Current research suggests that the Cloudia was built in 1934 as a Listerskøyte, a classic Norwegian design from the second half of the 19th century under the name M/S Prov. The Cloudia was constructed by Henik Lagen in Sagwag, Norway. Originally a wind powered only vessel, the Cloudia had her single cylinder Rapp engine installed at the Wickmann Motor Fabrick in 1955. It is unclear how Cloudia spent her early years. Records indicate that she was first registered in the United States Virgin Islands in the summer of 1974. In 1976 registration was moved to Los Angeles.
In February 2009, the Cloudia was discovered in San Diego America‘s Cup Harbor. She had been neglected and suffered extensive damage due to fresh water intrusion. After a two-week test to check her integrity, the Cloudia was towed to the Driscoll Mission Bay boatyard where her restoration to US Coast Guard and Lloyd’s standards is underway. Once up on the hard the hull planking was stripped and discarded. The hull was allowed to dry out. Much of the lead ballast had been replaced with steel shot which was rusted and this was removed. The bottom keelson ribs were made out of Norwegian White Oak and the remainder of the framework above the water line was fashioned from Douglas fir. The damaged ribs were replaced with White Oak and Douglas fir matching the original wood. Three termite nests were removed and all wooden structures were coated with ethylene glycol. The original hull was planked with Douglas fir. The new hull is cold-molded with 3 layers of Douglas fir and the outer layer is Alaskan yellow cedar for a total hull thickness of 4 3/8inches. All layers are epoxied, fastened and screwed. On the inside the ceiling beams have been extensively replaced and sealed. Early restoration was supervised by Capt. Thaddeous Blanchard.
The original deck was replaced with peeler core logs most likely obtained from Georgia in the U.S. during the Cloudia’s stay in the Virgin Islands. The rings had been laid backwards and the caulking was driven in too far resulting in a loss of integrity and fresh water leakage into the boat. This water damage was limited because the hull had been filled with rock salt protecting it from fresh water injury. However the deck beams rotted out resulting in a concave basin effect. We found that the deck had been sistered together in the collapsed position resulting in
further fresh water pooling. All of the damaged deck beams were replaced and the deck was elevated by 4 inches to its original design. The deck beams were damaged by fresh water leakage and the majority of these have required replacement. Wooden angle knees have been fashioned to further strengthen the ceiling beams and floors added two things that Colin probably considered unnecessary. The deck has been constructed with 2 layers of one inch marine plywood epoxied and screwed to the beams. The final deck layer is of a 3/4 inch thick construction from IPE Brazilian hardwood.
Following Coast Guard requirements, a forward collision bulkhead has been added along with support structural beams at the main beam point. Internal steel strapping has been required by the Coast Guard. The engine beds have been replaced and the framework in the engine bed has been strengthened with epoxy.
The Cloudia is rigged as a topsail ketch in the British or American style. There are 2 two-piece masts which allow the Cloudia to carry more sail than a traditional Norwegian rig with shorter single masts. The Cloudia’s masts are tapered with 2 top gallants and a fore-jack on top. The Cloudia’s rig design is powerful, carrying more sail than the original Norwegian rigging. The Cloudia’s main mast is 60 feet high without the top-jack. The top-jack adds her another 25 feet with half of it running down from the top gallant. The main mast and mizzen masts are rigged identically in the Cornish style so that they are not completely vertical to give more maneuverability. The Norwegian sail plan is much more difficult to use with particular difficulty in traversing from the port side to the starboard side over the top of the gaff. Traditionally rigs are changed whenever a new captain takes command in order to match his tastes.
We have added a pilot house, common on Colin Archer vessels, as an addition to the Cloudia’s original design. The superstructure is planked with Alaskan yellow cedar siding. There is a forward cabin and the main cabin with dining tables, the galley, and a modern head and shower. The main entry to the cabins is through the pilot house although there is a forward ladder as originally designed. The main cabin is fashioned from sapele hardwood.
The main power plant is an Isuzu straight 6 cylinder non-turbocharged diesel. We have a 3-blade 33 x 22 manganese-bronze propeller which we believe is the original. The shaft is 2-1/2 inches diameter and 6 feet long. The transmission is a Velvet drive. We have a 7.0KW marine diesel generator powering an electrical system with 12v and 24v DC and 120v AC. The pilot house is fully equipped with modern maritime electronics including state of the art radar and navigation systems.
We are very fortunate to have Design and Engineering Services provided by Douglas Sharp and Paul Kotzebue from San Diego Yacht Design, heading the restoration of the Cloudia. Without their support this project would not have been possible.
Written by Thaddeous Blanchard and Matthew Haas