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Thread: Merlin Found! Merlin Returns!

  1. #1
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    Default Merlin Found! Merlin Returns!

    Merlin, the long missing (and more famous) sister to my Aimee Leone, has been located. And even better, she is back in the care of the family that bought her from Dr. Andrews and took her to Australia. She is suffering from recent neglect, but is reportedly structurally sound, and will undergo a "fairly major restoration."

    Those of you who've been around here for a while might remember my attempts to locate Merlin's owner here: http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14435 Thanks for everyone's help, but at the time it was unsuccessful. Earlier this year, however, I was contacted by Hugh Counsell, son of the man who took her to Australia. I passed on to him every bit of information or clue I had. After much detective work, chasing down of false leads, and just searching through boat yards, he found her in a field north of Brisbane.
    She has been trucked to Victoria, where she will receive a new deck, and lots of TLC.

    My original reason for locating Merlin is now moot, but I feel like two long lost siblings have been reunited. The WoodenBoat forum, and also the Classic Boat forum in England, can take a bit of credit for that. Hugh and I have been sharing photos and information, the internet can be a wonderful thing.
    Terry

    Merlin, circa 1935:


    Merlin, on Dr. Andrews' world cruise, early '70s:

    Merlin, as found:

    Merlin, delivered to Victoria:

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Oh good!

    I remember her on the cover of "Yachting Monthly" in 1971 I think and I very distinctly remember going to a lecture by Dr Andrews at the Little Ship Club in 1975 where amongst much of interest he passed round a sample of teak planking absolutely riddled with teredo. Years later I found a similar piece of my own and it appeared in a recent "Classic Boat". Dr Andrews did make it clear that the specimen did not come from "Merlin"!

    I am delighted that this boat, which did so much to encourage us wooden boat owners. in the darkest days of the rise of plastic, by her admirably competent round the world trip, is again in safe hands.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Great story thanks!
    I love the smell of fresh cut plywood in the morning.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Wow, that is great work.
    ..don't judge a man till you've walked a mile in his shoes..

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Bump, to post an old photo of Aimee at play. Hope Merlin can join in before too long.
    T.

    Last edited by Terry Rhoads; 09-27-2009 at 05:53 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Very cool, Terry. Feel free to post more pics. Lots more.


    Steven

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    "Any pics of the interior? "
    Well, Hugh said it's minimal, he's planning some upgrades.
    He sent this:


  8. #8

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hi all,

    Thanks Terry for starting this thread. I thought I might drop a note to introduce myself and for those interested, offer some more information about Merlin.

    Merlin was built in 1934 at Philip & Son, Dartmouth for a George S. Burge. He owned her for only 2 years before Lord Stanley of Alderley (6th) bought her. Stanley was particularly fond of the boat having watched her being built while overseeing the build of her sistership, ‘Aimee Leone’, commissioned by his close friend Roger Chetwode. (‘Carmela’, a 60ft Bermudan cutter looking very much like the “mothership”, was also built at the Philips Yard in 1934. Carmela would be later purchased by Stanley in 1946.)

    Lord Stanley chronicled many of his boats and voyages in a book entitled ‘Sea Peace’ published in 1955. In Sea Peace he describes how he came to buy Merlin.

    I was particularly interested in her because she had been building at Philips’ yard at Dartmouth during a period when I was living there superintending the building of a similar boat for a friend. I had therefore seen her taking shape from the laying of the keel to completion. I knew that nothing but the finest materials had gone into the building of her, teak, oak, and naval brass. I believe that, taken all in all, she was the finest ship I ever owned.

    During the pre war years, Stanley sailed Merlin extensively. The Claymore Challenge Cup was award for her cruises in 1938. Many of their voyages were also written about in the Royal Cruising Club journal during these years.

    When war broke out Merlin was sold & presumably laid up for the duration. For ten years from 1948 the boat change hands a number of times: FCW Maykopf (1948-50), Frank Hawtin (1950-52), Col. French (RCC) (1953-58), Mac Drummond (1959)

    In 1959, Dr Ronnie Andrews (RCC) purchased her and did a lot of cruising including a circumnavigation. His voyages on Merlin were widely written about in RCC journals (Roving Commissions – Vols. 10, 11, 12, 13 and Vol. 1961, 1962, & 1963) and Yachting Monthly (Dec 1970, April 1971, Aug 1971, Nov 1972 and March 1973).

    In 1975 my parents, John & Rosalie Counsell bought her from Ronnie in Plymouth UK and spent 4 months living aboard while conducting repairs and a refit. They rerigged her, recaulked the deck, installed new water tanks, replaced all the skin fitting bolts, enlarged cockpit drains, rebuilt the galley and had Dave Elliot at Elephant Boatyard repair the starboard side knights head which had some rot in it. They then sailed from the UK to Australia via Panama over a 13-month period.

    This is them stuck in the doldrums!




    My twin sister and I were born 6 months after they arrived in Melbourne, Australia and Merlin was sold. My parents could no longer justify keeping her and felt strongly the boat should be kept cruising. Finding a buyer proved difficult and was eventually sold to a young guy who talked about sailing her round Cape Horn. He took her up to Cairns where he did a little cruising and club races. For a couple of years, he and my parents maintained some correspondence in which he noted she wasn’t enjoying the tropics too much and showing signs of a slight opening up in places.

    In the early 80’s a British expat shipwright purchase her and did a few modifications/repairs. We heard again from another new owner briefly in 1988 but then lost track of the boat.

    I grew up poring over volumes of photo albums, super8 films and beautiful prints of the boat hung from the walls of the family home. From an early age Merlin indoctrinated me with a love of wooden boats and classic lines, and I often lamented my parents need to sell her.

    Earlier in the year, while perusing the wooden boat forum for tips on replacing keel bolts, I stumbled across the Aimee Leone/Merlin thread. (I was finishing up a restoration of a Primrose/Illingworth designed cold moulded Top Hat 25 from the 60s, oh and now for sale!!). I immediately contacted Terry and learnt of his and others attempts to locate Merlin.

    For a couple of months I tried following the leads he gave me using the net, but continually hit dead ends. The only thing I felt sure of was that she was in the Brisbane area. One day, out of frustration more than anything, I began calling brokers in the region enquiring whether the boat had appeared on the market in recent history. After six or so fruitless calls, one suggested I call some surveyors given if it were bought or sold it would have undoubtedly been surveyed at some stage. The second surveyor I got onto suggested I call a particular marina/yard. I shuddered when he commented, “It’s where a lot of old boats go to die!” I nervously made the call and the enquiry was amazingly met with, “Jeez mate, you just missed her! The boat has been here over 20 years and was taken away about 18 months ago.”

    The story took a bizarre turn here. I was told the long time owner had died and his son had taken her and that a shipwright was doing a complete restoration with the aid of a massive grant from a UK maritime museum. Merlin had , according to his story, been used as a Royal Navy training vessel in the past, and upon completion of the restoration she would be returned to the UK to go into the museum collection.

    Questioning this, I tried to get the name of the previous owner and/or son but the guy was not forthcoming and didn’t believe we were talking about the same boat despite all the specifications, builder, year etc etc being identical. He wanted proof, so I sent a photo but got no confirmation. After a number of return calls over a six-week period I struck the owner of the yard who immediately gave me the name I was after.

    A search of the whitepages gave a match and the phone call revealed that the owner hadn’t died and was still the owner. He’d had some health problems and could no longer give her the attention she needed. Following a couple of years on a hard stand, a family friend volunteered to “tart her up with a coat of paint”. This was, from what I can gather, about two years ago. The family friend threw in the towel after about ten minutes of stripping paint and disappeared into the ether leaving the boat & mast uncovered, baking in the Queensland sun.

    Having found the boat, I called Dad and convinced him (he was really quite nervous of what we might find) we should head up and take a look…

    [To be continued]

    cheers,
    Hugh Counsell
    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 04:21 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    More please!
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Definitely more ! I'd be interested in the yard too ,I know a few in Brisbane .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Great to see you here, Hugh!
    While we're waiting for your next installment, I'll add a bit to the Merlin/Aimee lore:

    This was gleaned from the Berthon website: http://www.berthongroup.co.uk/htmlb/history.html
    Before George Burge had Merlin built, he had two designs drawn up, one by O.M. Watts, the other by Harry May of Berthon. When Burge chose the Watts design (Merlin), Mays was so incensed he went ahead and built his design anyway. After construction, he threw down the gauntlet to Merlin, and the race was won by May's boat.Thus was born the Gauntlet series of boats by Berthon. (My retelling of the story is based on the assumption that the site's "Mr. Berge" and George S. Burge are the same. If anyone knows otherwise, please correct me.)

    Also: In "Sea Peace" by Lord Stanley, there is a eulogy to his friend Roger Chetwode, killed in the war. He laments the loss of the "easy laughter, begun with the sailing of Aimee Leone".

    Looking forward to more from Hugh.
    Terry

  12. #12

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hi all, apologies for being tardy, had a crazy couple of weeks. Thanks Terry, None of us had any idea about the Gauntlet connection!

    continuing on...

    Arriving in Brisbane, we hired a car and headed north for an hour or so to meet up with the owners who took us to see Merlin. We’d suspected she’d fallen victim to neglect, and what we found was depressing but certainly not hopeless.



    [/IMG]

    The first impression was that she’d maintained her shape and that there had been very little movement in her teak planking. The oak keel and deadwood, though significantly shrunk and badly checked in places, was hard as rock and showed no sign of rot.






    We found about a dozen mysterious holes in the keel, garboard and several planks above. We eventually surmised that someone had drilled these in a misguided attempt to drain the water out of the bilge, but they were all blocked with crud and the bilge was still full of water.

    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 04:44 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    On deck, water, leaves and sludge collected along the bulwarks, trapped by long blocked scuppers. Atop the cabin sat the Beaufort life raft my parents had bought second-hand over thirty years ago, (last tested in October1987), but the hatch covers were nowhere to be found. The deck was littered with turnbuckles, rusting gas bottles, and an overabundance of belaying pins for a pin-rail added since my parents’ ownership.




    A foray into the cabin revealed more mess still. To port the chart table had become a dumping ground for now severely rusted metal odds and ends. A large number of charts left exposed to the elements was now one solid mass 2” thick. In the main cabin, old wet weather gear was thrown on a bunk as if someone had just come in from the rain. The collection of pilot books & sight reduction tables that had guided my folks from England still sat on the bottom shelf of the bookcase, but they too had gone the way of the charts, their congealed pages impossible to separate. I was surprised by the level of distress I felt at the sight of such avoidable neglect, given its relative unimportance in the grand scheme of things.







    The 10HP Petter diesel had been replaced with a large BMW motor that seemed to be seized. The bilge contained a pungent blend of old oil, sludge and rainwater. The steel floors, however, looked in surprisingly good shape.

    With a small mallet and screwdriver, we tapped and poked every reachable plank and beam. Given the Queensland climate, we feared we might find substantial areas of rot. Although there was indeed a moderate amount, most was isolated to the cover-board and sheer-strake. Despite pulling out sodden fibrous chunks from the teak sheer-strake, we were gratified to discover the rot hadn’t migrated to the oak ribs or deck beams.

    There was also a bit of rot in the Knightshead, exactly where the section was replaced in 1975. Amazingly the only deck beam found with any rot was up in the stern where the boom gallows were fixed. Of most concern was the rot discovered in the sternpost. Unfortunately access is difficult. Until the deck is removed and we can get in there unhindered, the full extent of the problem is unknown. Fingers crossed!

    Inspection completed, the owners enquired, “So will you take her?” Unable themselves to effect the required restoration yet equally unable to precipitate a decision to part with her, they were patently eager to see her go to a good home. Remaining non-committal we set off back to Brisbane Airport. On the drive, we agreed there was simply no choice. She could not be left to die. We had to bring her home.
    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 04:56 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    She is a beauty! Cheers!! Looks like you get your chance and well worth the effort!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Those images of neglect and abandonment are certainly painful. On the other hand, it sounds like Merlin is in better shape than Aimee was when Will West (previous owner) got her, but you've still got a challenging and rewarding project ahead of you!
    Terry

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    I came here after seeing Hugh's thread asking for opinions on secret nailing teak decks, or otherwise http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre....-Screws-Plugs
    This thread seems to need a bit of a bump and an update Hugh, I'd say there is quite a bit of interest here!!!
    Larks

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    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    So did I greg , I started reading this thread early on but lost it ....it's a good story .I'm so glad she was found ! I'm also very surprised that she is in such "good" condition considering the rigors of our climate and no hatch covers .I would have expected extensive rot and split timbers .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    It's hard to look at pictures of a once beautiful boat in a sad state of neglect.I hope she is restored to her former glory.
    http://bensboatblog.blogspot.com/
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Good luck, nice choice, big job. I hope you enjoy the process immensely. It will be fun to watch.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Good morning Hugh,

    It is rare to see a boat of that age and that has been without proper maintenance for so long still so much worth being restored in her former glory! It is also a real pleasure to know that she is back in the hands of someone from her "family", and whose young boy's dreams will certainly have nurtured a love that will now be fully given to this old Lady.

    Since I, too, came to know this thread through your recent inquiry about "hidden nails", may I give some opinion about it.

    I very well understand your will to restore this deck a classic way, specially considering how well she has stood against adverse conditions for so long, and also knowing how some boats have suffered from diverting from these methods after "modernizing" refits. So I shall stick to the traditional. One main problem you might encounter, however, is in the procurement of the traditional materials...?

    I suspect that your deck is fastened down to the beams by square section bronze nail whose end becomes "flat", which flat is across the grain of the beams, and that are at an angle into the planks and beams. I also suspect that you have double ended bronze "nails" more closely spaced than the beams, and that are between deck planks, relating them together "horizontally". Since you do not mention it in the other thread, I also suspect that you have not yet taken off the decking.

    For taking off the decking, you will have to start by removing the covering board, which was usually the last piece of wood that came in, and then remove the planks up to the king plank working inwards. I have however seen the other way around, following the actually more traditional way of finishing by the king plankl! To know: start by removing the covering board anyway (after the capping rails and then bulwark - difficult job!!s). If the king plank was last to come in, it will be screwed and doweled.

    When taking off the decking, (by wedging in between planks while tapping from underneath) many of the square nails will break but you should still be able to find these while I'm afraid you won't be able to find the double ended hidden nails between planks....and there are lots of them! So, do not have someone going with a circular saw between your deck planks!!!

    I would be surprised (but happy for you) if you do not find any rot on the top of beams that were besides that looking perfectly sound "from the outside". Although possible to repair those, I would absolutely recommend to replace any beam that is not perfect. This may mean taking off all the side deck beams and the cabin side carlins if the reinforced beams into which they butt are affected (then, it may be worth repairing those beams only).

    Then, for the new decking, although much more time consuming and delicate to do, I would effectively not hesitate a second and go again for the way she was build, provided you have enough square nails! However, I would like to recommend to you to add a few tie-rods running just besides some beams from the cabin side carlins to the top plank. These tie-rods will allow you to caulk the deck tighter without pushing the cabin sides inwards.

    You being in Australia, I would however recommend that you do your new decking not in teak, but in kauri. This is if you can find some (it seems to be a protected specie)! This wood is very beautiful on a deck, even more pleasant to bare feet than teak, extremely stable, light, and comes in such lengths that you could avoid butts and do your whole side decks in one length planks. You should not have to increase your deck thickness if you use this wood instead of teak. The thing is that teak wood of the quality and the lengths that was used 70 years ago is practically impossible to find.

    Pre-drilling if of utmost importance, but you must not pre-drill more than a few millimeters in the beams if you use square nails with flat ends. For the torpedo-like double end nails: a few trials will be necessary.

    Caulking with oakum, cotton, and paying with Jeffry's was the old way. You may find it difficult to have Jeffry's and, honestly, I never liked the stuff that much in hot climates! It is also more difficult to use than what most think: if not hot enough it does not go down into the seams well, if too hot, you may kill it. For a new deck, I would rather use Thiokol or what can be found nowadays to replace it. Lots of suspicions for polyurethanes (Sika or others!). Anyway: don't be shy on tightening the oakum if you have installed the tie-rods as explained earlier. You will find the double end nails - if they exist - a PITA when caulking, though!!!.

    That's what I thought you might encounter/ do.....

    Good luck and congratulations

    Luc
    Last edited by Lucky Luke; 07-02-2010 at 12:19 AM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    A slight addition to Lucky Luke's advice .As he suggests kauri ,I'm sure he means the New Zealand variety not the Australian ...which is not notably rot resistant .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hi all,

    Thank you all for the interest. I’ll try to post updates a little more regularly.

    I got a PM from Larks who was interested in my experiences with transporting the boat from Queensland to Victoria (1800kms!!!) so I might first address that. It may or may not prove useful for anyone in a similar situation.

    While keen to get the boat moved as soon as possible there was a hope that waiting for a backload might significantly reduce the cost. Approaching boat transport/trucking companies I found quotes varied wildly (some were almost double others!) and many didn’t recognise or reduce the cost if a backload were available. On the recommendation of the Wooden Boat Shop (Tim Phillips) we went with Ken Johnson Boat Haulage who was great to deal with and by far the most competitive.

    If anything was learnt, it was the benefit of speaking to boatyards or anyone that might be able to give an informed recommendation. The companies that appeared in top three Google results turned out to be by far the most expensive!

    We then flew back up to prepare the boat and mast for transport and hopefully find various bits and pieces that appeared missing on our first visit. It turned out to be quite a challenge as we only had a day and a half up our sleeves to get everything done.

    Unfortunately we couldn’t be up there to supervise or help out on the day the boat was to be picked up so everything needed to be sorted for the crane operators and truck driver to do their thing a week later.

    Minimising weight, height and length was first on the prep list. The pulpit, bowsprit, stanchions and boom gallows were removed and the bilge and water tanks pumped out (The full fuel tank was inadvertently forgotten in the rush ☹)

    In preparing for transportation I would’ve preferred to remove much more ‘stuff’ from the boat to reduce the weight. Unfortunately once the station wagon we had hired was full the rest had to go into the boat and it ended up being a surprising amount.

    We were extremely thankful when the property owner produced all the original nav, saloon & galley oil lamps, Tilley lamps, nameboard and washboards that had been decorating corners of their house. Even the neighbour wandered over with a Walker log from the boat! In addition we were directed to a shed in which they thought there “might be a few more bits and pieces”. Here we found all the mast fittings, rigging, sheets, warps, winch handles, a full set of sails, the sestrel compass and a significant quantity of paint. The paint it turned out came with the boat!


    For an extra bit of protection we gaffa taped thin wooden battens down the length of the mast and removed the halyard winches. I reckon this was probably unnecessary but thought at the time ‘better safe than sorry’.


    In the end there was only a handful of items missing. That being half of the mainsail track off the mast, the teak saloon doors and while not totally surprisingly ,two CQRs. All things considered, a fairly good outcome me thinks.

    Merlin ready to go:


    With that, we began quite a long drive back to Melbourne.

    If I was doing this all again I think I’d hire a light moving truck and spend a few more days stripping things out. The boat ended up with at least a tonne of clobber stowed aboard that could have been transported separately. How much eliminating that extra weight would have helped to reduce lifting and travel stresses I’m not really sure but it would have made me feel a little more comfortable.

    Anyway if you're still interested stay tuned for the next instalment entitled: “Yep, that truck is definitely bogged”.


    Cheers,
    Hugh.
    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 05:33 AM.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Very interested.

    Mirelle, about the same size, age and construction, has secret nailed teak decks. Iron dumps, to be precise. After the first thirty years she got bronze screws vertically down into the deck beams as well, and at the age of sixty she got Coelan over the lot. I've been very lucky in the matter of decks!
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    As far as I know , Fiji Kauri is not regarded very highly as boat building timber by comparison to NZ Tony. Its a bit paler to look at, quite nice.. my feeling is its not wonderfully rot resistant.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hoop ! Never , I'd watch it rot .Crow's ash or one of the other flindersias? Gmelina Leichharti if the real stuff can be found ...for that I'd ring Cockatoo Creek Timbers up near Dorrigo .He usually has some of the real stuff .
    Cudgerie (flindersia schotiana ) looks good , it's the right colour but it seems to move a bit more than I like in small sections ( wood shells for blocks ),but it might be good in larger sizes .What do you think ? It's available .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    What a great story!
    This beats all car barn findings I have heard about.

    I am eager to hear/read more...and good luck with the restoration of that beauty.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Great stuff, thx

  28. #28

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hello again,

    This next post needs a little preface. It could, on the surface appear there was a bit of… ahh what shall we call it? naïve optimism?... for the ability of our driveway to handle the turning circle of your longer than ‘average’ vehicle. Having had a number of semi trailers delivering hay, fertiliser and suchlike in the past, there seemed little reason to give it undue concern before the boat arrived. End preface.

    It was toward the end of September that Merlin finally made the journey south to ‘the farm’ located about an hour south east of Melbourne. I had spent the morning pruning low hanging branches and removing a tight gate way & fence at the top of the drive so felt all was prepared from our end. Unfortunately it had been raining all week and mother nature obviously saw no reason to stop on account of Merlins arrival.

    Ken was pretty happy to arrive also.



    Hoping to pick up another boat that evening, Ken was keen to get Merlin unloaded. With a quick reconnaissance out of the way, we set about completing the final 300m of the journey. Seemed all fairly straightforward….

    Backing up, swinging out wide onto the opposite nature strip and pulling in as late as possible, Ken crept his way into the driveway.

    It was looking pretty good until :


    Half way through the turn the trailer (which was damn low!) got caught on the inside bank. No probs! Back up a bit further, swing out a bit wider, try again. And again. And maybe a couple more times. No dice!

    All was not lost though. There was definitely unrealised landscaping potential for the drive entrance and now seemed like the ideal time to explore those possibilities. Rushing up to sheds, I returned with the frontend loader and began carving out chunks from the banks that dare stand in our way.

    With the offending square metre removed, another attempt was made which revealed the next challenge.

    Now you may remember me mentioning it had been raining all week and still was... As many of us have undoubtedly experienced at some stage, earth moving of any description in wet conditions can get a little messy, often leaving behind a surface that offers less than an adequate level of traction. Worse still, it can result in a bit of bidirectional slippage ie. gettin’ bogged...


    At this stage Ken was seemed surprisingly unfazed by a little wheel spin. He backed up a bit further, locked the diff and with a longer run up and a bit more throttle gave it another go. The truck definitely made it further this time but again came to a wheel spinning halt. In addition reverse now came with bonus wheel spin and backing out was proving a little more difficult than earlier attempts. Closer inspection reveal the trailer hadn’t quite cleared the inside corner and had now ridden up and lodge itself fiercely into the bank. In addition, the trailer appeared to have two flat tyres that had previously gone unnoticed.


    I would be lying if I didn’t say I was getting a little worried at this stage. Still Ken remained incredibly calm, although no one seemed to have any immediate solutions to the quandary...
    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 05:38 AM.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Enter Dave the crane driver:


    “Yep, that truck is definitely bogged… No probs though, I can pull you out with the crane!”

    Thankfully he’d arrived just before the truck and had headed straight up to the shed to setup. In no time he returned and had the truck hitched up to this very nifty four-wheel drive four-wheel steering crane.


    As the strop took up and the truck inched forward we watched on with a collective furrowing of brows, pursing of lips and holding of breaths. The trailer flexed and creaked painfully under the weight as it was dragged, buffeted sideways by the bank. Thankfully the mud now served to ameliorate the situation offering a perfectly buttery surface on which the trailer could do its sideways slide. A sideways slide to freedom!



    It was with a massive sigh of relief that the trailer was now free of the bank, truck out of the bog and heading up the drive, albeit still with a little assistance from a mate:

    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 05:41 AM.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Northern NSW Australia
    Posts
    61,449

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Well done ! I'm going to enjoy this .
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  31. #31

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Once up at the shed the idea was to back around into position, lift the boat, drive the truck away and lower. Seemed simple enough…


    hmmmm not much clearance under the trailer & that tyre is lookin' pretty flat.


    closer…


    and we have contact…


    Luckily it was only a momentary scrape... and as quickly as she ran aground she was off again and in position...

    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 05:45 AM.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,509

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    And just how much fun did they have getting back out?

  33. #33

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    With the boat & truck now up to the shed, attentions turned to unloading...

    We were very concerned that the crane didn’t have a spreader bar and the undue pressure the strops would put on the hull. Dave (the crane operator) was however very confident it’d be ok. Feeling significant time pressures given earlier issues and against better judgement we went along with this and hooked up the strops.


    Taking up the slack and applying a bit of pressure it was immediately obvious she didn’t appreciate the amount of load being transferred to the hull.


    We immediately took off pressure, cut and inserted some makeshift spreaders and lifted again.


    In retrospect I would make the spreaders at least 2ft wider either side rather than 6 inches we allowed. This would have ensured that absolutely all the weight was transferred through the keel. As can be seen from the pics the strops are still putting quite a bit of pressure on the hull at the turn. While there were already a few broken and rotten frames, we definitely cracked two at the starboard aft strop during this lift. Given the boat was now under our care, I couldn’t help feeling guilty though I find some reconciliation in the excuse that they were probably weak frames that may have gone unnoticed had they not been given a ‘stress test’.



    and out goes the truck...

    Last edited by Hugh Counsell; 01-15-2013 at 05:56 AM.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    France & Viet Nam
    Posts
    2,090

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hi Hugh,

    What exactly happened to cause this (how extensive?) damage on Port-side, amidships????

    Looks like she fell over...or like she'd hit a tree at high speed while on (another) trailer...? Actually, this happened to me with a fiberglass boat (of mine) : BIG damage!!!

  35. #35

    Default Re: Merlin Found!

    Hi Luke,

    What you're seeing on the port side is a combination of an aborted attempt to sand back and repaint the boat (by someone before we came along) and a significant amount of rot in the coverboard and and that part of the sheerstrake. When we went up to QLD the second time we ripped out as much of that rotten timber and threw on quite a bit of cuprinol which is why it looks pretty grotty.

    cheers!

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