Breathing fire back into a Dragon

16 December 2010
28 October 2010
27 October 2010
18 October 2010 | Bella Vista, AR to Neptune Beach, FL

Surveys Says!!!

16 December 2010
Greg
Well finally had some people who actually know something about boats take a look at the hull and give me their opinions. All three agree

Fix the big holes and go sailing!!!

I found a pretty good crack in the inner hull under the cockpit locker. I will need to cut it out and repair. Will shoot some foam into the void in the bilge and cover with a sheet of glass.

Biggest challenge will be the transom where the lower pintle has come lose. some challenging body angles allowed me to crawl in and see at an eight inch section of the marine ply has disintegrated. Will need to cut it out and replace along with same size section of outer hull. Need to get a dremel and grinder. Santa said he might put it in my stocking.

Will get some new pictures posted once I get started.

Dragon Bones

28 October 2010
Greg
In order to determine where to start, we needed to get to the bare bones. Every night I have been working a little on removing benches, berths and bulkheads. I finally completed the task and now can begin a serious inspection of the Dragon's bones.

I will definitely be repairing one stringer and both bulkheads are too far gone to be salvaged. I managed to get one out intact in order to use it as a template for the new ones. I will spend the next week checking stringers, floors and interior joints for cracks, rot and blisters in the gelcoat.

P.S. Found two pennies sitting on a stringer after I removed the benches. Both were heads up. I have stored them in a secure spot so that they can be returned to their original location. I'm not superstitious, but I am a little-stitious

Draining The Dragon

27 October 2010
Greg
I have spent the last few days attempting to determine the scope of the rehab required for the Dragon. Got my shop-vac into the boat and started removing the little puddles in each of the stowage areas. Most of the bilge is covered by the sole in the aft part of the cabin so I had to remove the seats in order to lift the sole to get to the bilge.

As you can see by the picture there are a couple of holes in the bilge. Since the boat is double hulled the water drains from the bilge into the keel and fills the gaps between inner and outer hull. I drilled a small hole (to be patched later) near the bottom of the keel and drained gallons of water. The wooden stringer under the bilge shows signs of rot and will probably need to be patched or replaced.

I was also able to eyeball the plywood on the backside of the transom. There are signs of water damage and delamination of the wood, but I won't know for sure how bad until I crawl under the cockpit and can get an up close look.

On the plus side, I am having a blast working on the Dragon. Each day I find out something new about boat construction and repair. Julie and I are having our weekend morning coffee or our evening quiet time sitting in the cockpit dreaming of the day we will have the Dragon afloat.

The Dragon Travels by Land

18 October 2010 | Bella Vista, AR to Neptune Beach, FL
Greg
My uncle gave us the Happy Dragon after 15 years of lake cruising in Bella Vista, AR. My 14yr old first mate Davis and I flew into AR, spent two days working on trailer and battening down mast, and hatches. Tossed all removable equipment into the back of a 10' U-Haul and hit the open road.

We hit some big waves between Vicksburg and Jackson on I-20. literally. Anybody who has driven this stretch of road knows exactly what I mean. The bolts holding the wench to the trailer sheared off and the only thing holding the boat was the rear strap! After a quick stop at the only store open on a Sunday night we got new bolts, nuts and washers, reattached the wench and were back on the road.

After 1100 miles through AR, LA, MS, AL and FL we finally made it home. Two days of driving with no cruise control.

My wife Julie was duly impressed when I backed the trailer into the side yard on the first try. We will now take the rest of the winter (or what passes for winter in N.E. FL) repairing the functional aspects of the our little Dragon. Our hopes are to get it into the water in spring, enjoy the summer and next fall start working on some of the cosmetic issues.

Stay posted for pictures and comments as the surprises and adventures begin.
Vessel Name: Happy Dragon
Vessel Make/Model: Columbia 23-T
Length Overall 22' 7
Hailing Port: Neptune Beach, FL
Crew:
Capt:Greg
Admr:Julie
First Mates:
Anna
Davis
Addison
Extra: 1973 Columbia 23-T Hull 101 (first of model from Portsmouth mfg site) Spent most of its life in Nebraska and Arkansas.
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Happy Dragon's Photos -

Happy Dragon

Who:
Capt:Greg
Admr:Julie
First Mates:
Anna
Davis
Addison
Port: Neptune Beach, FL