Island Trader Pages -- The Wildwood Flower Saga

Pictures of Wildwood Flower:   Page 1 - The early days

Pictures of Wildwood Flower:   Page 2 - Looking better

Pictures of Wildwood Flower:   Page 3 - The last big job

Pictures of Wildwood Flower:   Page 4 - The last big job (takes a little longer) ...


The Big List


Wildwood Flower and I have both moved on. She has a new owner and I have a another smaller boat.


  • Repair the bow platform again. When I rebuilt in 1998, I replaced the outside rails of the platform. Inch thick teak seemed just too expensive, so I used what was claimed to be white oak, a fine marine wood I was told. The wood had actually disintegrated inside the shell of epoxy clearcoat, so that the railing was not even supported in a few places. Replaced with okume since teak was still too expensive.


Selling one house, buying another, moving took their toll. There was very little sailing or boat work this year.


  • During the wet and windy Winter months, fill the deep bilge with old chain and cement to add about 400 pounds of ballast, and make a level easier to clean surface.
  • Close off the forward and aft scuppers that were pretty useless and had cracked rims.
  • Re-shape mid-ship scupper to be steeper and stronger
  • Resume deck work in April.
  • Clean-up and paint the gutters with LPU.
  • Patch many dings and scratches on the hull; widen the bootstripe.
  • The bottom painter locates a bad blister on the keel.
  • Back in the water finally on October 4. The engine starts but the water pump fails, and a new impeller does not help. So much for sailing in 2007.

    Turns out, one of the elbows leading into the thermostat housing was totally clogged with rust or salt. After drilling it out and replacing a badly corroded thermostat, the water flow was restored and the temperature does not build up too high.


  • Bite the bullet and start on the side and forward decks.
  • By June, the teak is all removed, and all 99 pieces are reusable except the kingplang in the forward deck.
  • By the end of July the boards are cleaned up, cracks are repaired, and 600 holes are plugged.
  • Haul out in August
  • By November, done with Stage III before the bad weather interrupts the schedule.


  • Rebuild the cockpit sole
    • Cut off the old sole upper skin
    • Remove the soggy plywood core
    • Replace the core with Divinicell
    • Rebuild the skin
    • Install 4 working drains, one in each corner
  • Rebuild the tiller bearing area in the cockpit sole.

    The tiller is using the existing emergency tiller access port in the cockpit sole. Rebuild this area so that the bearing area can be disassembled if necessary to adjust or repair the rudder bearings and shaft.

  • Refinish the cockpit area (finally) and the aft end of the main cabin.


  • Order new sails.
  • Install a headsail furler (Reefurl)
  • Install staysail rigging.
  • Redo the cockpit seat decking
    • Remove the teak overlay.
      The goal was to remove the teak without destroying it so that it could be replaced. This part is done and almost all the teak is reusable.
    • Cut off the upper skin and replace the soggy plywood core.
    • Lay down a new skin.
    • Replace the teak.
    The whole project took until mid July but it came out very nicely.
  • Refinish the cabin top -- did not get around to that.


  • Refurbish the galley area.
  • Finally, a good deal of sailing.


  • Rebuild the quarter berth.
  • More work on the plumbing.
Since we both work full time, we have been averaging about 500 hours of repair work in a 12 month period. This does not include time spent on routine maintenance (that would happen even if the boat was in perfect condition). I am hoping this is the last year of major reconstruction.


  • Rip out the wheel steering wheel system and replace with tiller.
    The hard part was to relocate the engine controls. I ended up building an instrument console at the forward end of the cockpit.
    The wheel and steering components went to Inshalla in Florida.
  • Replace lots of plumbing.


  • Rebuild the main hatch.
  • Repair and refinish the original louvered doors.
  • Replace the transmission with gracious help from the owner of Phoenix.


  • Refinish both booms.
  • Move the traveller from the bridge deck to the cabin top.
  • Remount stanchions from the deck to the coaming - this improves the drainage on deck and makes the stanchions a little taller and a lot more stiff. It also eliminates a recurring source of leaks.
  • Actually go sailing a few times!


  • (Move to a new house)
  • Repair and refinish the mizzen mast.
  • Repair and refinish the bow platform.


  • Rebuild the two forward dorade vents with external dorade boxes to eliminate leaks from the ineffective original design.
  • Strip and refinish the skylight and forward cabin hatch.
  • Replace the v-berth cushions after re-shaping the base to provide a full-width double and still leave some standing room.
  • Remove and repaint the bowsprit.
  • Replace the samson posts at the base of the bowsprit.
  • Repair the mainmast rot and several incipient cracks in the glue joints, rewire completely, repaint and attach the running gear with some redesign here and there.


  • Remove the opening port in the head and rebuild that section of inside wall.
  • Rebuild the companionway entrance where a lot of water damage had been caused by leaks.
  • Replace the athwartship bulkead aft of the galley, the galley counter and the engine cover.
  • Lots of little stuff like shelves, cleaning, a hinge here and there...


  • Build a temporary hatch and door for the companionway
  • Remove and replace all the fixed ports, with some rebuilding around the openings, and lots of new sealant.

My Own Survey Results

In the interior of the boat, I had to replace the galley bulkhead and counter because they had suffered severe water damage. All the liners in all the lockers had to be ripped out; it looks like the builders use a very cheap grade of plywood for the liners and anyplace where a thin veneered partition would do. These all delaminate and rot at the slightes hint of moisture. We also had to re-bed all the ports. We removed completely one of the bronze opening ports to repair the wall in the bathroom, but I would recommend agains that operation unless absolutely necessary since removal of the port is sure to destroy several inches of liner around the port.

In contrast, the structural bulkeads all seem to be 3/4 and 1" marine ply, (apparently mahagony in all the plies!) and all the interior visible trim seems to be solid teak. The teak deck overlay is also very thick and adds to the stiffness of the deck to the point where we have put off indefinitely the replacement of out deck cores even though they all seem to have suffered water penetration. Re-sealing the deck joints seems to have stopped any further water penetration.

What the Survey Missed

I was quite disappointed with my surveyor. He pointed out a lot of obvious cosmetic defects, made several errors in his recommendations, and failed to notice several major flaws:
  1. The wooden main mast had substantial rot at the spreaders and an experienced person could have noticed it, even from deck level.

    I decided to repair the mast and after about 500 hours of labor, but very little expense (maybe $500) it is as good as new and was stepped in 1998. That is the beauty of wood - it is just as repairable, with simple tools, as fiberglass.

  2. One of the brackets supporting a steering pulley had pulled away from the hull and needed to be re-attached.

    I was able to brace the bad side with a cross-bar to the good side. This temporary repair has been fine while we use the boat as a power cruiser. I have decided to strip out the wheel and convert to a tiller.

  3. Several sea cocks were so stiff that they could not be operated by hand. They all moved eventually when I used a pipe on the handles, but I had thought that a surveyor would operate all seacocks as a normal part of a survey.

Last update to this page was in June 2009.

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