Blog — Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

Blog — Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

The year 2020 will certainly be one to remember, as this is the year we hope to complete the restoration of the classic English gaff ketch Cynara.

The detailing and fine tuning of the many deck fittings is underway. Some team members were making plywood patterns for the tempered 6mm and 8mm glass for skylights and windows. Others were installing the heavy, beautiful deep blue-colored windlass on the foredeck. The steering gear mounted in its cast bronze open style gearbox has been in place for a few weeks, and it is now time to start fitting the varnished timber outer covering. At first, we were planning to repair the original, but it was in particularly bad shape compared to the other restored furniture. The original was plain teak so we made the decision to build the new one using teak framed panels to match the other original deck furniture.

Graham continued to install the copper sheathing, and is moving on to the next step, which is pre-installing and checking, removing and trimming the oversize copper parts, followed by installing and checking again. He does this time and time again, until he is satisfied that everything fits perfectly.

A lot is going on inside the boat. Lewis was installing panels, and Ben was doing the engineering. The original furniture needs many micro adjustments to allow for the changes in dimensions, as Cynara now has a full set of new frames, deck beams and deck. Painting, lacquering, and varnishing is being done in the furniture workshop next door to semi-finish each piece before installation.

Meanwhile Paul has started his own work of art: carving flower-and-leaf patterns at the bow and stern as continuations of the cove line. It’s some amazing craftsmanship!

Exactly one year ago, only 70 percent of the external planking on her new frames had been installed.  Now she is already approaching the completion of her restoration (well, on the outside anyway!).

 

In wintertime, varnishing outside in the sun is rather pleasant, especially when it’s crowded inside.

 

The outside looks beautiful after many coats of paint and varnish.

 

Cladding sheets of copper onto the rudder is detailed and time-consuming work.

 

Ben is laminating in teak a bulkhead which will be fitted under the floor just ahead of the mainmast step. It stops any silt laden or rust laden seawater (from a dirty anchor and chain) from running under the tanks towards the deeper bilge areas aft.  (That’s a 100-year-old 50kg piece of Cynara original lead ballast, helping to compress Ben’s glue joint.)

Restoration by RIVIERA GROUP

Restoration photos by Yoichi Yabe & RIVIERA GROUP

Text and photographs copyright © 2019
RIVIERA CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Email : pr@riviera.co.jp

Blog — Friday, 27 December, 2019

Blog — Friday, 27 December, 2019

Work on Cynara did not slow down at year-end, unlike the rest of Japan.

On Monday, Graham was working on attaching the copper sheathing to sections of the rudder. He carefully made thick paper templates of each piece then cut these shapes out of copper sheets. A heater was used to melt the pitch into which the copper is bedded.

In the old days, copper was used to sheath the underwater hulls of ships to protect them from corrosion, worms and barnacles. The practice started with the Royal Navy and spread to the wealthier merchants’ ships. Today, copper sheathing has almost disappeared from use, being replaced by antifouling paints that contain copper or other additives to repel worms and shellfish.

In wooden boats, areas around the rudder, its bearings, and the rudder post and cove ahead of the rudder all provide hiding places for teredo navalis, the naval shipworm, and other marine organisms. It’s also difficult to paint in these areas. So, for maximum protection, we chose to revert to the centuries old, tried and trusted method of copper sheathing.

During the week, Wada was stripping the years of paint off the engraving that will be prominently visible at the bow and stern, at the start and finish of Cynara’s cove line. This same design will be traced and re-engraved on the newly restored knights head chocks on the top part of stem.

John was working on the fore-deck. Here, the base of the anchor windlass (which weighs 300 kilograms) must be incredibly strong. The windlass will have to haul in an anchor weighing close to 200 kilos, along with some 50 meters of heavy chain and hundreds of meters of wet rope. When an anchor bites on a hard bottom, the load on the windlass can be even more immense. Obviously, strength calculations are critical here.

Mattis and Richard were measuring lengths and re-cutting screw threads for fitting other small bronze parts to the deck. To match the depth of each hole perfectly, he needed to shorten the length of many of the bolts. These carpenters rely heavily on the feeling through their fingertips of each detailed part and angle. The skin of their fingertips becomes callused and crisscrossed with scar tissue, evidence the owner is a skilled artisan.

Friday, Ben was carefully checking the position and angle of a ventilator pipe before drilling a hole in the teak deck planking. Mistakes cannot be rectified once drilling has begun, so he was being very cautious. Of course, that’s true of all the steps being done now, as it’s mostly finishing work.

Thanks to all our readers for supporting us, and Cynara, over the year 2019. We look forward to sharing the events of 2020 with you as well!

 

Wada strips paint from the floral design at the bow to reveal lost detail.

 

The gloss varnish of the stern section is looking particularly beautiful.

 

Preparation for another coat of varnish.

 

The view from this porthole will dramatically change once Cynara is back sailing again.

Restoration by RIVIERA GROUP

Restoration photos by Yoichi Yabe & RIVIERA GROUP

Text and photographs copyright © 2019
RIVIERA CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Email : pr@riviera.co.jp

Blog — Friday, 20 December, 2019

Blog — Friday, 20 December, 2019

Jonathan, a new member of the team arrived from Europe. He left his native NZ in his teens, and has since spent most of is working life working on classic yachts in various locations across Europe.

From early Monday morning, five crew members were working on the interior mahogany furniture. There are still many original pieces to be assembled, and members divided up the remaining tasks. French polish (flakes of Shellac dissolved in denatured alcohol) is applied on the restored parts, which takes time and skill to match the colours and textures of the new timber with the original parts.

Brass breather pipes with mushroom shaped hoods, which allow the underfloor tanks to “breathe,” have been installed on deck just inside the bulwarks.

Today, Paul and Nico were fairing the stern cheeks. At the bow, Mattis and Richard have been finishing up the washboard and capping rails. Japanese members of the crew were varnishing the masts again. This is the eighth time they have been varnished, and still more coats are needed.

 

Paul, Richard and Mattis are checking the fairing of the capping rails and discussing the line.

 

Kawashima is reassembling some of furniture.

 

Hashimoto works on restoring the original desk in the saloon.

 

The wood is steamed for a few hours to make it bend to the correct shape. The rule of thumb is to steam for 1 hour for every 25mm of wood thickness, then bend it, clamp it and leave it overnight to dry into its new shape.

Restoration by RIVIERA GROUP

Restoration photos by Yoichi Yabe & RIVIERA GROUP

Text and photographs copyright © 2019
RIVIERA CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Email : pr@riviera.co.jp

Blog — Friday, 13 December, 2019

Blog — Friday, 13 December, 2019

Monday saw a full day of wiring installation by the engineers.

Work continued on the interior, with the first of the mahogany bulkhead panels installed between the saloon and main cabins, and master shipwrights Paul and Ben carefully checked the original location of the saloon’s sofa to make sure the Air Handler units for the new air conditioner would fit under the sofa without problems.

Mattis has been focusing on reproducing all the teak bulwalk planks under the capping rails. He and Richard have been in charge of these sections of the sidedeck work.

On Wednesday, the base of the bowsprit was set in place. It is original but needed some repairs and is beautifully varnished.

The rudder, being rebuilt by Graham, is almost finished.

Today, the focus was mostly on varnishing. Paul and Ben were carefully sanding parts of the deck that are to be shown to the Chairman tomorrow, while the interior crews spent all day working on the paneling. It’s hard to believe how much progress has been made recently.

 

Graham carefully measuring a new section of the rudder.

 

Mattis making up the bulwark planks.

 

The rudder that was in place dates from 20-plus years ago. While much of it was useable, the leading edge of the blade was worn and worm-damaged and had to be replaced. According to the original plans, the first rudder blade was made of English elm.

 

The freshly varnished base of the bowsprit, almost completely original.

Restoration by RIVIERA GROUP

Restoration photos by Yoichi Yabe & RIVIERA GROUP

Text and photographs copyright © 2019
RIVIERA CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Email : pr@riviera.co.jp

Blog — Friday, 29 November, 2019

Blog — Friday, 29 November, 2019

Everyone has been concentrating on their individual tasks. On Monday, Mattis was sanding the hull at the bow. Sanding a vertical surface can be extremely tiring, as anyone who has done it knows.

More and more of the staff are working on interior projects. Shipwrights Kawashima and Tatsumi have spent the last month measuring and installing the paneled bulkheads of the ships cabins, and Hashimoto finished a beautifully detailed section of one cupboard door frame.

Murata has been carefully (he says “nervously”) varnishing the starboard inboard wash-strake, which was made by Richard and Mattis. Paul and the other shipwrights continuously impress the younger workers with how important the varnishing process is.

Lewis has been focusing on sealing the mahogany with the first coats of shellac, to match the repairs on the mahogany furniture to the original color — of course, using as much of the original materials as possible. Color matching of old timber with new is very exacting and time consuming work.

Graham was still working on the teak rudder blade this week. It’s a large and extremely important project, yet he’s still trying to use as much as possible of the original timber while only replacing the damaged sections.

Richard has been working on a technique of clamping complex longitudinal joints together to create an elegant curved continuous capping rails. He was so pleased with the result that he wants to show Mr. Watanabe, the CEO of Riviera, and the owner of Cynara.

 

The elegant cupboard door frame made by Hashimoto.

 

The sweeping curve of the capping rail.

 

Gluing up Richard’s intricate longitudinal capping rail joint.

Restoration by RIVIERA GROUP

Restoration photos by Yoichi Yabe & RIVIERA GROUP

Text and photographs copyright © 2019
RIVIERA CO., LTD. All rights reserved.
Email : pr@riviera.co.jp