renovating a lark

Alison Derrick

Posted: 29 Jun 04 12:26
Message ID: 114
My son, William, has probably already asked these questions, but he is away doing work experience at a sailmaker's and I am wanting to speed up the renovation of a Lark which belongs to our Sea Scout Group as they want to take it to camp in 4 weeks.

He's been allowed to take it on to renovate. I have no idea when it was produced but the top of the hull is an apricot colour with the inside being cream. It has become very faded and looks sad. Ideally we would like to recolour it but have been advised that anything we use will be a surface paint and will chip thus making it look tattier. We were also advised to T Cut it which has made a huge difference - but what next? - do we polish it like a car? or is there something more substantial and more appropriate?

I would appreciate any advice to help make this project a success and get the boat on the water.


Posted: 29 Jun 04 01:21
Reply ID: 307
What sail number is the boat? This sounds like either one of 1462 or 1473?

Alison Derrick

Posted: 29 Jun 04 05:33
Reply ID: 308
The number, in dots, on the back seems to read 1598.
How do we find out the dimensions for the spinnaker sheet - I couldn't find them in the technical pages, but maybe I haven't a clue what I'm looking for!

you can contact me direct on either 020 8398 0041 or

Alison Derrick

Posted: 29 Jun 04 06:16
Reply ID: 309
p.s. How do we clean up the aluminium mast?

Does the boat have a floor (it doesn't look like it on some of the photos) 'ours' is bare fibreglass - can we treat it/put grip tape on?

William seems to have the rigging etc under control whereas I (typical mother) want it to look clean and preferably not peaches and cream!


Posted: 29 Jun 04 06:57
Reply ID: 310
One of the good things about the Lark is that you can do almost anything that you want.

In terms of cleaning the mast up try some 1000 grit wet & dry and some elbow grease. But at the end of the day the boat tends to stay outdoors mast up and it'll get dirty again in no time so personally I wouldn't bother.

I would recommend painting the floor with some non-slip deck pain (with grit) available at most good chandleries. Remember to use masking tape!!

Because most Lark's especially the older boats tend to be rigged and set up in different ways it is not really possible to provide rope lengths. However, typically for the spinnaker sheets you would need about 15-16 metres (4 times the length of the boat) and then trim to the correct length after a few sails.

The two best bits of advise for this project are look at other boats (not just Larks) to get ideas on how to fit-out the boat, there used to be a book by Rodney Pattison about control systems and the very best bit of advise would be to attend the Vintage Lark Rally, in August 21st/22nd at Stewartby Water, where we hope get people with similar problems/questions together and provide some useful tips on sailing the boats and setting them up.

Hope that helps,


Posted: 30 Jun 04 07:08
Reply ID: 313
After T-cut (or Jif) use car polish, but not on the bit you sit on if you want to stay there. Wet n dry (800 or over used wet) speeds things up in bad spots.

You can paint successfully, spraying with cellulose works well but it must be done properly and probably wont be cost effective unless you have friends in the motor trade. 2007 had the decks sprayed nearly 15 years ago and still looks respectable. Spraying it the original colour avoids local damage showing up too much (as you love the colour so much...). You can then touch up local damage with car aerosol cans. Dont polish it if you are going to paint it.

Peter Hughes

Posted: 01 Jul 04 10:27
Reply ID: 314
You can polish gelcoat just like a car but it might make the deck slippery. Try it on a small bit first.

Don't use T-cut too often and make sure you wash it all off. It contains ammonia which can attack polyester resin, particularly if it has been weathered.

If you want to do much polishing, use one of the ammonia-free grades of "Farecla" rubbing compound.You can get it at anywhere that sells car paint to the trade. If you can borrow or hire a low-speed buffing machine with a foam head, use the compound mixed with water and keep the job wet. you'll get a good finish but everything for yards around will be plastered with an apricot slurry. Dont use an electric drill, they run too fast/hot.

If the surface is really weathered, rub it down with wet and dry used wet. Finish with 600 or even 1200 grade and then use the compound. This is how laminators finish moulds so you should get a good shine.

Peter Hughes

Posted: 01 Jul 04 10:54
Reply ID: 315
Be careful using wet and dry on a mast. The protective anodized surface is only microns thick. Use one of the cream "soft" abrasive kitchen or bathroom cleaners