Duet relaunched after extensive refit at Fox’s
The Cirdan Sailing Trust’s gaff-rigged sail training yawl Duet was recently relaunched at Fox’s following work to hull and keel structure, engine and stern gear.
Designed by Linton Hope and built at White’s yard on the River Itchen, Duet was first launched in 1912. She is 21.95m LOA with teak hull planking on oak frames and, having been sympathetically maintained over the years and still with her original rig, Duet retains many of the original features of a classic Edwardian yacht.
Despite this, some persistent leaks meant the time had come for Fox’s experienced team of shipwrights to carry out a more thorough investigation. Working with the Cirdan Trust’s surveyor, David Cannell, the aft accommodation, engine, hydraulic drive unit, stern gear and saloon tanks were removed to allow access to keel bolts and strap floor fastenings.
With the hull carefully supported, the full-length lead ballast keel was dropped away and all bolts removed. Several of the original wrought iron strap floors and associated frames were showing signs of degradation and, with good access, it was agreed these should be replaced along with relevant fastenings.
Six of the original sawn oak frames were also in need of replacement along with intermediate steamed oak timbers. New oak was laminated, cleaned up and bevelled prior to refastening with copper nails and roves.
The original teak planking was generally in sound condition, however localised electrochemical decay meant a new plank was required in way of shaft log and A bracket. Once spilled and steamed into place, the new teak planking was quickly refastened with bronze screws and re-caulked. However it was apparent that Duet’s hull was beginning to dry out and with the season’s sail training commitments looming, the pressure was on to get her back together and afloat.
The lead keel was dry fitted and then mulched to keelson using epoxy to ensure a millimetre perfect fit, prior to being finally bedded and pulled up on new bronze bolts as required.
The engine and its associated hydraulic drive system were serviced, painted and all ancillary alternators, starter motor, heat exchanger, etc overhauled. A new prop shaft and bearings were fitted prior to engine and drive units being reinstalled and carefully aligned.
Once re-rigged, launch day involved some lastminute caulking of dry seams, a couple of crash pumps and a long night of pumping, however Duet quickly started to take up as her planking tightened on the new framing.
With engine trials and MCA survey complete, Duet will initially be based at Fox’s Marina.