RESTORATIONS

LUCKY CHARM: PART 1

This boat was built for racing at a company called "Quarterdeck" in Johannesburg. The hull design is a Meteor and is all meranti with plywood sides. The previous owner, Fred Daleman bought it from Gordon Lanham-Love, a well known racing driver on the Vaal in the 50's/60's. The late "Frosty" Langman told me Gordon married into the 'Dewars whisky' family fortune and this money funded his racing career!

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Restoration project

CHARM: PART 2

The deck is usually stained at this point, but given the dark complexion of the Surian cedar grain, I decided just to let the Mahogany speak for itself. A few coats of Woodoc 50 later and the result was promising.

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wooden boat exterior varnish

REPAIRING DRY ROT IN A KEEL

Dry rot isn’t dry, it’s soft. If your fingernail or the end of a screwdriver can easily penetrate wood, it’s likely to be as a result of dry rot.

If not removed dry rot will continue to spread either side of a seam or along the weakest grain. The only solution is complete removal, back to hard wood, leaving nothing at all. This is a daunting challenge especially when it’s in a vintage boat keel.

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Repaired dry rot in keel

CHOOSING YOUR RESTORATION PROJECT...SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER

There are a number of considerations when choosing a ‘restoration/renovation’ project. Here are my thoughts on this:

Experience level: this really is the most important aspect as it is what stops most people giving it a try.

There’s no quick fix, experience is built with each successful project. You can come from a balsa-wood model building background or jump straight in. Fine carpentery skills would be an advantage, but are not an entry level requirement.

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Restoration and renovation project

RENOVATION OF A PURSLOW

This ‘restoration story’ is like many I presume in that an aging father decided that the vintage family boat, that his father bought when he was a child, needs to be restored and that his son should pay for said restoration.

And so the conversation began: how much do you charge? how long will you take? Eventually we agreed to proceed a month at a time and a boat, that until then I had only seen in photos, arrived in my driveway. These are the ‘before’ photos.

This was the second twin cockpit, rear seat driven wooden boat I’d seen, having restored a Thesen boat with a similar layout.

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Restoration of Purslow complete

RESTORATION OF THE 'BRAT OF DUNKIRK'

This is the second known ‘Little Ship’ in South Africa; the affectionate name given to the fleet of 850 privately owned vessels that braved the channel to return the retreating Allied Force trapped in Dunkirk in 1940.

After the war ended the ‘Brat of Dunkirk’ as she was named had several different owners until  Anthony France acquired her in 1967. He sailed her to South Africa in 1968 via Rio, making landfall in Hermanus on 14 October (at 19h00).

She was later owned by Knysna resident, Dick Aubin, for 6 years from 1987 to 1993 and he had her restored by the same Ted Misplan who built Nkwazi  for Leighton Hullet.

Mr Aubin sold her to Captain Harold Freaker who in turn sold her to Richard Cassem. She could be seen sailing in Algoa Bay with her three, distinctive, oxblood sails for many years.

After which the ‘Brat’ lay in disrepair in Port Elizabeth before being found by Bruce Tedder and bought by The Seafarers Trust who plan her full restoration in a vineyard in Hout Bay.

We will hopefully be following that restoration with a link in the ‘Restorations’ section of this website. For more information on the’Brat’, click on the links below.

https://boatingsouthafrica.co.za/2021/04/12/dream-or-reality-brat-of-dunkirk/

https://youtu.be/941Og_sgQBo

brat of Dunkirk restoration

TO BUILD FROM NEW OR TO RENOVATE?

Building from plans that can be bought or borrowed can make sense. Costs can be estimated more accurately and even time taken to build can be approximated given your level of experience.

A well levelled hardback is an essential starting point on which to align your keel and complete the hull. This hardback has been used to successfully build two boats that I know of. It measures in excess of 5 metres in length.

It comprises a considerable amount of heavy planking, so renting one can save on initial cost. It also means you don’t have to store all this wood between your boat building projects.

There is a returnable deposit of R2000 and rental, payable in advance, of R400 per month.

Contact: Patrick Wilson on 0832709842

hardback for rent
hardback for boat restoration
hardback for restoration work

Renovation or restoration can generally be started on two large tyres for hulls under 5 metres. This is a good starting length as it means the upturned boat will fit in your garage. Larger projects require a dedicated shed or covering of sorts in a much larger space.

Restoration implies an antique boat is being returned to its original state in every way possible. A renovation means modern material and techniques are being used to make the boat usable and complete. Legal requirements such a flotation certificate and navigation lights mean space within the boat needs to be found for foam, battery, fire extinguisher, paddles and life jackets.