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We are based on the north bank of the River Conwy in the Village of Deganwy.

We have an active COD (Conway One Design) racing fleet, which races weekly between the months of May and October.

Our cruiser fleet also races regularly during the summer months.

We have a very active social programme centred around our club house in Deganwy Village. Have  a look at the social pages for a list of events.

Feel free to drop into the clubhouse one evening if you are in the area.

If you are interested in joining us then please drop an email to:
Wendy.munro
@conwayyachtclub.com

clubhouse

Our Club House Opening hours are Monday to Saturday,  5.30 to 11 pm Except Friday when we open at 4.30 pm, and Wednesdays and Sundays when we are closed.
You can call the club house on 01492 583690

Codblog

This BLOG will be a diary of the progress we are making to gettiing our COD’s back on the water..

THE "CodBlog" --- An ongoing progress report on the COD Century Project for restoration of CODs.

CODBLOG 1 : A Place to Work.

What we wanted was a workshop where we could get 4 CODs inside.

 It had to be cheap --- very, very cheap.

I had tried to get a slot for two boats alongside the Helena Project -- that's the old hulk on Conwy Quay. The Trustees of that project were very amenable to the idea but the dead hand of Conwy Council Planning killed it off -- the Bouncing Castle or some other amenity had to be accommodated first!

Anyway, when you want something badly, something always turns up! This something turned out to be a bit of space at the back of Alun Simpson's orchard which he kindly let us use of and a large tent, rescued years ago by Rod Yates. It had been used for storing a canal boat until a gale had wreaked havoc with it.

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We fetched the fabric and what was left of the framework and we had a couple of sessions with work parties assembling the thing that would have done justice as a Corporate Team Building exercise. Once Ron Cheetham had hooked up an electric power point for it the result was a very serviceable accommodation for two CODs where work could now progress.

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CODBLOG 2 : Rescuing Kandahar

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 The long time out in the open had clearly not been too kind on the condition of the boat, but, it had been well supported and mostly covered by tarpaulin so it could have been a lot worse.

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 Kandahar had been languishing outside at Gallow's Point at Beaumaris for about 25 years. Brian Lee and David Gallichen had been meaning to restore it but had never got round to it. When approached, they were happy to donate the boat to our project so one sunny day last Spring we went to Beaumaris with a large trailer and came back with Kandahar on it.

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 It was good to get her back to the tent and out of the weather.

CODBLOG 3 ---- A start on Gwalch

 Gwalch had been donated to the CYC a couple of years ago after suffering a few years of neglect and abuse. It was stored in the stable in Sychnant with other COD's. It seemed to us that it might be an easier restoration than Kandahar and therefore the one to start with.

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We fetched it down and into the tent where work was soon started. It was very obvious that this was not going to be a quick hit! Fresh water is very harmful to wooden boats and all of Gwalch's decking, deckbeams and floorbeams were rotten from it. Many, many, ribs were needing replacement, the stem was de-laminating (a previous repair) and the transom was shot

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We towed it down to Deganwy for Prom Day and afterwards got it well supported in the tent and have got on with the work.

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CODBLOG 4 : Tools of the Trade

The CODs are not lightweight dingies! They weigh a ton and with a fixed keel require substantial support and careful handling (or lots of strong and willing bodies!)

As we were going to do a lot of work on the boats they needed strong cradles and also some means of safely lifting them on and off trailers.

 Mike Brookes kindly donated a load of heavy timber and sufficient steelwork to build a scaffolding over the boat so that we can hoist it well off the ground. We put wheels on the bottom of the scaffolding so we could move the boat about. We did reposition Kandahar in the tent with this method but it was difficult because of the uneven terrain inside the tent.

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Monty Nicholls kindly donated a 4-wheel trailer that was surplus to his requirements. We've modified it to transport CODs and it has been really useful doing that and also transporting the guardboat "Sior".

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 Alun Simpson's shed is a veritable goldmine for tools etc. but we have been missing a suitable bandsaw for cutting things like oak beams. We think we have this in hand .........

CODBLOG 5 : Gwalch -- The Work Progresses

We numbered up all the deck beams before removing them. Most of them are shot and need replacing but we will use them as patterns for the new ones.

All the old paintwork and anti-fouling has to be removed, inside and outside the hull. A hot-air gun and a scraper is an effective, if time-consuming method. We have found that the tent gets very warm when there is any sun about. Consequently, operating the hot-air gun soon creates sauna-like conditions to work under!

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The anti-fouling and boot-topping are a bigger problem. The hot-air gun just makes it gooey and difficult to scrape off. Also, it gives off some awful fumes and God knows what's in these old anti-fouling products. The answer turned out to be a coarse fleece attachment to the angle-grinder. It looks like a hard, plastic saucepan scourer but it whips off the paint so quickly it doesn't get a chance to heat up and fume up. You have to dress up well with the protective clothing with this operation -- it does kick off a hell of a lot of crap!

There is a big "plank" in the bottom of the boat called the "keelson". This had to come out to expose the floor beams below. A combination of rainwater in the bottom of the boat and steel fixings in the original construction had rotted six of the floor beams in the centre of the boat. These had to come out and new ones made.

Each side of the boat there is a "deckshelf" and below that a "stringer". They have to come out to gain access to the ribs. They run the length of the boat and as they are over 20 feet long we tried to get them out intact. We were 50% successful and as yet are undecided as to whether we repair or replace the damaged ones.

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CODBLOG 6  ---  Llandrillo College and CYMBA

 Last June Llandrillo College officially opened its new MBEC Centre, for Marine, Building and Environment training and it is a first class facility. The Marine workshop provides training for NVQ levels in most aspects of boat construction and repair including wooden and fibreglass construction. Mechanical and electrical parts of the boat are also covered.

Our intention is to involve the students (and staff) in our project and in return provide sailing experience for them. Of course, they have a curriculum to follow and rebuilding a COD cannot be covered by it. Ability to do ONE rivet may get the box ticked but the 50 rivets per rib would be excessive! Nevertheless, they were very helpful in allowing us to take Cymba up there and they will help us with it.

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Cymba's condition is bad but the priority was to get it under cover and supported correctly. The hull is out of shape due to it sitting or poor supports and full of water. We expect, with new floorbeams and ribs it should pull back into shape.

Using our lifting device and our trailer, Cymba was successfully moved to Llandrillo

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Cymba had been sitting on a trailer behind the Doctor's Surgery in Deganwy for several years. A syndicate of 3 of our well-founded members had intended to have it restored professionally but the estimate for repair was prohibitively high and that project was abandoned.

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CODBLOG 7 -- Start of the Rebuild

The floorbeams that came out were mostly in two halves. By putting them together a template could be made to make new beams using 1.5ins.  thick oak. This is were we missed having a bandsaw. Rod Yates sourced the timber and also found someone to cut it to shape. With a little tweaking when offered up to the boat they fitted perfectly.

  Arthur Davies, who is the font of all knowledge on COD reconstruction then gave us the first lesson in the art of riveting. This is a two-man (or woman!) operation which involves drilling and fitting a copper nail from the outside and securing it with a washer-like "rove" from the inside. All this co-ordinated activity with "dollies" and ball-pein hammers is very manual but it does give a satisfying end result when the piece is secured in place.

Once all the floor beams are back in place the hull feels more rigid and we can safely start on removing and replacing ribs.

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CODBLOG8 - GWALCH : Let Ribbing Commence

COD ribs are made from North American Rock Elm. Your common or garden European Rock Elm wont do -- its not flexible enough. It is also resistant to water and besides marine use its apparently used in the funereal business, strangely enough.

Very few of the existing ribs were considered serviceable so we decided to do them all. We wanted 9ft. lengths for most of the ribs. Some of the ribs are shorter but as there are 39 ribs in all our requirement was quite substantial. Once again Rod Yates procured the timber and with his workmate, Bill Macready cut it and planed it all to size and delivered it to our door.

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 Arthur has now initiated Keith and I into the art of ribbing. First, we set up a steamer connected to a length of drainpipe. When this is nicely brewing we pop the cut rib into the pipe and steam for about 50 minutes. After this the wood is pliable so it is taken out of the steamer and quickly positioned inside the boat hull and clamped in place. It gets a bit hectic at this time because because it all has to happen before the wood starts to stiffen up.

We then drill and rivet the rib in place. I think its about 52 rivets per rib. We have now put in our first rib  -- only 38 to go
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CODBLOG 9  --- COD Centenary Project  --- Ribbing Continues on GWALCH

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We are now passed the halfway point with the re-ribbing of Gwalch with 24 done already. Following instructions from Arthur, Keith and I have cracked on with it. We have now drawn Neil Roobottom and Neil Appleton into the "ribbing team" and we are romping away with it!

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In a previous life as an Industrial Engineer, I would have set a Standard Time of under one hour per rib and expected 8 ribs a day from a pair of operators. In Nissan we'd have probably done twice that! However, in our declining years our pace of work and recovery time is somewhat extended and one rib a day feels like a good days work --- certainly worthy of a celebratory pint afterwards!

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 Our timber merchant has come up with a chunk of oak suitable for the stem. The grain has to follow the curve of the stem so the wood has to have been grown like that. They managed to get 2 slices out of the section so we have the wood to make new stems for both Gwalch and Kandahar. These large, banana-shaped pieces will certainly take some whittling down.

CODBLOG10:  - Gwalch’s Back End

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The old transom was shot so a suitable slab of new wood was purchased from our friendly woodyard in Trefnant. Using the old transom as a template Rod cut a new one to shape on the bandsaw. I think he's getting quite adept at bandsawing as it turned out to be a very good fit. The practice will be useful as we have a lot more parts to cut out!

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The edges had to be chamfered and this was done with an electric planer and then the new transom was offered up to the boat. It was looking pretty good and only a little more planing was needed before we could clamp it to position.

The ends of the planks were in a bad condition where the nails had been and they have had to be rebuilt using fibreglass. There are 3 planks on the port side that will have to have new ends scarfed on and both top planks and rubbing strips will be renewed. All this work will be done after the transom is fitted.

The original "Knee", the L-shaped piece that supports the bottom of the transom to the keel was found to be useable after a little TLC and this was bolted temporarily to position. It will be secured with silicon-bronze coach-bolts eventually but for now we are using bog standard steel ones to hold it in position so we can mount the transom.








Eventually, after a few dry runs we fitted the transom using Sikaflex sealant on the joint and clamped it in position. We then secured the planks to it using copper nails. A little bit of sanding and the job's done. Result!

 

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CODBLOG11: The New Stem

Arthur had been whittling away at the big banana-shaped piece of oak and this week arrived at the boat with the new stem ready for its first fitting. This was the first of several fittings and after each time the stem was "fettled" to get a better fit.

The bottom of the stem is secured to the keel with two large coach bolts and for the final fitting the interface was given a large dollup of Sikaflex sealant.

Martin Williams, who used to work at his father's boat yard, Williams & Nixon on Deganwy Dock, came round this week to see how we were getting on and offered the use of some large clamps that had come from the old boatyard. These came in very handy when fitting the stem. They obviously hadn't been used for many years and we couldn't help wondering about which old boat they were last used on!

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Gwalch has no deck on, so, as you squeeze the sides together the bow pushes forward. Hence the requirement for the clamps  --  as we wound them in amidships the bow planks lined up with the new stem.





The end of the planks have been renovated using fibreglass. These were then drilled and nailed to the new stem. The final finishing of the stem can now be done in situ.

 

 

 

After so long with a gaping hole at the front, Gwalch is now looking like a boat again!

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CODBLOG12: Ribs good to go

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We've finished the ribs  --  that is we've replaced all that we think is necessary. There is one original one left which looks OK so it will stay. Hope we don't regret that later but meanwhile it will give us a useful reference point for the next stage.

The Rudder Support Block has been renewed. This was hand-crafted by Jeremy Byrom out a mahogany gatepost provided by Rod Yates.






The Keelsom, which is the big plank inside the boat, sitting on top of the keel has been replaced using a very big chunk of oak which we planed ourselves. Its held in by the keelbolt securing nuts. Its got a curve to it so bending this thick plank was a gradual process tightening the nuts down, putting a turn on them each day until the thing was in position.

 

CODBLOG13: A VIP Visit

Last year, when this Centenary Project got started and we were arranging to move Kandahar from Gallows Point, Beaumaris to the workshop "tent" I received a letter from a Mrs Rosemary Asher who lives in the Isle of Wight. Mrs Asher's grandson had uncovered some old trophies in her attic and she rembered that her father "had won them at Conwy sailing his One-design boat called Kandahar".

What a coincidence!

I checked our records and, sure enough, her father Clive Preston and his friend Ralph Morgan had been the first owners of Kandahar back in 1930 and their names are on our trophy boards in the Club.

I wrote back to Mrs Asher and told her what we were doing and enclosed a recent photo of Kandahar. I could just imagine her surprise at finding out that the boat had actually survived all these years, let alone was the focus of a restoration project!

I naturally invited her up to see the project and her father's old boat. Last month she and her husband, Andrew, revisited North Wales and joined us at the Club for the "Last Night of the Proms" evening. On the following Monday they visited the Workshop. It felt a bit like having a Royal Visit! Thankfully, they were impressed with the progress (on Gwalch not Kandahar yet) and we look forward to repeat visits and, with a little luck seeing Kandahar back on the water.

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CODBLOG14: Top planks.

The Top Planks and the Rubbing Strips all need replacing. This is a big job because they run the full lenght of the boat, they are shaped to fit the lines of the boat and they are made out of 5/8inch mahogany planking.















Getting mahogany anyway is a bit of a challenge -- 21 feet lengths just cannot be done on our budget. We have to scarf-joint two shorter lengths together to make each one. West Epoxy was used to glue the joints together. The joints seem pretty secure and when planed are not too noticeable.











The Rubbing Strips were not too difficult, once sanded down they only required a rounded edge on one side. Because they are fairly thin they are very flexible and bend nicely to the curvature of the hull. The Top Planks however are a a bit chunkier and take a lot more bending to fit to position. Additionally, before fitting and after they were planed we put a feature line down them as all the original boats had. This was done with a router -- not an easy task to keep a straight line --- but I think we'll get away with it!

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Before fitting the Top Planks the Deck Beam Shelves need to be positioned as these will be rivetted together with the planks. The original Deck Beam Sheves are useable -- (one had to be repaired using the West adhesive) -- which is a great saving because these also run the whole length of the boat. Also, these give the positions of all the Deck Beams so we know we will get these back in their original positions.

Once the Deck Beam Shelves are clamped in position we can offer up the old Deck Beams to make sure the alignment is correct. Its getting quite exciting now as the boat seems to be taking shape

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CODBLOG15: Up to deck level at last.

It was time to fit the Rubbing Strips and Top Planks that we had prepared earlier. Handling was the dangerous bit. Having had one disaster through trying to bend one plank too far, Keith and I were now far more careful handling these 21ft planks!

The Rubbing Strips were fairly easy as they were thinner and formed to the shape of the hull as they were offered up. They are then nailed to the plank below along the whole length.

The Top Planks were a different matter. These are tapered at each end. The old planks had been used as patterns and the finished shape is something like a strip of a banana skin, 21 ft long. Fitting them entailed bending the plank around the horizontal curvature of the boat and also pulling it down at the ends to fit flush with the rubbing strip.

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 At the stern of a COD the hull shape turns in at the top (called ”Tumblehome” for some reason!) and this puts yet another axis to which the plank has to bend to fit. Again, we didn’t want to force it so we put clamps and a tourniquet on each side, and gradually tightened them over a few days, persuading them into position before riveting to the ribs and nailing to the transom.

The blanking operation seems to work well. We almost mass-produced them on the pillar drill, dip them in varnish to seal them before tapping them into each hole to cover the rivet head (making sure the grain is in line with the plank). The bit sticking out is chiselled off and then it’s sanded to finish. Finished job looks OK  --  can’t wait to get the varnish on!

 Fortunately, we had many G-Clamps available and these were used to clamp the plank to the ribs in position prior to riveting. We did this very gradually to avoid putting too much stress on the plank. We started at the bow where the plank was trimmed to fit into the new stem and then riveting to each of the ribs commenced.

The intention is to finally finish the top planks as a varnished wood feature rather than painting them. The rivet holes need to be blanked off with matching wooden plugs. The plugs would be made out of scrap cut-offs from the plank and we had to make sure we had the right tools to cut out the blanks and to drill the right sized holes. We had a bit of practice on some scrap wood which seemed to go alright so we cracked off with the riveting.

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CODBLOG16: Deck Beams..

All the old deck beams, bar one, needed renewing. A visit to our friendly woodyard in Trefnant had procured the necessary timber for them. Going round the yard pulling random pieces of timber worked out cheaper because some were a bit bent but still suitable for our purpose. Class rules dictate that the 3 most important beams (at the mast, the tiller and the mooring post) should be oak but the rest can be made out of lighter wood. As we had oak available we went for that.

These planks were planed back at our "workshop" and marked out for cutting using the old beams as patterns. A day trip to Yates & Co. at Stockport was arranged and the whole lot was loaded onto Ron Cheetham’s Toyota and off we went. Rod has obviously been practicing on the bandsaw because we made short work of the job and by the end of the day we had a complete set of deck beams to go home with.

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Our technique for fitting the deck beams started with refitting the old beams back in position. With these in place we know that the shape of the boat remains true. We then fitted each new beam one at a time. The beams fit into the deck beam shelves which are original so the ends of the beams have to have dovetails made to fit the original joints








On the principal beams there are reinforcing "knees" which attach to the ribs. The originals were all looking very dodgy so new ones were cut out of appropriate timber, making sure the grain flowed around the bend of the knee to give the strength. The deck beams and the knees were then finally screwed into place.

CODBLOG17: Storm Damage

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Since we put the tent up, the big question has always been "How long will it last?". On a nice calm day we don't even think about it --- but when the wind blows, being inside feels like being at sea in a gale, head-to-wind with everything flapping!

We've put in extra guy ropes, glued patches on, put eyelets in to lash it down and we've managed to keep the thing intact and reasonably watertight. Until now! With the gales over the New Year we lost the battle. The tent roof flapped its last flap! We are now open to the elements.

Fortunately, the gales were not accompanied by too much rain so we we managed to cover all our work-in-progress with borrowed tarpaulins which has given us some time to carry out remedial work.

We had a bit of brainstorming on the repair work and a new roof panel has been ordered. We decided to put extra bracing onto the frame and Keith scrounged some suitable pipework which we've now bolted up. When the new roof is ready we'll get a team together to put it on and hopefully we'll be back in business!

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CODBLOG18: Work Recommences January 2012

Work had stopped on the boat because the roof of the tent had blown off with the gales at New Year. Everything was covered with tarpaulins so it was a matter of waiting for the new roof panel to be made.

We had ordered the new roof from Brooke's Tarpaulins in Penmaenmawr and they were really helpful. When they had finished making it we fitted it with a little help from our friends and it fitted really well.

Keith and I repaired the tears in the sides of the tent and made sure everything was well lashed down. Everthing now appears to be weatherproof. Once we had sorted the mess inside, caused by our hurried covering of everything following the storm, we are more or less back in business.

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CODBLOG19: Carlins and Side Deck Beams

Another trip to our friendly woodyard in Trefnant and we had the two Carlins, which are the beams which run down each side of the cockpit to support the side decks. They are jointed into the deckbeams at the front and rear of the cockpit, and when fitted should have a nice sweeping curve to them.

We had kept all the old side-deck beams and they were all numbered. Although too far gone to be re-used they were invaluable to get the correct curve on the Carlins. Fortunately, we have enough stretch clamps to pull the new Carlins into position.

We then made the new side-deck beams (9 per side) using the old beams as patterns. Joints at each end are half-dovetailed, which gave us a bit of a challenge!

The wood for the side-deck beams is traditionally pitch pine which is not so easy to obtain. We actually bought a couple of old door frames salvaged from a chapel and the new beams are made from these. The only problem with reclaimed wood is having to extract any steel nails from them.

At this stage  its getting very close to fitting the deck panels so we must make sure we've thought about everything that should be done before this. For example, the Samson Post or bollard that the mooring rope ties onto. When you look at a completed COD you only see a short protruberance sticking out of the deck, but actually this is a very chunky piece of oak that goes right down and bolts onto a floorbeam.

Also the mounting for the Chain Plates that secure the mast shrouds to the deck have to be prepared. Its much easier to do the work now rather than later when the deck panels are on.

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CODBLOG20: Deck Panels

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Once all the panels were secured to position we could do the final preparation on them. The edges were all sanded back to shape, slots made for the chainplates, the transom horse was fitted. To make it easier to fit the front deck panels we had removed the Samson post; now we could make the holes in the deck panels and refit it.

To cover the raw edges of the deck panels we are going to fit a half-round moulding, which will effectively be another rubbing strip around the boat. We already have some spare mahogany which we can cut into strips using the circular saw and then plane and sand to shape. They will then have to be scarfe jointed to give the 21 foot lengths needed down the side of the boat.

Next step was to strip the deck off again ready for painting inside the boat. All very exciting!

We had decided to fit the deck panels provisionally before we painted the inside of the boat. We had worked out that 4 sheets of Marine Ply would be needed and had worked out how we would cut them out to fit, rather like a large jigsaw.

The plywood was bought from Huws Gray in Mochdre and very quickly we were able to offer the panels up to the boat, mark them up and cut them to shape using an electric jigsaw.

For this "first fitting" we used steel posidrive screws which can be zapped in and out much quicker with a power tool. The proper screws we will use eventually to secure the deck are much softer and its too easy to damage the heads with a screwdriver.

The tricky bit was the short panel at the bow which had to fit round the stem. Keith used his Blue Peter training to cut out a paper and card pattern which we used to cut the panel.

Its amazing how the boat changes once that deck goes on. Its really beginning to look like the real thing!

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CODBLOG21: Time For Some Paint

So that we could get better access, the deck panels were removed (we'd only used "slave" steel screws). These panels were given a coat of primer, inside and out.

At this stage, Gig Jackson brought his years of professional experience to the project together with his old clothes and a variety of sealing materials and got stuck in!

Inside the boat we wanted it painted up to the stringer level and a "woody" effect above that. We are using Danish oil on the bare wood rather than varnish as it should give better protection, provided its maintained. In the bilges we painted, firstly in primer and then with "Danboline" bilge paint in a nice red colour.

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At this stage we wanted to start getting the planks to take up some water and the technique is to lay blankets (or in our case, old curtains) in the bottom of the boat and soak them. The hosepipe wouldn't reach so it was by bucket into the bilges  -- and then watch the shower underneath!

We've been doing this operation for about a week now and each time the leakage is a little bit less -- so it seems to be working. Keeping fingers very much crossed!

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  There are two types of primer from International Paints -- Yacht Primer for the topsides and Primacon for below the waterline. Trying to do the job properly we chalked out the waterline using Kandahar for reference measurements. The theory was that we would paint the Primer and the Primacon at the right levels. The problem is, once painted, it all looks the same and now we need another line!

Sealing the gaps between the planks has always been a worry. With so long out of the water, the wood has shrunk and the gaps between seem horrendous. We have been assured that this is normal and the planks will take up once water is added. We hope!

Traditionally, the caulking is done with a cotton string with putty softened with linseed oil. We have gone for a more modern solution which is a polyurethane adhesive/filler called "Tigerseal" which has been used successfully on other COD's in the fleet. Its main use is for the Motor Trade and in particular, Rally Teams to secure body panels and screens etc. but for us the main advantages are that it can be sanded down but still remains pliable enough to be squeezed when the planks expand in the water. For the wde gaps, the proper cotton caulking was used as well as the Tigerseal. After 24 hours it could be sanded down.

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CODBLOG22: Combings and Mouldings

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If you spend any time comparing different COD's as I do (sad, I agree!) one of the most obvious differences is in the top Rubbing Strip which runs from stem to stern at deck level.

Originally, boats such as Kandahar and Gwalch had sort of twin Rubbing Strips each side of the top plank but over the years the bottom one has been planed away. The top ones seem to have been replaced with a variety of sizes of moulding. These mouldings have a dual function of rubbing strip and finisher for the raw edge of the deck panels. In the old days, decks were covered with canvas and this was secured at the edges by these rubbing strips.

For Gwalch we have the original twin strip arrangement and the point of concern was the appropriate size of the top moulding. It is, after all, there to provide protection for side impacts but also it has to look proportionally correct alongside the other strip. After a little experimenting a size was decided on and the mouldings were made from off-cuts from the Top Planks and scarfed to form two 21 foot lengths. These were hand-planed and sanded to the section profile we'd agreed. They were then screwed and glued to the boat. The worry about them is that they are such a noticeable part of the boat that they have got to look right. Hopefully, our work will look OK when finally sanded and varnished.

The next item tackled, also a highly visible one, were the cockpit surrounds, or Combings. The original ones we had taken off were past repair so new teak planks were sourced from the woodyard and cut to the pattern of the originals. We have bolted the combings to the carlins and deckbeams so that (in theory) they could be removed at some time in the future if required. As the four pieces are securely glued and screwed together the whole assembly should come out as one. The front panel in particular was a tricky little number to fit as it was all different angles. We had two goes at it before we got it right.

For those who sail COD's the Combing is a most uncomfortable feature of the boat in that as you sit on the side-deck you have to sit over this 5/8inch plank. The good doctors who had Musetta restored were considerate enough to have a moulding added to the top edge to make it more crew-friendly. All COD sailors look at this with envy so we had to put one on Gwalch! Again, these were hand-made using off-cuts from the same wood as the combings. We stuck the mouldings to the combing using West epoxy adhesive and a multitude of clamps. Next day, clamps removed, we were able to plane and sand and the result is very pleasing.

I just hope that those crewing Gwalch in the future will appreciate what efforts have been made to avoid bruises on their bottoms!

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CODBLOG23: The Paintjob

We had many discussions, mostly around the bar, about the final colour of the hull. Dark colours are not so good with sunlight (if we ever get any) and we wanted to be different from the many white-hulled COD's. Reds and blues are also well represented so we opted for Cream from the International range.

We had put grey Primocon on the surfaces that would be underwater and Yacht Primer, also grey on the topsides. The break-line between these two, in theory, was the waterline.

Establishing the waterline is a tricky business. Perhaps some sort of laser marker might work if you could make sure it was level AND that the boat was level. Surprisingly, the answer turned out to be on the other boat we had in the tent, ie Kandahar. This has the waterline scored into the hull planks, presumably when it was being built. How this was done originally is still a mystery that we might solve one day! Anyway, we took measurements down the hull at regular intervals from the gunwhale to the waterline and transposed them onto Gwalch. Then it was "Join-the-dots" time using a long piece of flexible plastic as a rule. This turned out to be a 3-man job with two holding the rule and the third marking the hull with a pencil. This performance was repeated several times as we had opted for a white "Boot-topping", a stripe of white Antifouling between the cream topsides and the black antifouling below.

Our paint specialist, Gig Jackson, had set out to achieve a "piano-top" finish to the hull. Unfortunately, we knew that this would be spoilt when the hull took on water after being dry for so long. The planks would then squeeze out the sealer from in-between and create a "railway track" effect. What we didn't realise was that this effect would start even with the paint going on. As the Yacht Primer, the Undercoat and then the Topcoats were applied, the dry timbers sucked in the paint and the sealer squeezed out at the joints. Perhaps next year for the "piano-top finish"!

All the woodwork has been treated with Danish Oil and it really looks good. The Marine-ply deck, having been primed with Primacon was finished with a couple of coats of Interdeck anti-slip deck paint. Gig Jackson and Peter White have put a lot of time in on the painting and the boat is really looking good.

 

CODBLOG24: Fitting Out

It would have been nice to refit Gwalch with all new fittings. Our budget, however, doesn't run to new Harken blocks etc. so we are largely making do with what we've got.

Keith and I did a fair bit of scouting around the other boats in the fleet to try to ensure we fitted the bits in the right place. This is when you find that every boat is different. ONE Design.........HAH!

COD's aren't too complicated. There are also many sailors of COD's, currently or in previous years, who will give you their views on what works and what doesn't. Unfortunately, they are all different and often contradictory!

Naturally, basing it on the "KISS" principle (Keep it simple,Stupid) we put it together as best we could. Time was now running very fast. We had important deadlines to meet. My objective was to get Gwalch to our Regatta in the Menai Strats and time was really tight. Also, we were on notice at our premises. Alun Simpson's nephew, who has inherited the property wanted us off the site by end of August so Gwalch had to be finished pronto.

The outstanding items turned out to be the Bow Roller and Forestay fitting. The latter was purchased from Davey's, a chandler specialising in Classic boat stuff and the Bow Roller was fabricated from stainless steel by David Williams in Builder Street.

The other items that caused concern were the Back-Stay Runners. The original COD Specification calls for 2 Runner Plates for the Back Stays so presumably the various tracks that most boats have got are a more recent addition. The problem is that the leeward backstay has to be let off when sailing downwind to allow the boom to go forward. All COD's have got some device to make this job easier. Most common are runners on the deck with the backstays attached to travellers held in them. There are other variations including one that has levers that look like they come from Deganwy signal box!

It was time to get the mast up. Firstly, to check that the mast step and the mast chock were correct and the mast would fit in and secondly so that we could finalise the positions of deck fittings such as the jib fairleads.

In theory it should have been easy using our lifting gear to get Gwalch back on the trailer. However, this was the first time we had lifted a newly painted boat and we were being very careful not to damage the paintwork. The boat was eventually loaded (we had borrowed Minnie’s trailer) and we pulled it into the open air for the first time in two years.

Minnie’s trailer is a little higher than our own and negotiating the sheds was a bit tricky. We were so intent on avoiding contact with the sides that we didn’t notice that we had hooked a rope from the tent around the tiller. Incredibly, it was not noticed until the next day that the tiller had been forced back so hard that it split.

The tiller was a brand new one formed from an off-cut of one of the oak deck beams which had taken hours to make and lovingly treated with coats of varnish. It was a little heart-breaking to say the least. Fortunately, it was repairable with our old friend, West Epoxy adhesive.

We stepped the mast without too much drama and noted that the shrouds we had would need shortening. This we would do after the boat was on the water so that the mast-rake could be set correctly.

The Backstays proved more difficult. The sliders aren’t sliding and we’re not happy that the tracks are secure enough. A lot of time has been spent on these and we are still not happy. With the clock running it looks like we’ll have to rig a temporary arrangement in order to get it away.

 

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CODBLOG25: Floating At Last

We didn't want a big crowd for the first launch for Gwalch. There was too much to go wrong. The brass band and champagne would have to wait until we were sure the thing floated!

Although a mooring in the river had been arranged (gratis, thanks kindly to our new Harbour Master, Matthew Forbes) we needed to get it into the Marina after launching and this was arranged thanks to the Manager, Jon Roberts. Also thanks to Barry Sharples who allowed us to raft up alongside Musetta in the marina berth. We wanted to be able to pump it out if it took on a lot of water. Also, the Marina is so much easier if you've got work to do on the boat.

When the big day arrived we had a strong team in place at the Deganwy slipway. Keith brought the Guard Boat over the river while Gwalch was towed down with the faithful Suzuki. There was some discussion between the experts as to whether to put the mast up prior to launching or afterwards, alongside the jetty. The worry was that the boat would take on water and we may need to get it to the marina quickly. In the end it was Anne Grace who took charge here and on her command the boat was slipped into the water minus the mast. The launching actually went so smoothly it was almost an anti-climax!

Once off the trailer, Gwalch was pulled to the jetty for the mast to be fitted. This was the critrical point. What a relief when we found it was watertight and it wasn't going to sink! Amidst all the euphoria the mast was stepped and secured. The boat was then towed round to Deganwy Marina and tied alongside Musetta where we can carry out the final tweaking. Result!

The next day Keith and I took her out for a sail. The original sails for Gwalch have gone missing so for this sail we used the ones off Kandahar. They probably hadn't been out of the bag for 30 years or so but they don't look too bad. We had a lovely little sail around the bay. Roland Young and Patrick Roobottom in turn shared this maiden flight with us (potential participants for the future perhaps?).

Two days to go. Gwalch IS going to make it to the Menai Straits Regatta this year. Hoorah! Hoorah!

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(C) 2013, Conway Yacht Club, 43 Station Road, Deganwy, LL31 9DF - Telephone 01492 583690

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