This blog is about the restoration of a 1963 Fletcher Cates Moth boat. The boat was made in Haddenfield NJ. By Blair Fletcher. Blair Owed Fletcher Marine and made many boats for the Moth fleets of Southern NJ. I sailed against these boats with a Cates design by Carl Patterson. I built my Cates at Pattersons' shop around the same time this boat was under construction. This picture was taken September 1965. It's me in my Patterson Cates.
The Cates is for sale. I sailed the boat at Pattersons Chestertown YC regatta last weekend and the boat sailed great. (skipper needed work). I took some water but after racing I checked the rudder gudgons and all of the bolts were loose. I put a wrench on them. The boat comes with sail #2322 Sail 92 is from Tweezer. Send me a note and we can talk. I'd like $1500.
I put the Cates away for awhile consintrating on the Abbott which I sailed at the nationals. Got second place in the vintage class...The Abbott preformed exceptionally well. Now we are back on the Cates. I'm going to sail this boat next week at Bob Patterson's regatta at the Chestertown Yacht Club. I want to see if all the work I did on the bottom holds up. I've been criticized because I didn't replace the bottom when I did the deck off restoration.
Taking a break on the bay bridge tunnel connecting the eastern shore of VA to Norfolk. It's a 17 mile bridge.
I took a few months off on the Cates project but I'm back now. I think I'll sail this boat August 5 in Chestertown.
I thought I finished this project months ago but making the decision to just replace the decks was probably not the best idea. While mostly sound, the bottom has developed separations in the lamination of the plywood. 50 year old glue just isn't quite up for the task. I fiberglassed the bottom keel section back together and repaired the major cracks but I can see this is just going to be a continuing maintenance task. Maby the next guy that gets this boat can tackle the bottom.
I got all the nasty varnish off the boat. Not using that stuff anymore. The way to go is urethane. It looks as good, has as good or better UV protection, and it goes on easy. Not to mention it's 1/3 the cost.
I haven't posted too much about the Cates because I screwed up the last coat of varnish. For whatever reason it sagged and clumped up. When it dried it looked horrible. I've been spending time between the Abbott project stripping and sanding all the finish off the Cates. I'm just about there. A few more hours and I'll get to start all over again.
I've taken a hiatus from the Cates for a while. I've concentrated my time on the Abbott that I'm also restoring. So I had some time today and just happened to be in Washington DC. I took a few minutes to look around at things that were. I spent the bulk of my working years in this town and a lot of them right on the National Mall. I took lunchtime walks around the mall and usually stopped in a museum along the way. My time was limited today so I only got into the Air and Space museum, which just happens to be my favorite. A few pix of the visit.
The most famous airplane in the place. The original Flyer. If you ever visit the outer Banks of NC you can see the original launch site. It's still there. The museum in NC has a flyer but it's a copy.
I'm done with the bottom paint. It is what it is. I've declared victory... I made the replacement splash boards and spent about an hour fitting them. I'll finish that up this weekend and then one or two more coats of varnish and then start putting the hardware back on the boat.
I moved the boat outside to see how the first coat of paint was. In the process of moving I dropped the boat and broke the splash rails. On top of that the paint was crap. It ran and checked up. Not good. I took the paint back off and I'll try again when the weather gets better. On the positive side getting the broken rails off the boat was not too bad. I used my Dremel multimax and it the rails came off with out scratching anything else. The old brestplate came off in one piece too.
I flipped the boat over and started to sand the bottom. I had to fill a number of holes that showed up when I took the old deck gussets out. They were nailed in from the bottom and the nails pulled through. I faired some rough spots but for the most part the bottom is in good shape.
This is the new home for the duration of this project. I had to stop working in the garage because of allergies from family members. The second pix is a better perspective of where we will be working. I've done other projects in this shed but not with all the other boats in it. There are 3 other moths and 4 canoes in with us...
Well, not really. I'm using Spar Urathane for the initial coats of the boat to seal the wood. When it dries it's very hard and has UV built in. I can also get two coats on in one day. After about 6 coats of this stuff I'll put 3-4 coats of real varnish . I'm also moving the boat to the shed. I got told no paint or varnish smells in the house.
I sanded the boat with 320 sandpaper. She is ready for varnish. That is if I could find varnish where I live. None of the stores here carry it. Not HD, not Lowe's, not Ace. Even the Shirwin Williams paint store doesn't carry it. For the astute viewers you will note that I cut down the mast boss about 1/4 inch. After I put it on I realized that it was too high. I should be in Annapolis some time this week. Back in civilization they have varnish.
I finished up the woodwork. Yesterday I glued on the little 1/4 rounds that hold the aft end of the splash shield. That was a bit tricky but it worked. I just finished glueing the inner rails. I didn't use epoxy on this part. I used TiteBond II waterproof glue. We shall see if that turns out to be a good decision over time... The blue tape holds a coffer dam. I had a small gap on that side so I filled it with epoxy.
And the after...
You can see the 1/4 rounds and the mast boss in this pix. The breast plate on the splash boards is the original...
I'm in the final woodworking stage for the Cates. I fabricated inner rails for the seat area. Your legs will thank you for that. George A reminded me that I need a mast boss. That's the chunk of wood that goes around the mast step opening. It keeps the mast movement from chewing up the opening. I'll cut the hole tomorrow...
The first pix is the back stop for the rails
I made quick work of the excess wood with my router and a trim blade. I then used the best tool in my locker... The Belt Sander!!! The router took the wood down to about 1/8 of an inch. The belt sander got it the rest of the way. A little more work with the random orbiter sander and we'll be ready for some finish. I did make new splash boards but I made them out of Ocume. I'll make new ones from the mahogany. It's hard to see but the joint between the fore deck was minimal. I made up some sawdust and yellow glue and filled in the void.
This is how I spent my Sunday afternoon. I made the splash rails from the ones I took off of the boat. They made a good pattern but like anything else it needed a lot of custom fitting. After all said and done I think they look good.
It's January 31 and this is what I got done today. I glued the splash boards on and fitted and glued the brestplate. That was the original part from the boat. It came off in 3 chunks and somehow I managed to save it. I glued it back together and cleaned all the paint off of it. The two little quarter rounds at the end of the boards are another matter. I don't have a good way yet to clamp them while the glue dries. I'll figure something out.