Monday, September 21, 2009


Pleasant fall weather has allowed Doryman some time in his boatyard.

Pictured is the racing sloop Caper, a Rhodes 33. Caper is an ongoing restoration project, which unfortunately doesn’t fit in Doryman’s shop. So work progresses as weather permits. Conflicts arise, as may be expected.

Caper is a classic, built by the South Coast boat yard in Newport Beach, California in the mid-1930’s.
Designed by Phillip Rhodes and designated the Rhodes 33, she measures thirty three feet eight inches over-all with a design water line of twenty two feet four inches and a beam of six foot ten inches.

Last weekend Caper was thoroughly fared and a coat of white primer applied to her topsides. Some new frames will be added when the mast step is replaced, so the primer is an intermediate step to protect the boat from the coastal winter storms that ravage Doryman’s home. Hopefully the work on the mast step and the frames that hold the chain plates will commence this winter.

Isn’t she a thoroughbred? Just look at that old custom made hardware and rigging. That stick on the deck is a roller-furling boom. The boat also has a standard boom and all the fittings of an old wood racing yacht, including a bronze bell and two fine old compasses.

Racing was once a stylish and genteel event, no wonder the crew all wore ties!

The mast is forty feet of clear spruce and is also undergoing a face-lift. All old varnish and paint has been removed and the bottom three feet replaced by scarping in new wood where rot had taken hold. Mast step and mast butt, two eternal problem areas in an old wood boat. Caper also suffers from slacking at the turn of the bilge, another predictable problem area. Some sistered frames and new corking will solve that problem. The piles of oak boards under the boat are expressly for that purpose.

Caper already has a new set of sails to go on her refurbished mast, so progress is being made, wouldn’t you agree?
(Yeah, I know that's a broken plank on the starboard. We'll take care of that, too!)


Dreyer said...

Beautiful! Glad to see someone rescued Caper & is going to do the right thing with her. I looked at her 2 years ago but with one Rhodes already mid restoration it was a bit of a crazy undertaking! I have number 34 in San Diego & she is slowly coming back together, 75% frame replacement is complete & planking is in the final stages. Let me know if you want any info on the class as I have plenty of research done & have a number of plans too. If you ever intend on replacing the under deck action winches with something more practical let me know. They are the only original fitting im missing & would happily fund their replacement! :)

doryman said...


She's a handsome old girl, for sure! I would indeed be interested in any info you might have.
Please drop me a note at


Unknown said...

Hi, there! Saw this post and was wondering how your restoration on Caper is coming. I used to sail her and owned Rhodes 33 #21 her in Morro Bay. Hopefully she lives to sail again! Cheers.