Sunday, 30 October 2011

After our first week of sanding and scraping the bare wood appears!

So along with First Mate Herbert this week has been long hours of sanding and scraping to uncover the original wood in preparation for priming and repainting...

Herbert the master sander shows no mercy to old paint...

So now the topsides have been sanded, the seams need to be resealed before wiping down with thinners to clean up any residue and dust, then its time to prime!



In addition  to the topsides (the side of the boat above the waterline) Herbert and I have been busy preparing the deck in the same way. Securing a watertight deck and worm free, sealed hull are absolutely crucial to maintaing a seaworthy wooden boat. The deck is therefore not be rushed...

Whilst scraping the seams of the starboard side deck which itself came up nicely...

A nasty bity of freshwater created rot was uncovered along the edge of the doghouse, a leak around which was picked up by the surveyor so we knew it needed fixing, however, the photo below indicates how important it is to spot any cracks in the paint and caulking and take preventative action ASAP because over time the water works its way through the timbers completely dissolving the wood but there was no obvious problem under the old paint, which needed to be scraped off in order to expose the true extent of the problem...



Luckily Mr Cochrane and Bowtie are adept at cutting out the rot and replacing with new planking , making it stronger than before with no obvious sign of the work, this week between them they have almost replanked the entire portside below the waterline (the dreaded worm strikes again).

Bowtie lines up a new plank. And fits it...




Also during the week I visited A&F sails in English Harbour to get the sail inventory checked and prepared for some repairs and possible recutting of the mainsail. Franklyn and his team have a stunning working environment in an original building of Nelson's Dockyard...


The sail loft (absolutely no shoes allowed)...


The view from the sail loft entrance...


And finally here's the view in front of Good Expectation in Jolly Harbour Boat yard, notice the Pelican on the dock who keeps us amused with his high dives into the water to catch fish...



So watch this space for more updates next week.... Till then fair winds and calm seas to everyone!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Refit of Good Expectation continues apace ~ Transom finished & hull planks going on thick and fast...

So over the past week Mr Cochrane and his second in command Mr Bowtie have made excellent progress with the refit. The transom has been completely rebuilt in treated white pine & is now closed up and ready for the next stage which is the caulking of the gaps between the timbers to seal and make watertight...


The Portside has had a number of planks replaced from the transom for'ard, when fresh water ingress occurs it will spread quickly, that is why constant maintanence is so important in these vessels, regular checks and licks of paint to keep the water out will make a world of difference to the lifespan of the timbers...


The Starboard side has had a similar amount of new topside planking inserted as well, its safest to replace quite a way past where any rot was found to ensure the soundest timbers are maintained.



This is a crucial stage the replacement of the Garboard planks including the Devil plank, so called because its the toughest to fit correctly! Garboard? you say! What's that? A definition for you from the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company ~
gar·board (gärbôrd, -brd)
n.
The first range or strake of planks laid next to a ship's keel.



[Obsolete Dutch gaarboord : possibly Dutch gaar, cooked, done (from Middle Dutch gaer) + Dutch boord, board (from Middle Dutch boort).]
 
So there you go the first strake laid next to the keel... A strake being a strip of planking in a wooden vessel or of plating in a metal one, running longitudinally along the vessel's side, bottom or the turn of the bilge, usually from one end of the vessel to the other. (as taken from Wikipedia!)
 
Mr Cochrane and Mr Bowtie undertaking the tricky task of attaching the devil plank, the devil being a seam where two planks meet, in this case at the junction between the vertical keel garboards and the rounded hull planks. Interestingly, this devil may be the one referred to in the old saying "between the devil and the deep blue sea"... So there, you learned something new today to amaze your friends over dinner or in the pub!
 
 
Replacing these planks takes strength, skill and patience, notice how the shipwrights have to contend with curvature over 3 dimensions following the gentle curve of the hull lengthways, vertically and laterally, its quite a task and not a moment to disturb them with inane questions. Maintaining the correct width is critical to ensure a tight fit, notice how the space is maintained by banging in thick wooden chocks towards the bow.
 
Once these tricky jobs are completed work will continue apace, so watch this space for further updates.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sharing some wonderful images of Carriacou Sloops from Alexis Andrews

Alexis has kindly allowed Jus' Sail to use some of the images from his wonderful coffee table books, which we are happy to share here on the blog...


The next set of images cover the construction of his own vessel Genesis...

This is a great shot of the frame starting to take shape, very early in the
process.

Whereas this one really shows that these vessels are made right on the beach and from the raw material of local timber, carved by hand in situ! Such scenes have been increasingly rare in the Caribbean over the past four decades. Even St Lucia had its own wooden boat builders in the past including my wife's grandfather in the village of Canaries on St lucia's west coast who made wooden fishing boats on the beach until the 1960's.


Notice the hull planks being formed to the shape of the frames and the skills required to make these joins watertight and durable in the harsh tropical climate. By this time next week Good Expectation will also be having hull planks removed and replaced in a similar manner.

Basic hand tools are used for most of he refining of the wood, such as this shot of an adze being ably handled on the keel....



This wonderful shot below Alexis scanned from a Grenadan newspaper in the 1990's, its of master Carriacou shipwright Zepharin McKlaren the man who originally built our own Good Expectation. it is the only shot we have access to of him so expect to see it again on our website in the near future where we will be paying our respects to this great craftsman.
Zepharin we hope we do justice to your boat during our renovation and trust that you approve of her new life, back as a working boat, but in a different guise here in St Lucia, where she will be laden with people rather than cargo!

Next post we will share some shots of the vessels at sail and some of the characters who sail them!



Saturday, 8 October 2011

A new Transom takes shape at end of week one of Good Expectation refit

So five days in to the refit of Good Expectation our local shipwright in Antigua, Mr Alford Cochrane has made great progress on replacing the transom supports with his own locally grown Mahogony, notice the shaped pieces in the corner, all carved by hand to fit...



These frames are the very heart of the boat and vital to its integrity, when installed correctly and regularly maintained they can last for decades even in the harsh tropical climate of the Caribbean. The curved pieces are chosen specifically from rough lumber for their suitable shape....


Mr Cochrane's second in command is "bowtie" he has been working on the hull planks cleaning them up to see which need replacing due to worm damage and preparing the seams for re-caulking. Where the worms have the got in the whole plank must come out because like termites they will eat away until the plank is no more! Regular maintenance and an annual haul out to reapply antifoul is crucial for keeping the worms at bay! The following shot highlights the damage worms can do if left unchecked...


So after pointing out the progress to date...



Its time for a well earned end of week beer, ice cold of course...



Will keep you posted same time next week when work will have commenced on replanking the hull...!


Sunday, 2 October 2011

Making the decision to buy Good Expectation was easy once we went for a sail!


Laidback Sailing at its best aboard Good Expectation.

OK one thing to understand about Carriacou Sloops is that they are working boats, hand made with rough and ready hand tools on the beach, crafted with love and passion for a hard working life on the Caribbean Sea.



Good Expectation's previous owner undertook a wholescale renovation of her in 2008, but circumstances transpired which meant he was unable to keep up her maintenance over the past three years & the harsh tropical climate  has taken its toll above and below the waterline.




But under the peeling paint and odd bit of rotten deck, she is still a beauty with bundles of character...


The great thing about these hardy vessels though is that with the right local shipwright they can be quickly brought back to good working order. So watch this space...

Learning more about Carriacou Sloops from Alexis Andrews...

Without the passion and commitment of Antigua based yachting photographer Alexis Andrews it is unlikely that you or I would even be aware of the classic Caribbean working vessels from the Southern Grenadines - the Carriacou Sloops. Alexis, sailed throughout the Eastern Caribbean from 1997 to 2003 in a beautiful old Carriacou Sloop called Summer Cloud. In 2003, Alexis commissioned a brand new Sloop, with one of Carriacou's last remaining master shipwrights Alwyn Enoe and his sons, it would be the first sloop built on the beach of Windward Village on the small island of Carriacou in over a decade. Genesis has subsequently become the leading race winner in the small class of Carriacou Sloops that compete in regional regattas such as Antigua Classic Week and the West Indies Regatta in St Barths.

Alexis has published a stunning set of coffee table books - Carriacou Sloops Vol I&II, the first of each Vanishing Ways charts the history of these vessels from 1830 when Scottish shipwrights were brought to the Grenadines to help plantation owners ship their produce to markets on the larger islands. Vol II - Genesis documents the building of his own vessel. Together these books offer a wonderful insight into the heritage and cultural roots of these vessels and really convey the beauty and uniqueness of the boats which makes them so much fun to sail and be onboard. 


Genesis at anchor in English Harbour, Antigua, June 2011.


Thank you Alexis, your passion is infectious and we look forward to seeing you on the water in Genesis in the coming months.


Alexis at the helm of Genesis, taking me for a sail in June 2011


Jus' Sail's James Crockett enjoys taking the helm of Genesis, yes it was love at first sight!

After years of dreaming & planning we find our perfect Carriacou Sloop

Over the coming months we will share some of the journey which we have been on over the past few years to get us to the point where we are now - about to start renovating a beautiful Carriacou Sloop - Good Expectation - bringing her back to her former glory in order to put one of the few traditional working vessels that remain in the Caribbean back to work, not to deliver cargo but to deliver the most relaxing, laidback, fun & authentic sailing experience in the Caribbean.

Over the coming weeks we will also be posting updates on the progress of the renovation & our preparations to get her ready for setting sail from Antigua, where the refit is taking place in Jolly Harbour, to St Lucia & the new home base for Good Expectation in Rodney Bay.

We hope you enjoy reading about our progress, the ups, downs, trials and victories that we are bound to encounter along the way... Enjoy and if you're ever in doubt as to what to do with yourself whilst in St Lucia? the answer is easy- Jus' Sail!


Good Expectation in former days.
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