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Thread: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

  1. #1
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    Default A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Tweedriverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of Pittwater shore and bend of Port Stephens bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of ricirculation back to Languishing Heights and Murwillumbah Environs... With a Dragon called Looe!

    (With apologies to James Joyce!)

    It all started with an ebay advert posted by Chris: Project Dragon in Sydney...

    I spoke to the (then) owner, Matt, and talked about the idea of getting her up here and doing a proper job on her, but looked into it and it all seemed a bit hard and expensive. The auction finished and somebody won with a bid of $102.50. About five weeks passed and Matt called me back saying he'd had one phone call from the winning bidder and then silence. I told him I'd explore my options further. I then managed to put together a bit of a syndicate with three of us. The first idea was to build a timber cradle, flat-pack it and drive down to Sydney and load her onto a car trailer, but no trailer was rated to take the load. The second idea was to do the cradle thang, take it down to Sydney and put her onto a truck as a backload back up here, but couldn't find a truck that would do it. The third idea was to get in touch with the Dragon Association in Sydney and find a Dragon trailer, as one in our syndicate (who wishes to remain anonymous) had the right tow vehicle. Bingo! The secretary put me in touch with a very kind gent who has lent us the trailer for a carton of beer, which, incidentally, is the same price for the purchase of the yacht.

    So here's Looe down on the Pittwater, as she appeared in the ebay ad':











    Last edited by Duncan Gibbs; 03-11-2012 at 06:43 PM.
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    And here's some more shots from the same advert. As you can she she'd been lightly T-boned by another vessel at some stage:





    Her Association number is actually DKA93. Here's some shots of her in a more glorious past:







    Looe has been in the same family for the last 20 years aside from a short stint with another guy who glassed the deck and took out the cockpit sole and then left her to rot on the pick. The family regained her and thought they'd like to try and rescue her, but things changed and Matt's brother found another boat, and moorings are hard to get in Sydney.

    Looe had to go. I should be getting a diary sent up from the family soon with a full history. She was built in Narrabeen in the early 1970s by a chap called somethingorother Spring-Brown who was born in Looe, Cornwall. Thus her name. I'll tell more when I've received the diary.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    My mate and other syndicate partner Simon and I set off on Sunday morning, just gone and arrived in Sydney about 11 hours later, with a vehicle that had something wrong with it. We limped through the pouring rain out to where the trailer was in North-Western Sydney and was warmly greeted by the trailer owner and his wife. Realising we wouldn't have a snowflake's chance of getting to Newport to our hotel in time for a feed we were feed emergency rations there, in the form of chicken noodle soup. Trailer hitched we set off only to even miss to bar. Beer-less and tired we went to the room and raided the mini-bar (also containing no medicinal beverages) of almost all the breakfast foods.

    We awoke early to get over to where we thought Looe was going to be pulled out of the water only to be redirected back to the marina and boat yard just below where the hotel was. Trailer unhitched Simon took off to a garage to get the truck looked at as it was still under warranty, whilst I stayed to see the boat safely on the trailer. Here she is arriving at the yard:





    The ding on the side looked a bit bigger in the flesh:



    I knew there was a slow leak in a few of the seams, so I was expecting a wet bilge and there was about 6" of briny in her:






    I was under the impression that the yard had a crane to lift the boat out as the other location listed on it's website had a travel-lift. I was wrong!

    They only had a hoist, upon which they proposed to place the trailer and lower it into the water and float the yacht onto it. The trailer owner had strictly forbidden any such dunking from occurring. Plan B was to hoist the boat out using the yard's fork-lift. I haven't got any pictures of this bizarre and frightening event occurring as it was all hands on deck to sit on the back of the fork-lift to stop it going over, or using slings to guide her onto the trailer, aside from these two right at the end when we had her properly positioned:



    And finally strapped down:

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Getting the rig onto the cradles that strapped down onto the deck and sorting out all the other stuff took another couple of hours, so the schedule ended up being shot. But Looe was secured and the truck was fixed (loose turbo hose).
    One happy and tired Dunc:



    Rather than try and make it just over half way to lob and a mate's place at Sawtell I called Rick (RFNK) and he and Tracy very kindly put us up and took us to dinner at their place about three hours North of Sydney.

    Here we are with Rick the next morning:



    And in front of his resto; a Holman Twister:



    One of Looe by herself:



    So then we set off to complete our journey north. When we arrived it was tipping down (again ). Simon had his Landcruiser there with a towball on the front which made getting the trailer and its precious cargo up my steep driveway easy work aside from one really steep section where he had to stop while the silent partner and I hitched up the tow vehicle with a big rope and pulled while Simon pushed in the Landcruiser.

    But we did it! Here's another tired but happy Dunc:

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Last night I pumped and sponged out the rain water that had collected in the bilge during the last part of the journey up and this morning I rattled off a few shots. We have five sails; two mains and three jibs, I think, but I'll find out when I get a chance to unwrap them all to dry them out.



    A box of winches, including a rather nice pair of Barlows with a handle crank underneath as well:







    The rudder was only hanging on by its lower gudgeon and pintle as the rudder post tangs had both sheered off:



    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Good job!

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    The mast, which needs to be placed a bit better:



    It'll be hung from the shed roof beams until we turn our attention to its foot which only needs minor work.

    Looe will be lifted off the trailer on Saturday after I've moved some of the timber stacks in there so the trailer can be back all the way in.





    We'll probably have to let a bit of air out of the tyres to squeeze the coach roof under the frame. If the worse comes, then the frame can be removed as it was designed to be if the need ever arose:



    And here (almost) endeth the first chapter of this new volume in Looe's life! Once she's finally off the trailer and well supported we can begin work on her proper.

    I'll get some shots as we progress on Saturday as well as post the nastys on the inside and elsewhere that need addressing.
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Pretty boat, Gibbsy!
    I almost bought a Knud Riemers in about the same state several years ago, but decided that it was just too small a boat to take up so much space. Sort of the opposite of a Vertue, or Dolphin which are really big boats for their size.....

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Congratulations! Dragons have long been a favorite of mine. Looks like you have nice, fairly original example there. I will be watching as you progress.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Already an adventure! Well done...That is a lot of boat to pick up with a forklift; it must have been a real "pucker" moment...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Build it (the garage) and she will come (the boat)! Congratulations, Dunc! / Jim

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Best of luck with it Duncan! Should be a great project!!Rick

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Looks like another great thread too follow

    Best of luck with your project Duncan; from Duncan

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Good start to the thread Duncan, I look forward to having a gander at the EBS.
    I would rather have questions that can't be answered than answers that can't be questioned


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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Excellent Duncan!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Good on you Duncan, a great start!
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “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: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Duncan , looking at getting the boat right in , I suspect its not just a matter of heights , but angles.
    Letting the tyres down some may well do the job.
    But I suspect that because you have a ramp up to the shed , the back end is up a bit more than it normally would be.
    So it may be if you let the back tyres down more than the front , and use a push vehicle with the highest towball (or a tractor with a tow ball attachment on the 3pl) you will get more than enough tilt to get under the shed frame.
    I've done this with HS on her trailer , the front tow ball on the Canter is significantly higher , and drops the back end of the boat a lot .
    Regards Rob J.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Great stuff Duncan...you now have a project, that's for sure!!!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    The Mirror project will have been good training for this one.Looking forward to watching this one progress in the same way.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Any Dragon is worth saving. well done, and I hope it's a straightforward job for you.

    Do you intend stripping the glass off the deck. When my dad did Snowgoose [K127] back in the late 60's he could'nt afford teak and the pine deck was shot so he used marine ply and canvas/ paint. looked good and lasted well.
    Yma o hyd

  21. #21
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Thank you for all the well wishes.

    Rob, the shed has no ramp and the jockey wheel is a bit lower than the floor level as it is, so air will need to be let out from both front and back tires. We'll see how much when we push her back in tomorrow.

    Mr OBC, I intend to strip the deck off the hull and build it anew, reglass it and lay some teak strips down in epoxy. The coach house will be stripped of its paint and if it proves sound underneath will be finished bright. At this stage as much as I'd like to take the topside back to being bright I'd think there would be too much, errr... Character to provide a nice finish. I think the transom will be replaced and any minor dings in the hull faired with compound and the whole hull torture boarded. It's not a big wetted area and freeboard so it shouldn't be such a mammoth task. I've a feeling the garboards will need to be removed so the frame heels can be checked and any replacements properly bedded down.

    I think I'll pour myself a cocktail and go look at my yacht now!
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Given the state of the floors, I think I'd do three things right from the start - get the hull nicely propped up high and remove the ballast, then remove at least one garboard, probably both, and then rip the deck off. Once that's done you can get to everything, get the lines in shape and start building. You can also sit the boat down lower in your shed without its ballast, making it a lot easier to work on.

    Rick

  23. #23
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    That's pretty much the plan at this stage Rick. I need to know/find out the keel thickness so I can have the boat high enough when we get her off the trailer today to drop the ballast keel down with trolley jacks, and hopefully get the bolts out in one so we can measure them for new ones and have enough meat on them to unwind them. I'm supposing that the ballast keel being cast iron would be threaded for the bolts... I'm not sure.

    I'll hopefully be getting the plans this weekend from the IDA over the wire. I can print them out at A1 size here with my plan printer. I think the form says they have ACAD versions as well which would be really handy.

    Once the ballast is off we'll lower the boat again, and it will be well under a tonne of weight then as well. If needed we'll be able to roll her over to work on the planking repairs, splining and bottom painting once the frames and floors and other internal works are taken care of.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Those who do this sort of thing give me hope for humanity. Thank you Duncan!
    One wee stupid question: How does one pronounce Looe?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Thank you Tom! Doing it gives me hope for humanity, although I've yet to work out why, exactly. And Tom, the only stupid question is the one not asked.

    Looe is pronounced just Lou, only with a short sharp, almost unnoticeable inflection on the 'oe'.

    The first step today was to get the mast up to the ceiling of the shed. This was done with straps, rat-cunning, but no camera present, so I'll take a shot of it in its position tomorrow in the light. I did actually merember to get a magic photo box for the rest of the day's proceedings, which involved taking apart the stacks of timber and spraying their layers with pyrethrum to combat the borer which has gotten into some of the Hoop and Slash Pine boards. The stacks were then rearranged off to the end corners of the shed in readiness for the precious cargo to be hoisted off the trailer into here resting place for the restoration.

    It's funny who you meet along the way. Here's a little fella who was a bit peeved his home of Hoop Pine was being taken apart:



    Anyway, stacks re-stacked and trailer backed in, (we had to let the air out of the tires to get the coach roof under the frame), and four chain and blocks rigged with two three tonne rated slings from the roof beams we had her clear of the trailer, without so-much as a creak or groan from the shed structure:



    Me, happy and relieved it's all going according to plan:



    The silent partner :



    He has not even a friend-face account with a pseudonym!
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Trailer gone and me holding up the ship with brute strength:



    Look Ma! No hands! (Ain't she lovely?)



    And finally touch-down:



    And with some temporary supports in place of jack-stands which we'll weld up from acrows:



    I think I need another beer and a wander down to the shed again!
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    What a great looking project! Saving another classic is such a worthwhile project! And she really finishes out that shed too!
    "The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting place." -Arthur Ransome

  28. #28
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    The silent partner looks a little familiar and has been uncharacteristically absent from this thread.

    Rick

  29. #29
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    I've found out a little more about Looe from and email from Mori Flapan: She was built in 1967 and owned E.& G.Spring-Brown (unsure as to who built her; maybe E. Spring-Brown?) and registered that year with the Royal Prince Alfred YC just across the way from where we pulled her out. She seems to have spent her entire life on the Pittwater, so this really is going to be a brand new start for her.

    I'll get some shots of her interior today and post them later.
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  30. #30
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Promised a shot of the mast hoisted up to the ceiling and here it is: Long and skinny and supported in three places:



    I've also finished the "temporary" stands for the work to begin. I dare say she'll sit like this until we get some moveable stands made from acrows. She's supported in eight places:







    Let's step aboard and look at the work required now...

    We already know about the tangs on the rudder stock, but the deck opening and the tiller swivel could both be replaced The tiller swivel (if that's the right term for it) is still functional, but rather ugly in design and manufacture:



    I'll test the bilge pump (it's a Rule 500 GPH) and float switch and if they're still good they stay:

    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Most of the timber aft is pretty good, although some of the frames need replacing and the hood ends of the topside planking need rejuvenation. I'm also thinking of replacing the transom altogether as there's a bit of rot around where the hood ends have gone. I'd like to finish the transom bright.



    Here's a general shot of the bilge:



    The hand pump handle needs replacing. Im thinking a metal one would probably be more durable in service:



    One section of beam shelf has some wet rot in it:



    ... Where the glassing on the deck has be broken open:



    The mast step is mostly okay:

    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Like I said... Mostly okay:



    This piece came of the underside of the aft end.

    This fibrous crud came off inside of the sheer strake on the starboard side:



    The more I look at the sheer strakes on both side the more I want to replace them in totality. It'll make it easier to replace frames as well.

    Looking forward gives us a whole bunch of frames that need replacing:



    Surprisingly the planking under this rotten frame still feels sound:



    I'm guessing that the loading on the chainplates which are plates bolted onto the frames has caused this frame to lift and allowed moisture to get in and get trapped.

    The keel bolts look shot, but the floors are all remarkably not soft/still hard:



    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  33. #33
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Quite a few of the frames' heels have rotted away in the bilge:



    And here's the inside of that port-side, t-bone ding:



    I'm not sure how we'll approach this one? I guess once the paint is off we'll be able to get a better idea then.

    And now I must fall over, lest I require reframing and splining!
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

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  34. #34
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    You know Duncan, you must have known something when you built that shed, she fit's in so nice and neat.
    Considering her name you might like to give Gavin Atkin at http://intheboatshed.net/ a heads up as well.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: A Dragon's Tale (Or The Story of Looe)

    Looks like it's time to borrow Greg's space suit and get some paint off her! Great stuff, lots of planning to do, but such a lovely boat to be working on.

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