My Sweetie

Windswept/My Sweetie - a 23 foot Hacker Craft

Owner/Driver - Bob Angelica

Windswept is the first wooden motorboat, or for that matter motorboat of any kind, that my wife Eileen and I have ever owned. We were sailors. We owned a 34 Bermuda rigged sloop that we sailed on the Long Island Sound and to points East. We first visited Lake Winnipesaukee in the summer of 2008 and fell in love with the place. That October we bought a home in Moultonborough on a small cove, too shallow for a sailboat. We decided instead to buy a motorboat, a stink pot as our sailor friends would say. We were left a little cold by all the modern boat designs we saw. Then, while surfing the Web, we saw an advertisement for Windswept. We were taken by her classic lines. She reminded us, in her own way, of the Sparkman and Stephens wooden sailboats we had always admired on the Sound. Windswept is a modern (2001) reproduction of a circa 1930 Hacker Craft runabout. Her only nod to modernity (above the waterline) is the elimination of the third cockpit, the movement aft of the engine compartment and the enlargement of the second cockpit, very practical with our grandchildren. We had a great first season motoring all over beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee with Windswept. Near the end of the season though, we learned the hard way about the risks to navigation presented by all those rocks in the Moultonborough area. Nothing major, and thanks to some great work by Bill John and Donnie McLean, Windswept is now running better than ever!!!

In 2001, Windswept was shipped from the Hacker Craft factory on Lake George, NY to Norm Gavin on Lake Sunapee, NH where the boat was run for several years. Then is the spring of 2009, the boat was acquired by Bob Angelica and was hauled to the Vintage Race Boat Shop for a thorough survey and spring commissioning. The US Marine Power motor fired right up and the boat ran fine on our sea trials, but there was a slight vibration in the drive train. The boat came with a brand new 4-blade prop but the drive shaft was bent and was causing the vibration. After several discussions, we decided to run the boat for the summer and replace the bent drive shaft in the fall. The last photo below shows Windswept, as delivered to Bob Angelica at his summer home in Green's Basin on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.




Windswept ran well during the summer of 2009. But in the fall the rain was scarce, the lake was low and Windswept struck a rock on the last cruise of the season. Oh well, we were going to replace the drive shaft anyway, so in the fall of 2009 we hauled Windswept back to the shop for repairs. We then removed the prop, drive shaft, rudder, and strut and ordered replace parts from Hacker Craft. Then we waited, and waited, and waited for the replacement parts.




But the replacement parts never came, so we hauled Windswept to Steve Rolling for a a new custom fit Sunbrella cover, then we hauled the boat to winter storage.



In the spring of 2010, we picked up Windswept from winter storage and hauled back to the shop for the driveline repairs. We had a friend bend/straighten the strut and rudder, ordered a new drive shaft with machined coupler from H&H Propeller in Salem, MA and a new 15x18 4-blade prop from Accutech in Dover, NH. On projects like this, it's all about sourcing the special parts.



We took a lot of time to reinstall the running gear and properly aligned the motor, because we wanted to make sure that Windswept would run smoothly, without any driveline vibration. We also changed the oil, filters, spark plugs and filled the gas tank with Sunoco 93 octane rocket fuel. Then on 6/12/2010 we were ready for launching ceremonies and sea trials. The motor fired right up and the boat ran very well and very smooth. We were happy after all the hard work.




Then on Monday 6/14/2010 we hauled Windswept to deliver to Bob Angelica at the Lee's Mills launching ramp, very near his summer home on Green's Basin. Bob jumped right in and drove Windswept home, for another season of many boat rides and summer fun on beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee !!!




Windswept video - let it load & crank it up!!!

After several seasons of use, in the fall of 2010 we hauled Windswept back to the shop for fresh varnish, bottom detailing and fresh paint, and a transom name change in gold leaf lettering to My Sweetie.


The first step was to replace all the trailer wheel bearings, then we hoisted Windswept off the trailer and setup for work on cinder blocks.




While still recuperating from the sanding, detailing and bottom painting on Lollypop, we started this refinishing project on the much easier topsides. First, the deck was sanded with 320 grit paper followed by Scotchbrite Pads. We got it real smooth, but found one required wood repair.




Then it was time to repair the wood around the aft lifting post, where the lifting ring had been screwed down way to tightly and actually caused surface cracks in the mahogany king plank.



After the aft deck repair, we proceeded to sand the hull sides with 320 grit paper followed by Scotchbrite Pads. The next challenge was to carefully remove the transom gold leaf lettering, without burning through the aged stain underneath the gold leaf. This was tricky and we took our time, starting by carefully block sanding with 120 grit, then 220 grit, and then 320 grit followed with Scotchbrite Pads. We were very pleased with our results, and the photos below show the gold leaf lettering removed without burning through the original, aged stain. The slight discoloring left by the lettering will by diminished by several coats of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish, before the new gold leaf lettering is applied for - My Sweetie.



After many hours of sanding and many hours of prep, we finally applied the first coat of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish. Applied using our rolling & tipping method and just a titch of retarder added to the varnish, allowed the varnish to flow out evenly before it began to kick, and provided for a very thick and and very even coat of varnish. But we still had three more coats to go, sanding and faring the hull between each coat and getting the hull smoother and smoother with each coat of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish. We just love the smell of fresh varnish!!!





The transom got several more build coats of varnish before the new gold leaf lettering was applied. The additional coats had now built up the varnish thickness on the aggressively sanded area, required to remove the previous gold leaf lettering. The only thing you can see on the transom now is the reflection of our shop toolboxes !!!


Each coat of varnish was allowed to cure for a week before sanding for the next coat. The extra time makes the sanding much easier, as the varnish is much harder and sands better. The many hours of sanding and faring the hull between each coat gets the hull smoother and smoother. And with each coat of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish, the finish gets deeper and deeper.






One of our monthly planning meetings for the Wolfeboro Vintage Race Boat Regatta


Then it was time to review the first design for the transom lettering. After many emails, Jerome did a mock up of our first design and we had a design review meeting. Jerome liked his design, nobody else did, but we thought it had potential.




Meanwhile, we sanded, prepped and applied the third coat of thick, amber tinted Epifanes varnish.





And finally, our second transom lettering design was approved !!!


The next step was the name change. After several meetings, much discussion, many designs, and many emails, the correct lettering/font for 'My Sweetie" was finally decided. Then Jerome from JC Signs applied the transom lettering. The first step was to properly position the lettering mask, and then apply the mask/glue that holds the gold metal leaf. Next, the lettering mask was removed and gold metal leaf was applied to the mask/glue. Then the excess gold metal leaf was brushed away and vacuumed clean.




Then Jerome applied his magic to the lettering by creating the "engine turning" or swirling effect in the gold leaf. This is done by hand with a special brush, and was allowed to dry overnight before a coat of varnish.


After a nice thick coat of varnish, Jerome returned and outlined the lettering by hand, using black paint to highlight the gold leaf lettering. Once the black paint was allowed to dry overnight the varnish build coats continued, to protect the gold leaf lettering and to deepen the glow under the amber tint of the thick Epifanes varnish.


We were very pleased with the new transom lettering. The results were well worth taking the time, the many design revisions, the many emails and several mockups.

And the results after fours coats of varnish - absolutely stunning !!!



After 4 thick coats of Epifanes varnish, the white deck seams were painted using a special striping wheel. Then we let the varnish cure for a couple weeks, as we headed south for spring break at Tavares, Florida for the CRA vintage regatta and the Sunnyland ACBS boat show.

Tavares CRA Vintage Regatta

Regatta Photos by F. Peirce Williams

Tavares Sunnyland ACBS Boat Show


After spring break, we spent several days sanding and detailing the bottom with as much care as the topsides, taking the time to do it right. Starting with 120 grit paper and finishing with Scotchbrite Pads, we got the bottom very smooth and were impressed with the quality and condition of the hull.



Then two coats of Interlux Brightside Sea Green marine paint were applied to the bottom using our rolling & tipping technique, just like applying varnish. This is a very high quality marine paint with a Teflon additive that flows out beautifully, making the bottom very smooth, very slippery and very efficient.

Remember - if you wanna be fast, you gotta be smooth !!!



Finally, it was time to tape and paint the white boot stripe. We used the blue 3M #2080 making tape and took our time to make sure the line was correct. This tape leaves a very crisp line and can be left on the boat for months, and still pulls off with a straight edge. We also used Pettit Boot Top White paint applied with a one inch foam brush. Tough on the knees !!!



With the varnish well cured, each piece of hardware was carefully polished and mounted with the proper screws, all pointing the correct way. This takes some time, but is perhaps the most rewarding part of the project. Great therapy.




After several days of polishing and mounting hardware, it was time for a photo opt.







We will be posting lots more of our project updates and photos, so please check back often and follow our progress. The next step is to improve the interior ventilation.

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