Laughing Lady Catch Up
Most of you would be aware from the posts on ww that LL is undergoing a restoration at the Whangateau Traditional Boat yard, if not details here https://waitematawoodys.com/2014/04/09/laughing-lady/
I was chatting (e-mail) with James last week & he has just sent me a batch of photos of LL both in the 1960s while under the ownership of Robert Lion Gardiner & some photos of the work completed by Doug Jones & Fernando Alva of Traditional Boat Works. As an aside these two have also been working over the years on the restoration of ‘Therapy’, James Rhodes 33 yacht in San Diego. details here (scroll down, Mr Uroxsys had a few photo posting issues at the start 🙂 http://classicyacht.org.nz/cyaforum/topic/natica-beater/
James mentioned a spot of good fortune / luck he had recently when he met with the previous owner, Bob Watkins. Bob is a marriage relation of Gardiner, & was kind enough to tell James a lot of her history & give him a collection of parts from his storage unit – including her original game fighting chairs (freshly re-chromed), some interior fittings, old photos, and the boats flag bag which contained the original skull and crossbones house flag of Gardiners Island and her New York Yacht club burgee.
The skull and cross bones refers to the fact that Captain Kidd buried his treasure on the island in 1699 and swore he would kill Lion Gardiner the 9th if it went missing. Upon Kidds arrest, Gardiner directed the British Admiralty in its direction but the crowns inventory after digging it up by all accounts, was rather short. Needless to say the Gardiners were always well off!
You can see the House flag flying in the old photos.
Bob recounted purchasing the boat from Gardiners widow, Eunice for a sum of $10,000 sight unseen and without survey in approximately 1998.
On arrival at the well known Driscolls Boat yard in San Deigo, he received a call to explain that his boat was there, unfortunately not in one piece, and every boat enthusiast and broker in the bay was stopping to view her as rumours spread about the unique vessel.
On inspection, the Volvo Pentas, (which replaced a pair of Chrysler inline eights in about 1987), were installed bolted to old frames and planking rather than new engine beds. This, combined with four full 36 Gallon fuel tanks had resulted in massive structural bottom damage and the engines almost falling through her bottom during the trip from New York to Calfironia.
She was transferred to Clarke Custom Boats (which became Traditional Boatworks) where she was shored up, station molds fitted to return her to her lines, and the bottom essentially cut off. Laminated frames were fitted, a large new section of stem glued in, and a double planked glued and screwed bottom of Cedar installed. Up top there was some local splining and a full re-fastening.
The work done in San Diego was a sound basis for continuing the restoration and was was what justified taking the project on & transporting LL across the world to Whangateau :-).
Its not often we see the Whangateau Traditional Boat Yard like this i.e. a working boat yard, normally the photos show it masquerading as a smoko room for the brilliant open days at the yard 🙂 In the photos we see Laughing Lady’s new hand rails.
27-05-2016 Update – James words “One month of solid sanding and painting, its time to paint her blue, amped”
28-05-2016 Update – 3 coats of blue on today, 2 more to go 🙂
A little bit of a mirror finish happening here – the ‘model’ is Mark Lever, owner of the very smart classic launch Nereides