We have perhaps the most complicated bottom job ever, with the restoration of Rainbow III's bottom framing and planking. Rainbow III is owned by boat collector extraordinaire, Doug Elmore. Follow Brian Richards as restores the bottom of this historical boat.
Rainbow III, for those who don't know, was the 3rd in a series of Rainbows commissioned by early racing champion Harry Greening. She is a 1923, 25 foot Ditchburn designed by John Hacker and built to compete in the Gold Cup races of that year. She was winning all heats of that years race until a loose cotter pin temporarily put her out of the race. The rudder was repaired and she still tied Colonel Vincent's, Packard Chris Craft. Unfortunately the American Powerboat Association rules, gave the tip to Packard Chris Craft, that boat having the best total elapsed time in all heats.
Motor Boating Magazine called rainbow III "the neatest, finest, and best constructed craft" in the race. I can attest to that sentiment. For starters, she is one of only a small handful of true survivors of the period. Until our bottom replacement, all of the original wood had survived. Her construction details are truly amazing. Most of the fastening is by copper rivets and framing was done with Tamarack "crooks". A crook is essentially an "L" shaped piece of wood were the grain was bent naturally by the tree. A crook allows for a side and bottom frame to be made in one piece, the grain following the contour of the hull. Unfortunately, crooks of this quality are difficult , if not impossible to obtain anymore. Also, using crooks would have required the removal of the side framing. This could not be done without total dis-assembly of the boat, something we didn't want to do. Some areas of the framing, mainly toward the transom, had been constructed conventionally with the bottom and side frame in separate pieces. They were joined by a riveted , brass gusset or knee. We chose to reconstruct the bottom , using this method, since it represented an authentic design feature and was correct to the period.
In the coming weeks and months, I will document the piece by piece reconstruction of this extraordinary boat.
Last Updated ( Friday, 16 December 2011 00:23 )