Ben Wales has been in touch to report on the steady progress he and friends have made on restorating of the clinker-built 18ft former Royal Lymington Yacht Club motor launch Mary, which was used in Operation Dynamo, otherwise known as the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.
Ben and his helpers have been working out of doors until recently, but I’m pleased to say a car port tent has made all the difference.
Here’s what he says:
‘Since the Summer we have completed the work in renewing the engine beds and installed one new floor – the original beds were hard-nailed to the bilge planking, which was far from ideal. The new engine beds are now braced with brackets, and are a better fit than the originals.
‘The project had to be put on hold for a few weeks in late August as the weather was too hot and sunny for working on the boat.
‘The next phase of work was to fit new forward and aft bulkheads, and rather than fitting these in the same way as before (screwed to the topside planking) we riveted and screwed them top and bottom. We also made them up in tongue and groove planking to provide stronger bulkheads than previously.
‘In November we were given permission to erect a car port tent over the launch and were able to work up to mid-December, when we had to take down the cover because it was taking a battering from the high winds we have been having.
‘However, we did manage to pre-steam the main rubbing strakes and then fit the top port-side rubbing strake before the weather stopped our work.
‘We hope to resume work in February, when we hope to start laying a new deck and complete the final fit-out ready for what hope will be a late spring relaunch.
‘I will advise you further progress news in the New Year.