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Trimaran float repair or replace?


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#1 eastbay

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 12:37 AM

I've got a 1985 Dragonfly 25 demountable trimaran that I purchased without knowing that it had one float (ama) badly damaged and really badly repaired.

I've been doing what I can to fix it, but it is now clear that it will always be about 60 pounds heavier that the undamaged float.

The way I see it, I now have three choices:

1. Add weight to the undamaged ama (this is what the previous owner had done) and live with it. One thing that makes this not quite as bad as it might be is that I believe that this boat's hull shape and float buoyancy can carry weight better than some.

2. Take a mold off the undamaged float and build a new one. I don't really know how to do that. I also don't really know if or how many right hand left hand problems I'd wind up with.

3. And this is the one that i like best in a way- fix up what I've got for now and go sailing, but then build two new floats. Hire a designer and start from scratch. The simplicity of the demountable system (it uses mast sections for beams) seems like it would make this pretty easy compared to a folding system. 

The DF-25 has quite high volume floats already, but I could take advantage of any design and/or construction developments, such as the original floats have no watertight bulkheads which the new ones could have.

But what construction method would be best? Any ideas or thoughts for me?

Thanks. 



#2 Jim Conlin

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 01:42 AM

These floats were built of core-cell strips over station molds, then faired, glassed and joined.

p1050077c.jpg



#3 Ncik

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 02:30 AM

4. Repair properly with modern techniques. Cut out the bad section and replace with a new section. And put some bulkheads in.



#4 Gouvernail

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:25 AM

Shop around and see of there are any available functioning sailboats available for a low enough price to justify taking yours to the dump or giving it away.
Then start figuring out how to finance whichever transaction seems most right

#5 eastbay

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:21 AM

These floats were built of core-cell strips over station molds, then faired, glassed and joined.

Beautiful boat Jim! I'm a big Newick fan- I was thinking of asking him to do the design of the new floats. Do you know how much they weigh? Did you already know the process, or were you furnished patterns and instructions?

Thanks.

 

4. Repair properly with modern techniques. Cut out the bad section and replace with a new section. And put some bulkheads in.

Great idea. It would hurt because I've got so much into the fairing and repair that I've already done, but definitely worthy of consideration. The damage extends over a length of about 15', with two 6 sq foot areas that extend up the sides. Original construction is solid glass bottom, balsa core topsides.

So after I cut out at least 50% of the float, including the entire bottom V, how do I establish stations and what do I lay up? I have started vacuum bagging during this latest go round but am not expert by any means. After cutting all that out I could easily put bulkheads in though, that's right.

Wait, maybe I can see it. Take stations off the undamaged float and make frames or something to put in the cut out.... then corecell plank or something? Get that laid up then cut the deck out to glass the inside and maybe remove the frames?

 

Shop around and see of there are any available functioning sailboats available for a low enough price to justify taking yours to the dump or giving it away.
Then start figuring out how to finance whichever transaction seems most right

Gouvernail I can't say that I haven't thought about it (bailing), and still may some day, but for now I'm sticking with it. It's like going to school except that I'm enjoying it.

 

Another argument in favor of new floats is that the originals have flat decks and an upturned flange for the hull to deck joint, making a miniature bulwark that seems as though it would trap water if (when) I submerge the float. I've never heard of this being a problem on this boat, but I do like the idea of a finer bow (if it can be done without sacrificing volume too much, or making it over long.)



#6 SloopJonB

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 06:45 AM

Have you checked with Hot Rod on the Flyin' H in San Pablo Bay? You probably have one of the 10,000 boats he's studied.



#7 Caca Cabeza

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:09 PM

Have you checked with Hot Rod on the Flyin' H in San Pablo Bay? You probably have one of the 10,000 boats he's studied.


+1. The Rod Man knows hiss shit about boats. Check with him on all matters nautical. Some say he is a boatbuilding god. Some don't.

#8 eastbay

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 03:42 PM

Have you checked with Hot Rod on the Flyin' H in San Pablo Bay? You probably have one of the 10,000 boats he's studied.


+1. The Rod Man knows hiss shit about boats. Check with him on all matters nautical. Some say he is a boatbuilding god. Some don't.

You guys are cold.



#9 bruno

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 05:55 PM

If you have properly faired the existing part the you have also created a male plug for a splash mold. without knowing the total percentage affected i cannot advise which to choose but another option is to splash mold the repaired area (remove, roll over, wet preg poly/mat/roving part mold 15' long), fabricate new part, cut out affected area, making interior mods desired, and then bond in new part.

#10 Rasputin22

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 06:56 PM

I met the designer of the Dragonfly and have raced against one many years ago. Lovely boat and definitely worth rebuilding a set of amas for. I agree that cedar strip construction would be an appropriate level of tech and technique for you as mentioned by Jim above. I've got the lines and bulkheads and building jig forms for an ama that would work well on your boat if you are interested. PM me for details. You could also use a product called DuFlex instead of cedar.

 

http://www.duflex.co...products/strips

 

It will cost more but may be easier to fabricate and has nifty fingerjointed ends which will save time over making scarf joints on cedar strips. 

 

Pete Melvin recently bought a 8.5 meter tri in Australia and replaced the amas and I think he might have used the DuFlex strips. He wanted higher volume amas and proved it by promptly winning the 2013 National Championships! My ama is similar but without the chine you can see on Pete's. 

 

300727_465856563488283_134779612_n.jpg

  581645_580518725294352_1352823861_n.jpg



#11 MoMP

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Posted 05 August 2013 - 07:03 PM

I seem to remember Dragonfly had a North American builder in the Toronto area. Might want to find them and have a hull made with the original molds for consistency sake.

#12 eastbay

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 12:40 AM

If you have properly faired the existing part the you have also created a male plug for a splash mold. without knowing the total percentage affected i cannot advise which to choose but another option is to splash mold the repaired area (remove, roll over, wet preg poly/mat/roving part mold 15' long), fabricate new part, cut out affected area, making interior mods desired, and then bond in new part.

Thanks Bruno- the repairs are not fair enough for that, the original repairs were too badly done and the thing looks a little like a pregnant banana with fatty tumors. I've been trying to get it as close as possible without adding too much weight but have failed. I'm going to look tonight when I get to the shop to see if I can tell if the right and left floats are symmetrical- splash molding the good one and grafting that section into the bad one might be possible. That may be how the PO did the bad repair. I'm worried about weight though.

 

 

I met the designer of the Dragonfly and have raced against one many years ago. Lovely boat and definitely worth rebuilding a set of amas for. I agree that cedar strip construction would be an appropriate level of tech and technique for you as mentioned by Jim above. I've got the lines and bulkheads and building jig forms for an ama that would work well on your boat if you are interested. PM me for details. You could also use a product called DuFlex instead of cedar.

 

http://www.duflex.co...products/strips

 

It will cost more but may be easier to fabricate and has nifty fingerjointed ends which will save time over making scarf joints on cedar strips. 

 

Pete Melvin recently bought a 8.5 meter tri in Australia and replaced the amas and I think he might have used the DuFlex strips. He wanted higher volume amas and proved it by promptly winning the 2013 National Championships! My ama is similar but without the chine you can see on Pete's. 

  

I really like both ideas Rasputin- and thanks for the kind words on the DF-25. I'll PM you for more information, this looks like a good option.

 

 

I seem to remember Dragonfly had a North American builder in the Toronto area. Might want to find them and have a hull made with the original molds for consistency sake.

Yes MoMP, there was PC Molds, then Elan, and maybe more, which used variations. I believe that they wound up being Contour as well. I don't think that they are in business any more, but it is a good idea and I'll see what I can find out.

Nice T-Gull by the way! I've got one also (#18) that still I'm sailing in between working on the DF.



#13 Jim Conlin

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 01:23 AM

While cedar is more pleasant to work with, I used strips of Core-Cell foam in the interest of weight saving.

A comment from another place:

Damfino's hulls were built of Core-Cell foam strip composite construction. Techniques were basically the same as strip composite canoe construction. 
Core-cell comes in 4x8 sheets of a variety of thicknesses and densities. I used 1/2" and 5/8" A-500 (5 lbs./ft^3) and milled cove&bead strip in widths from 1-1/4" to 3", depending on the curvature of the hull. The bog between the strips was a light microsphere epoxy putty. Just rich enough to be as strong as the foam. Fairing was not as pleasant as cedar would have been, but not a total PITA. I wish I'd done a better job in places. Core cell was also used for decks, coamings, bulkheads, cockpit seats and foils. 
Some other builders use Core-Cell in a different way, softening sheets with heat and bending into curved molds. Limited compounding is possible.

The glass scantlings were heavier than they'd have been in a cedar strip boat as a heavier skin is needed for local impact resistance and for longitudinal strength.

As said earlier, the largest advantage of this material is the light weight it permits.

Other foam core materials have very different properties. The engineering is complicated. Get help.



#14 Jim Conlin

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 03:45 AM

Eastbay, check your PMs.



#15 Ned

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 05:14 AM

How about some pix of the suspect area.  Also, which construction schedule is your boat?  Foam, single skin, or balsa?  I think maybe there was damage to core and they didn't recore so used filler or just solid glass.  Maybe you can tap and see where the sound changes also and map out the bad part.  Or is it so lousy you can see it?

 

And are you able to install ports in the deck above?  It will take a good amount of repair before a repair will exceed the hassle of new construction.  But at some point it could.   



#16 eastbay

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 07:23 PM

How about some pix of the suspect area.  Also, which construction schedule is your boat?  Foam, single skin, or balsa?  I think maybe there was damage to core and they didn't recore so used filler or just solid glass.  Maybe you can tap and see where the sound changes also and map out the bad part.  Or is it so lousy you can see it?

 

And are you able to install ports in the deck above?  It will take a good amount of repair before a repair will exceed the hassle of new construction.  But at some point it could.   

Hi Ned, I'll get some pictures, but the original construction was solid glass below the waterline and 3/8" balsa core above. It is hard to tell exaclty what is going on with it because there are different materials used, but I think that you are probably right in the idea that the core is gone and replaced with solid material as It is so much heavier. I can cut ports or even larger areas of the deck out- it is cambered so it won't be totally simple but comparatively not too bad. Inside the ama is a longitudinal tank that would also have to be cut out to access the outer skin.



#17 Ncik

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 12:36 AM

How about some pix of the suspect area.  Also, which construction schedule is your boat?  Foam, single skin, or balsa?  I think maybe there was damage to core and they didn't recore so used filler or just solid glass.  Maybe you can tap and see where the sound changes also and map out the bad part.  Or is it so lousy you can see it?

 

And are you able to install ports in the deck above?  It will take a good amount of repair before a repair will exceed the hassle of new construction.  But at some point it could.   

Hi Ned, I'll get some pictures, but the original construction was solid glass below the waterline and 3/8" balsa core above. It is hard to tell exaclty what is going on with it because there are different materials used, but I think that you are probably right in the idea that the core is gone and replaced with solid material as It is so much heavier. I can cut ports or even larger areas of the deck out- it is cambered so it won't be totally simple but comparatively not too bad. Inside the ama is a longitudinal tank that would also have to be cut out to access the outer skin.

 

You don't have to repair cored laminates at the outer skin. I'm currently fixing some delam on a moth by re-coring from the outside.



#18 Ned

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 12:47 AM

True Ncik,

 

I've done them both ways depending on how badly damaged the inner skin was.  And how much the repair screwed up things.  If can get it done from the outside and maintain the strength and shape that is much better.  



#19 eastbay

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 04:51 AM

I'm afraid that this one will entail areas as large as 2' x 4' that have no intact inner skin. I'm trying to think how I could bridge that without access from the inside to set up a backer.

Maybe I should take some of that good advice above and drag the whole mess to a Pro and get a qualified opinion. Anyone know anyone in the Bay Area besides HotRod? What about Cree in Berkeley?



#20 Gouvernail

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 11:17 AM

Of I had a boat like the ones in those photos I probably wouldn't let it die either.

#21 Ncik

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 11:30 AM

I'm afraid that this one will entail areas as large as 2' x 4' that have no intact inner skin. I'm trying to think how I could bridge that without access from the inside to set up a backer.

Maybe I should take some of that good advice above and drag the whole mess to a Pro and get a qualified opinion. Anyone know anyone in the Bay Area besides HotRod? What about Cree in Berkeley?

 

haha, HR is busy at the moment.



#22 bruno

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 04:56 PM

just long board the affected area, bog it smooth, pull a part, back in business

#23 eastbay

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 08:08 PM

After consideration of the good points made in this thread, and thanks for them, I decided to explore fixing the damaged float. To this point I've been working on repairing bad glass and fairing the rest, but I really didn't know exactly how the previous work was done. To that end I cut out a window in the previously repaired area to see what was there:

Attached File  ama full.jpg   56.6K   42 downloads

Attached File  Window cut.jpg   137.05K   55 downloads

Attached File  window edge detail.jpg   135.81K   53 downloads

Attached File  cut out detail.jpg   106.18K   45 downloads

 

It can be seen that there is a hideous amount of extra glass and compound. The piece that was cut out measures 9.5" x 4.5" x 1.125" thick. It feels as heavy as a brick, but actually weighs 256 grams. I haven't yet worked out what a piece that size in regular 1/2" balsa with appropriate skins inside and out SHOULD weigh, but I think that I found my extra weight.

 

The terrible work done by the previous owner extends all the way to the inner skin, where he used woven roving slopped all over.

 

In order to repair it and lighten it up, I'm thinking of taking molds off the good ama and using them. Would it be better to have that mold be the outer skin and try and lay up balsa and an inner skin from the inside after cutting out the deck and inner tank (like a horizontal compartment, the bottom of which can be seen in the photo with the window cut out), or should I treat the mold as an imperfect inner skin and put balsa and an outer skin on that working mostly from the outside? I guess that I would still need to get to the inside to connect the inner skin.

 

I'm still thinking that I should take it all down to someone who really knows what they're doing, and I'm still looking for suggestions of who that might be in the Bay Area. Thanks again for any advice or observations.



#24 Jim Conlin

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 01:01 AM

That's 1.9 lbs./ft^2.  

I expect that the original scantlings are more like half that.  Cut out a plug with a hole saw.



#25 eastbay

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 05:37 AM

I cut the window bigger:

Attached File  new window.jpg   152.43K   50 downloads

 

If I make a new piece just like that but lighter, how do I glue it in?

 

Cut a very shallow V for the outer skin and one layer of biax, but how to do the inner skin? To do the same on the inside I'd have to cut the deck for access.



#26 Jim Conlin

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 11:23 PM

What's the original construction?



#27 bruno

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:02 AM

you said solid lam with balsa cored deck before, make part same and add inner flange, epoxy bond to flange, make flange stiff.

#28 Ncik

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:04 AM

I cut the window bigger:

attachicon.gifnew window.jpg

 

If I make a new piece just like that but lighter, how do I glue it in?

 

Cut a very shallow V for the outer skin and one layer of biax, but how to do the inner skin? To do the same on the inside I'd have to cut the deck for access.

 

Tricky repair. My current thinking is splash a mould, layup new section in mould, build a ledge on inside, glue to ledge, laminate over the lot, fair and paint. The horizontal frame creates issues but should be able to work around them.

 

Or get a pro, atleast then there is insurance to fall back on if it all goes pear shaped.



#29 eastbay

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:08 AM

Sorry if I said that- the topsides (from the waterline to the deck on the sides of the float) are cored with 3/8" balsa. Below the waterline is solid glass. The core is tapered for the transition with the inner and outer skins then joined. The skins are very thin, maybe mat/glass/mat, about 1/8" thick each (inner and outer).



#30 eastbay

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 12:12 AM

Thanks Ncik- I believe that I am going to go the Pro route. Berkeley Marine has agreed to take it on. I'll ask them to do the glass work and leave the fairing and finish to me. Their plan is as you suggest.



#31 eastbay

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 04:58 AM

Bailing-

With regret, I'm bailing on this project. If anyone wants a project cheap, please let me know. I know that I'll take a huge loss but I'd love to see someone with the wherewithal to take it up and see it through.

I do believe that it is worth it. 

Thanks for the help.



#32 dacarls

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 11:30 PM

Hmm, Dick Newick is now gone to Davy Jones Locker . This is now a very pretty Heritage boat. HHmmm.



#33 Rasputin22

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 11:36 PM

Hmm, Dick Newick is now gone to Davy Jones Locker . This is now a very pretty Heritage boat. HHmmm.

 

Heritage in what way? I'm the biggest Newick fan but don't get what you mean.



#34 dacarls

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 01:28 PM

Something that could be way valuable one day....Like the first Model A Ford that was given to Thomas Edison by Henry Ford, early Chevy Corvettes, Carroll Shelby Ford Mustang fastbacks.  

On the other hand, Dennis Connor's Stars and Stripes cats were dissed and misused..



#35 eastbay

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:25 PM

The Newick boat in post #2 above is not the Dragonfly that the thread is about- it was posted to show the floats as a possibility for replacing the damaged float on the DF.

I don't know if Newick boats will appreciate in value now that Dick had passed (RIP and Fair Winds), but I do know that Newick designed boats will always be a good investment if you're after a sweet sailing beautiful craft.



#36 Rasputin22

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 03:48 PM

Thanks for clearing that up Eastbay. I should mention that Jens Quorning the designer of the Dragonfly that this thread is about, was influenced and mentored my DIck Newick. Jens worked for Dick in Martha's Vineyard from '83 to '84 before returning to Denmark to build the Dragonfly line or tris. I met Jens at Dick's house in '86 about the time that Dick was designing the Ocean Surfer. Lots of good conversations with Dick and Jens and this sort of inspiration and mentorship that Dick excelled in was just one of the things that made Dick one of the greats!

 

    Thinking about those times with Dick just now made me think of him as a sort of Gandalf character helping all us multihull hobbits on our various quests. He truly was the 'Lord of the Amas"...



#37 eastbay

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Posted 09 September 2013 - 04:14 PM

I agree- Dick Newick was a true Gandalf type character in the multihull world. I believe that Dick mentioned that Jens was also with him on St. Croix.

 

The end of this sad tale is that the DF-25 went away this weekend for pennies on the dollar. I hope that the new owner will see it through but to be honest I don't know if he will. I would have liked to hold out for someone committed to a full restoration or customization but at the storage costs here it wasn't possible.

 

Moral of the story- ALWAYS ALWAYS have the boat checked out or check it out for yourself- never take anyone's word for it. Of course, 99.9% of the people on this site are smart enough to know that already. I'm feeling pretty dumb, as well as broke.

 

Even more broke now that I have bought an F-24 mk II, but at least I'm sailing, so it isn't all bad!



#38 Tucky

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 01:57 PM

Congrats on the F-24- sailing is important.



#39 Future MOB

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 02:13 AM

Eastbay: it looks like this boat is (back) up for sale. Did you ever get a quote from Berkley Marine to fix/rebuild the float? Mind sharing? I'm mostly just curious.



#40 eastbay

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Posted 22 January 2014 - 06:30 AM

Wow. no, I never did get a quote. I just freaked out and dumped it. I don't know if Steve has done anything to it, when I last saw it it had that big hole that I had cut in the ama. Wish I hadn't done that, though it could be reasonably easy to reverse and just leave it heavy, it should be able to take the weight as the folding version was heavier yet when stock and did fine.
It would be a great boat fixed up.

#41 Peter Hackett

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 09:07 AM

 
Pete Melvin recently bought a 8.5 meter tri in Australia and replaced the amas and I think he might have used the DuFlex strips. He wanted higher volume amas and proved it by promptly winning the 2013 National Championships! My ama is similar but without the chine ....


I was just absorbing all tne good info on this thread and need to correct what seems to be a reference to our Australian Championships. I believe this boat was Mama Tried and it all happened in New Zealand, where I am sitting in the rain tonight.
Pete would be very welcome to bring her across the ditch though....




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