Over the winter of 2015-2016, we spent an enormous amount of time rebuilding one of our boats, John Boucher.

The John is a double-hull boat, meaning that there is one hull - the exterior of the boat that is in the water - and another one inside, with a space between the two hulls. This space is filled with styrofoam that is about six inches thick. The reason for this is that the John was originally a lifeboat, and so having this styrofoam inside would mean that it was a boat that is not sinkable.

Over many years, this styrofoam had become old and so was no longer able to push out water. Like basements, boats can take on small amounts of water and in this case, the styrofoam had become saturated. The result was not that the boat would sink under normal conditions, but that it weighed a lot more than it should have, making it difficult to manouver. It also meant that we could not store the boat outside in the winter because as this water would have expanded on freezing and would have cracked the hulls.

So, we embarked upon our project of fixing this problem. We were very fortunate to have Upland's Army Base in Ottawa support us by allowing us to store and work on the boat throughout the winter.

We began by tearing apart the interior of the boat. We removed the motor and cut out the floor. Then with shovels, picks and other gardening tools, we spent days removing all the styrofoam, which was glued into the boat between the ribs. The styrofoam was such a strange texture - it was hard and so much like fiberglass that we all had tiny pieces in all our gloves and clothes.

After we cut and replaced the styrofoam, we rebuilt the floor, benches, and added benches with storage compartments underneith. This was done with fiberglass fabric and EIGHT GALLONS of epoxy resin.

As a finishing touch, we took advantage of this situation by repairing all the scratches and gouges on the exterior, as well as improving the trailer by making reinforcements and doing maintenance on the brakes, and also doing maintenance on the motor.