The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Two Go South

The second of the restored estate boats goes home today. The first, a Frank Knights-built mahogany on oak 16-footer, which needed a complete strip, retimbering and plank repair; the second, an elm-planked 10-footer that had been badly converted from a sailing boat and coated in B&Q shed paint. This, ironically, had probably preserved her until it was time for another strip down and retimbering.

Both are ready to go back in the water and, as a bonus, the owner is arriving today with a few choice cuts of pork from his own pigs. Fair exchange, I would say for all that scraping.

Meanwhile there's another old clinker boat waiting to go in the shed for a pre-season sprucing up.

Maybe it's the time of year, but there have been a number of approaches recently for the restoration of old clinker boats, some feasible, some not. I insist on a few photos beforehand and they can be very revealing, and save the expense of a wasted visit. For example, what would you do with a boat like this?

Or this?

Both owners suggested that it might not be impossible to bring them back to life. To which I replied, honestly that "anything is possible, if you are prepared to pay for it". But better by far to take off the lines and build afresh. I fear it is unlikely to happen.

Maybe there are boats worth restoring and others that should be allowed to revert gently to nature, as we all will one day.

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