Advice on refinishing the little plywood Sailboat my father build in the 60's

by Almut
(New Haven, CT, USA)

I am the new keeper of a 12 by 6 foot plywood boat that my father built in the 1960's.

It has been stored indoors and dry (mostly in TX and NM) for the last 14 years (since my sister's death), but it was pretty consistently used before that (I sailed it with my brother as a teenager- he passed away before it came into my hands).

My father has dementia and I don't have any family left who can advise me, so I am reaching out to you all for the type of advice they would have given me.

My questions are:

1. The centerboard has a little chunk out of it (collision with a rock) that needs to repair (see 4th picture).
How should I repair the daggerboard? We have some fiberglass and some resin, can I use that?

2. The finish on the mast, boom, centerboard, and tiller/rudder (all made out of wood) is peeling off and clearly needs to be refinished.
These will all be stored indoors when we don't go out to sail, so I imagine it doesn't need to be as resilient as the stuff used for larger sailboats that stay on the water for the season.
The sail runs in a groove in the boom (see second picture) and mast that I will need to clean up and finish inside as well.

Any advice on how to do this? What type of finish should I use on the mast, boom, daggerboard and rudder?

Any advice on the process of cleaning everything up and on application?

3. My sister re-finished the boat at some point (more than 14 years ago).

The bottom doesn't look very pretty (third picture), I think she put on fiberglass and epoxy.

Does it need a layer of lacquer or is it fine and just cosmetic?

The finish is peeling in places inside the boat and along the edges, making me think I need to re-lacquer everything.

Is there anything else I need to do/think about based on the pictures and considering how long it's been since the boat was re-finished/used?

What process and materials do you suggest?

4. The mast isn't straight. As I recall, it never was. Should I be concerned about this?

Although I'd like it to look nicer once I'm done with it, that isn't my highest priority (especially as an amateur).
My main goal is to get the boat out in the water again without risking real damage.

Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can impart!

Comments for Advice on refinishing the little plywood Sailboat my father build in the 60's

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Aug 20, 2020
That looks like a Moth?
by: Biff Kneecap

That appears like it shares some traits from the Moth class sailboat.

Here’s a link to some good info:

Likely someone there can help with any questions.

Jun 21, 2020
by: Bill

Very pretty.

From what I can see she just needs a good sanding down and then varnishing with a good quality, preferably oil based, varnish.

I wouldn’t worry about the chip in the daggerboard, just sand off any rough edges and make sure the edges are well sealed with varnish.

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