Case Study – Large Wooden Sailing Boat
Client was looking for a large wooden sailing boat, primary function to be used as a luxury floating office, but also have the ability to enjoy family cruising both coastal and offshore.
Client was quite happy buying a project- and there are not many of those around are there?? !!!
1st choice was found by client. A boat with a difference! In partially rebuilt condition, as she had been the Vendor’s unfinished project, I inspected her, which then led to a short sea trial. So far so good…
Then came the interesting issue of ‘lifting’ her to inspect the undersides. Due to her size, the only option was Plymouth or the Solent- on a vessel of this size this was too expensive. Best solution therefore was to beach her on the Exe! Bit different than the normal hour under the travel hoist!
Client eventually decided against this craft. Next, off to nice Airport to inspect clients next choice- an ex East coast Pilot Cutter. Now languishing in the French Riviera, having been extensively rebuilt over the years, and used for a mixture of family and corporate work.
Inspected and sea trialled- all satisfactory, and the vessel was sold. Client wanted her back in UK-options, sea, canal or road? Eventually, given the time of year, it was decided a mixture of road and sea would be best. Flew out to S France again, and spent 2 days derigging her and preparing for mast unstepping and stowing- the steel mast alone weighed over a tonne. She was loaded onto an Artic, and driven up to Cherbourg. Our trusty recommissioning team drove over to meet her, and awaited her arrival nervously. She was a big girl sitting on that lorry! All OK at the port, we prepared to lift her- crane could not get her of the truck- it refused to lift more than a few inches. Much Gallic head scratching later, we moved the strops around to help redistribute the loads, and amongst many French expletives, she rose gingerly- albeit gracefully, and lay suspended. We all held breaths until finally that lovely sound of lapping water on planking relieved the load on the crane, and she was safely in.
Then followed the simple matter of restepping the 1 tonne mast, then manhandling the boom, gaff and bowsprit into position. All running rigging was re-reeved. We worked on late to ensure all was set for the Cross channel hop.
The following day dawned beautifully. An early start, hoisted sails in the Rade in Cherbourg, and enjoyed a wonderful end October sail, arriving Dartmouth late in the evening.
We just made it, because literally the next day signalled the start of winter, with driving rain lashing the boat, gales whistling through the rigging. However, she was safely in Dartmouth, all delivered to client, comfortable in the knowledge that she was all set, tested, sailed and ready for her new Owner!