Mel belongs to: The Coble and Keelboat Society
Mel was born in Tynemouth. From childhood he has always had an interest in boats and the sea. Mel has a coble, which he has restored. He joined The Coble and Keelboat Society through a friend. It is a good way to find out information and make contacts.
Mel was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 16 February 2006. The interview took place at Ouseburn Heritage Centre and lasted 20 minutes and 27 seconds.
Rescuing and restoring the coble
"So we had a look at it and it seemed alright"
So we had a look at it and it seemed alright. It was rotten underneath which was the worrying…tapped around and, “right, let’s get on with it.” So we just went and spent three days up there demolishing the back wall of the museum up to about ten foot high, putting props in to hold the roof and it was fun. The wettest month ever, I think. I have fond memories of standing on a step ladder grinding heads off bolts with an angle grinder with rain off the roof pouring down the back of my neck.
But anyway, in three days we got a big hole cut in the back wall, and the fourth day went there with a lorry with a big hydraulic arm in and sort of gradually eased it out bit by bit with a lot of heaving and tugging and pushing and got it down to Newcastle and started working on it.
Interviewer: So how did you got about actually restoring the boat?
It was substantially in very good condition because it had been under cover since 1987, so, this is about 15 years it’s been under cover. Dry and slightly damp atmosphere so it wouldn’t dry out too much but not wet enough to rot it or anything. So we got it down and I had a good look at it and there were a few repairs it needed. He had drilled some holes in it to put electric cables in for the lighting effects on it- found those. I found one just before we launched it. Patched them up and there was a few other slightly dodgy but it’s not much to worry about, it’s very good condition, the hull.
The engine hadn’t run since then and they hadn’t taken the water out of it or the oil or anything, or the fuel. I mean the first job was to take the cylinder heads to bits because they were completely jammed up, carboned up and just choked up with gunge, strip them down, take it to bits to clean it and remove about, I don’t know, about a couple of pints of this black oily gunge from the bottom of the sub which probably was engine oil at one time and several gallons of horribly yellowy slimy stuff out of the fuel system which I presume had been diesel at some time. It was disgusting. Not a nice job that wasn't. The starting motor was completely seized, had to get that completely rebuilt by a commercial firm.
Mel has 15 memories in the memorynet:
Mel's memories with a Traditions theme:
- Rescuing and restoring the coble
- First voyage after restoration
- The attraction of the coble
- The Joan Dixon
Mel's other memories: