Reaching her magnificent prime in her mid-thirties, Double Thyme’s beauty regime is managed by owner Chris Eager and there’re no prizes for guessing where that outer glow comes from – WEST SYSTEM epoxy products.
“We bought Double Thyme in 2010,” Chris says from a wet and windy August day in Oban. “And we’ve been working on her since.” Surrounded by seals, dolphin and gannets, Chris reflects on the predicament he, his partner and their family crew have found themselves in, but which allows ongoing maintenance to be . . . ongoing.
“We’re supposed to be heading through the Crinan Canal as we didn’t fancy a trip round the Mull of Kintyre after such a busy summer,” he says, “but there hasn’t been enough rain. The canal’s currently limited to a depth of 1.8m, we’re 2.1m. So each day I have a long lie-in, a shower and then find the next job to do.”
All those labours of love are worth it though. Double Thyme’s featured here (on the website) because she was spotted in Suffolk by West System International’s David Johnson, and subsequently tracked down via social media as she’s so darn pretty.
Built in 1983 by David and Joe Kayll in Sunderland, Double Thyme is a copy of the Swan 42 designed by Ron Holland. The Kayll family’s high standards have been borne out in the quality and durability of her construction. Built as a ‘Show boat’ for their Speed Strip system with incredible attention to detail, Double Thyme is absolutely unique with about 450kg of WEST SYSTEM epoxy used in her designer supervised build.
“She’s a one off, there is nothing else like her,” says Chris. “Because she’s not a traditional plank build we got a lot of boat for our money. But I do love to work hard at her maintenance, whether mechanical or carpentry, or anything else really. There’s always something to be doing. I’ve just overhauled the two Simpson Lawrence toilets and am now onto repairing the dinghy. That has a leak.”
Chris reels the list of maintenance tasks off which he completes on a cycle. It includes topside treatment of the hull every five years with a Polyurethane to protect the epoxy and yearly brightwork varnishing. The deck is topped with teak, which he keeps bare, but needs annual maintenance to keep her sound.
“If had pots and pots of money I could replace all the deck teak,” he says, “but I don’t, so you’ll find me replacing sections of teak with WEST SYSTEM epoxy and various additives then caulking, using WEST SYSTEM epoxy and graphite powder. Before I retired (very recently), I was a DT teacher. I suppose that’s where my patience comes from to spend hours sorting out the boat. I use WEST SYSTEM epoxy as it’s incredibly durable, waterproof and trustworthy.”
Chris, his partner Helen (formerly a professional skipper) and their two teenage children spend pretty much every holiday on board. They live on it for a month or so in the summer (with adventurous trips to Holland, France and the Channel Islands under their belts) plus for a few days at a time in other school holidays, and when odd jobs take place in the winter.
“This summer we’ve moved the boat up from Ipswich to Holy Loch,” Chris says, “as we’ve bought a home on the Cowal Peninsula in Scotland, where we’ll be right on the waterfront. But before we did that, we took part in this year’s Round the Island Race. We won line honours in the classic racing yacht category.”
After that race win and tonnes of family holidays in her recent history, no one can accuse this classic’s beauty of only being skin deep. With such a heart in her, plus the continuing love of WEST SYSTEM products, she’ll not be passing her prime anytime soon.