REFRESHING A ROWBOAT
As an easy first project in ‘restoration’, a small rowboat can be very rewarding and prove extremely useful as well. These boats can usually take a small outboard and are often used as tenders to yachts although a rubber duck is preferred by many. If fitted with rowlocks they make a fine rowboat or fishing boat.
DESIGNING A TRADITIONAL SWIM LADDER
A seriously dark bruise had formed inside my thigh the day after pulling myself over the gunwales after a swim at Featherbed. Although there is a large cleat to help pull yourself up, it’s still difficult to clamber up and over. A traditional wooden swim ladder was needed.
I had a good idea of what I wanted from historical photos, but there’s a lot to consider. Positioning the ladder on the port or starboard side of a small to medium sized vessel will result in the boat rolling under load, and the ladder tucking under, making it even harder to climb out. So positioning it on the transom would be necessary.
RESTORATION... BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT
This Purslow built, fibreglass speedboat called Sea Hawk, was bought by Mr Delport after viewing her in the ‘Nautical Sales’ section of this website. He said her hull shape was exactly what he had in mind for a new boat he wanted to design using paint techniques alone.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.