Thursday, October 15, 2015


A quick update on Belle Starr. Since the last post on these pages, a substantial amount of repair has been done in quick succession. Belle is fortunate to have many admirers and I am fortunate to have as many dedicated friends.

Paul showed up for two days to drive a work crew on the installation of two panels, enclosing the starboard side and reforming the chine. Prior to his arrival I had repaired three major bulkheads - the interior furniture that defined the chine. In this boat, plywood bulkheads take the place of frames and there is one every two feet, some of which are cabinets or seats that double as structural members.
The panels were made from two sheets of mahogany plywood scarphed together and ripped lengthwise. The panels were then screwed in place and spiled to the existing hull. Installing an almost sixteen foot "plank" is very satisfying. Two of them fitted together filled most of the huge gap in Belle's hull. Of course there is a lot left to do - smaller holes to be fitted, lots of patching and fairing, but I feel much has been accomplished with the help of neighbors and friends. Belle Starr is no longer a muddy wreck on the beach.

Many thanks to Paul Miller, Heather Hicks, Martin Schnieder and Lynn Watson for their invaluable help.
Belle will float again.

Paul has documented the process on lumberjocks. Photos courtesy of Paul.


Alden Smith said...

Fantastic! Great to see this beautiful little boat being repaired. Plywood and hard chine construction is a good combination! All the best for the rest of the repair. Won't be too long before she's floating peacefully in a little cove somewhere looking just as beautiful as before.

shipwright said...

It was a pleasure Michael. Belle is far too fine a lady to be consigned to the junkyard just yet and it was an honour to help with her restoration. Alden is right about it not being too long before she once again floats peacefully in a quiet little cove but I will add "next to Friendship". Good luck with the final stage.

James howgego said...

Just shows how repairable plywood on frame boats are.
Just like the eventide yachts of the UK.
My build is coming on I can send you a pic you would like feature it.
Its the penguin farne islander combo!
Cheers james

doryman said...

Thanks all. It may sound strange but it's been fun.
James - I see you've made good progress. More pictures on your site would be helpful.

Whidbey Wooden Boat Painter said...

Hey Michael,
looks great, glad the plywood would bend enough to be useful.

doryman said...

Yes Claire, the plywood was perfect. Thanks to you and John!

Denis said...

Great to see you and your dedicated crew have achieved so much. Hope your winter holds off long enough to allow you to finish the main work.

Caillo Lisa said...
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