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1965 Lightning sailboat

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  • 1965 Lightning sailboat

    I've been wanting a Lightning for awhile, but they are hard to come by in this part of the country (central Texas). When I found a cheap one for sale in Tulsa, System-F and I ran up there and snagged it.

    It wound up needing a bit more love than I had hoped for, but it's not all that bad.

    Original pics from the Craigslist ad:





    The Lightning is a one-design racing sailboat designed in 1938 and still somewhat popular (and still raced) today. It seats 4 comfortably and is raced with 3.

    It turns out that this was one of the first foam core fiberglass boats (hell, it wasn't too far from being one of the first fiberglass boats, period... 1965. This is back when it was called "Fiberglas"). It looks like it was built out of wood and then covered in fiberglass, but the planks are actually foam sticks.

    I found a little plate at the rear of the centerboard trunk that says Martin Weir and Co and something about Ravon Fiberglas. Check out this article I found when I googled that:
    1963 Popular Mechanics, Plastic Planks

    List of things that need fixing:
    1) General trailer fixing up (paint, tires, bearings, registration etc)
    2) The trailer only supported the boat by two sideways 2x10s shaped like the hull - except the forward one wasn't shaped very well and most of the weight of the boat (700lbs+) was resting on a small part of the center chine... this put a pretty good crack/break in the hull.
    3) Two other minor cracks/dents in the outer hull (one in the bottom, one up near the rub rail)
    4) Lots of soft spots in the floor on the inside. Cracked glass repair around scupper
    5) Needs new floor boards
    6) needs deck reinforcement
    7) Teak trim and interior pieces need prettying up and in some cases repair/replacement
    8) Interior and exterior paint
    9) centerboard needs sanding and paint
    10) Seats on the port side are very weak - need to remove (which will require cutting) and reinforce them
    11) scuppers may leak - one was taped shut

  • #2
    Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

    Progress as of 10/5/10:
    1) put two brand new wheeltires on the trailer (this is my new word for a wheel/tire combo)
    2) mostly painted the trailer (needs more)
    3) Registered the boat
    4) got a plate for the trailer
    5) bought a trolling motor and wired it up with a nice 50A Anderson connector (like those big winch power disconnects)
    6) Replaced the evil trailer bunk
    7) Added a 3rd trailer bunk up front to better support the boat
    8) Glassed over the two hull-bottom cracks (one small, one big)
    9) Added fiberglass fairing compound to the two glass patches
    10) Started sanding down fairing compound to make the surface ready to paint

    The boat is red on the sides now, with a white top, interior, and bottom. It was originally kind of baby blue.

    I think I'm going to go with the Electric Blue color from Easypoxy ( color chart ) for the sides and the bottom of the hull, white for the top of the deck, and maybe gray for the interior.

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    • #3
      Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

      Here are some pre-repair pictures. Unfortunately I didn't take pics of the big crack in the hull or when we first prepped it and laid down the glass, but I figured better late than never on the pics.





      Rub rail won't stay screwed in here. Note the white 5200 (or something) in the left part of the picture - there is something fishy going on in this area.


      Previous repair around a scupper that's cracked and needs a redo:


      Foam under the port side seats (the ones that are very weak - they give and crack a lot when you sit on them)

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      • #4
        Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

        Some pics of it in its current state 10/8/10 (LOTS of sanding dust on everything now - that's what that white stuff is all over the place)
        Bad glass peeled off the front, but not sanded down yet (I may or may not put a bit more glass on the bow)


        A little filler in a ding on the port side:


        A lot of filler to fix that cracked area where the rub rail wouldn't stay screwed in. There had been a previous repair in this area that I decided to sand off and redo the whole thing - so it got bigger than it looks like was justified by the original "problem" pic


        Pic of the little forward bunk we made for the trailer:


        Pic of the big hull repair. The darkest stuff you can see in two little spots is just a bit more filler I put on last night. The larger dark area that those two really dark spots are in is the whole repair area. The whole area is maybe 2 feet long and a foot and a half wide. We put down 2 layers of that heavy biaxial cloth System-F had (which is, itself, a layer of cloth sewn to a layer of chopped stranded mat - so it's really 4 layers of glass) and then I went back over it and smeared on a bunch of bondo-glass (fiberglass fibers in goo) as a fairing compound to try to smooth it and blend it down to the rest of the hull. This will require a bit more sanding and possibly more fairing compound before it's really done and ready to paint.


        Pic of the smaller hull-bottom repair. This was a 2-3" crack that we put a 6" patch on - also 2 layers covered with fairing compound (it'll take a bit more compound and sanding before it's done as well)

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        • #5
          Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

          Random pic of the dusty forward half of the boat with the forward floorboards removed. There are many soft spots in the floor here that will require glass. I'm probably going to just use a layer or two of CSM per Keith's recommendation. The floorboards are on the deck to the right - I'm going to replace them with new wood... that stuff wasn't teak and it's rotten.


          Closeup of the bad spots in the floor



          God my garage is a mess... but here is the trolling motor I bought for this thing. It's a Minn Kota Endura (one of the more powerful ones in their low-end line). I've never had a sailboat with a motor on it, but this will help a lot when launching etc. I was testing it with that Optima red top, but I'll buy a marine battery (and find somewhere to mount it) before this is all done
          Oh - it's brand new... just covered in dust like everything else in the garage from this project.


          Aaaand another wide shot of the whole thing and more of my messy garage.


          Oh - I also ordered my paint today.... 1 gallon of easypoxy undercoater, 2 quarts of Electric Blue for the sides and bottom, 1 quart of white for the deck. I'll worry about the interior later - maybe bilgekote or just rustoleum.

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          • #6
            Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

            Nice work, Glad to see an old Lighting getting saved. GH

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            • #7
              Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

              Almost all my sailing was in a Lightning. Seeing the post brought back lots of memories. Like sailing in the sea plane landing strips in Oahu cut out of the coral. And in a blustery squall in Casco Bay, Maine. Great boats.

              Thanks and good sailing.
              http://s860.photobucket.com/albums/a...nanabert/Boat/

              sigpic

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              • #8
                Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                I probably went a bit overboard on the bow... it really wasn't THAT bad - but it's hard not to keep going with that flapper disk on the grinder


                HERE is the before shot (not reposted because it's in one of my initial posts above.

                Here it is ground down, with 2 layers of CSM fiberglass added:


                Here it is after a bit of fairing and sanding:

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                • #9
                  Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                  Some more updates:

                  A patch on the floor opposite the smaller patch on the bottom of the hull:



                  All right! I got the main forward interior repair done. This was the biggest thing keeping this boat from being seaworthy... there is still a tremendous amount of work to do - I wouldn't even say I'm half done - but if I wanted to take the boat sailing tomorrow I believe I could do it now.

                  I finally learned to do my glass work with pants and a long sleeve shirt on... the glass bits get in your skin and itch like crazy (Though a tip: duct tape helps to pull the fibers out of your skin).

                  I also figured out a neat trick to help pull the wet sheets of fiberglass through the slot that I had to get them through using a piece of folded over wax paper. I could get the glass through the slot and in place because it was sitting on a slippery piece of wax paper, and then I just pulled on the end of the folded-under piece of paper to peel it out from under the sheet of glass (hopefully that makes sense).

                  There was a lot of bad glass, bad foam and mud under that slot. I dug it out with my scraper and knife and put a heater on it for a couple hours to dry it out as much as possible. I wish I'd filled it back in with something before glassing it over - but it'll be okay.

                  Anyway - to the pics:



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                  • #10
                    Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat




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                    • #11
                      Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                      I finally decided to tear into the port side seats. They creaked, cracked, and bent every time I sat on them (the starboard side seats need help too - but they're not as bad).

                      I decided I wouldn't be able to do a good job without cutting the seats out so I could work on them upside down:


                      I ended up pulling out all of the foam stuff - except what was under the seat supports - to get down to bare glass and I added 3 layers of CSM.

                      I think a better plan would have been 2 layers of glass, then a support rib running down the center and a 3rd layer of glass over that. I'm going to add that rib (made from some 1x2) to this section and then do the same thing to the other segments of the seat.

                      pre-glass:


                      post-glass:

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                      • #12
                        Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                        Enjoyed seeing the pics of your 1965 Lightning Sailboat...Just started restoring a '67...are you in the water yet? - I hope to have mine ready by this summer. I'll be sailing in Canyon Lake, TX in 2011, if all goes well.

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                        • #13
                          Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                          Not done yet - making very slow but steady progress. Let me know if you want to have a 2 boat Lightning regatta... I'm in Austin

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                          • #14
                            Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                            Finished the port side seat. I didn't bother to dust it off before the pic

                            For the last bit I just laid glass over the existing plastic "boards" rather than cutting it all out like I did to the rest of it.


                            It's definitely heavier than it used to be, but it's also strong.

                            I also finished reinforcing the portion of the underside of the deck on the port side that I wanted to (you have to stand on this area to step the mast so I wanted it strong). I'll do the starboard side at some point as well.


                            Doing glass upside down was a heck of a learning curve. I wasted quite a bit of glass and even got to feel what polyester resin + MEKP feels like in the eyeball - not pleasant.

                            The tricks I learned for upside-down work are:
                            1) Use many small pieces of fiberglass rather than a couple of big ones. The seat work got me used to wetting out 2 layers of glass at a time, up to 12"x26" or so, and then carrying them to where I wanted them to go and laying them down. In the end I wound up using 12"x6" pieces, one at a time, to do the upside down work. That's small enough that you can hold it up with one hand and get it rolled down with the resin roller with your other hand.
                            2) A resin roller is required equipment. It's a small hard plastic tool used to push the wet glass down and roll it smooth. pic:

                            3) WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES AT ALL TIMES! Also a respirator (worth every penny), a hat to keep resin out of your hair(I cut the brim off a ball cap), rubber gloves (I used vinyl - but i think latex is actually better), long sleeves etc.

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                            • #15
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                              Re: 1965 Lightning sailboat

                              Considering renaming this boat "patches".

                              Wanted to get started on prepping and painting the hull to make me feel better about this neverending project, but ended up deciding to push forward with the interior repairs a bit farther. I finished all of the interior patches on the port side and the port side seat is ready to be glassed back in.
                              Unfortunately, I pretty much need to do all this same stuff to the starboard side (remove the seat, fix it, patch a couple spots in the starboard floor etc).



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