> So, how many of you folks have had the fitting off
> and has anyone had to replace a bowsprit yet?
I think you're missing out one of the gems of this forum: that it holds three decades of BCC owner history.
Should you do a search of those three decades, you'll find a few owners who have built new bowsprits and removed cranse irons.
Rot, a collision, a tsunami, an accident in a boat yard - those are the causes for replacing a BCC bowsprit that stick in my memory.
In amongst the discussions of bowsprit replacements, you'll find that some BCC bowsprits were shorter than others, some made of different timbers, and some are held in place with throughbolts instead of a fid and mortise.
John Cole is the current custodian of our 30+ year archive. And it's time that we organised another fundraising drive to repay John for his past and future efforts. John is the one who defends the archive from the multiple daily hack and spam attacks.
> This would be a particularly difficult sprit to
> build given its 11.5ft length and the curlicue on
> the aft end, also turning the forward part would
> only be possible with a shipyard lathe so sawing
> it would be the only way I could go.
Nah! Cutter bowsprits, including the BCC bowsprits, were made in the past with such capital-heavy machinery. And they are still made (although I cannot speak for Cape George Marine Works) without a lathe or a specialised mortise machine.
I had coated Zygote's bowsprit (and most all weather deck timber) with a penetrating epoxy before first launch.
But Z's gorgeous Sam L Morse Co. bowsprit contracted rot after three years of tropical conditions. When I detected the rot, the affected area was small enough that I could have cut the rot out and scarfed in new timber.
I ended up choosing to build a new bowsprit in teak, accepting the trade-off of a heavier sprit in the hope that teak timber would last longer than me.
I simplified the structure a little. Selected some teak, and cut it into 5 or 6 sheets so I could laminate them to avoid any twist within the timber. Had to use epoxy glue because resorcinol (which had been used in the SLM Co yard) was not available. And made the conical section in the traditional way, just using a power sander rather than a spokeshave, drawknife, and hand sanding block. Teak is tougher to work than Douglas Fir
Same with the mortise for the fid. Hand tools and power tools.
For that matter, when I replaced standing rigging and chainplates three years ago, I made a new cranse iron (of 2205 duplex steel, to avoid the compromise of 300-series stainless).
In Z's case, the rot was on the top of the bowsprit. And just forward of the gammon iron.
I understand your idea about a limber, but I'm not convinced that would solve the problem. In fact, I'm surprised that you found rot in the area covered with what likely was 3M 5200. That suggested to me that the freshwater had penetrated from above and migrated through that central lamina. But reading your report also made me consider that that central lamina - if it was the only lamina with rot - may have been carrying the spores of the rot fungus even when the sprit was built.
So rather than building in a limber, I'd suggest putting your faith in penetrating epoxy. With the protective coating of your choice over that.
Then it's just annual maintenance. One BCC owner, no longer with us unfortunately, pulled his mast and bowsprit every winter. He never had a problem with rot of his bowsprit or poultice corrosion on his mast.
I have mates with wooden hulls & decks who annually inject glycol/antifreeze into their timbers, hoping to poison any rot fungi.
> Anyone got a spare?
If all else fails, you can always talk to Cape George Marine Works in Port Townsend, WA. (http://www.capegeorgecutters.com/BCC28/index.html). I'm sure they'd be right happy to build a bowsprit for you.
And, just in case no one has suggested it before, download yourself a copy of the 'BCC Construction Manual' in pdf format. Then print it out (double-sided to save paper), make up front and back covers in slightly heavier stock, staple the spine, and cover the staples with some binding tape. You should find the pdf at:[www.samlmorse.com
It's not really a "construction manual", but some of the drawings are just wonderful. And it includes spreadsheets of materials of the sort John Cole mentioned.