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Thread: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

  1. #1
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    Default Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Hi all,

    Long time lurker, but now a new member. I've been in the process of restoring my 38' Stephens Brothers Farallone Clipper, hull #15 of 19 made between 1940-1962. Launched July 7, 1958 as "Cynosure", and after a string of other names and owners, will now happily be called "Hana". I bought her last September and enough friends and family have asked me if I'm blogging about the work, so I thought this would be a good place to document the progress. (If nothing else, so I can remember everything we've been doing all this time) I'll post often as I get the images up to current date. It's been a fun, tiring, sometimes scary, but amazing experience so far. I've learned a ton, and have met and worked with some great people along the way! I've been very inspired reading about all of your projects too.



    Last edited by bdbFC; 02-12-2018 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    She has a number of very cool features which I really liked, such as a nicely carved butterfly hatch and companion-way doors, bead-board ceilings (I think many of the clippers had acoustic tiles), custom-made table in the cabin, teak decks, lots of mahogany, and a large cockpit. Beautiful lines too. The flip side which I'll be documenting was her poor condition in a number of areas. A lot of it is pretty rough. When I bought her, I wanted a project and man did I get one!










    Note the bright mast. This pic was apparently from a couple of years ago. One of the previous owners has since painted it white. I wish it were still bright. Some day...
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-30-2018 at 12:51 AM. Reason: replacing photos

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Welcome and best of luck bringing her back to her former glory, bright mast and all

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    Default

    Welcome and WOW, nice project.
    -Dave

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    It'll be great following along. At what point of the restoration are you? What's been done and what remains? We love lots of pictures!
    If you've been lurking, you've probably seen chuckt's Concordia restoration, a boat about the same size as yours.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Congratulations. I know your boat - she was in Richmond then went to Oyster point. Looked at her a few times and nearly got her myself a few years back. beautiful boats that's for sure. I hope you square her away enough to sail her hard soon. I'd be very wary of the cabinetry around the head and the frames there too - it is there most neglected portion as most problems have been hidden for years. it is the reason that Echo broke up in the south seas a few years ago.

    The FC fieet is going strong with many who want to see you succeed. I hope you join the Master Mariners and click into our super group. There are many who know and can help with original plans and sails and much more just for the asking.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Thanks for the welcome!

    Rich - I'm mentally breaking it up into structure vs. aesthetics, with structure being the main focus right now. hull integrity, fairing, & paint, deck repair, etc. Topside varnishing will come second to that, although I've started pieces of that too. But right now, we're at the point that more is starting to go on the boat than off the boat. So that's a good place. And yes, I love the Concordias and have been reading Chuck's thread with great interest.

    Ted - Yes, that's the boat. And yes, the area you describe is a weak spot that we are addressing. I'll definitely check into the MM soon.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    So, the day after I purchased the clipper, I had a few hours to take an assessment of what I needed to do first before I had to catch a flight. The shock of what I'd just committed myself to was in full effect. The boat had been neglected for some time. The head reeked like a port-a-potty (thanks to saturated hoses and a concentrated, full holding tank. It was nasty) The bilge was either full of rusty water up front, or oily water aft. The deck leaked in certain spots, and overall the whole boat had mildew and dirt on most surfaces. it needed a thorough cleaning just to start. So after removing 8 garbage bags full of stuff left on the boat (everything from old paint cans, bedding, food, a santa hat, candles, rusty tools, trash,...), I was fairly overwhelmed and just sat in the cockpit to start making a mental to-do list. The deck and cabintop hadn't been cleaned in quite a while, so I took a bucket of salt water and a brush and cleaned one spot on the deck just before I had to leave. It gave me hope.

    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-30-2018 at 12:51 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    More pressing though, in no particular order: the engine, electrical, and hull condition.

    Original Gray Marine Sea Scout 25 hp gas engine. It actually ran....for a while.



    Uh. How has this not burst into flame about a hundred times by now? The mind boggles.



    This is looking down next to the v-berth in the forward cabin. Concrete. Ballast in the bilge? Last ditch attempt to stop the leaking? Not sure. Oh yeah, the hull was leaking.






    That shiny reflection under the berth? Just sea water, nothing to worry about.



    The concrete in the bilge acted like a dam since all the limber holes were filled. So I would hand pump the water out every day until I could get the boat out of the water. And clearly, it needed to get pulled out to see what was going on below.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-28-2018 at 11:50 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    I think you got the best of the restorable FCs. She has served a live-a-board for at least the last 10 years and has suffered from subtle neglect. As for those grays... they always look spooky. Fear not. If you have any questions about this and want to keep her original - it is worth having Tom List look at it. There are very few i trust more than him on boat repowers and engine repair.

    Be sure to go over where the keel step and the stem meet - these tend to get soft and pudding like too. tap and test every frame all the way down if possible. These boats have flexed a bit, stringers and frames are certainly cracked, things loosened. A program of refastening will be in order. Dowel and epoxy might really do better as upgrades in certain places . Sisters and scarfs done properly can be quite beautiful. (I may take flack for this but know it to be a truer fix not only for you but for the next caretaker too.) There are a few opinions on this but I would consider sheathing the hull once you start to square her away. Being a wood boat hero and going traditionally has some merit but sure does not save your piece of mind. Just be very practical and go forward to using the boat rather than a complete restoration circa 1950's. The sheathing will also allow for a new strength that might be amiss if you try to keep it as it was. Moreover - it does not carry the stigma it once did and has saved many other worthwhile boats like yours.

    These clippers are quick with ratings around 150. If you keep them in the bay and sail them here, they can be a work in progress without breaking ones heart or wallet. I am excited for you and your worthwhile project.
    Last edited by Ted Hoppe; 04-09-2015 at 07:19 PM.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Hi,
    looks like you got a great looking yacht there, just in need of a lot of TLC, It looks a great project keep posting updates of your progress, I have been doing my yacht for the last 8 years off and on and hope to have it in the water this year. Good look and enjoy your project.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    So at the end of September, I chose to take the boat to Spaulding Boatworks in Sausalito for the haulout and exploration and repairs to the hull. After an aborted attempt to bring the boat over from Richmond under her own power (the motor gave up the ghost), some good friends helped me tow her across the bay. We got up early the first Saturday in Oct. and had a flawless crossing. It was a beautiful day, and I was relieved.



    Being towed by Chris's boat, "Puffin"






    Safe and sound at Spaulding's dock.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 02:07 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    The haulout went without a hitch. You can see from the photos that she was carrying around her own portable coral reef. The prop was getting eaten away. After the initial inspection of the planks, it didn't appear too bad, but we needed to get under the paint first to see what was going on.












    A stowaway in the head outflow.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 02:14 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    After some scraping and test reefing, it was obvious that part of the inflow was happening above the keel at the joint between the stem and keelson. The seams are toast. The seam at the forefoot was almost a 1/4" gap, and the plank seams were getting pretty wide too. This is the area near the mast step that Ted Hoppe mentioned in his reply above. It's the weak link of the clipper design, and the force of the mast downward on this spot has caused many of the boat's problems. My particular boat had over the years been caulked, recaulked, epoxied in the seams, jock strap installed under the maststep, and even a lead patch on the outside to try to stem the flow. (And possibly the concrete in the bilge too) but the keel kept heading south.





    Ugly. You can see the horizontal patches near the bottom of the picture which was where the lead strips had been applied, but had since fallen off.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-28-2018 at 11:56 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Access to the maststep and surrounding floors was needed, so off comes the mast. The crane is too cool.



    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:00 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Hi,
    looking at te photos of the front end of the keel and stem area, the sooner you get the concrete out of the bilge the better and you can get on and investigate the sMast step and surrounding area and it has a chance to dry out and you can start to sort out the frames and planking problems.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    jstarboats - very true. And a good segue to the next section.

    So in Oct. I took some vacation time to do as much prep work I could, both to keep my costs down, but also I really enjoy doing the work. There's also no better way to learn every detail about the boat. For my own sanity, the very first job was removing the holding tank and toilet. That was a nasty job. But next was to get access under the concrete. I removed the v-berth, framing, cabin sole, and water tanks and then spent a day with an air hammer.



    In the above pic, you can see the jock strap wire rope angling down from the starboard locker. (This pic was taken before the mast was removed)





    And then before/after the concrete removal. Now it was really ugly.



    The concrete almost seemed to have been mixed in the bilge. Some of it was rock hard, and some was almost like clay. I'm not sure how many years it had been there, but it just held water against the wood. Below, you can see the location of the mast step relative to this spot.

    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:07 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    There has to be some reason people put concrete in the bilges, but for the life of me I will never understand the reasoning behind it.

    Beautiful boat.
    Fish and ships or is that chips

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    knucklehead - I'd love to know too. Not sure what the thinking was.

    Now that it was obvious from the rot that work was needed on the stem, mast step, frames and planks in this region, a plan was made for a solution. It didn't make sense to just rebuild it in the same configuration and endure the same issues that had plagued her to this point. Marc de Millengiere, the shipwright at Spaulding, working from the plans, designed a gripe that would strengthen the joint and spread the mast load across a much broader area than just a few floors as before. With that in mind and while the boat was still outside, it was a good time to strip the bottom paint and check the rest of the planking. I'd already intended to do a bottom job, and with so many layers that were starting to fail in spots and water behind the paint in others, it made sense to go to wood. So I spent the next few days with some stripper, a scraper and a lot of patience.




    The green and blue layers came off relatively easy. The thick red layers - not so much. It took about three or so passes with the stripper/scraper to get through all of them. I learned very quickly to keep my scraper sharp.





    The rudder is made of 2 pieces of mahogany with a monel trailing edge. Seems a shame to have to cover it up again.





    The cleanup weighed a ton.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 01:34 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    And then came the iron.


    Attack of the needle gun. If you're asking yourself "Is that a fine layer of machine oil all over my gloves and visor?" Yes.
    If you are then asking "Could you see what you were doing?" No.







    Last but not least, we ran an acetylene torch over the iron to get any moisture pockets in the metal (there weren't too many), and then a coat of ospho to stabilize the rust somewhat. Before she splashes, I'll have to seal the iron with epoxy and fair it before applying the bottom paint. It was amazing (to me, anyway) how much the iron would continue to weep water in the coming months. I had no idea it was so porous.
    Then I sanded the hull and put a coat of varnish/turpentine mix to seal it. Now the boat was ready to go into the main building where the real fun starts.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 01:13 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    End of my vacation.

    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:15 AM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Hi
    it does sound like your fun is just getting underway, enjoy the journey it will have its ups and downs but it will be a learning curve.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Thanks! It certainly has been.

    In Nov. the boat was moved inside the main building to make it easier to do the major structural work.





    There was still a lot of prep work to do, so I stayed busy removing parts to get better access. Below is the head sole coming out. As one of those curiosities in both old houses and old boats, there are always those head-scratching moments. Whoever put this particular piece of plywood in really, REALLY didn't want it to move anywhere. There was a screw (stripped, as usual) every two inches and most were counter-sunk under the paint. The ones you can see were just the tip of the iceberg. I'm pretty sure this couple of square feet contained more metal than any other part of the boat.

    Note too the port side jockstrap that ran behind the toilet. The incredibly ... uh... beautiful, pink, fake marble formica will not be staying.



    The first planks were removed. Yikes.



    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 01:14 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Looking in from the port side, I spent time busting out the remaining concrete which couldn't be reached from inside such as under the mast step, removed the bronze floors, and pulled screws. The bronze floors had fasteners that were rusting away, and at least six different varieties. Odd.





    I also spent a lot of time cleaning out lockers, the bilge, and hull prep.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:30 AM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Removing the first planks revealed a bad scene in the stern. The frames located under the engine were completely rotten. Between almost sixty years of oil changes, engine spewing, a hole in the drip pan, and however much water sat down there, a couple inches of oily sludge built up in the deep reaches of the bilge. It was a mess. So more planks needed to come off.








    These pics were taken after the initial cleanup.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:34 AM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    So then a few more planks had to come off. This was becoming a trend. Telling someone that I removed some screws when asked what I had done that day didn't seem to describe it accurately. We were saving the planks for templates, so I couldn't just saw them out which would've been really quick. Instead, I would drill out the plug to get to the screw. If the head was intact, I'd use a brace to unscrew it. But more often than not, it was stripped. So I would use a larger diameter plug cutter to drill around the head, and then use a pair of vice grips to back it out.











    Just some of the many. The oak frames that are still good are very dense, so in a way the harder it was to remove the screws, the more reassuring it was to me.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 01:15 AM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Unfortunately, the wood in the stern post supporting the cutlass bearing was also very punky. The good news was this was the farthest extent of the damage. So at least now, I knew what the full scope was.



    We now needed better access aft too. So December became a month of removing more things from the boat. I kept busy by removing the rats nest of wiring in preparation for pulling the engine, in addition to removing the alternator, exhaust, starter, shift linkage, hoses, etc. - anything to lighten the load when we lifted it out.
    I also spent time removing everything inside and under the cockpit lockers. The demo was really satisfying.





    Old knife switches and fuses.



    Mid-demo. The alternator and starter came off surprisingly easy. Everything else had to be taken off with a sawzall or sledge hammer because of the corrosion.



    And out. The original color was apparently green based on a small patch of the paint under the manifold. The fit through the cockpit hatchway was SO tight, I didn't believe it would come out without needing to remove the bulkhead or part of the cockpit, but the guys made it work. It cleared with about a millimeter to spare. Another relief.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:44 AM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    And then with the drip pan, fuel filter, non-functioning refrigerant, cockpit drain hoses, and gas tank removed.



    This is looking down from the cockpit. The boat from the inside was looking pretty surreal.

    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:45 AM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Surreal yes. That photo suggests lexan planks and sole to retain the look.
    -Dave

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Woxbox, I'll have to consider that!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    To continue the theme:




    Tank out (fuel drained, filters, hoses, brackets)



    engine support out (and surrounding rotten frames and sump tank)



    front floors out (and rotten frames)



    Liquids out. (sawdust to remove the last bits of bilge sludge and dry out the wood)
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 12:52 AM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    At the start of Jan. of this year, the guys removed the concrete above the deadwood to get access to the bronze floors. (This concrete was actually there by design). They then made pattern templates of the bad frames, removed them, and unexpectedly needed to reattach this piece of deadwood. The fasteners were almost completely gone, and it shifted with the slight bump. Glad to find out now.




    Last edited by bdbFC; 02-04-2018 at 03:53 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration



    January was also the beginning of where stuff was coming off the boat at a lesser rate than stuff going back on the boat - a nice turning point. And new wood arrived! Purpleheart for the gripe, mast step and floors, white oak for frames and sapele for planking.

    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 01:00 AM.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by shade of knucklehead View Post
    There has to be some reason people put concrete in the bilges, but for the life of me I will never understand the reasoning behind it.

    Beautiful boat.
    Old boat - to stop the bottom falling off.

    New build - easy clean bilges and fixed ballast. I've taken concrete out of a 70 yo work boat built on sawn E Oak frames, with everything still rock hard.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  35. #35
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    Default Re: Farallone Clipper #15 restoration

    Technically, the first new wood installed. Wood nails to plug all the screw holes. I lost count of how many.








    Aft floors cleaned up with the bead blaster.
    Last edited by bdbFC; 01-29-2018 at 01:16 AM.

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