Chinook P-26

Chinook P-26 Haulout Album

October 18 2002 – June 18th 2003

“Chinook” is a Pearson 26 One Design sloop (built in
1979…hull 182).

In the spring of
2002, we began looking for a boat we could fix up (being that we
did not want to spend the tens of thousands on a new boat). In
August of 2002, a friend directed us to a Pearson 26 One Design
named “Liquid Asset”. The boat did have a few
problems…suffering from a bad case of osmotic blistering and a
corroded rudder shaft. The Pearson 26 came with a good name and
was a highly recommended boat. So…we decided to dive in. We
took delivery of the boat on August 17th.

We expected we
would have to put a few thousand into her to get what we wanted.

So…after a
couple of months of ownership, we decided to haul her out in
October of 2002 for overhaul. Boy…do we mean OVERHAUL.

We got her out of
the water…onto the jack-stands…and pressure washed her.
We found the osmotic blistering to be about as
expected. The blistering was about what our research
had told us to expect with this era of Pearson boat…small but
numerous blisters…a real case of “boat pox”.

It looked a lot
like the Moon’s surface on close inspection.

So…as we
expected…we had our work cut out for us. By Halloween it
was time to get the thing peeled and see what was
underneath. By early November…I had rounded up a highly
recommended person to do the peel. By the last week of
November the boat was peeled and drying out.

What we found
below the gelcoat into the laminate was quite a bit of blister
damage…with some hydrolosis. Turns out…the boat was
probably in the water quite a bit longer than the previous owner
had eluded to. That, or he simply applied more and more
bottom pain over the blisters…this is done more than many will
admit. Buyers beware. Pick the boat you really want…then
pay for a haulout and inspection.

The rudder was
also in sad shape. The rudder shaft (being made of
aluminum) was badly corroded. We knew a new rudder was probably
going to be needed going into the but…now we knew for sure.

So…off I went to
the phone and called the folks in Massachussetts who make Pearson
rudders from scratch (with a stainless shaft). We quickly
got the rudder on order (for a hefty sum).

With a new rudder
on order, and the bottom peeled…we washed the boat and let it
dry out through the middle of January. To speed the drying
process, we placed a de-humidifier inside the boat from the
middle of December on into the middle of January. By the
middle of January, we decided it was time to start sanding out
the rough spots on the exposed laminate/chop strand with 60 grit
paper on my 6 inch orbital sander.

This was the
introduction to what was to become a few months of back-breaking
work. While spending numerous hours sanding the bottom,
grinding out blister damage, and filing off damaged chop strand,
I noticed the fairing around the keel-hull joint was starting to
crack (as the boat dried out). A little digging around
revealed that there was damage into this fairing. It was a
hard pill to swallow…but the fairing had to come off…and I
had to see whether or not water had gotten past the keel-hull
joint seal and into the keelbolts and up into the plywood
mounting. So this presented me with a few days of hard work
using a hammer and chisel…in 40 degree weather and 20 knot
winds behind a front. I finally got all of the fairing
off…exposing the keel-hull joint and the heads of the

The heads of the
keelbolts looked to be in good shape…galvanized and
shiny. Probing around, I found little trace of water
intrusion. Still…I opened up the crack further to make
sure. No water was noted…so I left the joint alone for a
while to concentrate on the hullsides…and boy did they need
work, as this picture from haulout day shows…

The weather
started getting very un-cooperative in February. When I could, I
spent many hours of my time “off” from work sanding and
grinding. I ground the keel down to a shiny metal smooth surface
using a 5 inch angle grinder. I sanded the topsides using my 6
inch orbital sander and a few hundred sheets of 120 grit
paper). 60 grit paper on the sander with occasional use of
a Dremmel to grind out deeper blister damage was the main method
on the bottom. This was mind-numbing work to say the least over
the course of the next 2 months. It was now late March. I finally
completed all of the sanding and grinding, so I sealed the keel
with Ospho to keep it from rusting again. I decided it was
time to rest for a week. It was everything I dreamed it could

By early April,
with the boat sufficiently dried out and prepped, we were ready
to start putting stuff back on. The question was…West
System, Interprotect, or vinyl-ester resin? With hot
weather rapidly approaching (this was after all coastal
Alabama…daily seabreeze storms were just around the
corner…not to mention heat index values in excess of 105), it
was past time to get into high gear. I settled on
vinyl-ester because of its better moisture barrier properties
(among other reasons). In deciding on vinyl-ester, I also settled
on getting some help. So I hired a professional to come in
and apply the resin and fillers…with me doing the
sanding. Being this was my first time doing this type of
thing, going this route was a no-brainer. With me doing the
sanding and prep-work, I was able bring in the pro at a
substantially reduced cost given the many hours saved on labor
costs. I was also to learn a few things about vinyl-ester repair.

By the last week
of April (after many more weather delays) we started repairing
the keel-hull joint with vinyl-ester filler. We faired the
repair, backfilled, then faired to a final finish. Over the
next week we then rolled on several coats of clear vinyl-ester
resin to soak in and repair the laminate. The next week we
started applying the blue Duratek fairing (the blue stuff in the
picture below). While fairing the Duratek (with 220 grit
paper)…we did notice a hairline crack re-developing in the
filler along the aft keel-hull joint. After some load testing
(putting the boat in the travel-lift and driving it around the
yard while kicking and pulling on the keel)…we decided we
should probably glass in the aft quarter of the keel…so we did.
Additional load testing revealed no problems. The joint was solid
as a rock.

Finally, by the
middle of May it was all starting to come together. The
vinyl-ester resin was on the boat…the Duratek was on and we
were done with the fairing. It was time to add the primer.

Five coats of
Interprotect was then applied to the bottom…the keel and the
newly added rudder by the first week of June. We also primed the
hullsides with Mothane primer. Progess was being made!

With everything
primed…and the rudder put back on…it was time to start
applying bottom paint. It was the second week of
June. Over the next few days we put on the bottom paint and
put in the new thru-hulls.

The bottom work
was done. It was now time to put the final touch…new paint for
the topsides (and we went with safety red).

After a few coats
of safety red, the next week we painted on the stripes and put on
her new name…Chinook!

On June 18th we
proudly splashed the Chinook. A few thousand poorer…but a
lot richer on experience and knowledge.

Good luck to all
who may ever choose to follow me down this bumpy (blistered)

Jeff Garmon

Mobile, Alabama

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