Wednesday 4 September 2013


Yes - it's true! I am moving  away from our shores to where the water is going to be unsuitable for 'Gina'. She has now gone to a new home on the Thames and local lakes. I'll leave this blog here for those that may find it useful and leave you with a few new pictures taken just prior to her moving to her new owners.

Thursday 11 November 2010

She Floats!

First up, apologies to regular followers for the long overdue update to this restoration diary. Lack of both funds and time this past year has meant slow progress with little of interest to report.

That said, I'm pleased to bring this up to date with the news that 'Gina' was successfully launched on the 7th November 2010 at the CMBA Test Day at Ivy Lake, Chichester - and here's the picture to prove it...

Photograph by Geoff Allchorn

Following on from the last update, you'll notice we finally got the engine up and running - even though it did manage to expire on us on our final circuits of the lake. Hopefully the winter lay-up will give us a chance to address this ready for next season.

Although the engine is only 25HP, progress did seem a little 'stately' - even when running at wide open throttle... it seems there's still some tweaking to do (though I have been told that Johnson/Evinrude horses are much smaller than Mercury horses:-)).

The only other work over the year was to replace trailer wheels, tyres and bearings - not exciting - but she tows beautifully now.

Final Entry in the Log...
Well, I guess this blog/diary has now run its course - so it's unlikely I'll be adding much more to it in the future. If anyone wants to keep in touch please cruise over to the CMBA Forum where I'm also known as 'BroomBroom'.

I'll leave you with a few final pictures of 'Gina' but before signing off I'd like to thank everybody who helped me during the restoration and in particular:

Tony and SJ
for the endless supply of 'loan' tools, manual dexterity
and appreciative comments

Geoff, Nick and Steve from the CMBA
for help with screens, engines and sympathy

The Neighbours
who were regularly press-ganged into 'boat lifting' duties

Paul 'The Boat Boy' and Big Al
One word... Curry?

My brother Jon
for his efforts on the end of a spanner in the 'fibreglass coffin'

Angie M
who told me to 'get on and restore another boat'

...and finally, 'Spike' - RYA Qualified Powerboat Pilot, long suffering wife, purveyor of tea and sarnies and occasionally competent boatbuilders assistant - well it is her boat...




Thursday 3 September 2009

Best laid plans...

Sometimes things just go too smoothly don't they?

Last time I just had to plonk Gina on the trailer, strap on the now respectable looking engine and head off, champagne in hand, for the christening and launch - what could possibly go wrong?

Following the 'plonking on', it soon became apparent that in order to get the nose weight on the trailer anything like correct it would need to be about 3 feet longer. Luckily, I have a friend who is not only a welder but also owed me a favour.
He duly turned up, extended the tongue and added some additional bracing to stop the whole thing flexing - bearing in mind this was originally made for a smaller, lighter boat.
With the addition of the winch post and the side bunks, the trailer now supports the boat brilliantly - a solid, made to measure fit.

All up it has a nose weight of 50kg, which - as far as I could ascertain - is just about perfect. Obviously not used to the extra payload, both tyres (which had shown no signs of deflation over the previous weeks) decided to lose 10psi a day. Until I get around to replacing them, the daily footpump excercise routine is certainly keeping the thighs muscular...

On with the Sea Horse
I quite like these sorts of jobs - installing the steering gear, routeing the control cables, hooking up the remotes, sorting the electrics etc.
After a couple of days all was as it should be.

The Ultraflex/Teleflex steering works like a charm - as do the electrics and the remotes so it was off to the garage with the fuel cans for the great start-up...

Brmmm Brmmm - or maybe not...
With a tank of nice fresh 50:1 mix on tap and new plugs at the ready, we did a compression test on the cylinders which were fine and everything was good to go. The dustbin was duly filled with water, the leg gently submerged, fuel pumped up and the choke pulled out. A finger on the starter button and it immediately leapt into life - well, the starter motor did anyway. The rest of it showed zero interest in doing anything. After some fiddling about with the mixture setting on the carb and by a judiciously placed finger on the throttle, she finally spluttered into life. I was hoping that soon she would blow away the cobwebs and settle down into a gentle purr, big smiles and down the pub to celebrate.

So did the local hostelry beckon? In a word - No -
she spluttered, hiccuped, sneezed, wheezed and finally expired in a thick cloud of rancid smoke.

Initial enquiries of fellow CMBA member and Johnnyrude guru Nick (aka Rapier on the most excellent forum) pointed us in the direction of the carb. This was removed and given a thorough once over by my chum Paul (a man who's good with engines and understands cricket - top chap). Cleaned inside and out, it was duly re-installed and yet again we commenced the great start up ceremony. Looking on the positive side, this time it did actually start and run under its own steam but only for a few seconds before spluttering to a halt.

That's where we are the moment then - still in the shed and not on the water. Staying optimistic (which is admittedly against my nature), this is known to have been a good little unit, so with the help of those more experienced in the black art of lawn mower engines, I'm sure we'll get there in the end.

It's all been a little frustrating and disappointing as the whole trailer/engine business is taking longer and causing more problems than I had originally foreseen - but isn't that always the way with boats? Just hope things are resolved before we reach the end of this glorious 'barbecue' summer...

Tuesday 30 June 2009


Spent the last few weeks delivering the Invicta Viper to her new owners and attacking the trailer with assorted wire brushes and pots of

The side bunks and winch post will go on after the boat is on top.

Next up was converting the engine from 'short' (aka standard) to 'long' shaft and tidying it up ready for the Broom.

The engine is a 1971 25HP Johnson Sea-Horse and I'm pretty pleased about this as it should have enough 'grunt' to provide some fun, while not being overpowered for our local rivers.
The engine is also around the same age as the boat and even has the added bonus of electric start.
I'm no mechanic, but I'm learning these old OMC (Outboard Motor Corporation - Johnson/Evinrude) engines are pretty easy to work on with basic tools and knowledge - also a bonus.

Shaft Conversion
Converting the shaft length is (on paper) relatively straightforward:

  1. Disconnect gear shift linkage
  2. Undo bolts
  3. Pull away bottom of leg with gearcase
  4. Replace the water cooling pipe, gearshift connector, drive shaft and sleeve with longer versions
  5. Insert a 5" long leg extension piece
  6. Bolt it all back together

The first problem was gathering all the bits together, I was lucky enough to have a long drive shaft (an expensive item) supplied as a spare with the engine - the other bits were all courtesy of the CMBA parts store (aaah - the advantages of joining the right club). So armed with all the necessary bits, I called upon the services of a friend to give me a hand. Well that's not true really - he actually did the whole job for me - thanks Geoff! The whole process went relatively smoothly though we couldn't find a long water cooling tube (basically a copper pipe) and an extension to the existing one had to be fabricated. We also took the opportunity to replace the impellor and renew the gearcase oil. Oddly, the most difficult thing to track down was the long bolt to fit the new leg extension piece, in the end I gave up and used a stainless steel stud, cut to length.

Cosmetic Makeover...
Although in overall good shape, the engine was going to look comparitively tatty when hung on the back of Gina, so I decided to give her a quick once over on the cosmetic front. The hood (GRP) was first sanded, then filled, primed, painted and polished. The raised 'Johnson' logo was then picked out using a black wedge tipped permanent marker and lacquered. Finally, new decals were obtained from Nana's Decal Store in Canada - great price and service! Just need a new piece of trim for the bottom and it'll be job done.

The rest of the engine was sanded down - a tedious and thankless task - until it looked something like this:

You can see the 5" leg extension here (the yellowy-green piece)

Everything was masked off that could be - engine itself, prop, grease nipples etc. It was then primed with an etch primer (it was down to bare metal in many places) followed by plenty of coats of 'Ford Tourmaline Green Metallic' - courtesy of Halfords 'rattle-cans'. This was finished off with around 4 x coats of petrol resistant clear lacquer, again - job done!

Maybe not a Concours d'Elegance prizewinner, but at least it's clean and tidy now.

Next job is to get 'Gina' up on the trailer... so watch this space!

Sunday 3 May 2009

Out of Hibernation!

A long wet winter, but here we are back again and pleased to report that things have progressed well...

The carpet is now down and - wait for it... the screen surround is in place! Yes, I finally found someone who could do the job - SLS Fabrication in Heathfield, a local company who (amongst many other things) produces screen surrounds for kit cars. It's a good solid aluminium section and as you can guess, I'm really pleased - cheers Alan!

As soon as I'd finished the job, I got a call from John Broom Ltd. - yup, the original builders (who now operate primarily as a plant hire company).
Apparently, they still do odd restoration jobs on their boats and have been following this blog - so I was chuffed to hear from them. They did say that they could supply many of the original 'pattern' parts, including the screen surround - wish I'd known earlier - hey ho...

More kudos came in the form of getting this restoration featured across three issues of 'Boat Mart' magazine - last one coming up in July I think.

Good weather and the right temperature saw the striping tape and boat name applied. I used Funky Monkey for this and though not cheap, they deliver fast and the quality appears very good. They provide all the necessary instructions and even a free applicator tool.

It was a little challenging to get the stripes to meet exactly at the bow - but I hope you think the finished job was worth the effort.

Outboard, Remotes and Trailer...
All expensive items - and even hunting around during the winter 'off' season, I was having trouble turning up anything suitable within our very limited budget. Luckily, we had a change of fortunes when attending the CMBA opening meet at Basildon Motor Boat Museum (great place to visit by the way)!

A fellow member had brought down his Invicta Viper to see if he could find a buyer.

A 60's era 12' 6" speedboat, it had a rip in the hull and had taken on a lot of water, this necessitated drilling holes through the transom to drain it out.
I noticed that it had a good 25HP electric start Johnson on the back of it, all the steering/control cables, the remotes and even a fresh battery.

It was also sitting on an old, but sound, trailer - complete with good wheel bearings. Before long the deal was done.

I've got a friend who's going to take on restoring the shell and I've ended up with all the missing bits for Gina - a good result all round. The only downside is the outboard is a short shaft, but these old Johnsons are (allegedly) easily extended, so it's a question of taking advantage of the CMBA parts store to see if I can turn up the necessary bits.
So, as soon as I've relieved the trailer of its current cargo, it'll be out with the wire brush...

Still plenty left to do then and hopefully I'll be back to updating these pages more regularly.

Many thanks to all of you who have got in touch with encouragement and details of your own projects and don't forget to drop in at the new CMBA forum - well worth a visit.

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Quick Update...

It's now just over a year since 'Gina' hit the driveway and it seems the finishing line is now in sight! While the current financial climate dictates that a trailer and engine will have to be deferred until next year, at least that will be a simple 'bolt on and go' job (why don't I quite believe that).

Our brief Indian Summer has allowed us to get the bunks lined with vinyl and to start the interior fit out. The Helm unit is now installed as is the switch panel and passengers grab-handle. The side panels are also now firmly bolted in place, along with the front seats. Sitting in the boat to identify the optimum seating position, it was easy to imagine cutting through the glistening waters of the Italian Riviera towards the twinkling lights of a waterside hostelry - but I digress...

Carpeting the interior is next on the 'to do' list and all materials are to hand, when that is done we will be almost there. The only other job is - yes, you guessed - that wretched screen!

July 2007

September 2008

Screens & Screams

Another half a dozen or so local 'fabricators' have informed me that it is not possible to bend a piece of channel for a screen surround - hey ho, the search continues...

In the meantime I made a decision to install the new screen anyway to prevent it getting further knocked around in the shed. Regular readers will recall that I had a replacement made in Polycarbonate (Lexan) as it will take a cold curve. A helpful CMBA member advised that 'you just start in the middle and work out towards the edges' - accurately finding the middle was a little challenging, but overall the whole process went very smoothly.
Have to shout out a big thanks to my Brother at this juncture - he lives and works in Oman and had dropped in on his way to Paris for a few days R&R - instead, he ended up hanging on spanners, upside down in the fibreglass hot-box in order to help me get the thing on - cheers Jon - hope the subsequent fluid replacement didn't do any lasting damage to the liver!

Next time around I hope to have that carpet down and striping tape and boat names ready to apply!

Thursday 14 August 2008

Fixtures, Fittings & Fun

With the paintwork finished, a few warm, sunny days allowed me to get the remaining varnish on the decks, which have had three coats now.
This is as much for appearance as anything else given they're laminate but the overall effect works very well (albeit a little difficult to photograph).

You may think that bolting on the deck hardware - cleats, fairleads, fendoff endcaps etc. would be fairly painless - think again! With all the fittings I used locking nuts and either washers (various) or washers and ply 'spreader' plates to spread the load under those items subject to stress and strain such as cleats and sidesteps. If you have ever tried to get a spanner/socket/anything on the nuts of a Broom rubbing strake bow-cap you will understand...

Luckily I was on the outside with a screwdriver, carefully aligning the screw heads, while long suffering neighbour, Tony, was folded into a peculiar contorted shape and posted into the fibreglass coffin under the front deck. To cut a long story short, after a lot of effort, all the deck fittings are now in place (even though I did hear some nautical phrases that were new to even me).

The bow light was particularly testing as I had made a ply plate with epoxied captive nuts, so the bulb could be changed by simply unscrewing the unit leaving the bolts in place - clever huh? So, another job out of the way and we've heard that Tony should be walking upright again within a week or two.

Up the Stern
Decided to re-visit the 'bit at the back' - the fuel/battery area. While I had previously done some work in there, there were nooks and crannies where water could get trapped, so I did some more filling and fairing to tidy things up.

I finished the whole area with 'Protectakote' - a polyurethane anti-slip paint with rubber granules. Did the job brilliantly.

All the trim panels are now finished and are in the process of being installed. After a few unsuccessful attempts at 'padding' the side panels I gave up - simply covering the marine ply with vinyl using contact adhesive, fixed round the back with stainless staples. The 'Grab Handle' panel used the same technique but the padding worked well on this.

The Screen Saga (continued)
I really don't want to dwell on this - suffice to say that the pile of mangled aluminium channel is getting larger. Hopefully off to a properly equipped workshop soon for attempt three - third time lucky? Let's hope so.

Informal CMBA Run
My long suffering lady and I had a great run up our local river (The Arun) the other day with some fellow CMBA members.

Although it was our first 'wet' meeting we were made to feel very welcome and fellow member Geoff deserves a special mention for handing over the helm of his beautiful Broom to me for the outward journey.

There was a good collection of interesting boats in evidence and (I know I bang on about this) if you're a regular reader here in the UK - you really should join up!

Next time round...
I hope to get that screen on - then it's finishing the trim, lining the bunks and working out the seating - 2009 is looking realisitic!

Wednesday 2 July 2008

Painting and Decorating...

The continuing good weather meant there was no excuse - it was time to get the brushes out and the topcoat on.

Having flatted down the primer and masked off all that lovely laminate, the paint was duly applied. I used a combination of both roller with a brush to 'tip off' as I had on the hull and where this approach was impractical, a foam brush. Regulars will know that painting is not my forte - but the results are pretty good. She has had 3 x topcoats in total and with a little flatting and polishing should look very smart.

Rubbing Strake
I then turned my attention to the rubbing strake. I placed the rubber insert in a bucket of hot water to soften it slightly and it was then a relatively simple job to persuade it into the aluminium section.

There can be a little shrinkage - so I left the ends over-length, giving the rubber a few days to settle down. The ends were then trimmed and the section itself tweaked so as to provide a good fit for the previously refurbished end and bow caps.

A Little Trim...
The Broom interior has two padded side panels. I've started recreating these using a salvaged original as a template and cutting them from 6mm marine ply.

I also shaped a decorative panel for the passenger dashboard, which will ultimately sport a grab handle. These have all had nuts countersunk and epoxied in place so - following covering - they can be attached 'blind'. Some grey edge trim has also been sourced to cover any unfinished fibreglass edges within the cockpit area.

Screen Problems
...well not actually the screen - more the surround. I have had a new screen made up in polycarbonate, which will take a cold bend - and it's all ready to get itself fixed in place. I am having a problem with the top screen surround though. This is quite simply a length of suitably curved aluminium channel. First attempts were not successful - now a former is under construction and Neil (my chum and local friendly metal guru) is going to assist - the plan being to fill the channel with mild steel, do the bending and then pop out the insert. I'll let you know how we get on with this!

Thanks to all the people who have emailed me recently and for the encouraging comments I've received about this blog site. It's good to know that some of you have found it informative and I'm always happy to help out where I can - just email me direct. You should now find contact details in my profile.

Tuesday 27 May 2008


A long overdue change in the weather provided the perfect conditions to lay the laminated deck surfaces.
Just to recap, this
model used a laminate (Formica) inlay on both the fore-deck and side-decks. I opted to re-instate this and after casting around chose a Teak effect cabin flooring laminate with a light Holly stripe.

With the templates made, cutting could get underway. I tried many different methods and had a lot of useful suggestions as to how to cut this - after experimentation I opted for... a pair of scissors!

Working 'to the line' I was able to perfectly cut the required curves with no splitting or chipping of the edges.

The downside? - it was a long, slow, job and it took a couple of days before any feeling returned to my fingers.

I turned to the collective wisdom on the CMBA Forum to find the best way of bonding the laminate to the deck

You may remember that I had covered all these surfaces with primer - well, all this had to be removed for a start.
After a session with angle grinder and sanding block we were ready to go. With everything clean, dry, dust free and wiped over with acetone, I coated the laminate with West Systems epoxy and then added filler to the mix to produce a good consistency for a 'bed' which was applied to the deck surface. The first of the two sheets was positioned and even pressure applied until the epoxy mix oozed from the edges (I had previously protected the adjoining surfaces with masking tape). Using various blocks of timber, lead weights and anything else that came to hand, even pressure was maintained until the whole thing had set off.

The same operation was undertaken for the next sheet and it
was time to grab a coffee and admire the result!

The Dreaded Side-decks...

Problem - the side-decks needed the same treatement, but the Teak and Holly stripe was not going to look right and no suitable alternative could be found.

Solution - Wielding the trusty craft knife I set about carefully scoring and stripping out all the holly stripes from the remaining
laminate. About this time I began to doubt my sanity, but after many hours I ended up with enough laminate 'planks' for the task in hand.

Duly edge sanded and shaped, these were then affixed in the approved manner. The edge to edge joins were better
than I could have hoped for, but I filled the seams with a dark oak stopping, which really enhanced the appearance.

I applied a couple of coats of varnish to all the surfaces - not too worried about the mirror finish at the moment - but maintaining a varnished surface is easier when removing paint splashes, masking tape, filler etc. than the raw 'grained' finish of the laminate.

While the epoxy was out, I also reinstated the support posts for the bow rails and faired them in.

For the photographs, I also
put the 'deck candy' in place.

It took about four days to see this job through - and not something I would relish doing again, but hey, I think the results speak for themselves!

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Back to Work...

It's been a while - but we've been busy...

For those of you who have been following progress, you'll be aware that we had a minor setback when the 'boatshed' blew away. Well now we have a rather splendid (and much more substantial) construction:

This was erected by John and Will of Sussex Logs who deserve a shameless plug for the great job they did - thanks chaps!

During the extended period of grim weather, a new transom plate was fabricated by my good friend and neighbour, Neil.

Heavy, mirror finish, A4 stainless and engineered to perfection, it certainly looks the part. It was designed slightly oversize compared to the original, to avoid using the same screw holes.

An additional smaller plate will be made up for the inside of the splash well to spread the load of the outboard bracket fixings and avoid those neat little rings being punched into the transom.

I also had a rethink on my helm design. As opposed to just bolting everything to the existing fibreglass dash, I shaped, routed and vinyl-covered a piece of 12mm ply on to which to mount the helm and instruments. Prior to covering, I epoxied countersunk screws into the board which will allow blind fitting from the rear. This will make removal, adding additional instruments etc. much more convenient - it also looks quite attractive.

Following a wealth of useful advice gleaned from the CMBA forum, I've now removed all the paint from the foredeck, ready for application of the teak and holly laminate. A template was made and the laminate has been cut to size (pictures to follow).

This will be bonded using West Systems epoxy of the appropriate consistency. It's the next job on the list but is very weather/temperature dependant.

I was lucky enough to win the CMBA 10th Anniversary logo competition - and spent a pleasant day at the National Motorboat Museum at Basildon, to receive my reward and meet fellow lunatics - sorry - enthusiasts at the same time. There are some fantastic, historic boats there - well worth a visit.

Finally, we have settled on a name for the Broom - she is to be called...
We quite liked the Italianesque (?) feel and it's short enough to fit on the limited transom space (or it could be my wife's penchant for expensive footwear from a certain manufacturer of the same name:-))

So, let's hope the better weather is finally here and work can continue apace.

If all goes well the next update should not be too far away and will detail the fitting of the aforementioned foredeck laminate.