1.8 Very curvy boat at AOA60 event, Levington (Photo Richard James)

Two years and still going …

I took on the restoration of A1 ‘Atalanta’ in 2016. This post begins a series in which I will document the work done, in text and photographs. There has been an extraordinary interest in A1’s progress. Many thanks to all who have expressed interest.
Your questions have been numerous, but a few themes have emerged……………
“How long has it taken you?
“How have you done it?”
To the rather less flattering…………
“Are you mad?”

And let’s not forget to thank all those who have given freely of their time and expertise – all of which has spurred me on and given much needed encouragement.

This series of posts (index on the right) try to answer some of the questions, but to answer the last question first – no, I don’t think I’m mad, but at times I have doubted my sanity! I’m a not-particularly-gifted amateur and I’d like to think I recognise my limitations. And I think therein lies the heart of the matter. Anyone with a modicum of basic skills, coupled with a desire to see the finished product, is capable of achieving maybe not great things, but certainly good things.

Very early in the restoration process, I was reminded of two aphorisms

‘Start with the end in mind’‘There’s less to this than meets the eye’

In my case, the first was crucial; I have always had in my mind’s eye sailing the finished product. As to the second; hogwash! Rose tinted spectacles doesn’t even begin to describe the initial optimism. Double or even treble the initial budget and anticipated timescale.

Has it all been worth it?

First thing to say is that the restoration is by no means over yet. There is still much to be done. I would recommend that when you become bored with a specific aspect of the restoration, stop for a while and move onto something else. Which is why jobs like the refurbishment of the mast and rigging, the trailer, the rudder blade all helped in keeping up the momentum and split up long periods of veneering.
After several weeks away from the project, I’m just about ready for the final push over the coming few months. All being well – and I really am serious, 2019 will see “Atalanta” sailing once again after an absence of almost thirty years.
Secondly, seeing her as I did, neglected and un-loved as she was, my initial thought was that the kindest option was to set a match to her. But this is where the heart overruled the head. I knew she was unique – one-of-a-kind – the prototype – the fore-runner – part of yachting history, and had to be saved, at the very least as a museum piece, but so much better if she were to be restored and sailing again.

So here we are – about two thirds the way through the project.

I hope you find the posts which follow useful.  The second post is available now and the others will follow roughly one per week.  And, with a bit of luck, there will be more to follow once the project is complete.

I don’t claim for one minute that I have the knowledge, skills or attitude to suggest that I’m in any way competent, but I seem to be muddling through somehow! But if I can do it, then so can you. Go on – give it a go – you know she’s worth it!

About Mike Dixon

Boat: A1 ** Interest: Editor 1999 - 2007 Owned Titania T4 "Gellie" 1990 - 2001 Owned Atalanta 31/4 "Gellie" 2002 - 2007 Now owns A1 "Atalanta" 2016 - ** Location: Market Harborough ** Country: GB

3 thoughts on “Restoration of A1 ‘Atalanta’ 2016 to 2020

  1. Superb write up Mike. Very inspirational…..am busy printing off some of your sections on tools and veneering techniques. Thank you for posting the “ how to do it bits” ….. hopefully to put into practice soon!!!!

    Many thanks.

    Bernard .

  2. superb work Mike! Just to start and keep going with all the challenges you faced and overcame. Makes me tired just thinking of taking so much on and overcoming all of the challenges. Well done. Wonderful inspiring article. Many thanks!

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