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  1. A couple of people have asked me to report on the progress of the restoration of Broadland Grebe. I have been reluctant to do so for several reasons: not least of these is that I admit to being no expert on the subject, and I am all too aware that most people on this forum know a lot more about wooden boats than I do. Furthermore, I am all too aware that there are a loot of keyboard captains who just love to tell me that I am mad and naive! to undertake such a task. To the experts I say that I welcome your advice, but I love many, trust few and always steer my own course. To the keyboard captains, I say don't waste your time on me. The caveat part over with I will begin at the beginning. My wife and I spent about ten years hiring boats every summer, we hired from a number of companies and the boats were pleasant with most of the mod cons one would expect to find. Being a teacher, we hired every summer and this eventually ended up every October and soon it was every school holiday. There was no option other than to think about purchasing our own boat. We spent a couple of years looking at different types of boats, mostly ex-hire craft and a few others. Throughout this time we constantly admired wooden boats, there was just something about them that seemed to resonate with us. It was our admiration of wooden boats that took us to the wooden boat show in Beccles some four years ago. It was there that we saw the boat that made us go "wow", although looking rather sad, the streamlined shape struck both us. We knew something of the history of the boat and it was love at first sight. A look around her revealed a degree of neglect, and like the sad dog in the dog shelter, this boat needed a new owner. Another look round her revealed even more issues, a few gins and some calculations, followed by a trip out on her showed us that she was in a sorry state. We returned home to think and plan. Finally we offered a price that was agreeable. The previous owner arranged a survey: one look at this "survey" told me it was not worth the paper it was written on. No names , but the so called "surveyor" was no more of a surveyor than I was! Moral of story - check the credentials of the surveyor. Luckily I knew where most (but not all) of the problems where. So in October of 2012, we took ownership of Broadland Grebe, eight ton of boat, an estimated ton of rot, and a crippled Lister engine which belched multi-coloured smoke and sounded like the Flying Scotsman on acid. We spent the October holidays cleaning (as much as we could) and doing a short cruise from Somerleyton to Beccles. Whilst cruising, we began to find the leaks spurting from various places and the mushrooms (yes, actual mushrooms) around the back bunk. Further investigations revealed the "wood" in this area was more like sponge, previous owners had done "repairs" that would make Dodgy Dave the Essex car dealer proud. Filler and more filler held the oat together. I began to think that the previous owners had shares in a filler factory. So out of the water we came. Now the real work began. We had discussions with our friendly boat builder and drew up a five year plan. We worked out that we could do restoration in the winter and still have the boat in the water by May to cruise in the Summer holidays. Whilst taking her out of the water, the transom was removed in one sweep of the power washer! Much to our amusement and the horror of the person operating the washer. Well, we were intending to replace the transom! We tackled the worst parts first, it was difficult to decide which because there was so much rot. Wheelbarrow after wheel barrow load of rotten wood was removed from the aft part of the boat. The port side top four planks needed replacing urgently, not to mention the transom steps. (see pictures). We also stripped back the paint and repainted her As planned we were back in the water in April of 2013. We were also on budget! Did I mention the cooker blew up! So we had to get a new one. Oh, the fridge as well. Not to mention the bits of wood we would find breaking off. Now dear reader I will have bored you with our little journey so far. So I will leave this here and wait to see if anyone wants more. More rot....there is lots more.
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