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Thread: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

  1. #1
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    Default My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    For many years, I have been pondering the notion of building a Chesapeake Bay sharpie, and I went so far as to buy the study plans for Reuel Parker's Terrapin 25. I've read his "The Sharpie Book" all the way through probably three times over the years. But I also know that it would take years to get it built, and I likely would lose interest along the way.

    Anyhow, I came across this while browsing Facebook Marketplace a couple weeks ago. It's a Glen-L "Fancy Free", which is clearly inspired by the traditional sharpie, if not truly be exactly a traditional sharpie. In any case, it is pretty much exactly what I had been drooling over and considering building or buying, for years. So I ended up contacting the seller, and long story short, she followed me home on Sunday. Seven hours round-trip.

    290300327_5813935791969743_6311355018666806515_n.jpg

    These are pics from the seller - I haven't had a chance to get my own, better pics yet. These pics are several years old, from when she was in the water - he had it stored in a big metal building for the past 6 years or so.

    289924079_5920968731263536_2095624950153081730_n.jpg

    290625437_5222945827786240_173190841692061680_n.jpg

    Recent interior photos:

    291851160_1442052039599823_7670451572103519438_n.jpg

    292448261_467343365221655_6279494311291611754_n.jpg

    The good news:


    • The boat is sound and dry overall. But it definitely needs some work.
    • It is complete - mast, boom, all rigging, main and jib sails, sail cover, tiller
    • Trailer is in decent condition overall, but needs a little work.
    • Included a 4 hp Tohatsu outboard that he converted to run on propane.


    The bad news:


    • There are a couple spots where water got in and caused delamination and rot, but it's mostly very localized, so it doesn't compromise the structural integrity of the boat. But there are several areas that are going to need to be torn out and rebuilt.
    • The worst area is the cockpit decking, which is largely going to need to be torn out and completely replaced, along with some of the supporting beams. Nothing huge, just a pain.
    • His idea of a universal solution to any crack, crevice, leak, or patch was to jam it full of 5200. So I'm going to have to tear out some of his "repairs" and re-do them properly.
    • Pretty much every surface needs a good sanding and then paint or varnish.


    Fortunately for me, I just built a 30 x 40 workshop building last year, so I will be pulling the boat and trailer inside and then coming up with a way to get the boat off the trailer, so I can pull the trailer back outside to work on it and keep the boat inside to work on it over the winter.

    Hope to have her on the water by next fall.

    I'll post more pics and progress as I get them.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Looks like you found yourself a fun little project/boat. Hopefully as you tear into it your initial assessment pans out. Looking at the PO pictures, compared to some others found on the internet I wonder why they had the mast canted so far forward?
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Nice tidy boat!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I wonder why they had the mast canted so far forward?
    I'm gonna go with "didn't really know what they were doing" - maybe?

    It certainly will be interesting to finally get her in the water and play with the rig to see how it handles.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    What a cutie! Looking forward to your thread

  6. #6
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Everybody needs a hobby...

    She'll definitely be better off in your care than under her previous master's. Keep us posted on your progress for repairs / remediations / improvements!
    Last edited by sp_clark; 07-26-2022 at 06:09 PM.
    When the people wanted the Constitution amended, it was amended. When the elites wanted the Constitution amended, but the people did not, that is called democracy."

    Thomas Sowell, JWR August 3, 2022

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Nice looking boat, Bill - and a great way to 'shortcut' the build time to get yourself on the water ! ! !




    Rick
    Charter Member - - Professional Procrastinators Association of America - - putting things off since 1965 " I'll get around to it tomorrow, .... maybe "

  8. #8
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Thanks, everyone. Yes, I believe she will be a sweet little (emphasis on "little") craft once I get her all back in good sailing condition.

    I brought her back on Sunday and didn't get a chance to shove her into the shop building, and of course, it poured down rain Monday and Tuesday, so Tuesday afternoon, I was determined to get her inside.

    Here is one of my favorite toys pulling my newest favorite toy:

    IMG_20220726_173950008_HDR.jpg

    Got her neatly squeezed into the shop.

    IMG_20220726_181406126_HDR.jpg

    IMG_20220726_181543829_HDR.jpg


    And managed to still have room to squeeze the tractor back in there too.

    IMG_20220726_182132957.jpg
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Very cool! I've built a couple of Glen L boats (sailing dinghy and kayak). I love the sort of vintage DIY look they have. I'm also a sharpie dreamer. Enjoy!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Once inside, I got to work on pulling out all the stuff that came with her - the boom, sails, cushions, cabin sole pieces, and a few other bits and bobs.

    Because she had sat outside for two days, during which we got two massive rain storms, I pumped about 50 gallons of dirty water out of her.

    And then I could start to better assess the damage.

    The cockpit area has the most extensive damage. Not only was there some rot, but the previous owner went a little loco with the sawzall to see the extent of the rot. He also hacked that "hatch" opening closest to the bottom of the picture, and built that little storage compartment that you can see in there. It is very badly done, so I'm going to have tear all that apart and re-build it all.

    I'm trying to not have to completely re-deck the entire area aft of the cabin, because that would mean I would have to remove the coamings and toe rails, etc. I think I can get away with removing the deck from the cockpit area inside of the coamings and patch one or two small areas outside of the coamings. There is some minor damage to one or two of the deck beams, so I'll probably have to cut them out and replace them or sister new ones in.

    IMG_20220726_184308355_HDR.jpg

    Here we can see the patch that the P.O. slapped into the corner of the cabin roof. There is a grab rail that runs the full length of the roof, and apparently, the rear-most screw hole leaked and there was water intrusion and delamination there. The patch is not quite the same thickness as the rest of the roof, and he glopped all kinds of 5200 all around it, so all of that has to come out to be properly re-done.

    We can also see how the beadboard top layer of the companionway hatch is all rotten. The good thing is that the under layers and structure of the hatch seem completely fine. So I just have to rip out that rotten top layer and replace it. The hatch is well made overall and slides nicely and easily forward and back, so that's nice.

    IMG_20220726_184311904_HDR.jpg

    Standing on the foredeck, looking aft.

    IMG_20220726_184354855.jpg

    The foredeck hatch is badly rotted and the whole thing will need to be rebuilt, including the curbing and possibly some small areas of the adjacent deck. Which actually is fine with me, because honestly, I think that hatch is ugly anyway, and I probably will replace it with a lexan hatch to let some light in.

    IMG_20220726_184342385.jpg

    She'll need a lot of cleaning, and some tidying of wiring, replacing of running lights, and several small areas of rot patched, but that really appears to be most of it.

    The chine joint is opening up slightly in some areas, and the P.O. "fixed" this by - you guessed it - filling the cracks with 5200. Any time there was any crack or anything, he squirted 5200 in it.

    The bottom is not glassed, so I'm thinking I might want to reef out all that 5200 and fill the joint with epoxy and maybe run biaxial tape with epoxy along the chine joint? I'm definitely welcoming recommendations for the more experienced plywood builders here.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Great find! I'm familiar with Glen-L boats both from afar and up close. Every year there is a "Gathering" of Glen-L builders in the Chattanooga area. They have been doing this for about 15 years I think. I've been to a half dozen of them. Some beautiful boats show up! I've never seen a Fancy Free up close but have "fancied" building one. Always liked it.

    BTW: here's a pic of one of the Glen-L boats at the "Gathering"

    2014-09-20 001 009.jpg

  12. #12
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Musta been slow towing her home with the tractor

    Fun boat & I hope she works out for you. Next fall meaning 2023?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Musta been slow towing her home with the tractor
    Haw haw haw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Fun boat & I hope she works out for you. Next fall meaning 2023?
    Yeah, I run a small business and have lots of other demands on my time, so there's no way I'm even going to suggest that I will get everything that this boat needs done by this fall.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by ILikeRust View Post
    Yeah, I run a small business and have lots of other demands on my time, so there's no way I'm even going to suggest that I will get everything that this boat needs done by this fall.
    I wouldn't know anything about that. Which of the next 39 things do I need to do before I can work on the boat?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  15. #15
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    So I started digging in for real this weekend.

    As I started tearing out rotten plywood, I discovered the rot and damage went a little deeper than it had appeared at first, which honestly I fully expected to find.

    As I kept cutting things out, I finally decided to just remove the entire mess of the cockpit, so I could start over and build it the way I want it.

    What I began with - the condition in which I bought it:

    IMG_20220806_112350784.jpg

    Where I was after a couple hours' work yesterday afternoon:

    IMG_20220806_165718968~2.jpg

    And after a few more hours' work this morning:

    IMG_20220807_121135488_HDR.jpg

    IMG_20220807_122008976_HDR.jpg
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Looks like a nice find and a great project Bill, I look forward to following your work on her.
    cheers
    Greg
    Larks

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    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Already a huge improvement

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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Consider making the whole cockpit a drop in stitch n glue. Minimal or zero framing, just epoxy filets with a bit of fg tape.
    With epoxy, we have the ability to avoid the pitfalls of conventional constructs of 70 years ago.
    Especially being a small boat, you do not need so much framing and caveman structure there.
    god I hate that 5200
    bruce

  19. #19
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    god I hate that 5200
    He built the entire boat with it.

    And then the guy I bought it from, who bought it from the family of the guy who built it, did some "repairs" and "modifications" that involved slathering on excessively copious quantities of 5200.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Which leads me to ask - being that this is a relatively low-cost, screw-and-glue boat, what adhesive, if not 5200, would y'all recommend. The deck is 3/8 MDO, which is what I am going to use. The framing is pretty simple - mostly fir, some oak here and there, and then a little mahogany.

    I figure that glue and screw is the simplest, easiest, quickest way to build it back out, especially the interior and parts that will be pretty much dry all the time. Anywhere that will be exposed to water or weather, I plan on using epoxy (on top of the deck, etc.).
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    I am a rank amateur but if you are going to epoxy the deck why not just use thickened epoxy for the screw and glue work. Strong, water tight and very forgiving of poor fit. Wood flour would work but you could get fancy and use West System fillers. Epoxy with cellulose micro-balloons makes an OK fairing compound.

    You will now get some good advice for others, (1) "Don't listen to amateurs." (2) some conflicting advice on the best adhesives that are proper for boat building.

    Some epoxy info: https://www.westsystem.com/wp-conten...k-061205-1.pdf

    PS. That is a sweet looking boat, enjoy it.
    Steamboat

    I get by with the judicious use of serendipity.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Do you really need to reef out the 5200? If it’s sticking well why not leave it, fair it and glass over it? Of course reef out anything that’s not been properly bonded and clean up where they’ve made a mess of it, but 5200 generally provides a terrifically strong bond so I’m wondering what you’d gain by going to the effort of reefing it out where it’s been used in the construction?

    As for what you are building now yourself, yes - go with epoxy for the glue and as Bruce suggests, build the cockpit off the boat and drop it in (though you shouldn’t need to stitch it being essentially square, just epoxy for glue and glass taped seams).

    For other screw and glue work I use Titebond III Ultimate
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    In the eighties I used resorcinol, but it's rare and expensive now. For screw and glue I use Titebond III.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    With the topsides so rotten, have you given the entire bottom a good honest poke?
    It'll be a sweet little sailboat once restored.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.
    Skiing is the next best thing to having wings.

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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    “Screw and glue” is the “caveman “ construction I referred to earlier.
    There is really no point .

  26. #26
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Larks View Post
    Do you really need to reef out the 5200? If it’s sticking well why not leave it, fair it and glass over it? Of course reef out anything that’s not been properly bonded and clean up where they’ve made a mess of it, but 5200 generally provides a terrifically strong bond so I’m wondering what you’d gain by going to the effort of reefing it out where it’s been used in the construction?
    Sorry, I should have been clearer - there are a few areas where the chine joint has opened up a bit (the seller told me he left the boat in the water for about two years, and that's apparently when the decay started). He squirted 5200 in the little cracks. I'm not sure how well it's bonded in there - I'm not talking about the original bond when the original builder put it together. I also was wondering how well epoxy would work over old 5200.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larks View Post
    As for what you are building now yourself, yes - go with epoxy for the glue and as Bruce suggests, build the cockpit off the boat and drop it in (though you shouldn’t need to stitch it being essentially square, just epoxy for glue and glass taped seams).
    Well, it's hard to describe/explain, but I honestly don't see how I can build the cockpit outside of the boat and then drop it into what's there. It will be much easier - for me, anyhow - to build from the existing structure inward.

    Quote Originally Posted by Larks View Post
    For other screw and glue work I use Titebond III Ultimate
    Thanks!
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    With the topsides so rotten, have you given the entire bottom a good honest poke?
    Oh yes, I pocked and knocked all over the boat before I agreed to buy it and hauled it away.

    The topsides are solid, and most of the deck and cabin are sound as well. It's just that area of the cockpit that was the worst, and one or two small areas on the deck that suffered some water incursion. Overall, the whole structure is quite sound - just some specific areas that will need tearing out and patching/replacing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    It'll be a sweet little sailboat once restored.
    I think so!
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by ILikeRust View Post


    Well, it's hard to describe/explain, but I honestly don't see how I can build the cockpit outside of the boat and then drop it into what's there. It will be much easier - for me, anyhow - to build from the existing structure inward.



    Thanks!
    go with what’s easiest for you Bill. The advantage of being able to build the cockpit off the hull and drop it in is that you can tape and epoxy the outside of all of the corners making the bottom that bit stronger. The disadvantage is getting the shape and size absolutely correct, particularly if the spot for it on the boat isn’t completely symmetrical.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  29. #29
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    And as to the question about glassing the chines -- by all means. Or more. If it were my boat, I'd want to turn it over at this point, while it's stripped and light, and sand down, fair and glass the entire bottom, around the chines and over the waterline a couple of inches. Or to the rail, really.

    Editing to add: I just looked at the Glen-L specs for this boat. It calls for 620 pounds of ballast. Is all of that tucked in there somewhere? (Makes flipping her over a bit more of a job unless it's easily removed.)
    Last edited by Woxbox; 08-10-2022 at 08:11 PM.
    -Dave

  30. #30
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Flip now seems worth considering. Most of the wt is in the centerboard per plans. something like 460 lbs

  31. #31
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Larks View Post
    go with what’s easiest for you Bill. The advantage of being able to build the cockpit off the hull and drop it in is that you can tape and epoxy the outside of all of the corners making the bottom that bit stronger. The disadvantage is getting the shape and size absolutely correct, particularly if the spot for it on the boat isn’t completely symmetrical.
    Yes, that's it exactly! Thanks.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    And as to the question about glassing the chines -- by all means. Or more. If it were my boat, I'd want to turn it over at this point, while it's stripped and light, and sand down, fair and glass the entire bottom, around the chines and over the waterline a couple of inches. Or to the rail, really.
    Which honestly was my original plan, but then the thought of flipping the boat over is more than mildly daunting. But now you saying it out loud serves only to reinforce my initial instinct that that's what I should do. Thanks for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Editing to add: I just looked at the Glen-L specs for this boat. It calls for 620 pounds of ballast. Is all of that tucked in there somewhere? (Makes flipping her over a bit more of a job unless it's easily removed.)
    Lead blocks bolted along the center beam:

    IMG_20220807_122013930_HDR.jpg IMG_20220807_122018428_HDR.jpg

    I suppose I can unbolt all of those. Probabiy will label them all so I can keep track of where they go back, to make sure the bolt holes line up.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    I would think those bolts are lags.
    As lags, I would want to remove them for inspection and "hardening up" the holes anyway.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    So I've had a couple people with experience in the boat building industry and plywood boats express their opinion and belief that I should NOT fiberglass the hull. Just keep it well painted with a good quality paint. I like that idea because of simplicity and expense. This seems to be one of those things where both options seem reasonably convincing and I don't have enough personal experience to decide which way to take it. I don't want this to turn into a bigger project than it needs to be. I am mindful of the fact that this boat is about 20 years old and was never glassed... But I am always open to hear guidance from experienced individuals.
    - Bill T.
    - Ashland, VA

    Motorcycles or sailboat; either way I'll be camping.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: My "new" (to me) Glen-L Fancy Free

    I built a fir ply dinghy in about 1987. Galvanized screws, resorcinol glue, seams glass taped outside with polyester resin. Basically all the sins. I stored it on a beach for years. The next owner did the same. I last saw it less than ten years ago, it was still sound and serving. I've owned other plywood boats that were just painted and lasted decades. If yours were going to fail for lack of 'glass, it would have already.

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