Seems it’s the year for new bottoms. The old Julius shredded her bottom over her many floats, swelling, shrinking, swelling, shrinking, swelling, cracking, tearing loose screws, swelling, shrinking, cracking some more. But she’s going to be fine.

Here is a shot of Julius when she was a youngster back in 2002, when I rowed her to Hoover Dam:

After Jim and I pulled the bottom off on Sunday, we filled all the screw holes, repaired most of the cracks, and trimmed off all the irreparable sections. Today I cleaned up all the patching, resurfaced the ribs and chines, and scarfed together two new planks. We decided to go ahead and rip the original floor boards in two, so now I’ll be replacing the original five floorboards with ten narrower ones. More screws, more chinking and caulking, more battens, but I think it’s going to work out fine.

Here are the ripped down floorboards. I left the outmost two boards wide and will trim them off after we plank the boat.

Two new narrow boards are being laid up in the back of this next picture. They will go near the center of the boat, thus forcing the older boards further out where I can trim off more of the troubled edges and ends.

In the foreground I am scarfing together a new floor for my wee McKenzie boat, JuanJuan achieved a smidgen of notoriety in 2007 when we built him in a week for two hundred dollars worth of lumberyard wood (and a little more than that in beer and whiskey). But alas, although the rib work, gunwales and sides all held up just fine, the 3/8″ CDX floor turned porous last year. When we built it I noticed (and filled) a lot of voids in the center plies. But I couldn’t fill the zillions of hidden ones. When the outer plies started to crack with age, water began flowing through the entire floor. A bit disconcerting, that. And impossible to patch. So I am adding to the cost of the boat by $75 for a new Meranti mahogany marine plywood floor.

Here is Juan a year ago on the lower Colorado with her chuck-box seats out on the beach, one of her floorboard tables set up, and the seat backrests guyed onto the table as wind blocks in the downstream howler. This was day four of the trip and Juan‘s floor had swollen up and stopped leaking. But the first day was a little frightening. And embarrassing, as our shuttle driver watched us bailing frantically, sinking quickly. “We’ll be fine. Really.” Over the course of four years Juan had become okay for an expedition, but kinda worthless for day-boating. She’ll be all better shortly.