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Thread: 5.5 metre project

  1. #1
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    Default 5.5 metre project

    I have always admired lines of classic metre boats and wanted to own one. I have been looking to buy cheapest of metre boats - 5.5´s and last summer I found one which suited my price level in other words cheap.

    It is one of oldest ones in its class designed by Tore Holm in 1950 and its class certificate was gifted in 1951. It has pretty successfull racing career sailed by its second owner 1951-54 and it even competed in olympics being in results at the bottom of best 1/3. Boat was sailed until early 2000´s when it needed serious work done for its deck. After work was stalled it stood from 2007 to this date on dry land.

    Now what I plan to do with it. I have searched all the data I could find from it and results are little disappointing. I have just few pictures, but highlight is line drawings and measurement certificate. Boat today lacks deck, deck frames and needs approximately 20 new frames around bilge but luckily rest of woodwork is in almost great shape. Goal of this project is to make this boat good racer for 5.5 metre "classic" class. https://www.5.5class.org/about
    So this is not going to be restoration to original look as I dont even have enough pictures of boat to do anything other than guesswork. What I am planning to do instead is to return this to close original look (placement and type of cockpit) and otherwise just keep period correct look while taking advatanges of modern equipment/modifications that class rules allow.

    Current workplan is following:
    Removal of ballast keel & paint - done
    Repair of deckframe shelf - in progress
    Making sure that boat matches with original measurement certificate and line drawings
    Making new deck frames
    Replacing broken frames with new ones, steam bended in fore and aft, laminated in bilge
    Fixing rot damage in keel stock which is against rudder
    Finishing outside of hull and replacing boards that need replacement
    Making new deck - will be plywood as originally

    I will dump quickly recap parts I have already done.
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    Last edited by Pertsa; 12-17-2020 at 12:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Luckily good looking mahogany was found under white paint. Removal of keel started by removing lower boards from keel. Looks bad but it is actually just dirt. I had to scoop few buckets of leafs and other dirt from bilge. Old fashioned lead paint makes wonders.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Which Olympic Games did it compete in? 1948 London was too early, so that leaves 1952 Helsinki. I doubt it went to Melbourne in '56 or Rome in '60. There's a good chance there are photos of it competing, as well as in competing at the trials. Great project btw.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    That is correct it was 1952 Helsinki, I thought that it is easy to get pictures from olympics, but I have had no luck so far. I have one bad picture from olympics and one bad picture from trials. I would guess that there is pictures in newspaper archieves, but I really dont have way to get them.
    Here are the ones I have.

    Edit. And boat is A-1/ L-1 in these pictures.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    I hope Mickey Lake sees this thread.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Here is pictures of keel removal process. DIY puller worked like a dream. Bronze keel bolts are great thing, this job would have been horror with steel bolts. I am going to replace them with new ones made from bronze also.
    As I did not have lifting equipment I had to pull keel forwards and then turn it on its side. Had to be careful as it weighs 1250kg.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project


  8. #8
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Quote Originally Posted by xkdrolt View Post
    5. Gullvinge, it won Finnish trials but for some reason 8. Teresita was selected.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Actually why did you remove the ballast keel? Is the wood keel decayed?

    Just asking ....

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Great looking project!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Quote Originally Posted by debenriver View Post
    Actually why did you remove the ballast keel? Is the wood keel decayed?
    Firstly ballast keel itself needs some repairs because water has gotten into keel bolt apertures and when frozen it has cracked the cast. Repairs are easier without it being in boat.
    Secondly I had some suspects for part marked in picture, which ended up having rot in area marked with blue.
    Any ideas what should I do with it. I am tempted to change just part of it as rest of wood is good and it would need lots of disassembly of rest of boat to get it removed completely.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Does the 3rd photo in post #6 show almost buttjointed ribs at the turn of the bilge? It looks like a line of bolt heads securing them to the planking.
    That area marked as rotten is on a key component of the backbone.
    I've never repaired a carvel yacht, so my instinct to scarf that sternpost from the bottom forward corner to 2/3 of the way up the back edge reflects my epoxy ways.
    It would mean the disruption of the planking and shape control caused by replacing the stern post would be mitigated.
    I do like metre boats though, so will be watching closely.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Quote Originally Posted by Slacko View Post
    Does the 3rd photo in post #6 show almost buttjointed ribs at the turn of the bilge? It looks like a line of bolt heads securing them to the planking.
    It does indeed looks like it, but it is actually early unsuccessful try to repair cracking ribs. They are upside down U shaped supports made from brass or bronze. Plan is to replace those frames with laminated ones like suggested by boatbuilders that have restored 5.5m class boats. They will be replaced completely or just partially from keel to halfway up (picture). Upper part of ribs are still like new and sit properly fixed on planks.

    That sounds like plan I have been shaping, I do also accept epoxy as tool in these kind of repairs as it does not cause any danger to other parts of structure and does not make future work any harder. In that kind of repair bolts that are already in construction would help securing the repair. Area of rot is quite small and some would be probably OK with just carwing it out and filling the hole, but I prefer using as large pieces of wood in repairs as possible.

    Current time estimation I have is at least 2 years of work with hull, so there will be quite many posts.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    The sternpost is a pretty big piece of timber and the blue area is a relatively small part of it.

    I would chop out the decayed timber and let in a graving piece, epoxied in if everything is dry and clean enough for that to be viable. If the rot is deeper there is really no reason why you can't cut off most of the bottom and let a whole new piece in. You could then let in a graving piece each side housed into the new piece and the deadwood forward of it – this would tie the parts together, though they're probably not tied together now in any real sense.

    The rotten area is below the wood keel and the stern knee, so really you are into an essentially non-structural area – basically a deadwood that performs little structural function.

    I certainly wouldn't consider removing the sternpost if it is basically sound.

    Cheers -- George
    To be truly free to live, one must be free to think and speak.

    A C Grayling

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    I'm of no help at all, I know nuthin' but

    wow.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Lurking and learning - carry on.
    It's all fun and games until Darth Vader comes.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    True amount of rot will be known when I start to remove bad wood from there, but it is probably good way to just first remove bad wood. If it happens to be reasonable small amount there is no unneccessary work.
    Lot to learn to me aswell.

    Few more pictures, test of rig for laminating frames and few glued ones. Seems to be working well and resulting frame is very close to needed shape.
    Also removed covering board, it had varnished cotton stripe under it that has protected planking and frames pretty well. Only few fittings in rear of hull have compromized its intergrity and there is some serious rot damage in knees. Good thing is that those parts are as easy as it gets to replace. Some upper ends of frames need to be repaired but there is less than 10 of those.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Nice boat, and the condition is not bad at all. Thanks for the pictures.
    What wood are you using for the laminated frames? I would suggest laminating the knees also, or go with metal ones.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    I am pretty happy about condition of hull also. Deck is easy job as there is no need for interor work or deckhouse.
    I am going to use ash which is traditionally used in Finland. Only real drawback compared to white oak is lack of rot resistance, which in my experience has not been issue and even less with laminated frames. Laminating knees would be good idea, might even allow some weight savings and they are not very visible in this boat so laminated look is not issue. But I will not use metal knees as I try to stick mostly on original plans of Tore Holm.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Ash is pretty good. Here we have a lot of black locust, same flexibility and price as ash, higher rot resistance then oak. As for the laminated look, frame or knee, just paint them.
    Have you tought of dry ice blasting the inside? Saves a lot of scraping the old coatings.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Sounds like perfect boatbuilding wood.

    I think I go with old fashioned way and just use heat gun and scrape. Toughest part is of course bilge with lead paint but that area is relatively small. Floors I remove one by one for checking them and repairing if needed.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Today I continued work to replace beam shelf. Some frames had taken dry rot damage because leaky deck, but rot wasnt too far in them. I used belt sander to sand rot away and new wood is glued on place of them. After that added part will be sanded to frame dimensions. There will be also rivets from beam shelf and boards which will strenghten joint. This is the style of repair I personally hate, but in this case changing whole frame would have been idiotic. After all there is not much force carried by end of frame and it is not even visible.

    Benefit of cheap power tools, you can modify them easily. This had plastic housing for better dust control, but it prevented this to be used between frames. Few minutes with knive and problem was gone.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    This is a wonderful project, and I congratulate you on finding this wonderful piece of history and setting her to rights. She is going to be a beautiful boat once again.

    Mickey Lake
    'A disciple of the Norse god of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker'

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Following with interest. Good on you for bringing this boat back to life.
    Cheers,
    Mike.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    It is important to keep these few old examples alive. Quite many of them has been lost as chainsaw victims.

    I have almost finished work with rotten frame heads. Next few small frames in extreme aft needs to be replaced. After that I can start adding new beam shelf which is already made.

    Also I got few old pictures of Gullvinge from photographer Jorma Rautapää who was very kind and looked trough his old negative archieves to find pictures. If you like beautiful wooden boats check his website: https://www.sailsandsea.fi/

    493867483.jpg51633345.jpg

  26. #26
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    What I have done last weeks:

    • Lofted two aftmost stations
    • Cut temporary frame
    • Removed frames from aft of hull

    I have done these as at some point of boats history transom has been replaced with one that is unsymmetrical. Now this issue has to be fixed before I can continue. When I tested my loft of aft stations against hull I noticed that there is approximately 1,5 cm ~ 0,5 inch difference in radius of curvature of hull in aft. I am going to do my best to remove such difference, but what you think. How much that will affect performance of hull.

    I also found source for high quality quatersawn pine. And seller is just 15 miles (nautical) away from me.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Beautiful boat and great work Pertsa, I keep following this thread.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Final picture in post#26: What is that massive chuck of wood spanning the keel and through bolted to it? What function does it serve?

    I can't believe the fine condition of the planking.

    It's nice to see a project like this being restored by someone who obviously knows what they are doing.


    Edited: Looking at post #25, I see others like it so I suppose they are floors. I'm used to seeing floors up against the frames, not in the middle of the space between frames.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Thank you, I hope that I can soon post pictures with some real progress. Visible progress.

    Yes, that is floor. Not single floor in this boat is against frame. Probably has something to do with fact that frames in these are super light and tightly spaced. There is not much support for floor from frames.
    Condition of planking is main reason I bought this boat. I inspected two other 5.5´s and this seemed to have best planking condition. I have heard that building of this boat stalled multiple times because they run out of materials good enough quality. That is probably the reason it is still in such great shape.
    Well, I dont always know exactly what to do, but I mostly know what not to do. I have point of view "hobbyist can make as nice things as professional - it just takes more tries and time to make it right", it is just about what level of finish you are OK. That guides nicely.
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    There was a 5.5 in my neighborhood when I was growing up. It fueled my lust for years. At the time, there was nothing like it.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Do you remember what was name of that 5.5, would be nice to know if it is still around? These were quite advanced boats back then I suppose? Lots of controls, although hullshape is still very oldschool.

    Anyway, work continues.
    Aft was strenghtened with few beams.
    And then with careful use of puukko, hammer and reciprocating saw transom was removed. Transom was made of good quality mahogany so I will be using it again as plugs. Maybe I should leave it as it is, like those sportboats. And you can see easily from frames removed that there was serious issue with shape. Another side has 3 cracked frames.
    And reminder why to avoid steel in boats.

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    I'm following!

  33. #33
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    I love watching this project.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Today was time of unconventional techniques. Steel plate was used to tie free boardends together. This worked just as planned and it made controlling shape of stern easy. I checked that shape is close to original design, steel plate made this also much easier as in drawings last station was middle of transom. So half of it was in air. Next new laminated heavy frame for stern will be made. Transom will be just thin piece of mahogany, but heavily curved.
    In the meantime I started to 3d model boat, I will print this into halfmodel with my friends 3d printer.
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: 5.5 metre project

    Clever. I'm a fan of the unconventional. Enjoying the progress.
    Cheers,
    Mike.

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