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Thread: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

  1. #1
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    Default Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Greetings! I am new to this forum, and to owning a wooden boat, but I'm excited for a rewarding experience caring for and sailing it. Let me introduce the boat:

    IMG_1516.jpgIMG_1517.jpgIMG_1518.jpg

    The Celebrity Sloop is a 19'9" marconi-rigged fractional sloop that was sold by P Evanson of Philadelphia. I believe from the sales brochure and the mahogany ply hull that this boat dates to the early 1960s. Based on what I've read, P Evanson imported these from Holland and later started manufacturing them with a fiberglass hull. A unique aspect to this particular specimen is that it has a fixed keel, draws 35" with a displacement of 1100 lbs. The boat has been dry-sailed and stored indoors for its entire life, which is why it is in such great shape. I'd like to keep it that way, which is why I'm here!
    Last edited by maxvitek; 06-12-2018 at 08:20 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    I'd like to get the boat in the water this season in a way that protects it from any further wear and damage. Near the bow, on the upper (more heavily used) surfaces of the gunwale, port side of the support for the mast, prow, and a handful of other spots there are signs of wear on the varnish. Here is an example:
    IMG_1548.jpg

    I'd like to take steps to address than in a manner that protects the wood for this season, and gives me options to clean it up properly over the winter. Other spots still look pretty good to my eye:

    IMG_1551.jpg

    The main thing I need to deal with is a spot on the keel that rubbed against the bumper on the trailer:

    IMG_1547.jpg

    So my questions are:

    1) How should I protect the places with wearing varnish? I found an article from Defender that suggested a coat or two for now. I bought a can of clear varnish to do this.
    2) How should I repair the damage on the keel? It seems thicker than paint alone, almost like the keel is wrapped in some kind of tape or fabric.
    3) Are there any other suggestions that occur to you?

    Thanks!

    -M

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    That is a very badly done coat of woven glass, probably in polyester. What you do depends upon what quality of finish you want. How nice you want your boat to look.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    I'd like (1) to do the expedient thing that prevents any damage to the wood for this season. Then, in the off-season, I'd probably like to (2) correct the "very badly done" part, if possible. I'm interested in suggestions for both!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    There's a boatyard here in Maine that has hull and deck molds for the fiberglass Celebrity, perhaps even the ones you mention. I refinished the boat for them but the varnish and many of the plywood parts were so far gone I reproduced them and finished them in epoxy and gelcoat... so i'm no help with the varnish question. Sorry, and good luck.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Welcome! Glad to have you here.

    I can't really speak to the keel repair, or how well the modification (sheathing) was done in the first place. I simply don't know enough, so I'll let others chime in.

    For the varnish, you'll at the very least want to sand the surface fair and give her a *minimum* of two coats. On my boat, that's just basic annual varnish maintenance. How well will it last? The entire season? That depands on a lot of factors:

    How long is your season, that the varnish needs to endure against the elements? The longer you keep her in, the better your chance that you'll see varnish failure.

    How much elemental stress will the boat be under? Do you live in a rainy area, where there is a high chance of freshwater intrusion into old seams that WILL move around and stress the varnish at the joints? Sunny and hot, where the UV will play hell with the varnish as well as make the seams move?

    Will the boat have a sun cover, to mitigate the elemental degredation?

    To a great extent, the more coats of varnish, the better. If I'm starting from bare wood, it's a minimum of eight coats before the boat floats, and I'm happier with ten. Everywhere there's a fracture in an old coat, that now counts as bare wood --and I see a lot of fractured varnish on that deck.

    If you're happy with your varnishing skills, and if you use *good* marine varnish --Epifanes, ZSpar, etc. (a contentious subject, I know), and if you can give her a solid three coats for a short, carefull season (through August? Judging by your helmsman I'm guessing you work to a school schedule), I'd say you had a chance of avoiding major water intrusion issues once you haul her in autumn.

    It's dicey, though. No one here could see every detail without looking her over in person, but I can see that's some old varnish that you'd be building on, and any water intrusion at all and you'll get staining that, especially with plywood, you might not get out. If it were me --and granted, I'm rather a fussbudget-- I'd take the two weeks to strip that deck and build up ten coats. That's a really pretty deck, and you don't generally get a second chance to keep brightwork looking as-new.

    You pays your moneys and you takes your chances...

    Alex

    P.S. If someone tells you to epoxy the deck, spit in their eye.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Thanks for the detailed reply!

    The good news is that I'm going to dry-sail this boat and store it in the garage (now a boathouse). So, it will only be exposed to the elements for short periods. I'm not disinclined to try to varnish it, though -- can you point me at some good instructions on technique for both stripping the deck and varnishing it? (Edit: I have varnished 0 boats.) (Edit2: How much varnish will I need? I bought one can of Epifanes, so far.)

    -M

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Knowing she'll be dry-sailed increases my optimism for your success tenfold. If she spends most of her time out of the elements, you've got a fighting chance to hold her in good shape until you can do a more extensive overhaul in the autumn.

    As for varnishing tutorial, a lot of people like Rebecca Wittman's books, such as "Brightwork: The Art Of Finishing Wood." I take exception to a few of her assertions --I hate foam brushes for anything other than quick touch-ups-- but others swear by them --my sister uses *only* foam brushes on her bright-finished sailing skiff (to excellent effect)-- and as a starting point you could do a lot worse. IIRC, the title I cited (which I have on my shelf) is more of a gallery of pretty boats; she has another book (not on my shelf) that is more of a nuts-and-bolts tutorial.

    How much varnish will you need? Hard for me to say. Looking just at the deck, not the cockpit or spars, I'd guess your quart will give you your minimum two coats. But a lot depends on the application. Looking at that much flat area, I'd be inclined to do what's called "roll and tip": use a very thin foam roller to apply the varnish evenly, bit by bit, and with each roller-full applied, brush out the newly-applied varnish with just the tip of the brush. But you'll want to hit YouTube (at a guess?) for a tutorial of that technique. With varnish, you need to lay it on quickly, brush it out, and then *do not go back and fuss with it!* And thin coats are far better than thick --and the sins of applying too little are *far* easier to atone for than those of applying too much.

    So go thin, go fast, and don't go back over what you've already brushed --even if there's a flaw, fussing with it will only make it worse. Remember that good brightwork takes *a lot* of practice. You're going to be laying a protective coat, this first time; don't get too downhearted if it looks like dreck --because there's a good chance it will. Take the summer to sand and varnish some smaller pieces --seats, bottom boards, tiller, etc.-- as practice. It's the only way you'll learn.

    Varnish, in all its aspects, is a highly contentious subject amongst those of us who prize it. I give you top marks for choosing Epifanes (what I use) --others scorn the stuff. In the end what you practice with, and learn the foibles of, is what you will get the best, most enduring results with. There are a lot of threads here on WBF for you to turn to for all sorts of advice.

    Good luck!

    Alex

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    OK, for the hole in the glass.
    Very carefully sand the edged of the GRP down to a feather edge, being careful to avoid cutting into the wood. Ensure that the edges are still adhering. Then lay up a patch of glass in epoxy. Asa you sand the glass you may find confirmation that it is polyester, which does not stick to wood very well.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Long run, do I even want the keep wrapped in glass like this? Here is another pic of the keel from the other side:

    IMG_1534.jpg

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Er.... You will have to stand on your head to view that correctly. Pic is upside down.. Let me try again:

    IMG_1534.jpg

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    If it is polyester it will not be too hard to remove. Then if you do you will find out if it is hiding any horrors.
    If you then need to glass her, use epoxy.
    If you do strip the glass, please post pictures, folk on here can then offer informed advice.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    [QUOTE=maxvitek;5590347]Long run, do I even want the keep wrapped in glass like this? [QUOTE]

    You'd need to know what the keel consists of inside the fg casing.
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    It is a 16m2 . Largest class in Holland 50 years ago. Fast in smooth water, not so good in a chop.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Since you want to sail, I'd lightly sand the deck - 220# - and lay on one or two coats of varnish. Then in the fall think.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    We have a couple Celebrities at our little sailing club and they are lovely.

    Near term, you will want to sail the boat so I would suggest a coat or two protective coats of varnish, repair the damage to the hull along the lines that Nick suggests and enjoy your boat this summer.

    Long term, the guys are being a little shy. Your hull appears to have a sheathing of fiberglass & polyester resin. This was touted as a wonder cure in the 50's and 60's to make wood boats maintenance free but it did quite the opposite, and killed many wooden boats. This sheathing traps water and creates a perfect home for rot so anywhere there is a break, and water gets in, rot develops quickly. Your hull is cold molded so it will have a little resistance, but this sheathing should be removed at your earliest convenience. Should be rather easy, the problem with polyester resin is it is a poor glue on wood, you can pull it off in strips and then see what lies beneath. My suggestion is to go old school and after repairing any damage and simply paint the hull. You will want to have a nice boat cover made this summer to protect that beautiful interior and allow the boat to breathe.

    I'd say you have a real find and I think you have captured the interest of this brain trust here. They will certainly give you good advice.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    I can't tell: is the hull itself sheathed, or just the fin?

    And again, I don't know a thing about such techniques; my advice is strictly limited to varnish in this instance.

    Alex

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    A friend of mine had one of those. It had a serious delamination problem. The cold moulded plies were separating. His "solution" was to slap some glass on it and pray. (I did my best to dissuade him, and to get him to pump some epoxy in to the plies, but I don't know what happened, as I moved shortly after he bought this boat.) However, I wonder if this glass and resin application was to hide a similar shortcoming?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Thanks, everyone, I really appreciate the feedback and advice! I am fairly sure that the hull just has paint on it, and only the keel itself is sheathed in this glass wrap. Certainly, the texture of the hull is very different and it feels decidedly like wood. The thickness seems close to what is quoted in the brochure for the mahogany ply (~7/16" -- I could take a more precise measurement). I checked the keel bolts before I bought her and they seemed to be in great condition -- almost as if they've never been wet. What else would I look for, for signs of rot? Maybe I will add some pics of the keel bolts and the inside of the hull visible from the fore and aft storage compartments, so you can all see what I'm trying to describe...

    For now, after distilling the advice you all have given me, my plan is to:
    ( 1 ) - sand with 220 and 2 coats of varnish for the deck and any other worn surface
    ( 2 ) - patch the glass on the keel
    ( 3 ) - touch up the hull paint on the patch and a few other spots that could show more crisp edges.

    I started looking into marine paint and it seems like that is an enormous and complex world. Given that this boat will sail on Lake Michigan, and that I will dry sail it, can anyone recommend a simple black paint to match the current hull?

    Thanks!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Quote Originally Posted by robm View Post
    A friend of mine had one of those. It had a serious delamination problem. The cold moulded plies were separating. His "solution" was to slap some glass on it and pray. (I did my best to dissuade him, and to get him to pump some epoxy in to the plies, but I don't know what happened, as I moved shortly after he bought this boat.) However, I wonder if this glass and resin application was to hide a similar shortcoming?
    Actually now that you put words to it, I believe there *is* one small spot in the bow ~4 inches long that looks like an inner ply coming away from the rest of the ply that forms the hull. I will take a pic and maybe addressing that in the correct way can be part of the plan this fall or winter.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Celeberties are such pretty boats and aparently lots of fun to sail as well!

    your boat is interesting as these boats were all centerboarders as far as I know? is there any evidence in the interior along the keel of a center box being removed or reworked?


    also the varnish on the deck and the hull paint is way too clean and shiny to be original to a 1960's boat, it looks to have been extensively refinished recently?


    for the ding to the Keel area, your best bet for this sailing season is a simple 2 part syringe tube of 30 minute epoxy from your local hardware store. If you can get a little pice of fiberglass cloth to put over the area and epoxy in place fien but for just the season you will be perfectly fine just sealing the dinged area with a coat or two of epoxy.


    Sailing Photos Please!

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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    For now, after distilling the advice you all have given me, my plan is to:
    That looks like a good plan of action to me. Given how rough that deck varnish is, and that you're mostly interested in just protecting it until the end of the season, you might even go up to 180 or 150 grit for the first coat, just to knock down any crackle-finish. She ain't gonna win concourse d'elegance this summer.

    Given that this boat will sail on Lake Michigan, and that I will dry sail it, can anyone recommend a simple black paint to match the current hull?
    My preferred brand is Kirby's, from back in MA. Good, basic boat paint. Goes on easily --brushing or roll-and-tip-- and wears like iron; doesn't fight you when it comes time to sand. You'll never get a Brightside / EasyPoxy / Epifanes, blind-you-when-the-light-hits-it, ultra-gloss finish, but it won't embarass you. They don't charge extra for custom colors, either, if you decide you want to change up the color scheme to something no one else has.

    Alex

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    I'll update this thread when I tackle the varnish and keel patch, but thought you might like a few pics I snapped while testing the rigging today:

    IMG_3886.jpgIMG_3872.jpgIMG_3896.jpg

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Also, here are the keel bolts: IMG_3870.jpg

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Well shoot! I'm not a pro, but none of that looks terrible. Slap some varnish to her, tingle that dent in her keel with your goo of choice, and go for a sail!

    Alex

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Introduction (& vintage Celebrity Sloop)

    Well I’m about halfway through varnishing the boat. I did another detailed inspection and have a few questions.

    First off, do you think I’m missing a piece of trim on the transom?

    22137CA5-320A-401C-9BA8-0E121D5D3851.jpg

    Is is there a good way to plug this gap so that I can varnish over it?

    B8425D70-C859-4F5E-8976-5E2867A1C0FC.jpg

    Also, I found what seems to be a hull patch. It seems sturdy and it’s not visible from the outer hull...I guess I’m wondering if you have any thoughts or if I need to put a layer of product on the patch to protect it...?

    0AF1A491-9698-4F3E-8FAF-304C83938C02.jpg

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