The Restoration of White Heather

Since October 1989 I have spent every winter working on White Heather, amounting to thousands of hours' , keeping the summers for sailing. Throughout my work on her, all restoration work has been carried out at my own expense or with the help of generous individuals. She has unfortunately never attracted sponsorship.

I have replaced 37 'futtocks', that is sections of 'built up' oak frame about 5 feet long and 2.5in. thick, each one having multiple curves and bevels to front and back faces.

Also replaced were about 250 feet of larch planking 1.25in. thick tapering from about 7" wide amidships to about 3" at stem and sternposts.

Much of her saloon has been rebuilt to give access to her skeleton and the opportunity taken to improve her layout.

She has been almost totally rewired and much new navigational equipment bought and fitted.

A start has been made at the rather daunting task of removing the several tons of cement and scrap iron ballast cast into her bilge, about 1 ton so far, replacing it with cast lead blocks.

A reconditioned engine has been fitted to replace her ageing BMC Diesel, whilst at the same time improving engine access and water storage facilities.

Added to the above are the multitude of smaller jobs which are largely forgotten, like the fitting of ventilators strategically placed to improve the ventilation in her ends and the prismatic decklight above the galley, fitting an outside set of engine controls and so on.

More recently, in a major push and employing a shipwright, all of her deck beams have been replaced together with her carlins, combings, deck planking, stanchions and bulwark panelling. Much of this has ben done using Greenheart timber, an almost indestructible tropical hardwood which was recovered from the wooden bridge at the head of Peel haebour during its refurbishment.

All through the years of my ownership I have always tried to keep her in commision each summer and to undertake the tour of as many of the gatherings of traditional boats as possible. She has been a frequent visitor to Strangford Laugh for the Galway Hooker Regatta plus the regattas at Bangor (County Down), Ardglass, Peel, Portpatrick etc but has attended events as far afield as Brittany and Bristol. She has carried us on family cruises in the Western Isles. She is a fine sea-boat, she is very comfortable to live aboard and is a pleasure to own.

My fondest wish is to re-instate her Lug rig so that at least her most distinctive feature will return to original, but when I can get around to that I really dont know.


For a more complete story of the restoration please view the flashpaper document below.