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Thistle 1040 - Irie sails again!

Irie in her first regatta in a long time. She's all that we could have hoped for.

Follow along as Thistle 448 is restored on her blog at

Thistle 1040 - Rigging the boat

Thistle rigging

Does that look like more than $1000 of hardware? Given what it costs to rig a Thistle today vs. the last time I did this ten years ago, I should be investing in blocks and cleats. Forget gold and stocks!

I'm keeping things pretty simple but estimate that it will take more than $1500 to get this boat sailing. And that's with a sizable discount off of retail.

All of the woodwork on the boat is finished. I'm doing some final varnishing (will this ever end?) and should have all the rigging installed this week. I'm not going to schedule a launch party though until I have the rudder hung and CB finished. My ultimate deadline is still Districts that are now just two weeks away.

Thistle 1040 - Mustang Grabber Blue

Blue ThistleIt may not seem like a traditional color for a wooden boat but this blue will look great with the warm mahogany wood on the inside of the Thistle.

We're ready now to roll the boat back upright and will start finishing up the interior and installing hardware. It's time to get this boat on the water! My deadline is the PNW Thistle Districts, at Yale Lake - July 8-9

Thistle 1040 - Primer on...

Thistle primer

My goal for this Memorial day weekend was to get the System Three Silver Tip primer on. I was ready to paint Sunday night but as a rule, it's better to start projects like this at the beginning of the day when you're fresh so I waited.

This morning I spent two more hours with the long board. Your hands are more sensitive when you haven't been sanding for the last few hours and I was able to feel small lumps that were not there yesterday.

Anyway, the first coat of primer is on and it looks great. Now every pinhole, scratch and fault is all that more visible. I'll get to those with some glazing putty and prime again after a good sanding with 150. 


Thistle primer

Thistle 1040 - Fairing setback...

While sanding the starboard side of the boat today I noticed that a section at the bow was sanding poorly and that the eopxy had not fully cured. I put it down to poor mixing. I'll have to remove the epoxy and fairing from the front two feet of the boat and redo. I hate wasting time in this way but I'd much rather discover this now than after it had been painted. What a hassle that would have been?!!!

Thistle 1040 - Last round of fairing...

Thistle fairing

There are two kinds of fairing when refinishing a boat. When you're sanding with a long board you're working on the overall shape of the hull, taking down the high spots. Then you add filler to the low spots and try to get the curves and shape of the hull smooth and fair. We're past this stage now with the Thistle. After the fairing for hull shape was complete the hull was glassed with 6oz cloth and epoxy. 

Thistle 1040 - Fairing begins...

Thistle fairingTaking advantage of a string of warm dry days in Oregon (if you lived in Oregon, you'd realize how strange is is to see those words all together) I started faring the Thistle. First I hit high spots with the long board and then sanded the whole hull with my Bosh 1/2 sheet sander. This is a great sander as it has a dust collector and uses 1/2 sheet of sand paper at a time. This helps in fairing and doesn't produce a wavey surface like a random orbital sander would.

Next the keelson and bow got a coat of epoxy and the first layer of micro-spheres and epoxy. It will take several layers to get things really smooth and then we'll sheath the entire hull in 6 oz. fiberglass cloth. It takes a good 24 hours for the epoxy to cure to a sandable finish. Then the long board comes out again.  

Thistle 1040 - Rocker measurements

Thistle rocker measurement1040 Rocker measurements - Before sanding and fairing the bottom of 1040, I wanted to take the rocker measurements to see where I was with the basic shape of the hull. Rocker is the curve of the boat fore and aft as the bow and stern rise from the deepest part of the hull in the middle. The more rocker a boat has, the faster it will turn. If the forward part of the boat is deeper, the boat will go to weather better. If the aft part of the boat is flatter, it will plane faster. There were some Thistlers who believed that certain wooden hulls had super-fast shapes or that by tweaking the shape of the hull sections, one could make the boat faster. 

Thistle 1040 - Flipped!

We had the monthly Thistle meeting at our house tonight and before opening the Taco Bar, we had everyone out to the guarage to roll 1040 over. The inside is complete but still in need of final finishing and rigging. Now it's time to seal, fair sheath and paint the exterior. I'd like to have it ready for sailing on Memorial Day but it seems like I have even more work to do.

Here's a slide show of the flip. You'll see that the seats and thwart still have the plugs in the screw holes. When you're working on a schedule, some things just have to wait. I had to flip the boat when everyone was here. Now the fun really starts!

Thistle 1040 - Costly mistake, measure twice - cut once

The Thistle has four long seat planks that are beautiful. They are about 6 1/2 feet long and follow the curve of the hull so even though they are only 6.5 inches wide, they must be cut from 9 inch planks. I used the old seats as templates to cut out four new seats and went to install them and they just didn't look right. Measuring (after the fact...) it turns out the original sizes where nowhere near what was shown in the Thistle plans. Two could be recut and used again. Two were wasted. Off to Crosscut Hardwoods and $100 later I had more mahagony, the same colors as the other planks and with just one day lost, I had two more seat planks cut out, this time to the right measurements.

Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy? Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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