Blog — Tuesday, 17 March, 2020

Blog — Tuesday, 17 March, 2020

Nikki Wellings has come from her base in Italy to do all the traditional leatherwork that goes into Cynara’s rigging and other areas. There’s quite a bit that needs to be done, from the gaff saddles on the masts to the holders for the winch handles to the inside of the gammon iron, and to the biggest job of all—covering a large number of the boat’s blocks to prevent them from damaging the masts, decks, etc. as they move about.

Nikki, an avowed sailor who has been doing leatherwork for classic boats since 2006, is presently making the covering for the topsail tack jiggers, which swing back and forth over the bowsprit. She works in chromed cow-hide, cutting, punching and sewing the moistened leather, leaving a perfect opening that shows the emblem of Cynara and her original construction date that’s embedded in the wooden block (see photo). If the leather is taken care of, she says, it should last years, despite the salt spray and the battering blocks take.

The leatherwork, the rigging and a lot of the detailed carpentry that’s going into the interior and deck finishing takes place in a low tent next to Cynara. At one end, Keiji is finishing up the mount for the compass. The base was irreparable, so he had to make a new one, but he’s been able to restore the pieces that make up the circular mount. When finished it will hold the compass that was removed at the dismantlement stage, which is now waiting in the office.

In Cynara’s tent, preparations are underway to move her out, so that she can soon be rolled out into the open, and lifted by crane to be launched. A team of workers are welding, stacking support materials, and preparing a trolley to roll her along in a few days’ time.

 

 

Nikki’s empire (top), where she plies the tools of her trade (above) to make protective leather covers for the blocks and other parts of the boat.

 

Nikki’s leatherwork is also seen on the mast hoops being checked out by lead rigger Chuck. Unlike modern yachts, which have tracks on the mast for the mainsail to slide up and down, a classic yacht employs sliding hoops, which are covered with leather to slide easily.

 

Leather also has a place on the topmast shrouds. Even at this high point on the mast, where few people will see it, Nikki’s leatherwork is exquisite.

 

Kawashima is restoring the mount (above) for the compass (below).

 

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 — Tuesday, 10 March, 2020

Blog — Tuesday, 10 March, 2020

The bronze hawse pipes that the anchor chains and hawsers or heavy mooring lines pass through finally arrived. Richard had created a model from vinyl foam, which was sent to a casting expert in the France who created the bronze parts. Some deliveries of material from Europe have been delayed due to problems caused by the coronavirus, but nothing has really interfered with the overall schedule yet. After Richard’s grinding and polishing to get them to fit, they make a nice match just below the gold leaf gilding of the floral carvings at the bow.

The antifouling painting of the bottom also was done this week. The fumes from the cherry red paint, which is applied with rollers, is so toxic that the team needed to wear masks—especially since the painting was being done inside the tent.

On deck, Kakimoto and Mattis installed the hatch runners over the main deck house companionway. These brass runners go with the many other brass parts that ensure the Cynara’s look returns to the classic style of when she was built in the 1920s. Paul and Ms. Takamiya spent hours measuring the dimensions of this and other brass stock, including skylight hardware and door thresholds before ordering. There are still a number of other fittings which have to be installed—such as those that anchor the skylights to their bases on the deck.

Cynara looks stunning now that the scaffolding has been removed. It’s hard to remember what she looked like when she was stripped down to a flexible skeleton a few years back, in preparation for jacking her back into her original shape.

 

Installed, the elegant new hawse pipes complement the gold leaf of the floral carvings on the bow.

 

During the application of the first coat of antifoul paint, before the scaffolding was removed.

 

Paul and Mattis check the operation of the sliding main hatch on the roof of the deck house.

 

Yes, it’s same boat, with 90 percent of the original hull planks.

 

Proud team members after the scaffolding was removed.

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 — Tuesday, 3 March, 2020

Blog — Tuesday, 3 March, 2020

Our gilder Julian arrived from Mallorca this week to add the decorative touch of metallic gild to Cynara’s hull. This is a must for any classic yacht, and in its early years, Cynara would have had this done every year or so along with repainting. The metallic gold leaf that he is applying to the name on the stern, the cove lines (or cavita lines) on each side and the beautiful floral patterns that Paul has carved at the head and tail of the cove line is made of 23.5 carat Italian gold. Given Cynara’s size that is not an insignificant amount, Julian says. He has been gilding ships—including massive superyachts—in gold and palladium metallic leaf for over three decades, but says it is working on classic boats like this one that gives him real joy.

The crucial point of gilding, which will take about a week, is the masking—particularly on the floral patterns, which he does with a steady freehand. A close look (see photo below) also shows a fine gap between the gold leaf and the edge of the carved depression; if the gild runs over the edges of the depression it can be damaged by fenders. After the coat of lacquer on the floral patterns has dried, the masking tape will be removed, showing the results of Julian’s years of experience and knowledge. (He wouldn’t share his “trade secret” for the protective layer he uses on the cove line gild.)

On deck, the galley skylight is close to finishing, though it is still lacking the hinged windows. In its original configuration, there was a hole in the ridge for the chimney from the stove in the galley below, the reason it is unusually wide. While the stove chimney is no longer needed, we kept the width of the ridge in its historic shape.

Inside Cynara, the bulkheads are mostly in place now, and the elegance of the central passageway is starting to regain its original elegance. Lewis and John continue with the stripping and shellac finishing of the interior components.

 

More scenes of Julian’s gilding work: The floral pattern at the stern.

 

And a close up of the detail on the prow (Notice the fine line of white paint around the edge inside the depression, which protects the gold flake from fender damage).

 

The galley skylight in place on deck—minus windows. The stove chimney from the galley below once passed through the ridge, the reason for its unusual width.

 

Cynara’s passageway is gradually taking shape.

 

The panels flanking the stairs are still being refinished in the joinery shop.

 

Kawashima continues with the teak replication of the cover for the rudder quadrant and pinion.

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 — Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Blog — Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Sanding and application of the hull’s top coat continued this week—the third and last coat! Nico and Bill were working on the lower scaffold level; Jesper (with a roller) and Paul (with a brush) were in charge of the upper level.

The focus of interior work has been on the mahogany paneled corridor. Benjamin and Toshi have also been making replacements for the furniture and fittings, while Lewis and John have been stripping, restoring and retouching many pieces of the original mahogany. While much of the visible polished woodwork of the interior is original, the skeleton on which it is installed are new, created from Japanese cedar and Canadian pine.

Up on deck, Mattis is continuing with work on the deck house roof. Temporary diagonal supports are keeping its shape while waiting for the adhesives to dry. The original frame work is locked together with mortice and tenons with wooden pegs through the tenon, the same method Camper and Nicholsons used during construction more than 90 years ago. The first layer was of the original teak. That was topped by a thin layer of fiberglass cloth and a stiff mix of epoxy for a water-tight strong bond with a top layer of new teak. The original was calico or canvas soaked in lead paint.

Riggers Chuck and Nat have been preparing the spars, while discussing the fitting of the various components related to the masts and jig with the shipwrights. With the electrical and mechanical engineers, they’ve also been installing the wiring inside the masts for the nautical instruments, lights, etc.

Outside the tent, a path has been cleared on the dock, and the parts for the cradle that will carry Cynara to the water have started to arrive. After three long years, she will soon be back in the water.

 

The view from inside the deck house. Except for the temporary diagonal supports, everything you can see is original.

 

The view from the outside: New teak planking on the cabin top. The plugs will eventually be cut flush with the surface.

 

More of the mahogany walls of the interior. Putting all the pieces for the walls and furniture and other fittings in place is like a complex puzzle.

 

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 — Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

Blog — Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

At the beginning of the week, Paul and Ben went over the schedule at a general meeting. Things have been very busy over the last weeks, and that will continue. The changes are much more visible than previously. One day, for example, there is no name on the stern; then what seems like the next day, it is there beautifully carved by Paul.

Jesper and Nico applied the first of many top coats on the hull with rollers, which was closely followed by Paul and Bill with brushes. Then the Japanese team members sanded before the second coat was applied. This is repeated, and the hull becomes glossier with each application.

Chuck, Nat and Nikki, the rigging team, have been attaching the hardware to the masts and booms. Along with new mast bands, they are using some of the original ones, which have amazingly retained their strength after almost 100 years of service.

Richard has been working on the gates in the bulwark, and attaching the bronze fittings that allow them to work smoothly. Mattis has been doing the painstaking work on the roof of the deck house, a high-profile assignment.

As Cynara nears completion, she’s getting attention from the press, domestic and international. Mid-week saw a team from NHK, the national broadcaster, filming interviews with Paul, Chuck, and some of the other team members. On Friday, Richard Lloyd Parry, Asia editor of The Times (UK), visited. His article on Cynara appeared in the weekend edition of the newspaper.

 

The beautiful carving of the name Cynara before painting (top) and after (above). It will later be gilded in gold.

 

Chuck and Nat of the rigging team have been joined by Nikki.

 

The rigging team is beginning to attach hardware to the mast and booms.

 

Jesper add another coat with a roller as Paul (hidden) follows with a brush to ensure the glossiest finish possible.

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