ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

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TheGuvnah
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ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by TheGuvnah » Mon Aug 08, 2016 12:02 am

It was inevitable really, and only a matter of time before I ended up here on the C.V.R.D.A.
The name’s Dave, single Dad to two young lads and not quite land-locked in sunny Coventry (?)

20+ years ago my brother and I decided we’d had enough of the city routine and that the pull of sail was too strong to resist. To that end we encamped in Weymouth to do our RYA Day Skipper tickets as the sine qua non to a life afloat. The theory bits took place above the Old Harbour dive centre and it triggered all my childhood fascinations with the subaquatic world, Cousteau’s Conshelf, the plates and engravings from a leatherbound copy of Diving & Submarine Operations by R H Davis flashed before me and that was it. Bro went off to become a delivery skipper and I took the professional PADI diving instructor route.

Back in March I casually mentioned to the boyos that I was thinking of getting us a small dinghy or keelboat and asked them if they fancied a bit of sailing this Summer? They’ve been hopping up and down at the prospect ever since. Heart ruled head with the first acquisition; an old (off-Bay) Osprey that defied the owner’s assurances that I could “…put it on the water this Summer and do the cosmetics over the Winter, no bother…” Upshot was that a life of hard sailing against the Severn Estuary tides combined with poor storage has left it with sodden bulkhead frames and panels both fore and aft and she’s now under cover and nicely dried out ready for work to commence. Truth be told I just fell for the lines on it, I mean just look at them, phwooaar... eh.. eh!

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hmmmm.... OK not the end of the world.

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...and at the stern...

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Deck ply is beyond repair and those sections that haven't delaminated are 50% epoxy filler. S'all doable.

None of it gets us on the water so… it was back to the auction and boatyard listings, Not in the least bit interested in FG boats – gotta be timber – patience… patience… – finger hovering over the BID NOW button – nah not that one; transom’s scrap – and then… Lady Luck gave me one of her all too rare sideways glances and with a saucy wink said “Today, I choose… YOU”.

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The classic genuine textbook "barn find"; a very early Enterprise (no.878), with its docs, no interest so far, no watchers, no bids? Hmmmmm… what's wrong with it apart from no trailer? Time to pm the seller I think because the zoomed up hull pics told more than the dilapidated backdrop would suggest. Underneath the cobwebs, wind blown leaf detritus and mouse dung it looked fundamentally to be in superb condition. Telephone calls ensued which confirmed that it was indeed grot not rot in the seams, dry stored for 30 years. No trailer though (long since reduced to a pile of ferrous dust), no trolley either.

The Osprey’s custom built road trailer had ancient 3 stud hubs and the wheels were more Hammerite than steel and How the hell it managed the 80 mile trip up the M5 I'll never know. Thus followed an epic 4 week stem to stern trailer refurb/adaptation during which every single component got renewed. And every single one of which proved a right royal recalcitrant pain in the arris. In the end I was even lathing up, boring out and shrinking fitting bronze spacers/oil seal lands onto the stubs to make modern 4stud hubs play nice with my old axle spindles. (0.001” undersize for a 1” spindle : 20 mins @ gas mark 5 works a treat btw)

£200 squid and Enterprise no.878 is back in the warehouse and work has started on giving her the twice over and a fresh hull paint.

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First impressions have been justified, (both on the minty condition of the Ent and the purposeful beauty of an Osprey's lines).

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Honestly I can't find a thing wrong that I didn't expect and it all seems tight as a drum. Built by a master carpenter from a Bell’s kit and rigorously maintained, a one family boat from new, she's never even been named. Even got the two original and beautifully made curved plywood hand bailers! She survived the trip back from Somerset without damage, no seams opened up, not even a crack in the paint where the pads bore against the hull. Spruce mast (the top foot of which has evidence of woodworm exit holes) and boom, every deck and spar fitting is (heavily patinated) bronze.

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All this boat needs is a few tins of elbow grease. a few hundred quid more and ‘me hearty crew’ ready to pitch in and learn how a sailing dinghy goes together and more importantly how you can, analyse, dissect a problem, formulate a plan and then actually FIX things rather than chuck them away.

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I can’t think of a more engaging and comprehensive learning opportunity. If I can do nothing more for them than embed that ethos I’ll be a happy man and this as yet un-named dinghy (it’s only ever been known as “The Boat”) will have served its purpose, proved its worth and earned its keep.

Can't hang about with this as I want the boys to have a Summer introduction to sailing rather than a chilling windy Winter one; plenty of time to 'harden them off' as it were.

Most of my tooling though is lathe/milling/precision oriented so I've had to invest a few quid in timber kit the best of which was the M*chine M*rt heat gun.
The existing paint was well adhered but lifted beautifully with a few seconds heat applied and the timber underneath is sound as a pound. With the evidence of its effectiveness right in front of me and the ease with which it can be removed when necessary the decision was made there and then to stick with single pack finishes rather than fanny about with epoxies.

A stop-gap alloy mast and boom have been sourced along with a set of reduced 'cruising' sails to mitigate against the lightness of me hearty crew and my inept helming. The last thing I sailed was a Bavaria 37 and things happen a lot more quickly in a 200lb dinghy. As for the Osprey, I think I've got a bit of a tiger by the tail there but it's gonna be bloody good fun that's for sure!! I'm not particularly into racing but if the lads ever fancy their names on a bit of silver they'll have the tool to do it in. The youngest is a bit of an adrenaline junkie in the making and just dying to get strapped onto its trapeze for all the good he'll do. :-)

As for the colour scheme? Well a vanilla Cream appeals but then so does a lighter Ivory white. Don't want to skimp by using hardware store finishes and then Lady Luck must have slipped her phone number into my pocket because that same day two tins of Toplac appeared on the Bay - one Cream and one Ivory - landed them for £16!! I wonder if she'll phone when the spruce mast needs sorting?

So that's where we are at the moment, Of course there're a skip load of other considerations to resolve before we drop her into the Draycote Water shallows: it came with four bouyancy bags two of which are still inflated with 30yr old air! The other two are of questionable integrity being deflated but I haven't even had time to scrub the rodent poop off 'em yet. I know people say don't bother chasing diminishing returns trying to repair old b/bags but here's one for you, has anyone ever tried introducing one of the garage forecourt tyre sealants into one to see if it revives them? Just thinking out loud here but got to be worth a fiver to find out.

Much more to come and of course all advice and critique welcomed.

Dave
Last edited by TheGuvnah on Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
...well if it was easy everybody would have one.

dronskiuk
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by dronskiuk » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:51 am

Great story which I'll enjoy following - good luck...I envy you your workshop and your skills!

Alan P.
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by Alan P. » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:39 pm

Great story Dave. Look forward to further instalments. Learned to sail with Dad in an Ent (9677) when I was 12.

Stick with the Osprey. I only ever twice sailed, one back in the 70's. We went way out to sea off the Isle of Wight. Lovely boats. Equivalent to a ride in a P5 in many ways.

I have a very tatty copy of the 1960 Enterprise Association Handbook which lists your 878 as belonging to a K.Wilson of Street in Somerset but no club. Does not figure in the full results of the 1959 championships!

All the best
OK 1211 Peter Crew wood 1968
Gull 2892 MK6 2014
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TheGuvnah
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by TheGuvnah » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:10 pm

dronskiuk wrote:Great story which I'll enjoy following - good luck...
Thanks Dronski, there'll be a good bit more to come before she hits the water. And subsequently so long as stepping and tensioning doesn't spring a seam.
dronskiuk wrote:I envy you your workshop and your skills!

Yep the workshop couldn't be better, a real godsend. It's a very evocative space if nothing else and if I'm honest, a refuge from the madness of the past few years' tumults. As an electrical apprentice I cut my teeth swinging around the steelwork in places like this. 30yrs ago it would have been nose-to-tail with machine tools awaiting refurb, a visible oily fug in the air, blokes splitting a tenth of a thou and probably playing chess in the dinner breaks (well maybe only the metrology guys). Now there's nothing to betray the presence of the 180 odd skilled men that worked here once. Don't get me started about Massey Ferguson just round the corner!!! Well it was! That was when this City actually had an industrial base, now there're just a few vestigial remnants. But it's an ill wind etc. and the upside is that there are still a few of these old high bay factory premises about hanging on until the day the wrecking crews arrive. In this case I've got 2yrs until it is due to be levelled. :-( but those fully glazed south facing high bays meant that Flypast was pretty much dried out in less than 2 weeks and what's more will now stay that way.

To me... £15 p/wk... :-)

That 2 ton gantry crane came in damned handy today in flipping her over single handed to access the bottom panels. Can't really ask the lads to "just heave that end over a bit".

As for 'the skills', the jury's out on that until she successfully pulls away under sail for the first time in thirty years. Have to say it's all going suspiciously well so far though.

Alan P. wrote: Stick with the Osprey. I only ever twice sailed, one back in the 70's. We went way out to sea off the Isle of Wight. Lovely boats. Equivalent to a ride in a P5 in many ways.
Well the P5 is a tough act to follow ride wise, best car I ever owned but written off when the bonnet catch gave way at 50mph on the A45. Roof creased, firewall ripped up, screen shattered, underpants endangered. I can see what you mean though and post purchase research tells me it's a totally capable sea boat. I'm guessing that comfort in a sea is a function of its lines, its length and its mass. What is it 350lbs or thereabouts? I'm juggling ideas right now about just how I intend to get this bad boy up even the gentlest of slipways. Electric jockey wheel? (got a couple of high torque 24v motors raring to go for that one) or just go low tech with a ground spike at the top and a single block on the trolley for a simple 2:1 purchase and walk it up: yo-oh-heave-ho.
Again I can't ask the boys to "just hold it there a second lads and make sure it doesn't roll back!"
Perhaps a couple of tethered wedges/chocks trailed an inch behind each wheel would do service as an automatic anti-rollback system?
Alan P. wrote:I have a very tatty copy of the 1960 Enterprise Association Handbook which lists your 878 as belonging to a K.Wilson of Street in Somerset but no club. Does not figure in the full results of the 1959 championships!

All the best
Yup, the boat came with a raft of faded paperwork including the receipt from Bells, a copy of the Nat Assoc year book 1960 along with the remains of the drawings. Kenneth Wilson was indeed the chap who built it, and his Mastery of Carpentry cannot be questioned. He certainly knew his onions and it is immaculately put together with not a single wayward scarf, fractionally mismeasured trim or overfilled seam.
From conversation with his daughter (the vendor's Mum) I don't think it was ever raced but the paperwork does include two handbooks for the Weymouth S. C. on the Nothe Parade dated consecutively 1981 and 1982. It was just the family boat that I'm led to believe was occasionally trailed to wherever, dried off and put straight back into the barn. Nothing about its current condition suggests otherwise.

Here's a nice (and equally rare) thing... an 8mm cine film of her sails being raised for the very first time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zERktyX ... e=youtu.be

Picture speaks a thousand words. Love that clip. This is what made me hit the BUY IT NOW button I mean how often does a small dinghy come with a slice of history and provenance like this?
...well if it was easy everybody would have one.

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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by SoggyBadger » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:47 pm

I raced Ospreys for over 20 years so I feel I have some knowledge of the class. Possibly a bit biased towards them too :D

She's obviously a long-term project but I'll l;eave you with this thought to perhaps whet your appetite:Tthe class rules allow a crew of three. Strictly speaking only one of these is allowed to trapeze but a couple of years ago some chap went to the nationals with his young daughter and her friend and was given a dispensation for both girls to trapeze. It's a very friendly class and I'd imagine they'd be happy to do the same for you if decide to go to the nationals. If your lads get hooked on sailing you may have no choice :D
Best wishes


SB

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TheGuvnah
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by TheGuvnah » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:12 am

Tempus fidgets 'an all that so gotta get a move on with 878 (also need to settle on a name for her as well) as there're only a few weeks of the boys' hols left. So just as I'm about to fair and prime the hull I've decided that the rudder stock really is u/s with a fair bit of delamination of the plies under the lower pintle bracket. This post ( viewtopic.php?p=54441#p54441 ) has the pics of what I'm dealing with and I doubt packing the split with epoxy will achieve much other than annoy the hell out of me every time I look at it. The corrosion has gone to the bottom of the screws and blown the ply and contaminated what remains.

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Yuk!

First thought was to knock up a jury rigged rudder stock from the 'gash' timber lying around the workshop but the toe curling embarrassment at launch would be too great to bear so decided to go for something temporary which would look presentable at least until I could source a slab of mahogany to make a new one from the drawings that remain undigested by the meeces. Luckily one contains a full size of the stock. :D Dun't matter so much what it's made of within reason, if it lasts a month or two then for a tenner and a lick of varnish, job done. Off to the local hardware for an offcut of exterior grade 5/8" ply. Now I know the quality of plywood has crashed over the past decade or so but ... ffs! Seriously??

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Now when I was working on site this would have been deemed barely adequate as shuttering ply, Deeply unimpressed with it and informed the manager accordingly along the lines of..."Exterior? WBP?? Nah that's ******g junk mate regardless of what's stamped on the panel and no matter how much sodding 'edge prep' I give it." to which his reply was "Well it's all like that: it's the best we've got." fffffffffffffffft I said I'd take it away for a closer look but... nah! someone's having a giraffe here. Couldn't even rely on it to make an adequate jig or clamping fixture. Balsa cored tat. A half day spent rummaging around some secondhand furniture stores failed to turn up that solid mahogany 1930's drop leaf table for a fiver so it was off to the timber merchant to see what they had. Spotting the rudder stock I'd brought along the proprietor immediately knew what it was, probably why I was there and volunteered that he used to sail a GP14. Aha bingo, at last someone who knows what grade of lumber I'll be wanting.

Long story short I walked out with two cuts of Meranti at 14" x 9" at a nominal 20mm thick. The name rang a bell but I've never knowingly put a tool to any Meranti before. They sold it as their trade hardwood window sill stock. Tap tap, seems good and tough, very straight and regular grain, a good surface finish to the board, not too ragged where their saw went through it so it should behave nicely under a fine cut tenon saw. We shall see. Right now in fact because as soon as we got home and the tea was brewing I had it on the workmate.

I'd cracked the old headstock apart along the glue line by inserting the handle of a hammer into the blade slot and gently twisting it, a crisp pop and one side duly came away intact. Now I've got two usable templates so no need to get the trig set out to draught its outlines. I just aligned them to the boards and fixed one to t'other with a couple of short screws ready for sawing.

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A brand new saw goes through it very nicely and the block on the outside of the blade keeps the cut at right angles as you go. plus no ragged or split out edge at all on the exit side of the blade. I like it. I roughly cut the corners and then tried the chisel on it to get close to the finished radii. Two thumbs up again for Meranti; so long as the chisel's razor sharp it goes through cross grain smoothly and predictably, very easy to work I'd say.

Needed to salvage the mahogany spacer blocks if at all possible so I separated them from the side cheek with the saw hoping to shear/shave off the remaining attached few plies down to the solid wood with the chisel. Rather than lop it straight off I undercut the block leaving a couple of plies so that I can transfer the original hole positions onto the new timber.

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Super sharpened the chisel so let's see how well 60yr old marine ply has fared vis-a-vis the long term integrity of its bonding adhesive.

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The verdict... it seems as solid as the day it was made, put up a real good fight in fact as I tried to cleave each ply from the next one down. I have to say I'm very impressed and it reassures me as to the health of the rest of the ply fitments. I don't think she's about to pop a seam the moment the rig goes up.

The final layer of ply came off cleanly right across the glue line, phew thank God for that and the remants of the Aerolite glue was whipped off with a few strokes of my very favourite tool, the cabinet scraper.

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Well OK it's a mis-shaped scrap bit of 1mm stainless steel plate and a bit too rigid but they're still very effective and even work on end grain (with a little care). For anyone who's never used them scrapers are brilliant, cheap and effective precision cutting tools. Find a flexy bit of steel and stone/lap an edge square using a fairly fine grit then one stroke of a knife sharpening steel or the tang of a file drawn smoothly along the edge turns over a minute hooked burr, that's your cutting edge. Traditionally used with the thumbs behind in the middle of the blade and pushed away from you along the grain controlling the curvature as you go but they work equally well when drawing towards you. They can shave off four coats of varnish in one go or use it gently and you can reduce the cut to practically microns thick (microscopy/microtome section level) just by altering pressure, angle and curvature of the plate/scraper.
Big bonus, a scraper cleans up as it goes producing a neat pile of shavings at the end of its travel not that all invasive sanding dust so less clean up to do and the finish you can get with a scraper can beat anything you'll get with even a 1500 grit paper. I'll grind one up from old hacksaw blades if I need to get itno intricate mouldings. Hugely satisfying when you think they're probably the oldest tool known to man. Scrapers; I love 'em
...well if it was easy everybody would have one.

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TheGuvnah
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by TheGuvnah » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:44 pm

Soooooo..... over 18 months since the last post...! Reason being that every waking hour has been vacuumed up by my fight with this city's utterly dysfunctional mental health service provision and the lack thereof. Trying to penetrate their encircled wagons has been draining on every level but now that cat's out of the bag, the facts of my Wife's ongoing state are now undeniable and services' are now notionally under a court order to "...advise, befriend and assist" me. Well they've had four years to do that and failed at every test so where this goes now is anybody's guess. Anyone who has read the report into the recent Gosport War Memorial Hospital scandal will recognise that the same perfect storm of institutional apathy and collusive silence applies currently in this city.

So progress has been massively stalled. Alongside that the semi-derelict factory recently changed hands and 3 months ago the new owner/s quadrupled the storage fee. A month later they doubled it again! As a single Dad on E.S.A. that pretty much brought me to the edge of insolvency. Well I wasn't going to sacrifice all this time expense and labour so everything took a back seat as I spent every spare hour on the boat/s to get them out of there ASAP.

When last I posted I'd just knocked together a scratch built paint booth, this was vital to keep out the detritus falling from the disintegrating fibreboard roof lining ably assisted by a particularly destructive squirrel who's had the run of the place since I moved in and was slowly stripping the roofing out nibble by nibble and in the process filling up the boats! The furry little git!

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All made from the timber obtained from gutting out the premises above and a cheap roll of builder's polythene. And more importantly it can be feasibly HEATED, jeez it was witheringly cold in winter.

Stripped and ready for some primer and scrumptious Toplac (027) Cream, yum yum :lol:

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Didn't take any pics of the process of making and fitting a new butyl rubber slot gasket I'm afraid but after three coats which required the purchase of another 750ml tin she's ready to put back on her trolley.

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rolled back the roof and in with the gantry crane...

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set her down and rolled her onto a load of tyres covered with a clean tarp to protect the fresh and still not fully hardened paintwork. Re-rig the strops and at last she's back the right way up though probably not for long so thinking ahead might need to source a bit of mast head flotation.

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Needed to get some varnish on the top sides to give it some rudimentary weather protection so if necessary it could be removed at a moment's notice to the car park of our local social club where temp storage has been arranged while I screw the shiny bits back on. A little tin of 181 brand 'yacht' varnish as I didn't have enough cash at the time for another tin of that delicious Coovars Yacht & Seaplane Varnish

Using a hot air gun in the constrictive bow of a small dinghy in 30 degrees ambient was NO FUN.

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There is a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel finally and as per my sig - "if it was easy, everybody'd have one" both boat and Wife alike :?
...well if it was easy everybody would have one.

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trebor
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by trebor » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:04 pm

Hi Guvnah,
Glad your hands are better.
Well done with Enterprise.
Robert
Minisprint 4230
Tinker Traveller 160
Mirror 61147 Anastasia
http://www.aquabatdinghy.co.uk

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TheGuvnah
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by TheGuvnah » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:21 pm

trebor wrote:Hi Guvnah,
Glad your hands are better.
Would that it were so but it seems that there's a recurrent component to it :evil: It must be at least a month since I had any involvement with bare timber of any species but two days ago I got that same 'preliminary' warning itching that lasted until this morning when it has started to dissipate. Very weird. but what is weirdest feature of all is the symmetry it exhibits. For instance; out of the blue the outer side of the middle finger of my left hand might start to itch, within half an hour the same thing will happen to the middle finger on the right hand and on the outward side??? Why? If it was purely through contact then surely only the affected area would be that which had been in direct contact but this is being mirrored almost. Don't get it.
trebor wrote:Well done with Enterprise.
Thanks T. that's much appreciated. I'm a diligent and persistent s.o.b. if nothing else, (a remorseless character trait that the local authority's solicitor should by now be bearing fully in mind before spouting selective, superfluous and superseded legislation at me. :lol: :lol: :lol:
...well if it was easy everybody would have one.

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trebor
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by trebor » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:45 pm

wear latex gloves or something similar, must be allergic to resin.
Like the polished brass strip.
Robert
Minisprint 4230
Tinker Traveller 160
Mirror 61147 Anastasia
http://www.aquabatdinghy.co.uk

dronskiuk
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Re: ENTERPRISE No.878 emerges blinking into the light

Post by dronskiuk » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:28 am

An engrossing read - well done, your perseverance is to be aspired to!

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