3 Tonner 



3 Tonner.



'Meriel' New registrant Roger Giles with his newly acquired MG Barcarole.  Here she is in Chichester, ready to head for the Blackwater, but  where's the water gone? Now sold again, 2006, the new owner, Hugo is having work done locally before moving her to the west coast....

Here is a view of the aft end, with water this time!

Safely arrived at Heybridge Basin.  We hope to see more of her shortly. photos by John Stevens.

'Meriel'  captured under sail on the R. Blackwater, July 2005, by Dave Marler. 
















Hello John,
Thought you might be interested in progress with the refit:
Taking off the paint revealed a fair amount of rot, particularly in the sheer strakes and above, necessitating complete replacement of the raised topsides. A small compensation is that this will allow me to varnish them, which should look very good, although it won't help reduce the maintenance!
At present we're in the middle of raking out and re stopping rotten caulking, some of which is a bit stubborn as some genius has stopped long sections with epoxy filler! I leave my reaction to your imagination.
I've decided, in view of the amount of work needed, to give her a major refit while I'm at it. The plan is to get the hull and decks fully sorted in Maldon, then take her back to Pembrokeshire by way of the Thames/Kennet and Avon/Bristol Channel, where I can refit her internally.
The mast is now down and new standing rigging ordered, and apart from needing the old varnish stripping off and refinishing, it looks pretty sound. The running rigging is excellent, as are the sails, except that I have a lifelong dislike of roller reefing and will convert to points on the main.
The accommodation was obviously designed to suit people rather smaller than I, the longest berth is three inches too short for me, and even sitting headroom is hard to find. The headroom in the doghouse is about ear'ole level! I'm going to lower the cabin sole as far as possible (should gain about four inches) and relocate just about all the internal joinery to suit my bulk, while trying to remember Henry Ford's philosophy of "adding simplicity" or "what you don't fit don't give you no trouble".
I attach a photo of her naked backside, she already looks better with a coat or two of primer, I just hope the weather allows continued progress!
Kind regards,


Hi John,
Since I last wrote, the list of work needed on John Humby (formerly Meriel Seaforth) has grown, as I suppose I rather expected. She is now completely stripped of accommodation, and being completely refastened. Some new planks and frames are to be fitted, and we may well find it easier to replace the transom than to patch it again. The good bit is that the keel bolts appear to be as good as new, so I'm leaving well alone!
I attach a recent photo or two.
Kind regards,



Quick update on progress - terrifyingly slow, but at last something to show for it in the form of a nice new transom, beautifully fitted by Jim Maynard. .




All the refastening is now complete - about 3000 nails and several hundred bronze screws, and the next big job is to renew the rotten cabin sides

Then paint and stuff, and she should be ready to take back to Pembrokeshire on her own bottom! Next spring, I fondly hope... Sept 06

December 2006 She is now under her new winter cover..  We have asked Hugo for details, as these look interesting!



More timber removed from the starboard quarter.  Hugo thinks they have now stripped out all the bad timber in her!

Deck stripped off ready to be re-laid.

The break in the deck, again stripped and cleared for rebuild.

Building the cover.  these are imported apparently....    Speak to Jim Dines, (Jim Dines Marine Services) Downs Road Boatyard, Maldon 01621 840982 or 07885859373. Mention me by all means. This is a super shelter, very stable, and I can nearly stand up on deck under it!




Hello John,

An update: Lots of time and, dare I say, money spent on getting the planking sorted and new decks laid fore and aft. I think we've got all the serious rot out of her now, and will soon start making her look like a boat again!   But before I do, I think I'll just move the engine out and have a look underneath....where will it all end, I ask!!

A few more pics attached.

By the way, I don't suppose you know where I could get a couple of window frames like the ones in the sides of the doghouse do you? I want to replace the rather horrid "eyes" in the front end that are framed in un-anodised aluminium. I think the others are chromed brass, about 400x200mm overall. I've searched everywhere and can't find a supplier of what were once common items, but are now all made of plastic or anodised ally (yuk).

You may be interested in looking at the MG Cockler that's in Noddy's yard (next downstream from Down's Road) Owner is having fun with the centreboard casing.

Kindest regards,  Hugo


Try Davies and Co of Dunmow for real traditional fittings, I have elliptical ports from them in the raised topsides on F.G.  or how about the Boat shop at Woodbridge.





August 2007.

A quick update on the seemingly endless rebuild of John Humby: Time has been the major problem for most of the year so far, but progress in the last few weeks has at least been measurable. The inside of the hull now has three coats of paint on it, thanks to a brilliant little paint sprayer that I got for around a hundred quid, that puts paint on quickly and cleanly and saves many hours of brush work

(see http://www.mptools.co.uk/products.asp?recnumber=1781). 

I've gained about four inches of headroom by lowering the cabin sole bearers, so I don't have to bend quite so far now, but still clonk me nut on the deck beams!


Jim Maynard has been able to find a bit of time for me, in between doing the Fastnet and working on other less worthy craft, and will soon have finished the planking on the port side to match the starboard already done.


And finally, I've shifted the engine out to reveal several decades of crud underneath, together with the remnants of the original installation. As with so much of this restoration, it's been a matter of stripping back far enough to rebuild from a "clean" starting point, the engine will be much neater now, and much more accessible thanks to new bearers made to suit the much smaller unit - the original Lister was replaced with a 20hp Vetus about 15 years ago, but done on the cheap, I think, with original woodwork just chopped back roughly to make space.

The boat has now been out of the water for a year and a half, and I am determined to get her back into the preservative surroundings of Blackwater mud next spring, and finish fitting her out there. She's dried out quite alarmingly, and I don't think it will help to delay much longer.

Kind regards,



  May 2008 update.


We had a mail from Dan, who's father used to own this boat many years ago, I was able to put Hugo and Dan in contact. Great to have a little more history of the boat.


New frame fittedSome progress but slow due to disappearance of a succession of caulkers! I'm doing a bit to the accommodation and have replaced two keel bolts and a wobbly floor (yes, I mean floor, not sole!)

I have installed a new main bulkhead and mast support

 and  I started on a nice wide berth that slides out further to make 3ft 6in, so I can sleep somewhere other than on deck when I visit!

Don't know where Dan is, but if he'd like to see the boat, I'd be happy to show him what we've done so far.

August 2008.  A rather overdue update - work and other unpleasantness of that ilk has kept me away from Maldon for a lot of the time recently, but progress is slowly being made

I'm currently nearly half-way through splining the topsides, decided that many of the caulking seams weren't good enough to go again, so opted for good old epoxy, and mahogany splines. I bought a cheap biscuit-jointer to open out the seams, and simply tack a batten along  the appropriate distance below the seam - cleans all the old splintered edges up nicely and allows a lightly tapered spline (cut on a band saw - should be possible to push it in with finger pressure) to be glued in. I hold the splines in place with staples fired through little strips of plastic milk bottle to make them easy to remove.  I think the result is reasonably fair, but won't know for sure until the gloss goes on! Where the seams below the waterline are damaged, I'm gluing splines to one side only to recreate a caulking seam


Haven't been able to locate a subtle enough caulker, so will probably end up doing that job myself too ...got to avoid pushing the iron through the planking I would have thought...?

Meanwhile trying to fit out the foc's'l before winter descends on us again, so I don't have to kip on deck when I visit...it's dry enough, but a mite chilly for my ageing bones. Nearly ready for Hugo's patent expanding pit - a single berth to port which slides out sideways to make a full 3ft 6in wide berth - a proper width for a body like mine!

Kind regards,



July 2009, Hi John,
Good to see you out enjoying the half-decent weather the other day, and Fiddler’s looking a picture apart from the odd blighter with the straw boater in the back….

At last things are going back on, rather than being stripped off (although I did decide to replace just one more plank), and once the new bilge keels are made, I can see my way to caulking her and even getting her bottom wet before the end of this year.


Not too many photos that reflect the man-hours involved in the ongoing saga of John Humby, but that is so often the way…you can’t see the time spent making new bronze deadwood bolts, or chipping the flaking paint off the engine.  

Of course there will still be a huge amount to do before she can go to sea, but at least she’ll be a boat again!

Working out the accommodation is both a headache and quite fun, and I have made a start on that, but my main priority is to have a structurally and cosmetically complete hull and deck, so we can carry on without the claustrophobic presence of the tent.

I’d hate to know how long it took to make the 60-litre waste holding tank I’ve squeezed in as a nod to the times we live in, where my customary bucket and chuck it isn’t really acceptable anymore!   Now where’s my saw, I just want to make a teensy little modification to the cockpit….

All the best,




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