Issue 14 Summer 2010
Some may recognise 'Ocean Dove' from the Gallery pages, other may even have seen the full description of her building in a book. If you are interested, she was built jointly, by Jim Andrews and his father, she features, with a lot of other good stories, in the book, 'Twelve Ships A-sailing'. Older members will remember Jim as one of the editorial staff of Practical Boat Owner. The interesting part is about the building, there was an accident while she was a mass of timbers on the building frame, it collapsed under the load and the result was the boat had a marked deeper Vee to the hull than MG designed, so floated deeper on her marks. This did not overly effect her sailing abilities and she safely carried the Andrews family on many adventures.
Reward for Effort
I started work on my Maurice Griffiths Maplin Class cruiser Ocean Dove. It started in March when son Gary exposed all of the splines and removed the loose ones. He glued new ones in place and told me to get started. He then moved onto the Perkins engine and informed me I needed a new water pump. That was fitted and with a little work on the starter motor Gary had the engine up and running.
Alison and I took a week at the boat, ground off the surplus on the new splines and primed the underwater part of the hull before starting on the rest. We rubbed down the hull and picked a new colour of Oxford Blue to decorate the Ocean Dove. A coat of dark grey undercoat, a bit of fillers, more undercoat and the Oxford Blue left the boat looking much more loved than previously.
Classic Sail Carrickfergus was the 1st weekend in June, if I was going to attend the Dove needed to be in the water. On 27th May I asked Alan Aston if he would help me to put her in the water. I had antifouled the boat the week previously, so she was ready to be tested. Gary moved the trailer, the wheels turned, so I pumped out the 200 gallons of water lying in the bilges and we brought her to the start of the ramp at Royal North of Ireland Y C. RNIYC still uses a huge pre-war winch to launch the larger yachts at the Club. Ocean Dove was connected to the cable and slowly lowered into the water.
There were no leaks. Alan said letís go to Bangor. We pulled her back up the ramp, gave the engine a water supply and got it running. Down the ramp again, into deeper water this time. Started the engine, untied Ocean Dove from the trailer and she was floating again. I engaged forward gear and Alan and I were on the way to my berth in Bangor.
We arrived in Bangor with nothing untoward having happened on this maiden voyage. Alan got onto Garyís boat Kirmew that had been keeping my berth warm and sailed her back to Garyís mooring at RNIYC. I looked at my new boat, it floated, the engine was working well in both gears. Below the gunnels she looked good, but that was where it stopped. No water, a new tank lay on the berth forward. Apart from the engine there were no electrics in the boat. No gas the cooker fitted to Ocean Dove was a time bomb, no one dared to try it.
That was the first job, to remove the old cooker. We bought a new Plastimo and fitted it into the same position. Gas installations are dangerous so all old pipes were replaced with new up to the latest regulations. A new gas locker was made on the foredeck to hold two 4.5kg cylinders. Cooker was connected and we had a working gas system. The new water tank was fitted below the saloon floor and piped to the sink foot pump. The deck fitting was connected to the tank, filled and we had a water system.
I did enough wiring to get the VHF, log and depth sounder working before setting off for Classic Sail Carrickfergus. We became part of the fleet, only the Jib was fitted, but we joined into the craic as best as possible. We invited everyone aboard for a drink after the fleet had finished racing on the Saturday afternoon. A good party in the style of those given by Frank Sadlier who owned Ocean Dove from 1977 to 1998. We returned safely to Bangor on the Sunday. My experience of Ocean Dove on the water was of a much different boat to my previous boat, more room and a lot more freeboard, a good sea boat.
I worked at Ocean Dove to get some of the electrics refitted and a navigator fitted and on 10th July, Alison and I set off with the Astonís on their Golden Nomad for a week away. We went to Glenarm, Co. Antrim, for a couple of nights and then sailed part of the way to Rathlin Island before starting the engine when the breeze failed. We stayed in Rathlin until the following Sunday and returned to Bangor in one jump.
Whilst away we discovered more things to be fixed, varnish to be scraped off and redone. When I came back this work was continued and before leaving for Peel Traditional Boat Weekend Ocean Dove looked much better. We did PTBW and then onto NIOGAís Arglass at Anchor, Co. Down, the following weekend. As I write this Ocean Dove is on a mooring in Strangford Harbour awaiting our return so that we can do Portaferry Traditional Regatta next weekend. We will return to Bangor after that.
What better reward can one get for work done than to meet all our friends at these traditional boat gatherings? Ocean Dove is at present a Bermudian Cutter, I can easily make her a Bermudian Ketch. A Gaff Ketch; that might be the next story in this tale.
Since finishing this piece, Ocean Dove has returned to Bangor, been up to Belfast to the new pontoons. We are back in Bangor. Ocean Dove is waiting for lots of TLC over the winter months.