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Old 29-11-2009, 22:28   #1
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Rebuilding the Bruce Roberts Offshore 38 'Hagane'

Before I begin a little background information is in order.
I grew up sailing boats from about the age of 8 years old. When I was 12 my parents bought the very first Vagabond 42 built
and we sailed her from Taiwan to Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Brazil, and then back to Florida.
Of course we stopped off at a LOT of places in between. As an adult I continued to travel both in the Armed Service and as
a civilian to Europe, but I never gave up on my dreams of getting my own boat and sailing the oceans.
When I started to consider where I wanted to go on my boat-of-my-dreams (BOMD) I originally thought of all those islands in
the South Pacific that my family and I never got to visit. But then it struck me.
Antarctica.
WOW, now there is a place that hardly ANYBODY goes to. And come to think of it, that is the one continent I have not visited.
(We had made a vacation trip to Australia while living in Taiwan in the 1970's)
That sealed it, Antarctica was the destination.
What boat would I need for the trip?
Steele hull, definitely. As I planned to go solo, something not too large, but big enough to carry the supplies and gear I would
need for the journey. I finally settled on a Bruce Roberts 370 radius chine design, and planned to build her myself.
After about 4 years of fussing about with preparations for getting started preparing to begin building the hardback on which to build
the boat it struck me that I was not Noah, and I would never build the boat in my lifetime. I needed a shortcut.
So I started looking at boats that were already used and on the market.
Have you ever had one of those moments of kismet, when all the stars align and you reach a do-or-die moment in your life?
Well, for me it happened when I saw an ad for a Bruce Roberts designed Offshore 38 in all steel. The owner was motivated to sell,
as he had spent the last 10 years trying to refit it himself, and had gotten about half way there before giving up. For me, it was
perfect. I would need to remove everything to install insulation anyway, so the lack of interior did not phase me. The hull and deck
had been blasted, repaired, and painted professionally, and was in nearly perfect condition.
I HAD to have it.
Frantically I started to arrange the funding for this boat and one month later, I handed over the cashier's check and he signed the
papers for the title transfer.
The boat was MINE, but what to call her? This decision needed to be made as she is a USCG documented vessel, and I needed
to have the name for the transfer. I started brainstorming and decided on HAGANE (pronounced haw-gun-ay), which is Japanese
for Steel.

I had her trucked the 300 miles from Tallahassee to Largo, and went to work.

The first project was to remove every stick of interior cabinetry and bulkheads.
I needed to get her down to the bare hull and deck inside.
This is more or less the condition I received the boat in.

Some of the woodwork was original and some added by the previous owner.
There were styrofoam boards in place against the hull and deck for insulation, however I wanted to remove them in favor of installing
polyurethane spray foam, so it all had to go.
I was working exclusively by myself on the boat, so I had to build this crane to help with lifting heavy items onto the deck and also
lowering them down to the ground.

The deck was about 11' up. Basically I just extended a crane designed for pickup truck beds to
suit my purposes. For under $150 all told, it was a bargain.
Here you can see that the starboard side is nearly all cleared out, and the port side still remains.

Finally I managed to get all of the woodwork removed and just the tanks, engine, batteries, and cabin sole remain. The
compression posts for the deck stepped masts would come out as well.

During the tear-down process I was thinking of different interior layouts and it became very clear that there was totally inadequate
head space in the walk-through areas under the cockpit.

I had hit my head on the frames here numerous times, and considered
this area totally unsafe in an emergency. The center cockpit would need to either be moved, or have a separate companionway to the
aft cabin.

I decided to relocate the cockpit aft, so the next project was to remove the existing cockpit so that the area could be
decked over. I will leave a 24" X 48" hatch over the engine area for light, ventilation, and access in case the engine needed to be
removed at a later date.
The cockpit demolition begins...

Because of the weight of the steel, (everything is 3/16" steel plate) I had to remove the old cockpit in sections. I started with the seat backs, then the seats themselves.

Working one side then the other I removed everything down to the floor of the cockpit well.

I will leave the floor in place until I get the new coach roof framing in place so that I have somewhere to stand to perform the work.

Sooooo much more head room now that the cockpit is gone.....

This is all for now, I will continue to post as the project progresses.
Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions here, I welcome the benefit of your combined experience and creativity.
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Old 30-11-2009, 07:14   #2
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A big project, good luck, keep the weight down it is so easy to ad so many features who weight more than they are usefull and remember that for B.R. Godson ballast means the weight of the keel plus the ballast.
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Old 30-11-2009, 13:27   #3
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Thanks,
I don't plan to modify the lines or other functional design any, just interior layout and of course the cockpit.

When I bought her she weighed nearly exactly 20,000 lbs, and I figure that I have removed just over 1,500 lbs so far. by the time it all goes back in, it should not exceed 21,000.
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Old 30-11-2009, 14:28   #4
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Thats quite a project you got going.

Was that chipboard as the cabin sole or interior?
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Old 30-11-2009, 14:31   #5
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A big hello from another Offshore 38 owner.

I picked mine up in Dec of 2007, complete but with original 1978 vintage gear. Add in the fact that she was outfitted for a person much shorter than I, and you can pretty much figure I'm in the same boat as you. I've been agonizing over ripping out everything, but seeing you go nuts on it, I'm inclined to agree that its the best way. The way mine was built, the original owner boxed in fitting and tanks with no way to inspect them or repair them if needed. For example, the forward cabin has a couple of hoses running into it thru the head bulkhead, but no way to see whats under the bunks, or forward of the bunks as he bolted in all the tank tops with epoxy as a bedding compound.

Me thinks its chainsaw time!

Anyway, keep posting your progress. I'll be starting to work on mine, at least the stripping part this winter. I have a second boat that needs to be worked on more urgently so I can sell her but Sabre Dance is about to start coming apart at the seams.


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Old 30-11-2009, 14:52   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solitude View Post
Thats quite a project you got going.

Was that chipboard as the cabin sole or interior?
The original cabin sole was pine over plywood. The previous owner pulled out most of it and laid the chipboard over everything.
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Old 30-11-2009, 14:58   #7
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SabreKai,

I know what it is like to have the tanks built in. I had a Franz Maas 43 with the tanks welded into the hull. I had to cut them out as water in the bottom of the diesel tanks rusted through to the outside and allowed seawater to mix in. The water tank sealant failed and the water was rusty. I vowed to never have welded in tanks again.
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Old 30-11-2009, 15:33   #8
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Tanks for the memory...

For Boaracy (Offshore 44) I should have ripped everything out and started over right at the start. Even the internal steel bulkheads could have been rebuilt.

And don't get me started about the engine, not learning to weld or small fuel tanks.

Would have been easier on dry land with scaffolding and everything level too.
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Old 30-11-2009, 15:44   #9
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Hello, enjoyed your photos, I got a similarly daunting project going.. Best of luck
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Old 30-11-2009, 15:48   #10
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Facinating, please do keep us informed with the photos and write up etc. It is cold, wet and foggy in England now, so time to sit by the fire and read about other peoples stories and projects. This looks like a major rebuild so will be following closely

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Old 30-11-2009, 19:02   #11
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I noted that your boat wieghed in at 20,000. I gather that was with the mast off, tanks empty and no interior to speak of. Is your entire hull 3/16? Mine is 1/8 except at the keel can which is 3/16 and the keel base which is 3/8. Our framing looks to be similar and on the same centers. I had the crane weigh me when we lifted out in October of 2008, he said Sabre Dance was 20,800. I wish I could get an accurate weight.

Oh, I didn't express myself well in the first reply. I have plastic tanks for water which are mounted in the veeberth and up forward under the anchor locker. But the veeberth tops and the forward bulkhead have been epoxied and bolted. Not the tanks. That was done to my fuel tank which is a rectangular box of welded flat plate. I've never seen a tank before with no guage or sight glass. One inlet, a vent and an outlet. No cleaning ports or anything. Not to mention that you couldn't get to them even if they were there, no room under the side deck. Same for the main water tank. Its under the port sidedeck but boxed in so all you see is a hose coming out of the overhead.

Yeh, gutting her is making more n more sense
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Old 30-11-2009, 21:38   #12
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Yes, this project is not for the faint of heart, nor for someone who does not know how to weld and ship-fit.

The bottom line is that in order to get the insulation installed properly you really need to gut the boat, and if you are going to gut the boat, you may as well design the layout how you really want it in the first place.

There are not too many photo-worthy steps coming up in the next couple of weeks, but I will post pics of the design or assembly features that I like a lot, or that I totally hate, and will be changing.

As a teaser, here is the steering pedestal mocked up with a new Navpod grab rail, Edson engine control unit, and Ritchie binnacle. I have a 4-instrument navpod to go on the rail, but it is not in this photo:


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Old 30-11-2009, 21:41   #13
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I actually found that Ritchei Globemaster commercial compass on eBay for under $250.00 with minor cracks in the dome. I had it rebuilt for another $68.00 so total cost in it is just over $300.00.

I oredred a new lamp for it, and replaced the bulb with a red LED module that I water-proofed by encasing it in epoxy.
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Old 01-12-2009, 14:19   #14
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Thats a sweet compass. The one I have is much smaller and quite yellowed after some 30years of exposure to the sun, wind and rain. The fellow who owned Sabre Dance used to store her outdoors with no cover and the mast up.

However, while it is old n yellowed, it does read correctly. I found the original compass card in the papers, and had it checked again. Still accurate to the limits of the original card.

Just curious but where is the throttle/gear shift lever on that pedestal? With the compensator masses projecting out from the sides, I'm curious where it would go.


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Old 01-12-2009, 18:41   #15
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The large hole above the wheel hub is for the shift lever that extends paralell to the wheel. As for throttle, I will need to fabricate something that fits under the kelvin sphere on the starboard side.
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