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My Oyster Smack Betty CK145 is being restored bit by bit

  ready for the lift out

28.03.2010 with the mast pulled and spars tucked away Betty is ready for the lift out

  A more than one hundred year old boat - or a house, a car, a human, etc. - is bound to have some weak spots, some more so and some less. With Betty it was mostly the 'left hip'.
For some years now it was quite obvious, especially during the work on her hull in spring every two years - scraping, caulking, priming and antifouling, that the fractional pieces of planks at the critical point of transition from the hull proper to the counter on port were rotten. You could squeeze the soft, wet wood with your little finger and you could SMELL it. I nicknamed this spot right above the exit of the drive shaft and a few inches above the propeller 'Betty's left hip', which needed an operation (or a complete replacement) urgently.
  the weak spots at the 'hip' 29.04.2010
the weak spots at the 'hip' can clearly be seen after the haul out
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  Other known soft spots - almost as important as the hip - are the cabin, which at two irreparable joints leaks and the deck, which had been renewed more than twenty years ago and leaks at certain times badly, sometimes less so, but sometimes not a drop, depending on the amount of water from above, the humidity and above all, how hard she was sailed. Sometimes the hull and the deck need all day to settle to their drier, more normal ways.

Since such repairs almost always lead to the unexpected discovery of additional problem spots - making it almost impossible to project in advance the amount of work needed and the necessary time frame - I decided a long time before beginning, not to do all of it in one go and risk having the boat forever in the yard, but instead to have the work done item by item. This way I would not have to fear a completely dried out hull with all its unforeseeable consequences. In addition, the prospect not to be able to sail on my own keel for maybe a whole season was out of the picture...

The plan was therefore, to begin with the 'bust hip' in early spring 2010 and start with deck and cabin in the winter after.

Smaller repairs on things like the standing and running rigging, the electric system or the varnishing and what ever else needs a little mending I do myself of course, but putting in new planks or even frames, caulking and making sails are jobs, few professional boatbuilders know how to do really well. Therefore I had to find such a boatbuilder. I decided to take Betty to the yard of Fa. M. van Duivendijk in Tholen in the South of the Netherlands, where she was very professionally restored after she suffered serious damage in 2004. In its four generations this yard has been building many wooden fishing boats for the Oosterschelde and "Hoogar Yachts" for rich citizens of Antwerp. Two especially wonderful examples of this yard can be found as originals in the shipping museum of Antwerp. This fit my plans for the summer of 2009 very well to sail to the Netherlands and this is where I found a perfect berth for the winter, above all, free of ice. Work was supposed to start in early April and I hoped to do the underwater painting myself over the Easter holidays.

Unfortunately other projects in the yard took longer than planned and it was the end of April before Betty could be lifted out of the water and be taken into the yard for the work to begin in earnest by the young boatbuilder Marius. The next steps of the process of repairing her hip can be followed in the pictures below (most of which are taken by Chef, my friendly neighbor next to Betty's berth).

  29.04. from these angles she looks fine
  the counter on starboard the bow looks pretty port side with rusty spots
  06.05. the counter is wide open to a gaping hole  
  first planks are removed mor planks have come off a closeup of the old frames this does not look too good
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  02.06. Marius at work on the new frames
  Marius fitting the new ribs ...fittig the frames closeup of some new frames being fitted Marius at work on the new frames
  closeup of the new frames the new frames are screwed into place closeup of the new frames with gearbox view from the counter
  14.06. with the ribs in place the planking can start in earnest
  will this piece of oak become a new plank? first planks in place... .. and tools... ...and plugs are fitted... ... the third plank is in place...
  ... and Betty is getting whole again... Marius points something out to a sailor... .. the counter as it should be... ... hole closed!
  30.06. Marius at the tedious work scraping the seams and caulking
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  Marius scraping the old caulking from the seam Maruis caulking the seam tar and Simson marine glue the primer covers the new seams The Hip
  09.07. with new planks, fresh paint and hanging in the crane: Oh, how she shines on the water
    appearing from the dark and back in the water.
  new planks under the engine   hanging in the crane
    what a workplace  
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BETTY smacks cruising the Estuary janholthusen