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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.

stb side rot.JPG

transom off.JPG

new planks in.JPG

painted in shed.JPG

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Worthy of a trip back to Beccles come August, your making a grand job!

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Through the pictures you have indeed done/doing a fantastic job of keeping Broadland Grebe for future generations to admire

Charlie

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youre mad, youre naive - and we love you for just those facts, it takes a certain kind of person to take on the restoration of a woodie, we love the fact you are giving it a go, to watch the transom vanish and find it amusing, for a lot of people that would be a show stopper.

I am just as mad, taking on 2 model boats at 1/12 size, the difference is I can do most of it at home.

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1 minute ago, grendel said:

youre mad, youre naive - and we love you for just those facts, it takes a certain kind of person to take on the restoration of a woodie, we love the fact you are giving it a go, to watch the transom vanish and find it amusing, for a lot of people that would be a show stopper.

I am just as mad, taking on 2 model boats at 1/12 size, the difference is I can do most of it at home.

Wait til I tell you about the engine! 

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I bet you didnt have the hassles I did getting the prop shaft and motor aligned.

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3 minutes ago, grendel said:

I bet you didnt have the hassles I did getting the prop shaft and motor aligned.

Metal bit comes later. That was deep joy!

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Lets have some more then, stop messing about.

As I was amongst the group that sort of cajoled you into parting with hard earned, I support you whole heartedly in this venture, last time we saw your boat it looked a treat, and at least yours floated when you bought it.

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More please! I love these resto threads! I greatly admire anyone who takes on a woodie, it doesn't matter if you are an expert or a novice as without someone to love them they will return to nature by themselves.

I like to think that one day I too might join the ranks of the mad and naive.....

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Us woodies know all about rot and more rot and when you think you have cured all the rot someone finds more. Thanks for sharing . Liz and WR!

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Please post more on this project and pics.  I'm certainly not bored! 

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Gosh, the size of those frames! Looks that it's coming on just fine.

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 Now, we all know as car or house owners what it means when the trades person looks at the job and sucks his/her teeth. That look in the eye that shows the proverbial pound sign. I recall that look from my Navy days when I asked for time off and the boss would look heavenward and then there was that sucking noise followed by the word, 'well'. You just know what the answer, or at least the spirit of the answer will be. So it was one Friday afternoon. We were heading back to Somerleyton from Beccles at the time, chugging (and we did chug) along making that incredible blowing noise, when the incident occurred. we reduced speed to pass under the bridge and make the sharp turn into the marina when - nothing. The engine was running but nothing happened when Madam Captain tried to reduce the speed of the boat. Of course I blamed her and took over the controls to no avail. The exhaust  went blacker than an undertaker's hat, the sound was like the Flying Scotsman on acid, not to worry because we "ferry glided" into our moorings stern on and made fast in a cloud of multi-coloured smoke. 

Having a rudimentary knowledge of engines sort of helps in these situations. Believe me when I say my knowledge is rudimentary, a quick look and a few minutes with a spanner revealed that a cylinder liner had cracked. I suspected there was a problem with this engine from day one but we had put off doing anything until the following year. We sort of knew it was terminal but thought we could manage a couple of weeks. As it happens our local engineer was at hand to confirm the diagnosis was correct. A new engine was ordered and paid for, we retired to the Duke's Head for large quantities of beer and some re-calculations of our boat fund. A few weeks later we were back on the water enjoying the October holidays with a new Nanni engine. Now I know some of you will object to putting the new engine in and tell us we should have repaired the old one. OK, fair enough, but there comes a point when practicality and long-term gain wins over sentimentality and one can only preserve so much of the past. Being realistic here, we want to use our boat and it would cost a fortune to keep the old Lister in spares which are rare as rocking horse manure. Short-term gain over long term pleasure meant that the new engine won. We could have got spares and repaired the Lister but for how long? What we did not want was a large engine bill later. We are more than happy with the new engine and what is more it gives us more room to store beer. One thing about owning a wooden boat is that you need plenty of beer to numb the pain. 

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Nowt wrong with the new power plant in my opinion, boats are like houses they get upgraded over time as needed. Now if you had slapped an outboard on the transom....

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Guest

Actually broadland lapwing has a Nanni in it , and while I stick with my BMC 1.5 I know it or spares will not  last for ever + beer room is highly important :default_biggrin: .

I remember grebe when her pervious owner's had her n yep she sure did hiss n sound like and look like she was steam powered .

Having worked extensively in the past on lapwing iv a huge amount of affection for ripple craft boats .

I always either blame team dog or team pigeon if thing go slightly wrong , I mean how could it possibly be my fault :default_biggrin: .

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Great job. I know the pain but she does look good. We have a Parsons Pike lump 2.7 litre 4 cylinder. It runs, is huge and noisy but very economical. So for the time being the lump stays.

Keep up the good work lovely boats.  

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23 hours ago, socrates said:

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. 

stb side rot.JPG

transom off.JPG

new planks in.JPG

painted in shed.JPG

Personally I say take no notice of these keyboard captain's. You go about restoring a boat in your own way, and that way if all goes well, you can give yourself a pat on the back. If you make a mistake, we all live and learn and at the end of the day, it's your project. You will get a lot of enthusiasm along the way with your boat rebuild with members on this site, and pictures along with likes and forum responses will help if you want to take them on board.

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Nanni engine. Now I know some of you will object to putting the new engine in and tell us we should have repaired the old one.  -  Not at all, I agree with you 100%  We did the same thing with 'B.A' the inherited power lump was a Perky 4108 - it needed a full recondition which would of cost us back then in the region of £3:5k for an extra £2k or so we upgraded to a Beta 50.  More efficient / economical / quieter / smoother etc etc.  The only tiny error you made was fitting a french unit :facepalm:

 

If you make a mistake, we all live and learn and at the end of the day, it's your project.  -  We made loads of these, in fact we got well versed in the accomplishment.  We termed the process   'Learn by do Method'   as in, 'Well, we ain't gonna do it that way next time'  Or     'Well, that's not quite right is it now'? !

Anyroadup, keep the info and pics coming, great thread, thanks for sharing :default_icon_bowdown:

Griff

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The only tiny error you made was fitting a french unit :facepalm:

says someone who drives  a rebadged renault trafic van  :default_gbxhmm:

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Er, point of order.  My VAUXHALL van was copied by the frogs of course. T'other vehicles are Focus and a  Jeep = American,    Dutton Phaeton = British, as is my Tiger.     400-4 = Jap,    Nowt french at this address not even a 'Golden Delicious' (which are neither golden or delicious).  And NO, none of my guns are french either (No point they would only fire backwards)

Griff

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1 hour ago, BroadAmbition said:

and a  Jeep = American,

With a Mercedes engine and running gear  =  German/American  :default_biggrin:, that's why they cost so much to repair :default_blink:

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Nanni, the mariniser, is French but the engine is Japanese Kubota. So is BA's Beta!

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With a Mercedes engine and running gear  =  German/American  :default_biggrin:, that's why they cost so much to repair :default_blink:

Correct but no expensive repair bills as I do em myself

Nanni, the mariniser, is French but the engine is Japanese Kubota. So is BA's Beta!

Correct again, Japanese Kubota and marinised in Birmingham - I'm quite happy with that too

Griff

 

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Getting back to the thread (sorry!), great pics, Socrates, please keep at it, and keep us updated. I just couldn't face all that rotten wood, and I've tremendous admiration for all those of you who happily take on the restoration of those boats, in the sure knowledge it will take a) forever and b) shed loads of dosh and c) blood, sweat and tears along the way. I salute you all. Not forgetting Grendel, who has taken it upon himself to build TWO model wooden boats from scratch, using the same building methods as the real thing, where practical. :default_icon_bowdown: 

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