SKIPJACK (SEA DEVIL)
Woody Greg Bilington contacted me recently re his launch – Skipjack, formerly named Sea Devil, when owned by Brent Gribble.
In Greg’s words, Shipjack is a 100-year-old, unpretentious 33′ Bailey. Greg has sent in an update on the recent maintenance / restoration that he has undertaken on the woody. I’ll let Greg tell the story (with a wee bit of editing)
“I knew that Skipjack took on some water, but since the hull was sound, I wasn’t overly concerned and focused initially on mechanicals, which included replacing the prop, shaft, cutlass bearing, universal etc. In time, I decided we needed to stifle the ingress of water – and as anyone who has ever had a leaky anything will know, this can be a challenging task. Skin fittings, which were the first suspects had all been replaced and properly backed, but whilst necessary, did not made a beakerful of a difference. The stuffing box seemed a likely candidate, and though it was due for re-packing, this too, could not account for the increasing amount of work being done by the bilge pump.
So, we hauled out at the Landing to pressure test the shaft log, and again drew a blank. It was at that point that Grant Hendry – then working at Orakei Marina, seized hold of the keel behind the rudder and discovered to my great alarm that he could move it centimetres either way! This gave rise to a nightmare or two about soft timber the length of the boat – but in any event, was almost certainly the source of the problem.
Nevertheless, if the timber was sound and further inspection indicated that it was, then that left the keel bolts. For me this was an unexpected discovery, but I daresay it shouldn’t have been. Manganese bronze bolts subject to galvanic action for a century, and with ball-peened fastenings on the bottom of the keel, might be expected to be well past their use-by date. The problem about this of course, was that there was a Ford Dover sitting over several of them.
With an elderly woody, as we know, once started, one must persevere. So, in due course, Moon Engines removed the motor – at which time I should add, James and his team did a sterling job replacing all seals (which had begun to leak) and generally gave it a proper birthday.
Meanwhile, boat builder Glenn Burnnand knocked out the old bolts, and confirmed that they were very much the sorrier for wear. Thinned and with numerous hair-line fractures, they were hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Don Burnnand made new bolts, each with a damned big washer and nut, and when Glenn cranked these up, the mission was accomplished. The keel locked up as tight as the day she was built – and possibly tighter. I’ve included a pic to show the difference between the two…
Burnnand Marine also removed the old glass from the deck-planking, over-laid these with marine ply, re-glassed and painted. A superb job. In my view it’s worthwhile giving a plug to those tradesmen you can rely on completely – and he is one of them. Providing you can drop your mast – since you must pass under the Tamaki Bridge (entry to the Outdoor Boating Club) – access to Shed 10 on Ngapipi Road is very easy.
Long story short, the bilge pump is having a well-earned rest, bolts are good for another century, and I sleep even more soundly on the water.”
You can read / see more on Skipjack at the WW links below