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Thread: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

  1. #1
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    Default Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Those of you that caught my introduction post will know that I accidentally managed to buy a 50ish year old Heron sailing dinghy in need of some restoration work (I was supposed to be buying a trailer for taking stuff to the dump….)

    So, this is what I bought, on the drive of the guy I bought it from. She didn’t have a name, but my wife reckoned she looked like a Lucy:



    A month or so later I got her on the water and discovered a few leaks, which mostly seemed to be coming from the centreboard case. So, thought I would spend the winter giving it a few coats of varnish and sealing the leak.

    So, put her in the garage:



    Pulled out the airbags, discovering an interesting date on the back



    And had a good look at the interior planking, which was looking a bit tired



    So I decided to start with removing the tired interior planks and stripping them back to bare wood. It won’t surprise you to find out that I ended up pulling all the interior wood out and deciding to take it all back to bare wood and revarnish.

    Then I started stripping them back with the heat gun and scrapebr />


    Followed by sanding smooth



    Unfortunately this was a time consuming process, I worked out it was going to take me about 2 years to get all the interior wood done (couple of hours in the evenings, a bit more at weekends). Not really what I had planned.

    I then discovered a place called Barewood in Belfast. These guys have a business stripping furniture and pretty much anything made of wood back to, well, bare wood, by dipping it (not sure I really want to know what they dip it in). So, I gave them one of the smaller pieces to test. They dipped it and it came back ready for sanding and refinishing – result! I’ll need to save up a bit to get all the interior wood done, but the time saving will be immense!

    Oh, this was all in December 2013 and January 2014. Then I went skiing and broke my leg. As you do.

    So, all work on Lucy came to a halt, until a couple of months ago when I started again, having had a long time to think about what I was going to do – more in the next post

    I'll try and post again tomorrow

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Wish I could " accidentally " buy one like that! she looks great.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Starting again, lots of pics, so split into a few posts…..

    So, following various hold ups and delays (self-imposed, injury related, domestic etc), I started again on trying to get this dinghy watertight and looking lovely.

    One of the upsides (or downside) of having spent a while away from the project is that I had a lot of time to think about what to do and I also discovered this forum and various magazines giving me lots of inspiration.

    First thing was to sort out the garage into some semblance of order to give me room to work and store stuff. Next was get Lucy back in the garage and see what damage the year outside (with a cover on) had done. The previous year I had only removed the seats from the interior so I now started taking out the floor planks.



    This allowed me to inspect the inside a bit more and I spotted that the frames in the centre on both sides were starting to come away from the floor. Checking underneath, the paint was showing signs of cracking at that point as well.



    I also decided to take out the centreboard as I would need to deal with the leaks around the case (which I am fairly confident came from the centreboard bolt) and add some friction to the centreboard as it was either up or down with nothing in between. Unfortunately, the centreboard bolt did not want to come out and I ended up splintering the side of the case with my hamfisted efforts.



    Oh well – I was thinking of remaking the case anyway….

    After a bit of thinking, I decided that I needed to investigate the hull on the outside a bit more closely, especially where the frames were coming away from the hull. It was pretty much at this point that I decided that this was going to be more of a restoration than just a bit of a tart up of the brightwork and paint. Besides, I was discovering a perverse enjoyment in taking things apart and working out how to fix them. I felt a strange calm come over me as any kind of timescale and pressure went out the window. The job will be finished when it’s finished, which given it’s a boat means it will never actually be finished…

    I then spent a couple of weeks of evenings making 2 substantial trestles to sit Lucy on when I flipped her. Next job was to remove all the deck hardware before flipping (taking pictures to remind me where it went, although I’m planning to change the cleats and fit oarlocks so it all might change.

    Enlisted the help of my next door neighbour and got her flipped. Had a go at the paint around where I had seen the cracks.



    The paint came off pretty easily, maybe I should just take the whole lot off and repaint, I was planning on changing the colour anyway. The hull underneath the paint seems in pretty good nick. The crack seems not to be too much of an issue. No rot, no movement. I think it’s just a stress movement from sitting on the trailer rather than any stresses from sailing. My thoughts at the moment are glass tape along the whole seam on the outside of the hull (there is no glass anywhere on this boat) and epoxy fillet on the inside to strengthen and fill the gap, along with new screws for the frame to hull joint. Any suggestions most welcome.




    Lucy in the garage at sunset (sung to the tune of Lucy in the sky with diamonds)

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration



    Same crack on the other side.

    I now got into a rather nice routine of scraping paint in the evenings and weekends, bringing me right up to date. So, like they do in the movies, a bit of a montage to show the passage of time:






    So that’s me up to date. I have now stripped the hull, I think it is in pretty good condition. It’s had a hole patched pretty well in the past and a few dents and dings, but overall I’m very happy with the condition.

    This morning I’m babysitting nieces and nephews in the house, so I thought I would get the posting up to date. Planning to get back out in the garage as much as possible over the Christmas period. I’ve got 2 weeks off and a house full of family, so the garage is a good escape. Next job is remove the brass strips off the stem and hull and maybe have a go at getting the centreboard case out. I’m also planning to strip the transom of varnish whilst she is upside down. Partly ‘cos its easier at this height and partly ‘cos I want to see how easy the varnish comes off. Not currently planning to remove the decks, but I am planning to revarnish them.

    Merry Christmas, more to come in real time, any views and comments very welcome

    Colin

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedelta View Post

    It’s had a hole patched pretty well in the past and a few dents and dings, but overall I’m very happy with the condition.
    Meant to post a pic of the patch:


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    You did a real good job on the stripping.
    Could you maybe just add a bushing of some sort to your damaged centerboard case, instead of making a whole new one?

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    Yeah, I'm thinking that leaving the case in place is a better idea. Need to do something to seal it though. No glass on the inside running over to seal to the hull so need to work out a solution to that.

    Spent yesterday removing the brass strips , held on with brass screws. All but 13 came out ok, the others broke off and needed drilling. Only one needed the easiout.

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Great work and nice photos! I know that others here don't like the stuff used anywhere, but the CB case to hull join might be the perfect place to use 3M 5200 == you want a flexible and non-cracking join, and since is is exposed you can always cut it with a knife if you need to pull the CB case later.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    That is a really nice example of the breed. It would have been glued with Aerolite 306 back then, but the reason it is still sound has been TLC and the huge number of brass screws used in the construction, which have held it together when the glue might have failed otherwise ( and has in the areas where you looked for seperation and cracks)
    As it is quite dry, I would be tempted to follow the taping of the chines (after taking the sharp corner off) by sheathing her in a thin glass époxy cover. Something like 200 grm cloth. A bit of insurance for later.
    As for the butchered c/b pin hole, cut back to good wood and pox a fresh bit of harder wood for the new pin. Interesting that the case is pine ( spruce?), rather than ply. Perhaps the outer sheath could be tucked up into the slot for a better seal? After opening out the slot by a few mm.
    Looking forward to the next steps..
    A2

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    So the bottom is lapstraked and the sides are carvel? Surely the sides aren't one large plank, are they?

    As for the stress cracking it's more likely damage from rough roads while in transit here and there. Most trailers have firmer springs than needed for a light weight boat. Then again, it might be any or all of these: (1)stiff springs; find a way to soften the springs and/or (2) strapping the boat down to the trailer too tightly; don't do it and/or (3) don't carry heavy loads on the bottom of the boat when trailering.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

    "All kings are not the same."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Uh no, it's ply.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    So often project boats of that vintage turn out to be as much work as building from scratch. You seem to have really lucked out.

    Press on, and keep posting photos!

    Allan
    And the Binnacle-bats wore water-proof hats
    As they danced in the sounding sea.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    As it is quite dry, I would be tempted to follow the taping of the chines (after taking the sharp corner off) by sheathing her in a thin glass époxy cover. Something like 200 grm cloth. A bit of insurance for later.
    As for the butchered c/b pin hole, cut back to good wood and pox a fresh bit of harder wood for the new pin. Interesting that the case is pine ( spruce?), rather than ply. Perhaps the outer sheath could be tucked up into the slot for a better seal? After opening out the slot by a few mm.
    Looking forward to the next steps..
    A2
    I had thought about sheathing in glass, but I'm not sold on the idea as she will be dry sailed, and I don't fancy trying to get off the rubbing strips (or whatever the technical name is for these longitudinal strips on the hull):



    Plus I'd have to cut around the skeg. So I'll probably just go for painting, but that's a way off yet as I want to flip her again and work on the inside first so I might change my mind again.

    I think I am going to repair the existing centreboard case - I still have the splinter that came out in one piece so might try and epoxy it back in once I have got a new centreboard bolt and can work out the fit. Not sure what the case is actually made of, here's a pic of the top, there's a bit of damage to repair there (not caused by me for a change):



    Tucking glass into the centreboard slot for a seal is a good plan, even if I don't glass the hull - Thinking of effectively taping the edges of the hole like taping the seams:



    The line of paint is where the brass strips were - I've removed that paint now.

    Annoyingly stuck inside with a cold (man-flu) today so not able to take advantage of the time whilst my wife and her sister are away with the nieces and nephews to the sales to work on the boat. Hopefully I will be better before I have to go back to work! Really appreciate the advice and comments - at least the enforced sofa surfing has meant I got to read a lot more of the other restoration and build threads for inspiration.

  14. #14
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    Reminds me of a miracle dinghy I bought a while back. My first boat as an adult. Amazing how much work"just scraping back some flaking varnish" can turn into.
    Osbert
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    Scratch, a Welsford Walkabout, and Selkie, a Clint Chase Drake 17 rowboat

    http://forthsailoar.osbert.org

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by charliedelta View Post


    Tucking glass into the centreboard slot for a seal is a good plan, even if I don't glass the hull - Thinking of effectively taping the edges of the hole like taping the seams:



    .
    The corner looks pretty sharp - rounding it over well will make the glass cloth conform easier.

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Are those batterns on the bottom original? Look a bit odd, but I am quite open to correction. I sailed a Cadet back in, errmm, the 50s, also from Holt's board. No outside batterns on that. One could take them off, then put them back after the sheathing? The inside framing should obviate the need for outside batterns with 1/4" ply.

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    very interesting !

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Not been able to get out and do anything on the boat for a few weeks as life and work have got in the way (the life bit was all good, my Dad’s 80th and my wife’s Graduation – the work was just work).

    So, got out a bit this weekend and managed to pull the centreboard case out. I know I said earlier I wasn’t going to, but I thought about it and decided I would be somewhat annoyed if I did all this work and the centreboard case still leaked.

    I had a go at getting the screws out that were through the hull into the centreboard case. About half came out and other half broke and had to be drilled – I am beginning to really hate brass screws…

    Then I got in underneath (being very glad yet again that the trestles I made ended up being taller than originally planned – they’ve saved my back whilst working on the hull and now made working underneath fairly easy) and started wiggling, pulling, thumping and generally working the centreboard case free. A bit of judicious heart gun use and it all started to move and then came loose. All very much easier than I expected.


    Here’s the case sitting on the workbench, some of the broken screws still in place.



    There was some sort of gooey, sticky tape in between the case and the floor – you can see it hanging down in this picture. The front of the case did seem to be a little damp, but didn't seem to have rotted. I'm thinking that might have been the source of at least one leak. I reckon the centreboard pivot boat seal was also a source of water ingress. I took a picture of the damp part, but it doesn't really show up as anything out of the ordinary - maybe a little dark in colour but that's it.



    Overall, the hull looks in good condition around the centreboard slot, see below.




    I then decided to take the case apart to see what it was like inside and give me a good template to remake it. A bit rough and worn, but otherwise OK. It's definitely pine, doesn't seem to have been sealed on the inside so I have no idea how it has lasted as long as it has, unless it was sealed and is now about time to renew. In which case I feel much better about taking it out and dismantling.



    Finally, I enlisted the help of my neighbour to flip her back over and back on the trailer.



    The plan now is to strip the paint on the inside, see what needs repaired, get that done, build a new centreboard case and fit it and repaint the inside. Then flip again, and repair and paint the hull, sealing the centreboard case with glass and epoxy. Then flip one last time (until I sail it and capsize) to get the brightwork on the floor, seats and decks sorted. Sounds easy when you type it all in a few sentences….

    Leaving the brightwork to the end in the hope of warmer weather. This is Northern Ireland, so warmer weather for me means that the epoxy and varnish might actually go off. Having looked at some of the other posts from warmer climes, some of you have quite the opposite problem.

    I sometimes think as I take things apart and find things in pretty good nick that I am just “restoring” this for something to do rather than out of necessity. No bad thing I suppose, keeps me off the streets.

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Good progress..
    If the sides of the case are not rotten, why not sand them flat on the inside and sheath them with a thin layer of glass? I did this on my new build and included some graphite to help the friction (actually to not help it ) Finding pine like that will not be so easy and, it will look original from outside. Ply would be an alternative, but seems a shame as you have the original parts.

    I am surprised the local bars are not sending out search parties.."Where is that guy?"

    About the tape/goo.. We used to use a similar product for sealing hatches back in the 50s/60s. racking my brain to remember the name, while the memory of it's stickiness is very clear, 'orrible stuff! In the days before cartridge tubes, it used to come on rolls, with wax paper to seperate the layers; Stuck to everything.
    Last edited by Andrew2; 01-25-2015 at 12:59 PM. Reason: spelin

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Good suggestion on rebuilding the case with the original parts (I've also just priced the marine plywood to remake it!). So, I'll give that a go when I get to that bit. The outside of the case was looking a bit tired with various dings and holes so it will probably get filled and repaired. My plan is that the inside of the boat will all be painted (including the case) apart from the planking for the floors and seats which will be bright, so any repairs on the case will be covered up anyway.

    I also priced a new centreboard and am definitely going to strip and repaint the original....

    Sounds like the same sticky tape stuff - it was all over my tools after I got the case out. Doesn't seem to ever go off, just moves from one thing to another, staying sticky.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    About the tape/goo.. We used to use a similar product for sealing hatches back in the 50s/60s. racking my brain to remember the name, while the memory of it's stickiness is very clear, 'orrible stuff! In the days before cartridge tubes, it used to come on rolls, with wax paper to seperate the layers; Stuck to everything.
    Desperately trying to remember it's name. It used to be displayed on the counter, along with "Dabitoff" glue and those Plastic Padding demonstrations.

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Desperately trying to remember it's name. It used to be displayed on the counter, along with "Dabitoff" glue and those Plastic Padding demonstrations.
    Wasn't Dabitof CTC? dry cleaning for clothes in a bottle. Had a fibre plug under the top, so one could work on stains.

    AH! Sealastic was the goo.
    Last edited by Andrew2; 01-26-2015 at 10:37 AM. Reason: spelin

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    Wasn't Dabitof CTC? dry cleaning for clothes in a bottle. Had a fibre plug under the top, so one could work on stains.

    AH! Sealastic was the goo.


    I think you're right. But there was a glue that was badly misnamed. Thanks for the Sealastiic.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Not a great deal of progress to report - I've been doing a little bit here and there, removing the paint and varnish from inside but it's a lot more time consuming than the outside, and its been cold, and I've been busy.....

    Anyway, started removing the paint from the floor and varnish from the sides on the inside.





    When I got to the bit in the middle where I had seen the damage (from the trailer), it turned out to be a bit worse on the inside than on the outside. I don't think you can see it in the picture, but there is a small hole that goes all the way through.



    So, going to have to repair this at some point - not sure whether it justifies cutting out this small part of the floor and patching, although I probably will. Partly 'cos I'll worry about it otherwise and partly 'cos I haven't done that before and would like to give it a go. It's likely to be the same on the starboard side so I'll get 2 goes to get it right.

    Other than that, not much to report which is why I haven't posted for a while. I had a bit more time yesterday and managed to finish the port side and the inside of the transom (picture only shows half the transom stripped, I managed to do the rest but forgot to take a picture).



    I plan to go out to the garage today and get a few more hours in on the starboard side, but its very windy, wet and cold so staying in next to this, drinking coffee and writing this post seemed a lot more attractive!



    I'll stop prevaricating and get back out there soon. I do quite enjoy it when I'm out there. This puzzles me slightly, I'm wearing goggles and a mask, wielding a heat gun and scraper, scrunched up into back aching positions and thoroughly enjoying myself! Maybe it's 'cos I don't have to do it, who knows?

    Will post again when I get the other side done.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    very nice !

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Not posted for a while as nothing much to report.

    I've been working on the "little but often" principle, just slightly changed to "little, every now and then". BUT, if you just keep going, you do make progress, so, Lucy is now stripped bare - few photos to show progress:


    Interior all done, side decks done.



    Beginning work on the foredeck



    Nearly there





    All done.

    So now I am at the point where I can start reassembling and repairing things rather than taking things off. St Patrick's day yesterday, which in Ireland means I got the day off (we tend not to go in for the green Guiness and green rivers and just go for giving most people a day off - very civilised to have a Tuesday off) so I started on the centre board case. Having said I had finished stripping, the first thing I did was strip the varnish off the centre board case!

    Next to be tackled is a lot of filling (of the case and many, many places on the boat) and then start the sanding marathon before painting. I am therefore playing the weather/epoxy lottery - basically hoping that decent temperatures and overall weather coincide with the time that I have to work on the boat. Been here before and it can be months before I get any work done. I have a few days off over Easter so hoping that the weather warms up (its been lovely today, but I was at work).

    Will post more when I have some progress to report. Feel free to comment, its nice to get the encouragement!

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    Quote Originally Posted by charliedelta View Post
    I've been working on the "little but often" principle, just slightly changed to "little, every now and then". BUT, if you just keep going, you do make progress,
    Yup, I've experienced the same sequence!

    I am therefore playing the weather/epoxy lottery - basically hoping that decent temperatures and overall weather coincide with the time that I have to work on the boat.
    Yup, same here!

    Looking good, but reminds me why I vowed never to try and fix up an old boat - a Miracle in my case. Though I took a more ruthless approach involving paint.

    I'm nearly ready to paint my new build, waiting for weather, time and energy to align!

    Good luck.
    Osbert
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    Scratch, a Welsford Walkabout, and Selkie, a Clint Chase Drake 17 rowboat

    http://forthsailoar.osbert.org

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    I think you are doing a fine job of it so far, and it looks like you got a really decent hull under all the old paint and varnish. She looked good before you started. And with the quality of the work you're doing she will be quite beautiful when you're done.

  29. #29
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    Osbert, I'm definitely going New build next!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Well done! Did you end up taping the seams? How did it go? I recently bought (on impulse) a 40 yr. old Embassy dinghy because I liked the look of it and I now have the same problem as you. The old glue is failing and the seams are beginning to leak. I'm ready to start stripping off paint from the seams but don't want to do more than I need to. What do you think?

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    OK, so it's been 3 years since I posted anything on here. You could be forgiven that I had abandoned Lucy and decided to do something else with my time, but you would be wrong!

    Well, you'd be partly right... Work on Lucy became sporadic to say the least after the last post in 2015. When I look back I can post-rationalise it based on the fact that we changed where we have our holiday home (still on Lough Erne in Fermanagh, but a different part of the Lough) and it is not so suitable for sailing a small dinghy from. So my motivation dropped somewhat. IN the last year or so though, it's come back a bit. Nieces and Nephews have returned from living all over the globe due to their parents military lives and are now growing up fast about 45 mins away in Whitehead, learning to sail and kayak and all things watery and loving it. So, I went back to getting Lucy ready, joined the Yacht club at Whitehead and got my motivation back.

    Long story short, she's now done and ready to launch, hopefully this Saturday, weather permitting.

    I haven't tried posting anything for a while and last time I looked all my pictures had disappeared. Seems they have returned so I'll try inserting one now with the promise of more later (about what I did to get her to this point) and the launch (assuming she floats).

    IMG_20180708_134158.jpg

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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Hi Charlie;
    Very timely post!

    Local sailing friend called. A neighbour has just sold their house and would he like the little boat in the barn? We go over and it is a Heron... But, while very well home built and unused for 20yrs, it has no c/board casing or any sign of a rig. Just used as a launch with a nice looking Seagull (no less!) on the transom. Needs a complete strip and refinish. Pumped up the tyres and towed her home. Not sure of her future., perhaps a simple lug rig, or just puttering on the river.
    A2

    Oh, the stiffening strips on the hull are standard.
    Last edited by Andrew2; 08-26-2018 at 02:39 AM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Just to close out the story as I don't like leaving things unfinished....

    My original plan to redo the decks in varnish was scuppered by a period with the boat stored outside. I was having a new workshop built and had to clear out the garage where I was working on the dinghy in order to store some stuff whilst the workshop was being built. This led to the dinghy being stored outside over the winter, with no paint anywhere on the boat. I had it under what I thought was a waterproof tarp, but it turned out to be anything but. When I came to uncover her, I discovered the cockpit full of water and the deck stained with water damage. At least it showed that the rebuilt centreboard case didn't leak - from the inside out in any case. Photo below shows the staining on the front deck:
    IMAG2459.jpg
    IMAG2459.jpg
    At this point, i decided to paint the whole thing. The new workshop meant I could get on with it and I cracked on at a fantastic pace - it probably only took me about a year...... The "little and seldom" principle still held. So a few photos showing the move from bare wood to painted, including the rebuilt centreboard case:
    IMAG1977.jpg
    Centreboard case

    IMAG2368.jpg
    Nice view of the new space

    IMAG2454.jpg

    IMAG2455.jpg

    I'll continue in another post to get some more pics in

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Kells, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    So, a few more pics

    IMAG2587.jpg
    Paint on the hull

    IMAG2607.jpg
    And the deck

    IMAG2643.jpg
    And the seats

    IMG_20180708_134217.jpg
    All ready to go.

    I launched her on Saturday just gone. A few family members came along, some suitable words were said and fizzy stuff drunk and poured liberally over the deck. There was practically no wind so not really much sailing done, but, no leaks and a a very happy sailor! Unfortunately, nobody thought to take any pictures and I was a bit busy....

    So that's it, hopefully many years to come of gentle sailing. I hope its been of interest for some of you, apologies for the rather long break in transmission.

    Till next time...

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Down South
    Posts
    160

    Default Re: Lucy the Heron - Restoration

    Great job! The red looks good!

    Dave

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