Nick Smith motor launch Lisa gets her name

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Lisa’s name, carved by Norman Gaches.  As usual, click on the thumbnails for a much bigger photograph

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Lisa’s flawless transom

Nick Smith has been in touch to report on progress building Lisa, a 17ft traditional West Country motor launch.

Lisa is looking almost complete, however there’s still lots to do.

‘The finishing off jobs are as important as the structural stuff, and I’m concentrating on the varnish work these days. The seats have been removed and varnished in a condition-controlled environment – that is, it’s heated, dust free and well lit. They now have deep gloss with no brush marks.

Sanders Sails of Lymington have built a super full cover. Whenever a customer or a doubting Thomas says to me the age old remark ‘oh but a wooden boat’s a maintenence nightmare’ I always reply that it isn’t true – just invest £500 in a good all-over cover, and every second you are not using the boat keep it covered.

‘This way the cover pays for itself in the first season, and the varnish work and paint work inside (apart maybe from the seats, which are small and easy to touch-up) need not be repainted for two or three seasons. The topside varnish may need a coat every year, but that’s a straightforward job, and the hull will need antifouling every year anyway.

‘It’s not rocket science – it’s common sense, I always say.

‘I should mention the name carving. I got world reknowned figurehead carver Norman Gaches over from the Isle of Wight to do it. He carved three “Lisas” and a “Yealm” in about an hour and a half, and it looks superb! It was all done by hand and eye, with no stencils.

‘That’s it for now Gav, more pictures after Christmas.’

Thanks Nick – it’s great to see her going together. I’m fascinated that Norman can create such nice, precise-looking work so quickly without stencils, and even more impressed that he dares to do it in a transom that’s already in place. Imagine the sinking feeling that would have followed if it had gone wrong – but of course, he did his job beautifully.

And a Merry Christmas to you Nick!

Nick has sent us quite a few photos of the Lisa project over the past few weeks.  If you’d like to see all our posts about his work, click here and scroll down the page. If you don’t already know him, Nick comes from Devon and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for  sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. He can be contacted by email at and by phone on 07786 693370.