Woodwind Yachts Antique and Classic Wooden Boat Restoration, Repair, Refinishing, Building and Sales

Woodwind Yachts Restoration Project

The Rebuilding of the 6 Metre Yacht "Merenneito"

"Merenneito" being launched in Finland after her extensive rebuild.

NAME: "Merenneito"

CLASS: 35' - 6 Metre Racing Sloop

BUILT: Hango, Finland, 1927


Remove and replace the stem, keelson and counter-horn timbre (sternpost). Drop the lead ballast, then re-attach to vessel with new bronze keelbolts. Remove and replace 113 (of the 128) steam-bent white oak ribs, both full-length sheer clamps and every mahogany hull plank. Replace all of the bronze floor frames. Replace approximately half of the deck beams along with all of her deck planking. Build a new cockpit (to match original 1928 layout), new mast step, new coamings and new floorboards. Sand and finish the entire vessel (inside and out) with 7 coats of Epifanes varnish. After she was shipped back to Finland, the customer had new spars, rigging and sails made. The final coats of salt water antifouling paint were applied to her bottom just prior to launch.

"Merenneito" arriving at Woodwind Yachts in 2005, after spending many years safely tucked away inside one of our storage buildings.

Many years ago I came across "Merenneito" lying outdoors uncovered at a marina in Kingston, Ontario. Although she was in poor overall condition, the moment I laid eyes upon that beautiful hull, I knew I must have her and save her. I contacted the owner, purchased her, then built her a new wooden cradle and transported her to one of our nearby storage buildings. There she sat patiently for many years until the right new owner and I agreed upon a program to totally rebuild her. She is now back in Finland, the country of her origin, racing once again alongside many other vintage 6 Metre racing yachts. This is her recent story...

In 2005 Mr. Lars Lindblom purchased "Merenneito" and commissioned Woodwind Yachts Inc. to completely rebuild and refinish this 6 Metre yacht to excellent condition throughout. She was then to be shipped back to Finland.

And so this project begins...

This picture of "Merenneito" in our yard shows off this historic sailing yacht's magnificent lines.

With the garboard and broad planks (lowest planks) removed, we can now see the extent of deterioration to the lower ribs, keelson and deadwood.
Her old keelbolts were removed and she is lifted off her heavy lead ballast keel.
Over a heavy mould of plywood, the new keelson is laminated to the exact shape of the original. The vessel in the foreground is a 14' Aykroyd.

The new keelson has been shaped, and here "Merenneito" is being lifted for a trial fit.


She is then lowered and trial fit to the new keelson.
This picture shows the deterioration in her original transom.
The transom is removed to uncover deterioration in the framework underneath.
The transom framework has been removed and the new framework is being shaped to fit. The two large holes will be drilled later.
The counter-horn timber (sternpost) has been carefully removed. You can see two short planks on the port side just below the waterline. These cover over a previous outboard motor well which had been cut through her original planking.
The old deadwood and lower sternpost showing considerable deterioration.
A heavy plywood mould was constructed to the exact shape required. Here, the new deadwood and counter-horn timber are being laminated together and clamped into the mould while the epoxy cures.
The new counter-horn timber is removed from the mould and shaped to the boat. The pockets for the rib ends have been notched into the new piece.
The original stem, which had been repaired numerous times over the years, has now been carefully removed. The new stem will also be laminated overtop a plywood mould, then fitted and scarfed to the new keelson.
With the new backbone (stem, keelson, deadwood and counter-horn timber) installed into the vessel, the systematic process of replacing the required 113 steam-bent ribs begins. Here, one of the new ribs has just emerged from the steam-box and is being bent into the hull.
The rib is being pushed and tapped into position while a man on the outside of the hull on the floor is clamping it into place. This process should take less than 10 seconds before the new rib begins to cool off and harden. One full-length plank each side at the waterline has been removed for clamping access.
A series of straps and ropes are used to hold the protruding ends of the new ribs in the correct position while they harden and dry over the following weeks.
The new ribs at the mast step were laminated together for increased strength in this area of the boat.
A few of the original ribs in the vessel's bow were salvaged. Wooden 'bungs' are epoxied into the old fastener holes. The 'bungs' are cut flush, then these ribs were stripped and varnished prior to being reinstalled. Also shown in this picture are four of the new ribs which have been removed for varnishing.
The new aft sheer clamps are being bent and trial fitted into the boat.
The bottoms of all the new ribs have been sealed then set into the rib pockets cut into the backbone with 3M 5200 adhesive and screwed into place. The backs of all ribs have received three coats of thinned varnish prior to planking being installed.
With the new backbone and all ribs installed, "Merenneito" is ready to be reunited with her lead ballast keel.
With her keelbolt holes all drilled and sealed, she is shown here being reattached to her ballast keel with new bronze keelbolts and 3M 5200 adhesive.
The new starboard garboard planks have been trial fitted to the lower hull. Three runs of full length planking are trial fitted to each side of the vessel at a time. They are then removed, varnished on the inside and edges, then permanently reinstalled onto the hull.
Due to the severe bend in the vessel's lower hull, many of the planks had to be steam-bent into position. This eliminates any possibility of splitting the new planks, and reduces excessive pressure against the new ribs.
Here, one of the new lower planks is being permanently installed onto the hull.
All hull planking was scarfed together into full length planks requiring no interior butt blocks. This picture shows one of the step scarfes being cut.
Here, the step scarfe has been fitted and epoxied to the adjoining plank.
A view of the bilge just prior to the new lower planking being permanently installed. Most of the original planking is still on the vessel at this point.
This picture shows approximately one-third of her planking has been built and permanently installed.
Patterns were made as required, then new bronze floor frames were cast. (Slightly heavier than the originals.)
They were filed and final fit to the bilge, then polished prior to installation.
With the new bronze floor frames and the lower bilge planking permanently installed, we are preparing the bilge for a coat of varnish.


Woodwind Yachts
3986 HWY. 7A, Nestleton, Ontario, Canada L0B 1L0
TEL (905) 986-9663 FAX (905) 986-1345

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