Bolero Initial Inspecion Report

This post is a copy of Tim Lackey's Initial Inspection Report for Bolero and a slide show of his photos.

Inspection Notes: Shields Class Hull # 9 Bolero

Inspection Date: June 27, 2007
Inspection Location: Masons Island Marina, Mystic, CT

The Hull

The black Awlgrip was in fair condition and could be kept satisfactorily if you like it, but wasn't in good enough condition to feel tied to it, depending on personal choice and other factors of the project. It is certainly not perfect, but with a little cleaning it'd look pretty good. There was the usual collection of minor scratches, scuffing from winter shrinkwrap, and other imperfections. Some screw heads in way of the chainplates were breaking through the fairing compound over them. The owners have waxed it, which is a bad idea, but what's done is done.

I thought the green boottop was a poor choice with virtually no contrast to the black topsides and brown bottom, and the boat looks dead to me and completely lacks attractive detail. Obviously this is completely a personal thing, but the boat could look a lot better than she does with a new boottop and covestripe, or what have you. This is my opinion only, and these small details are irrelevant at this point. But I can't help mention it.

The main forward bulkhead printed through the hull, creating a hard spot that can be seen in some of these photos. If you don't see it, let me know and I'll point you to the correct photo. This is pretty typical, so I don't think it's a big concern. These boats are pretty lightly built.

There's a hump visible in the sheerline right at the chainplates on both sides. This may be indicative of the stresses placed here, as indicated in some of the Cape Cod Shipbuilding papers you sent me. (More on the chainplates later.)

The wooden toerail is minimal, and there is no rubrail. For appearance and deck safety for your purposes, a new and larger rail could be a nice choice, along with a protruding rubrail for additional protection as well as to enhance the appearance.

The photos pretty much speak for themselves. Without seeing many Shields on my own, I'd guess that the topsides of #9 are in as good or better condition than most, despite their imperfections.

If you wonder why I took a specific photo, please let me know the photo name and I will explain what I was trying to show.

The Hull: Bottom

The bottom was in fair condition. The paint is Baltoplate, favored by racers everywhere. It is in decent condition, but the bottom is not race perfection. If you want to use E-Paint on the bottom, I suspect all the Baltoplate and other coatings will need to be removed anyway, so the condition of the paint and smoothness of the bottom is hardly relevant. But the bottom was pretty fair and smooth, and certainly doesn't need a lot of work either way.

The rudder and fairing strips were in good condition with no particular problems to note. Paint and fairing compound were loose over the fairing strips, since water tends to get in there and cause failure. This is not a critical thing and is easy to fix.

The ballast-hull joint had weeped, as is normal, and the bubbling and unfairness visible at the seam is the result of more fairing compound and paint failure. The seam itself looked tight and good, with no particular problems. The weeping is a fact of life, as this seam is rarely perfectly watertight and is dynamic in its stress. Baltoplate turns ugly green colors where small rivulets run when the boat is hauled, and these discolorations make things look awful, but it's not nearly as bad as all that.

The tops of the keel bolts looked OK in the bilge as far as I could tell, but the bilge was full of several inches of water, so there was only so much I could see. But there aren't any indications of serious problems there, or with the seam at the top portion of the add-on fiberglass keel just below the garboard.

The Deck

Cosmetically, the decks were in pretty good condition, with more or less original finishes. The deck structure is lightweight, and the wider expanses flex when walked upon, but this is not an indication of structural problems--simply of the lightweight structural nature of the deck.

I would expect to find some areas of water infiltration, but I didn't see anything horribly serious in this regard. I observed a spot beneath the deck under one of the cockpit coamings where there was a black spot, as if an old fastener had leaked through. (This photo can be found in the "Interior" section).

There is a repair to a large crack in the deck on the starboard side, running roughly between the mast partners and the rail. The top surface is patched with gelcoat (the hammer handle is pointing to it in the applicable photo below), and beneath the deck (photos of this part in the "Interior" section) a reinforcement can be seen on that side. In addition, the area around the mast partners is a little funky, with part of the collar area seemingly ground down lower than the surrounding deck; I'm not sure why this would be, or what the situation is.

Depending on the design and construction of the new cabin, though, all or part of this area may be removed anyway, so I didn't see this as a big problem.

The woodwork is fair, with lots of Cetol finish applied.

Again, the photos here mostly speak for themselves.

The Interior

In these photos, you can see some of the areas I talked about on the last page, including the black water-damaged spot, the long crooked patch beneath the deck crack, and the top side of the deck crack itself.

The backing plates for much of the hardware are minimal or nonexistent, and I'd suggest comprehensively renewing all of this anyway.

The aluminum mast step is corroded and should be replaced. The wooden understructure seemed to be generally sound, though.

The port chainplate area has been reinforced with additional fiberglass, and features a wooden backing plate with flimsy metal overlay (not sure why). The starboard chainplate has not been reinforced, and has an aluminum backing plate. I'd suggest new reinforcement of both chainplates, along with stronger and larger backing plates, mainly because it'd be easy to do.

The flimsy liner that's bonded to the inside of the hull in the cockpit areas was torn and damaged on the starboard side, generally beneath the chainplate. The liner is nothing special, and it'd be nice to remove it wherever feasible anyway.

The bilge contained some water, but to the extent visible the structure appeared sound. The forward compartment, forward of the bulkhead, contained some water as seen in the photo. Otherwise, both the forward and aft compartments were unremarkable, with no particular issues to note.

Again, if you're wondering what you're looking at in a specific photo, please let me know and I will explain what I was hoping to capture with the photo.

Mast and Rigging

I was disappointed in the rigging. The "new" (2000) mast and boom are in good shape, with no particular issues, so that's a plus. But the standing rigging is in only fair to poor condition, in my opinion, as is the running rigging. In addition, I was unimpressed with how the mast was stored on this boatyard rack; the storage was sloppy, with wires hanging all over, last summer's weedy vines wrapped all around the stags (the brown stuff in the photos), and just a general lack of attention and care. I say this only because it's clear to me that poor care and maintenance is responsible for the condition of the rigging today, not its relatively young age.

The mast was on an upper rack on the mast rack, and I couldn't get up close and personal. But I could reach the rigging, and could perform an adequate inspection. At least two bees nests are inside the mast (white-faced hornets), so some Raid is in order.

In any event, I thought the standing rigging looked cheaply made. The swages looked to be of lower quality, with uneven tops and other indications of less-than-perfect mechanical swage construction. There was surface corrosion visible in the wires at the tops of the lower swages, as well as in other areas. Wire in good condition should not show this. The owners used plastic turnbuckle covers, which tend to hold moisture within and exacerbate corrosion from normal amounts of water that gets on all rigging.

The turnbuckles were all stiff to turn, but are not beyond saving with a small amount of work. Someone's used serrated pliers to hold the swage while tightening the turnbuckles, scarring and scratching the swage--yet another reason to consider the rigging to be fairly poor overall.

The running rigging on the mast was stained green from algae, again pointing to a general lack of care since it was installed, but otherwise it looked serviceable.

Otherwise, the mast and rigging just need a good once-over to inspect all areas, replace old tape on certain areas, and that sort of thing. At least the extrusions are in good condition.

Rigging, Sails, and Equipment

These photos mostly show close-ups of deck hardware, which is of several brands and various age. All is serviceable, however, but some upgrading might be desirable. Again, there is nothing special here, and certainly other Shields have better equipment than this. But everything is there, and it all works.

A couple of the photos show the specifics of the deck chainplate fittings. Note how the angles of the port chainplates (img 5508) are completely different from the starboard ones (img 5509); I'm not sure if this is the result of damage from the dismasting, or if they were fabricated improperly, or something else.

There are three complete sets of three sails each: class main, jib, and spinnaker. The newest set, seen completely unfolded in the photos, is in good condition with 2 seasons' use on them (reportedly). The main in particular is excellent; the job shows quite a bit more wear, and may actually be older. But both are ready to go as is. Likewise, the newest spinnaker is in good condition.

A second spinnaker is blown out; whether or not it can be repaired is unknown. The third spinnaker is fine and usable as is.

The other two sets of working sails definitely show more age, but are in usable condition. The mid-aged set requires new plastic windows in the sails, and some minor spot repair, but are otherwise quite sound. The oldest set is well worn, but still in viable condition. I didn't inspect the other two sets very closely, but only enough to give you a general idea.

Please see my email for my general thoughts on the boat, its value, and so forth.