in epoxy with a stringer laying flat up the middle notched into the rib under the after deck support, epoxied to the hull in the bow.

  7. 3/8 inch ply was used for the floor. The two halves of the 4 x 8 sheet formed the center section of the cockpit area. These were tacked lightly in position and the curve of the hull was laid out. The length of the main section of floor was marked every 6 inches and m easurements taken to establish the curve of the outer section that would abut the sides Of the hull. The curve was cut with the saw set at an angle to fit the downward slope of the hull. The rotary sander completed the fitting job along the hull.

  8. With the cockpit flooring completely fitted, all of the undersides were sealed with waterlox as well as the ribs and stringers. Working one side at a time, the center section of floor was laid first. Each rib and stringer was beaded with caulking compoun d to bed the floor, then the ply laid over the top and screwed down to place. Caulking was used to bed the outer curved piece as well but epoxy paste was used to seal this piece to the hull. The 3 inch space behind the centerboard and between t he floor halves was filled in with a strip of ply to complete the cockpit floor. The small 3" x 6" space forward of the trunk had been boxed in down to the hull on either side and was left open for any lead that might be added later. The irregular area between the floor and trunk was inlaid with thin pieces of ply epoxied to place.

  9. The floor up forward was done in right and left halves, butting over the stringer that went up the middle ending at the bow. The curve was arrived at by taking measurements every 6 inches, doing one side at a time then fitting the other to it. Two hatches were planned just forward of the after deck support, falling between it and the rib under the mast support. They were to be 18" square. They were cut out of the floor sectio ns and 3/4 inch pine stock glued around the edges to form a lip. The hull in the hatch area is about 10 inches deep below the floor providing ready access. Additional stringers were laid lateral to the hatch openings to provide strength and a fastening ar ea. After sealing, the forward floor was screwed to place and sealed to the hull with epoxy.

  10. 16 Foot wide strips of glass cloth were sealed along with the floor and up the hull with two coats of resin. This not only sealed but gave a nice coved effect. The same procedure was used along the trunk. The entire inner hull and floor was then primed and painted. Hatch covers were installed with full length hinges, with rubber strips sealed at their edges for a tight closure. As a guess 25 pounds of lead was placed in the tiny hatch forward of the trunk.

  11. After sailing the boat it was deceided that the floor was too slippery. Rubber backed indoor outdoor carpeting made a perfect surface for both comfort and footing

  12. Floatation was foamed in under the deck on either side with the boat upside down. Styrofoam blocks proved too difficult to fix in place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole job took about 70 hours. Only four pounds of lead were added at the weigh in to bring Playmate II to exactly 700 pounds. after, the results at the Nationals, it all seemed worth it!