A clutch of members (Bill Rutherford, Dan Nelson, Phil Behney, and I) met about a month ago
to develop a plan for getting the White Dory back in the water. She suffered from several
egregious, but localized, spots of rot, but little else. And it was clear she had good, and
perhaps professionally-built bones: well-selected materials, tight joints, good riveting, wellfared planking. A boat like this deserved another chance.
The question was how. To replace rotted planks would involve major surgery on the floor at
the sternpost, replacing both garboards, and the starboard side riser planks. In short, a pretty
extensive process that would result in the removal of a lot of good material along with the
bad. Some proposed another approach, one while less traditional, but would be more
expeditious: focused treatment of rot, careful deployment of Dutchmen and thickened epoxy,
and rebuilding of lost non-structural material with epoxy putty where needed. This not only
would require less concentrated time, but would also get the boat swimming again perhaps
before winter. While most of us hummed and hawed about how to proceed, Dan quietly
picked up a chisel, and started ripping out hull rot. Soon, we all followed suit, and the choice
was made: repair the rot and get her swimming again.
So that’s what we’ve been doing: JGTSCA newbies: myself, Cookie Wierski, and Ian Bradley,
along with guidance by Bill Rutherford—set to scraping and treating the rot spots three weeks
a month ago. I’ll talk about details on the treatment process at the next regular meeting, but
as of this writing, the White Dory is coming quickly back to life. The interior rot spots have
been tended to, the interior has been primed and top coated, the removable brightwork has
been stripped and refinished, and floor boards have been laid out and cut. We flipped her
over about a week back, and turned attention to the exterior: replacing the shoe, refilling the
false bottom seems, sanding and filling exterior rot spots. This weekend will see priming and
painting completed, allowing us to flip her back right side up to finish the rubrail and fixed thwart brightwork.
As happy as I am to see White Dory coming back to life, I’m more thrilled to see students and
visitors stop in during every work session to see what’s going on. Folks are just curious about
the project and enjoy seeing people using the shop. I hope there are more projects on-deck
for the winter to keep this energy going: I’ve got a few in mind, and Cookie may have a fun
project, too, to pitch to the Chapter. Regardless, every day folks are in the shop turns into a
good day for me.
By: Matthew McKenzie
Established in 1793, Lowell’s Boat Shop is the oldest operating boat shop in America.
To learn more about the history of Lowell's Boat Shop and their ongoing boat building projects, visit the Lowell's Boat Shop website.
The JGTSCA Chapter is building the Good Little Skiff 15, a Pete Culler design row/sailing boat. The Mystic Seaport Boathouse has the 13 1/2 ft version of this boat, the “Waldo Howland".The project will start with a full scale lofting. On Friday, Apr 19, we will setup a lofting table at the APBH. The actual lofting will start at 9:00 am on Saturday, April 20.
If you want to help with the project or observe you are always welcome. Along with updates at the JGTSCA monthly meetings I will be sending out reports on progress and upcoming activities. If you are interested in adding your name to the email list please send me your email. Brian Cooper, 2019 GLS Project Manager
Frank Lavigueur describes his restoration project of a Gulfweed ketch. The boat is a John Hanna design and was originally built by members of his wife's family. Frank is restoring the boat in his backyard boatshed with a goal is sailing it across the Atlantic.
Some information about the Gulfweed design.
"Nina" is a 11-1/2 foot flat bottomed skiff that designer John Atkin described as a "Flat-bottomed Catboat" her dimensions are 11 feet 4 inches overall (ours came out more like 11'-6" with Andy's carved oak "icebreaker" stem), breadth of 4 feet 7 inches and 4-1/2 inches of draft. Atkin designed her to "carry a cargo of two heavy persons nicely, or three average-size youngsters" and to be "a boat that will sail safely in rough, windy weather -- in confidence and with lots of fun.
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