Sewell Mountain Sailing

Learn to sail Free in West Virginia

What's being done in the shop and around the Pond

Most sail boats have many lives, over the years, I have discovered working on and restoration projects can be almost as much fun as sailing. Here you will find works in progress, a few tec. pic's , and finished projects old and new.

(Newest projects are at the bottom of page)

A classic example of a trailer after years of neglect


When we started on this trailer project, rust had nearly won the battle. It was difficult to load the Lightning 19' seen here and barely safe for the road ... The few shots that follow show both the changes and end results.

Without a good trailer, you're going nowhere ...

Proper fit and the addition of forward side bunks (seen here without carpet) has this trailer ready for rust removal and the new paint job.

Paint work nearly done

Although not a professional job, it came out fine. The cream color went over two coats of Rust-o-leum primer

Don's Lightning 19 back on her trailer

With a new set of tires, new wheel bearings, new lights, fitted side guides, fresh paint, and a new mast cradle, this trailer is road ready. (completed 7/09)

Sea Spray 15 gets a facelift and a new life

When I find one of these boats, they seldom are in a condition to sail. This one came from MD. After pressure washing, pumping air into each hull (under low pressure ), I soap down each hull checking for bubbles which indicate leaks. Any hull damage is then repaired. This boat was slated for use as a training boat, so a new paint job was held off for more inportant items like sails, rudders, new dagger boards, new sheets and a new trampoline.

After cleaning

As seen here, the boat has been stripped of all hardware. Along the blue strip on the starboard hull, you can see a small repair already completed. Forward on that hull is the addition of a 6" round black port opening (used to get at the interior, and now will be used for additional storage) The four aluminum beams (two @ 6" OD and two @ 2" OD) were sound, and left on this boat. The old trampoline (seen here on the floor under the boat) has been removed and will be re-stretched to ensure it will hold the sailor that will sail on her next. At this point she weighs in at less than 135 lbs.

Next, find and refit what's missing


In this shot, you can see that the tramp is back on the boat and new daggerboards are fitted. Now for the rudders and  a tiller system ...

New Rudder Blades

Seen here with new  rudders and helm arms ... An up and down pully system for the rudders will be added next.

One last look before Neil takes her out for her tests

Still damp from a fresh wash down,with wind in her sails again. (completed 9/09)

A committee boat for the club

If a sailing group hopes to run regattas and stay close to students when they first venture out on large bodies of water, they need a chase boat and Race Committee platform ... Below are pictures of what I dragged home last summer. This was a 1986 Harris 24.

Before and After restoration

Of all the before pic's, this one best represents what we started with.

Step #1

As soon as the shock of what you have done wears off ... Start a list (in this case, a long one) of what needs to be done to turn this slightly used, only driven by a "Little Old Lady" 'toon, back into a viable and seaworthy vessel.

The 24' pontoons are ready

Polished, epoxy painted bottoms, welded for added strength, she stands ready for a new all 3/4" marine grade deck ... andwe move on to the neat stuff. 

Coming back together

With new side trim, re-worked rails, most of the seating in place, she is almost ready to lower back onto the trailer.

Looks like a boat again!

A little polishing on the pontoons and she 's ready to place back on the trailer. Note the small area on the top of the port bow .

1st float after completion 

Shown here without the canopy,she is ready for another 20 years of service. (project completed 2009)

A 10-year-old set of plans, found and finished !

Jim Drennen and his son took a day to clean out the shop, only to find an old dream! Years earlier, Jim had ordered a set of plans for a 14' wooden boat  ... his first try. As you can see, he is handy with wood. They cleaned a space and went to work on her. This shot shows what a man can do when he has a dream.

She Floats !! and She sails very well...

It takes a special person to do what Jim has done ... Sail her with pride, mate !!

"Corliss Pond "  The long awaited upgrade

This is going to be both long and expensive !

The following pictures are of the "Corliss" Pond re-do. (To be completed in November and December 2009) We increased the depth and widened the entire pond by about 15% and increased the area where our prams can sail by about 25%. A total of 85 truckloads have already been removed during this process, and the dam itself has been raised some 18" to accommodate the water area and depth.

*This is Thursday 12/18 just an hour or two after we STOPPED all work on the pond. The shots below show the work done today . About 3/4 of the added length was completed when the storm hit.. now we wait for dryer and colder temps to resume.. hopes are we can still complete stages two and three, of the project by May 2010.

Cut along front of dam.. When this stage of the project is completed, I will add more pictures with the pond back to it's normal levels. Ultimately, we will nearly double the size of the pond in 2010.

"Corliss Pond"-Stage Three- Re-Start March of 2010

10077 taken with old spill way and bridge still in continues in background.

The shot above, top is the new spill-way (bridge to be re-built in early May). note too the water fall effect that will be added when completed.


The new Dam, raised 24"

  Top:  As you can see from the face cut, this dam has room for the additional three feet of water. Final landscapping to follow.

Middle:  After a topping of 18 " of clay filler / sealer, plus 6" of good top soil, the approach is also ready.

Bottom:  Now raised 18" , compacted and graded...ready for new top soil (another 6 ") that will allow the new grass cover.

Stage #3 nearly done - Now for the grass

More shots as we start to see green again. Also shots of new spill-way as the water level increases another 3' ..

The following shots where taken this week after the re-do

As the work continues, from top to bottom: 6/30/10

Top: The New Dock placed and near finished. Sandy feeding the fish..

2nd. Here you see the finished bridge and spill-way (completed 7/10/10)

Mid: All the rock and grass area has been done (grass doing well and filling in)

Bottom: Taken from Dam end of the basin. The new bridge is taking shape.

* More, as we complete our work... Planting Pampus Grass and Shurbs around the rocked areas.

Alcort Sunfish 14 Project boat #1

Seen here are the shots of what we thought we bought and what we actually got .(pictures of boats for sale can lie).. lol. The boat needs a good deal of work before it can be used . However, I plan a complete restoration of this 70's model Sunfish. BTW, this boat is the most popular recreation and teaching platform in the world.. Now to get started. The first thing to do, is to try and lighten up this LEAD SLED (the interior is wet, making the boat about 40# heavier than it should be. Next test the hull for leaks (you can bet there is a leak (s).. If I can get the above done, I will then add two inspection / storage ports in areas best suited for repairs and retrieval. Once that work is finished, I plan to paint or gel-coat the entire boat in a light color. (yellow or almond) red or dark colors hold heat.. The daggerboard is questionable as is, sooo.. The rudder is fine. It just needs sealing and varnish. The sail, well that's problematic too.  LOL

Below you see a worse case of hull and keel damage. The individual that sold us this boat failed to make proper repairs. As we uncovered this damage, we are forced to make the hard decision to send her to the dump or bite the bullet and effect extensive fixes. I like the challenge..AI

A new life for a old Classic .. 1981 Siren 17  (7/15/10)

After a number of years of sun, rain, bird droppings, mould, etc. She arrives in Corliss WV., never to look back. Nothing, but nothing is more gratifying then to restore a old boat or air plane. This is sure to satisfy my need to bring back the glory of this classic. Over the next days and weeks,will show you the results. Did I mention the interior looks just about the  At present she has the name " Long Time Coming"

Siren 17 - After a hot bath and a little scrubbing

After removing every thing that wasn't tied, glued or bolted down, we started the scrubbing effort. Years of bird droppings, leaves, spiders, countless bits of ... well, you name it, removed. A quick pressure wash job, followed by a few hours of hand and brush work, produce a clean, ready to wax and seal surface. We found no cracks or damaged points during this part of the restoration. The area where the 3 HP kicker will be mounted, will need a reinforcement plate. (interior work) The cabin cushions, are in good shape. All attachment points for the standing rigging where also check during this portion of the process. Electrical wriring replaced. The Sails are very good shape (they too will need cleaning).  Note: The two top pictures show the 98% finished project. Only the state of WV #'s and the new name remain to do. The mast stepping system is ready, making this project complete !

Siren 17 - Trailer for the Siren-complete make over is needed !

The above pictures are representative of what you get when you allow a trailer to lay around in the side yard for years..The tires and wheels, shown are from another trailer, the ones that came with it wern't safe for the road.

As a rule, I start from the basics.. Taking it down to bare metal, welding as needed, remove the useless stuff, and re-wire..

In the first shot, you see the trailer stripped of all keel rollers, bunks, mast post, lights, etc. In the 2nd. shot, the trailer has been acid washed, neddel-gunned to remove rust etc. and primed for it's new paint job. The tougne has also been lengthend by 18", making it much easier to float on and off the trailer. Note the fenders and brackets are aluminium and will be painted with a different primer and color matched to the frame.In this shot, the new bunks are fitted to the frame, new lights , re-painted fenders and wheels are mounted. As soon as I recive the last of the keel rollers (12") I will remove these parts and the Paint work will be completed.

The new color has been applied

With a few more parts to re-attach, this trailer is near ready to continue her job . Seen here with one wheel missing (new tires are being mounted) and bunks removed, I have only to re-set the front bow & mast mount,bunk braces, keel rollers and non-skid tape to the tounge. (both the work on the trailer and Siren 17 was completed in 2010)

Opti , before and during her "Face Lift"

Our newest training boat is one I have been looking for now for some time. The photos show her before, during and after we made the needed repairs and gave her a new color.

Top pic: After removing hardware,(all brass) we start the stripping.

Bottom pic: Shown just after we got her home and in the shop.. water tight, but in need of some TLC. She spent several years at Cave Run Lake as a trainer for their youth program. The bow and stern, both need a good deal of work to restore the plywood surface.

Locating those areas that need repair and filling them

Top photo: Seen here after the vast majority of repair and filling. Now ready for Pre-Coat and final glazing.

Bottom photo: Under the micro bubbles,(filler) you can see some of the uneven areas and filling that was needed to present a smooth serface for the primer surfacer. (Interlux Pre-Coat)

Our Little Lady takes on her new look (Opti after )


The Opti after a good deal of work- The hull is now ready for hardware

At some point in in any project like this, you most stop and say, DONE.. not seen here, the interior of this boat is also finished with a cream/straw color. The ext. color is a creamy gray/green.

Sunfish #2- from Ohio

One of the two boats given to SMSA by Bob Young. She is all there. With a little effort she will be sailed in the 2012 "Mama"

Seen here just after her arrival. Next step is a quick pressure wash before we take her to the shop for a closer look.


Now to the deck and new ports for the dry-out process

                                                                                                                                                                      images, Now with the deck fittings removed, a light sanding to rid her of scraches, we add two inspection ports so that I can remove wet foam, etc. we will also start the drying out process with a heated blower..low temp. This step can take a week to months. The mosture in this hull was moderate.

 With some repair work needed..first remove the old fix's and repair the damaged bow.



In many cases, folks tend to take very little time when repairing hull damage.

Once the repairs are done, next comes the paint prep..

Seen here after most of the heavy repairs, including remaking the bow..sanded filled..first prime coat..

Now for one of the two colors- Yellow deck and Off-White Hull.

This is the first of three coats of yellow # 4152 by Briteside.

With all but the trim and blades done

Seen here with all but the trim donet

The real work begins on Heath Andersons Sunfish with taking her down ! (3rd. fish through the shop)

Once the boat has been stripped of all hardware, we remove old paint. We weigh every thing we remove including moisture  /water soaked foam, far over 54 lbs. has been removed from the interior of the hull ! The inspection port holes have already been cut out, allowing for a blower and heat lamp insertion. This will speed up the drying process..

Sunfish #3 enters the shop

Seen here as she was found and bought.. After we remove all the old paints, we then start the repair process..(filling in dings and scratches, fixing any and all cracks, etc. In this case the splash-guard was badly damaged and will need repair and reinforcement before it will be attached.. soft areas on the deck area will be strengthened by adding lite weight braces in the hull where needed.

What was white house paint, is now the gel-coat of a once blue boat.

What we discovered under all that house paint was a real damage ! Just a great deal of very heavy scratches and several places where water could and did find it's way into the now soaked hull..with two inspection ports, a 150 watt light bulb and a dry out fan in place, we start the recovery..


Once the over coats of paint was removed, damaged areas repaired, we start the re-finishing..

Building Loran Jones PDR #1

The clubs first of three Puddle Ducks !

 Using patterns on loan from Paul Helbert, we start with the basic's.. cutting out the hull parts. Seen in the background is Pauls PDR.

Day Two on PDR#1

Seen here with the Hull, bow and stern all together..Once the bottom has been added, the boats will be 3-D and issued a reg.# by the PDR Organization.

Bob's PDR#2

Afetr building the first boat, with front and rear air boxes, I wanted to build #2 using the side air box plans..this required four hull-sides..allowing for an air box 9"X8' long This also makes the boat much more comfortable and leaves much more interior space in the cock-pit.

After a good deal of effort, the end result..

Click t

M-11 starts it's trip back to a sea worthy pram

In this shot, she has been stripped of several layers of old paints. The entire hull will be coated with a thin soaking of MAS slow epoxy to give strength and seal the old marine plywood. The deck and cockpit will be an even more difficult endeavor...those areas have varnished (several coats) due to the water stains and lack of care, it most be stripped and re-sealed, followed by paint..

 Above: Hull

Below: Deck and cockpit


restoring a circa 1970 Mirror-11

Found in a garage in Ky. This great two man dinghy was on it's way to total  trash ! 

Steve and I drove to Ky. bought this rig and will now do a total restoration.. The boat has now been placed in our shop..the next shots show the ongoing repairs.

Once the damage is determined, 2 holes through the hull, weak points, etc. The stripping of all paint, old degraded epoxy and cloth joint covers and the removal of rotten wood parts, we start the real work...

Upgrades to the M-11

To insure both strength, water tite integrity and a smooth surface, the hull will be sealed using a penetrating epoxy and covered with 4 oz. of glass.

 Note too the epoxy/wood dust seal at the point where the hull sides meet the gunnel bumper board. The gunnel will remain natural wood with a varnish coating.


Re-work and Varnish the spars, board and rudder.

Wanting to show off the wooden spars, rudder, and center board, I will refinish and coat with a spar varnish. Stripping old coatings begin with the spars.


All surfaces repaird and covered with 4oz. cloth

With the entire boat primed with Interlux Pre-Kote, the next steps will be a Zolatone splatter interior and a Interlux Bright Side exterior...note the brass and wood accents will be mounted after final coats of color.


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