The story of LEADING WIND, a DEBEN 4 TONNER, built by WHISSTOCKS of Woodbridge in SUFFOLK in 1937 and launched in 1938. She spent the war years in Port Navas in Cornwall, this was followed by her return to Poole in Dorset, where her lady owner enjoyed the boat for many years. In the interim the boat has had many new owners – including my late mother, who discovered the boat in a dilapidated condition in a boatyard in Ipswich and subsequently bought and restored her in 1992. Sadly, once the restoration was completed, ill health forced my mother to sell the boat, which was a great shame they were both destined for the Norfolk Broads for further adventures.
Leading Wind passed through many new hands and each in turn, made numerous improvements, such as installing a new engine and a solid fuel heater. Sadly the last owner also had health issues and the boat suffered from the ravages of time and led to an enforced sale, which is where our story begins.
Following a tip off from a FACEBOOK friend, who had seen an advert for the boat, we couldn’t believe our luck when we discovered that the boat was lying just down the road in Bosham Boatyard
Upon first sight, excitement led to despondency and my initial thoughts were that although the hull seemed sound, the structure of the boat was possibly compromised and it would be an expensive restoration. Initially, we walked away but boats have a habit of finding custodians and this was only the beginning.
Later – after protracted negotiations, she was mine and we engaged a marine surveyor to give us a better indication of the full horror that we had taken on ! As fate would have it, although the boat was built in Suffolk (not the South Coast) – our surveyor knew Deben 4 Tonners very well and in a former life he used to be the manager of Whisstocks boatyard, where she was built !
To cut a long story short, after receiving the survey report, we engaged, classic boat specialist, Tim Gilmore Ltd of Birdham Pool Marina to do the lions share of the difficult work, whilst the wood family rebuilt the interior and did the cosmetic work.
Tim Cath of Bosham Boatyard delivered the boat to Birdham Pool Marina and here he is removing the strapping prior to the boat being lifted off his flatbed trailer.
being lowered onto the boat mover.
Leading Wind is temporarily chocked up and the tractor gently pulled the trolley forward.
Tucked away from the glare of publicity, in her new home, in Tim Gilmore’s workshop, Deben 4 Tonner, “Leading Wind” has begun an epic restoration – she is also the inspiration behind an art project that will document her Renaissance.
Below : the stem has been cut back further and a replacement laminated stem and floors have been dry fitted. 22.9.18
Update 29.9.18 : the antifouling has been peeled (£600 well spent) to reveal the condition of the pitch pine planking, which was surprisingly good. In order to gain access to the one remaining keel bolt (which was cut with a sabre saw) and a floor timber near the stern, we decided to remove the garboard. The fastening holes were then pegged and sealed.
In the photo below the new floor timbers (horizontal components that hold the keelson and the sides together) have been primed in battleship grey and they will be re-introduced to the boat next week.
Scary photograph with the garboards removed for repairs and priming. Copyright Chrisnwood All rights reserved
Repair to end of port garboard. A nice recycled piece of pitch pine. All old fastening holes are pegged with the same piece of pitch pine.
Repair to sternpost and deadwood
New floors fitted and fastened
sternpost and deadwood repair complete and both garboards returned to their rightful places.
and the other side – 21.10.18.
UPDATE 2.11.18 : The white primer indicates the number of timbers that have been removed and shortly will be replaced with new green oak ones. Once they are in place their neighbours will be taken out and also replaced. The idea being that the shape / form of the boat won’t change during the process.
NB : it looks healthier now the garboards are back !
Another area of interest is the top section of the transom which was repaired but not successfully as not all the rot was cut out and in later years it returned – this has now been rectified by removing half the transom !
Above can be seen the knees, which were beginning to degrade and it was deemed prudent to replace them before sorting out the transom. The new knees can be seen in the photo below (painted grey) and gripped in the vice is the replacement for the top half of the afore mentioned transom.
Update 21.12.18 The transom is whole again.
And after a few coats of varnish . . .
New quarter knee tying the new top of the transom to the side of the boat. NB : It was painted prior to final fitting as it will be inaccessible later – after layers of new aft deck and the diesel tank has been refitted etc !
The plywood afterdeck has been filled, sanded and sheathed with epoxy resin – now all that remains is to add the two pack polyurethane deck paint.
The hole made to access and replace the quarter knee is now filled !
Nearly all the new green steamed oak timbers are in, nailed and riveted up. There’s a couple of short planks that were butted up to existing timbers (where two thin planks become one) but some new properly scarfed replacements will fill the gap very soon – so she will be better than the original ! Those new grey floor timbers will certainly hold her in shape for the next 80 years !
Richard hard at work sheathing the new side deck.
Meanwhile inside, I have been busy with my hot air gun and scraper !
It’s a long job but the sanding continues