Historic 'Catboat' being rebuilt
VIGIA, reputed to be the oldest sailing boat on the British register, was in a waterlogged condition when given to the Museum in 2006, and, after failing to restore the vessel, it was decided to build a replica to show off her sailing and handling qualities.
The original construction had carvel softwood planking on oak centreline, garboards lodged into the rebated keel. The stem was apron type, not rebated, with planted-on block on its forward face.
Framing, it is thought, was mainly steamed with some grown members by the mast step and supporting the centreboard case. The deck was laid, on beams, and the cockpit was finished with an oval coaming.
At first the plan was to restore Vigia using as much old wood as possible, but this proved impractical when the GRP was stripped. With only the topsides suitable for restoration, it was decided this could not be done without completely destroying the hull, leaving nothing of interest for future display. So, it was decided to build a complete sailing replica.
The hull will be of hog and keel construction and built upside-down, as visitors can see. She will be strip planked and then epoxy coated to resist drying out while stored inside.