13' Owens runabout

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13' Owens runabout

Postby shmbry » Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:42 pm

Having posted a couple of disparate questions I thought I would start a thread regrading my 13' Owens.

Based on dimensions found in the Fiberglassics library I believe it to be a Brisbane.

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I bought it in June of last year after being contacted by the seller on a totally different subject, it was only during the course of the conversation that I found out about the boat.
I had been thinking of buying a classic boat for some time as we live in Dorset and so are quite near the coast and I fancied a classic boat to compliment my 1966 MK3 Ford Zodiac.

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The fact that it was being advertised as a 1965 boat and had engine and trailer were the big selling points for me. Not having owned a boat before I had to do some rapid research before committing myself. After satisfying myself that it was worth having I agreed to buy the package and the seller took it off Ebay. Indeed some of you may have seen it on there as I understand it had been advertised for some time.

So I sent off from Dorset to just south off Scunthorpe to a small village on the river Trent. The boat was as advertised and the seller had warned me that the trailer wouldn't make it to Dorset so I had to take a trailer to pick it up.

Arriving Back in Dorset, The Nordic Folk Boat belongs to a friend

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Once I got it into the shed over the coming weeks I began to asses its condition and start to take off the fittings with the aim of cleaning it up.

The seller had told me it belonged to his father but had not been used in at least ten years. Apart from the seats the boat was complete and in generally good condition with most of its fittings. The only major thing missing was the markers plate which was a disappointment. This had been removed when the transom was reinforced.

The first thing was to take anything useful off the trailer as it was completely rotted out. Following that I started to clean out the boat as it had been stored outside and collected a lot of leaves and foliage, more of that later. The interior of the hull had been repainted blue over the original white I started by scrapping this off, the best method proved to be elbow grease and a heat gun. The first thing I noticed was that the boat had taken on a lot of water, rain water, no doubt from being stored outside. Also it became apparent that this water had got under the floor through the eight 1/2" holes left were the seats were taken out. Consequently all the timber under the floor was wet. How wet I don't know but it's still dry out now. Despite advise to the contrary I have refrained from removing the floor/sole, the timber is too good and the construction so solid I think it would ruin the boat. Without the hull being fully supported I don't think I would be able to restore its shape whilst renewing the floor/sole. OK so there are a few pockets of de-lamination of the fibreglass covering the floor/sole, but these don't warrant ripping it all up. They can be rectified I think by injecting some resin into the effected areas. Removing the paint from inside the hull was relatively easy until it come to under the deck and around the transom.

It was at this point I discovered, as you won't be surprised to read, that the transom was rotten. My first thought after discovering how far the transom extended and how it was put in was.. How the ... am I going to replace that! After posting a couple of questions I took the advise and 'Popped the top'

To my surprise the deck and hull were not bonded together but were stapled together when the fibre glass was still 'green'
Having removed the rubbing strip and the aluminium rails I used a bolster chisel to cut the staples and hoisted the deck into the roof of the shed. This made leaning up the hull, removing paint and setting about the transom a lot, lot easier. Currently I have removed the old transom and have been preparing to do some fibre glassing once the temperature gets above 15 degrees.

In the mean time I have dismantled and freed off the ride guide steering that was seized and bought a replacement Merc control unit and am in the process of oiling the cables with a hydraulic oiler design for motorbikes. Also I've started to build a replacement trailer using some of the old parts (to get around IVA) with the aim of building someone of a period feel having studied the numerous adverts for period trailers, and their ingenious features, that appear on Ebay. Plus the prices being asked on Ebay and Gumtree seem really excessive for what they are. Mind you, it didn't take long for someone to point out to me what B.O.A.T stands for! However in my case it's more like a hundred. My advise to anyone would be "Don't buy anything that displaces more water than your wallet"

I have also made use of the poor weather by taking the RYA online Essential Navigation and Seamanship course in preparation for taking the level 2 power boat course.

I've also started work on the outboard which turns out to be something of a rarity in being a 1963 Mercury 'Cloud White' 50hp 500. I've started a thread regarding this over on Fiberglassics.com
http://www.fiberglassics.com/glassic-fo ... wn-problem

I'll post more once I've photographed the boat in its current state.
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby Rapier » Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:52 am

Looks a great project. There have been a few in the club over the years - they were readily sold here in the UK and by the mid 60s Les Bryant was producing the Bry-Owen which was a deeper V version.

I had a blue one identical to yours, thinking it was a good project (until another 'must have' displaced it). Mine was in a similar state - nice hull but poorly painted. The weak point is the floor on these though. They're built with a lattice work of wood stringers, unencapsulated, with big shaped-blocks, glued with resin, into each transom corner, with a plywood floor covering the whole lot. The moment water gets in through the screwholes the rot starts and because the frame wasn't glassed-in most will be soft and even if dry will be brittle. I'd advise that you bite the bullet and open it up and take a careful look..some of these are almost 60 years old...and if you transom is shot, it's likely the floor will be too. With the frame out the hull becomes floppy, so needs support. The good news will be a decent wood worker can make up a new frame and floor that can be properly glassed in and be good for another 60 years..

Here are some pics to guide you if you need them. Most of the wood broke up on removal....it all looked Ok, but wasn't. The red boat was in original condition, but was sold on by her CMBA owners awhile back.

John's Old Merc forum is worthwhile joining for the 500. They're a great help with advice. Is the best $15 I spend a year..

http://johnsoldmercurysite.com/phpBB3/index.php
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby Rapier » Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:09 am

We have a good few members in Dorset, including the CMBA Membership Secretaries, plus Wiltshire and Hampshire + a number of local rallies, so hopefully will see you around when the boat's ready!
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby shmbry » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:19 pm

Hi Nick

Many tanks for the replies. Some very, very useful pictures. Here's the boat at the moment.

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I took your advise this morning and took a sample out of the floor and one of the cross beams.

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The timber is absolutely saturated. Bugger, bugger, bugger and several other expletives !!

When I squeezed the cross beam I had water appear on the surfaces although the timber itself is sufficiently strong I couldn't break it by hand. The top laminations of the floor are perfect.
However I suppose having come this far it would spoil it for a ha'p'orth not to see it through.

So a cunning plan is needed. Firstly buy some shuttering ply to make formers, I'm thinking three, to conform to the profile of the hull. Starboard quarter to Port quarter, Starboard beam to Port beam and Starboard bow to Port bow. Then add longitudinal bearers under the keel and at the edge of the chines for about three quarters the length from the stern forward. luckily we have a good supply at work of large pallets used for transporting steel sheet. If fact the timber is of quite a good quality.

Nick a couple of questions:

The hull you had was painted in exactly the same way as mine, I thought the blue had been applied in later life but now it appears it may be original. Do you know if the interior of the hull should be blue or white?

In the last picture shows the red boat in original condition, does that mean the plate under the outboard clamp is original? I thought the plate on mine had been added later to reinforce a failing transom especially as the plate on the inside which you can see in the picture above seems to be an after thought because I can see where they removed the makers plate before putting this plate on.

Do you have the dimensions of the bearers?
It would be handy if I could gather the timber whilst taking the floor up. luckily my son in law has a thicknesser and a planer (separate) so I would plan to use seasoned reclaimed timber. I did the same thing with my Castleton caravan using floor boards from the old Clark shoe factory in Street.

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When you took the floor up was the floor fastened to the bearers at all?
I would plan to take up one third of the floor at a time starting on the Starboard side, replace the two bearers. do the same on the Port side and then take out the centre section and replace the keel bearer. That way I would have a better chance of maintaining the shape.

Lastly if you have any other pictures of the structure I love to see them.

Once again many thanks for the replies.
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby Rapier » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:52 am

Great job already! Sorry to hear about the floor, my early Fletcher is similarly afflicted - they just built them for a short life I guess. Mine was blue gelcoat, overpainted with blue paint, it had been covered with a sweaty cover, so the some of the gelcoat had the normal crazing and osmosis. The floor was painted cream or white, they were carpeted initially, so I think it may have just been plain ply under the carpet and I can see that it must have been screwed down. The seats get rotten too, foam on ply - the good news is Wise still make the back to back versions, but with plastic/polycarbonate bases. I had no measurements from the stringers, thinking that I would glass in the shaped foam I'd used before on the Gadabout project. There must have been an issue with space here & my Broom Gemini was a similar boat + in clean original condition, so I thought it was time to give up and sold the boat on. Saw it on ebay with a new floor a few months later. I've got a stack of pics; can send them at full resolution, so PM me with your email address and I'll send them on.
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby shmbry » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:27 pm

Getting ready to make the hull supports.

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The trolley is left over from my Ford Zodiac restoration and is very handy for moving projects around. Replacing the floor will allow me to repair the 'Hook' in the hull were it was sat for so long on a roller.

Currently the keel is sat in the strapping groove from an old pallet.

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I intend to place a 3 x 1.5 metre pallet on the frame and build the hull supports up from there.
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby shmbry » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:43 pm

Another Disappointment

When I did some research I was extremely surprised to see how much Stewart Warner gauges cost. For a moment I thought the speedo / log may be worth more than the hull. That was short lived...

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its has suffered from the same neglect s the rest of the boat. It wasn't until I inspected it closely having stripped it down that I realised there were, past tense, knots printed around the inside of the face. You can see the tide mark on the rear of the face from either water ingress or condensation. On a pristine example there is a distinctive swirl pattern on the Aluminium centre. That could be reproduced but as for screen printing the face , well ...
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby shmbry » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:13 pm

Setting up to re-jig the hull prior to removing the floor.

More than one use for an outboard stand.

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Capturing the hull.

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Removing the floor.

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The bow section of the floor.

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Despite what I've read these boats seem very well put together with good quality materials. If the boat hadn't been left out in the rain I'm sure the floor would have gone on a lot longer.
You can see in the top surfaces that a fine woven tape was laid around the edge, down the side of the board, then up the side of the hull with the gap being filled with resin. It was certainly in there very well and it took a lot of work to get it out in one piece to act as a pattern. Also note the chamfering of the board edge.

The boards are nailed every four inches with steel nails. These are in reasonably good condition and half of them needed side cutters to pull them out so the bearers are not totally rotten. The base of the bearers are spongy but not rotted through. I will be interested to see what the other boards look like. At this point I'm considering whether portions of the floor maybe reusable.

I know purists would say use marine ply, but I can't afford that so I intend using Birch ply as it will be pre treated and encapsulated.
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby floater » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:18 pm

Great work so far, I went through a similar process myself a few years back. Regarding choice of ply I would advise against birch ply. Birch has a greater propensity to rot than most other woods. When I did my boat I used full lloyds certified ply for the transom which was chuffing expensive but as I only ever wanted to do the job once I thought was worth the investment. A good alternative is far eastern BS1088 WPB ply the 1088 controls the void content so there should be no gaps in the laminates, WPB refers to water proof , boil proof so has a resilient adhesive in it. I too encapsulated the floor, in my case using SP Ampreg 22 which has a low viscosity and soaks into the ply quite well.

Keep up the good work, it's worth the effort in the end. When you're slamming along you won't have any nagging doubts about what's under the floor and can the boat take it. :wot:
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Re: 13' Owens runabout

Postby Rapier » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:23 pm

Great progress! I am with Floater on the BS1088 WBP, having used it (encapsulated) on various boat floors / transoms and as duck boards, painted.
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