Re: New to me Beetle Cat
Beetle cats (I had one and have helped work on them) have thin and narrow planks that make it difficult to refasten into the frames. Iron fastened Beetles from that era were clench nailed and the nails have probably broken off/rusted through and caused enough deterioration in the frames that the frames AND planks will need replacing if you take that fiberglass skin off. The decks are planked also but not in a way that has a covering board along the sheer that you can remove for reframing.
All this construction method was designed so that the boats could be built rapidly from patterns and as much straight lumber as possible. The boats were built upside down over a mold that enabled light scantling material to be hung and banged together rapidly while holding a standard shape to the hull. Taking them apart is time consuming and demanding, if you want to hold the shape of the Beetle hull, which shape is most of its appeal IMO. Putting a few cross-spalls across the beam isn't enough to do it. The boats are shapely and when dismantled are limber and twisty.
The restored one shown above is a rebuild by IYRS students. http://iyrs.org/TrainingPrograms/IYR...5/Default.aspx Rebuilding used-up Beetles is a major part of their boat building and restoration course and the projects involve near total replacement of hull and deck parts. Things like the rudder, tiller, coamings and spars are sometimes salvageable. Yours look like they are in good shape. If you need a new centerboard, they are currently made of plywood.
Personally... I'd leave the fiberglass on, not worry about the iron sickness anywhere (unless the chainplate, stem fitting. traveler, pintles/gudgeons,centerboard pin and mast step fastenings are dubious; take care of them) and spend my time and money on the spars, sails and rigging. Enjoy the boat and go sailing, even if it leaks. There have been fiberglassed-over wood Beetles around for decades and they do fine. Bailing a wet Beetle is an easy, relaxing task.
The rubrails don't need to be pre-bent or steamed, even in oak, if there's solid material to screw them into. I'd use local wood, even a softwood. The rubrails are mostly decorative.
Best of luck and enjoy! It's fun that you were able to find the hull number and track down the build year. I tried to find out what number mine was from the sixties and had no luck.
Last edited by rbgarr; 07-19-2012 at 08:01 AM.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”