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This is how it starts... someone, somewhere has a boat that needs a new home and YOU think you probably don’t have enough other hobbies or interests to keep you as busy as you should be, so the “dots get connected” and pretty soon that original owner is smiling from ear to ear as he sees the hull and all of the “other stuff” heading for your driveway instead of his.... not to mention the smile on his wife’s face! It starts as a rather exciting prospect for you to use your most creative skills in cutting, sawing, fiberglass work, hammering, cussing, more cussing and when the stars are all aligned in the right way your artistry skills in putting those multiple coats of colored protection back in a way that would make the folks at Exe Fibercraft factory envious. Some of those folks would be envious if you had a full time paying job, but that’s another story. This one is simply about Cap’n Chris and his intent to bring back his Nordica 20 to a respectable and enjoyable condition. Some people view this interest as a lot of extra work just to go sailing which they think is already a lot of work compared to pouring gas in the tank and pushing the throttle forward, but that’s for them to figure out. Chris and I both know that “work” is what you make it - some days it really is work and on some others, it’s the satisfaction of seeing your skills turn something older and of debatable value into a prized display of your skills and interests.


Regardless of whether you’re working by yourself or with a “team” of friends, there’s always the need to just stop whatever else you’re doing and “think about it” - meaning how and where do you start and when you believe you’ve got it all figured out, stop and think about your plans again, there’s always something new to figure out.

One of the things that is extremely helpful is to start taking digital photos, like you were getting paid for them... take a lot and then take more with close up details and larger views in places that will permit you to have a visual library for reference when the snow piles up and you’re “stuck” in the house trying to figure out how to start the next part. The photos are also the records of what you started with and how things were put together in the beginning... your memory isn’t likely to work nearly as well as the photos.

The previous owner had “installed” this great little (?) cast iron stove in the boat and had actually cut out some of the interior panel space in order to fit it in. Maybe he was sailing most of the time in the artic and with this stove the only problem would be where you might store the 2 cords of wood that you might need for some reasonable cruise!!! It would also tend to serve as some significant ballast if you tend to like keeping the rail in the water while you’re sailing.

The need for heat is understood by anyone who’s been out on the water for any length of time on those “less than sunny” days - but there’s several other ways to stay warm without giving up the valued interior space in the N-20.

A couple of other photos will show the larger than usual thru hole area in the cabin for this stovepipe that was re-filled and glassed over. There are better ways to do this without so many compromises.


Cap’n Chris has taken a great photo of his “HIN number” - (Stbd-Aft section of the hull if you’re still looking for yours)

If you’re still wondering how to read these darn “HIN” numbers - go to the main menu section and click on the link near the bottom of hte list on the left side of the page.

There may be something more to learn in another review of this info.

Once you finish getting your bearings about this photo you’ll see that it’s taken from the deck, looking down on one of the open ports that has has the frame and existing panels removed.

After many years, some sealants begin to give up and the leaks that develop tend to make your best days on the water something less than that when you sit down on those soggy spots.

Doing the homework now is the price you pay for enjoying the time on the water that much more.


The aluminum frames shown here with these “craftsman hands” were made from a new sheet of 3/16” aluminum (Thats about 4.7625 mm for you metric junkies out there) and while it is quite a job to draw, cut, sand and finish them off, the end results are quite nice in their ability to seal, look good and serve their purpose for another 30+ years of sailing.. and even more if you stick to the fresh water ponds out there.


This view on the interior still has one of the backing sheets on the acrylic but when it’s all cleaned up and removed, the added light (and brighter) impression on the inside of the cabin makes you think you just spent a whole lot more money to be able to sit in your grossly overpriced yacht! Enjoy the feeling when it happens - we all know now what it takes.


After some further modifications to the interior locker areas, there is now some additional utility to having the necessary recesses to capture and retain those respective “locker lids” - all blended and faired in place and then coated out with some clean white enamel that will make you want to look for your sun glasses before you head out. Adding to the “new boat smell” is the recoatings done on the inside of all the lockers including the v-berth area. More storage, more stuff - that’s the motto sometimes but it does look good.


After all that work, it’s time to add the real Cap’n and Crew and get that hull out on the water where the days are meant to be enjoyed.


From the time you bring that hull and the attached particles into your driveway, there are a variety of “motivational factors” that come into play for you to get that boat back in the water. Sometimes, it’s the prompting by the “Cap’n” at home to do what you said you were going to do - and just get that “thing” out of her flowerbed space and soon!

Other times, when you’re really fortunate, that same “Cap’n” is in there with you playing hell with her latest manicure, but happy in knowing that what you’re working on will permit the both of you to enjoy one of those days on the water when the dirt, grime and grit are traded in for something far better for both of you.

And when you’ve tied her up at the dock (the boat) and made sure all the latches are latched and the lockers locked, then it’s time to take pride in all of your efforts and accomplishments and start making those plans for the next trip.

There’s nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame


For those of you who have not decided yet to take on your own project as “Cap’n Chris” and his crew have done, we don’t know what you’re waiting for. All it takes is time, money, a little more time, probably considerably more money than you first expected but then there comes the day when your neighbors are “rejoicing in their own backyards “because they can now see more of theirs again since you moved that thing” and in time the voice of the neighbors and the callouses on your hands will become something that you barely remember because you know better than anyone else, what she looked like when you started, all the things that you discovered about yourself along the way and what a great sense of pride you can gain from looking at something that you have just “renewed” for an even longer life by your attention and efforts. If you haven’t started on your own project, you should and you should be prepared to grow a bit in the process. You will enjoy that aspect almost as much as having a great boat when you’re done.

Nice work Chris and thanks again for sharing the photos of this really nice looking Nordica 20 with all of us. - LM

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