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Marguerite gets ready to make a splash

by Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding 11 Oct 2023 18:05 UTC
Marguerite gets ready to make a splash © Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding

When the striking 28-metre Vitters-built ketch Marguerite came on the scene in 1999, she fulfilled the design brief of a globe-girdler with creature comforts to a T. And over the years, thanks to the regular attention of the skilled crews of Lyman-Morse boatbuilding, she stayed that way.

With a name change to Carmella, she'd had a great run. She safely carried the previous owner and family and two paid crew and benefitted from continuous Lyman-Morse updates to the exterior and interior living areas, including upgraded plumbing and galley amenities.

But Mother Nature and successful bluewater exploration have taken an inevitable toll on the aluminum yacht. When the current owner found her in Newport, Rhode Island, the purchase survey called for an inspection to investigate corrosion—deck replacement was a distinct possibility. With structural concerns made transparent, the new owner, an experienced sailor and Australian businessman, decided to return the yacht to Lyman-Morse in the fall of 2022. Central to the goals of the experienced sailor and boat owner is a trip around the world before he heads home.

"The known corrosion issues between the teak deck and the aluminum subdeck had to be addressed," says Phillip Schietinger, manager of the Lyman-Morse carpentry department and overseer of the yacht's past maintenance. "We didn't know how severe the issues were, but we found our suspicions to be true. Underneath the teak decking there were a lot of areas where saltwater had crept in and caused corrosion. And there were large areas where decking had come loose from the subdeck. It was the correct move to tear the entire decking down."

The good news was that farther down, all was well, again, thanks to the yacht's history of routine maintenance with Lyman-Morse.

"The freeboard and below the waterline, it's all in good condition," Schietinger says. "Two years ago, when the previous owner decided to put the boat up for sale, Carmella came here and had topsides repainted and corrosion addressed. Our yard handled that project, so it's in good condition."

As of this writing, crews have removed the entire teak decking and were cleaning the aluminum subdeck down to bare sheeting. Soon the surface will be media blasted and primed so new decking can be applied by a longtime Lyman-Morse partner, Teak Decking Systems of Florida.

"They have patterned the entire deck surface and cockpits, basically prefabricating the entire deck at the Florida facility," Schietinger says. "The company will send the prefabricated panels to Maine and Lyman-Morse and our staffs will install the new panels in segments."

The interior is in good shape, and the new owner is pleased with it in its current condition. But, as with any big project, one thing leads to another, and this case was no different. Crews had to take apart the interior because hundreds of pieces of mounted deck hardware—winches, button switches, blocks, jammers, cleats, rails, cowl vents, and more—had to come off to remove the teak decking and install a new one.

"To get to fasteners from underneath, we had to take all the headliners and some of the cabinetry off to get to the nuts that hold these bolts for the deck hardware," Schietinger says. "It's a fairly invasive process for the boat. Even though you think you're just working on deck, it affects the interior quite a lot."

Workers will re-insert cabinetry and headliners; for now, they've removed everything, labelled all pieces, and have organized and stored all contents. Aside from that, the interior will not receive any major changes.

Repowering the engine is the other major aspect of the refit.

"The big question was that the diesel engine was running fine but it was over the recommended hours/life cycle," Schietinger says. "We did an assessment of the engine, and in talking with the owner and looking at the type of travel he intended, as well as the reliability he needed from the boat, it was quickly decided it had to be repowered for a circumnavigation."

Crews are in the process of swapping out the old Caterpillar and replacing it with a remanufactured version.

"Caterpillar buys back used engine blocks from boats and rebuilds them completely, and one was available that was basically a one-to-one replacement," Schietinger adds, noting that the weight and horsepower of the rebuilt powerplant matched the current engine size almost exactly.

As sailboat engine room space is tightly engineered around the block it was crucial to replace the diesel with basically the same model because the yacht couldn't accommodate a different size.

"A nice side effect of the remanufactured engine is that even though it's basically the same, it has more efficient components, so it's actually more powerful," he adds.

One other significant, though less invasive, aspect of the overhaul is the incorporation of a new electronics package, including chart plotter and associated electronic components.

No major painting is expected, with one exception. "We'll repaint the transom, removing the Carmella nameplate and renaming it back to its original name, Marguerite," Schietinger says.

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