First pictures of Cantaora, 1975 Capy Dory Typhoon Weekender sailboat undergoing a total restoration & refit

This is the story of restoring an old classic sailboat named CANTAORA. She is a 1975 Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender hull no. 991 that I found advertised locally on the Internet, located about an hour's drive away from here in NW Florida for sale with a beat-up trailerand an outboard motor. Cantaora is the feminine Spanish word for a Flamenco singer.

 The previous owner had her shipped with a beat-up trailer all the way from the Midwest, by putting the boat along with the beat-up old trailer onto a flatbed truck. 

She suffered some cosmetic damage along the way as the bow rubbed up against the trailer. She then apparently sat on the same trailer in a backyard for a few years.

The scuppers (with gate valves) that drain well below the waterline, were plugged-up with detritus, and based on the waterline mark on the aluminum compression post, it was apparent rain water had flooded into the cabin for a while. Now the interior looked like a squirrel den. No matter, a good pressure wash will take care of most of this..

What surprised me immediately was the lack of access to the bilge, and how close the cockpit sole was to the waterline. I try to reroute scuppers and other drains to above-waterline thruhulls when possible but that doesn't seem doable in this case. I have seen photos online of Typhoons without seacocks on these scuppers. Technically the ABYC recommends seacoocks on all "above waterline" thruhulls (on sailboats, that means not the static waterline but everything up to the toerail) but that risks flooding the boat with rainwater if a seacock is left closed. I will add proper new seacocks and consider adding another scupper to the aft end of the cockpit that will drain above the waterline, somewhere to the stern or even below the counter-stern.

The locker interiors were in decent shape, the flood didn't get into them. I will make them watertight and with latches on their lids. The whole interior needs a pressure wash and new paint job

The nonskid was peeling off the deck, there were obvious soft spots here and there, especially around the poorly-bedded stanchion posts. The entire deck will be sanded down and redone

The ill-suited trailer had stove-in an un-supported part of the hull. I will have to beef-up this area from the inside with a layer of fiberglass lamination, or bulkhead. 

The rattling of the boat against the trailer during delivery apparently caused a part of the bow to be damaged. This will not be hard to fix, especially as the whole boat has to be painted anyway.

What appears to be household paint applied in thick coats with a heavy brush, will all have to be stripped for the new paint job 

There is a Uniden Solara fixed VHF radio from the 1970s with what seems like a deck-mounted antenna and a more modern marine radio. There was apparently a Plastimo two-sided compass that was removed, leaving a gaping hole.

Forward cockpit view of the companionway, with convenient "Starboard" and "Port" stickers. Every boat has a story! The teak trim handle on the companionway sliding hatch is cracked and the hatch itself will need some work.  The storm boards (not shown) were heavily varnished and are in good shape. The wood blocks under the cabin-top cleats were a lost cause but generally the rest of teak cabin trim and the tiller are in acceptable shape; they will just need some TLC. I am not sure of the purpose of the teak trim running along the seat edge though.

Note there is no drainage for the cockpit seats so anyone sitting on the leeward-side seats would be sitting in a puddle of water. I will have to fix that.

The teak-covered cockpit sole is undoubtedly a problem area with lots of rot under the wood, and will need a complete restoration. Weathered teak is grippy underfoot but it will get unbearably hot under bare feet in the tropics & is unnecessary weight so I won't be replacing the teak cockpit sole.

Spars are what looks like original mast and boom, with a broken spreader and maybe evidence of lightning strike or at least a short in the burnt-ouf anchor light socket on the top of the mast. There is a fuller. I will have to take a look at the spars and rigging later.


The teak-coamings are in bad shape, with misc screw holes and a giant crack running along half the Starboard-side coaming. The taffrail wooden trim piece is not in good shape either. 


The cockpit locker lids will at a minimum need strengthening but I'd like to replace them with watertight hatches instead. Note the absence of seat drains too.

The rather hefty aluminum opening portlights will be kept. I really don't see the point of tiny little stanchions though and the toerail is a mess especially with many holes drilled through it to drain the deck of standing rainwater. The lack of deck drainage along with lack of cockpit seat drainage will have to be addressed

The pulpit is screwed onto the toerail. I don't see a need for a pulpit at all.

The poop deck/ lazarette locker to the aft of the cockpit is also a mess and will need complete restoration. The balsa core material along the entire top area has rotted away long ago. On the original Typhoons this large volume of space was built with a very small vertical access hatch; the top of the locker was taken up with the boom sheet cleat (or traveller in my case) but this seemed like a wasted space to me because the small access hatch really restricts the use of such a large space. 

I plan to use the space to store a 3 gal fuel tank to power the outboard motor, and general storage of things like life jackets. This requires a pretty decent-sized hatch, which can only be mounted horizontally on the top of the locker, and that in turn requires cleared real estate: the sheeting arrangement must be changed to a double-ended inverted "V" arrangement, with blocks on the sides & not the center of the locker top which will be dedicated to a hatch instead. (Since my gad can will be stored here it will be ventilated with two clamshell vents which can be closed if necessary simply by shoving rags in them.)

The old winches and bronze whinch base will be kept along with the characteristics vertical-mounted bronze coaming cleats. The original outboard motor mount is in OK shape too

The standard Cape Dory Typhoon Weekender interior with compression post. The cabin sole has been cut out and I am not sure what's going on with the disintegrating plywood panel piece under the compression post. It will all be redone.

An unfortunate place to put electrical fittings is under the companionway

The speakers covered-up the access to the backing plates for the deck mounted chainplates


  1. This is SO helpful! I'm looking to buy nearly the exact same boat. I'm seeing all the issues that are possible and know what to look for when I do buy. I knew about the balsa wood,

    thanks for taking the time to publish this


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