Reconstruction/Restoration of “Faneromeni”

The reconstruction-restoration of the “Faneromeni” can be divided into three phases:

A.The first phase, following her purchase in March of 1987 and until June of that year “Faneromeni” is in the Halkitis Shipyard, hauled-out on land. Several needed repairs are performed. Launched in June, she sails to Marina 4 in Glyfada (a suburb of Athens).
B.The second phase, from June of 1987 until the spring of 1990 she is afloat in Marina 4 in Glyfada. During this phase the major reconstruction-restoration work is performed. In the spring of 1990 she is fitted out with sails.
C.The third phase, from January of 1991 until April of 2000. During this phase several modifications and improvements are made to ensure that the boat is not only more sea-worthy but is also more comfortable to live in.
Of course, improving the boat is an on-going process and continues even today. For example, in the winter of 2007 her fuel tanks were replaced and so was her AC generator (genset) in January of 2010.

The table below gives a synopsis of the reconstruction-restoration tasks. 

of the reconstruction/restoration of “Faneromeni” 

End of 1986

Thanasis Dritsoulas, knowing of my wish to own a caïque, informs me that there is a perama for sale at the island of Poros. She belongs to a local captain, Yiannis Kakouris.

March 1987

Purchase of the boat.

March 1987

She is hauled-out at the Halkitis Shipyard in Perama, Piraeus where: 

1.The hull is burned 

2.Certain planks are replaced. 

3.The hull is re-nailed 

4.The hull is caulked 

5.The hull is painted

June 1987 

She is launched from the Halkitis Shipyard.

June 1987

The boat is now afloat in Marina 4 in Glyfada where:
1.The stern deckhouse and the small fore deckhouse are constructed and installed.
2.Her Kelvin engine is serviced.

August 1987

I sail away for my first cruising vacation on the “Faneromeni.”

Autumn 1987

The central deckhouse and mast are removed. The opening in the deck is widened for the new deckhouse.

Winter 1987-1988

Below deck, in the space of the original cargo hold, a small saloon, galley, two cabins, and two bathrooms are designed and constructed.

January 1988

Suitable tree trunks for the masts and spars are selected and cut at the lumber yard of Stratis Afaloniatis on the island of Lesvos.

January 1988

By submerging the tree trunks in the sea, the wood is tempered and aged so that it becomes more resistant to the rigors of the marine environment. After three months of submersion the trunks are left ashore for three more months, in the shade, to slowly dry and thus avoid cracking.

Spring 1988

Vacation cruise with the open boat (no masts).

 June 1988

The trunks are transported to mastro-Pachos’ workshop where he carves them and gives them their final round shape.

July 1988

Installation of the new masts and completion of their rigging.

August 1988

I sail for a new cruise.

Since I have not yet had new sails made, I “borrow” two jibs from a modern sailboat so that I can feel that “Faneromeni” is indeed a sailing vessel.

Winter 1988-1989

All the interior arrangements are completed and so are most of the other tasks.

Winter 1988-1989

 Architect and student of traditional Greek naval architecture Mr. Kostas Damianidis undertakes to prepare naval drawings of the “Faneromeni”.

Autumn 1989

An order for the canvas sailcloth is placed with the mill of Francis Webster in Abroath, Scotland, which is still producing sailcloth. This mill has manufactured sailcloth since 1795 and supplied the most famous sailboats of that period.

Winter 1989 – 1990

Four sails are made (mainsail, foresail, main jib, and fore staysail) by Elias Veloudis from the island of Angistri, one of the last traditional sailmakers in Greece.

Spring 1990

After the sails are finished we can say that “Faneromeniʼs” reconstruction is complete.

January 1991

 The stern deckhouse (pilothouse) is removed for modification.

April 1991

The modifications on the stern deckhouse are completed (but it is not yet installed).

April 1991

Installation of an AC generator (genset) Onan 7.5 kW, 220 V.

February 1992

A major overhaul of the Kelvin engine at the shop of the Mpekatoros brothers begins.

February 1992

The process of replacing the keel and installing ballast begins.

April 1992

The replacement of the keel and the installation of the ballast are completed.

July 1992

The major overhaul of the Kelvin engine is completed.


Re-installation, after the overhaul, of the boat’s Kelvin engine.


Re-installation, after its modification, of the stern deckhouse.

February 2000

Work begins on the replacement of the gunwale.

February 2000

Reconstruction of the ribs.

April 2000

The replacement of the gunwale is completed.

The first phase of “Faneromeni’s” reconstruction
began in the Halkitis Shipyard right after her purchase in March of 1987.  

“Faneromeni” on the Docking Blocks while being hauled out at the Halkitis Shipyard.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


The boat, her hull that is, was in good condition and did not require substantial repairs.

Once on land, the hull was burned, several planking pieces were replaced (‘planking’ refers to all the planks covering the boat’s ribs or skeleton), and then the hull was re-nailed, caulked, and painted.

During this phase her old bridge was removed and mastro-Pachos’ workshop began constructing a new stern deckhouse to replace the old bridge. After all these tasks were completed, the boat was launched in June and sailed to Marina 4 in Glyfada where she is moored even today. 


The following series of photographs illustrates the tasks of phase one. 

The second phase of “Faneromeni’s” reconstruction begins in June of 1987 while she is afloat in Marina 4 in Glyfada.


The stern and small fore deckhouses were built in mastro-Pachos’ workshop and then transported by truck to Glyfada where they were placed on board with a crane.

In parallel with the deckhouse construction, "Faneromeni's"Kelvin engine, which came with her at purchase, was serviced by the Mpekatoros brothers.

When I bought the caïque her engine was such an eyesore that I was convinced that it must be replaced.

Accordingly, right after “Faneromeni”s” purchase I invited the mechanic Mr. Antonis Mpekatoros, with whom Ι had collaborated for many years and whom I trusted, to come and have a look and discuss which engine I should buy (brand, horsepower, type etc.). After looking over the old engine, he said: "Mr. Niko are you in your right mind to discard such a jewel of an engine? Any new engine will be, for sure, of a lesser quality. This engine, after a proper service, will be fine. Such engines are not being made nowdays."

So I changed my mind and decided to keep the existing Kelvin engine, and Mr. Mpekatoros proceeded to service it.

After the engine service was completed, summer had arrived and I finally departed for my first vacation cruise with the “Faneromeni”.

Condition aboard were primitive.

I had procured two field beds which I placed in the hold. I lashed to the mast two barrels for my water needs. Of course there was no head (toilet) nor galley (kitchen)—only a portable one-burner stove. Refrigeration was out of the question.

There was no windlass and the heavy anchor had to be raised by hand.

Finally, there were not even any engine controls. Maneuvering the boat was done like this: Rosina Kastrinaki climbed down in the engine room and moved the engine levers according to my instructions. I would tell her "lower the RPM" and she would immediately repeat, for verification, "lower the RPM" and then operate the appropriate engine lever. I would tell her "reverse" and, after repeating the order, she would engage the reverse lever.

I used to call Rosina "The Engineer", and so "The Engineer" would operate the engine following my commands.

Despite the primitive conditions, this was one of the nicest vacations I ever had! Poros, Ermioni, Dokos, Spetses (Old Harbor, Zoyeryia), Tolo, Nafplio, Kiládha, Karakonisa, Porto Heli, Hydra.

After the returning from this summer cruise in the autumn of 1987, reconstruction work on the boat was resumed: the main deckhouse was removed, the deck opening was enlarged, and the old mast was removed.

Anchoring by hand: there no windlass yet. First cruise of “Faneromeni” after her purchase.

Dhokos island, August 1987.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


See here the opening created to accommodate the new deckhouse.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


Two of the deckhouses, the aft and the fore, were constructed in the workshop of mastro-Pachos and then transported and installed on the boat. They were secured with bolts to allow their removal if needed (and indeed it was needed).

The sides of the central deckhouse, however, were constructed in mastro-Pachos’ shop and then were assembled, in situ, on the boat. Note that this deckhouse is not removable.

Here are a group of photographs taken during the construction of the central deckhouse.

So in the aft deckhouse a very large bed was created built in, in the small fore deckhouse a small crew cabin was created, and, in the space where the old cargo hold used to be, a small saloon, a small galley, two cabins, and two bathrooms were designed and then built. With these tasks the winter passed and the second spring of my ownership of the “Faneromeni” arrived. 
It was time to sail on a cruise.

By the spring of 1988 the boat had three deckhouses, a substantial amount of work had been done in the interior layout, new stainless steel water and fuel tanks had been installed, as well as an electric refrigerator. An electric windlass was installed and tents were ready.

But there still were no masts. So I departed for the cruise with a mastless vessel rocking a lot like a row boat. In spite of it all, compared to to the previous summer, she was opulent. She had running water, a place to sleep, a refrigerator, a galley stove, and a bath with both cold and hot water.

After I returned from this cruise, work on the caïque resumed. Specifically the new masts were installed as I have described in The Story.

In August 1988, after the work on the masts was completed, I left for a second cruise. But, since I did not as yet have sails, I “borrowed” two jibs from a modern sailboat. At least I had some sense that I was in a sailing vessel.

The next winter all the interior arrangements were completed, as well as many other tasks. The next “Faneromeni” cruise in the summer of 1989 was even more enjoyable.

Following this cruise, I began to research how to make the four missing sails: mainsail (μεγίστη - μαΐστρα), foresail (πλωριά ράντα), main jib (αράπης), and fore staysail (κόντρα φλόκος). The fabric for the sails was ordered in the fall of 1989 from the mill of Francis Webster Ltd in Arbroath, Scotland, where waxed cotton canvas sailcloth suitable for traditional sailboats is still manufactured. This mill has manufactured sailcloth since 1795 and supplied the most well known sailboats of that period. Elias Veloudis from the island of Angistri, one of the last traditional sailmakers in Greece, undertook, in the winter of 1990, the cutting and stitching of the sails.

After this we reached a period of satisfaction and cruising, which finally justified all the effort and work. 

“Faneromeni” still without masts.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)



Time for cruising with the “Faneromeni”.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


In 1991, after several trips with the “Faneromeni”, I decided to proceed to some further modifications and improvements to render the caïque not only more sea worthy but also more comfortable.

With this we arrived at the third phase of “Faneromeni’s” reconstruction.


A.Modification of the Stern Deckhouse

I wanted to add some height to the stern deckhouse and thus make it into small pilothouse that would provide protection from the weather. Until now, even with small seas, I was obliged to wear storm gear. This was rather tedious. Because I wanted to comfortably cruise to distant destinations, I considered this change in the stern deckhouse vital. However, I was loath to destroy the harmonious proportions of the existing deckhouses. After exhaustive discussions with friends and specialists, and after consulting with mastro-Pachos, whose opinion carried a lot of weight with me, I decided to do it.

The deckhouse was removed and was transported to mastro-Pachos’ workshop. He modified it with, in my opinion, success.

After the recessed panels were removed, bronze windows were added in their place. These windows were made by special order at the machine-shop of Mr. Arapoglou in Piraeus, a shop that specializes in windows and ports for ships. As a mater of fact, it was this shop that had made all the port holes for the “Faneromeni”. Note that, until this day, not a drop of water has leaked into the boat from either port hole or window.

See here a group of photographs taken during the modification of the stern deckhouse/pilothouse.

I am pleased with the results of this modification. On the one hand, the aesthetics of the deckhouses did not suffer and the modified stern deckhouse does not impede the sails. And on the other hand, a new vital space was created, with two small couches, a small folding table, and, most importantly, panels where all the ship’s instruments were accommodated.

So, with the modification/transformation of the stern deckhouse into a pilothouse, I could comfortably control the caïque without being exposed to the elements.


 B.Installation of a 220 V Generator

A generator (genset) allows me to charge the service batteries without a special charger. It also allows me to have hot water without operating the boat’s propulsion Kelvin engine. Finally, it allows additional comforts such as a space heater, a small electric oven, a vacuum cleaner, and power tools.

To this end I chose an
Onan 7.5 kW15 genset. Mr. Mpekatoros undertook its installation. He completed this task with the care and diligence which characterizes the work of the Mpekatoros brothers. 

The crane lifts the Onan generator. Mr. Antonis Mpekatoros directs it to the “Faneromeni’s” engine room.

April, 1991

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


C.Major Overhaul of the Kelvin Engine
Although there was nothing wrong with the propulsion engine, I wanted to be confident of its performance for the next several years. To this end the engine was removed and transported to the Mpekatoros Brothers' machine shop for a major overhaul.

After ordering the needed parts from its manufacturer, Kelvin in Scotland, the Mpekatoros Brothers proceeded to carry out a meticulous overhaul. They re-machined the crankshaft, replaced the sleeves, the pistons, the bushings, and many other components.

Here is a set of photographs detailing the engine overhaul. 

When the Onan genset was in place and the Kelvin was re-installed in the by-now modified stern deckhouse, all the tasks of 1991 were completed.

The Kelvin engine is almost ready. Mr. Antonis Mpekatoros in the background.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)

D.Keel Replacement
As mentioned in The Story, I decided to replace the keel for two reasons: the first reason was that the old iron bolts (τζαβέτες) were dangerously corroded and the second reason was to add ballast to the keel and thus to improve the vesselʼs stability under sail.

This work was very successfully performed in 1992 at the Koupetoris Shipyard on the island of Salamis. A new keel, made of a single piece of wood, coupled with a false keel consisting of four pieces of lead ballast with a total weight of 1,000 kg (2.205 lb), was installed.

Once I made up my mind to go ahead and replace the keel I was faced with the next difficult decision: which shipyard would be the best for the undertaking.

My first choice was, of course, mastro-Pachos’ workshop. He and his son, Yiorgos, had successfully completed the restoration, and I had great confidence in their skill. But the fact that their yard was not directly on the water created an obstacle. In order to perform a keel replacement we needed a yard by the water.

We thought of finding a yard by the water where mastro-Pachos and Yiorgos would be allowed to work on the boat.

Finding such a yard was not easy. So I began a search. I went to several places in Greece where there were suitable yards: Syros, Samos, Patmos, Chalkidiki Peninsula, Kiládha in the Argolic Gulf, Aegina, and Perama in Piraeus.

I settled in the end on the island of Salamis and the Koupetoris Shipyard where “Faneromeni” was annually hauled-out and where the personnel had gained my trust. Moroever, I had the approval of mastro-Pachos in this selection, although he would not be able to do any work there. And so “Faneromeni” was hauled into the Koupetoris shipyard and the work began.

The keel replacement made my hair grow white. Here is why:

After the old keel was removed, the garboard strake (the first plank after the keel) and the second plank were also removed. The boat was now supported only by her braces (timber tyings). Her ribs were totally exposed.

I was overwhelmed with fear when confronted with this sight. I thought that this was the end of the “Faneromeni” and that she would never float again. Knowing that this task was extremely difficult, I felt very foolish to have undertaken it. 

At night, I lost my sleep with anxiety. By day, here’s how I spent my time:
I woke up every day at 5:00 AM and got ready to go to Perama. From Perama I took the ferry to Salamis, drove to the yard, and was there before 8:00 AM, before any work started. I wanted to be present and observe all the details of the task.

We decided that the new keel, the garboard strake, and the second plank were to be fabricated in Iroko hardwood. I also wanted the keel to be constructed from a single piece of wood and not by two pieces joined together by a tackle, as is the usual practice.

The personnel in the yard told me that it would be difficult to find a single beam of Iroko wood of the necessary size for the keel but that they would try their best to find it. 

“Faneromeni’s” old keel has been removed and her ribs are exposed. This sight fills me with dread.

February 1992.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


The drawing shows a keel made of two pieces of wood joined by a tackle.

Drawing by Elina Dallas.


After some time–and all the while I insisted that a single beam of such a size must be available somewhere–they informed me that they had tried all their sources and that they could not obtain the needed beam of wood.

Following my own stubborn streak, I then undertook to locate the wood by myself. I began an endless round of phone calls—there was no Internet then—searching for the precious wood.

After days of searching “from pillar to post” I located a wood merchant in Thessalonica who indeed had the “object of my desire.” 

When I announced to the shipyard that I had, in fact, located an Iroko beam of the size required, they did not believe me. And they kept up their skepticism until the beam arrived by truck in Salamis and was unloaded in the Koupetoris yard.

After this the value of my stock rose in the eyes of the Koupetoris clan.

The next hurdle was to transform the large beam into a keel with the necessary notches for the ribs to fit precisely. It had to be perfect.

This seemed to me an almost impossible task, and again I lost my sleep.

Now the Koupetoris clan showed their mettle. They all worked together, the whole clan. They worked with eagerness to utilize their skills as shipwrights, skills accumulated over many years. Overseeing the work was the second generation, the able shipwrights Spyros Koupetoris, Dimitris Prasinos, and Yiorgos Karayiannis. From the third generation there were Mimis, Manos, Titos, and Dimitrakis Koupetoris as well as Yiannis Prasinos.

By their hands the large beam was transformed into a keel with notches fitting the ribs perfectly.

I could not believe my own eyes.

I enclose a set of photographs that illustrate this task.


The large Iroko beam for the new keel on arrival from Thessalonica at the entrance of the Koupetoris yard on Salamis.

February 1992.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


The fitting was perfect.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)

 E.Installation of the Ballast 

After the keel replacement project was completed, it was time to install the ballast.

In the old days, perama-type boats did not use ballast. The reason for this is simple: as cargo boats they were usually heavily loaded (“loaded to the brim” as the expression has it) and did not need extra ballast. They regularly transported local products from one place to another.

For instance, a caïque might take on a load of watermelons in the western Peloponnese and transport them to the Sporades islands. At this destination it might replace its load with pears or prunes to be transported back to the Peloponnese, or somewhere else, and so on.

But, if the captain could not obtain cargo for a return passage (an infrequent occurrence), he would go to a beach and load the caïque with either shingle or large pebbles. He did so because the vessel should always be loaded to ensure stability under sail-power.

Today perama-type caïques no longer transport cargo. If one intends to put a perama under sail there is need of suitable ballast.

Usually the ballast is placed inside the boat, down low in the bilge, under the floorboards, near to where the ribs of the frame are attached to the keel. The ballast usually consists of pieces of cast iron called kentledges.

I did not like this practice because it has several disadvantages:

1.the inspection and cleaning of the bilge is difficult
2.the cast-iron kentledges oxidize (rust) and must be removed at intervals to be cleaned and repainted
3.finally, the center of gravity of the ballast is too high and the vesselʼs stability is compromised
Of course, the practice of placing the ballast inside the boat is fairly easy and economical.

There is, however, another option: to place the ballast on a vesselʼs exterior and to keep it under water as a false keel. In this case the center of gravity is appreciably lowered and thus the boatʼs stability is improved. And if the ballast is of lead rather than cast iron, the problem of oxidation is also removed. For these reasons I chose the second alternative.


Mastro-Spyros Koupetoris and Dimitris Prasinos while installing the ballast.

Salamis, April 1992

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)


So I placed an order with a foundry in Piraeus6 for four pieces of lead (although more expensive than cast iron, lead does not rust) with the same width as the keel but with the following dimensions overall:

◦Length: 150 cm (59.1 ")
◦Width: 13 cm (5.2 ")
◦Height: 15 cm (5.9 ")
Each piece weighs 250 kg (551 lb). On one end there is a mortise (notch) and on the end there is a tenon (projection) so that the pieces mesh with one another. This interlocking system ensures a secure installation (see the drawing).