Category Archives: Restoration and repair

The astonishing tale of Troy number 12

Down at Fowey, boatbuilder Marcus Lewis has started work bringing Barbara, Troy 12, back to life. As he says, hers is an epic story…

Troy 12, the first to be built after the war in 1946, raced very succesfully in Fowey for a few years, and was then sold to someone who took her to Padstow, fitted a Stuart Turner engine, and had her sitting on the mud with legs when the tide was out.

‘Perhaps inevitably she eventually fell over and stoved-in her side.

‘While she was in the boatyard being repaired, her owner died and his nephew took her on. He was in the army and intended to set up an adventure school in the Hebrides once he was out of uniform, so over a couple years he hopped along the coast with Barbara when he could: from Padstow he sailed round Lands End, along south coast up the East Coast, shipped overland across Scotland, and then sailed out to the Outer Hebrides.

‘He had the boat there for a few years until a bad gale sank her. A mate with a fishing boat pulled her onto the beach, but in doing so pulled her stem out, and she sat on the beach for 15 years or so until till we tracked her down late eighties.

‘A friend and I already had a Troy to look after (number 3, which we tracked down to Gateshead, and subsequently bought – and that’s another epic tale!) so left the owner to try and retrieve number 12.

‘After a few years he gave up so we tried.

‘After an incredible amount of help from the Army and RAF, and from Benbecula Airport, we got the the boat back to Fowey,
on an army supply ship – though sadly on three pallets rather than as a boat-shaped collection of manky wood!

‘The plan was always to rebuild her, but it has taken longer to get round to it than I ever imagined.

‘Realistically, the only useable bit is the lead keel, so that’s where I started a couple months ago, just doing a bit when I can, but she is now set up, with the moulds framed up and work is getting in the way! She probably wont be ready for next season, but I will work away steadily when time permits.’

Thanks Marcus! Check out Marcus’s recent weblog posts (bottom left of his home page) for boats for sale. They include a Heard 28, and various dinghies and a sweet double-ended 18ft daysailer.

 

Ben Wales makes further progress with veteran Dunkirk motor launch

Launch Completed Deck

Launch Completed Aft Deck

Since 2010, we’ve been following Ben Wales’ project to restore a motor launch that saw service at Dunkirk and was for many years used as a tender by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

The latest news is that Mary now has her decks… Here’s what Ben has to say:

‘Since the Spring we have been slowly working on the new forward and aft laid decks. Each plank had to be shaped to fit to make a watertight joint when caulked. Well over 150 wood screws were used to fit the deck and covering planks on the launch.

‘The forward and aft coamings have just been fitted, and the bronze fittings for the forward deck have been completed, and two coats of varnish have been applied.

‘The next major job is making two forward seats shaped to fit the sides of the launch.

‘If the weather holds up for September, we hope to fit new floorboards and engine box. Then we can finally fit her out, and perhaps launch her in late October.’

Thanks Ben! She’s looking great and I hope we can look forward to seeing photos of her on the water in the coming weeks!

For more on this story, click here.

Fully restored web size - Hendrick van Anthonissen (1606-after 1660), View of Scheveningen sands, with a stranded sperm whale, c. 1641, oil on panel © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Restored Hendrick van Anthonissen painting reveals whale on Scheveningen beach

Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum’s gallery of Dutch Golden Age paintings has gone back on display display this week following a refurbishment – and includes the surprising image of a beached whale on Scheveningen beach that had previously been painted out.

The whale appears in a 1641 work by Hendrick van Anthonissen.

The beach at Scheveningen must be one of the most painted stretches of coast anywhere – this Googlewhack shows what I mean. Many of them contain fishing and other boats working from the beach, and often a fish market in operation. See an earlier post on this topic here.

PS – I have a modern example of a Scheveningen beach painting that my parents bought years ago on my wall. Can anyone tell me anything about it please? Who was the artist with the illegible signature?

Scheveningen beach with fishing boats

Restored Falmouth Quay punt Teal is sailing again!

Don’t you wish she was yours? Adrian Nowotynski has written to report on the progress of the century-old Falmouth Quay punt Teal, which is now back in the water and sailing again following her restoration of the boat at Hegarty’s Boatyard near Cork.

The fabulous photos were taken by Tim Cooke, who writes the weblog An Ilur in Ireland, and are used here with his permission.

Here’s what Adrian has to say:

‘She was relaunched a few weeks ago with great success. We made it to Baltimore two days before the annual Wooden Boat Festival.

‘We had our first attempt of sailing her during the harbour race on Saturday in over 20 knots of wind. It was fantastic and we were very impressed by her.

‘On Sunday we had lighter wind, competed in the race and took part in the parade of sail, this time under full sail minus the topsail ( need more rope for that one).

‘On Monday we sailed her to her home port of Union Hall where she is now sitting on her mooring ready for adventure.

‘The project has been huge, but a fantastic experience that I am missing already, and Teal is absolute gem.

‘Thank you for posting the updates and I will be in touch if we succeed in any big adventures,

‘I will be getting started with the Apple Pie dinghy soon so will let you know.’

Adrian also adds that she will soon be getting a nice new set of sails.

Read Adrian’s weblog for more about Teal.

Launch day inches closer for the restored motor launch Mary


Ben Wales has written with news of the progress of his restoration of the 18ft motor launch Mary.

The clinker built little boat was used by the smart Royal Lymington Yacht Club, and was also used in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk.

Ben reminds me that we’ve been following his project for four years now! Good for him – it’s great to see that his persistence is now so close to paying off.

Here’s what Ben says:

‘We had to take down the tent cover over the winter as it almost got destroyed by the storms in December and January.

‘While the main work was on hold we did a test engine line up, as I will need to make a new forward engine mount support bracket.

‘In March we set up the tent cover and began to lay the new solid timber forward deck in pitch pine – the planks are fitted tight and screwed down with A4 stainless screws finished with a dowel.

The deck will be sanded, caulked and varnished, and replaced with bronze deck fittings.

Work has now began on the aft deck; the steering blocks for the steering cables have been fitted and a fuel tank installed – this has to be done before the deck can be laid.

‘I hope to have a progress report later next month for you – and maybe Mary will be ready for a summer launch.

‘Regards, Ben’

Thanks Ben! It would be great to see Mary afloat and glistening with varnish in the coming weeks.

Row St Kilda has started

Row St Kilda crew practising

Great good luck you lot! The row St Kilda crew practising

They’ve set off – the 100-mile fund-raising row from Village bay St Kilda to Portree on the Isle of Skye in an open rowing boat built around 1890 began earlier today.

The rowers are raising funds for the RNLI and Skye & Lochalsh Young Carers. The link for donations is here; their website is here, the BBC has a story here, and track their progress here.

I wonder whether they’ll do it all again next year?

HJ Mears Boat Builders work on a mahogany 25ft clinker-built motor launch

Alex Mears of HJ Mears & Son of Seaton in Devon has written to say that the 25ft mahogany clinker built motor launch they’re working on, Tarka, is coming along well.

You don’t see boats like this too often!

‘I’ve attached some photos of where she’s at currently. The owner has added a fair few extras compared to the original brief – laid decks, solid wood windbreaker/cuddy, but fortunately they appreciate that these extra tasks take extra time, which is especially important when the workload is heavy as usual at this busy time of year!

‘The Beta inboard engine has arrived and we’ve offered it up to the engine beds so the shaft, coupling, prop can now be ordered to correct sizes.

‘There is still an awful lot of varnishing to do (we’ve used over 3 gallons so far and that’s prior to thinning!).

‘The sea toilet and storage tank should be arriving this week. The sink and cooker have been offered up in the galley. The rudder, tiller, floorboards and various hatches are currently being decorated, which takes up a lot of time as the workshop has to limit the dusty work while decorating is going on, so we  we try to do that work at the weekends.

‘She is destined to spend this season on one of our swinging moorings on the River Axe, then next year she’ll head to Kingswear. I think the owner would like a brief change of scene but personally I think the River Dart has a lot to offer!

‘We’ve had a lot of interest from people; visitors to the yard, tweets, e-mails and phone calls; everyone appreciates a classic wooden boat, but not everybody wants one though!

‘Anyway I’ll keep you updated with progress.

‘Take care and keep up the good work, Alex’

Thanks Alex!