Laughing Lady June 2016 Update
photos ex James Dreyer
Chatting with James on-line a while ago I nudged him for an update on LL. As ww followers will know the Lady has been tucked up in the shed at Whangateau Boat yard for over two years getting a serious over-haul from Pam & when in country James + hangers on. James & LL’s co-owners re to be commended on they desire to return LL to her former elegance – below is the note James sent me (slightly edited)
“I was hoping to get some varnish on the topsides before departing offshore and subsequently photographing her looking sharp and shiny but it didn’t happen. We did, as you know get her in her new coat of Flag Blue. Unfortunately the port side will need a re-shoot due to some sags – the weather was not in our favor the day we had to spray. We will definitely be in better shape to give a good update in August as we should be well on the way with putting her together.
Pam and I had a bit of a discussion recently and think it is probably worth me commenting on the dark two part LP finish that I have gone with, before the armchair generals and experienced boat builders / owners wade in. There has been many well qualified comments about the potential for paint failure over the last two years and they have certainly been weighed up and taken onboard.
When LL had her hull rebuild in San Diego, she was taken back to bare wood, re-framed and re-fastened, then impregnated with two coats of epoxy and many seams were splined. She is tight seamed double planking and the new bottom is double planked and epoxy glued. The paint system that was applied to her extremely fair hull 10 years ago in San Diego is a two pack epoxy / LP system – Awlgrip above the waterline and International below. After 10 years sitting in a semi finished state, in the rather extreme conditions of an inland San Diego yard, she had cracked and opened a number of seams, but to be honest, no more than the single pack finishes on the boats around her.
My concerns were that she would move significantly once parked in the Whangateau shed as she adapted to the cool, moist environment. Pam repaired various areas that were in need, primarily around the extreme flare and planking twist in the bow, then built a good base of primer. We let her sit for a year in primer, and surprisingly there was no movement or cracking to speak of. To strip her back to bare wood was to remove the hundreds of hours of fairing and painting that had been never seen the water even though it was done years before.
On this basis and after much deliberation and discussion, I chose to continue with the two pack system. The aim from the start was to get her in the water and in use as soon as practicable (as far as restorations go).
For the first 50 years of her life, she was painted jet black and spent hot summers in the water around Long Island and her winters in a snow covered shed. After the work in San Diego she was painted Awlgrip royal blue.
We chose Awlcraft Flag blue as the topside color. Awlcraft has some more give (urethane rather than polyurethane) and can be locally repaired and polished. My goal was to have her looking as close to original as possible when she launched, and the dark hull is truly striking as I’m sure everyone agrees.
I am well aware that the system will probably show some failures around the seams as she moves. Its also likely that we will be painting her white in a few years, but to me it makes sense to let her out the door in the current (gorgeous) state and see how she fares. If need be, we will re-wood her and go single pot, but if not, then a white two part system will continue to be used”
REMEMBER – To enlarge a photo – just click on it 😉
16-07-2016 I received an email from James today with the 2 photos below attached – when LL was launched she was powered by Packard straight 8’s, nowadays is powered by twin Volvo turbo diesels. In his travels overseas James came across the engines below – my response to the email was short – “WALK AWAY & DO NOT LOOK BACK” 🙂
August 2016 Update (ex James D fb)
It appears with the hull painted its now down to the shiny stuff 🙂
01-09-2016 Update ex James fb
Applying 24k gold leaf to the carved details on Laughing Ladys hull. The first arrow head needs a little tidying up, but with some more practice the unique scroll work detail carved into her bow in 1949 to identify her builder is going to look sweeeet!