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Tal-Ħandaq Nostalgia

Memories of the Royal Naval School, Malta, 1947 - 1978.

Peter and Charmaine ©

While doing the midday sun thing last year at Mgarr, we (Grahame Cain & I) came across what looked like a fully rigged luzzu. Being nosy I climbed aboard uninvited for a closer look. Peter emerged from the shade beneath and we spent an hour grilling him (no hat either). When he was fully baked we let him get back to his painting. He writes….(see comments below)….

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Martin Powell   [Dec 05, 2011 at 05:44 PM]
"....I had forgotten that I only had the foremast up, I must have been re-furbishing the main mast over at the flat. Charmaine is actually a Luzzu and was the last one built on Gozo by the Vella brothers in Victoria. The Vella brothers are now called Qualfat (means caulking). They only make big fibreglass fishing boats now, generally one every couple of years. George the eldest, who built Charmaine, does the fibreglass side and his brother does all the mechanical side. His stainless steel welding is legendary.

Peter Caruana has done some work for me where I have found rotten wood or advising on various jobs like deepening the keel. I have a rotten prop shaft hanging 'A' bracket which needs removing. He will not do it as he is in his early 70's and no longer does any crawling around working on his back. He is a dab hand at wood working and made me a lovely extra long tmun (tiller). One of his younger brothers Lorettu does all the mechanical work for me. What he doesn't know about engines you could write on the back of a fag packet. He started his working life at 12 constructing fishing boats but when engines began to be fitted to fishing boats he started on the mechanical side. He still has his wood working tools all hand made. The Caruana brothers were all born in Gozo with the exception of Peter. The family moved from Kalkara during the war and they all still work at the yard. Their craft will die with them."

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