Dear Allyson
 
I hope you will not mind me writing to you in the hope you may possibly be able to organise  some help from SYOA members with my latest project. For a hobby in retirement I restore clinker boats, with a particular affection for Salcombe yawls. I am an amateur: my personal background is professional financial, but I have always enjoyed working with my hands – just so long as it isn’t domestic DIY.
The SYOA has been kind enough to feature on your website the restoration of Y42 which I completed two years ago and was bought, sight unseen, by a chap living in the South of a France! 
The publication of the restoration brought me a wealth of fascinating responses from people who had sailed in Y42 while she belonged to ISC and I learned of the lasting impact she must have made on their lives to have remembered her for so long.
 Amongst these were SYOA members and also members of Chichester Yacht Club, which gave space in their monthly magazine to the eccentric pastime of a former Commodore who had found something else to do apart from propping up the bar! Much of my youth was spent in Salcombe and I learned to sail a yawl on Dr Hammond’s Y36, now owned by my son. 
The winds of chance and circumstance eventually blew me to sail in Chichester Harbour where I am currently Vice Chairman of the Chichester Harbour Federation (www.chifed.org.co.uk) which regulates the racing of seventeen clubs around our harbour, amongst the 10,000 boats who pay Harbour dues, with everything from the Solent Sunbeam keelboats at Itchenor to the world Moths series and various international asymmetric classes racing from Hayling Island SC, with everything else in between, so I find little time to come back to sail in Salcombe although I remain an SYOA member. 
Two years ago, after finishing Y42, I acquired Y48 by the owner who sold me Y42 and had seen the restoration photo sequence: he had bought Y48 from a seller in Bridport, then realised she needed more work than he wished to undertake and so offered her to me to me in hope of her restoration. I had also viewed the boat some three years prior, but the seller at that time had unreasonable expectations of her worth.
I have stored her dry for two years whilst finishing another clinker launch project, but have begun work in the last month. Y48, according to the SYOA register, is one of 8 yawls built by Edgar Cove. Two are listed as destroyed, placing Y48 as the second oldest survivor. She is in pretty good condition for her 51 years, but inevitably substantial repair is necessary.
 
As with Y42, a dilemma is how to restore her: as she was originally, or updated to a Robbins Tiger Elite deck with elliptical coaming at the stern, extended grating side decks or built up ply? Hoping she will again sail among the Blue fleet probably favours the latter.
I am well into replacing her transom which was all of a single piece of mahogany. Not now to be had new for love or money, the only hope was an opportunistic disposal of grandma’s dining room table on eBay, but otherwise it has had to be three part biscuit jointed… Overall, she is remarkably sound with all original planking only ever varnished and a lasting tribute to her builder. Since as a boy I was in and out of Cove’s yard at the time she was built, the probability is that I saw her on the stocks, which is just a little frightening when thinking of the time that has passed…
A number of ribs have cracked and there is a lengthy task ahead replacing copper nails where the rivets have failed, but the centre board casing is sound. A small split in the hog is repairable with the minimal epoxy I try to use, although my friends at Wessex Resins in Romsey  tell me I am unambitious. Turning her over may reveal other nasties with the garboards externally and the shoe, but, hopefully, nothing I have not tackled before.
My purpose in writing is to try to find some background on Y48, (‘Abigail’, built for T.G.V. Blanks), from anyone who might remember her. Some personal history to add to her provenance would be interesting. She is listed as having been ‘taken to Lyme Regis’ in the SYOA Register and this ties in with my conversation with the then owner, Luke, in Bridport, five years ago. He said she had been owned by the one family for many years and wintered ashore, which may help explain the overall condition. 
Other input I would very much appreciate is for preferences in current controls for an older boat as everything needs to be replaced: just some sketches and thoughts from those in the know. Y48’s mast looks like a Collar’s replacement at some stage and although neglected, seems sound. The boom is surely original and close footed,  so I will be looking for some Sitka spruce from Tristan for that and a new mizzen in due course. The internal fittings almost all went in the bin, except for the bronze slider on the top of the transom coaming, presumably for a long disused ‘horse’, that someone may find a use for.
I don’t plan to keep her, so interest expressed by someone who might like to own what is an historic boat from a famous yard of yesteryear would not be taken to imply a commitment on either side, but might enable input into her finishing detail. I work slowly, so completion will not be until well into next year at the earliest and patently I am not motivated by profit from the outcome! I would like to see her sailing back in Salcombe.
If this request is not practical to respond to, please just let me know: I shall fully understand.
 
With kind regards and best wishes
 
Chris Savage

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