Restoring and Preserving

First, the VG is not a fundamentalist church or one party state. It's your boat and you can do what you like with it.

More generally there is a balance to be struck between preserving an antique in the state that you found it in, with all its patina and 'old damages' that auctioneers love so much, and restoring it to a condition in which it can be used and sailed. Boats that have been long out of the water are going to suffer badly if you attempt to sail them as they are and serious sailing requires serious waterproofing, which really means new paint.

Where parts are missing and have to be replaced, my personal preference is to try to keep it in period. A boat of this type would almost certainly have had wooden spares at this period. Serious racing skippers were beginning to use metal from before 1914, though wooden masts went on for a long time after 1945. Alexander's very superior toy boats had ali masts before 1939 and reverted to wood after 1945 because they couldn't then get the tube in the sizes they needed.

Maintaining the patina while making the boat waterproof is a specialist job. Anthony Warren had an antique restorer do such a job on his Thorneycroft cutter. He got to watch how it was done, but I don't think he's offering to do it for anyone. It probably cost an arm and a leg.

What you feel happy with and can use to get the quality of finish you want. Humbrol, or full size yacht paints from International or Blakes. There is some discussion of this in Jack's Guide, together with some good advice on painting technique from the late Richard Howlett.

Sails etc, do a comprehensive range of modern fittings and a small range of vintage bits. These vintage fittings do the job, but have been redesigned for ease of production and are not strictly pukka in style. John Cherry does 30s style bits and will do individual items to order, but is not always able to meet deadlines. (editor, does anyone know the where abouts of John Cherry).

The proper stuff is three strand cable-laid hemp water cord. This is no longer made, so we are looking at bricklayer's chalk line, which is cotton, three strand cable-laid. Some sorts of fishing line may be useful, but most are now synthetic. Whipping twine from yacht chandlers is useful. Marlow do a range that is cable-laid but made of terylene and very very white and hard to dye. There's a comparable German product which is nice to use but is braided rather than twisted, so doesn't quite look the part.

Everybody does it because it make life so much simpler and sailing meetings so much more sociable. Once the boat is on the water it won't notice unless you make a real fist of it. The trick is to do it sympathetically without chopping the boat about. If there is a hatch, mount the radio on a replacement hatch so that the whole thing can be taken out of the boat in a minute or two

For more information about suppliers, go to the "Resources" - "Where to get it", page


top back to plans