Restoration of DB 362 , Playbuoy

Fred Brookes writes on his work to restore this boat built by H H Benson of Caerleon: –

Just to update, I am well on with refurbishing 362 Playbuoy. The stem, apron and stem knee are very twisted and/or split, and the hood ends at the bow are springing as a consequence, so I have taken out those three members and am fashioning replacements with a slightly wider area for the planks to fasten on to. There’s a long split along one side of the hog, and the centreplate case has been reinforced where it seats on the hog. Apart from that, it is a longish cosmetic job, and no doubt some sealing of leaky plank seams (the boat is very dry and quite gappy. at present.)

So far as I can tell there’s no glue anywhere in my boat, all fastenings are copper rivets, saving a few bronze woodscrews here and there, which have mostly let go. I am guessing that all the oak was green. In researching for any information about Bensons of Caerleon, I can find nothing, but I notice that your boat Avocet 565 was built there. Do you know anything, Tim, about the builders? A bit rough-and-ready perhaps?”

10 thoughts on “Restoration of DB 362 , Playbuoy

  1. Tim Post author

    Yes, Fred, Avocet was built for me by H H Benson in 1975 for the princely sum of £675, which included spars. I visited him at Caerleon while Avocet was being built. He worked single handedly in a large shed just off the main road North of Newport. When he needed another pair of hands for riveting the planking, for example, he brought in his son. There was little sign of modern equipment although I think I remember a bandsaw. By the way what is the Apron?

  2. Mike Cain

    Hi Fred, will you be doing things to a wooden mast? I have DB180, Beagle, and need to do things to the luff groove which is worn and splintering at the edges. Hollow wood with wire halyards to built in winches, so I hesitate to just plane off the existing groove for fear of not finding anythig solid enough for attaching pieces of timber.
    You seem to have more structural work than I had, Beagle just needed the kingplank and its covering trim replaced, and extensive repainting and varnishing.

  3. Fred Brookes

    Hello Mike, my boat 362 has no spars at present. I would like to build a wooden mast, though I never have before, just because it is an interesting project. So I am not in a position to advise you on your mast work. I have plenty to do repairing the hull before I get above decks. If I get to a wooden mast I’ll let you know. Yours, Fred

  4. Fred Brookes

    Progress on restoring 362 continues. I managed the rebuild of the bow, with new oak apron and false stem, and a repaired stem knee. The plank ends were all cleaned up, old fixing holes filled with epoxy and wood dust, and the plank ends refastened with screws.
    With the hull turned upside down I found that the failure in the hog was more serious than it looked from inside. The hog was split between the garboard plank and the keel all down one side of the centreboard slot, along the line of fastenings. I was not up to dismantling the whole boat to replace the hog, so have added reinforcing members along either side of the slot on the outside, bridging the cracked hog, fastened to the keel and garboard. That seems to have secured the structure, though only time will tell.
    Taking down the outside of the hull to bare wood was a struggle, particularly as the submerged area had been treated with some very sticky and tenacious black stuff at some point, later covered with paint and antifouling. I believe that 362 lived on a mooring for a long time.
    I cleared out all the old black rubber caulking from the submerged plank joints, and re-caulked with Sikaflex, using their primer to maximise adhesion. The bare hull then had a coat of International BWP as a base for paint below and varnish above the waterline.
    This weekend will see the below-waterline area finished with gloss paint and, if weather allows, the first varnish coats on the topsides.
    Then it is the inside, which has been scraped a good deal but I think will end up being mostly painted, as it is a very big task to get it all back to the bare wood. Lots to do on spars, which don’t exist, and fitting out the bare hull. Still planning/hoping to get in the water in the summer.
    In future 362 will be re-registered as Elbow, in view of the amount of grease expended.
    I am looking for a trailer, and if any reader has heard of one suitable being available, I would be glad to know about it. I could use a foresail too, if anybody has one available.

  5. Blaise

    I recently acquired a wooden YWDB and need to do roughly the same thing paint-wise. I am curioous to know wether you had your boat upside down for this operation or merely worked underneath?

  6. Tim

    From over 30 years experience of maintaining a clinker hull would encourage you to find a way to turn the boat right over or at least through ninety degrees so it is on its side. Only in one of these two positions can you see what you are doing and achieve a good finish. Also you can see clearly if there are any problems where the planks overlap.
    Good luck

  7. Robert Stewart

    Re restoration of Playboy
    My father bought the boat from H Benson . I remember the September afternoon she arrived on a lorry from Wales to Portpatrick in 1963. I was 9 years old at the time. . My father called her ” Playboy” after a term used in Ireland to describe a young lad who was full of fun and craic. We had about 10 years of fun sailing her and never capsized her. Glad to see she is still sailing.


    I note that you recommend turning the hull over. I wish to do the same whilst restoring my boat but would like to remove the plate first to reduce the leverage on the box. I am correct in thinking that the plate simple lifts off the pin?

    1. Tim

      Yes, Paul, it will lift out with the boat afloat and the plate down. But, I guess the hull is high and dry in which case you have to turn it on its side and then you can put the plate in the down position and it will come out either side with a little manoevring off the spindle.


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