Chronicling the Rescue and Refubishment of my Yamaha 33

Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
I've been thoroughly preoccupied with Yamaha sailboats for 22 years. I was hooked since the day a friend of mine took me out on his tall-rigged 33 back in 1995 (The Irish Whiskey. Now sailing as the Pino).
I spotted a Yamaha 33 on Flickr in 2009 and immediately fell in love with her.
I'd give the Flickr page a glance now and then over the years to get a quick fix, and dream of the day when I would own such a fine vessel myself.

I commenced my search for a sailboat in February, 2016. The process was as pleasant as having one's anal hairs plucked. In February of this year, I spotted a Yamaha 33 called "Liming" for sale in Sidney, B.C. I had initially been warded off by her tiller, her price, and by the fact that she had been on the market for quite some time. However, after a year-long fruitless search, desperation was setting in, and I made the journey to see her from Vancouver.

Sadly, the Liming was very tired, and she also needed an extensive refit, as the owner had raced her hard over the years, and she was showing some signs of considerable neglect.

I placed an offer on her that was commensurate with her age and state of repair. The owner reacted like he had just been sodomized.

Just as I was on the verge of quitting the whole enterprise completely, the Empress appeared for sale on Craigslist.

When I went to have a look at her, all of my youthful illusions were dashed immediately. She had passed through the none-too-gentle hands of several owners since 2009, and was looking the worse for wear.

It took a month and a half of negotiation, but I managed to get her for a very good price.

Inspired by Amesey's blog on his Yamaha, I decided to make a contribution of my own.



Sadly, it is incomplete, as I was hoping to chronicle her repairs in greater detail. However, by week two of her refit, I was beginning to question my sanity, and couldn't be arsed to take the time to pull out my phone to snap a few pictures when I was sweating and cursing.

I will, however, be adding more pictures as I progress with my refit.
 
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Aug 27, 2009
37
Yamaha 33 Portland
Do provide a link - I'm keen to see your progress and share notes. Empress looked fantastic on Flickr. She was also on my list. I'd emailed the contact on Flickr, but he replied that he'd sold the boat years ago.

I'm glad you got a good price. A refit won't be cheap, but you'll know every corner of your boat - That's worth more than money.
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Do provide a link - I'm keen to see your progress and share notes. Empress looked fantastic on Flickr. She was also on my list. I'd emailed the contact on Flickr, but he replied that he'd sold the boat years ago.

I'm glad you got a good price. A refit won't be cheap, but you'll know every corner of your boat - That's worth more than money.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/albums/72157683568693090

Thankfully, I had much to work with, as past owners decided not to customize or update anything apart from adding new sails. I've included a pre-purchase photographic history of the boat gleaned from various online sources, including Doug Stewart's.

Yes, my Visa statement had me on my knees in tears this month, but she is worth the investment. At some point I will strip her down, and give the deck a spray of Duratec, and have her fittings powder coated as well. Yamaha seemed to have cheaped out gelcoating the decks, as I haven't seen many examples where the fibreglass isn't beginning to show through from wear.

Thanks for the input, and I was amazed that both of us had lingered on Stewart's Flickr page!
 
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Jul 9, 2004
80
Yamaha 30 - Sidney
Hey Kamp, nice site with a good collection of photos. Quick questions:
- You say that Liming needed a fair amount of work, but then also Empress did. What kind of difference in condition? Cosmetics? Mechanical? Structural?
- A silly question but one for the significant other :) .... is the V-berth longer/roomier than the one in the Yam 30'?

Perhaps see you out there in the fall somewhere.

cheers
jcm
Satori in Sidney
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Hey Kamp, nice site with a good collection of photos. Quick questions:
- You say that Liming needed a fair amount of work, but then also Empress did. What kind of difference in condition? Cosmetics? Mechanical? Structural?
- A silly question but one for the significant other :) .... is the V-berth longer/roomier than the one in the Yam 30'?

Perhaps see you out there in the fall somewhere.

cheers
jcm
Satori in Sidney
Thank you. I wanted to post more "hands-on" photographs of the work in progress, but pulling out the camera is the last thing on my mind when I'm grappling with some frustrating issue with the boat under a murderously hot sun.

Regarding the Liming, it was all of the above. Rot, rust, and quite a bit of wear and tear. So much work that it was almost depressing. She had been raced hard, and it was telling. Compounding matters, the owner has let the boat deteriorate at the broker's, so most of what remained of her initial charm has long since faded. Lastly, the owner must have ingested some powerful hallucinogens when he came up with that price, and he has no intention of wavering a penny below.

The Empress was a year younger than the Liming, and hadn't seen much use. At some point in her history, someone had dumped a wad of time and money into her, so she transited through a couple of bad owners without going completely to seed. After she was tidied up, someone asked me if the boat was brand new! A new exhaust elbow remedied all of her engine issues. The Empress was cosmetically, mechanically, and structurally superior to the Liming, and the Empress has newer sails, dinghy, new liferaft, autohelm, and a ton of other goodies, and at a price significantly less than the Liming's.

Before purchasing the Empress, I had a look at a Yamaha 30 in Vancouver called Musica. I love the Yamaha 30 line, but there is no denying that the v-berth in the 33 is like Hall of Mirrors at Versailles in comparison to the berth on the 30.

Yes, I'm sure we shall bump into each other at some point, as we intend to be on your side of the Strait more often than not!
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
She's coming along, although the cosmetic work almost seems endless some days. Today I finished work on the stern cockpit locker, and the teak deck fitting.


Cockpit Locker Before:

I think that most Yamaha sailboats suffer from an identical complaint: rotten 35-year-old plywood. Mine was rotten right up to the half way mark.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/35474193592/in/album-72157683568693090/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/34801214714/in/album-72157683568693090/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/35664561740/in/album-72157683568693090/

Cockpit Locker After:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/36012183116/in/album-72157683568693090/

Teak Deck Fitting Before:

Weathered, badly cracked, and almost past the point of no return.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/35882834602/in/album-72157683568693090/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/36012179426/in/album-72157683568693090/

Teak Deck Fitting After:

After extensive repairs, the teak glows again. Sadly, I was unable to close the massive crack completely, but was reasonably satisfied with the repair. The fitting was finished with a clear lacquer to highlight the teak's rich graining and colour.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/35920253541/in/album-72157683568693090/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/35214279474/in/album-72157683568693090/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/26575147@N07/35920256251/in/album-72157683568693090/

My next move is those nasty gray handrails, finishing up the tiller, and gluing/refinishing the navigation chair.
 

KGP

.
Sep 26, 2017
2
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Hello KA, we've not met, but I may already owe you a bev. I've caught the Yamaha bug, and was about to head to Sydney(Liming you noted). There are a couple others I'm looking at...one in Pt. Roberts(30) and another in the US(Maryland). Anyway, your efforts are noteworthy and I'd appreciate seeing Empress both as an inspiration and reference. Pls let me know if you might be into a brief hello at your convenience. Tx, K.
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Thank you! Yes, the Yamaha is an intoxicating model of sailboat, and I cannot get enough of them. Pity about the Liming, as we really took to her despite all her faults. I have a Flickr page devoted to her. My only complaint with the 33 is the very poor access to the starboard chain plates for maintenance. This is a real design weakness, and its the first thing to check on this model. The Liming had some serious rot on her due to this issue, and I’ve seen several others 33s with identical complaints. I think that access to the chainplates isn’t as much of an issue on the 25,26, 30, and 36 models. If you don’t mind the suggestion, keep your eyes open for a 36, as they were the cream of the crop with a rear cabin, larger head, and larger v berth.
 
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Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
I’ve had a look at the 33 in Maryland. Don’t bother. From the dearth of out-of-focus interior pictures, I can tell at a glance that she’s not worth the effort. There has been some serious water intrusion on her port side leading to finish damage and electrical problems. Pound to a penny, she has rot around her chainplates too, hence the lack of interior pictures. The settee has been reupholstered in vinyl; the galley has been reconfigured; there is significant finish/water damage throughout. Her hull has been repainted at some point. She has a tall rig, but her keel is for a short rig; really weird. I’d skip this one.

The 30 in Point Roberts is just “okay”. Way overpriced. Her windows need doing (very old), as someone went into overkill mode with the fasteners. If the windows aren’t already cracked, they soon will be. This ad hoc window repair is a bit of a red flag, as it signals laziness/incompetence on the part of the owner, and might indicate water intrusion issues in the past. Wavey headliner indicates water getting in around the boot. Again, water intrusion means that you should check the chainplate area for rot.
Guaranteed that the 1GM Yanmar will need an overhaul, along with the bearing supporting the shaft.

This is a short rig model. She’s been on the market for over a year, and there has been no significant price drop (another red flag/lying owner). I think this one will be a disappointment unless you are looking for a project boat.
 

KGP

.
Sep 26, 2017
2
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Thank you, AGAIN, KA. Just back from looking at the one in Roberts...I sensed would be not great, but had to check it out. Gothca on the one in Maryland. Onward I go. Are you aware of any other sights/means to sort other options?...even a 36, which I agree would be a good thing. So far, I have yet been able to find any others. Cheers, K.
 
Jun 11, 2016
3
Yamaha 33 North Saanich
Really great to know that not all yam sailboats are rotting away on some dock, there were quite a few sad looking yamahas in Sidney last time I was there. Happy you're refitting Empress.

I was trying to find information on fixing cracked windows on Yamahas and somehow stumbled upon this post.

Me and my partner are the current owners of Pino, it's awesome to find someone who has sailed on our boat :). Was the owner of the boat Luke in 95?

We left Canada and are currently in New Zealand with the boat, the 33 is a great model but as you mentioned, has quite a few issues. The chainplates, as you said, are a real problem. When we bought the boat there was some dry rot on the starboard side, and now, after a year of cruising and hard sailing the same is happening to the port side. The starboard-side rot was removed, and patched up, but its a pain to repair. And this boat has several cracks in the windows, it's an old boat... but also the windows are just too damn big. We're going to be re-doing the windows this year, may make them smaller, not sure yet. This year will be filled with projects, we're hoping to take the boat to Japan but there's quite a lot of work to do before we take it there. May post some updates on our projects on this forum, i had no idea it existed.

Anyway, like i said, happy to meet someone who's sailed on Pino.
 

pateco

.
Aug 12, 2014
2,207
Hunter 31 (1983) Pompano Beach FL
Kampuniform,

Talk to me about how you redid the companionway hatches.
Companionway 2.png Companionway.png

What material did you use?
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Really great to know that not all yam sailboats are rotting away on some dock, there were quite a few sad looking yamahas in Sidney last time I was there. Happy you're refitting Empress.

I was trying to find information on fixing cracked windows on Yamahas and somehow stumbled upon this post.

Me and my partner are the current owners of Pino, it's awesome to find someone who has sailed on our boat :). Was the owner of the boat Luke in 95?

We left Canada and are currently in New Zealand with the boat, the 33 is a great model but as you mentioned, has quite a few issues. The chainplates, as you said, are a real problem. When we bought the boat there was some dry rot on the starboard side, and now, after a year of cruising and hard sailing the same is happening to the port side. The starboard-side rot was removed, and patched up, but its a pain to repair. And this boat has several cracks in the windows, it's an old boat... but also the windows are just too damn big. We're going to be re-doing the windows this year, may make them smaller, not sure yet. This year will be filled with projects, we're hoping to take the boat to Japan but there's quite a lot of work to do before we take it there. May post some updates on our projects on this forum, i had no idea it existed.

Anyway, like i said, happy to meet someone who's sailed on Pino.
Ah yes, the Pino! My girlfriend and I have been following your exploits on YouTube since your early days on the Island. Really quite inspirational.

Amazingly, you beat us to the punch, as we were about to head over to the island to look at the Irish Whiskey before you purchased her. I was just about to contact the broker to arrange a viewing when I noted that she'd been taken off the market.

Yes, I sailed on the Pino years ago, and was present when the owner had that horrible Irish Whiskey name hand-painted on her bow and stern. I told him that the name was a mistake. I was also present when he had the dodger and other canvas installed. God, that was such a long time ago that I cannot remember the owner's name. We did quite a bit of sailing together one year, then I moved up to Squamish and lost all contact with him. A year or two later, I noted that he had put the boat up for sale.

He had grand ambitions to retire early, and have a lifestyle identical to your own. His wife had other ideas, so I think his plans were hit for six.

I even gave him a hand sanding the hull. My reward? A ham and cheese sandwich. He was an accountant.

Yes, access to those bloody chainplates is the major design flaw with the 33, and its rare to find a model that isn't blighted with some rot. Oxalic acid will kill the spores if the rot hasn't progressed too far. Beyond that, it's not a terribly difficult job to put in a hardwood patch, and then reveneer.

Happy to provide any advice on replacing the windows on a 33. Everyone seems to agree that removing all the old silicone is the single hurdle. Everything else follows quickly and easily by comparison. It will be even cheaper if you cut the plastic yourselves.

It's wet and stormy in Vancouver, so we're all envious of your perch in NZ!
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Kampuniform,

Talk to me about how you redid the companionway hatches.
View attachment 143763 View attachment 143764

What material did you use?
Happily!

I used W305 Parliament Walnut Arborite.

I used contact cement, as it can be reactivated with heat if any problems arise in the future.

I used the old panels to make templates for the new. The old panels needed little encouragement to come off.

One scores Arborite with a sharp knife, then you flex it apart at the seam.

The contact cement was applied to the substrate, and to the Arborite, you wait fifteen minutes for the glue to set-up, then apply your sheet of Arborite to the substrate.

We had record breaking heat this summer, and this fall has been notable wet. The Arborite has performed flawlessly so far, showing no signs of fading, lifting, or peeling.
 

pateco

.
Aug 12, 2014
2,207
Hunter 31 (1983) Pompano Beach FL
So It is a High Pressure Laminate. What did you use as a Substrate?
 
Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
So It is a High Pressure Laminate. What did you use as a Substrate?
The original companionway hatch. Traditional stile and rail construction, but out of a notable poor stock, which accounts for the fact that few survived intact. Having taken my companionway apart, I don't think that the thing would withstand a boarding wave. At some point, I will replace it with something more robust, and ideally, one piece.
 
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pateco

.
Aug 12, 2014
2,207
Hunter 31 (1983) Pompano Beach FL
The original companionway hatch. Traditional stile and rail construction, but out of a notable poor stock, which accounts for the fact that few survived intact. Having taken my companionway apart, I don't think that the thing would withstand a boarding wave. At some point, I will replace it with something more robust, and ideally, one piece.
I had to replace mine as they were too far gone to repair.

It had a little different edge than yours.

I used thicker PVC board (I couldn't afford teak at the time) I used the old boards as a template, and designed the new boards so that they overlap by 3/4" so that water would have to run up to get between them. Used a 3/4" rabet bit to route the opposing edges of the top and botom of each board. (didn't rabet the very top of the top board to leave it square). then Used the same bit to route the outside edge of each board to fit into the stainless channel on the boat.

Turned out pretty nice for the cost of one PVC plank.


I am thinking of replacing it with similar boards made from laminated pieces of solid bamboo flooring just to improve the look.


Hand Scraped Seneca 3/8 in. Thick x 4 in. Wide x 38-5/8 in. Length Solid Bamboo Flooring $1.95/Sq Ft

If I laminate it 2 or 3 pieces thick, cut and shape it the same as the PVC board, and then give it a couple of coats of clear, I think it will look a lot better. I don't know if a HP Laminate like yours would last long in the Florida sun.
 
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Jan 20, 2017
78
Yamaha 33 Vancouver
Nicely done.

At some point, I might go the teak veneer route when I eventually replace the companionway hatch.

I would also do the locker in the cockpit as well to really make it look grand.

Ultimately, I'd love to restore the whole boat, and have it sealed in a container for posterity, just leaving myself a little viewing/photographing port so that I could admire my boat on occasion.
 
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