Friday, January 26, 2007

Design 295 October 1948 - Roach

At last I have managed to scan in the A1 accommodation and building plans for Roach (design 295) that required an architectural scanner to do the job. I thought I would post it below the original Burnham Sloop design so one can clearly see how the design has evolved and also see how I have changed adapted the interior to take the best from both designs.

In design 295 you can clearly see what a difference the cut-away forefoot makes. The other major difference is the layout plan which in design 295 is a lot simpler that the original Burnham Sloop design. This may because Roach was designed as a weekender on charters, or it may have been simply a question of cost. I don’t know.

In the original design the forward hatch is on the centerline and in design 295 the hatch has been offset. This may be so that leaks don’t land on the sleeper on the pipe-cot below. I think the main reason is that the chain pipe was next to the mast on design 295, a centerline hatch, would therefore, would impede the clear run of chain.

I do believe that a central forward hatch is more pleasing to eye and luckily Roach has a central hatch – there is no evidence from the carlins below that it was ever different.

The interior layout on Roach has been taken from mainly from design 295. The skipper’s starboard berth remains angled to provide a wider sleeping with. What I have taken from the original Burnham Sloop design is the handy sideboard over the end of the sleeper’s bunk on the port berth. There is a trotter box under for the sleepers feet. The sanitary bucker space is the same as in the design but a proper marine toilet has been added now. Another difference is that I have decided that the access to the bunk lockers are much handier from above (on design 295 they large cave lockers under the bunks accessed from in front), so I have kept the tongue and groove solid at the front of the bunks and just added ventilation holes instead. One thing feature that I regret not adding to Roach, is the oilskins locker by the companionway. This would have been a very handy feature, but the galley is so small anyway that I am not sure I could have afforded the space anyway. There is a large forward hanging locker anyway.

From the original design I will be adding painted wooden paneling on the inside of the topside too. I am a big fan of paneling and I think it will add to her cosy interior atmosphere. Only a few such details have changed from the original specs. Other that Roach’s accommodation plan is the same as Norman Dallimore’s original design!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Sister Frames

According to the survey Roach had several broken frames. I decided that I would sister rather than replace the frames. Again, as I was working abroad at the time, I asked Jerry Hearle of Robertsons Yard to steam some new Green Oak sisters in place. It’s remarkable how quick a professional boat builder does the work. I have since sistered two more frames that were undiscovered due to the cockpit being in place, and it took me a weekend. Jerry did 12 in a day!

New Keel Bolts

As anybody with a classic wooden yacht knows, the important thing is to check the bolts. So again this job was outsourced to Jerry who had a challenging time dropping the keel as she was not in a boatyard. The bolts were dropped and released by cutting sections on the bolts as they feel. The new bolts came in from the top of the threading into pre-threaded lugs. The keel was bedded in tar and hey-presto, my bolts were done. There was some damaged on the inside where three floors needed replacing and some smashed deadwood by the keel.

The New Iron Topsail!

The old Stuart 4hp was seized according to the surveyor and I had already decided that as part of the restoration a new engine was to be fitted. The cockpit was rotten so it seemed silly to rebuild a cockpit without changing the engine. So a new engine it was and I decided on a BETA BZ482, a 13.5 horsepower unit. Slightly more powerful that 10hp version, but I decided it was better to go slightly more powerful specially as I was going to single-hand a lot and I wanted something that could power over the Deben Bar on falling tide against the wind. I also decided to fit a Halyard aguadrive system – mainly as I was unsure of my skills lining up the shaft to the new engine. In the end this did not matter as Jerry Hearle from Roberstson’s yard made up lovely new beds in Canadian Rock Elm and Peter Norris made and installed a great Thrust Bulkhead for the Aquadrive system. The new shaft aligned perfectly. In the end I think is was very wise to get some professional help in the engine installation as I would have spend weeks agonizing over the alignment. As you see from the pictures I have made two plinths either side of the engine for the starting and service battery. They are both below the waterline as opposed to in the Lazarette as before. I have also fitted a high riser as the engine is below the waterline too, which is amazing for a 22 footer. All I need to do now is wire in the fuel, control lines and electrics!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Quick update.

A few pictures of Roach being worked on in frosty conditions! She does not look quite as romantic in the Winter time. Here you can see that I have installed the new VETUS exhaust system with gooseneck and waterlock. It’s all plastic but hugely expensive – I don’t know why. I needed to go up a size for the new BETA engine. I have also now attached the backstay chain plate to the rear mini-bumkin (to Dallimore original designs).

You can see that I am also adding a stern light on an Elm mount. It's all these little things that take the time!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Roach's Original Specifications

Roach – An Adaptation of the Burnham Sloop

I don’t really know that much about Roach’s history apart from the patchy information that the Dallimore Association have mentioned on their web site and the notes from the late Edward Dallimore (the designer’s son) that corresponded with me. So I will begin this section by saying what I do know.

N. E. D. Designed a “Burnham Sloop” in 1936 for Mr. Prior of Priors of Burnham. The yacht was designed to the specifications as written in an article in Yachting World by Francis B. Cooke in 1948 (and posted below on this blog). It must have been this yacht that was reviewed in this article.

According to a previous owners' notes that came with the yacht's papers, this was also the yacht he saw being laid up at Priors of Burnham in the Autumn of 1949 for modifications. Apparently she was too tender and lot of internal ballast was being added. The anonymous owner's note below:

Explanatory note

“Branklet” and her sister ship “Roach” were not built exactly to the Burnham Sloop design.

Prior’s of Burnham built one boat to the original design as soon as timber became available after WW2, but she proved to be excessively tender. With a beam of only 6’8” and a draft of 3’9” on a waterline length of 18” this seem hardly surprising. Anyway, the boat was quickly sold by the first owner and it was this boat that I recall seeing laid-up in Prior’s malting shed where during the winter of 1951-2. They were painting the bottom with red Danboline and I heard subsequently that they had added a good deal of inside ballast.

Meanwhile, Norman Dallimore had re-worked the design, keeping the waterline length the same at 18’ but increasing the draft to 4’. The keel profile was altered to give a concave forefoot, probably for ease of building with the increased draft. Above the waterline the design remains the same.

Two boats were built to this new design by Stebbings of Burnham. Both boats, “Branklet” and “Roach” were in the Maldon Charter fleet for many years and proved very popular.

It would seem that consequently N.E.D. redrew the Burnham Sloop lines to widen the beam to 7ft from of 6’8”, deepen the draft from 3.9ft to 4ft, and increase the length by 1ft to 22ft overall but leaving L.W.L remaining the same at 18ft. Accorindg to the note two yachts were built to this new modification of the design – design number 295; “Roach” and “Branklet”. I am not entirely sure of this as you will see – so please excuse me till I do more research.

“Roach” was drawn in 1948 (I am very lucky to have her original plans) It would seem to make sense as it seems “Roach” was built over the Winter of 1952/3 and her sisters were earlier. I have not seen the plans for “Branklet” but it would be interesting to see if her design differs at all from “Roach”. I am curious as the extract below from corresponding with the late Edward Dallimore, seems to suggest that “Roach” had a higher displacement than the other yachts.

“With regard to a date of build there is a small difference of opinion. You mention 1947 whereas a note in my father’s handwriting says “Design accepted Oct. 1948”. This, I believe, refers to the acceptance of the design by Stebbings. They , like Priors, intended on building a few boats on spec. Incidentally, the design for Prior’s was drawn in 1938 but I do not think any boats were built till after the war. Eventually I believe three boats were built. Namely “Crouch”, “Branklet” and “Truant”. They were slightly smaller than your boa , 2.77 tons displacement compared with 3 tons.”

Interestingly, I notice from the Dallimore Owners' Association web site that niether "Crouch" or "Truant" are mentioned. One yacht is mentioned, and that is "Souris". She is mentioned being built in 1953. Could it be that "Souris" is either "Truant" or "Crouch" after a name change? An old photo of her seems to suggest that she is very similar to "Roach" indeed.

Roach’s Previous Owners (and how I found her)

Mr. Debbage of Ipswich was her first owner. The yard still exists to this day and now they also deal in yacht transportation. Strangely enough I hired them, without any knowledge of the association with “Roach”, for transportation when I originally bought “Roach” in 1996. Currently I am trying to arrange a launch with Debbages for her launch this year – I think it would be nice to Launch her at her first owner’s yard.

After Debbages “Roach” went onto become part of the Maldon Charter fleet becoming one of their most popular yachts. The photo above shows Roach sailing in the 1950’s as part of the Maldon fleet.

We now enter a foggy period in Roach’s history. I am pretty sure that there are a few undocumented owners. For starters, when I bought her, she was based in Woodbridge and had “Cowes” on her stern as her port. So at some stage she must have been based there. I also had stanchion dodgers that came with her inventory with the name “Heron” written on as her home port. Strangely the N.E.D association confirm that she was called Heron at some stage. Again, more investigation required. Please leave a comment if you can help!

I do know that her last owner is a Mr. Kevin Byford of Ipswich. I am not sure when he bought her, but my understanding is that she was left to the elements at Debbages (of all places she returned to the yard of the original owner). She was later was moved to Andy Seedhouse of Woodbridge for a quick sale to recoup unpaid yard fees.

I bought her in April 1996, on an Easter break I was looking for a sensible classis cruiser and had rules out a classic. I was on a train to Saxmundham in Suffolk to visit my parents who live nearby, and saw Roach from the train coach window at Seedhouse’s yard in Woodbridge. I got off there – I knew she was pedigree! Dad drove down to pick me up and I announced I was a proud owner of a heap of wood! A surveyor was booked and I had paid a deposit! I had no idea how to restore a wooden yacht. Two days later “Roach” was mine.