Refitting a Classic Dragon is always a labour of love and it can be quite a lonely business so, to help encourage those of you thinking of undertaking a refit or who are midway through one and need some support, we've invited Derek Gibbon, currently restoring GBR373, to bring us periodic updates about his progress. Here is his first report:
Refitting Dragon 373 - Part 1
I came upon Dragon 373 tucked away in a corner outside the sailing club in Grangemouth, Scotland. After doing a little bit of research I found out she was built in 1963 by “The Cowes Boatbuilding Company”. Not knowing if this company still existed I decided to purchase the boat and do the investigation later. I have since found that the company built boats in what now forms part of what the Cavern at CCYC. The CBC had a reputation in those days of building boats (like Franz) Mahogany on oak frames. Franz is still sailing and indeed took part in the “Round the Island” race in 2011.
373 was registered at the RYA under another name, however I have re-named her as “The Kingdom of Fife”, as I feel very strongly about my Scottish heritage and the fact that Fife still has the same boundaries as when St Andrews was the Ancient Capital of Scotland – also my place of Birth.
373 on her stand pushed into a corner
One problem I had to overcome (the first of many) was transporting 373 to the yard at Starleyburn near to Burntisland in Fife. Did I mention that I am doing this re-furb on a bit of a budget, a small one. So lucky for me that a Dragon trailer came up for sale at a very reasonable price, problem was it was on the Isle of Wight and I am in Scotland. So the long trip south and picked up the trailer on the mainland as Ed brought it over for me. The return journey north with an empty trailer was as uneventful. I thought that the Sailing Club would be able to lift 373 from the cradle on to the trailer but their insurance did not allow it. Fortunately the boatyard next door was more than happy for the appropriate fee. Towing to Starleyburn was also nice and easy. So that’s the boat parked up and ready to start the work.
On the trailer at Starleyburn looking tired to say the least
The first job was to remove the deck and inspect the beams, some of the deck was missing and there was no way that replacing it would not have allowed a match. So armed with a set of rules I started to measurer and note down all the relevant numbers, I also took loads of photos, this way I know things will go back the same way. When I took off any part of the boat that had a fitting I took a picture and also kept the old part for a pattern. Well that’s the plan. Here’s where we are.
Look no deck, and no cockpit, and no transom.
Looks like a Dragon
First coat below waterline to try and seal the planks
Looks like there are issues with the keel bolts!
Unfortunately a bout of illness leaves 373 in this position, I am currently trying to work out the best layout of 8’ x 4’ sheets for the deck.
Short break to get my head (and other bits) back together. I have bought the 8x4 Marine Ply does anyone know the best layout; I have 5 sheets is that enough? I bought 9mm so that I can add a 6mm layer again is there a best fit to maximise strength?