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Sutcliffe Meteor 2
So another rough METEOR has come into the boatyard. This one isn't anywhere near as rough as the last one, do doesn't warrent a 'full restoration' in our books. We would like to clean it up and get it back to 'fully working order' though. So the first thing to do is see what we have got...
Firstly, the rudder is missing. Actually, that is pretty common for METEORs. This is the third METEOR we have come in with no rudder.
Slightly more serious; the tiller rail is missing! That is the notched rail that the tiller rubs on; it can be 'set' at a position so the boat can be set on a certain course... All is left are two 'scars' where it used to be soldered on.
The windscreen is bent (but the screen still in place thankfully) and finally, the prop is bent. It's also pretty rusty, but the main issue is that its all mangled; it won't work as it is...
So the first obvious question is... 'does it have a motor and does it work?' And the anwser is a resounding yes! I few turns using the 'big key' made it rattle away nicely. The prop is all twisted up, and the prop shaft is as dry as a bone, but these big old motors are made of heavy gauge steel and do last. So that's a 'tick' !
A good look at stern reveals a few issues though....
The paintwork is not great, but in our opinion not nearly bad enough to strip and re-paint. And in any case the boat has a couple of interesting decals which we would like to preserve.
The RANGER decal is great! If you look very carefully, you can see that it has been applied over the top of the METEOR decal. And judging by the condition, it was done when the boat was new. So the RANGER decal is staying. If we remove it, its gone forever; if it stays it can always be removed at a later date. But not by us.
The 2nd decal is even more interesting...
What is interesting about this one, is the shop where it was bought still exists. Kilgetty is a small town in South Wales, and the general store in The Garage, is still there. Like the other decal, it has been applied over the Sutcliffe decal. Not very well though, as the Sutcliffe decal is peeking out from behind! So this one is staying too... it adds a very interesting link to the past.....
And finally, one of the vents is missing; knocked of many years ago no doubt. It doesn't affect the function of the boat, but it's a bit like having only one eye, so it would be nice to restore 20:20 vision to the old girl.
First up is the rudder. This feels a bit like Ground Hog Day as I've done a few of these now, but here's the process again.
The old rudder rod was removed easily (it's amazing it was still with the boat) and stripped of what paint was left on it. It was then annealed using a small blow torch; this softens the metal to make it much easier to work and eliminates the risk of the metal cracking as a result of work hardening. Once annealed, it was very easy to straghten out..
I now have a pattern for the METEOR rudder so one was duly made from brass; a channel was put in it using a vice. Picture above shows the two pieces ready for soldering.
The soldered rudder. It's a little 'blobby' but actually quite in keeping for a Sutcliffe boat and at least the extra solder should help to keep the rudder on this time! And it'll look great when painted.
Next up is the tiller rail. There are a couple pf scars where the old one has been knocked off, so the solder is cleaned up with a dremel tool; we'll be re-using what solder remain so it's important that it is clean and shiney..
The new tiller rail is a copied from a METEOR we already have. Its made from the same gauge brass wire as the rudder and prop shaft (approx. 2mm) and is bent, crimed and then the ends flattened after being anealed.
New tiller rail added. It was inktially hed in place using some thin wire. The tricky bit will be touching the paint so that he new tiller 'blends in'. Too bright and shiney and it'll stick out like a sore thumb!
Next up is the missing vent on the foredeck. Enter stage left the trusty RACER 1 that has been donating parts to a variety of projects. This very tatty boat was bought off ebay for £10 and has so far supplied a bung, motor, prop shaft and prop, windscreen plastic.... and now a vent. There is really not much left afer that!
The original vent had been ripped off many years ago judging by the rusty scar, so the remains of the old one were removed and the old solder cleaned up as much as possible.
New (old) vent is cleaned up, tinned, and solder in place. The heat was applied to the top of the vent so as to minimise heat damage to the paint on the deck.
Time to take a look at the motor. It's in pretty good shape, but covered in a sort of rusty gunge. So it was soaked in petrol for 25 hours and then washed in clean petrol.
It's a little bit pitted in places, but work well. It was soaked in WD40, wiped off and then plenty of light oil (3 in 1), Then it was popped back into the boat.
The hatch was carfully cleaned with a thick wax polish, It had lots of grime on it so came up quite nicely. The bung is almost certainly not original, but it will be retained with the boat; it's part of its history now.
Next up is some final touching up...