RLYC launch Mary likely to launch in late spring, Ben Wales reports

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:

‘Hello Gavin,

‘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.

‘Regards, Ben’

An update on Ben Wales’ restoration of the motor launch Mary

Brest hook timber Knee Log Timber

Ben Wales has written in with details of his latest progress in his outdoor restoration of the former Royal Lymington Yacht Club motor launch Mary. He’s clearly a determined chap, and I’m delighted to hear that launch day is now just weeks away.

Here’s what he says:

‘Work was slow during early March and April due to the cold weather. But by the end of April the gunwales were finally fitted and completed, and early May saw the hull risers fitted.

‘The next step was to locate some pieces of grown oak for the new knees. Through the Forestry Commission I managed to locate some locally from a fallen oak tree in the New Forest, and these were cut down and shaped to size.

‘Last weekend the first deck beam was fitted to the aft deck area and a new skeg was being prepared to be fitted in the next few weeks.

‘If all goes to plan (and the weather is good) we plan to launch in August.’

Ben has also uploaded his second video of the restoration work on YouTube.

For earlier posts about this restoration, click here.

Ex Royal Lymington motor launch Mary gets her new timbers


Ex Royal Lymington motor launch Mary gets her new timbers. Click on the photos for bigger images

Ben Wales got in touch last week to report that he and his pals had fitted the last timber into Mary, the ex Royal Lymington Yacht Club motor launch he’s been restoring for a little while now.

See earliers posts herehere and here for more on this project. Progress may have been slowed by the dreadful weather we’ve had this summer, but Mary’s looking a lot better than she did in the first photos Ben sent.

Here’s what he says:

‘We started this back in April, but with the appalling weather [Ben’s working out of doors] and available time we have taken longer than expected to complete this.

‘We had to remove all the old timber ribs. The new timbers are home grown oak from the New Forest, and we cut on site into 10 to 12ft lengths, soaked them in water for a week and then steamed them ready for bending.

‘Out of the 29 timbers we fitted only two snapped on us.

‘The next phase in the restoration is to fit a new gunwales, and then new engine beds and bilge keels.’

Well done and thanks Ben – I hope the weather treats you more kindly for the rest of the summer!