3 Tonner 



3 Tonner.

(Ex 'Zanzibar')


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Hello John, attached are photos of my boat 'Zanzibar' and another 3 Tonner berthed close by, 'Black Gull'? (Zanzibar is the one with the "stretched" counter stern rather than a transom board, sail No. YM 3T  941)  I will send more in as I restore her during 2008.

Black Gull belongs to a chap that I have known for quite some time (since I was a kid in fact!) and it turns out that way back in the 1950's (probably not long after she was first built?) she was owned by one of my cousins. She is generally sound and is still rigged as a gaff cutter. We are both moored at North Scale on Walney Channel, between Morecambe Bay and the Duddon estuary


I'm fairly certain that the counter stern makes 'Zanzibar' unique among the class (but I may be wrong here?) and it appears from looking at her planking and structural timbers that this was done during build.

I am also planning to remove the existing coachroof (which I feel is somewhat out of proportion) and build something slightly lower in profile, possibly stepped to the after end and taking it almost full width of the hull to improve accommodation below and make it "fit in" better with the original design concept of the yacht.

She looks to be built of mahogany on oak and although she looks a bit neglected, her hull is solid as a rock. I am told that she was built in 1968- 1969 by two ex pilots and they appear to have made a good job of her, as she is extremely strong with HUGE scantlings that would be more suited to a yacht twice her size!

I think that this makes her lines even more graceful and when I sailed her up the Fylde coast and across Morecambe Bay to Barrow-in- Furness from Freckleton creek on the River Ribble (just downstream from Preston Marina).  I found it made her very kindly in motion with a following sea. 

Currently she is rigged as a Bermudan masthead sloop and I will be changing this to Bermudan cutter during the restoration, as I suspect that this will make her easier to sail short handed and improve her weather helm too.


 I will be more than happy to keep you updated of progress on my restoration as things progress, which will hopefully be more than I managed last year! I made a substantial timber beaching cradle for her and sat her up on the beach at the top of a 10.2 metre tide in April last year, thinking that she would be well neaped on until around September when the next 10.2 metre tide would come along to float her off. I would get all summer to restore her, the lesser tides would still come far enough up to "keep her bottom wet" without floating her off and I would be sailing her this year. How wrong I was!! A fortnight after I beached her, the tide was a 9.5 metre. Unfortunately, it had a South Westerly gale behind it, the barometric pressure was low and the tide made just enough for her to float, the wind slewed her in the cradle and snapped 4" and 6" timbers like matchsticks. My Dad (who is in his seventies now, and incidentally has just bought himself a corribee!!) said he has only once before seen a cradle of such heavy timber break up like that. I was fearing the worst as the tide dropped and Zanzibar took a pounding on the pebble beach at Roa Island. I need not have worried. I inspected her as thoroughly as I could and (from the inside of the hull at least) I could see no signs of damage to the planking or ribs. I now had a problem. Zanzibar was high and dry on a very inaccessible part of Roa Island beach, no crane could get access to lift her further down the beach or even upright again. I took the opportunity of her being down on her starboard side to completely burn off the paint on her port side (which must have been almost 1/16th" thick there were so many layers!!) and checking/ freshening up the caulking. I allowed the planking to dry a little, opening up the seams slightly then fed the mahogany with a mix of white spirit and linseed oil. I then raked all the seams out on the planking and deadwoods and (once I was satisfied that the underlying caulking cotton was ok) I re sealed the seams by forcing in a red lead/putty/linseed oil/white spirit mixture (that was made to my Dad's secret recipe!!) and my port side planking is now tight as a drum! I had no real option but to wait for September for her to float off and when the time came (at around 1.20am) she floated off happily. I checked below and the only water coming in was through the stern gland. I had been very lucky!! then again, it just proved to me what a strongly built little boat I had bought, as when I checked the planking the following day, it was barely marked, probably saved by the hull settling onto the damaged cradles timber uprights more than the pebbles.
      I have now fitted steel beaching legs through a drilling in the cap shroud chainplate and she is on a very sheltered half tide mooring so that I am never in that situation again. I believe that on a "traditional" planked boat, she is best kept afloat somewhere sheltered, with plenty of ventilation passing through the cabin. Keeps the planking tight. Damp and rot inside is kept at bay with good ventilation. 



I have been over to her today and done a thorough measure up of the hull dimensions, as the only sizes I had were those provided by boatshedwales.com. I then compared my sizes with some scale lines drawings and she tallies up spot on, apart from the counter stern, although when a line is struck through where the transom board should have been, her LOD measures out at 20' exactly. I was misinformed by boatshed, as they gave her LOA as 23'6". Her actual LOA (incl. bowsprit) is 27'3", LOD 24'7", Beam 7'0" and draft 4'6"(which makes her the deep/long keel version I believe?)  I took sample cross sectional measurements of the hull as far as the transom board would have been and her lines follow those of the drawings very closely. Either the original owners had her professionally built or they were very talented home builders. I tend to favour the latter option of the two, noting an absence of any builders plaque/ plate anywhere and a couple of "stealer" planks on the port side. Nothing wrong with this but I doubt a professional boatyard would have used this method when skinning a hull?

 I have a few ideas in mind regarding the coachroof with the sort of thing I would like to do to return her to something more in keeping with her design whilst modifying her more to suit my needs however, I'm sure that a C.D. with the general internal arrangement and original coachroof plans would be most useful, if only as a reference point around which to base my own variations of the design and I will be looking to purchase one from you in the near future, as the only drawings I possess are for the hull lines, which I managed to borrow from the owner of Black Gull. 

Please advise of how to obtain a copy of this C.D. from you. I will also be looking to buy a club burgee at the same time.

When I get a chance, I will send a sketch of the changes I have in mind for the coachroof if you would be interested? also, I would value the opinion of yourself and others as to weather or not my ideas would be more "in keeping" with the class. (personally I think the existing coachroof spoils an otherwise pretty little ship!)
Thanks again,



I have attached to this e-mail a rough line sketch of the kind of changes I have in mind for the coachroof on Zanzibar. I have tried to 'ghost' the sketch over a couple of the images I have already sent to you but I am not sure what the quality will be like. I would be grateful of your opinion as to weather or not the idea suits her lines (although anything is better than the current cabin, which I think looks like a garden shed that has been aerodynamically sculpted!!)


Many thanks for the opinion John. How you describe my sketch is what I was attempting to achieve but a second opinion is always appreciated.  I think the ex-pilots who built her were possibly a bit obsessed with aerodynamics, hence the "bulbous" curves of the cabin top, which I feel are somewhat at odds with Alan Buchanan's original design, rather like plonking the cabin top from a Hurley 22 on the hull of a Morecambe Bay prawner. Both are fine and well designed boats but mix the two and things don't look quite right!!. Looking at the sheet you kindly sent, I think that my idea may well not be quite as pretty as the original although it does seem to "flow" along similar lines.  Incidentally, I "borrowed" some of the aspects for the side profile of my sketches from another of Mr. Buchanan's designs, the "Wind Elf", feeling that with careful alterations to suit, it would blend in better than the current cabin top and hence return a little more "classic" character and flavour to my little ship.

Mike   03/08













Hello John, my name is Alex.

 I now own Zanzibar and am going to name her ‘Phoenix’ when she is relaunched…

 Sadly Mike didn't get too far he unfortunately became unwell through her restoration.

And unfortunately as time went by she broke a leg, which went through the side planking when she fell on her side.

 While she was on her side, she filled up with silt and mud every time the tide came in. (Lots of mud and crabs).

 I met Mike about 3 weeks ago, when he was fixing my mums gas boiler. We were talking about boats, he said he had a boat on the Walney channel which had sunk and filled up with silt.

 We went and had a look at her, but unfortunately she had sunk due to the heavy mud and hole. He told me to go home and think about it, and then call him in the evening t let him know what I thought.

 When the tide had gone out, I had a good look at her and decided to take her on.

 I gave Mike a call that evening, and said that I would like to have her.

He said I could have her, if she was going to a good home, where she would be looked after and not neglected or left. But would like to come sailing with me when she is done.

 It has taken three weeks to get most of the mud out. I have  copper plated holes to get her to float and move her up the beach to assess the holes and remove last of the mud.

 And making the new holes for new planks that she will need.

 I have included a few pictures of her as she is now, it will take quite a bit of work before she is sailing again.

 Will keep you informed on her progress.

 Thanks Alex.