When Vela, the Graves Constellation, rolled into the shop back in the fall, the scope of the restoration that was to take place seemed to be fairly massive, but certainly not daunting to Master Shipwright, Dan Shea. This was to be “massive,” like buying an old house and ripping out everything but the exterior walls. And this is just what was on deck for Vela – a full restoration of the classic hull, down to the bare hull and it’s flange – a handy remnant which will help attach the new pieces to the old hull. The once homely cabin house was cut off with the deck, the cockpit was extended and the new house was amended, mid-restoration, to include some very Captain Nat-esque (Nathanael G. Herreshoff) windows along the sides. It was, for certain, to be a major upgrade to the beautiful lines of the 1965 boat, and structurally it was fixing a leaky deck and house. Once completed, Vela was – even on paper – going to be a head turner.
This blog finds us just passing the halfway point of the whole Vela restoration project – with the construction phase mostly done. The new cabin house is built and installed – the double layer marine plywood decks have been fiberglassed (using our new High Performance 2:1 Epoxy) and the cockpit is a roomy 2-feet longer. Down below is more open than her past set up yet she still sleeps 4 and will be ready to do some overnighting at a moment’s notice. Now she is ready for paint on the new decks, the topsides and the stripped bottom. Once out of the paint booth – Vela will be the smartest, sexiest boat on the Bay.
In the meantime, you can brush up on owner, Mika Zani’s gameplan, listed in this past blog post, and then keep tabs on Vela and her restoration by following these Vela blog posts and by watching the progress live on the TotalBoat Workshop Live Cam!