Clara with a hull number of 937 would have been an early 1970 boat and a Mk 1 model, still with the original short Gaff. Despite being a little dirty from some 4 years of being unused and left undercover, her hull gel coat was original, very little damage apart from some scratches. The early Honnor Marine moulds were not good, although they did improve in the mid 1980s. The development of resins were in their infancy and these Luggers were being churned out at a great rate of knots, becoming very popular and a relatively low cost boat, quite basic in design and production, but with a significant good name as a safe Day Boat.
When it comes to refurbishing a Lugger one has to be prepared to do a significant amount of basic initial work. You will find air bubbles in the gel coat, an uneven layer of gel coat exposing the lay up mat beneath and ripples in the gunwale top plank.
From getting her back to my base of Dragon Design, my Cabinetry making company, she had to be totally dismantled, de-greased and power washed to remove all loose paint and debris.
Photograph 1 shows her ready to be primed. I use Automotive 2K paints, spray-applied. This is a professional material which is very hard and holds its colour and, being catalysed, sticks well to good, well prepared surfaces.
Photograph 2 is the hull in primer, a high build material paint which has good filling properties, you will note how she has been rubbed back to remove imperfections, a further coat will then be applied before prepping.
Photograph 3 is the cockpit having been previously primed now in its Manilla colour finish. This is the colour of all the Dragon Drascombe Luggers.
In between preparing and spraying the hull shell I have started to strip the Spars of their old varnish. Years of varying layers of varnish has discoloured the Cedar material of the Spars, and I want to get back to the natural wood. Photographs 4 & 5 highlight the difficulties in removing these layers, so a very powerful corrosive stripper is used, not a pleasant job.
The final pic shows the Mizen Mast having been stripped of its layers of varnish and sanded ready for approximately 10 spray coats of clear high gloss varnish. Visit this site next week to see the spars re-finished and Gunwale rails cleaned and oiled.