Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Sunday, August 20, 2006


Tragedy Strikes A True Craftsman, and a Wonderful Person

For the past 20 or so weeks I have had the pleasure to work with a true craftsman, Billy "Boatman" Thomas. As these weeks have passed, I believe that we had become friends that shared alot in common. Last night, Saturday August 19th, 2006 Billy died in a tragic boating accident. He will be missed by so many. My sincerest sympathy go out to his wife and family.
Never before have I seen a person that was so well liked by the Decatur boating community. Billy had become a daily fixture in the lives of oh so many people that frequented the "A Dock" at Decatur's Riverwalk Marina. His charming and friendly personality greeted many who stopped by to comment, compliment or ask questions about the amazing restoration job he was doing on my wooden trawler. He reminded me that there are still people out there with an authentic passion for doing a job right, and never taking a short cut. Whether he was putting in an 80 hour work week during our generation's hottest Summer on record, or being willing to help other boaters with thier boat questions and maintainance problems, Billy always left me impressed with the fact that I was working alongside a truly great man. He was honest as well as hard working, talented, extremely intelligent and most of all kind and humble.
It is hard for me to admit, but I am often very skeptical of people, and sometimes focus on their shortcomings rather than seeing the good in them. With Billy Thomas, all I saw was a real geniune person that was on a very good path in life. He knew what he wanted, and he was willing to do the difficult things required to get it. All this, in addition to the fact that he was the most knowledgeable boatman, makes his death even more difficult to fathom. From all that I have been told at this time, he died after an accident aboard his vessel "Lady Lynn" resulting from Carbon Monoxide poisoning and subsequent injuries associated with his exposure to this silent, invisible killer. More information will be posted as permission from his family is granted. For now, let us all say a prayer for Billy, his wife and his family.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Put back together Artfully

The reinstallation of wood New & original has been done like a true craftsman would do.
The teak frames and jambs will be epoxied & primed & painted but the doors will still have its original teak accent. Posted by Picasa


A Whole NEW Aft Cabin Exterior Wall

Billy got to cutting and kept on going until all the cancer was gone. A New design for the teak door frame and slide hatch will be an improvement. All new wood with Epoxy & Fiberglass will help too. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Questions Regarding Winshield Glass

Solex was recommended to be clearer and better to see objects through in foul weather and during twilight time. The rest of the boat will get a bronze tint. The center window will be epoxied and fiberglassed, but on port & starboard a new fixed window will be installed. There will not be any way to make them all three match. Both side windows will match but the center is already designed too well to realize a way to improve upon its original design. Ease of use and air flow makes this hinged flip top window, the most commonly used window in the whole vessel. I presume Billy will need to epoxy filler strips into the channel that held the old glass in place. then he will glass over the edge. Posted by Picasa


Diving Off The Marqueises in 2002

My buddies from North Alabama flew all the way down to KW to join Cheri and I for a couple of dive trips. We shot our favorite fish and cooked it right away. We also picked out our limit on tasty crustaceans at the Lobster mart wall. Posted by Picasa


My Brother & Sister In-law on their Honeymoon

Clarke & Niki got married on the beach in Key West and had part of the honeymoon in a hotel and part on WD. They were great to have aboard. This week, soon I hope, they will have a son Garrett born. We can't wait. Posted by Picasa


Port & Starboard Guest Cabin, Inside & Out

These were fixed windows to begin with. Added ventilation would be great for the tropics, but they are forward and are most likely to take on heavy water in a serious seaway. The bulwarks are fairly sufficient for protectection, and freeboard is ample, but should I stick to the original design ? Help....ED Posted by Picasa


Original Center Window will Stay

All other windows are being replaced. The choice is between PVC framed windows with 1/2" laminated glass or Anodized Aluminum with 1/4" tempered glass. Prices are very close. Timing promised for production and delivery of PVC windows is 3-4 weeks after they receive templates vs, 7-9 weeks on Aluminum. The bonus on Aluminum is that the company has done windows for Hinckley, Sabreline, Matthews and many other fine yacht builders. The PVC company is quite convincing on the strength and performance of the products. Both will be a great improvement, but I must decide very, very soon. I hope to get templates made, labeled and sent tomorrow or Friday. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 11, 2006


My Sweetheart at Sunset

Buying a wooden Grand Banks.....................$40K
Survey and Yard Bill........................$4K
Re-wiring entire vessel ...................$12K
Patch, Repair & Paint in NC.......................$29K
New Canvas and Amenities..............$4K

Cruising through life with The One you Love ............. ..........................Priceless.

*the prices above are just to start cruisin'

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These are the New Lines for WD

The window configuration has always ben abundant on Grand Banks. The newer models, after 42-354, the bulky window trim was dropped. On our streamlined updated version, we will loose alot of teak trim, but this will mean less upkeep of brightwork. I am hoping someone from Bomar in Seattle will talk with me this week. There are many marine window manufacturers out there to choose from, but the workmanship and design options at Bomar make them my personal preference. Posted by Picasa


New Electric Service Panel

This is back in the days of the Southern Outer Banks, S.O.B. Before Cheri and I started our Journey down the Waterway South.
This Blue Seas Service Panel for AC and DC, along with a few miles of wire made WD safe to live on. Corey McMahon of Titon Marine Services helped in this gargantuan task. Truth be known, he did more than I did getting the AC side rewired.
It was a proud day to see my new panel go in. Posted by Picasa


End of Week 4 and Maybe ...1/2 Way

Billy "Boatman" has been steady and efficient, but the window suppliers are being less than cooperative. All of the extra West System Epoxy arrived from Billy's source, as well as the bi-axial Fiberglass cloth. All of the 545 Primer and Awl Grip High Build primer arrived with required catalysts and converters from U.S. Paints. This time I chose the color "Matterhorn White" by Interlux in a Polyurethane one part paint, Brightsides. All of these items were supplied by Jamestown Distributors, very friendly and competitive. This over several primer coats and mucho epoxy and new wood should get her ready for all new windows and doors.
Cheri still hasn't seen WD since BBT started on her 3rd refit, under our ownership of WD. Posted by Picasa


A New Design for the Fly Bridge

The Bench seating on Port held two 20 lbs. propane tanks and The Bench seating on Starboard held the Condenser and Air-Handler for the Saloon Air Conditioning. They both also trapped dirt and debris. The initial design was never adequate for proper drainage. The camber of the floor allowed water to drain from center, but very poorly from forward to aft.
The New design will have a sturdy Captain's Helm as well as a sturdy double bench for the Admiral and guests. Cleaning will be a breeze, and I get a chance to rethink the bulkhead below the control panel. Billy recommended recessed 12 volt sub-panel and courtesy lights. Sounds good, I cannnot go to the extreme of a center helm. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 27, 2006


A collage of replacement of Superstructure

These photos show that hardly any of the original marine plywood is being left. Only what was replaced in 2001 is staying and of course all the horizontal surfaces that were fiberglassed at time of original construction back in 1968. The new 15 mm Okoami 7 layer Epoxied plywood is the best that could be bought. Much better than the Marine plywood used back in N.C. in '01. This plwood had to be shipped from Mass. The Brand New Doors are going to look great. I have not purchased the windows or portholes for the light and cross ventilation yet. The main features I seek are two piece assembly with the fasteners on the inside, corrosion resistance, strength and overall sleek but not too modern in appearance. Posted by Picasa


Memorial Day Weekend & End of Week 2

Billy has done a Great job keeping his momentum for the project going. The fiberglass is going on today on the starboard side. This means the new marine plywood is installed and all the cancer removed.
Having to sacrifice some contour lines and teak trim will be worth not having to go through this again in another 35 years. She is really coming together nicely. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Trusting Billy "Boatman" Thomas

The work the first week is fantastic. May the Energy and Chi continue so W.D. can be used and enjoyed again. I'll include later some images of Billy's 1948 Huckins Fair Form Flyer that he completely restored. Posted by Picasa


Total Superstucture ReHab

Planning to Replace all new plywood, and then fiberglass over it. We will not go back with lots of high maintenance teak trim. We are reducing all the lines to a minimum to allow for a smooth FG job and great drainage and paint adhesion. This is a real project. Posted by Picasa


Another Angel to Guide Us

Dolphins helped leed us thru some of the most treacherous waters in the world. You wouldn't want to get me started on my favorite Dolphin Encounters. Posted by Picasa


At Anchor & At Peace

This is what she looked like when Cheri and i were cruising her in 2001-2003. We covered from the Outer Banks down around The Keys and up the Gulf side to Mibile Bay.
Then up the Warrior River to the Tom Bigbee Waterway into Yellow creek to Lake Pickwick, part of the Tennessee River System of locks and dams. There were 11 on the Tombigbee portion alone. Posted by Picasa


Interior Shots Made the Summer of 2005

The Lower Helm
The handcrafted Teak wheel shows Artistry in wood working rarely found these days.
A new Electrical Service Panel
and wiring installed by Triton Marine in 2002. Everything from shore power inlets to sub-panels updated.
A knotmeter and Log added 2001

The Master Stateroom has an ample Double Bed as well as a large hanging locker, bureau, desk and book shelves, all in

The Access Ladder to Main Saloon can be removed to check level on 30" tall and 30 gallon day tank. Also, you can transfer and polish fuel from 4 main tanks with a combined capacity of 800 gallons. Two tanks Aft have 230 gallons, then two tanks forward with 170 gallons each plus the 30 gallon day tank give this proven trawler the Grand Banks 42 Classic with the greatest range of any ever built. Posted by Picasa


Whittlers Dream is a 1969 Grand Banks 42 Classic

My name is Darrin Jones and I am the Owner of m/v "Whittlers Dream" a Trawler Yacht built originally for Robert And Mildred Newton. Mr. Newton was the Founder and CEO/President of American Marine Ltd. which is "Grand Banks". She is Hull number 125 out of 353 very similar to her that are True Woodies, ( a plank on frame construction) . Grand Banks went on from Hull 354 thru 1589 in Fiberglass construction. She was named by Mr. Charlie Stokes, a somewhat famous artist in all things carved, inlaid, and a degreeless engineer extrodinaire. I have never met Charlie, he died on "Whittler's dream" before my wife and I purchased her from Charlie's girlfriend.
I have alot of photos to post, of before, when we fixed her up, then used her a while, then got back to rebuilding the whole darn superstructure.

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