In 2015, the Leshelen was donated to the Wooden Boat Center. It was in exceptionally poor condition. Part of the starboard side of the superstructure was missing and the balance of the boat was exceptionally poorly maintained. Despite this, my wife and I saw the beauty in the lines of the boat and had the vision to see the boat restored to its previous glory. Our master ship builder, Dave Nash, from the ketch Yukon, brought his exceptional building skills and wealth of knowledge to the table and together we have been able to rescue this boat. Unfortunately, due to the damage suffered previously, most of the superstructure was unable to be saved. Below deck areas had suffered water damage due to the missing starboard component of the superstructure. The many photos of the Leshelen enabled Dave to faithfully recreate the look and feel of this beautiful old boat. All windows needed to be upgraded to meet modern safety specifications, yet they been designed to maintain the unique look of this boat. The stem had rotted and was replaced with seasoned Blue Gum. Once again, the photos of the boat in its prime were used to faithfully recreate the stem. The hull itself was still sound and required only minimal work to bring it back to its original condition. Very few of the original planks needed to be replaced, and in most cases only small sections needed attention. The boat was originally corked with oakum, but, due to some decay on the edges of the planks above the waterline, it was decided to spline all seams above the waterline then traditionally caulk everything below. We now have a very sleek, well-shaped boat that is both appealing to eye as well as smooth through the water. The hull has been hand sanded and painted to give it a beautiful glossy finish.
The interior fit-out includes highlighted areas of reclaimed Huon Pine, obtained from an old punt originally used in the Corinna area. This punt broke its moorings sometime in the late 1800’s and lay undisturbed, buried under sand, for over 100 years, until the wood was reclaimed. The planks had been covered in tar to preserve them and after cleaning / bleaching we are now left with a beautiful blue-grey pattern in the wood. This wood has been used for the bed boards on the bunks as well as for creating 2 beautiful tables for use in the forward saloon and galley. One interesting item that we discovered when cleaning up the boat was the original galley bench – a solid piece of Huon Pine that had been covered with Laminex! This has since been cleaned, restored and reinstalled in the galley. Much of the existing brass work has been retained, including the porthole surrounds and propeller. The original brass anchor winch has been refurbished and sits in its pride of place at the bow of the boat. We are now in the final stages of the fit-out, with the prime purpose of having this boat at its very best for the Wooden Boat Festival 2019.