“Merenneito” arriving at Woodwind Yachts in 2005, after spending many years safely tucked away inside one of our storage buildings.
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.
This picture shows approximately one-third of her planking has been built and permanently installed.
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.
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.
Hull planking continues – week after week, plank after plank!
The original bronze chain plate assembly which is recessed into the planking, is found to be in very good condition.
This picture shows the upper starboard hull plank has been meticulously cut and varnished prior to installation, allowing for chainplate recess into the backside of the plank.
Hull planking nearing completion.
Finally, the last plank and the last plug!
The new transom and framework has been just permanently installed.
It takes two craftsmen two days of very careful hand planing to fair the entire hull.
A full week of sanding now begins! Here, a curved board sander is properly shaping her undersides.
In-line air sanders are used over the entire hull.
Now “Merenneito’s” hull is ready for a few days of hand sanding!
The original rudder is sound enough to repair and re-use. With some scarfe and spline repairs done, it is now fitted to the boat.
Prior to the new decks being installed, the inner hull is sanded and the final coat of varnish is applied.
A combination of new and original deck beams are shown here, varnished and installed.
This picture shows the finished inner hull planking with the recessed chainplate assembly.
The new long-length Norwegian pine decking (same as original) has been milled. The undersides and edges are sealed with several coats of varnish prior to installation.
The new mahogany covering boards have been built and temporarily installed. You can also see the new inner transom and frame prior to the final coat of varnish.
The new deck planks are fitted both ends to the covering boards, sealed and installed. The deck planking is pre-drilled, then edge-nailed together as well as fastened to the deck beams.
After the decking has been completed, the mahogany covering boards and king planks are removed. Here, the cloth is draped over the new decking, prior to applying the epoxy.
The hull is masked up for protection from mess, then four coats of epoxy (along with the cloth) are applied to the new decks. (Originally the decks would have been canvassed.)
After curing, the decks are washed and sanded smooth (ready for primer). Here, the covering boards and king planks are being permanently installed in 3M 5200 adhesive.
After the covering boards, king planks and hull have been hand sanded for the final time, they are all stained. Here, the 4th coat of varnish is being applied to the hull.
Prior to staining, the cove stripe was cut into the sheer plank with a router. Here, the cove stripe is being painted in gold leaf, prior to further varnishing.
This picture shows the finished deck undersides (with grooves matching the originals), the upper hull with recessed chain plate assembly, along with some polished bronze deck / hull frames.
A nice view of the bilge prior to the interior being installed.
The cockpit coamings, floorboards and seat have now been all built, varnished and installed.
Approximately 10″ long mermaids have been carved out of wood to match exactly the originals. They are painted in gold leaf and will be mounted on either side of the hull, forward of the cove stripe when she arrives back in Finland.
A sturdy cradle is built, capable of safely transporting her as deck cargo aboard a freighter, back to Finland.
The completely rebuilt “Merenneito” emerging from our shop for the first time. She is being transported overland to Baltimore, Maryland, where she will be loaded onto a ship bound for Finland.
“Merenneito” along with the happy crew at Woodwind Yachts. Happy to complete this exciting project – yet sad to see her go.
Now safely back in Finland, a few details are being worked out and trial fit with the new aluminum mast and rigging.
The owner has now applied the salt water antifouling paint, and she is being lifted ready for launch!- What beautiful lines!
“Merenneito” in the water for the first time after her extensive rebuild.
With her new rig and sails, she is captured here gracefully sailing down the Finnish coast.
All of us at Woodwind Yachts Inc., wish “Merenneito”, along with her new owners and crew, the best of luck in competition against other vintage 6 Metre racing yachts. We hope she will be loved and well cared for for generations to come.