Ben Wales has been in touch to let us know how he’s getting on with restoring his 18ft motor launch repair and restoration project.
Here’s what he has to say just as winter turns to spring:
We used up the final stock of khaya planks in October and had just two more planks to replace on the port side.
The weather turned against us, so we had to put the restoration on hold until early February and, after a re-stocking of timber and copper nails we started to remove the next few planks.
The top two planks were some of the worst to use as a paten as they were broken on the edges and very brittle – also most of the original oak timbers were broken on the top edge. Making the top plank a perfect fit proved a challenge!
On Sunday 11th March we manage to fit up the last remaining plank and that side will be completed very soon. The next stage is to re-timber the boat.
A few weeks ago the local newspaper in Lymington published a letter I sent asking for information about my launch, and who had it owned it in the past.
Several letters had been received and one was from a relative whose great uncle had purchased the launch from the Admiralty in 1947 and named it after his wife Mary. Both were members of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in the 1950s. They sold the launch in the 1970s.
I have also learnt that it was used in Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk – a plaque was known to be on the launch, but seems to have been stolen many years ago.
I will send you more progress reports in the near future.
Thanks Ben! What a great story! It would be great to know what part your boat played… Would she be the tiniest Little Ship, I wonder?