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So, the madness has descended again and this time i'm going to scratch build Njord, a 33ft Whitby Coble. You may realise I built this same boat years ago but it was built on a Northumbrian hull. The differences between Northumbrian and Whitby Cobles is like the difference between black and white.

I would have started this build a lot earlier, but to do so the real boat would need to be out of the water in order to correctly measure it's shape. This time came in late 2010 when the boat was taken out of the water for extensive repair, modification and a new colour scheme.

The Overhaul Work

The last time Njord was out of the water was sometime in 2007 for a paint, antifoul work and for some nails to be replaced in areas of planks 1 & 2 which originate from the stem. The boat looked in pretty good condition for its age. Since then, the boat seems to have got worse in a short space of time and so it was time to take it out of the water.

The first job was to burn off the paint. This exposed some of the boat's original colours when she was used as the university research boat. Sadly, this also exposed the huge amount of filler which had been applied to the boat by the previous owner to basically patch it up and get shot. This explained the 'good' looking condition when Ray bought her.

The gunwhales were showing signs of serious rot in areas and the plan was to remove the rotton areas, but after further investigation, we found that the gunwahles were effectively plant pots with compost in them. There was no option but to remove them completely. The filler seemed to have stopped any water from draining away, thus causing the rot. The gunwhales are bolted through the top plank and into the ribs and the rot had also destroyed the top 3" of plank. We therefore cut everything back and went about replacing the top section of plank with some treated roofing lats. The lats were made as long as possible in order for use to get the bend and sweep needed.

The original gunwhales would have been installed after steaming for many hours and with no doubt, great difficulty. We opted for an easier solution by using another type of hardwood called Purple Art. We didn't have any way of steaming the wood and so we left it to soak in the dock for two weeks. When it came time to install the Purple Art, plenty of clamps were needed in order to bend the wood. The first layer of wood could then be installed by screwing this directly to the roof lats.

The second layer of Purple Art was then installed over the first again using screws to hold the shape while long, stainless bolts were inserted through both layers of Purple Art, the roof lats and the ribs using the existing holes, therefore locking everything solid.

Everything was then sanded level and some softwood capping was screwed into the Purple Art. The capping was actually done using 8" wide pine and in three seperate sections to accomodate the sweep and bend. Everything was then again sanded flush and primed using water based primer. We used water based primer for a few reasons, firstly it didn't matter that the wood was damp and secondly, oil based paints don't tend to set too well in the freezing cold and snow. The photos looking warm and sunny, but I can assure you that it was freezing.

Other small jobs were carried out such as replacing a few of the broken ribs. This also shows how the new gunwhales were fastened to the ribs. Other small jobs included repairing some of the framework which supports the deck, cleaning the engine and other such housework.

Next it was time to move onto the cab. The roof of the cab was rotten and so was replaced along with support frames. The new roof can be seen on the following photos. There was areas on the cab and window frames where the rot had taken hold and so these areas had to be excavated and repaired. If we hadn't of replaced the roof before we discovered this rot, we would have built a new cab. The plan is now to repair the rotten areas as a quickfix and to fibreglass the cab later in the year when the weather permits.

The old slider system for the wheelhouse door had seen better days and so a simple solution was fabricated and installed. Its simply bits of stainless tubing which had been welded up.

The sides of the cab were dug out to quite a large extent and full pieces of wood installed in their place.

The rot on the front three windows had gone too far and so we decided they should be replaced. A joiner friend is currently making them from scratch and the removed window frames were used as a template.

The new frames were made of hardwood and fit perfectly, the joiner has done an excellent job.

Since we are a pair of idiots fitting them, some minor filling was required to achieve

And a view from the inside.

The second/new rudder hinge has also been installed. This was manufactured out of stainless steel and completly transforms the movement of the rudder.

Instead of using a repaired version of the same system, a new system has been devised.

It basically uses the same hydraulic ram but it pushes on a 'lever' instead of turning the shaft.

We had found that the rudder had been fixed to the boat incorrectly. It had obviously had a repair done on its rudder support but it was out of line and as a result, the rudder had been very stiff to turn. With the new system, it turns with no effort at all which of course puts less strain on the hydraulics.

The engine box was rotten and so is in need of a replacement. The engine was degreased while in the open as it will be painted soon.

With all of the work and use the boat has had, the bilges were full of filth, so we took this opportunity to clean them. They are always kept wet to stop the planks from drying out while it is out of the water. Some washing up liquid was added and then the planks were scrubbed with a brush. The bilge pump was switched on to remove as much of the water as possible and a hoover used to remove the rest.

The bilges are now a little more tidy.

On the top plank towards the stern of the boat, there was areas of rot and so a 'doubler' piece of plank was installed both inside and outside.

The bottom of the hull was then checked for loose nails and repaired accordingly. The first of the two coats of anti-foul were then applied. The final coat will be applied a week before it goes back into the water.

While we had a few days of acceptable weather, we decided to paint the outside of the boat.

We are now at the stage where it's little over a week before the boat is going back into the water and so the 2nd coat of antifoul was applied.

Meanwhile, new boxing was made for the rear seat. This is actually where the fuel tank is located.

The rear bilges where then cleaned using the same method as the front

The new engine box was also made and installed. All that remains to make is a top for the box. The opening you can see on the side is access to switch off the engine via a level. We are going to modify this with use of a spring and cable so this can be operated in the cab.

Painting now could begin on the inside of the boat which is now going to be a nice light blue. Its actually floor paint which was used for its extra durability.

The back of the boat has had a few coats of paint and looks pretty well.

The gunwhales have had their first coat of many which are required.

The name boards were then attached to the boat. These were made by a local graphics shop and are vynal stuck onto alloy back boards.

The radar was then bolted to the wheelhouse roof and cables installed.

The mast was also installed along with its wiring.

So lifting day was here. The crane arrived bright and early, driven by my uncle!

The boat was then strapped up by some 'wanna-be' riggers.

And finally Njord is back in the water. More work will be done on the boat at her berth.



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©Dan Walker