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Thread: Vertue 25 sloop

  1. #1

    Default Vertue 25 sloop

    Hello - my first post here.

    I've run across a Vertue 25 sloop from the 40s - all wood. The seller said all the wood looked good, but I discovered a few soft places on the hull below the waterline and inside it looked like most of the ribs were rotten where they enter the keel. Is this type of thing (the rotten ribs) repairable? If so, how is it done? Also, how much of an issue is planking which has opened up from being out of the water? I assume you put in your oakum, get it wet, and things close back up again?

    Here is a photo of some offending ribs: http://i1110.photobucket.com/albums/...d/DSC00262.jpg and here an album of more photos: http://s1110.photobucket.com/albums/h451/Abuhasad/ .

    Thanks in advance for your opinions!

    - Will

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    I'm a Vertue owner as is another forumite who'll probably be chiming in shortly. It is a highly desireable design and eminently restorable, if you are willing to put the time and money into her. Think "Bugatti barn-find" boat. From your post, I suspect, however, that you have a very steep learning curve to attack before you can do the boat justice. She appears to need reframing (they are "frames," NOT "ribs." People have ribs. Boats have frames.) This is a lot of work if you do it yourself and very expensive if you have a professional do it correctly. Planking that opens up when the boat dries is generally not any problem. Your assumption about "putting in your oakum, get it wet, and things close back up again" is conceptually correct, but, for openers, you wouldn't caulk the seams of a Vertue with oakum, but with cotton, and there's a whole skilled caulking trade to learn in between "putting in" and "closing back up again!" Given her age (if the information you've been given is correct), the planking is likely larch and the boat was built by either the Elkins yard in Christchurh, England or Moody's, another top yard, in England. (You'll need to get the information on her sail number to identify the builder and launch date. Any name would help. You may find her listed in the register of Laurent Giles yachts: http://www.laurentgilesarchive.com/the-yachts/?filter=2 You may wish to contact Barry Van Geffen of Laurent Giles Archive for records and information on the vessel. http://www.laurentgilesarchive.com/

    Vertue sloops or "Giles Vertues" (they aren't called "Vertue 25's," please... these aren't production built boats, all are "bespoke" builds on custom orders) are highly sought after. There are around 200 in the world, being continuously built since about 1936. Most were built to Lloyd's certification. A Vertue of this one's vintage in any kind of decent shape should bring $25,000 and up. The teak hulled Vertues built by Cheoy Lee on custom orders in the 1960's to Lloyd's 100 A1+ specification in decent shape and fully found will bring as much as $50,000.

    The boat looks tired, but not seriously abused. There's a lot of frame work and cosmetic work to be done, but for a boat of its quality and provenance, it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. Frankly, I woudn't encourage a beginner to tackle it any more than I'd encourage a high school kid that likes to tinker with cars (Are there any of those left, even, with all the computerized gizmos in cars today?) to undertake a "rotisserie restoration" on that "barn find Bugatti."

    If you are game, find yourself a VERY HIGHLY QUALIFIED marine surveyor THAT KNOWS CLASSIC WOODEN BOATS to survey the vessel and give you a detailed report on what work needs to be done and what that might cost. It will be money well spent. (Not some clown who does insurance surveys on fibreglass weekenders.) Unlike restoring classic automobiles, you can pretty much destroy a classic wooden boat if you start pulling it apart without really knowing what you are doing. If you don't want to spend the money on the survey, I guarantee you won't have the money to bring this Vertue back to what it ought to be. Good luck to you and feel free to ask any other questions you might have.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Second Bob's remarks about surveyor. Beyond that, you can do the work since the first few frames will be your learning curve. You can often scarf in new hood ends rather than replace the whole frame. You'll need some good instruction, available perhaps in person but also, as I recall, in a series of books available through the WoodenBoat Bookstore.

    You'll also need to realize that you have a year or two (minimum, depends on your working speed) to get her ready for the water. So part of the decision will be can you locate her at home or near enough that you can spend a couple hours after work and actually get there, or will you simply languish.

    Personally, I've thus far always chosen boats that while they might need work could be sailed right off, but I may have less charactor thay you.

    G'luck

  4. #4

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Thanks to both of you for the advice. I do realize that I won't be sailing for awhile if I decide to get her and that I'll have to learn a fair bit, but that's why I would do this. It's funny, I met another man at the same yard that had just restored a 40' yacht and he said that he didn't yet know how to sail!

    Is it fair to assume that the ballast is concrete? I didn't really check and it was hard to tell with all the black gorp that was in there. I assume it was concrete because the surface was even all through the bilge.

    I'll see what kind of surveyors I can get hold of.

    - Will

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Welcome to the forum Will. I love the Vertue, a gorgeous boat and as Bob says, well worth the effort of restoring her.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what you decide with her and wish you all the very best with her if you do decide to go ahead. I do believe that if you go in eyes wide open with no misconceptions as to how long it will take and what costs and efforts will be involved, you will have a wonderful time, learn some terrific skills, feel great pride in your achievements and have a terrific place to go to to save your sanity in times of frustration with work and other of lifes daily problems.

    While I agree with Ian that if you want a boat to sail then stay away from something like this, I disagree with him on the two year time limit bit. If you have somewhere to keep her at little or no cost while you work on her at your own leisure there is no rush. Don't put deadlines on yourself but plan to enjoy the experience and take as long as it takes.
    Larks

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    There is no "ballast" in the bilge, unless you come across some additional pigs placed for trim, which shouldn't be necessary in a Vertue. The surface you are looking at that is the bottom of the bilge is the top of the keel, which is solid wood, in the case of a Vertue built at the time of this one, probably English white oak. It may have been "washed" with thinned cement, as is sometimes done to prime bilge areas, but unlikely in a yacht. The ballast is on the outside at the bottom, held on by keel bolts through the keel. The hex head through the iron floor in this picture is probably a lag screw fastening the floor to the keel, not a keel bolt, but you can bet it wasn't screwed into concrete!



    If the bolt is bronze, the keel is lead. If iron, the keel is cast iron. The iron floor would strongly suggest the bolt is also iron, since a good yard wouldn't put two such dissimilar metals together, although in the case of a cast iron floor, it wouldn't be unheard of. The easiest way to tell is to scratch the outside of the ballast keel with a screwdriver or knife. If you can cut or gouge it, you've got lead, which is easily recognizable. If you cant', it's iron. From the looks of this picture, in which the ballast keel is readily recognizable just to the left of the starboard jackstand at the bottom of the keel, I'd say it was lead, since it looks like the color of lead and there's no rust or rust pitting obvious on it.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    Thanks to both of you for the advice. I do realize that I won't be sailing for awhile if I decide to get her and that I'll have to learn a fair bit, but that's why I would do this. It's funny, I met another man at the same yard that had just restored a 40' yacht and he said that he didn't yet know how to sail!

    Is it fair to assume that the ballast is concrete? I didn't really check and it was hard to tell with all the black gorp that was in there. I assume it was concrete because the surface was even all through the bilge.

    I'll see what kind of surveyors I can get hold of.

    - Will
    There's no way the ballast is concrete. The bottom of the bilge is the top of the keel, which in a Vertue of that vintage will likely be English white oak. It may have had a wash of Portland cement applieid at some point, but not likely in a yacht. The easiest way to tell the material of the ballast is to look at it when the boat is hauled. From this picture, it appears to be lead, which would be expected given the age of the boat and her British construction (although all materials British got a little wierd in the immediate post-war period due to material shortages.) The ballast is just to the left of the starboard jackstand in the picture, at the bottom of the keel. From the photo, it looks like lead from its color the apparent absence of rust and its smooth surface which in iron of that age would likely show some rust pitting. Scratch the ballast with a knife or screwdriver blade and you'll easily be able to tell if it is lead or iron. (And since I know Vertues, I can "cheat" and tell you that given the size of the casting, it's almost certainly lead.)



    Interesting to note that her bumpkin is snapped off and dangling from the "chains." I wonder how that damage occurred.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 08-01-2011 at 06:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Welcome to the forum Will sometimes you have to dig through a lot of garbage to find a pearl.Pearling is a tricky buisness however.takes an expert to know a valuble one and then there's supply and demand. Judging from the pictures you may have found a worn pearl, be a pearl trader put your emotions on the backburner and be hard nosed in your negotiations good luck Tom

  9. #9

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Interesting to note that her bumpkin is snapped off and dangling from the "chains." I wonder how that damage occurred.
    The mast is also broken about 5' down - perhaps it was the same accident. The bumpkin looks like it was broken in transit somewhere. What kind of wood would the mast be? It was a lot lighter weight than I expected.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Willyd, you're getting some top-notch advice from Bob, so I'll not say too much. The Vertue is a fine little sea boat and proven in every part of the world, but you likely know that.

    BTW, where are you located?

    About the concrete or cement you see: it wasn't unusual in the day to fill the bilge pockets either side of the keel with a cement mixture and make things level on top. It was thought that the lime in the cement was a preservative - in my experience it was the opposite. If you go ahead, when you remove the garboard planks (the lowest ones) you will find that the cement comes out in chunks and it will be black and ugly underneath. Rot in the keel/keelson/deadwood isn't unlikely, but it could be fine as well. My boat is 50 years old and everything was OK underneath. Not to be discouraging, but from the state of your frames, I would expect to find other deterioration associated with them.

    Here's some pics of my re-build.

    Before I started:


    After the planks came off.


    Garboards off and starting to remove the cement.


    Ready for real work.


    Good as new. I ended up scarfing in new lower sections for almost every frame. A big task, but not too scary once you've started and worked out an approach.


    Norm

  11. #11

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Hello Norm, and thanks a ton for the detailed response. It looks like a lot of work, as I expected. Do you mind if I ask how much time and money these repairs cost?

    I'm in Maryland, and the boat is on the eastern shore of the bay, near Salisbury.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    If I were to try and restore a boat like that doing the work myself I'm quite sure I would be dead before the job was completed. But that's just me. Good luck and hope you can afford to pay a few craftsmen a small fortune to do the work for you. And I got a good chuckle out of this remark:
    The seller said all the wood looked good

  13. #13

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Do people normally give sellers the survey results if they don't buy the boat?

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    Do you mind if I ask how much time and money these repairs cost?
    One of the things I like about a boat around this size is that the cost of each "component" you might need is relatively affordable. If you need a stem, or a pile of planking, an engine overhaul, new tanks or whatever, each unit is likely to be $1 - $2 or $3000, not $10 - $15 - $20,000. Not cheap exactly, but not terrifying either if you have the means. For example, all my planking stock, with delivery and taxes, cost around $2,000. I didn't keep careful records, but other wood was another $2 - 3000 dollars, but not all at once.

    I would guesstimate other non-wood materials to have been $2 - $3000.

    I did all the work myself so no hard costs there - just (my) time and materials. The elapsed time between the second photo and the last was one entire Spring, Summer and Fall of weekends, but I never tracked the hours. Total time start to finish has been almost 8 years (!!!) with time off to build another small boat in the middle. Launch is soon.

    The biggest expenses were:
    1 - the rental of the space to erect my shelter (by far the highest);
    2 - the cost of materials (wood, epoxies and fillers and other glue, paints, bedding compounds, fastenings etc,);
    3 - costs associated with overhauling the engine and related gear;
    4 - consumables (like brushes, sandpaper, solvents, tapes, etc, and in my case, wood-erasers, AKA 4-inch grinders. I burned up three of the little buggers);
    5 - costs associated with replacing the entire electrical system.

    1 was highest by far, 2 a distant second, 3 and 4 were a draw, but less than 2, and 5 was expensive, but not a deal-breaker.

    I bought lots of tools along the way, but I don't count those in the cost. I also don't count all the stuff she will need upon re-launch: new lines, fenders, bunk cushions, a safety update, and other odds and sods. Fortunately all her spars, sails and rigging are good to go.

    These are all categories you will have to address, btw.

    - Norm
    Last edited by outofthenorm; 08-02-2011 at 02:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    Do people normally give sellers the survey results if they don't buy the boat?
    You paid for the survey, you can do with it as you please. I'm not sure I would give the physical paper away after paying for it, but certainly you could inform the seller of any potentially catastrophic problems.
    I had the honor of meeting a now deceased forum member back in 2002, and touring his boat. (A Vertue) I was astounded at how BIG it seemed. Certainly a fantastic boat worth serious consideration.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    If you are really interested in this boat, read the book "My Old Man and the Sea." Its written by a father and son who sail a fiberglass Vertue without an engine from Rhode Island, through the Panama Canal, around Cape Horn, and back up to Rhode Island. The sone does a lot of the North American part of the trip by himself. There is a lot about the design worked into the story.

    Brian

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    Do people normally give sellers the survey results if they don't buy the boat?
    Heh, heh, heh... Well, the seller gets a copy of the survey if you want to back up your counteroffer, of course. Technically, the survey belongs to whomever pays the surveyor. Only an idiot would have the seller retain the surveyor and thus, have the surveyor working for the seller. I've actually heard tell of sellers who offered to pay a prospective buyer to purchase the rights to the prospective buyer's survey with a confidentiality clause after the deal fell through so the bad survey wouldn't scare off future buyers. More frequently, when a deal falls through and a broker is involved, the broker may offer to "sell" the first offeror's survey to the next offeror so the first gets some of the cost of his survey reimbursed. This occurs only with surveys by highly respected surveyors.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 08-02-2011 at 07:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    The mast is also broken about 5' down - perhaps it was the same accident. The bumpkin looks like it was broken in transit somewhere. What kind of wood would the mast be? It was a lot lighter weight than I expected.
    The mast is most likely aircraft grade Sitka spruce. Readily available, but a specialty order and not cheap. A break about 5' down from the mast top would suggest a failure at the upper spreaders, perhaps the result of fitting-related rot. Repairable, quite likely. Just scarf into the existing stump. A surveyor would be looking for collision damage. A collision impacting the bumpkin could cause a sudden pulling back on the backstay, and, if the headstay let go, the top section of the mast above the upper spreaders would likely snap like a toothpick.

    The boat is a serious candidate for restoration, but, as said, it will take some time and money. A lot of time if you do it yourself. A lot of money if the work is professionally done. As for doing the work yourself, I would say that because of what work we already can expect needs doing, you should plan on some sort of shelter for the boat. It will be out of the water for a long while and you can't work on it in inclement weather, which will also further deteriorate the boat, so and indoor shop is probably indicated. If you don't have the space to set her up that way on your own property, you may find that having a yard do the heavy restoration work isn't going to be all that much more expensive if you have to pay to rent someplace to keep her. Additionally, if the project is at home, it's a lot easier to do a bit of work now and then. If it's someplace else, you've got to factor in driving time and, then, there's ALWAYS the tool you forget that stalls the work you were planning to do that day.

    If you want to learn more about Vertues, you might check out the owner's association website: http://homepages.rya-online.net/vertueowners/

    Here's some other information on the Vertues:

    http://www.ouryacht.info/History.htm

    http://www.viking-boats.com/Pdf/Vertue.pdf (Takes a while to download, but worth the wait.)

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    If you don't have the space to set her up that way on your own property, you may find that having a yard do the heavy restoration work isn't going to be all that much more expensive if you have to pay to rent someplace to keep her.
    I will second this observation 100%. In hindsight, if I knew my re-fit was going to take so long, I would have purchased (and mostly paid for) a small industrial condo space to put her in. The job would have taken less time overall (with 12 months to work instead of 7) and at the end I would have had an asset rather than just a memory of cheques written. Live and learn.

    - Norm

  20. #20

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Thank you all for the great advice, information, and encouragement. I'm having a yard that specializes in wooden boat repair go look at the boat and give me an estimate of what it will take to get her floating again.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    Thank you all for the great advice, information, and encouragement. I'm having a yard that specializes in wooden boat repair go look at the boat and give me an estimate of what it will take to get her floating again.
    Keep us posted. I'd be interested in knowing their quote, if you don't mind sharing it.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Will,

    that definitely is a start, however, please don't take lightly the words of Mr. Cleek and not get a survey. They are worth their weight in gold. Realize, this will take some resources to get it back up to snuff, if you are gunshy of spending 10-15,000 right out of the box, this may not be the boat for you. You never know what happens once you start looking. Those frame ends might actually be down in a rotting keel, or the stem foot is gone, or, or........I have seen "cosmetic work only" go from 1000 bucks of paint, fairing compound to 25,000 in new frames/planks/transom etc.

    Either way, man that is a beauty. Thanks for posting because now I know about a new boat I had not previously heard much about. And thanks to Bob for adding in his thoughts.

    looking again at the pictures, specifically 10 of 44, I would enter this cautiously. That is NOT "good wood"
    Last edited by Eric D; 08-04-2011 at 02:39 PM. Reason: picture 10 of 44
    LBPC member since page 14, wood flour tip, green cap, no chips....

  23. #23

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Erid D -

    I am not expecting the survey/estimate to be very rosy, but I didn't want to pass up something that I feared without being sure it was not doable. If I cannot pay for most of the work with what I'm getting from the sale of my current boat, I'll move on.

    There's a Seabird yawl for sale in tidewater Virginia that I'm also going to look at this weekend. Not in the same league as the Vertue by any means, but an intriguing boat nonetheless.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Got the survey back from Choptank Boatworks yesterday. They found no major rot, but most of the frames will need to be replaced, and the deck and sternpost need work. The cost estimate is a bit beyond my budget, so I won't be getting this boat (sob). Perhaps someone else will take up this project. I was surprised at the fairly low cost of materials in the estimate - if I had the the space to work on the boat as well as enough time, it looks quite doable. I might even be willing to help out someone who wants to tackle this, just for the experience.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Out of curiosity, I went to the Laurent Giles website to see if Vertue plans were still available. I found them at http://www.laurentgilesarchive.com/y...etail?id_no=15 . They want NZ$85 each for the original drawings and NZ$4995 (US$4093 !!!!!) for full plans with a license to build.

    I'd heard rumors that the current owners of Laurent Giles are crooks. Perhaps it's true. But $4K+ for the plans alone certainly makes rebuilding an older boad seem worthwhile.
    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by alkorn View Post
    Out of curiosity, I went to the Laurent Giles website to see if Vertue plans were still available. I found them at http://www.laurentgilesarchive.com/y...etail?id_no=15 . They want NZ$85 each for the original drawings and NZ$4995 (US$4093 !!!!!) for full plans with a license to build.

    I'd heard rumors that the current owners of Laurent Giles are crooks. Perhaps it's true. But $4K+ for the plans alone certainly makes rebuilding an older boad seem worthwhile.
    No, they are not crooks. Somebody with an axe to grind has been peddling that all over the internet. There's been lawsuits over it. The "Laurent Giles Archive" is naval architect Barry Van Geffen's business. He is a long time Laurent Giles and Partner's partner. The main firm designs super yachts and commercial vessels at this time. They are no longer interested in classic wooden yacht technology. Barry, who knows his wooden boats, has purchased the rights to the Giles classsics design catalog and is continuing to make these plans available. The price for the plans and a license to build (which is the naval architect's royalty charged for building a boat) are not excessive in the least. Many see plans of similar sized boats offered by outfits like WB Publications and such for much less and think copyrighted plans from naval architecture firms are overpriced. The "bargain basement" plans are usually designs that have long been in the public domain and upon which royalties aren't charged. Many of LF Herreshoff's boats, all in "Sensible Cruising Designs," for example, were published in Rudder. The Atkins designs you see offered were published years ago in MoTorBoaTing Magazine. Both series were "how to build" articles. Once published like that, there's not much point in expecting to charge much for royalties on the design.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    I'd be happy to sell the survey (or accept partial reimbursement) to anyone interested in this boat. The surveyor's cost estimate for materials was only about $2,500, the majority of the cost to restore the integrity of the hull was in labor.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by willyd View Post
    I'd be happy to sell the survey (or accept partial reimbursement) to anyone interested in this boat. The surveyor's cost estimate for materials was only about $2,500, the majority of the cost to restore the integrity of the hull was in labor.
    Is the boat still for sale and is it cheap enough? If so I wouldn't mind shipping her back to the UK as a project (perhaps).
    Jim

  29. #29

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Hi, sorry, another forum member contacted me and said he was buying it, and I sold the survey to him.

    - Will

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Her name's "Easy Vertue," built by Elkins in Christchurch. I'd bet they'd be interested in seeing how their work held up over the years, but she's been bought by a forumite who knew what he was looking at and couldn't pass up the opportunity! Let's hope he keeps us posted on the progress of his restoration.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Any hints who???
    Larks

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  32. #32

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    A propos of Vertues, we watched A Touch of Larceny tonight, and James Mason sails what looks to be a Vertue, about 2/3 of the way through the movie.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Any news on her sale yet? And who the lucky buyer was?
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
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  34. #34

    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    Quote Originally Posted by Larks View Post
    Any news on her sale yet? And who the lucky buyer was?
    I don't know that I'm at liberty to divulge the name of the buyer, but it's C2H6 minus one letter, an active forum member from a state that rhymes with the president's last name.

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    Default Re: Vertue 25 sloop

    And the popcorn trail leads us here! Well done Ethan!

    ... Pictures? Will's seem to have gone.
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