53' Sparkman & Stephens – Skylark
1937 53' Sparkman & Stephens Yawl Restoration
LMI was engaged to manage and implement this significant project and began with locating, evaluating, surveying and subsequent preparation and trucking of SKYLARK to Portsmouth RI in March of 2003.
Since that time we embarked upon a substantial restoration, essentially from the lead keel up, of a very miss-shapen, partially rotten or broken hull and deck structure. The interior, a portion of which being original 1937, was carefully removed along with the “gutting” of machinery and systems. Shipwright work began with stabilizing the existing structure, removal of multiple frames and planking, and lifting the hull off the lead keel. Working from lines plans and construction drawings, the original S&S design hull shape was reformed at each station with temporary ply bulkheads.
This complete, we could begin the significant project of minor repairs to the wood keel and stern post and the total replacement of the stem and horn timber in oak. From there we completely reframed the hull with steamed oak laminations, templated and installed all new bronze floors, then placed the ‘hull’ back onto the lead keel with all new bronze bolts.
The next phase was to re-plank the hull, tight seam above the waterline and caulked seam below, with pattern grade mahogany, bronze riveted onto the frames. After replacing the stringers, and the substantial work of replacing the shelf, clamp, fairing the sheer line, and installing new bulkheads, work began laminating up new fir and oak deckbeams, followed by two layers of plywood, a layer of glassfibre and finished with hand laid teak.
As this progressed, another shop produced the coach roof and butterfly hatches, and the original masts and booms were stripped of their white paint in readiness for a varnished finish. Back at the boat, cabin soles, engine beds and the bulwarks are laid out and installed, and the original furniture is being stripped re-glued, ready to re-install, and the original bronze knees and chain plates are going back in.
Skylark had some large interior changes made in California, likely during the 70’s, so we have been meticulous in rebuilding the interior as close to original as possible with some minor changes specified by the owner. At present, we are completing the galley, salon, nav station, engine room, and aft cabin, in conjuction with electrical, plumbing and systems. Still to come are the cockpit and steering system, teak cap rails, winches, hardware and finish paint. As you can see this was a big undertaking, we look forward to launching and posting some pictures of what will be a spectacular classic yacht.