So at last, Friday 28 May 2021! Angie is rolled out into the sunshine in Wales, a very exciting day to see the endeavours of the past 7 weeks come to fruition. You will note that I have managed to straighten and clean up the original 1967 builder’s plate.
She is now completed with just minor bits to add, and to change the trailer hubs and bearings; she came with hubs without grease nipples, and with 1600 miles of driving in 4 days it’s vital to be able to top up the grease in the hub daily.
So, I will take you back a few days to when she was still laying on her Gunwhale awaiting having a new keel band and beaching rails made and fitted.
You will have noted from previous pictures of the keel band that the sides of the centre plate area had collapsed and restricted the gap that the centre plate swings through, with no side fixings to hold the sides apart. On later Luggers they bolted at an angle to secure the sides and then glassed over the bolt nuts and stems. So, this band had to be removed. It’s not structural, just lays in a moulded recess of the hull and bolted through, it’s purely sacrificial to take the wear. So with a lever and multi tool I cut it out along with the bolts and odd screws that had been added. Now the hull is fully prepped, spray primed and two coats of finish colour, and you can see the keel band channel.
I have once fitted a keel band whilst the boat was on its trailer. This was done in my Greek boat yard where they had plenty of tyres and one had to raise the boat up to clear the trailer, it’s not easy! But with intervals to get into the shade and ponder the next step with a large glass of ice cold Mythos it was done successfully.
Getting back to Angie, we have machined the new keel band out of Iroko. It’s a little different in terms of the cut-outs to the later models, with the rudder slot a little further forward. Getting it sprung into place on top of a marine sealant bedding and bolted down is quite straightforward. The keel bands that we produce are 40 mm thickness, while the originals were about 32 mm, although there was not much standardisation in the early days of the Drascombe building procedures.
We are now beginning to make progress. With the keel band and beaching rails fitted it’s time to mask up and prime the hull with its anti-foul primer. I use Seajet, it’s great for conditions with high fouling. The anti-foul top coat always goes on just before launching, so I normally attack this the evening before launching, followed by a few cold Mythos beers at the local taverna.
In between this laborious, dirty and painstaking work on the hull I’ve taken time out to work on the new tiller and its extension. I have laminated two cheeks of Iroko with a centre of Ash for the tiller using West resin before forming the curved shape and radiusing the edges. We then progress to making the extension out of Ash and fitting the bronze swivel head. Following a spray finish in Blackfriars Super Yacht varnish the tiller/extension unit is ready for its new rudder. These rudders, all fully galvanised, will be available in October from Dragon Design, along with centre plates.
21 May 2021
It is now an appropriate time to turn the hull over in order to apply the finished colour to the top plank – all Dragon Drascombe Luggers have their distinguishing top plank colours – followed by the internal cockpit spray finishing.
Over this rebuild process of Angie I have formed the opinion that this Lugger was possibly one of the first out of the original mould. It would be good to have others to contribute to my thought.
- The high quality of the lay up and gel coat of the top plank in particular, with no vertical ripples or waves in the surface, suggests it was a new mould and probably the prototype.
- There was no main sheet traveller tube fitted transversely. It would have been a galvanised 25 mm tube and would have had a raised section in the inside moulding to take this tube. She just had a loose wire bolted to the inside face of both Gunwhale sides. This can be seen on one of the early pictures when it arrived back in Wales. I’ve now fitted a traveller tube as shown further on. What a job to spring it in between the two upper deck sides!
- Whilst the layup of the resin and mat is much heavier than 1970 models onwards, it is poorly applied, especially on the curved surfaces and lower plank edges, just full of continuous voids, all of which I have had to make good.
With all the internal cockpit prep work done prior to the hull being turned over onto its Gunwhale, it was a straightforward job of spray finishing the inside of the cockpit. Note the difference from its original state.
There will be some of you Drascombers scratching your heads wondering what has happened to the two lift-out aft cockpit seats? You might well ask! The originals were so poor, cracked, chunks missing and not really worth repairing, along with interfering with the main sheet traveller rail. So the answer was to form a new face bulkhead and be extended to the top line of the aft deck and form a new internal framework in Ash so an Iroko seat would clip in. This gives a flush seat with the aft deck and provides easy access to the stern storage locker.
This brings to a close this stage 4 of my Angie rebuild blog.
However, with the arrival of the new sail and cover from Dick at R&J Sails later this week, I will run through the fitting of the woodwork, internal fittings and rigging in my next blog on 16 June. This will be my last blog before loading and setting off for the road trip to Nidri, via the overnight ferry from Ancona on the Adriatic coast, yes and back to the SUN!!