Author: charlie

Fortuna II – launched

After a long refit/restoration that has been consuming all my working time for nearly four years I’m pleased to say that Fortuna II has been launched and is in commission again.

The last winter has involved a lot of fitout joinery.

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Fortuna II was moved out of the ‘long shed’ in early May to configure the rig.  At 15 tonnes and with a beam of 14′ Fortuna II is at the limit of what the Baltic Wharf travel hoist can handle.

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Launch, a low key affair, took place on a rainy day.

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After this Fortuna II lay against the wall at Baltic Wharf to take up for a few days. Once the deadwoods started to stabilise we connected up the prop shaft and were ready to head off down the Dart.

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Fortuna II is based in Dartmouth for the summer where the owners are trialing her.  Here she is on the Dartmouth visitor pontoons.

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First trials at sea gave the owner a chance to put up the sails on a nice sunny day.   I was driving for a journalist so failed to take a picture of her at full speed, about 10.5 knots!

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Once I get a chance to take breath, which may take some time, I’ll put together a few more photos of what has been going on over the last winter or two and write up some of the more interesting aspects of the restoration.

 

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Toe railed

The new toe-rails for Fortuna II are being made up with scuppers to the standard ‘Fred Parker’ scupper design.  A little more ornate than the original straight slots put on by Nunn Bros when they built her but, I think, reasonably in keeping.

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Compare it to the ‘Fred Parker’ cove-line signature.

phizz

This example is one of Fred Parker’s racing yacht designs, Phizz (formerly Bluejacket)  that I caught on camera in Cartaret earlier this summer.

Work in progress

I normally get round to writing up projects when they finish.  However, in the case of Fortuna II,  I think that a few interim ‘position reports’ are needed.

After hauling Fortuna out at Baltic Wharf in August 2013 I stripped off her paint, removed a few obviously rotten planks and undertook a detailed condition assessment.  She had suffered, as is all too frequently the case, from rainwater damage.  Basically sound below the waterline, but failing at the deck margins, work required included: new frame heads more or less all-round; beam shelf repairs; a rebuild of the deck step which had failed and about 450′ of above-waterline planking.  Most of the electro mechanical systems (with the exception of the engine) were rejected and the tankage, wiring and plumbing systems slated for replacement.

How we identified the need for a new deck is a good example of how, once you start on a restoration intending to create a boat that will be sound for a good few years, things often snowball.  The deck, tongue and groove western read cedar currently sheathed in glass/epoxy was basically waterproof and in order.  However, there were a large number of raised (but currently intact) blisters.

The cause was the galvanised nails used to secure the deck planking. The galvanisation had (after 55 years) failed and the nails, starting to rust, had expanded and forced their way out of the top of the deck.  Replacing the deck two or three years after she gets re-launched would not make sense, digging out the nails was not viable – so a new deck went on the job list.

Anyway, here are a few pictures.

Fortuna

The summer holidays are definitely over – even if the weather is still great. Work started today on M.Y Fortuna II. A rather shapely and well built Fred Parker Motor Yacht dating from 1959. She has been languishing for some considerable time in Exeter canal basin and is now showing the signs.

Yesterday I helped her new owner bring her round to the Dart for refit. Some fun blasting through all the weed in the Exeter canal was followed by interesting pilotage down the Exe and a smooth run down the coast to Dartmouth. After a quiet night on the visitors pontoons a run up the river to Totnes in the morning delivered her to Baltic Wharf for haulout where she will spend the winter in the long shed being ‘sorted-out’.

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Once out of the congested cancal basin and in clear view she started to look the part – albeit a bit scruffy round the edges.

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Once out of the water the scale of operations – just to scrape all the paint off – became apparent.

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She needs some planking work, a major simplification and upgrade of her mechanical, electrical and domestic systems as well as a full re-finish.

So much for a quiet start to the autumn…

Plank

The sun shines briefly for a morning and I get Shotley Rose’s new lower planking fixed in place. Replacing the three lower planks was not quite as simple as working up from the garboard – and there was quite a bit of plank shuggling before all three new planks (on each side) slotted into place. As usual, it is the tuck that makes things hard.

Time to get on with the rest of the fitout…

Juggle

It is often useful to have at least two jobs to juggle. When one gets stuck – for lack of materials or client decisions or lack of money etc. the other can take over. This winter I have been working on two very different jobs – and enjoying the contrast.

‘Monty’ is a delicate 12′ motor launch. She is double planked in mahogany on light steamed Canadian rock elm timbers spaced at 2 1/4″. She needs planking repairs, new engine beds. floors (only three were salvageable), sole board framing, wholesale replacement of knees (they all had woodworm), new rubbing strakes, new engine box and refurbishment of the deck plus a few more things of course. All delicate work with each layer of planking being 3/16″ thick and timbers moulded 3/8″. Davey had to supply me with what they thought was their last ever box of 16g copper boat nails – not much call for them nowadays.

‘Monty’ – New framing in place

‘Monty’ was designed and built at Morgan Giles, Teignmouth, in 1947. The build number, embossed on a stemhead casting, came to light during work and, with the help of the Teignmouth museum, who hold the Morgan Giles archive, provided some welcome provenance. Such provenance is always useful for a boat that was, until the build number was uncovered, only tracable back to eBay a few years ago!

‘Monty’s Provenance – Build number 554’

Anyway, with ‘planking repairs complete, framing in place and nailed up with the help of Marc Chivers it is time to turn my attention back to the Folkboat ‘Shotley Rose’.

Whereas ‘Monty’ is in a nice dry well-lit workshop, Shotley Rose, although under cover, is in a dark damp and very well ventilated barn. Even with four florescent tubes strung round the boat I work all day using a head torch. When it blows the rain comes through the slat walls and mist the boat in moisture – good for the boat but not so good for me. At least it isn’t cold.

With the bottom three planks off each side cleaning out the bilge is much easier and re-assembly can begin. We have decided to opt for Utile to replace the mahogany planking. The planking was originally fastened with copper boat nails but used bronze dumps for the hood end, rabbet and floors. The dumps now have little grip in the oak backbone and easily pulled out with a prybar. A good job that they did not use gripfasts! We will be using silicon bronze screws instead of dumps.

‘Shotley Rose’ – ready for some new planks

Winter Warmer

It might be (nearly always) wet and (sometimes) windy but it ain’t cold down here in Devon. It is mid January and I have yet to wear a coat to work – although a waterproof has come in handy for the rain.

Working in the dark is, however, a common and regular occurence.

This one, a rather nice folkboat built by Cyril White, is in for a bit of work. She’s been sitting outside in a yard for the last five years so there are a few things to sort out. Burning off the paint to see what the issues are was the first stage. I’m taking the varnish off the coamings as well – Some of it was stuck hard and some of it was coming off in huge flakes. More on this one anon..

Happy new year!