Classic Boat



Staying with material use you inevitably arrive at the question of construction. For steel, should we go for riveted or welded construction? In the old days, more than a few ships sank due to rivets popping out, but it’s still the benchmark for authenticity. Finding a yard capable and courageous enough to rivet a large ship is a project in itself. The next hurdle is to make a case with Lloyd’s who no longer have the people to survey and approve such construction. It can be done: the GL Watson office recently managed the restoration of one of their iconic designs and hired a crew of 100 men to work for two years to rivet a hull.

The result took my breath away but very few are ready to shoulder the expense as the labour cost is two to three times that of welding, an increase of a million Euros or more to a schooner like Atlantic.


Another eternal dilemma is what to do with boats designed with centreboards. Westward was easy as she didn’t have one. Atlantic, Elena and Ingomar had centreboards, as did all J boats from the 1930s. They increased lateral surface upwind but were a nightmare to maintain. Usually they were huge, solid bronze plates lowered and hauled by captive winches. The cases also attracted shellfish and other sea life. As their population grew they blocked the thing

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