A RESTORATION PROJECT FOLLOWING TRADITION
After having learned of the various problems concerning the structure, electricity, plumbing, etc. and not wanting to miss out on any sailing; in order to divide the restoration work into two phases and allowing us a better vision of the work to be carried out, we decided to carry out the first stages of restoration work over a six month period, structural work allowing.
On October 11th 2004, the ship entered the Monaco Marine shipyard, located near to the Cogolin marina. She would only be put back in the water on April 2nd of the following year.
It was necessary to dismantle all of the yacht’s deck structures and superstructures. Dog houses and skylights were taken apart as well as all of the deck fittings.
The hull was completely stripped. It is sometimes difficult to realise what condition the insides are in when you know what a yacht is capable of!
Comfortably installed on her cradle in the hangar, Moonbeam is taken apart with uncertainty as to what will be found.
The deck is dismantled. The keel and counter-keel are broken up and the steel floor plates are also removed. Here the yacht’s ribs are clearly distinguisheable and the overall look of the ship is improved.
To everyone’s great relief, no nasty surprises came to light and the architect concentrated on some observation work. Research work through “Fairlie Restorations“ and “The Yachtsman“ magazine discovered the plans and archives necessary for the restoration work.
Each part of the yacht was recorded when taken apart in order to be replaced in exactly the same position. The digital readings were super-imposed on the original plan in order to realign the yacht. This was to be the work for the second part of the restoration project which would take place at ‘Fairlie Restorations’ in Hamble, England.
The objective of restoration work was to keep as close as possible to the original design whilst integrating comfort and safety; it is important to fight to keep a maximum number of parts and the original concept.
Two major operations were obligatory: the first was to lift the ballast to its original level; the second to solidify the keel's unsound ribs. During restoration work that took place in the 1980’s, this last operation was never completely finished. The compression work of the mast and the tension caused by the shrouds on the structural parts resulted in a gap of three centimetres between the ribs and the keel. Twenty-five years of navigation obviously didn’t help this problem!
Fourteen floor plates were removed in order to reach 6 keel bolts which are fixed between the front of the ship and the motor. The most delicate part of the ship is under the mast and in order to keep the whole assembly together, three steel web frames were installed to encircle the ship at foot of the mast, linking the deck to the hull from top to bottom. In modern construction terms, this is known as an omega.
Considering the ballast weight (21 t) everything works out wonderfully.
Inside the yacht, the fittings, electricity, plumbing and motors were all taken apart and restored to new. The plumbing fixtures keep their classic look nevertheless. A study is then carried out on the plumbing and electricity.
As the yacht is reborn little by little, restoration of the superstructures to be positioned on the deck is being carried out simultaneously in another hangar in order to optimise the varnishing and rebuilding work.
Even the tiniest detail was looked after and a multitude of small refinements are also made on Moonbeam III, making her a really unique vessel. All this will be perfected at “Fairlie Restorations” in England: the Edwardian mahogany interiors restored, the colours of padded leather revived to their former glory – nothing will be left aside ……
RESTORATION IN 2005-2006
In September 2006, Moonbeam of Fife, an auric cutter designed in 1902 and launched in 1903, left the ‘Fairlie Restoration’ yard after 9 months of renovation work. The French owner, WS INNOVATION chose the Fairlie yard after having visited the Mariquita in 2005.
The yacht was transported from Toulon to Southampton, together with 'Merrymaid' by the Seven Stars Line.
The first restoration carried out on the ship was essentially detailing work to bring the yacht back to its ‘Fife’ roots.
Fairlie has an extensive collection of patterns which were brought out for use once again: different parts such as ceiling moulds dating from the era, drawer pulls and door handles, sole lifters etc.
Interior work on the yacht included a new crew head, upgrades to the galley, the complete stripping and re-varnishing of the beautiful mahogany panels.
The old plywood sole has been replaced by a varnished one of teak planking.
The decision to undertake structural work was made for the aft section of the ship, with work on framing and planking which allowed the boat to be realigned.
Another less important factor, but one to be considered all the same, was manufacturing new bulwarks and cap rail. On the deck, many parts and metal fittings were also changed or remodelled in the Fife style. The solid boom and gaff and dating from the 80’s were replaced by lighter, hollow spars.
Today the Moonbeam of Fife III is back at her base of St Tropez.