For me, restoration is the process of dealing with the results of time (or the actions of an unsympathetic owner) on a boat. It normally involves removing damaged or corroded material and replacing it using the same or similar materials in the same way as the boat was originally constructed.

The level of authenticity that is appropriate for a vessel depends both on the vessel, the purpose for which she is being restored and (of course) the preferences of the person paying for the restoration.

Here are a few restoration projects on which I have worked.

Fortuna II. – Fred Parker Motor-Yacht

Scimitar. – Nordic Folkboat

Twinkle. – A Twinkle 12

Katydid. – A Clyde 17/19 Lugger


An example of how concerns about authenticity affect decision making in a restoration project is illustrated below.

The frames in this lugger were dovetailed into the keel. Once the planks were on they could not be replaced without removing the planking (or a large part of it). Is this good design? Should it be replicated in the restoration?

Different experts, boatbuilders and owners will have different answers to this particular question – and that is one of the reasons that restoration is such a complex and rewarding activity.

Remember that when this boat was built by William Fife III 120 years ago it was designed to be raced for a few years and then thrown away!

If you look closely at the photo above you will see that the dovetails taper (they all do). How clever (and complicated) is that! Imagine cutting these joints on the beach at Fairlie during the winter (which is when this lugger was built).

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