1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

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Fantasia
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1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Fantasia » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:28 pm

Following on from my previous thread enquiring about the history of my I14 No. 521 Tiptoes: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=2680&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=0

I would not want to try the walnut shell blasting on such a delicate hull without trial. My preferred method of varnish removal would be to use an infra-red heating system such as this http://www.irprosystems.co.uk/index.html which is very controlable. Another thing that I would not be keen on would be the use of epoxy resin as a coating on the nailed construction of this hull. I am very used to using epoxy, but ethically it would be quite wrong in this instance, no doubt that it would make her stronger and more seaworthy; but it would also turn her into a cold moulded boat. Realistically her flat out racing days are over. I see her as a rare survivor and almost as a museum piece, rather than a racing boat.

In fact I am thinking of a fairly minimalist approach to her restoration, such as cleaning up the hull, undertaking a few localised repairs, re-varnishing with a fairly traditional varnish, re-rigging her and then taking her for a sail in fairly benign conditions. She is almost bound to make water.

I would be interested to hear thoughts on my proposed treatment.

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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Ancient Geek » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:32 pm

John,
What you do with “Tiptoes” as with any of us is a personal decision. The rest can only suggest.
I am not sure it is a matter of ethics though our southern east coast brethren may disagree!
For myself I would submit that every collection I know of has at least one and often more than one example of Fourteens that are nailed up with ribs, (Somewhere there is a rib-less nailed up boat –The Boneless Wonder!), the excitement for me would be to see her sailing in most weather and racing. My own sailing philosophy in the past 50 years, -since I was 10 indeed-, has been to update my boats as things developed, or I developed them and to replace if that was not possible.
It is I think wrong to adopt a furniture (or similar.) restoration frame of mind, rather more apposite are vintage cars where whilst attention is paid to originality most are made useable with self-starters and more modern hoods, for instance, I note that Tiptoes has self bailers admittedly as old as you can get, but they would have been retrofitted, and part of her history is the bridge deck and alternate genoa fairleads.
There is of course a need to preserve our posterity but one example of each, or if you follow Gods directive to Noah (The only boat-builder to finish on time!) two!
I suspect in many cases the decision to keep boats as they were is fiscal as much as emotional especially as many people seem to just acquire boats they are unable to do up, but like to have about them!
I am wary of museums generally having over the years donated family papers, medals, cars, tools etc I know what a black hole they are, (Try getting site of something after you have gifted it!) and how illogical their scholarship or lack of it can be.
I understand your caution as to the methodology, in my "prosthelitastion" of walnut shell blasting I have I hope made it clear I have never seen it done on a UK built dinghy, however I see no reason why it would be harmful, and I would be very careful of any form of heat on an Uffa or similar double skin boat which will have an oiled silk inter-lineing between the innner and outer skin, as well as how far to go
Those of us who look on in wonder and a little envy can only wish you good luck and such support as we may be able to.
AG
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Fantasia » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:53 pm

AG

Thank you for your excellent argument and rationale. What I am really trying to find out here is: what is the generally accepted view for restoration of small sailing craft, compared with say vintage motor cars. I am very aware of the detrimental effect to the value (both monetary and cultural) from over restoration to historic furniture and works of art, having been involved in that field as a professionally accredited conservator for decades. That is my problem, but it is my decision to do what I think best for this boat, given that I am only her temporary custodian. I would like to be clear in my mind before I pick up my first tool to use on her.

You indicate that there are perhaps more of these boats surviving that I presume. Is there such a thing as a register of surviving boats, perhaps held by the Class Association?
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by admin » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:32 pm

Jamie Campbell is your man, he's the 14 historian.

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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Ancient Geek » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:39 pm

John I've PM'd Jamie Campbell's contacts he's a informative chap who incidentally has written a very very good history of The Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club (Nobs n Snobs!)).
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Nessa » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:41 pm

My view with Agamemnon will be to not do anything structural - no need - but then to make her/him as sailable as possible. I will be using the original spars and sails (though I will be 'saving' the spinny) and the original rudder and centreboard, but if I have to fit up to date blocks and systems to enable us to sail her/him then I will, though I will make sure they are as aesthetically pleasing (to my eye) as the boat deserves.

I agree with AG, better a boat sailing than simply being a museum piece.
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Michael Brigg » Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:05 pm

There is one thing about which I have no doubt and that is that the most effective way of preserving a boat is to sail it. Get this boat on the water by whatever means you can, after making good the really essential stuff.

Once you're on the water the boat will tell you what she is capable of.

The thing that will kill the boat is to fit her out with modern equipment. These are so much stronger than the original structure that they do over stress things like the mast foot, or a modern aluminium mast and mylar sails which would twist the hull to peices.

Cotton sails, or perhaps more practical, soft terylene, on a wooden mast and boom will ensure that everything breathes in and out together. If you don't have a trapeze this will also limit the stresses you can put on her.

This was one of the points made in the enquiry into the sinking of the Tall Ship Marquese. She had been modified with a stern deck house. The rig had been modernised with stiff new cloth and spars. When the squall blew up, the rig was not able to naturally de-power itself and with increasing speed the boat sailed herself under. The modern deck house at the stern prevented the water from draining over the stern and so the water went down the deck hatches. In her original spec she may have survived.

So, your boat might creak a bit and might need servicing for a day or two after a hard sail, but so will you, (at 56 thats 4 more than me and I know I creak a bit) so I wouldnt be to anxious about the strength of the wind you go out in, I suspect the boat will probably be braver than you are!
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by SaturdayGirl » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:35 am

AG

"I understand your caution as to the methodology, in my "prosthelitastion" of walnut shell blasting I have I hope made it clear I have never seen it done on a UK built dinghy, however I see no reason why it would be harmful,"

Have to agree walnut shells maybe a red herring as have tried to explain to david h ..

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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Keith66 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:37 am

In the roof of Benfleet yacht club hangs an Int 14, Destiny 1948 the last of the multi skinned close ribbed boats. I aquired her 20 years ago & had visions of repairing her, she had been allowed to sit on a lawn half full of water for years & effectively had reached the point of no return.
It was apparent that her bottom planking was so degraded that she was beyond conventional repair. It may have been possible to epoxy her but i am distinctly dubious of this approach as it is virtually impossible to guarrantee full penetration between the skins.
Experiments on a 1905 Saunders launch i own proved this (another story!)
In our case destiny had a space frame fitted to her weak stern & she was used as a decoration. Sad but better than the Bonfire!

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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Rupert » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:35 am

I'm really not sure that there are any ethics involved in doing up an old boat, unless it is one with genuine historical significance to a wider audience. Avenger, for instance, in the case of 14's (does she still exist?). Otherwise, it is entirely your shout if you keep her as built or modernise. However, on a double diagonal boat with oiled silk between the layers, epoxy is of dubious value.
The boats were designed to race, and not built for longevity, and I expect many owners of early 14's would be/are amazed they have lasted so long.
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Ancient Geek » Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:09 pm

Rupert is of course right.
"Avenger" still exists and may be found in Cowes Maritime Museum which is in its turn part of Cowes Library, what condition or how much beyond a hull I do not know, she wasn't very happy when I saw her there in 2001. But then she is an old lady Uffa misused her cruely including a couple of channel crossings loaded with camping gear, but she exists as a one of the foundation boats of the modern dinghy. Also in the area I think in Newport is "Cowslip" Prince Phillips Flying Fifteen though which of the many hulls that were attached to the original keel it is I do not know.
I only hope they have done a better job that the Maritime Museum at Falmouth have done with The Royal Dragon "Bluebottle" a very expensive and extremely poor example of conservation.
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by clibb » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:16 pm

When we got Janine, 839, our intention was to try to restore the boat to what the first owner would have picked up from McCutcheon's yard in 1963. That meant using as much original material as possible, and racing her in that condition. We allowed ourselves a new suit of sails, as that's what she would have had, but had them cut by Dave D at Dynamic in the same plan as original (except we shortened the foot of the genoa a bit, as having it come back within 2'6" of the transom was too much for the crew). What to do about the trapeze was a question. In the end we allowed ourselves one, but don't use it in racing, except we did at Netley where we couldn't resist it. We were looking for restoration, not renovation. I still bridle a little at Merlins built in the 50's that are 'tarted up' with carbon spars and laminate sails - not always from the best of motives in my view.

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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by Ancient Geek » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:34 pm

The motives have in the case of a RACING DINGHY to be the best to fulfil it's reason for existance to win within the rules we race by and class construction rules as would have been the case if the boat had been in constant commision, Tiptoes for instance shoes signs of that as does Gently (MR 16) although she is I understand being retro fitted back to as near original as her "minder" can do it, though quite why I do not understand, there being several genuine antiques in existance.
It is of course also a matter of money, all racing boats of all sizes and class, kept up to date and in top condition are holes in the water into which one pours money, I accept there is a need to rationalise the inability to lay out that much cash or the priority to spend elswhere (Educate one's children etc.) or own lots of boats, rather than one, it is a matter of what one is comfortable with and a personal decision, but please not the oldest excuse for not winning!
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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by clibb » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:48 pm

What you ascribe is just one motive, there are others. Just because an original exists is no reason to deny someone else the pleasure of sailing a boat as originally designed/built. There is as much pleasure in seeing what you can do with an original as there is with a tarted up boat, and I know which attitude I respect more. More power to Gently's minder, I say.

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Re: 1948 International 14 restoration ethics.

Post by DavidC » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:57 pm

I have distilled this into one story, but it came from a very successful designer and was added to by a very experienced boat builder. Neither of them are with us today.

Once upon a time, there lived an old boat builder.

He had spent many years carefully removing modern things from the boats he worked on. He made sure that the boats were put back to the day they were built. He sought old tired and inefficient fittings or carved new ones from pieces of wood. He looked for old sails and made sure he disposed of nasty metal masts. The boats looked pretty when they were finished.

He was happy in his work because he believed that making the boats original was what was needed and as people told him the original builders and designers were watching over his shoulder.

One day it was time to hang up his tools and retire to Fiddlers Green. He did not mind because he was looking forward to meeting those designers and builders and hearing how pleased they were with his work. He made his way up to the pearly gates and St Peter quietly opened the door for him. He thought St Peter looked a little concerned but he did not worry. He asked directions and set off to visit the builders and designers.

When he arrived he found not a warm welcome but a cold one. He was puzzled but asked them if they were pleased that he had looked after all their boats. He said to the builders. Look I did it all your way and used the materials you used to make the boats look new. Humph they said. Did you not think that we did it that way because there was no other choice? Do you think we would have rejected all the things you had? Don’t you think we were always looking for ways to do things better and find better methods. Preserve one example if you must but you have not done us a service – we would have tried harder.

The old boatbuilder was now confused as he went to the sailmakers. There he had the same response. Did you not think that we did it that way because there was no other choice? Don’t you think we were always looking for ways to do things better and find better methods. We wanted new materials that were better and made better sails which were easier to use and care for, and so did our customers. Preserve one example if you must but you have not done us a service – we would have tried harder.

When he arrived at the mast makers he knew what they would say. Did you not think that we did it that way because there was no other choice? Don’t you think we were always looking for ways to do things better and find better methods. We wanted new materials that were better. We made our masts of aluminium because they lasted longer and were a better shape. Preserve one example if you must but you have not done us a service – we would have tried harder.

By the time he arrived at the designers he was downhearted but had began to understand. Why did you undo all our good work they asked him? We did what we could at first but always strived to make things better. That is what a designer must do. Why did you change things back, that is an insult to every person who had a hand in developing the boat and making it better? Preserve the knowledge but do not assume every change is bad. You did not think.

The old boatbuilder went and sat by the river bank and thought a great deal. They were right, the knowledge and the history needed preserving and a few examples of various work but boats needed to develop for their souls to live and he had looked too many of them up in old ways and undone the life they had.

He could not undo his life but he sent and sent thoughts from above to other to think carefully about what they were doing!

U. Grimm

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