Shipwrights & Boatbuilders
Project Restorations

Re-Build ~ New Build ~ Repair
  Updated: 15 June 2013

c.1790s Baltic Armed Packet Schooner


Elena Maria Barbara


A replica of an 18th century Baltic Armed Packet Schooner used for mail and customs service and as a tender carrying messages between naval warships and squadrons. Built at Grumant shipyard in Petrozavodsk, Russia in the mid 1990s, Elena was part of the project of Andrey Ahkmeton a naval architect from St Petersburg who admired the lines of these vessels and their remarkable seaworthiness. The project created five of these vessels which were built by naval shipyard apprentices.

Although, for the most part, technically well built, it is unfortunate that the planking and hull framing is of laminated Russian carelia or scots pine which naturally carries a considerable mass of dry rot spores. This, together with being left in Finland for three winters followed by a further recent period of inactivity, has taken its toll. The result being that there is considerable decomposition in the topsides planking, stem, figurehead, forepeak and quarters framing, together with the transom, some of the spars, and deck planking.

We have set up a yard within Cardiff Docks where our shipwrights will undertake the restoration work. This will entail replacing the contaminated members, stem, cutwater, apron, bow framing and other frame sections, followed by all of her topsides and some below waterline planking, not forgetting of course a new figurehead and stern decoration. We will also be replacing her bowsprit, topsail yard, main topmast and main boom. She will be fully and accurately re-rigged to faithfully recreate late 18th century practice for vessels of this type. New sails will be made to the same pattern and method of the period. A hand-spike windlass will also be built together with a binnacle of the period. 

The accommodation is to be re-appointed to provide comfortable and pleasant surroundings for guests and passengers. This will include the masters' state cabin, taking advantage of the stern windows, giving sea views and superb reflected light from the water. A new electrical system is also to be installed and the domestic services will be thoroughly overhauled.

It is envisaged that "Elena Maria Barbara" will ultimately be used for passenger cruising, corporate events and film work.

Click on the images below to view them at full size.

Please return now and again for another look, we will be adding new pictures as the project progresses

The Start

Elena in Cardiff Docks waiting for work to start Rot damaged stern windows Elena Maria Barbara being lifted from Roath Basin Elena Maria Barbara being positioned on the hard standing
Tent frame being erected 'Team Poland' from Danco erecting the tent cover Elena in her new home for the next few months Elena in her new home Elena in her new home
Topmasts and spars Lower Masts and Booms    

A Rotting Ship

Destruction time - Exposing foaming rot spores behind the inner bulwark planking Destruction time - Decomposition evident in the bow structure Making a start removing the disintergrating figurehead  
Example of some of the dry rot spores found foaming wildly
IMG_0025.jpg (2903668 bytes) A strange frame repair  
Mainmast stiffening webs repaired and re-joined Showing where the foremast stiffening webs had been cut away, as had the mainmast stiffeners Dry rot in the mast patners Rotting beam ends More decaying beam ends

Re-Building The Bow

Fashioning the new section of Apron Lifting new apron section into place New section of apron temporarily strapped in place New stem and cutwater New Stem and Cutwater being lifted into place
Fitting replacement port bow doubling Port bow doubling closing up Bow Doubling Port & Starboard Complete New Starboard Bow Framing
Starboard side hull frame damage fully exposed Port side hull frame damage fully exposed Removing the lower apron and stem knee in preparation for laminating new

The Hull

Destruction time - exposing some of the frames at the port quarter Port quarter frame repairs Port quarter being opened up a lot more than we had hoped Fitting an almost full frame section Repairing a delaminated frame
Destruction time - starting to expose some of the frames at the starboard quarter IMG_0034.jpg (3133303 bytes) Fitting New Stringers A raft of new hull frames Preparing for the fitting of a new forward section of keelson
Starboard side opened up for frame repairs Starboard side opened up for frame repairs Elena - The first of the new planking Elena - The first run of new planking Elena - Planking The Hull. Fitting the thick stuff
The wale or thick stuff planked up New planking below the waterline aft New hull planking going in aft First of the bulwark planking being fitted
  Starboard garboard strake Starboard garboard strake  

Reconstructing The Transom

Destruction time - Infected transit board Stripped out transom Making new transit board Fashioning new transit board Fitting new transit board
New Transit Board Replacement stern frames, horn timber and quarter posts Finding the Tafferel shape Making the Transit Rail Fitting the Transit Rail
Cleaning up the new stern window frames Stern Windows Working on the new taffrail
Showing mainmast pinrail installed, diagonal bracing and continued work on the new taffrail Bending the taffrail capping to the former jig    

Deck Structure and Deck

New bowsprit bitts, foredeck beams and foremast partners New foremast partners Removing the poop deck planking Foremast pin rail and windlass carrick bitts installed, waterways being fitted Fitting the spirketting
Forward spirketting around the inside of the bulwarks Cutting a scarph to join the next length of spirketting Handspike Windlass Bitts being installed Forward bulwark capping being fitted Forward bulwark
    Looking forward from the poop deck, showing the waterways and spirketting which greatly strengthen the deck edge One of the new pin bitts with lead and snatch sheaves  
Run of lead scuppers set into the waterways Close-up of a lead scupper pipe set into the waterway and spirketting Lead Scuppers Lead Scuppers Run of lead scuppers - Outboard exiting through the upper wale
Working on deck Making the aft companion hatch Tafferel framing - two of the ventilation airways can be seen cut into the transit rail

Re-Appointing The Interior

Making a start on the new interior layout Mocking up the saloon and forward accommodation New saloon Area in the making Saloon Area The Saloon Area

The Handspike Windlass

Handspike Windlass - Machined for the core shaft Handspike Windlass - Ready for shaping eight square Handspike Windlass Barrel Trial assembly of the handspike windlass barrel Windlass transmission box

Masts & Spars

Some of the old spars The foremast with the old undersized yard Re-worked foremast head and new tressletrees being worked    
Mainmast - Converting the log. Setting up for the first cut Mainmast - Squaring the log. First cut Mainmast - Turning the log