Monday, 31 December 2012

Lightning - a double entendre

International Lightning Class + hydroplane....get it? Oh well - I tried.

Busy week this week in the boatshop - in fact by popular demand there were crews out Saturday and Sunday! Saturday was mostly on the Lightning, the centreboard winch got fully sorted and installed permanently. George had taken the little pully that the board haul-up cable runs over, installed a bearing in it and came up with a better bolt to act as axle.

It looks good and should work!

The centreboard is a steel plate of about 200 lbs and no piece of cake to manhandle - however with a crane? - no problem. We put a dolley under the boat so as the board dropped into place the bottom landed on the dolley and made it easy to adjust position and move the boat around. Scott and Ray got the bronze bolt intalled with new leather gaskets.

One flying centreboard...

and landed - just need that stopper...

Once that was done, we carried on checking the fit of the coamings and headed off an error we were about to make - whew! Looks as though they are going to look OK. There are a couple of spots where it is tempting to replace the originals but so far we are resisting..we'll see.

Then on Sunday it was Gas-Hopper Day! We moved the shop around to make space under the crane for the raceboat then hauled it around the building and poked it into the front of the shop.

Let there be light(ning?)
pointy end out - Scott & Anton ready.

Once under the crane we had to rig lifting gear without damaging anything. The engine is a Ford 6 - much hot rodded. It has some interesting features - the distributor is off a 12 cylinder engine and has two coil wire sockets. In this case it is wired up so the two coils only have to run 3 cylinders each - giving a hotter spark. The cylinder head is aluminum and finned, there are triple Stromberg 97 carbs, the ports are polished.

Anton wrenching, Ray and Scott worrying
really tight fit coming out.

Another interesting mod is the oil cooler which is welded into the pan and has fittings that go UNDER the stringers from each side. they had to come out first and you can't actually see them.

Turns out it was good decision to pull the engine - it has condensation in some locations in spite of the wadding Dave had jammed in various openings. However the essentials seem to be in very good condition and major expenses are not forseen on the engine - so far.

the 12 cylinder ignition - with 6 wires!
engine on stand - stage one done!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Of Lightning and ChrisCrafts

Howling cold wind outside but nice and warm in the boatshop this morning! Nice to see Grant, Chris, Peter, Jim, Ray (briefly) and Scott braving the weather to mess about in boats (on boats more accurately).

The Lightning mast now has about 6 coats of varnish and will harden for a week before sanding. Scott sanded out the motor well and applied a final coat of buff paint. Chris made up a shim so the centerboard winch could be mounted - which it now is! We set the coamings in place to check fit as the whole deck structure is new - a hidden shim strip will be needed at the rear of the cockpit to make it all fit using the original parts.

motor well - fascinating eh?
Chris fitting centerboard winch.

Scott and Chris dryfitting coamings
coamings all fit nicely again

Once the centerboard is in, we can paint the decks and "dry fit with screws", the coamings. As all the interior bright bits have been mostly varnished for along time, I think this boat is suddenly going to look finished! (That will be a missleading impression)

Grant was fashioning a new mahogany cornerpost for our 31' ChrisCraft Cavalier which is kept in Picton. The cabin side windows leaked no matter what we did so new ones are being made but first the underlying structure is being renewed to get rid of soft wood and bad joints!

Grant planes the curved surface into the new port corner post

Meanwhile the theme for the ACBS Gravenhurst Show this year is raceboats and we are shooting to have GasHopper in running condition by then. Peter has the engine ready to come out and that will happen shortly. This is getting pretty interesting - the engine is reportedly a Ford flathead 6, hot rodded - the ignition is off a 12 cylinder engine, head is alloy, triple Stromberg carbs...lots of fun!

GasHopper - a 225 cu in Hydroplane from 1945. Raced by the late Dave Norton 1955 - 60

The K&C Cruiser fleet will have two nice ChrisCraft Cruisers based in Picton this summer. They are part of our Gatsby fundraising programme - if you would be interested in spending a week on "your own cruiser" stay tuned or let us know, we are developing this programme now...

picture yourself here..on this boat
or on this boat...

Look for at least a couple of our boats in the ACBS booth at the Toronto International Boat Show which opens Jan 12 and runs through Jan 19th. If you wish to assist in telling our story there please let Malcolm know so he can schedule you in. Full details about the show are available on-line.

Lots more happening! Our first Shore Leave Night last week was well attended and lots of fun. Open to all, it will be the second Thursday evening of the month, every month, in the boatshop, nibbles and nips - bring something and someone!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Our Museum has a Ditchburn!

At least potentially we do. About a month ago we received a message from the ACBS that a Ditchburn up near North Bay was about to be cut up and burned! Grant and I went up to have a look and what we found was a little sister to Gordon Russell's 52' Ditchburn "Windswept III". This boat was built in 1928 at the Orillia Plant in the same manner as Windswept - which is to say true carvel construction of heavy planking on steamed ribs with externally caulked seams. She is 34' and what I would call a Day Cruiser style. High foredeck with a cutaway sheer leading to a low stern - she is about half deck and half open cockpit - elegant simplicity.
As Jingo looked when last restored in about 1976...
and as we found her.

With her large rear cockpit and wonderful heritage & lineage she seems perfect for handicapped boat rides and that's a large part of what we would like to do with her. Mind you there's a touch of restoration to be done before that. Her hull planking seems amazingly sound although there is a series of broken ribs along the port quarter chine area and some softness in the tumblehome on both sides.

The actual rescue was a bit of an adventure but we had lots of wonderful support both here and in Callander to make her removal happen. Thanks to Rob of Fred's Towing, John of Halton Tire here in Georgetown and in Callander/North Bay, Elizabeth Hughes (former owner), Paul Baker, Karl Lewis, Brent Bywater, Matt Parfitt and the folks at Kaltire.

leaving Callander on day 2
Fuelling up after a wheel came off!

and nearly home!

Stay tuned for more and watch for Paul Baker's article in ClassicBoat if you are an ACBS member!