is how I came to
begin the wooden boat restoration of 'Mignonne'.
Many years ago, in the boat yard where I kept a previous boat,
there were a
couple of lovely old sailing cruisers, which had been abandoned, for
reasons the owners had left them to rot.
One in particular had clearly
little gem in her hayday.
I kept hoping that someone would buy her and restore her to
Back then, I had neither the time nor the
courage to take her
on. Then one
day the yard owners took a chain saw to her! Along with several others,
destroyed to make room, on the hard for paying customers.
I guess the memory of that little boat being chopped up was in
the back of
my mind when I first set eyes on Mignonne.
I had just sold Piffy, my previous boat. She was an Invicta
27, a lovely
little boat, not only did she look good but she sailed good as well. I
However, after four years cruising together, she was getting
to the stage
where she needed some serious attention.
Unfortunately, she was of glass fiber construction and I’m
I hate working with epoxies.
I always end up in a mess.
wanted another wooden boat if only for aesthetic reasons.
with Piffy was the lack of standing headroom.
She was only a couple of
short but that couple of inches can make the difference between
living aboard and having a sore head and stiff neck.
I was on the look out for a wooden boat with full standing headroom.
As I’m a single-hander, I was after something similar in
Then I came across the wreck of the Mignonne.
The photograph below
only show some
of the damage that I would need to repair.
So why did I take her
First, I must admit that there was a certain amount of gut instinct
there was just something about the shape of her hull that appealed to
However, Mignonne also had the potential to fulfill my requirements and
I wanted a sailing cruiser, one which would be easily handled
by an aging
As I was looking to my future plans to go off cruising on a
when I reach retiring age.
So a long keel, not too big, comfortable both for living as
well as for
being reasonably stiff and good load carrying ability.
Speed was not a priority however, looks were.
The beauty of buying a restoration
project was that it
allowed me to fit out to my own requirements.
Most boats are fitted out
accommodate a couple with two point five children.
I had no need of
It’s not that I’m a misogynist just that the chances of a
young nubile subservient bimbo wishing to sail with a silly old fart
are so remote that I have discounted the possibility.
The other thing I wanted was a covered position from where I
watch in the warm and dry especially at night and when it is cold and
would also be somewhere protected where I could sit at any time yet be
see what was happening around when moored up or at anchor.
I had no illusions about the amount of work that the
I did have some reservations about my ability to do the job,
I’m neither a shipwright nor a carpenter.
As can be seen from the
she had been badly neglected and had suffered some structural
Another aspect of taking on a rebuild was the notion I had of
self-sufficient in that I would develop the skills and the knowledge to
to repair and maintain the boat without having to hire so called expert
It wasn’t until I had started the rebuild that I decided to
her to junk
I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk. However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts. And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood Boat.com is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.