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  • #21765

    Hello Atalantans,

    My name is Rory, I live down on the Devon/Cornwall border and am new to the forum.

    I am going to be lazy and c&p my intro which I just mailed to Nick…

    As background – I have loved the Atalanta and Titania since I first set eyes on them (about 20 odd years ago). I am building up some experience of boat renovation, currently working on a financially pointless, but fun dinghy project. More recently, I have also been lucky enough to acquire a decent set of tools from an elderly neighbour who used to work as an RAF and Naval carpenter (so he knew Fairey well).

    One day, I will be the very proud and happy owner of an Atalanta or Titania. Realistically, now would be a bit sooner than I had planned (kids, etc). However, I was really sad to see what happened 76 and 98. I have also spoken with the seller of A55 and know this is in a precarious situation.

    Basically, even if I just store it for a few years, I want to make sure I get hold of a boat before it’s too late. And I really don’t want to see good candidates being burned.I don’t have a barn, but I definitely do have plenty of space to store a boat (even two if I need a doner) and I want to grab and stockpile parts if people are binning them.

    Thought asking some experienced folks on the forum for advice on the would be the best way forward. Also make clear that I want to know if any good boats are in danger.

    A55 (currently on Ebay) looks in great condition to me (+dry stored). But the seller admits to being clueless and doesn’t actually own the boat. He has been storing the boat for someone who started a renovation six years ago and disappeared (worrying if the actual owner turns up with a log book once you have spent thousands renovating). As a result, there are no sails and numerous other parts missing. Am I right in thinking getting a suite of sails, missing hatches,  bow rails/pulpit and whatever else has been stripped off is going to run into many thousands?  Or are there fittings lying around from boats that have been destroyed?

    Is being dry stored for 6+ years even a good thing for these boats – do hot moulded ply boats need to take up water/expand in the same way as other wooden boats or do they behave more like GRP?

    I look forward to people’s thoughts, future correspondence and hopefully going out Atalanta sailing with some of you sometime!



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    • #21766
      Dominic Dobson


      welcome to the Association I’ll try and answer some of your questions

      dry storage is essential rot in most boats is caused by rainwater accumulating

      pushpit/pulpit Atalanta were designed to be sailed without going on deck so these are not essential or in my opinion desirable the same applies to guard wire

      sails you would probably need to purchase new

      mast if needed would cost in the region 4K if bought new may be more

      hatches etc can all be made if you have some wood working skills price would be dependant on quality of materials, from experience I’d go for best you could afford as if you go budget you’ll end up doing the job again in a few years.

      toe rails can be made by laminating timber I’ve got jig in garage if anyone wants it

      if you can purchase and dry store in a shed or similar then the cost of renovation can be spread over years, however again from experience once you’ve got to a point where she’s usable put her on water and use her as renovation never finishes.

      it is cheaper to buy a good example than to renovate but this means you need a lump of money available when one becomes available and Atalanta ownership isn’t about financial rewards. If you look at A90s log you’ll be able to see work involved in renovation much of the enjoyment was bringing her back to life and saving from the bonfire.

      good luck with your venture


      Dom (ex owner A90)

    • #21767

      Thanks Dom,

      Ex- owners are often even more insightful and helpful than those still checked-in to Hotel California!

      Leaves me with a big head/heart dilemma, but I find usually that means that you understand the situation!

      – Do I hold off an buy an up-together boat sometime in the next few years when the right one appears?

      (probably for about the same price as 2 litres of West epoxy and a complete new set of sails!)

      – Or, do I leap in and save a poor neglected boat from a jerry can and a box of Swan Vestas?


      Either way it sounds like free-time and a 26/31 ft field shelter are essential first steps, so someone else will have to be “Sue”/A51’s knight in shining. I will go back to things with trapezes and crazy asymmetric spinnakers until my body won’t allow it anymore!





    • #21768
      Dominic Dobson


      I don’t regret the time or money spent on renovation and given the same circumstances would do it again.

      if you’ve got children I’d buy the usable one now and go and enjoy family time with them whilst you can nothing better than been on water as a family and they soon grow up.

      if you want a release from home life then get the project in the knowledge that you’ll get immense satisfaction from the renovation but it will cost, I miss working on A90 as it was my stress relief.

      neither approach is wrong taking on either will ensure an Atalanta continues to sail as ones that are currently in use, but up for sale, can quickly deteriorate if the seller has lost interest or can no longer store and maintain.


    • #21769

      So I need a vaguely up-together one (although my family don’t sail much) – I am guessing A1 isn’t for sale !?

      (Seriously – so beautiful – is there a mould for her fore-cabin blister?)

      Alternatively A89 might be a good transition from what I am used to with those new foils (o;


      Would be interested in how different people deal with budget dry storage – I am thinking about a smaller movable field shelter that can be rolled on and off to work on the boat. Anyone doing anything similar – or is everyone in the class so loaded they just rent dry storage on the Hamble/West Cowes or wherever?


    • #21770
      Dominic Dobson


      there are a number of different solutions I was lucky when renovating to get access to cheap storage on a farm then able to move to free storage at my parents, others have built sheds in the garden, Trevor Thompson (T10) has a purpose built boathouse in place of the garage. I’d considered a boat tent from dancover, the most important thing is that the storage is big enough to allow you to work on the boat easily especially in poor weather as this is probably the time when you’ll be able to get away from the family or won’t want to be doing something else.

    • #21771
      Mike Dixon

      Hi Rory,

      Welcome to the tribe.  Delighted to hear that you’re actively looking for one of the boats.  I have over the years, owned a Titania, a 31 and now A1 (and no, she’s not for sale!).  I spent several years gradually bringing the Titania up to scratch, sailing her during the summer months and working on her during the winter.  I was working full time then, but she took me far and wide from north east Scotland where I lived at the time – including trips to Norway and Holland.  Great boat if you’re not in a hurry.  The 31 was a project and took two full years to bring her up to where she could be safely sailed.  I bought her as a bare shell with a defunct engine and no rig.  She needed pretty well everything, but we got there in the end and I enjoyed two good seasons with her, including a circumnavigation of the UK with the Cruising Association in 2005.

      Then four years ago, I decided to restore A1 “Atalanta” which had been languishing in an Essex car park unwanted and unloved.  She was launched last August, the first time afloat for almost 30 years.

      You could say I’ve “form” when it comes to the marque.  Other just shake their heads in pity! But once bitten…………

      If you’ld like to chat, please let me know.  Meantime, best of luck with the search – you won’t regret it!

      Best regards,

      Mike (Dixon) Commodore


    • #21783

      Rory – great to see you online. And even greater to find another potential Atalanta custodian.

      I would echo Dom’s comments about what state of boat to buy.
      Going to one already in sailing condition will save you a lot of money, and time.
      However, there is great reward and satisfaction in renovation – just be realistic about time and cost. And don’t seek perfection – do the things you have to do to get sailing, then go sailing and finish her off around using her. This is the approach George has taken with T12.

      A55 does look like she may be a viable project but it is difficult to say without either a more informed seller and/or visit (difficult in the current climate!).

      As to keeping her dry. It is possible with carefully applie and heavy duty tarpaulin to keep an Atalanta outside but it is very inconvenient for working on them and perhaps only really sensible once renovated and in regular Summer use. For the work I did on Helene I made a ‘tent’ out of scaffold and lorry curtain side canvas ( which survived 7 years, I am embarassed to say). Check out this Topic for more details on people’s approaches.  I particularly like A17’s tent which can be easily stored.


    • #21784
      Richard James

      Hello Rory,

      Although you had useful replies from my mates Dom, Nick & Mike (who have all sailed with me on A89) here is my take on it, in the order that points have been raised.

      I spoke to the seller a few days ago and he is expecting a signed letter from the owner, confirming free transfer of ownership. So on that basis, I would keep bidding and ask the seller to produce the signed letter before I went to collect the boat.

      The missing parts – Secondhand sails are available and often come up on various websites. If anyone reading this has spare Atalanta sails, please post details. The other missing parts could be made, and we have a couple of members who “store” lots of spares.

      I like your idea about budget dry storage –  a small movable field shelter that can be rolled on and off to work on the boat.

      Whether you decide to rescue A55 or not, best wishes.


    • #21785

      Many thanks everyone for all your advice.

      What an incredibly friendly and helpful class assoc. You are a credit to your beautiful boats and I hope to sail with you all in the future!

      I think the picture is becoming clearer: A55 would be too much of an impulse buy for me right now. As much as anything else, I don’t like the whole sketchy ownership situation (I have no experience of Atalantas yet, but plenty on unwholesome Ebay shenanigans).

      For now, I will concentrate on getting my workshops laid-out, and learning my new kit (there is even the set up for turning a mast and spars!) As well as preparing properly with a cosy new home for an Atalanta in my field (need to finish ‘consolidating’ two classic camper vans which will free up a large hard standing).

      Meanwhile, if there are any more boats like 76 and 98, which have been stored well and are going to get torched – Nick has my contacts and please, please let me know. I can move faster to save a good boat. Likewise, if there are any boats beyond repair, where no-one else is salvaging spares, I have a large van (well two, but they are becoming one!) and plenty of space for old sails, keels/boxes, hatches, deck fittings, spars, interiors, etc.

      In short, please don’t let anyone burn anything else without letting me know.

      And, COVID allowing, if anyone is down this way (Plymouth/Fowey/Falmouth), again please let me know. Would love to buy folks a pint or two in return for a tour of their boat.







    • #21823

      I kept blue jackaroo in my folks driveway for a year now and if anything she had dried out in bad area. Decent heavy tarps are a must and the ebay cheap ones will fall apart after a time. We would during a few big storms tie her down with the eyelets then run ropes over the top to prevent it lifting. Some long lengths of wood rolled up along the edges works great too.

      From my experience the wood acts more like a composite and is fine being dry. I am stripping mine back and most of her is in mint condition other than small patches of fluffy wood which is I assume some kind of dry rot. You can knock on the side of the boat and hear hollow area which i had a few that I filled with epoxy.

    • #21824

      Thanks Fraser – sound more within my budgets.

      When you filled/repaired the boat – did you strip it back and bond-in new laminates or just let the epoxy soak in to the old wood?

      I am assuming it is similar to renovating an old Albacore of Firefly?



    • #21825

      Most of my rot was small holes so I used fiberglass and epoxy. On the large bits like the joint between the bubble and the deck which fell off when I stripped back and laminated new wood in. My vaneer was pretty worthless so I used a lot of ply. Epoxy makes a great bond and I tend to wash it with the pressure washer and let it dry then go over with acetone. The delaminated areas I just felt around for and they tended to be below a leak. I mixed some epoxy I used West Coast but any on East Coast composites should work. If you heat the epoxy and the catalist to 40c or so apart in a warm bath then mix it will kick hard but will have a nice low viscosity and you do not lose the water proof qualities that thinning would cause.


      I am winging a lot but its a wood boat so if you save em in any form they can be put back by someone in another 50 years so keeping them sailing is my main aim.

    • #21838

      Hello Rory,

      I am based near Callington, you are welcome to pop by to have a look at T12.

      Drop me a text to arrange – 07745 235624



    • #21854

      Thanks George, will drop you a message now.

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