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Author Topic: Caporn (Dickie Dixon's) Vintage Outboard Runabout  (Read 20922 times)
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Chair
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« on: September 21, 2003, 10:44:32 PM »

Clive Caporn was definately one of the pioneers of runabout building in this country. Clive was primerily in the timber industry and thought that building boats was a good way of selling more timber. The "Caporn" built in a factory on the banks of the Yarra River, labelled some very stylish hulls that performed well as ski boats. The Mariner, Healing and Stylecraft followed Caporn's lines.

Here is Dickie Dixon with his Caporn in about 1961.
Powered by a 60 hp 1961 merc that Dick had imported. It had no gearbox to reverse, the whole engine was stopped and started again..... in reverse! No wonder the Americans called them "Dockbusters"  


* Dick_Dixon_Chelsea_1961.JPG (21.25 KB, 487x450 - viewed 869 times.)
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2003, 11:07:12 PM »

Prior to the Merc, Dickie ran a 1956 30 hp Johnson Seahorse on it. I learned to ski behind that rig. Here is a shot of it taken off Edithvale LSC about 1958 with me as the driver and a friend Gavin Toy next to me. I was 10. Dickie is perched on one of the old pylons, all that remained of an ancient diving platform. I'd never driven a boat before and as luck has it ( under Dickies guidence) I docked in a bit fast. Dick and his camera neally went flying and Gavin ended up with a sprained rist from trying to pad the blow.


* Me_in_my_brothers_caporn_Edithvale_1957.jpg (29.5 KB, 488x565 - viewed 873 times.)
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Janette
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2003, 11:21:32 AM »

These are wonderful photos and stories...keep it up
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Chair
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2003, 12:21:22 AM »

I found another one. This is a good one the same day with Dick up on the front taking the shot. See the 30 hp Johnson Seahorse. Dick brought this motor out himself. I remember the excitement when it arrived, I made a cubby house out of the box it came in.


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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2003, 06:06:58 PM »

Another of Dickie with brother Paul at Mornington 1965.
Dick taught heaps of people to Water Ski. He still has the old planks.


* Dick_Paul_Caporn1965.JPG (40.95 KB, 750x487 - viewed 866 times.)
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2004, 03:02:04 PM »

Sadly, just heard that Clive Caporn has died. Can anybody confirm that?  
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Rob
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2006, 02:56:20 PM »

Cool pics and stories,

I have a couple of hand me down planks myself and if you can't ski on those, take up another sport!!!

Rob
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« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2007, 12:48:22 PM »

Dick joined up this website a while back and I hope to get him to tell some stories AHOY DICKIE! tell us your tales
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JEBx4
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2007, 10:40:04 PM »

Great photos, Chairman. Thanks for sharing them with us.

JEB (John)
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Dickie
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2008, 09:45:56 AM »

Ahoy interested parties. Regarding the 60 hp merc that I owned, the reason it had no reverse gearbox was because  the Keikhafer Corp  wittch  manufactured the Mercury outboards wanted to win a speed and reliability trial in Miami Florida around the 60's.  So they built their outboards with only one gear in the gearbox.   forward.   This meant they could streamline the lower skeg unit,so it had a lot less drag in the water. They won the speed trial. the motor was a very reliable unit and could be run flat out for hours on end. But it was very hard to tune. For the motor to run backwards ,the timing had to alter in one operation of the lever control,and the starter had two solinoids.One turned the starter motor clockwise,and the other anticlockwise.  Hence quite often the motor failed to start in reverse, and thats how the name dockbuster came in.  They only made that design for two years.  Regards       Dickie.
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Dickie
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2008, 09:29:56 AM »

Re the 60hp Merc.  I also did some faily major work on the motor while I had it.   I ran up lots of hours over a long period,and it required a new set of piston rings.  I decided to do the job myself.  In those days , Merc motors had no removable head.  The block and head were all cast in one piece. To remove The pistons,it had to be done from the bottom of the block. This was accomplished by removing the crankshaft with all the connecting rods and pistons still atached. This was quite easy.  Putting them back was a difficult operation. It required two persons to accomplish the work. Another interesting thing about that old motor was the fact that it had a distributor like the old cars had with twin set of points.  It also had two ignition coils, and two fuel pumps which worked independetly to each other.  It had one major design fault.  the water pump had no stanless steel inner lining,and after a long period the alloy pump coroded and was pretty useless.  However I did get a lot of use and had a lot of fun with that old Mercury.               Regards.   Dickie,
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2008, 05:14:02 AM »

Hello Dickie,
It's great to hear the stories about your boating days. Keep them coming!
You must have been quite handy with the tools, changing a set of rings on the old Mercs was not for the faint hearted.

I can only try and imagine how many engine hours you racked up to actually require a ring job.

I remember in the 60's, two stroke oil was not available at every servo' like it is now.
My Dads mates who had boats as well, use to buy 50w motor oil and toss that in to the tank Cry
The motor oil was never really designed to mix with fuel (plus they hardly ever shook the fuel tank after adding the oil), I'll bet there were many motors up here that were running pretty lean.

MERCMAN.
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Dickie
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2008, 08:41:23 AM »

Hello Mercman.  You are right about the oil in those days.Twostroke was not available,so we had to use engine oil instead. I think thats why the rings wore out. although I did do lots of hours. Over a long period I re ringed that motor twice. Naturally it was easier the second time.      Dickie.
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Chair
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2008, 08:07:56 AM »

Well you learn something every day.
I didn't know you rebuilt that donk. Did you ever see another dockbuster in Australia?
Also how about telling the members what happened that fatefull day when you had that heavy bloke skiing. And how you converted the Caporn from RHD to LHD.
David
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Dickie
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2008, 09:32:26 AM »

Yes Chairman.  I did have a big heavy guy in tow,whom I will not name because he was a big heavy B?Huh??. I had stupidly run a line across the transom of the boat,and attached the ski tow rope to the middle of that.   When the person being towed went out to one side of the boat, he was being towed from the far side of the transom. Anyhow I went into a tight turn and he leant back heavily on the ski rope,and this lifted the boat up onto its side. If he had let go of the rope the boat would have righted itself. Instead he pulled back more heavily,and I capsized. I know he did it on purpose, because thats the type of B he was. The motor was revving its head off when it went intothe water,and I was worried that I had bent a connecting rod,as the motor can suck in water,which wont compress,which can cause big damage.  I was able to claim it on insurance. Alyhough nothing was bent,the motor had to be pulled down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     About the purchase and import of the 30 HP Johnson.  I was in America for over 12 months, which enabled me to bring back an outboard motor free of duty as long as it had been used. I purchased the 30 HP Johnson from a dealer, and asked him to take it out of the box put so scratches on the prop, and explained why.  I arrived in Sydney on the Orcades ship with the motor in the hold.  I had a bit of trouble getting it through customs. It took me about two days to do this, because they had'nt seen one before. Strangely enough I also had Dad's 56 Buick Century on board as well,  and got that through customs easily. I  couldent                 get the motor off the ship then. It had to be forwarded on.  Iwasent too happy about this, but could'nt do much about it. About a week later, the motor arrived at our home in Chelsea. It had not been taken out of the box at all. Brand new    Dickie.
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