Full restoration of vintage 33′ Peterson sailing yacht!!

by Timothy Langley on March 26th, 2024


Member Evan Burkowsky, an acknowledged sailor not just within TSPS but throughout the sailing region far & wide, has owned and gradually brought-up-to-snuff several sailboats in the last 10 years: Watari, a handbuilt dinghy, Santana, etc. But like all sailors, Captain Evan always longed for something larger (though capable of single-handing)… something with pedigree. He succeeded by finding an abandoned 33 feet Peterson of 45 year vintage last year. It needed a lot of work.

Here is what he did over a period of 9 months, a testament to anyone who is interested in expanding their scope and exploring more of Japan (or themselves) than is evident to the casual observer. Plus, it is a pretty interesting story:

8.26 This is 45 year old Garuda, a Peterson design built-in-Japan, in original condition, as found in September ’23… after 5 years of laying unloved and deteriorating.
3.24 Garuda in home-port a stones-throw away from Hota. This is the photo-journey of how ole’ Garuda got from derelict to a fast-moving proper ocean-going yacht.

The restoration process:

The bow after many hours of working on deck to remove the accumulated dirt and grit and prepare for marine paint.. Here, the deck is not quite ready and needs hand sanding through the several previously laid layers.
40 feet up, Evan photographing Langley who has suddenly lost interest in lowering him back down: 33′ Peterson 45 years old. Note: dirt, filth and gloom.
1.20 A’danglin’ Evan… he was up there for almost 2 hours. Note: Evan’s dirt, filth and gloom.


9.2 Rat-warren-looking interior of V-berth when acquired.
Main cabin floorboards, a bit spongy when acquired.
Week 4, remove floorboards, repaint bilge, cake-on cushioning material (to silence squeaking), rebuild floorboards.
10.14 Unending job or repairing, sanding, cutting-out rot, replacing with good wood.
11.18 Rip out all the teak planking encapsulating the ceiling, remove all wiring: repaint and re-wire with marine-compliant wiring.

12.16 Waterproof, epoxied and handbuilt new foorboards. Base for the mast also completely rebuilt.
A brief respite after working 15 weekends non-stop. Behind the staircase leading up to the deck, the engine compartment. Chart table to the left.
2.17 Not just the interior but the engine compartment and the storage lockers also needed full re-build. Here, the flooring was laid by handcut plywood, then treated for durability and waterproofing. To the side, entry into engine… panels similarly treated but layered with fireproofing 1/8 inch thick foam, and on top of that 3/4 inch soundproofing. Jeech!
Cutting-to-measure… wood-paneled flooring…
Tedious work in close-quarters requiring precision and skill which not everyone possesses!
Partially done…
Fully complete… took about 5 hours…
3.20 Now, warmth and tranquility. Luxuriousness…. but now on to the next project!

Exterior: deck and helm

7.20 Grime, soot, mold… several years of just sitting and waiting for some rescue. The sticker says “12 person capacity”.
Climbing into the cockpit locker allows access to the engine compartment and more. A favorite workspace for about 6 weeks running.
8.20 The helm, or cockpit as it originally appeared 15 weeks ago. Note the teak-strips to keep your feet out of constant water… they of course needed to be removed completely…
The helm tidied-up a bit, scrubbed as much as physical labor can possibly manage over two weekends. Doesn’t seem to have made a dent.
3.9 Starboard side with huge winches and french-cleats. Scrubbed and sanded.
More scrubbing and sanding, prep for painting. Requires 3 coats marine-paint: paint upon clean-surface (hahahaha, right!), wait to dry, paint on dry surface again, wait; apply final coat, wait.
3.10 First Mate Freddie Snoxall of Niijima fame, slaving laboriously in-between naps and lunches. That is a LOT of hard work… stubborn stains and grime.
3.10 Captain Evan Burkowsky besides Garuda. Two weeks later, with sails re-attached and lines replaced, off to Kisarazu Marina for hull treatment then to home-port ~3/25/24. Congratulations, Captain! Welcome back, Garuda!
1.20 When you need a hole when there was none. But you’d still like to have one….
Masking tape on all brightwork or metal… thousands of these everywhere: buckles, clasps, hooks, hinges, buttons… endless.
2.24 Scrubbed and sanded bow, ready for painting. That is a windlass, a crank for lifting-up the anchor. I think it works… will find out next weekend!
First coat applied… need to do it all within shortest amount of time. Dirt, soot and debris seems to just fall from the sky!
Cabin hatch just above V-berth… newly installed, of course.
Lots and lots of masking…. the steeering-wheel or rudder is called the helm.
And more winches (the mechanical kind, not the female kind); Winches are otherwise known as blocks (the mechanical kind, not the male kind).
I kind of don’t envy the job or tearing off all the masking tape but when we do, wow the boat will appear completely different than before! Already kind of does!
Lots of French-cleats… lots and lots of masking-tape. I have bad dreams still of masking tape… And then there’s the removal…
3.9 What an unbelievable improvement of the cockpit and helm. This isn’t lipstick-on-a-pig!


“Oh hell why not? Might as well just yank out the old engine and put in a larger and more powerful one I just found laying around!” once said Evan Burkowsky.
12.16 A vacant engine bay. Discovered in the process: the crank was cracked and misaligned… so replaced the whole mechanism from the propeller-to-driveshaft in one fell-swoop (without sinking the boat). Oh, right: the new engine did not quite “fit” so had to chew-down on the bedding a couple centimeters. Fun!
12.27 The ties that bind us. Notice the entire engine bay has been striped, so new walls, fireproofing and sound-proofing needs to be measured, cut, and adhered.
1.20 New engine: quieter, more powerful, tons more dependable… shinny, too! New engine bay to boot!

The hull

3/22 Hoisted out of the bay, thick layer of growth all under the waterline… that’s what 5 years of inattention will give you!
Gunk: in places almost an inch thick… the red color is the last paint applied.. which is designed to keep the barnacles and growth from proliferating: generally needs to be redone every two or three years.
This monster we use to force-off the layer of growth. After the hull dries, then scrape everything again. Wash-off again. After drying, sand to a flat layer, look for damages to the hull (found / repaired several, using various techniques Evan has perfected since working on fishing boats as a kid). Wash-off again, paint with two coats when dry. Whew.
We were fed, from time-to-time… never enough, never of enough substance. But at least Tabasco.
3.23 Like ghost busters. This work is filthy and arduous. The pressure hose works great but blasts gunk everywhere including all over the slaves.
Piles and piles, mounds of accummulated junk.
3.23 Removing the propeller to replace the cutlass, reinstall, prepare everything for years of use without worry.
3.9 Several victims were involved in this months-long process…. almost a year! …but at least the rudder is now looking ready for coats of epoxy and strengthening treatment before the final two coats of black hull paint.
Removing years of oxidation and grime… a nice result with plenty of elbow grease.
Keel needed some serious repair, then sanding to a fine finish.
A couple of bubbles from hull osmosis-damage: identified, cut-out, refilled with fiberglass and then sanded, painted, then the final two coats of black underwater paint.
3.22 Shiny above, fully prepared below: ready for the undercoats.


1.25 Not terribly out-of-shape or damaged… just dirty and unused. Need professional cleaning and minor restitching. All the lines and halyards, of course, to be replaced. Woo-hoo!
2.18. Two weeks later, back from the sail-cleaning shop. Nice job! Notice that this is the foresail, much bigger than the mainsail!


3.24 Captain Burkowsky finally at the helm, traversing Tokyo Bay to snuggle in, for Garuda the first time, into home port Katsuyama… the end of (well, not quite… STILL needs to replace that 45 year-old, used-to-be-bright-red, cutesy pink life-preserver) a long journey.
Bimini and dodger added, ready for anything!

Please post your comment or observations if this tickled any of your fancy…

Timothy Langley

About Timothy Langley

I have been aware of TSPS for 15 years but only fell into it when someone invited me to a Keelhaul; I didn't know what it was. I signed-up to take the test, aced-it thanks to TSPS, and thereafter changed my weekends of working on old cars to sailing regularly. I soon stumbled on a decrepit abandoned yacht, purchased it, fixed it up, sailed the heck out of it. It is now a very proper and reliable sailing vessel. Under the tutelage of Captain Burkowsky I started my journey to somewhat-competence as a solo sailor (a long road). I am nowadays out on the Pacific almost every weekend. Completely smitten.

4 thoughts on “Full restoration of vintage 33′ Peterson sailing yacht!!

  1. Great pictures, Timothy!
    And the captions are really funny.
    Beer’s on me, promise!

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