All in the Family
Part 2: Corisande VII’s hull was consistent. Unfortunately, it turned out to be consistently ruined.
By Kim Kavin — August 2004
They headed straight for the Huckins yard in Jacksonville. “We pulled the boat out the next morning to change the prop, and I noticed a crack about this big,” Bracewell recalls, spreading his thumb and index finger about two inches apart. “It kept leaking water, so I said, ’If we’re going to put this boat back in the water, let’s investigate.’”
By that afternoon workmen had exposed at least ten feet of rotten wood. Within a week they discovered that a previous owner had allowed oil to collect in the bilge. Corisande VII’s keel had soaked it all up.
“The first crack I saw, I said, ’Oh, that’s seven, eight thousand dollars,’” Drummond says as he recalls that day at the yard. “Then it went up to 15, 20, 25. Then I went home.”
Drummond had contracted for a survey before buying, but as Bracewell explains it, surveyors look for consistency in a wooden boat’s hull. If they knock and hear a different sound in one part of the hull than another, something’s wrong. Corisande VII’s hull was consistent. Unfortunately, it turned out to be consistently ruined.
Many owners would have walked away, but not Drummond. In keeping with his family heritage, he just plain likes classic things—and he still felt Corisande VII was a good deal. He decided not only to fix the structural issues, but to refit the interior as well. “If I’d abandoned the boat, I would have lost a significant investment,” he says. “Even all in, with all we have in it, you’d still be looking at a middle-range production boat. There’s no way, in a new production boat, that you can get the same feeling. You can go and have a custom one like this built for about $2.5 million, but that’s a lot more than I wanted to spend.”
Fortunately, Huckins still had the original templates for Hull No. 369, which Bracewell says was key. With the boat hoisted over their heads, the Huckins team built everything down to the ribs, the same way it was built in 1962. “Building a boat upside-down is a hell of a way to build a boat,” Bracewell says. “It would have taken three times as long and probably been cost-prohibitive anywhere else.”
Next page > Part 3: About six months later, Corisande VII set off as good as new. Better put, she was as good as old. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4
This article originally appeared in the July 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.