Marine Surveys by R.F. David Buchanan, SAMS® AMS®



Early 1940's Peterborough 18' Zephyr Deluxe Restoration Project

Growing up in the 1960's, we spent our summers at the family cottage on Gloucester Pool, Ontario. Our boat at the time was a Peterborough 18' Zephyr Deluxe double cockpit mahogany runabout. The boat was unceremoniously retired when I was approximately 10 years old, replaced by a newer Hunter wood boat and then by a Hunt 18 fibreglass boat, which is still in service today. The Peterborough was left abandoned for a few years, until I eventually claimed it as my own as a teenager. Since then, I have dragged it around with me over the years, always with the intention of eventually restoring it. On numerous occasions On numerous occasions I have been urged by friends and family to donate it to the campfire, but I held my ground. 

The boat is not what people visualize when you mention Peterborough, which is widely perceived as a functional cedar strip utility runabout. The Zephyr Deluxe is carvel planked in mahogany, having a double cockpit, barrel back design, with the aft deck tapering down to approximately 12" high at the transom. The boat is reported to have been designed for Peterborough by Earl Barnes. To the best of my knowledge, it is the last one of this model in existence.

Finally in 2005, after years of urging from Eric Seepa of Classic Boat Restorations, I took the boat to Eric's shop in Orillia to start the project, with the agreement that I would do the majority of work under his expert supervision.

In the beginning! Here I have started removing the bottom planks.
The deterioration of the frames can be readily seen in this picture
It quickly became apparent that the project was one of reconstruction and not restoration. The keel was rotted over the aft half of the hull. The stem also had advanced deterioration present and the hull had lost its shape.
Based on its' sentimental value as well as the rarity of the boat, I decided to proceed with the reconstruction and not take my wife's long standing advice to burn it. The project was completed 2009, with the first launch and trip down the lake enjoyed in September of 2009. 

As part of the reconstruction, the bottom was replaced with a new “5200 Bottom system”, new hullside frames installed along with “book matched” mahogany hullside planking.  We were able to save two sets of hullside frames, with all other materials replaced as new from the keel up to the sheer clamp.  The decks were in fair condition and able to be clean-up and re-used with the exception of a few planks.  Without the expert assistance and craftsmanship of Eric Seepage and Classic Boat Restorations, this project would not have been possible.

Installing the keel

The new carvel hull planking being put into place.

We were able to save two sets of hullside frames, with all other materials replaced as new from the keel up to the sheer clamp. 

The bottom has been replaced, new hullside frames installed and the hullside planking is now complete up to the sheer plank, with work on the decks well underway. The decks are in fair condition and we expect to be able to clean-up and re-use most of the deck frames and planking.

Without the expert assistance and craftsmanship of Eric Seepa and Classic Boat Restorations, this project would not have been possible.

The original power, a Buchanan Meteor, has been meticulously rebuilt by Mr. Ron Wigg of Orillia, Ontario, who was gracious enough to take on the project.  Ron has carried out the motor restoration with unparalleled attention to detail and persistence in coming up with solutions to unexpected issues. 

I am sure that I have the closest thing to a "NEW" Buchanan Motor that exists today.

The distinct sound of the Buchanan is once again being enjoyed on a regular basis around Gloucester Pool.

The deck planking and all deck frames were removed, inspected and cleaned-up, with all parts sealed with epoxy prior to reinstalling.
All the original deck frames were able to be re-used, along with approximately 95% of the decking.
The hull is in the final stages of preparation for stain and varnish, with the engine, running gear and some systems re-installed.

Engine back in place and ready for hook-up

Installing transom planks

Sanding completed and ready for bleaching and stain

Staining, varnishing and deck grouting.

Building and dry fitting interior

Varnish build-up

Final coat of varnish applied 

First launch to mark Waterline

David & Nancy Buchanan - first ride in 40 years

At rest at the dock

Restored original dash panel and gauges

New interior woodwork and leather upholstery

Throughout the project, Eric made patterns for construction of a replica.  He contracted the services of Naval Architect Steve Killing who reviewed the original design, making modifications to the bottom to improve its performance and ride, while stretching it to 21’.  Construction of the first replica was completed in 2007. 

As a side story, the boat was missing one piece of the original hardware, being the bow nose piece which served as a mooring line fairlead. The piece was lost in the early 1960's and over the years I have been unable to find one that was the same as the original. Over dinner with Kent Carswell (a friend from Gloucester Pool) in October 2005, conversation led to my boat and the fact that I was missing this one particular piece of hardware. To the best of my knowledge, it had fallen off the boat while it was moored in its slip at Nicholson's Marina and was probably on the bottom within the slip. Kent, a qualified diver, volunteered to have a look for it. I received a call from Kent approximately two weeks later advising me that he had found the nose piece buried in approximately 3' of muck at the front of the slip. After 40 years of being buried at the bottom of the lake, the piece is in remarkably good condition and has been re-chromed and reunited with the boat.




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