Falmouth working boat Mildred
Time, hard racing, and a few damp Cornish winters had taken their toll on Mildred's stem, stern, and decks.
In common with many racing working boats, Mildred had been fitted with a short bumpkin which passed through her stem to carry the forestay.
The 1½in diameter fitting put a tremendous strain on an already weakened stem resulting in cracks opening up and rainwater permeating the structure, rotting the stem and most of the hood ends above the waterline.
Cockwells replaced the stem (6x4in and 5ft long) using a piece from our stock of seasoned bends and added a 6in-deep apron to take fastenings from the original planks, onto which we scarfed new hood ends.
The garboards were carefully prised apart, pulled back into place and refastened with silicon bronze screws, bedded on white lead. A couple of frames in the region of the chain plates were replaced and the whole front end of the hull was then made fair.
At the stern, a new vanished transom was made from 1½in seasoned oak boards and fitted, together with a new starboard fashion piece – a lovely S-shaped, quarter-sawn bend.
The work at each end necessitated the removal of a portion of the plywood deck so it was deemed prudent to replace the deck as a whole. This was covered with an epoxy screed to seal and fair.
Mildred's hull then also benefited from a new set of 5in toe rails and 1½in rubbing strakes, in varnished iroko, all set off by a glossy new coat of white paint.