Under the Decks of LV50

Since 2016 the Friends of LV50 have spent a lot of time looking over the vessel, poking their noses into all the corners and recording what they have found. Armed with tape measures, notebooks and cameras many previously unknown aspects of the vessel’s construction have been documented.

It all started with a request in 2016 from the Yacht club to have a look at the 2 sets of old water tanks that were still in place under the bar and salon. After negotiating some tricky twists and turns, most notably the crisp cupboard, the tanks were located and measured and then the questions started. It finally concluded that the tanks were most likely water tanks, the stern tanks (capacity about 750 gallons) were installed when the boat was built, the forward tanks (400 gallons) were installed during the 1930’s refit.

Figure 1 Scaled drawing of LV50 water tanks indicating a total fresh water capacity of 1200 imperial gallons

Later work showed that the forward starboard tank was ¾ full of fresh water and formed an integral part of the vessels ballast and most definitely should not be emptied.

Another main theme investigated has been the relative importance of iron in the construction, initial indications of the role of wrought iron were reinforced by detailed survey work of the weatherdeck and other parts of the boat. Iron has been shown to be critical in the construction, adding significantly to both strength and spaciousness.


Although LV50 has a wooden hull, beams and decking, iron plays a major role in the fixings holding these wooden elements together. This work has shown that she is truly a composite wooden/iron vessel.

Since this initial work we have regularly helped the yacht club check the state of the hull. This has led to the recognition of the need for regular inspection of the hull and of the drainage of any water towards the bilge pumps in the stern.

Figure 3 In the bilge under the forepeak looking forwards. Note the inner hull planking, iron re-enforcements and stone ballasting

Whilst in service this drainage between rib compartments was ensured by a rope that ran the length of the vessel (another friends ‘discovery’), along the top of the keel. It was moved back and forth to ensure drainage. This system had fallen into disuse but has fortunately been cleared of debris and is working again. To aid regular inspection previously covered inspection hatches have been reinstated.

Figure 4 In the bilges under the forepeak looking sternwards. Note the massive oak keelson running the length of the vessel