Gypsy Rebuild

Rebuilding and/or repairing Gypsy after her sinking is a major undertaking and one not taken on lightly.

By the good will of Robert Brooke and the trustees from the Auckland Traditional Boat Building School after her recovery from the harbour bottom, she was taken to the school premises at Hobsonville for storage and evaluation pending a decision on her repair. Robert has spent many hours of work planning and documenting the work and materials required to restore her to her former glory.

In fact, we intend to go further than that by restoring her to her original configuration as designed by Arch Logan in 1939.

This will include her original cabin (no doghouse) original hatches and perhaps most significantly, her original cutter rig as drawn by Arch. (this was changed to a gaff rig at the last minute )

This rig will comprise a wooden mast. wooden bowsprit, extended wooden boom and, most likely, a bumpkin so we can have a fixed back stay, even though running back stays will be fitted.

The interior will be more in keeping with 1939 than 2012, although she will have an engine and a toilet.

The project has been broken down into four separate stages as follows:

Stage 1 Repair and reinstatement of the hull & decks

Stage 2 Rebuilding of the cabin cockpit, hatches toe rails etc.

Stage 3 Reconstruction of the interior including joinery, galley, tankage etc.

Stage 4 Installation of new engine, spars, rigging etc.

The initial estimates indicate 2850 hours of work are required to complete the job, with approximate project time of 40 weeks assuming she is worked on full time. The viability of the project is totally dependent on sufficient funds being available.

Once the project starts, regular updates on progress will be added to this site.

May 2 2013

It is virtually a month since our last update and during that time Gypsy has been sitting on the hard-stand at the Sandspit Yacht Club waiting for the new mast, boom and rigging to arrive from Yacht Spars and the new sails to arrive from Norths. During that time the sparky has completed most of the electrical work and Warwick has finished the paint and varnish.

Also, during this time, the very generous Dave Herd has been making the traditional wooden blocks which will adorn the rig.

7 April 2013

There has been visible progress inside and out since Gypsy was moved down to Sandspit, with much of the interior now being complete and a number of deck fittings and attachments being fitted.

We hope to receive the mast, boom & rigging around the middle of April and look forward to these being set up.

14 March 2013

Today, we brought Gypsy out of the workshop and took her down to the Sandspit Yacht Club where she will be finished off.

A major effort required to get her out, but thanks to the expertise of Peter from Boat Haulage, all went smoothly.

26 February 2013

More progress over recent days with: non-skid finish now on the cabin top and decks, the interior cabinetry virtually finished and the new engine lifted in.

Lots of things still to be done, but we can now see an endpoint, funds permitting.

17 February 2013

Gypsy is a sea of white paint at present with the decks, cabin & cockpit all receiving multiple coats. The cabin top and decks will be given a non-skid finish of Kumeu White, as will the cockpit seats.

The cabin sole is now finished and awaiting varnishing, as are the bunks and galley cabinets.

9 February 2013

We are seeing progress every day now with painting and varnishing well under way, Work started on the interior and our new mast being constructed at the Auckland Traditional Boat Building School

January 24 2013

Work has started again in the new year after the guys enjoyed a well deserved holiday.

Our master painter Warwick has made good progress on the hull with below the waterline now being ready for anti-fouling.

The topsides starting to gleam with numerous coats of grey primer followed by two coats of undercoat. We are not seeking the perfect finish at this stage as all the timbers will move when she gets back in the water. We will re haul her a year after launching to do a final fair and painting of the top sides.

Work has also started on the Teak trim, all of which is receiving 7 coats of Uroxsys.

Josh has now completed most of the teak work on the hatches and companionway, including superb teak wash boards.

He has also made a start on the new mast step which will be five times larger than the original and which is being fashioned out of a single piece of Spotted Gum.

26 December 2012

09 December 2012

2 December 2012

Work continues apace with the cockpit now virtually finished and both hatches showing off our beautiful teak. Colin has been busy on the rudder with: re-bolting, new Kauri on the trailing edge and shiny new copper where required

21 November 2012

Things are really starting to come together now with work progressing on various fronts.

Josh has been making steady progress on the companion way and the main hatch while Warwick has been powering through stripping off the old anti-fouling, and priming and undercoating bits & pieces, as Josh & Colin make them. Last week we received a very generous  donation of Urxoxsys  products and these will start to be applied to the new teak work this week by Warwick. Also last week we received: a holding tank, courtesy of Proline Plastics and electrical gear courtesy of Enertec.

Robert Brooke came out for his weekly session today and cast his eagle eye over recent work.

19 November 2012

Some time ago, Lin & Larry Pardey offered to donate the teak we need for the rebuild.

Today, I went to their Kawau Island property and we extracted the filches we needed from their secret Teak Store ready for transport to the mainland on Tuesday.

This beautiful Burmese Teak was milled around 26 years ago and has been stored in fillet here on  Kawau for most of that time. Lin showed me the marks from the Elephant tusks from when it was being hauled out of the forest. She also tells me they have found old bullets still lodged in some of the timber.Many thanks Lin & Larry for this beautiful timber.

27 October 2012

Josh has spent most of the last week working on the new cockpit

Careful planning is required at this stage to ensure that everything below the sole is complete before the sole goes down. We also need to ensure that the new engine will go in through the hatch in the sole.

Note the drains around the hatch.

The new cockpit is longer than the old one as you can see from the old teak grating sitting in place.

As usual, click on the photos to enlarge..

14 October 2012

The pace of work over the last two weeks has slowed with Josh working on his own until such time as we get more funding.

During this time, Josh has made and installed two new/replacement floors (Made from Grown Pohutakawa) and made up and installed new engine beds.

He has also worked on the shaft log and started setting out the cockpit.

Careful planning is required at this stage to ensure that things are done in the right order.

Note the ultra light weight engine sitting temporarily on the new bearers.

25 September 2012

We have now reached a stage where we need to pause and concentrate on raising funds for further work. The cabin structure is now complete and interior painting well under way.

17 September 2012

Caulking planks is a skill that few people possess  today and we are lucky to have Josh Hawke working on Gypsy with this knowledge and ability.

14 September 2012

The first of the laminated beams for the cabin top are now in place and the exacting job of getting the right shape for each beam is now under way. (Each is different)

9 September 2012

We had a visit today from a group from the Ponsonby Cruising Club.About 35 people came to inspect progress and see what we were up to.

A great bunch of people who very very interested and were generous with donations

Thanks PCC!

8 September 2012

Gypsy is looking more and more like a real yacht again as the new cabin and cockpit coamings (sides) are dry fitted and her cabin shape becomes apparent.

These are constructed out of solid 40 mm thick Kauri and the strength and solidity of them is very impressive.

Click to enlarge the photos.

2 September 2012

Progress continues apace with the decks now all laid and glassed and new internal bulkheads and hanging knees in place.

On Friday we acquired more Kauri for the coamings and other structural parts and this supply should be enough to finish the job.

19 August 2012

A big milestone today, with the new deck framing all finished, I was able to remove the temporary frames that were keeping her in the correct shape. Now a lot easier to get around inside.

I’m now working flat out to get the interior of the hull painted before the decking goes on.

12 August 2012

More painting over the weekend with red lead on the new deck beams and white undercoat under fore and aft decks before they get covered in.

We now need to start thinking about placement of deck fittings and engine installation while we still have easy access to the interior.

27 July 2012

I have spent the last few weeks stripping the old paint off the inside of the hull and repainting with red lead and grey primer. This is a long and unpleasant job and I’m still only half way through! I was hoping to get it finished before Colin & Josh start again.

However, they start again this week, so I will have to work around them.

7 July 2012

We Made it!

The first stage of the rebuild is now complete with the damaged starboard side fully reinstated.

We had an open day today to show off the work and celebrate progress.

30 June 2020

The outer skin is nearly finished with final riveting and but blocks yet to go.

Target completion time for this stage is 5 p.m. tomorrow and it looks as though that will be achieved.

30 June 2012

Good progress this week on the outer skin more than half the planks now on.

The riveting takes up a lot of time and is a two man job with one outside and one inside.

27 June 2012

The first of the new outer planks went on yesterday and two more were being fitted today.

While the first (bottom) plank was one piece and was steamed to shape before fixing in place, subsequent planks are in two pieces and all need being firstly joined with a glued scarf joint then shaped to the correct dimensions before being fixed in place.

The two skins are not glued together, but riveted. The inner surface of the outer plank is coated with red lead before fixing.. Each butt joint has a butt block fitted inside.

24 June 2012

Today was paint day, both removing more of the existing anti fouling and, red leading the outside of the new inner planking before the new outer planking goes on. This was not done when she was first built, but we think it worth doing now.

We acquired today, two incomplete Blake toilets from which we hope to make one complete unit.

Still a long way to go!

If anyone has any other Blake parts lying around, they would be most welcome!

23 June 2012

Great news! the inner skin planking was finished today.

The outer skin planking is being set out and the planks machined.

What a great way to finish the week.

21 June 2012

The first new planks (inner diagonals) were glued and nailed in place today. Another milestone!

Hopefully all the new inner planking will be complete by the end of the week.

18 June 2012

We began steaming and dry fitting the new diagonal inner planking today.

Each plank has to be cut to the correct width and thickness using the band saw then finished with the thicknesser.

Each one is steamed in the steam box then clamped in place  to ensure it holds its shape.To make things more complicated, every plank is a different width.

As you will realise the whole process is very labour intensive.

16 June 2012

The end of the sound existing inner skin planks have now been prepared for scarf joints to the new planks. Before gluing them together, we need to ensure that they are dry enough.

15 June 2012


14 June 2012

Now we have temporary ply formers in place for the inner fore & aft planks to be fitted against. The new planking needs to be scarfed and glued to the existing sound planking and we have run into a problem with the existing timbers being too damp to glue properly.

We may have to dry it out before proceeding.

More progress today with the new sheer clamp being glued in plus new stringers scarfed into the remaining intact ends.

10 June 2012

Video: Lyn Pardey; Editing: Matthiew Lennan

A start has been made on stripping paint from the top sides

7 June 2012

A milestone today, the first piece of new Kauri was dressed and started being fitted in place. This is the front section of the replacement sheer clamp which is scarfed into the intact bow section of the same. Great to see those Kauri shavings flying

Dry fit of new sheer clamp
The first piece of new Kauri

1 June 2012

Today we commenced stage 1A which basically covers stripping out the hull, leveling and plumbing it and repairing all of the stringers planking etc. up to the gunnel

This work will be carried out by Colin Brown and Josh Hawke aided and abetted by John Pryor, Robert Brooke and Jill Hetherington

With luck, this work will be completed in 6-8 weeks..

The first job was to support the hull properly and to make sure that it was plumb & level.

we then needed to remove and strip out everything apart from hull and what remained of the decks.

Then temporary frames were installed  to make sure that she keeps her correct shape.

Kauri was sourced from a local farmer, and the odd cup of tea was drunk.

22 May 2012

Gypsy was moved north today to a factory unit at 1/4 Hamatana Road Snells Beach where the first stage of her repair/rebuild will take place.

Although the trip north was uneventful, actually getting her into her new home was more of a problem. With around 45mm clearance on each side and 30mm clearance below the roller door, inserting her into the factory was a bit like getting a ship into a bottle!

Many thanks to Robert Brooke, Ian Mcrobie, Steve Horsley, Colin Brooke and Josh Hawke for all their help on the day.

Finally, she was in and we were ready to start work.