View Full Version : Lizzie - 14 ft clinker sailing dingy

04-27-2015, 06:15 AM
Hello all - first post here. I have just bought this boat. All I know so far is that she was built on the Llyn Peninsula (I'm based on Bardsey Island) and is one of 30 or so similar boats still in existence and being regularly sailed and raced. From talking to locals they are about 60 years old and this one seems to be in reasonable overall condition, clinker built from larch on oak. All have been converted from their original rig (which as far as I can make out from old photos was a standing lug with a substantial bowsprit for a foresail) to a bermudan rig for racing. Lizzie has also had a daggerboard and fore and side decks added. She's been sitting in a barn for about 4 years.

I want to carry out a restoration and I'm sure to have loads of questions in due course. I will certainly add photos once I can figure out how to do it! I uploaded some photos to Flickr but so far have been unable to get the link to post them.

I would like to restore Lizzie to her original rig and look, and to this end I spent 8 hours yesterday removing the ply decks (took out well over a hundred brass screws!). I think she already looks much better and I'm now able to reach all the nooks and crannies to carry out a thorough inspection. In removing the deck I uncovered some rot in the top 2 inches or so of one section of the top strake near the chainplate on one side, extending for about 18 inches along the plank. So this obviously becomes a priority for repair.

I've done a fair bit of woodworking and have a reasonable set of tools, so I think I can probably undertake this work myself (well, I have no choice really!), but can you direct me at some resources or books which will explain how to do it? I already have a couple of books on clinker construction (including John Leather's book), as well as several books on wooden boat restoration, but as far as I can see none of the books I have explain how to carry out repairs to clinker planking - most seem to concentrate on carvel. Same goes for Youtube.

Many thanks

04-27-2015, 07:16 AM
Here's a first attempt at photos, as she was before I removed the decks:

and then as she was at the end of yesterday:

It's going to be very hard to row with that big lump of wood crossing all the thwarts! Any suggestions?

And here's a closeup of the rotten area:

Peerie Maa
04-27-2015, 07:41 AM
Hi, welcome to the forum.
This http://www.amazon.co.uk/Clinker-Boatbuilding-John-Leather/dp/0713636432 really does tell you all you need to know about clinker boat building. If you can understand how the boat was built, you will have a good understanding of how to dismantle and restore her.

First off, find out how far the rot extends, and be prepared to cut away 18" past the end of the rot. Remove all of the fastenings. I use an angle grinder to cut off the clenched ends of the seam nails, grinding away most of the roove, but not all. I cannot see how the inwale is fastened, you may need to drill off the heads of its fastenings from outside. Ditto the nails in the timbers.
Then cut away the bad wood and prepare scarfed ends per the instructions in Leathers book. It will be easier if you don't cut the scarfs at right angles to the plank and parallel, but make them angled so the new bit is longer on one edge than the other. This will make it easier to achieve a good fit.
Make the new piece, leaving it over wide top and bottom and fit it to the scarfs. then mark and cut the lower and upper edge.
Then you are ready to glue the scarfs and re-nail. Always use a nail one gauge bigger than the original in order to get a tight fit in the old holes. For pilot holes in softwood planking the drill should be half of the diagonal across the square of the boat nail in diameter.

04-27-2015, 08:30 AM
Thanks for the reply Nick - that's great info. I shall now crawl into a hole with John Leather's book and do some serious studying! :)

Wooden Boat Fittings
04-27-2015, 09:21 AM
G'day Rhod, and welcome to the Forum.

Nick's advice is, as always, excellent.

I'm not clear about where the mast is stepped, but I assume it's just forward of the forward (grey) thwart. If you were to rig it with a gate against the thwart you could probably do without any standing rigging at all I should think, which would make life easier. (No shrouds or forestay, and set the jib flying.)

Can you remove altogether the (grey) forward extension to the top of the daggerplate case?

When you say Lizzie had had a d/p added, did she not have anything before? In that case she should have a small keel to give her a grip on the water which may be all she needs, and you can remove the d/p altogether.

Where are the rowing stations? I should think there ought to be two, one at each of the blue thwarts. If that's the case, then maybe if you can't remove the d/p altogether you could at least lower the top of the d/p case, or else build up the thwarts till they're level -- that centre beam looks too narrow to be used as a rowing bench. (That assumes you can't do away with the d/p altogether, which would be a good thing to do if you could manage it -- either that, or build a proper centreboard.)

Here's my erstwhile fifteen-footer Aileen Louisa --


... two rowing stations, centreboard, unstayed mast, rigged as a sprit sloop.

Lots of things to think about....


04-27-2015, 09:41 AM
The racing associations will be your best resource for what to do to bring her back to original. We can help with the fiddly details, but you'll want to keep checking in with the racers to make sure the mods are all class & race-legal.

Great choice of restoration projects, and keep the photos coming! Fell in love with similar boats when touring the southeast coast many years ago...

Wooden Boat Fittings
04-28-2015, 01:15 AM
By the way, it would be good to see a photo of her transom. It looks like she has quite fine quarters, which should make her a pleasure to row.


04-28-2015, 02:17 AM
Thanks everyone for your great responses. As you say, much to think about! Whilst I start thinking about the modifications needed to restore her I'll concentrate on repairing the hull and making sure it's sound. I will take some more photos, particularly of the transom. My plan is to get her ready to row first so that I can get her on the water (she'll probably leak badly at first as she's very dry), and then work on the sailing rig.

04-28-2015, 08:16 AM
Aileen Louisa looks a beauty! I don't suppose Lizzie will ever match that, but a friend commented that she does better 'topless'! :)

04-28-2015, 10:00 AM
What a great boat! I am sure looking forward to seeing the progression.
I dont know why the older the boat, the more I like it.

Jeff Warner, E-Boat Inc. boatbuildercentral.com

04-29-2015, 02:59 AM
Worth mentioning that she has exactly 6 ft beam! I think the reason for the timber running from the cb case to the front thwart is to support an aluminium Bermuda mast - there was a metal step attached to it when I got her - so it will probably go (btw, she came with 3 aluminium masts, none of which I'll be using!). But I'm wary of cutting it out at the moment - the first lesson I learned in chess was 'when in doubt, sit on your hands'!

I was also given about 6 different sails (main and jibs - all bermudan) which I may try to cut down and use until I can afford new sails. I'm also going to see if they can be used to make a temporary boat cover.

04-29-2015, 03:08 AM
Here's an interesting quote from the Aberdaron Sailing Club website. Lizzie is one of the boats referred to:

'The Llyn Peninsula type boats are quite unique in their design, and they are not built for racing or sailing.

They were adapted many years ago to carry sails to enable the fishermen to conserve their strength when returning after a long hard day’s lobster fishing.

The original design was a double-ended boat, but in later years a transom was fitted so that the stern was much more stable to raise the lobster pots. The keel, from stem to stern is as straight as the original double-ended boat, and has not been altered in any way.'

Interesting stuff! So I wonder if that db case could come out?

Wooden Boat Fittings
04-29-2015, 03:42 AM
Well, I reckon daggerplates are a snare and a delusion -- I'd rather have a centreboard any day. But as to whether you can do without the d/p and case altogether, I'd sit on my hands until I'd tried sailing her with and without it, and then see what I thought. It takes more than a long straight keel to stop leeway. Aileen Louisa had such a keel, but she also had a centreboard....

http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/boats/aileenlouisa/new-home.jpg http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/boats/aileenlouisa/hoisted.jpg

On the other hand, many workboats were built with a shallow fixed keel (usually not ballasted), or with some drag and a skeg, which in both cases served to stop leeway to a large extent. (I'm reminded or Arthur Ransome's Swallow, which was built at Arnside on the west coast.)

Does the club have any details of the original 'design' of these boats?


04-29-2015, 05:08 AM
Thanks Mike, I've emailed the club to ask for more information. There are some old photos here: