Sunday, December 29, 2013

"No nonsense" headsail roller furling system from Alado

I've ordered a headsail roller furling system from a small Brazilian company called Alado. The Alado system seems like a very reasonably priced no nonsense product. Head over to for more information.

Apparently the Alado A2 kit fits the Ballad assuming it has the original rigging - like everything else on Obelix (including cushions, sadly) the rigging is original. I was accurately looking at a Harken MKIV but the price (18.000 DKK or roughly 3.300 USD) seems a bit high. The Alado on the other hand was only 1220 USD (roughly 6700 DKK) including shipping and import duties.

Practical sailor did a review of the Alado back in 2009 which can be found here:

Assembly Instructions (written instructions):
Assembly Instructions (video):

Once it's mounted and I have had a chance to test it I'll be sure to post a review. I'm even considering doing a video documenting the installation.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fun with plywood - final test-fitting

Due to the unseasonal warm weather in november I had time to do a final test fitting of the new plywood. With the exception of a few places everything went together fairly easy. Unbelievable fulfilling - a huge morale boost!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bolts that secure bulkhead to deck, missing backing

A fellow member (Peter, of the balladexchange forum ( commented that I should check the backing of the three bolts that secure the large bulkhead to the deck. In his boat Albin Marina had placed the backing (plywood) too far forward and there was no backing to support the bolts. I checked and my boat had the same issue. If you look at the drawings the backing is clearly supposed to be there (link).

I used a 40 mm hole saw to cut out three sections of fiberglass and then used the same hole saw to cut three pieces of Okoume plywood. I used the hole from the hole saw to line up the pieces of plywood and then applied generous amount of WEST System's Six10. The next day I sanded the area and painted it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Painting, done!

I'm finally done painting the interior of Obelix (my Albin Ballad). I ended up using Hempel Multicoat in a pure white. If it turns out to be too white I do have the option of lightly sanding the entire surface and applying a topcoat of Hempel Brilliant Gloss (which has more shades of white to choose from). So far I'm very pleased with the result :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fun with plywood - the beginning.

Finally the plywood arrived! Soon I will be done painting and then the "real" fun can begin. I'm looking very much forward to start the rebuild.

To save some money I have chosen to use non-marine-grade plywood. Instead I will be using "normal" Okoume B/BB (WBP) plywood. Please note that I'm reusing the old bulkheads - none of the new plywood is going to be a part of the structural support.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Easiest way to remove butyl tape?

I need to remove butyl tape from a lot of bolts. So what is easiest way to remove butyl tape?

Turns out mineral spirits dissolves butyl tape real easy. I added mineral spirits to a small jar with three bolts in it. Shook it for 30 seconds. As by magic all the butyl tape dissolved.


Mineral spirits

After shaking the jar for 30 seconds 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Why progress is slow (herniated disc)

Herniated disc
Thought I would do a quick post and explain once for all why progress on the restoration is moving so slowly.

One year ago I slipped and fell down a flight of stairs. This resulted in a herniated disc between L4 and L5 (see the red box in the picture). In december (2012) I got an operation to remove the nucleus pulposus (the stuff protruding from the disc). The last year I've been seeing a physical therapist two times a week. Unfortunately I still have pains, loss of feeling and slight loss of function. Apparently it's highly unlikely it is going to get better. That would have happened by now according to the doctors.

Luckily some of my friends and my parents have been kind enough to help with the boat. I wouldn't have been able to get this far on my own with my back/leg the way it is today. It's very demoralizing not being able to use my body like I was before the accident.

In short: progress may be slow but it's not due to loss of interest. The boat will be seaworthy again; if not next year then the year after. Slow and steady wins the race :)

Alignmet of holes in bulkheads and hull

Clearly the holes aren't aligned. Panic ensued. 
I wanted to put the bulkheads back in order to do a proper test-fit. Should be an easy job, right? Not quite.

The bulkheads did still fit put all the holes were misaligned by 1 or 2 cm. I spent the better part of an hour searching the web, posting on The Ballad Exchange (post) and finally calling a friend in the local yacht club. Luckily the later quickly calmed me down. Apparently it is not uncommon for glasfiber boats to sag a bit when removing bulkheads. The cure; a car jack and a steady hand (nerves).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A tribute to sticky stuff (removing glue residue)

The problem 

There is some sticky glue residue all over the inside of hull. I need to remove it to be sure that the new vinyl backed foam insulation will adhere to the hull. Even tho the glue is over 40 years old it is still very sticky. I used an angle grinder with a metal wire brush attachment to remove a lot of the old foam and glue. A good friend in the local marina recommended that I try using "brun sæbe" to remove the rest of the glue and foam.

"Brun sæbe" aka "the stuff"

"The Stuff"!
I have been unable to find suitable translation for "the stuff". In Danish it's called "Brun sæbe". Directly translated it's simply "brown soap". I found a forum post that refers to it as "German soft soap", "soft potassium soap"or "crystal soap". Neither of those seems to be correct.

If i had to describe it i would say it has the consistency of jello and has a slight brown color. Apparently it is basic (pH > 7) and is rich in calcium hydroxide. Please leave a comment if you know the english word for "the stuff".

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sanding trim and old bulkheads

Sanding - lots of sanding!

... not!
This weekend I sanded the remaining bulkheads and all of the solid mahogany trim pieces. Very tedious work. The bulkheads are now ready for paint and the trim is ready for varnishing.

I'm going to refurbish the old bulkheads and trim to keep the cost down. If only marine plywood wasn't so ridiculously expensive here in Denmark I would love to redo the bulkheads. Simply put 340 USD per sheet is too steep for me - read my previous post. On all of the bulkheads, except one, there were spots where the outer veneer was worn thru. This is not an issue as I'm going to paint the bulkheads. But it meant sanding - lots of sanding. Luckily I purchased a BOSCH excenter grinder to help make the task more manageable.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Loose bulkhead

I had noticed that the aft bulkhead in the starboard side was "glassed in" as opposed to being bolted the the hull like all the other bulkheads. Normally all bulkheads in the Ballad are bolted to in place. The are only two places Albin would normally glass in plywood (both around the water tank). Something must have gone wrong while outfitting hull #332. This might not be anything to be alarmed by but the bulkhead was loose and I was able to remove it without using force. The fiberglass on the bulkhead didn't adhere to the hull. Good thing that didn't happen while at sea in bad weather!

As I'm going to "refurbish" the old bulkheads to avoid spending money on marine grade plywood I needed to remove the fiberglass from the bulkhead. If only marine grade plywood wasn't so outrageously expensive in Denmark *sigh*.

Bulkhead gone!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last of the plywood

I had a little time yesterday and managed to remove the last of the interior.  The large bulkhead is too big to get it out of the boat. I will need to sand and paint it inside the boat.

Only the large bulkhead remains inside the boat

Aft look

Monday, September 2, 2013

Almost done removing plywood (interior)

Progress is slow. 

Due to my back/leg problems progress have been very slow. In fact credit for most of the progress since my last post goes my parents. They dropped by this weekend to lend a hand.

Most of the plywood have been removed from the interior. Only two bulkheads remain. I'm considering refurbishing the old bulkheads (instead of spending 1700 USD on marine plywood). If the last two bulkheads are in as good of a condition as the ones I have already removed I'm going to experiment with painting them using Interlux Toplac (also known as International Toplac).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Removing plywood video

A quick test to play around with uploading a video to youtube from my iPhone 5.

Considering ordering a GoPro Hero 3 to document the progress and to take sailing once the restoration project is finished.

A slow start, removing plywood

Removing plywood, cabin portside

Today I started removing plywood from the portside of the cabin in my lovely 1973 Albin Ballad. Sadly I had to stop due to my back acting up. I got a herniated disc as a result of falling down a flight of stairs last october. I did get an operation in december but still have a lot of problems with pain and loss of feeling in my left leg. But that's another story. Feels good getting started although progress is slow. Isn't there a saying that goes something like "slow and steady wins the race"? If so it's only a matter of time ;)

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.

Marine Grade vs. Exterior Grade Plywood

What is the deal with marine grade plywood? 

Having a hard time figuring out if you really need to pay the premium and use "real" marine grade plywood for the interior of your sailboat? Me too!

During the last couple of weeks I've spent some time trying to figure out what to do in my 1973 Albin Ballad. Why bother with all this and simply not just pay the premium? Firstly, I'm curios. Secondly, in Denmark there only seems to be one supplier of BS 1088 marine plywood. Not surprisingly their prices are a bit high. 340 USD for a single sheet (16 mm). Keep in mind, that price is for okoume and not anything fancy like teak or mahogany. Seeing as I need about 15-20 sheets a bit of digging seemed like a good idea.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Home, Sweet Home

Finally got the boat home. Thanks to a very skilled crane operator she now sits comfortably in my front yard.
Up, Up and Away

Pre hull cleaning

Monday, August 5, 2013

And so it begins...

Soon to come: rantings and ravings during the restoration of an 40 year old sailboat.

Getting ready!