Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Lovely Boat-building Weather

It's a great delight being able to build a boat by the sea and especially nice in Argyll, where the weather is better than anywhere else.

Building any boat requires a lot of time spent on the plans, as it's easy to miss important details, even when Iain's drawings are beautifully drawn and self-explanatory. The more I study them the more I feel that the Kotik design is ideal for safe inshore cruising in comfort, the latter guaranteed by the installation of a Sardine Stove.

I pondered for a while on the rig and decided on the sloop rather than the yawl option. The main advantage of yawl rig in a small boat is getting home safely in a blow, but the cost is a cluttered stern deck and many more fiddly ropes to keep tidy. A small trysail seems a more sensible option.

It seems quite a while since the wood for the keelson, stems and so on arrived on the old car, now gone to Volvo Valhalla, as my devout brother says, "Rust to Rust and Bashes to Bashes".

I'm trying a few innovations with this build, including choice of materials. I chose Accoya for the main structural parts, as it doesn't rot. It's an interesting material. A fast-growing softwood such as Radiata Pine, grown in huge quantities in New Zealand, is sent to the Netherlands where it is pickled in vinegar and machined into useable planks. It's now the wood of choice for makers of good quality timber windows and I'm sorry it wasn't used in our house.

I got some big chunks of this stuff from James Latham & Sons at Eurocentral and it may be the first they have supplied for a boat. It's pretty well clear and stable, as can be seen from the images showing the forward stem in place, fitting perfectly.

The stems were made a few months ago, while details of the kit were sorted out with Alec Jordan

Having the planks machined by Alec means that I may get a chance to sail this boat before I expire. I reckon that 90% of the time spent on my yellow boat was marking out and spiling planks, which I still didn't get entirely right.

It was a great day when the kit arrived, fortunately dry and sunny, as it usually is here of course.

The plank pieces are easily extracted with a Japanese saw. It's a huge mistake, as happened with the Seil skiff, to allow a bunch of old guys with jigsaws to do this. The pieces come out fine, but you've got days of work removing what's left of the wee webs every foot or so.

In line with the spirit of innovation I'm using the Finnish Vendia Plank for the hull. Most glued clinker boats are dry-sailed, but this one will spend months on a mooring and I don't trust conventional "marine" plywood. The Vendia is made differently. Rather than the tree being peeled, as by a giant's pencil sharpener, the wood is sliced lengthwise and reconstituted with most laminations running that way, meaning that you get a stable, very strong material.

Here are some images of progress to date.

Just enough space in the house

Mould one goes below the building base line.

pin-holes showing that Mr Holmes is an old hand with his bandsaw

The Wherrymen

The Wherrymen
Two old friends on the water