Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Yesterday I finally finished the CAD drawing of Peggy. If you would like to see a version of the model in 3D, please click this link which will take you it on the Manx National Heritage Sketchfab page.

Images shows Peggy 1789 (left) and Peggy 1802 (right)
Peggy 1789 (left) and 1802 (right)

There have been, I admit, some moments when, like the proverbial grape, I have "let out a little whine" of frustration over the quantity of work this has amounted to. But it's a fact that drawing Peggy in this way has really forced me to look at her properly. Without this level of study we can't hope to understand the form, function and provenance of each frame, stay, cleat and fixing. And it's vital that we do if we are to explain how she looked and how she sailed.

Using what I have learnt has enabled me to separate the two versions ('Peggies'?) - the original, 'racing' Peggy which was fitted with sliding keels and oar ports with rowlocks, and the 1802 'safe' Peggy with raised gunwales and no fancy contraptions. 

In the next two pictures I have arranged them next to one another so that the differences can, at last, be easily appreciated. The position of the masts in the 1789 version is rather conjectural at the moment and will be subject to revision in due course.

Peggy 1789 (left) and 1802 (right)

Peggy 1789 (left) and 1802 (right)

The paint colours are a basic representation of her appearance in 1789 and 1802 respectively. The scarlet red you can see peeping out over the gunwales in the 1789 version is not a mistake!

In 1950 you may recall, Peggy was restored for public viewing after 150 years of neglect. Scant records were kept of this intervention so we have never been certain exactly how many of her timbers were replaced at that time. Using the 3D drawing it is now quite easy to see those interventions. I have highlighted them in blue in the photo below. The photo shows both the underside and the view from the top of the 1802 Peggy.

An image of the 1802 Peggy with the replacement timbers dating from 1950 coloured blue

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Final Adjustments

I'm making final adjustments and additions to the CAD drawing of Peggy. This includes identifying the remains of the 1789 Peggy and separating them from the 1802 modifications. This has been quite a headache because George Quayle's conversion of Peggy to the form we see today resulted in hundreds of changes.  Inside the boat for instance there's a veritable forest of frames; using the CAD drawing it is much easier to see patterns and correspondences in these and to categorise them to either period. Easier - but not easy.

This is Peggy in her current, 1802, form. The colours help me navigate the model.

The 1802 Peggy from above.....

… The same view of the 1802 Peggy, but in a 'rendered' view that's easier to understand

And finally, a view of Peggy with the 1802 additions stripped away, & with sliding keels

Friday, 17 April 2020

Drawing progress

Every day I have been adding to, adjusting and correcting my CAD drawing of Peggy. I have been concentrating wholly on the interior so far. 

I reached a major milestone today when I finished drawing every timber on the inside of the boat and was able to put the results together with the image of the hull exterior made for me in 2012 by Martin Cooper (then of Conservation Technologies, Liverpool and now Lynton Lasers, Wilmslow, Cheshire). 

Progress in the CAD drawing of Peggy, Friday 17th April 2020

Friday, 3 April 2020

Working from home....

Here on the Isle of Man controls to contain the spread of the coronavirus have been pretty draconian and I, in common with so many others, am forced to work from home. Turning the situation to my advantage I am taking the opportunity to complete the CAD (computer aided design) drawing of Peggy. The drawing is in three dimensions and will show each individual timber from which Peggy is made. Working from 3D scans of the boat each piece has to be drawn with lines which can then be used to create a virtual image of it.
This is a view of Peggy's interior. It's from a 3D image on the computer.

This is the same view showing my 3D CAD drawing of some of the timbers
All this is very laborious, and until the pandemic hit us I was struggling to find the time to complete it. But why, you may ask, am I bothering?
The CAD model of Peggy will be accurate (if somewhat rationalised) and it will be useful for two really important pieces of work. One is the reconstruction of Peggy's rig and her original form (and original rig too). We still don't really know much about this. The second piece of work is to explore how she may have handled. For this we can put the CAD model in a simulation.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Tom Cunliffe

Sailor, author and broadcaster on maritime history, Tom Cunliffe, pictured with Chris Weeks in front of Peggy

This week I was fortunate enough to persuade writer and historian Tom Cunliffe to visit Peggy. Tom has agreed to help reconstruct Peggy's rig for us using his profound knowledge of historic sailing boats and expertise as a sailor. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Tom who proved very stimulating company.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Martyn Heighton

It was with great sadness that we learnt this morning of the death of Martyn Heighton, Chair of National Historic Ships UK and founding member of the UK Maritime Heritage Forum. 

Martyn was a super colleague and always friendly and supportive. He contributed to saving Peggy in many ways, from her original listing on the Register of Historic Vessels right through to his recent visit to advise on the preservation strategy. He'll be most terribly missed.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Peggy Expert Panel Summary

8th March 2016
Peggy Conservation Facility, Cooil Road, Douglas, Isle of Man

Digest or conversations recorded at the meeting, between:
CB       Charles Barker, Mary Rose Trust
MH     Martyn Heighton, Chair, National Historic Ships
JK        John Kearon, Maritime Conservator
And, representing Manx National Heritage:
CW      Christopher Weeks, Conservator, Manx National Heritage, Peggy Project Leader
MR      Matthew Richardson, Curator of Social History, Manx National Heritage
ES        Edmund Southworth, Director, Manx National Heritage
TP        Tony Pass, Chair of Trustees, Manx National Heritage

Peggy Expert Panel
This was a panel meeting convened to discuss technical and ethical issues surrounding the conservation of the yacht Peggy (1789). The meeting took place on the 8th of March, 2016, at the Peggy Conservation Facility in Douglas, Isle of Man. The three guests had the opportunity during the previous evening to visit Quayle’s boat house at the Nautical Museum in Castletown and to view the stables and yard adjacent that might serve as a new home for the Peggy in due course.

Composition of the panel
The three experts were chosen for their depth of experience in the conservation, presentation and promotion of heritage ships and boats. There are few comparable recent projects in the UK that have not benefited from their respective inputs.

Structure of the discussion
The conversation was allowed to develop as naturally as possible so as to encourage free comment, positive and negative. Audio of the entire meeting was recorded and forms the basis of the summary below. Topics included:
The design of Peggy and her significance
Options for treatment
Project management and fundraising
Options for display
Sustainability of the Peggy exhibit


On the design of Peggy and her significance
MH firmly stated that, to his knowledge, Peggy is the oldest complete vessel on the UK National registers of historic ships and small boats and may be the oldest such vessel in Europe. Her significance is uncontested. JK saw the structure as the most important feature, followed by the paint. To the fixings (nails) he attached low importance not least because of their parlous condition. In relation to the paint, Mr Kearon drew a distinction in relative significance between the decorated transom and the rest of the boat. All three experts agreed that Peggy is not a particularly well-built boat; the frames and floors are rather irregular and the iron fixings are of poor quality.

On the Options for Treatment
Because of her small size the long-term conservation of Peggy will be more easily achieved than that, for example, of a war ship.
The experts were firmly of the opinion that the fixings - iron nails – need to be excised and discarded. John Kearon thought a lot of the damage they are doing is hidden under the paint. He said the nails are what he would term ‘rose-headed’; they were driven through the hull from the outside and their heads depressed and damaged the timber as they were driven home. They are long and their tails were subsequently bent over inside the boat. John and Charles Barker suggested we remove them by pulling up (or snapping off) the bent tails then use a combination of narrow core drills and tapping from behind to push them back out. The quantity of ‘infected’ timber it would be desirable to drill out could then be decided case-by-case. Charles suggested re-fixing with treenails in suitable timber and estimated the job at two years for two persons. None of the experts were convinced overpaint removal wold be a necessary precursor to this.
The experts were dubious about the technical possibility of removing the overpaint, but relatively relaxed about the possible aesthetic impact of doing so. As with the removal of the nails they considered it important to undertake one job at a time and to re-assess the issues each time. Edmund Southworth added that conservation technology is continually evolving and that we don’t necessarily have to tackle non-urgent problems in the short-term.
We moved on to discuss who might undertake the work. Edmund Southworth and Martyn Heighton had a productive conversation about the potential participation of Manx workers in heritage training networks across, some of which Martyn’s organisation has facilitated. The Engineering Department at the IOM College and the potential for apprenticeships were both mentioned.
Public engagement
None of the panel members thought opening the restoration workshop to the public was a good idea.

On Project Management and Funding
The panel expressed strongly their opinion that the management of the project and the support for decision making should be strengthened. Edmund Southworth and Tony Pass for MNH both agreed to take this issue on as a matter of priority. As Mr Pass pointed out, the Peggy project is set to “grow and grow”.
Charles Barker and Martyn Heighton both felt we should step-up our publishing drive to include at least, and in the first instance, an information brochure on the conservation of Peggy. Edmund Southworth suggested this might integrate well with the current drive to update our site brochures. Charles thought publishing our plans for the conservation on the internet was a necessary step. He also felt a more substantial book would sell well, with Christopher Weeks and Matthew Richardson the most likely authors. Martyn Heighton suggested that the Isle of Man might host a meeting of the United Kingdom Maritime Heritage Forum (possibly 2018). There were fruitful discussions on the role of the Friends of Manx National Heritage and agreement that a proliferation of friends groups is undesirable. Edmund Southworth suggested a small-scale academic seminar for an invited audience to discuss the state of our knowledge might be desirable, sooner rather than later.

On Options for Display
The panel were unanimously of the opinion that Peggy is now a museum object, or as Charles Barker put it “a piece of terrestrial timber architecture”. They were adamant that Peggy should be displayed with her masts up and, if possible, rigged. Whilst this would have a radical impact on the location of the new display, the panel strongly agreed a maritime location in Castletown should be sought. They were very enthusiastic about the positive possibilities for telling strong stories and about the economic opportunities for Castletown the new facility could offer.
Edmund Southworth added “The display rationale will have to be debated and clearly documented – paint or not paint, rig or not rig, etc., perhaps by some form of peer review”.

Sustainability of the new display
In relation to sustainability, Edmund Southworth told us none of the Islands attractions is sustainable in a free-market sense. MNH would adopt the approach of Royal Institute of British Architects to this question and work through the proposals for display methodically. Whilst the IOM Government cannot fund this wholly if at all, the potential for attracting a wealthy benefactor is considerable.
Replica Peggy
The participants each voiced concern over the sustainability of a running replica. Martyn Heighton added that commissioning a replica is a serious undertaking and is usually done with a specific purpose in mind, such as was the case with the Matthew out of Bristol.