SV Marauder, what a beautiful boat she is but damn if she didn't come with a handful of issues - a rotten old bowsprit included. Prior to buying the boat, we had a surveyor come out and do a full survey in partnership with Martin so we'd know exactly what we were getting ourselves into. The bowsprit needed to be replaced, scarfing new wood into the existing bowsprit wasn't an option. This is a product testing and service showcase boat, though, so it also presented a great opportunity for Martin to build a new bowsprit and showcase his woodworking skill.
The spruce bowsprit was removed while at dry dock. Not only had it rotted through over the years, but the core in the bow of the boat had also rotted through. To see pictures and a brief write-up of the bow re-coring project, click here.
The boat was on the hard in Everett, Washington. We had access to a wide assortment of wood, whole tree-trunks included! With all these options at hand, Martin decided to go with a laminated bowsprit for the long-lasting strength rather than having to worry about the working integrity of one solid piece of wood.
Martin took about three weeks to build this bowsprit from the removal of the original to the installation of the new one.
Lamination didn't take much time, though it took a ton of wood clamps to make sure the lamination held and took properly. It took two of us to get everything laminated in one day. We then let the epoxy fully cure before moving on with the project.
After the lamination process, Martin took his time shaping the slab into the beautiful bowsprit that the boat has today. The shaping process takes time and finesse. Martin used various tools to achieve the final result.
After scraping, chiseling, cutting, planing, and sanding, the bowsprit was formed. He then constructed the support sections that fastened to the bowsprit and held up the pulpit. He used the orignal pieces to help design the new pieces, which themselves took on a slightly different look but functioned just the same.
We also took a little extra time to bring the old weather-warned pulpit back to life. With a good sanding, the pulpit was looking beautiful once again.
West Systems epoxy was used to laminate. Martin swears-by their products and if at all possible will exclusively use their products for fabrication, restoration, and repairs. We used Awlwood to finish off the pulpit, one of my favorite two-part wood finishes that lasts if a proper amount of base coats are put down and then the maintenance kept up. We decided to paint the bowsprit instead of varnishing, for longevity purposes. At the time we had Snow White Awlgrip on hand so we went with it. Perhaps someday I'll repaint it black, to look more pirate-like of course!
2 years and almost 10,000 nautical miles later, the bowsprit is still as solid as ever!