Diary of a Restoration
By Ron Wells Secretary of the DCW
The Far South Wilderness Lodge in Dover had a Rowing boat ”La Chaloupe” that was beyond their resources to restore to a practical level and offered the boat to the DCW as a community project for restoration.
On first inspection John and I discovered the boat was floating along side their wharf and filled with rain water, or what we hoped was rain water. The boat had about 120mm of freeboard above the water.
John being the fitter of us both climbed on board and the boat seemed to be sound in the hull and had some areas of rot above the water line, particularly in the corners of the transom at the top on both sides.
Both John and I accepted their generous offer of the boat as we saw the potential of firstly a worthy project for the DCW members to undertake and a valuable asset on completion.
The only condition was that the DCW removed the boat safely from their wharf and on doing so the DCW would then have ownership. We have a letter stating this from their Manager Meredith Huggins.
Both John and I announced the acquisition of the boat at the meeting on the 10th of March which was the day we towed it around the bay to be landed on the beach out the front of John’s place in Pottery Road.
It was decided that restoring the boat at the workshop would put it in danger of vandalism as it is far too big to house inside the workshop.
The boat is about 18 feet long, clinker built from what appears to be cedar. It is set up as a six man rowing boat and a drop keel sailing hull. The centre board box appears to have been sealed at the keel. Apparently at a previous at restoration it was decided to remove all sailing tackle and seal the centre board making the boat an exclusive rowing boat.
We have also been given six oars, all the false flooring sheets and the original iron drop centre plate keel.
Perhaps in the distant future we can re establish the boat as a sailing boat, but in the first instance we should make the boat absolutely sound and repair all the rot and repaint the whole boat as a six man rowing boat.
There is a provision for an inboard motor and this could be added in the future should we obtain an appropriate engine.
Little history was known by the owners. I estimated the boat to be about sixty years old. While John was jet cleaning the boat inside and out (see photos.)
I discovered the following etched into the inside of the transom “ No1 6/6/64.”I can only interpret this as the first boat of several being made on the 6th of June 1964. So our boat will turn fifty in June this year.
This is how we found the boat
Research from the internet shows different meanings for the name La Chaloupe. It roughly translates to a type of rowing or a boat used as a tender on a Brigg.
The Naturaliste ship was one such boat that explored Southern Australia circa1800
Above; Sardine chaloupe in the port of Douarmenez in Brittany, France circa 1900 with sails and oars. These chaloupe where pointed both ends but there was a variation with a transom.
They were often fitted with this configuration of sails.
The Rudder and Tiller have been started and the missing piece of the rudder blade has been replaced.
Luckily the paint donated previously from Tassals is close enough to the original colour so we won’t need to buy the blue at least.
The added missing piece is the dark brown strip on the top of picture. Below John holding the tiller which has just been varnished.
John and I decided that the best operational position for the boat is just outside my fence on the crown land.
We will attempt the move using my boat trailer while my boat is still on its mooring rope. We have some copper logs to sit the keel on and we will need to construct a stable cradle for the boat so we can get at all the spots that need attention.
One of the clinker boards close to the keel about midships port side is badly damage and will need repairing from outside and reinforced on the inside.
Once we have the boat in its maintenance cradle we will have to decide the best option for moving forward.
The transom is very weak and in places rotten right through. Where the clinker boards attach it is separated and the ends of the boards are almost beyond repair.
I have research two products that will assist in the hull restoration. Where the timber is soft an application of Earl’s timber hardener will stabilise the wood and give a firm foundation for the filler which is call Porion. These materials are frequently used on window sills on older houses to restore them to functionality. I will check with the Living Boats Trust and take advice from them. They, I’m told have had some experience with La Chaloupe in the past.
They may be able to give us some history of the boat.
Options for moving forward.
Fully restore the boat as it is current configured
Fully restore the boat and strengthen the support bands with trusses which will mean removing the centre board box altogether and creating a full seat in the centre which goes from one side to the others as the forward and aft seats are currently.
As per option 1 and 2 add a mast
As per option 1 and 2 fit out as a sailing boat as well as a rowing boat
Subject to engine acquisition, refit an inboard engine to all above options (There are two perhaps suitable engines in the Casey auction coming up soon.)
Excluding option 5 fit an outboard motor
We have approached the Living Boat Trust for advice on repairs to the boat.
We have sent photos to them so they can best advise any strategies and techniques to ensure we are doing the right thing in the restoration. (see photos below)
If you are anything like me, the names of boat parts is confusing, so I have added this diagram which may help.
Above is a two oar rowing/sailing boat. La Cahaloupe has six oars. La Chaloupe also has a stern thwart , a centre thwart and a forward thwart.
The sternsheets will need much repair as well. Both Quarter knees will need replacing and much of the gunwale on the port side will need repairing.
9/03/2014 Today I cut off parts of the Gunwale that were rotted beyond repair.
After cleaning the remaining areas around these parts I decided to make the best of the good weather and fashion replacement sections to replace the rotted pieces.
Using stepped or rebated joints I used heavy gal screws to attach the replacement pieces.
As the Gunwales are the only real rotted parts I decided to replace the rotted sections using treated pine. I made this decision because treated pine stands up to weather better than anything else and I just happened to have stock in my shed at the time.
As the Gunwale will be covered in several coats of boat paint plus a primer these replacement pieces should outlast the rest of the timbers in the boat.
The zero cost was another motivator. I have filled blemishes and gaps between joins with timber putty. (I will need to replace my stock from Workshop Funds as this product is not cheap)
I have a small amount of stainless screws and have used the 100mm screws that were removed from the gunwale edge when seeking out the rotted areas. Re using these screws also keeps the cost down and they are
more than adequate for the job.
Above shows the bottom most piece of the transom. The two pieces above were rotten and too far gone to be repaired. They will need replacing.
(See The Transom)
I have cut and chiselled out the rotten wood and will replace it with appropriate pieces of treated pine. Note the nail holes in the planks. Luckily I was able to remove the two top boards of the transom without damaging the planks further. Also note the fractures in the ribs 3 planks down from the gunwale. These are of some concern however the planking is still sound and we may have to reinforce the ribs with stays. These will also support the false floor when fitted.
The Port Side (left side as you sit in the boat) gunwale has the most rot. I have removed the sections of timber between the ribs and chiselled the top of the sub rail back to sound timber.
I will make small pieces to go between the ribs and overlay a piece over the chiselled rails.
At either end of the gunwale rail (the mostly blue bit) there are recesses for 100mm stainless screws. I was able to remove and reuse these screws in the repair.
These recesses will be plugged with a dowel or putty to keep out moisture.
Overall the gunwale should be a simple repair. The transom replacement will stretch our skills.
Once the transom is replaced we will need to make two Quarter Knees to support the transom and planks in the stern.
We do not have dried timber with a natural elbow, so we will make the knees from straight timber and reinforce the cross grain section with an aluminium plate screwed underneath out of sight.
Quarter Knee Sketch below
Above Style not used. I decided to make the knees from 150 x 50 mm Macrocarpa and glued on the required height difference. The end result was quite pleasing. See pages 46 & 48
Had a big day on the 29th, and attacked the most damaged areas on the gunwales. The end of day I was pleased with what was achieved. Further investigation on the Port side gunwale showed hidden rot for almost the entire length. As the corners of the gunwale where it meets the now missing transom was the most difficult to repair, my confidence was boosted to carry on and see how far I could get on the following day being Sunday.
Below is the starboard side gunwale which was relatively easy to repair. Below is the port side gunwale after further inspection it was found to be more extensive with rot than first thought.
Above the first section of the gunwale repaired on the port side.
The starboard gunwale is largely repaired. Both sides will need fibre glassing to protect them well into the future. These areas of the boat are most vulnerable and subject to rot, fibre glassing will prevent this damage.
We may need to fibreglass other parts of the boat, particularly the transom as these vital parts need strength for the overall integrity of the boat.
Further inspection after the repairs were made to the first section of the port gunwale found more hidden rot from the middle rowlock all the way forward. These areas were chiselled out and replaced with sections of treated pine then sealed with putty. See next photo
Above is the port side repair completed on Saturday. This repair stopped at the first rowlock but further inspection revealed that the whole side was rotten. Above, replacement timbers have been fitted
When not being worked on we cover La Chaloupe to keep things dry. The 1st of April 2014
Very little work done today. I’m not 100% so giving myself a break from working on the actual boat.
Researched types of rigging for if and when we add sails. The Cahloupe style sails from the 19th century seem to match with modern day “catboat rig”.
The mast is well forward as with our boat and seems to be in keeping with the style of the boat. The only difference I can see between modern catboats and our boat is the catboat has a skirt around the cockpit for heavy weather sailing.
I laid out the old sternsheets and took measurement for replacing the whole lot. see photo
The port and starboard gunwale repairs are largely complete and only need weatherproofing. There are still some areas that will need attention and when I’m feeling better they will get addressed.
Further research online helped to find a supplier of celery top. This timber is strong yet light and will be ideal for the transom and sternsheet replacement. Celery top is not cheap but is the best timber for the job and will allow a long serviceability on the boat to ensure we will enjoy it for the years to come.
After completing a days work at the shed we decided to all come down to La Chaloupe and take a look.
Some discussion took place about the centre board housing. It was proposed that the centre board housing be removed to allow more freer movement on board. John Tapp and I will examine the housing and see what will be required to remove it safely. This removal will see a full width middle thwart replace the two piece one current fitted. This thwart is rot damaged, particularly where the hanging knees were attached. Today I bought home a piece of macrocarpa that should be suitable for the centre thwart. I will shape it and see if it is suitable. There is a slab of blackwood at the workshop that might be suitable to make hanging knees for the new centre thwart. I will make up some templates for this as my band saw does not have the horsepower for blackwood at 50mm thick.
The Transom 05/04/2014
Started on the dreaded transom yesterday and really stuffed up the first piece. I was too tired and gave it away after realising my mistake.
The 5th and started fresh. Using the ends of the first board I was able to transfer the measurements onto the next piece if timber. It did make it easier but I was taxed to the limit of my skills trying to get the length and angles correct. The only constant I have is a centre line which all calculations have to refer to. Each side of the boat is different and the angles are slightly different as well. The port side unreinforced by the transom has relaxed outward which further complicates the measuring process. By cutting everything slightly oversized I was able to trim down the pieces with an angle grinder fitted with a multi- layered sanding disc. I think they are called a saw tooth sanding disc. They really rip into the timber but leave a relatively smooth finish if care is used. By shaping and trial a reasonable close fit was obtained. Perhaps they could have been a closer fit but working alone I am happy with the outcome.
Above is the first replacement piece
This is the second piece of the transom in place. Note the gap on the port side (left side). This is where the gunwale has relaxed away from the centreline of the boat. I had to hold it in an equal distance with clamps up to the stern post. There is a 25 mm difference from the centre line of the stern post to the outer edge of the gunwale at the corners because of this relaxing of the hull which is unsupported. This will be rectified when the transom is finally set.
The third piece is now in place and everything looks reasonably good.
Above is where I have joined all three pieces together with biscuits and external PVA glue. As the whole transom and the corners of the klinker strakes will be fibre glassed I am not concerned about leaking as the fibreglass will make it strong and water tight. From memory the water line is about half way up the second transom board from the bottom.
All three pieces in place as one. I have not glued the top three pieces to the existing bottom piece as I want to fill all the gaps around the edges of the transom and shape the outer top corners.
Using the filler we have will necessitate at least two people doing the final fit as once the filler goes off we will not be able to move pieces if we have an alignment problem. It will all need to be done at once and right the first time.
The next stage will see the final fit of the transom, refit of the rudder hardware and the fitting of Quarter Knees.
Day light saving ended last night but my body clock didn’t believe it.
Got an early start about 9am. Kevin Clark (the younger) will be coming to help at 10am as arranged. John said he would come as well. The weather was magnificent and I think John took advantage of it to finish off his concreting. Kevin and I put in a big day on the boat. We managed to set the transom in place and bog up any gaps. It was definitely a two man job as the glue for the biscuits had to be applied along with bog to the perimeter of the transom (which starts setting in five minute and is rock hard in 30 minutes).
While this is happening the transom must be located exactly and knocked home to align with the biscuits and the stern post. Once in its correct position clamps and temporary screws needed to be fitted to ensure the transom does not move from its required position.
Luckily all went well and the positioning was very good and little gaps were the end result. These we promptly bogged up and sealed off.
This is me setting up for the transom fitting
The Transom is now in place and the rudder hardware has been reattached
You will notice that the centre keel box has been removed. This decision was made to give a more open deck for the crew. By removing the centre box which supported two half seats which were fitted to the centre box, we had to refit a full seat in its place. I had prepared a piece of timber earlier and Kevin measured and cut it to size. Kevin ground away at the remnants of the centre box after I had cut it with a circular saw. Kevin then planed the balance of the base of the centre box down to the level of the support struts that will support the false deck. Originally there was about eight pieces of decking that made up the deck . By removing the centre box we should be able to have only two pieces of false decking. The aft decking under the sternsheets is set a little higher than the main deck because of the shape of the keel near the stern post
Also you can see that we had to remove the hanging knees for the second and third thwarts. They were made from laminated ply and were beyond repair. Kevin is making solid replacements and will ensure they have the strength they require to support the thwarts and hold the shape of the boat by also attaching to the gunwales.
Above is what is left of the centre box once I cut it off. You can see that a piece of batten is missing where Kevins right foot is. We will need to make another to support the false deck. The distance between the missing batten and the next batten aft is too great, so we will make another set of battens and fit them to the ribs either side just in front of where the circular saw is sitting.
Kevin measuring the hole left by the centre box. Now that the centre box is removed we will need to ensure that the slot is plugged to ensure the boat is water tight at this point. I believe the keel was previously plugged from the outside, however, plugging it from the inside as well will guarantee no problems in this area in the future.
After lunch John arrived and we all got stuck in. John concentrated on the hull just under the gunwale. He noted a lot of rot where the gunwale meets the top strake of the hull. He spent a lot of time digging out the rot. We decided to reinforce these areas with a quad type cover to repair the damage and to regain the original strength. This already has been undertaken in the past but not all the way around inside and not at all on the outside. We will have to complete these tasks before we can do paint preparation.
Our next tasks are, continue with the rot removal under the gunwale. Make sub-frames and battens for the decks, fit and reinforce the thwarts, make new hanging knees port and starboard for thwarts 2 and 3.
I had and early start again and John soon joined me.
John chased the rot around the underside of the gunwale and cleaned up any areas that needed seeing too.
I smoothed the outer surface of the transom and blended in the different planks. I reworked some of the gunwale with filler a sanded it back. The new thwart in position 3 from the front is narrower than the other thwarts and is longer. To ensure this seat is sturdy I reinforced it with a beam underneath.
The thwart in position 2 was rejoined as it is made from two pieces if timber biscuited together. This left a potential weakness so I reinforced this seat with short stays and used filler to smooth out the surface on the bum side.
The new timber is barely seasoned and attracts moisture very easily so I found some self priming solar guard paint in pale blue to give them some protection. These thwarts will not be fitted until we have solved some of the problems with the inside of the boat.
These problems are;
removing the flaky paint from the inside of the boat, repairing and replacing battens to support the deck, plugging the centre box hole effectively,
shaping and cutting the two decks and
making hanging knees for the thwarts 2 and 3.
Thwarts painted pale blue just to protect them from moisture as they will not be fitted until the deck supports are in place.
John doing a cleanup around the gunwale and the first plank. 36
Final sanding of the transom. I used stainless screws on each plank on the port side to ensure a good attachment to the transom. Normally copper nails are used. From observing the condition of the transom when we first obtained the boat, copper nails were less than adequate in this instance.
I will need to do the same on the starboard side. The balance of the planks will be done when the hull is up side down. The planks nearest the keel will be easier to get at then.
I put the blue thwarts in place at end of today’s work. They are not attached.
I will not be working on the boat tomorrow as I will need to get a second coat of estapol on the tables and chairs at the workshop which should be delivered at the end of the week.
I will try to get a crew to come to the boat on Thursday if the weather is suitable.
08/04/2014 Tuesday, I managed to get the DCW workshop tasks done early and quicker than I thought. I called into the local hardware to see if they had replacement glue and putty for my stock. No luck there. I will need to go to Huonville for my supplies. The local hardware did however have some pine wide enough to make the sternsheets. I spent the afternoon overlaying the old ones onto the new timber. I have biscuited the bits together and tomorrow I will test fit the sides and adjust as necessary then make the pieces that surround the stern post to complete the sternsheets.
Managed to get a crew for a workday on the boat instead of a day at the workshop. Harry, Terry and Peter Bell showed up on the day.
Harry and Terry got stuck in sanding the outside while I did a trial fit of the sternsheet pieces. Peter Bell seemed to enjoy himself and was quite excited about being in the boat.
John’s Margaret has had a procedure in hospital and John has been looking after her needs, so I have missed his technical input for the last week.
Kevin has also been tied up with the historical society with their big day on the 13th Hopefully both will be available soon to lend a hand.
Today I reinforced the biscuit joins of the Sternsheets. Being so wide it would have put undue stress on the joints. The materials is slightly thinner as well which makes the replacement sternsheets a little weaker. This compromise was due to the unavailability of suitably thick and wide material.
I have used gal screws to temporarily affix the support beams for the sternsheets. This was done to allow the final fit up of the seats into their final position. The final shaping is done and the sternsheets will be removed again until we have cleaned the old paint off the inside of the boat.
The best combination for this is to take the majority off with the saw tooth sander which is attached to the 100mm grinder, the get into the corners where this tool can not get with a wire brush also attached to a 100mm grinder. It is slow, dirty but effective!
Sails and Rigs
Different sail options for the boat at a later time.
Figure 2 – Gaff Jaw Delails Figure 3 – Mast Hinge Details
After a short visit to the DCW I started on the boat again about 1pm.
Adjusted the sternsheets to fit properly as the reinforcing I used on the wide sections interfered with the seat supports. Cutting sections and tapering others allowed the sternsheet boards to rest on the supports. I decided to cut some quad sections to dress up the back of the sternsheet boards where they were short near the transom. See photo
There were missing sections of a quad section under the gunwale near the transom. I made both sides but have not fixed them into position yet.
There is a long section of missing quad on the starboard side between thwart 3&4 under the gunwale. I made up a section and clamped it into positions. This area has quite a curve to it and the quad was under a bit of stress when clamping into position. I will have to take advice on the best way to attach this piece because of the stress in pulling a straight piece of timber into a curved position. Normally the timber would be steamed and set while hot. We don’t have steaming facilities.
As you can see in above photo it does pull into position quite well with only two clamps, so we should not have too much trouble affixing this piece.
As you can see in the above photo there are no hanging knees on this thwart yet.
I decided to have a go at making them.
They have not been fitted yet as I have not decided the best way to do so.
Below are the sternsheets in position yet be fixed. This gives an overall picture of how the stern of the boat will look.
The last items made today were a fill piece to replace the rotten section of the thwart on the port side where the sternsheet attaches. Also I made up sections to fit in the hull near the remains of the centre board box to accommodate the false floor decking. Originally there where 8 pieces of decking to make up the deck of the boat. Our modifications will see only two pieces used. One piece in the stern which will be slightly higher than the forward piece because of the shape of the hull.
Other than stepping over each thwart there will be a flat floor for the crew to stand on. Outstanding tasks at this point.
Remove old and flaking paint.
Make two hanging knees for thwart 2. Now done. Make two quarter knees for the transom. Now done. Fit quad sections
Fit deck supports
Fibreglass sections that require protection and strengthening.
The weather is touch and go so decided to work on the remaining knees. I have completed the quarter knees ready for fitting.
I have made the outline of the hanging knees for thwart 2 and have used the new two part glue to make them as I needed these two knees to be a little narrower for seating comfort on this thwart.
There was a missing piece of sub-frame for the stern deck support. I made a replacement and fitted it into position. The original stern deck sub frame has been cleaned up and
painted with solarguard to protect it. It is also ready for fitting when internal painting is finished.
21/04/2014 Monday . John came over and we cleaned out the remaining part of the centre board drop box. John used my heat gun and blower to get the debris out of the hole while I cut sections of timber to epoxy in the hole. We decided that the hole should be completely filled with timber and epoxy to ensure we do not have a leaking problem in this area.
I have been thinking about the finished boat and how we can present it to the public. I think we should make it a very public event and where possible let the community have a row.
The original colours are navy blue gunwales an off white or cream internal paint and a brilliant white hull.
The bottom of the rudder is red. The waterline and below is light blue. I would like to change the waterline to Red if everyone is agreeable. This will give the red white and blue of the Australian flag and be in keeping with the French connection with the name of the boat also being the red white and blue of the French flag.
To this end I have sources and ordered online an Australian flag which will be on a short flag pole in the stern of the boat on official and public events. I have also order a vinyl name transfer of the name of the boat in Navy Blue which will stand out on the white transom.
On the grand relaunch of the boat I would like to order red white and blue bunting to cover the boat on its special public presentation. Hopefully when the mast and cables are in place we can really show off the boat with the bunting in place .
24/04/2014 Thursday at the workshop
Very poor attendance today so John and I started to repair the oars. John used the electric plane to shave off equal amounts of each side of the blade on each oar. I started to cut strips of macrocarpa to glue on each side of the blade. These were then glued onto the blades and clamped into position. They will finally be shaped when the glue cures, probably next Thursday.
27/04/2014 Sunday. Hauling equipment in and out for the boat takes a lot of time and I’ve been a bit slack in putting things away. I spent all day Saturday and half of Sunday tidying up my workshop. At least I have found the floor which is a great start.
Sunday afternoon decided to see if I could clean up and bogg some of the holes in the gunwales. While I was waiting for the bogg to harden I decided to have a go at the outside on the port side. I used the grinder with the saw tooth disc and cleaned off all the paint for three planks down from the gunwale. After removing the paint I used the orbital sander to polish up the planks to a relatively smooth finish. At this point some patching with bogg will be need as there are some holes and blemishes that need seeing too prior to painting.
There is a complicated knee in the bow under the bowsprit that looked pretty ordinary so I gave it the bogg treatment and after it cured the gunwales and the bow knee cleaned up surprisingly well.
Very low attendance at the shed today so I did my own thing. Decided to reshape the extension pieces we glued onto the oar blades last Thursday. Using the belt sander with 80 grit belt made a very good finish on the blades and was efficient in reducing the waste while shaping the edges of the blades. After all were shaped I used 80 grit on the orbital sander to smooth out for epoxy and glass webbing. As the edges are very fragile the webbing which will be coated in epoxy, will strengthen the edges and make them less likely to damage.
I transported the oars back to my shed for the epoxy process.
You can see the new edges in this photo.
The weather is still pretty ordinary and not conducive to working on the boat. John Tapp returned from Agfest yesterday so I asked him this afternoon if he would show me the process of reinforcing the oars with fibre glass and resin. We cut the webbing to size and mixed up 600 ml of resin.
This was enough to do all 6 oars and one coat on the transom.
When the oars dry, we can sand them smooth and apply a second coat if necessary.
I am pleased that some work has been done as it has been six days since any work was done.
10/05/2014 Saturday I cut four long strips of 12mm timber to make skirt strips to go under the gunwales on both sides. These skirts will cover some areas that need sealing and will add the finish. These strips were radiused on one side to match other strips on the boat.
John Tapp has jig to splay cut the ends of these strips so they can be joined and fitted as one long strip.
I’ve been trying everywhere to get a mast or timber to make one, with no success.
12/05/2014 Monday. I placed an add on Gumtree and 20minutes later got a call from someone who has two for sale. Went to have a look at them and they are both serviceable, so I bought them both for $100. One has a stainless steel mast head piece that is probably worth $100 on its own. I took both as I may be able to reduce one to make a spar.
13/05/2014 Tuesday. On the previous page is the main mast after I cleaned it up. While cleaning it with a belt sander I notice that there was some rot in the last 60mm of the main mast. Luckily it was only about a third the way through so it was relatively easy to cut this piece out and glue in a replacement piece. Once the glue has hardened I will do the final shaping and refit the mast head piece. It will be some time before I can fit the mast to the boat so I undercoated it to help preserve the clean up I have done.
The second mast is not actually a mast at all. It appears to be a pole that power companies use to lift live wires higher to pass objects under them. It has a forked piece on the top made from an alloy material. Either way it can be refashioned to become a mast or a stay. If it is to become a stay, it will need reducing somewhat. We are limited with our paint, so I will give the second mast a coat of epoxy to preserve it until we decide what we can do with it. Both masts are 4.9 meters long which is within the required height for the boat.
Each mast is octagonal which is acceptable. If we need to reduce them in weight, then we can plan off all the corners and make them round.
When a mast is made for light boats it starts out 4 sided, then octagonal, the 16 sided, then 32 sided and finally rounded off with a light hand plan.
The weather was pretty good so planned a full day for myself on the boat. On the larger of the two masts I finished of the repair to the refitted piece.
The smaller mast seems to be more appropriate for the boat, so I removed the forked piece on the top and reshaped the top to fit the mast head piece. Prior to this I tried a temporary fit of the smaller mast on the boat. (see photo). I will need to make a socket of some sort on the keel to centralise the mast when fitted. This task is in the future as we have the inside of the boat to complete. I spent the rest of the day using the wire wheel to remove all the loose paint on the inside. Had time to vacuum out the boat after using the wire wheel.
Tomorrow being Thursday, John will make more pieces to repair the broken ribs that have not been done yet. I will undercoat the rudder and if it dries in time I will bring it home so the final colours can be applied. John has come up with the idea of gluing the pieces over the broken rib sections and brad nailing them into place until the glue sets. This is most effective and covers the ugly breaks as well.
This is the stainless steel mast head piece.
Above is the mast temporarily fitted for the first time. It seems to be proportional to the boat so I will go ahead with this mast. The mast locates in a slot in the very front thwart. The slot is not quite wide enough for this mast, so a minor adjustment to the thwart will accommodate the mast in the correct position.
This will give a slight rake to the mast (leaning back towards the stern) which is normal for these small boats.
15/05/2014 Thursday. Very poor attendance at the workshop. Just John and myself, Harry came after Dr. Appointment, so closed up early and came home. I spent the afternoon with John repairing all the rest of the broken ribs using the technique mentioned earlier. They are all now repaired, the supports for the deck are glued in and quad section pieces near the transom have also been glued in.
Tomorrow I will glue in the quarter knees, blow out and vacuum the inside then start painting.
16/05/2014 Friday. Glued in the quarter knees and bogged up some holes in the gunwale apron. Put a coat of timber protectant on the top of the gunwale and on the top planks of
the hull prior to fitting the new cover strip quad that we decided to add. These strips will need more work before fitting.
Wanted to start painting today, the weather says otherwise.
John came over to fix the rain cover on the boat and we decided that we could give the oars a second coat of epoxy. It is hard to judge how much to mix so we used the left over to put a coat on the mast. Still had some left over so put a coat on the sternsheets.
Not much else we can do until the weather improves. 20/05/2014 Tuesday
Got a start on the internal painting today. 3 750ml cans are not enough to paint the inside so will need at least two more cream. I managed to apply 2.5 cans before the legs and back gave up squatting inside the boat painting. Luckily, John turned up to give me a break. While John was finishing of the last can , I mixed up some timber protectant and painted some cracks and the balance of the gunwale and hull.
One coat of cream looks pretty ordinary so we will hand paint the last bit and spray paint the final coat, when I can get more paint.
I broke the support rail for the sternsheet on the port side by sitting on it. It had a knot in it and this is where it broke. I have reinforced it with a 2 x 1 brace which is glued underneath.
Had to go to Huonville so I picked up some more cream and red paint from Franklin Marine. We should now have enough paint to finish the boat.
Finally the bunting arrived! No work on the boat as weather lousy.
23/05/2014 Friday Had a little time so almost finished the first coat inside. My back is not the best at the moment so I’ll wait for John to finish the first coat. Cleaned up my workshop yet again and decided I had time to do something with the oars.
I masked up the blades and painted them navy blue. The bottom of the blade is white with a red collar to finish. This will give the oars the red white and blue theme consistent with the boat.
Same with the rudder below.
Below are photos of the interior after the first coat of cream and with all parts in place but not fitted.
Had a little set back. When I was making the hanging knee for the 3rd thwart on the port side I did not realise that the thwart was not fully seated in its correct position and thus I made the knee too short.
It was a relatively easy fix as I cut off the top of the knee and reshaped a new piece. After gluing and screwing it on It fitted as good as new.
I am way over budget with the restoration so I will have to compromise with some of the colour scheme. The thwarts, the hanging knees and the sternsheets will now have to be painted navy blue instead of cream. We have plenty of blue and very limited cream.
At more than $40s a 750 ml tin is just too much on our stretched accounts. I don’t think the change will be too detrimental to the overall scheme of the restoration. In the above photo the sternsheets have been coated with epoxy resin to give them a longer life.
Fitted the two blue thwarts in picture above along with the hanging knees. Also fitted the sternsheets and sternsheet quads. John came over and we managed to fit the strip of timber along the port side under the gunwale. These were glued, clamped and brad nailed into position to dress up the hull under the edge of the gunwale. The starboard side will be done when weather permits. All we need is some good weather and we can finish off the inside. Then we can roll the boat over and clean up the hull and paint it.
John and I fitted the side strip to the starboard side. We also used up the last of the cream paint using John’s airless sprayer which put the second coat to the inside of the boat. I decided to paint the undercoat on the thwarts the sternsheets and the port side outer hull that had been cleaned up. This was only three or four planks down from the gunwale.
I continued with the undercoating as the day was fine.
After undercoating the starboard side I did a small clean up of the gunwales and decided that there was enough day left to apply epoxy and fibreglass webbing to reinforce and protect the gunwale tops
The Bow Sprit will be Snow White like the hull.
As mentioned previously we had to compromise with the colour scheme and use more Navy Blue on items as it is the only paint we have in sufficientquantity without purchasing more paint of a different colour.
All items internally painted white undercoat will be Navy Blue
The Gunwales will also be Navy Blue.
You can see the original colour scheme on pages 5 and 6.
When the resin cures which should be Sunday, I would like to invert the boat and clean up the hull in preparation for undercoating and final coat of Snow White. The water line will be Red instead of pale blue.
I used my rope pulley system to roll the boat. I have cleaned the stern starboard quarter and it looks pretty good. This has taken about one hour, so the balance should not take too long. The last foot of the keel has been replaced in the past and is full of worm holes. I’ll remove and replace this directly. There are some stabilizing runners that are worse fore ware with worm holes and these will be removed and replaced.
You can see where they are on previous picture of the bottom of the boat. See the dark line above the keel. This is where I have removed one of these stabiliser runners. The other will need replacing when I roll the boat the other way. I think it will be much easier to dress up each side underneath by just rolling the boat on its side rather than turning it completely over.
So far I have only seen minor areas of patching that will need to be done. In general the hull seems fine.
04/06/2014 John and I went to the Kermandie pub to attend the meet and greet people who are recipients of the Huon Aquaculture sponsorship.
When we returned after lunch, both John and I started on the hull clean up.
Last evening we rolled the boat completely over so we could work on both sides.
It took a few hours to clean off all the old accumulated paint with saw toothed pads attached to grinders. John used a mini chainsaw cutter on my small grinder to clean up a hole on the hull that was spotted and repaired from the inside. He gouged out the hole and painted timber protection epoxy into the hole and also painted other minor possible cracks and blemishes with the same material. If we have enough of this protectant, we will coat the whole hull prior to undercoating. John Mavin came over and took some photos of John and I while we were working.
John and I decided to reinforce the transom with resin and webbing around the edges. John carved out a deep crack in the hull and we glued a strip of timber into it. We also glued a flat strip of wood alongside to support this repair.
This repair was dealt with from the inside, however we needed to dress the damage from the outside to keep growths of weed etc from attaching itself and doing more damage over time.
We used up what was left of the resin to coat the hull and only managed to cover half the hull. I negotiated with the local hardware for more resin and we will obtain 2 litres more at a good price.
The photos below show an awning over the boat which will allow us to paint the hull and hopefully keep the weather off until it dries.
This is the side that was coated in resin.
This side is only partially coated in resin and will be finished when more resin is available.
Once the hull is coated completely we will lightly sand it to etch the surface and then undercoat and finish coating the hull.
John Mavin my next door neighbour purchase my 6hp Johnson outboard from me as an auxiliary motor for his own boat. He needed a fuel tank and fuel line so I drove him to Franklin Marine. While there I purchased some stay cable and crimps for the mast.
Lawrence the owner has lent me the crimping tool to finish off the stays professionally when the boat is upright again.
14/06/2014 Saturday. Had to go to Huonville to get some rapid set concrete for a neighbour. While there the hardware had sheets of ply for $28 on special but had no stock left. There was another pile of ply beside the special so I inquired about that. The price was what seemed ridiculously cheap and it was their closing time and they wanted me gone. I did not challenge the price and purchased two right there and then. It would seem in their haste to get rid of me I had acquired some 18mm full sheets for $36 each. This to my reckoning is about half the normal price.
On the way home I decided that the money save in buying these sheets could allow me to purchase more epoxy resin at Franklin Marine. The 18mm sheets will be used for the false deck and left over can be for workshop projects etc.
I started to fill holes with bogg and clean up the damage repair that john had done by gluing strips of wood into the hole in the hull that was repaired from the inside earlier. This repair was only required to protect any damage wood underlying the internal repair as well as give the hull a natural finish.
While doing this John arrive and I caught him out of the corner of my eye and I jumped in fright. He does move very quietly and when I was concentrating on my task, it was quite a surprise when he turned up. When my heart rate slowed to normal again we decided that he would give the other side of the hull a sand and then apply the new epoxy resin.
I decided to work on the other side of the hull and toughed up some undercoating that I had missed. Feeling like a spare wheel I set up to paint the final coat of Blue on the underside of the gunwale and also on the planks likes the original colour scheme.
As we are limited with Red paint which will be the water line colour I decided to paint the keel Blue as well to reduce the area required to be painted red.
I have taken a photo of each side and a front on photo as well
Finished off the undercoating and started on the colours.
The two Johns and myself really got stuck in and managed to get the blue boarders on the outside done and the red waterline as well. I was surprised that the red paint went as far as it has and now I’ll utilize some of it to highlight the features inboard. Perhaps all the knees could be red, the thwarts snow white instead of all blue.
The two John’s applying the water line
Just need the weather to hold off for a day or two and we can finish the hull outside and flip it back over. Had to remove the awning as the wind picked up and it was in danger of ripping apart. Hopefully the paint will skin before the night dew gets to it.
There are too many epoxy runs on the transom, so I will sand it back to base and finish it off when the current paint dries. Luckily the transom can be worked on no matter what position the boat is in.
John Mavin wanted to take my picture as I am not in many photos because I take nearly all the photos.
Had other jobs on for most of the day but wanted to atleast turn the boat over right side up today.
Hooked up the straps that we rolled the boat over with to the back of my Pajero. Attatche the rope pulley to a stump to lower the boat once we have it near balance point.
All was going well and reached balance point and the pulley system took up the slack to lower the boat back the right way up. All was going well until the stump we had attached the pulley system to , came out of the ground. The boat crashed to the logs and rocked to a stand still. A quick check and there was no damage. Luckily La Chaloupe is a sturdy vessel as it really thumped to the logs when righting itself.
22/06/2014 Sunday. We fitted the mast and I made locating brackets for the keel for the mast seating. I widened the forward thwart to accept the mast into its slot. John came over and we measured and fitted the stays.
I finished off the hull with the final coat of Snow white and john painted the gunwale on the port side along with the knees as well in Navy Blue
I cleaned up the transom and painted it Snow White as well.
Just for the fun of it I fitted the rudder as it has not been fitted since we replaced the transom. It looks great. We are almost finished.
The weather is not very good but I’ll still do sea trials. The first thing is to launch my boat to free up the trailer.
I backed up the trailer to the boat and it was very easy to winch it on board. I had previously jacked up the front to the height of the rear roller on my trailer. Winching it on was east as the log under the stern rolled the boat forward as I winch it onto the trailer.
I backed it down to John’s place and he was getting on his waders to help with the launch. We launched it in front of Wayne’s place.
I had fitted my electric motor to the transom for manoeuvring purposes. We took two oars on board and motored out to deeper water. We inspected the inside for leaks and john declared we had a sound vessel.
We both had a go at rowing and the boat moved quite well with just the two of us rowing. I think with six rowing the boat will fly.
John checking for leaks.
Bringing La Chaloupe back to shore, after passing inspection on the water.
After the sea trials we still had some time up our sleeve so we worked on the false decking. The stern sections that originally were fitted were salvageable and with some minor modification we will refit them. The false deck forward will be made from 18mm full sheet of ply. This will be one piece as the original false deck was made up of six pieces.
We decided to treat the edges of the ply with epoxy and where necessary treat the underside with wood preservative.
Once the epoxy hardens I will paint the underside with Navy blue and the top side Snow White as these are the paints we still have available to us.
When the painting is done and some small touching up of knocks and scrapes and applying the name sticker, we will be FINISHED!
Adding the bunting will have to be done on the boat ramp as the mast is too high to transport in the upright position
The finished article as of the 20th of July 2014.
The boat is finished but I could not resist adding the canon. I’ve asked the ladies to make a Jolly Roger pirate flag.
I am still trying to come up with a trailer to transport the boat. It will fit on my trailer but it tends to get scraped when launching and recovering.
Lorraine is making a storm cover and will complete it when I can find the right eyelets and an eyelet punch.
The Dover Community Workshop is happy to announce that La Chaloupe has its own trailer now.
A generous donation of a boat and trailer from a person in Pontville gave us the opportunity to modify the trailer to suit the larger wooden boat. The twelve foot tinnie that was on the trailer will hopefully fund the trailer modifications when sold.
(see photos on p 85-86)
The trailer was not in the best of condition but the price was perfect. I had to remove a lot of rusted channel from the trailer prior to adding the extension. Converting a twelve foot trailer to accept an 18 foot wooden boat with a metre jib really got the creative side going. Luckily the basic chassis over the axle and the centreline draw bar were in serviceable condition. By constructing a heavy duty frame, then welding it to the top of the existing chassis, gave me a platform strong enough to support the much heavier wooden boat.
Extending the draw bar by a meter also finished the extension.
La Chaloupe has a straight line keel which made it easy to set the rollers all on one plane. By constructing long side stabilisers with carpet stapled to the top edge, this will keep the boat straight when launching, retrieving and transporting. Ideally gimballed boat rollers would have been better but the budget just would not stretch that far. I will monitor the hull over the summer to ensure that the stabilisers are not doing any damage.
We have kept a detailed record of what and how the boat was restored. The only photo I did not get was the one of the boat sunk at the dock. I’m happy to say that someone has supplied me with this photo to add to the restoration book. (See photos before and after)
On one of my many trips to Franklin Marine getting parts etc I called into the Living Boat Trust to see if they had any history on the boat. Unfortunately they don’t. They have a group called WOW (Women on Water) who are enthusiastic women rowers who have built their own skiff and row it frequently.
They have asked if they can come to Dover and row La Chaloupe. I think this is a terrific idea and perhaps Dover can start their own WOW group who also can use La Chaloupe. When the WOW ladies come down I’ll take photos and do an article of the event. (Contact the Secretary if you are interested 0488227346)
The trailer was completed in mid September. The only change to the design (see sketch p84) is extending the slide stabilizers towards the rear to the next cross brace.
Trailer, before and after.
This is the trailer loaded with La Chaloupe. All the rollers and fittings are attached. Some reflectors, the lights which are on a separate removable board needed to finish off.
I have noticed that there may not be enough clearance with the mudguards and the tyres, so an adjustment may be required here before we can register the trailer.
I have since damaged my hand so I will need help with these final tasks.
I took the trailer to have a registration clearance and the springs failed to pass muster. They were too rusted to be effective.
I returned home and ordered a new set. The trailer has a 3 inch shaft which is not common, so a search on the net found some in Queensland.
While installing the new springs, i reset the height of the mudguards so they had clearance over the tyres. 90
10/10/2014 Friday, Today is launch day, John and I arrived early at the boat ramp to install the mast and hang the flags.
During a heavy wind the Australian flag disappeared so the Jolly Roger was put in its place. Our ladies did a wonderful job making the Jolly Roger and international signal flags that said La Chaloupe. These are the flags from the mast head to the bow sprit.
We invited our sponsors Huon Aquaculture (Laura Bender & ———–) as well as the WOW ladies from Franklin and every one we could think of. WOW means Women On Water and skiff rowing team. As professionals they had first go after the launch to try the boat out.
Laura Bender Sprayed the bow with cheap bubbly and we rolled La Chaloupe down the Ramp.
The Wow ladies took on board two young passengers and manoeuvred around the area and did a row past the ramp for the crowd to appreciate.
After the ladies had returned to the ramp they and the crowd were invited to the workshop for lunch. John Tapp Kevin Clark and myself retrieved the boats and joined the
crowd for lunch. All in all a great success and the DCW now has a valuable asset that will be enjoyed by the community for years to come.
One of our visitors has volunteered to supply sails for La Chaloupe. Hopefully we can adapt them at minimal cost and further add to the versatility of this wonderful craft.