Welcome! Need support, you got it. Or share you ideas and experiences.
I've just moved to a house where the garden runs down to a tidal estuary, with mooring at the end of the garden. Perfect, eh? I want a boat for fishing and fun. I've been offered, very cheaply, an 18'6" x 6' fibreglass river cruiser which seems to be made from a one-piece hull and a one-piece superstructure which have been pop-riveted together. The superstructure is ugly and has only a small central cockpit, and I want to know if I can safely remove it, stiffen the upper edge of the hull with timber and build a small superstructure and consul right forward, leaving a large proportion of the boat as open deck. Am I going to weaken the integrity of the boat too much by doing this? I'm new to boating, but have practical skills in woodworking etc. The boat would be propelled by a 20 hp outboard. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks! John B
"We come on the sloop 'John B'..." Great boat moniker! Change a boats structure and you can change its behavior... Having said that, you are suggesting removing the 'liner' in your fiberglass boat. A number of things come to mind... As the Liner can be an integral part of the structure of the boat, and if it can be removed, one must note the areas where the Liner is attached to the Hull. Fiberglass is not inherantly a stiff medium and generally needs transverse bulkheads to strengthen and retain the shape of the hull (or a Liner).
The 'timbering' of the upper edge--the boats gunnel--the enclosed pic shows the lamination of long mahogany strips, each side of the sheer edge, screwed and glued bow to stern. The strips are 'built out' to form a hand hold adding a huge amount of stiffening to the upper side of this boat (a Pacific City Dory design by Gilbert Vic). The construction trick here is to attach these strips to a Breasthook or a Stem at the bow, and, some sort of corner block at the transom to tie it all together.
Also note, the lack of interior boat frames... The Bow Deck Bulkhead, the Center forward facing Seat Structure, including the Center Deck all contribute to the hull regidity by tieing the boat together at crucial points---top, bottom, and sides...
Other things to note... If removing the Liner takes away any boyancy tanks or foam flotation, do add these back in when you rebuild for safety's sake. One might also place the boat in the water--as is-- and check out how it 'sits'... Take a pic or three. On the rebuild moving the steering station too far forward puts the skipper in an area of the most motion while the boat is underway. Having the steering station further back makes a better ride. That you will be powering the boat with 20hp. is a good 'thang' since any faults will be evened out a bit at slower speeds.
Well, good luck with your project! Do seek local opinion, scout the boat yards for ideas and advice. We all envy your new 'by the water' location.
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