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It's been another tough start to the year, not because of the weather this time but due to me going down with pneumonia and wiping three months off the work schedule. I wasn't able to get a single days work in on the yacht. It's now mid February and I'm just easing myself back in and building up my strength one day a week until the weather warms up. I have a banner planned for the fence to let people know what Thordis is and direct them towards the website, but in the meantime work is progressing to rebuild the stern end by removing the horn timbers, propshaft log and deadwood.
Picture above shows the extent of the rot and where the horn timber has been shortened by about 10 inches in its life. The rear end of the keel and skeg has also rotted and is completely missing. This is probably due to the ballast keel weakening the whole structure and was probably added in the 1930's when the other major alterations were made. I intend to remove the ballast as it is not shown on the original plans. On the right is the open stern with the horn timber suspended in the air.
Here is the reassembled deadwood and horn timber showing the position of the rudder and keel. The bottom 10" of the horn timber had been removed years ago but we will be replacing it for strength when it is remade. The horn timber stands about 8' off the ground at the stern to give you some idea of size. The keel under the shaft log is 22 1/2" x 5 1/2" and also needs replacing as does the rudder from 2 1/2" iroko.
Puts a new meaning on the word 'deadwood'. Under the garboard plank it has completely rotted away and needs to be replaced. We discovered, on cleaning back the keel, it is made of elm but will be replaced with oak. We have the elm of this size to replace it with but because of Dutch Elm Disease it is no longer suitable for use under water and rots in very short time, as we discovered to our cost some years ago. We replanked the bottom of Stewarts and Lloyds Tug No 2 with 3" elm boards and within 7 years you could punch holes right through the bottom!
We then had a steel bottom welded on.
Wherever possible we keep to the original methods employed by the builders, a. because it's lasted this length of time and b. I think we owe it to future generations to pass on the hidden details of construction that could so easily be tucked out of sight and mind. This is one reason why I have gone to such lengths to try and find trees of a suitable shape rather than laminating timber with epoxy resin. It adds a lot of time onto the restoration and cutting out the timber but pays back in the satisfaction of knowing you've done the best job you can. Now I just hope I don't screw it up!