22 June 2017

As it’s just over a year since we launched Terror I thought it would be good to update the site especially with some pictures showing some of the elements that I worked on during the winter.

The pictures on the water were taken by Nigel Sharp, a journalist who has been commissioned to write an article on the boat for Classic Boat magazine. Assuming it goes ahead I’ll update the site when I have a publication date.

To start with I added cam cleats, fixed to mahogany blocks, to hold the jib sheets.


I added a bronze collar to the end of the boom to provide better fix points for the mainsheet and the mainsail clew. I also put together a clew outhaul system. You’ll need to blow up the picture below to see this detail.


I hadn’t fully fitted the bowsprit before so this is now done, although I’m yet to build the spinnaker chute.


The most interesting thing to do has been the topsail. Paul Gartside provided some detail on how to rig this, but I had to resort to Google to work out the detail. It requires three lines – a halyard, sheet and downhaul, so adds a lot of extra rope to the whole set up!

Here it is in action. We didn’t have any real wind that day, so the sails aren’t as taught as they would be normally.



Week 23 – We launched!

Well, we made it and I still find it difficult to believe! The pictures tell the story……

Working on the rubbing strake which was made from oak. The stern section was made separately from oak laminates.


A slightly arty shot of the deck fittings – the stand up pulleys are very funky as is the leather finish for the mast partners!


The aft deck with the bronze traveller to which the mainsheet pulleys are attached.


An even artier picture of the tiller and traveller.


Getting the boat out on the morning of launch. We’d been working until 2am that morning and were in again at 6.30am.


On the slipway…


And with the sails up!

Terror 2



Coming back into Lyme harbour. The outboard and its bracket worked really well.


Putting her back on the trailer and celebrating!


Back in the workshop with Matthew looking relieved!


With my mate Steve who was a huge help in the last 48 hours getting her ready for launch.



Week 22 – Launch next week!

Will we make the launch on Thursday? Yes, we should do.  Just a brief update this week because I’m in the workshop most of the time.

Here are the thwarts cut out in oak and I’m fitting these at the moment.


We have focused on the teak deck this week and here is the aft deck partly done – you can see the little spacers that also hold down the planks as the glue dries.


Same for the bow.


This is the finished deck before putting in the black caulking. I’m really pleased with this – it looks very straight and the teak is good quality.


Putting in the caulking – we used Sikoflex. This will be sanded off when cured – hopefully on Sunday and leaving neat black lines.


And we put on the first top coat on the inside – International cream.


Oh and the trailer has arrived!


We also managed to get the centreboard in its case and it seems to move up and down without catching on anything – a great relief!

Week 21 – 9 days to go!

This blog is a bit late because I’m currently spending most of my waking hours in the workshop – not that I’m complaining, I love it!

I’m aiming to have Terror largely finished by Monday night (6 June) because the sail makers are coming on the Tuesday to help rig her.

Lots done this week. We glued in the sole board edges early in the week.


We also put in the deck coaming which you can see temporarily clamped in place below. I made templates for these. We had to joint them and steam the ends to achieve the bend around the cockpit.


But the main focus has been the teak decking. It took me all day on Saturday to map this out on the ply sub deck – you have to draw in all the boards so that you can be sure it is symmetrical and fits properly. Here you can see the first piece that I actually fitted – the margin boards round the tiller. This will surround a shaped piece of wood which will hide the tiller tube. Teak is lovely to work with.


Here you can see the piece surrounding the mast.


Here’s the piece surrounding the chute for the spinnaker , temporarily screwed down ready for gluing – I haven’t cut the hole in the deck for this yet. Took me about an hour to make this which I thought was pretty good going!


And here is where we had got to when we finished tonight. Fortunately we’ve had Bob, a previous tutor, helping us today and he is making the teak cover boards around the coaming. We should have all the main structure of the decking done by lunchtime tomorrow then we need to lay the straight boards.


Week 20 – less than 3 weeks to go!

We concentrated on the half beams early in the week and here you can see them all in place.


Here’s the view from the front from where you can see the mast partners. This is essentially a large chunk of wood which strengthens the deck where the mast passes through it.


This photo also shows the mast foot. The mast has a tenon on its base which fits into the slot.



We decided to fit a rear bulkhead which wasn’t on the plans. It’s partly to tidy up the stern area but also somewhere to keep the beers – a request from Warren, one of the co-owners! Carson has also made the hatch door for this.



And this is with the sub deck nailed & epoxied. This is 9mm plywood on which the teak strips will be laid. Looking more like a power boat than a sail boat!


The lead ballast arrived today – this weighs 365 kgs so required unloading by forklift, kindly supplied by the harbour master.


Here it is jacked up under the boat ready to be bolted on next week. The gap is deliberate (honest!) because working on the assumption the fit will never be perfect (given the measurements came from the lofting) it’s easier to infill when working under the boat than chopping out wood.


Lots to do next week including fitting the lead ballast, making the sole boards, fitting the coaming (which protects the cockpit from spray) and laying the deck.

Week 19 – Good progress on deck structure

We’ve mainly been working on the deck structure this week, but I’ve included the picture below to show that the centreboard case is now just about finished, and to illustrate the templates we’ll use to make the sole boards. Like everything the sole boards are more complicated to make than I first thought. In particular you want to avoid any pointed pieces of wood which is what you would get if you laid the planks straight from end to end. Anyway Carson is working on these!


We also epoxied in the rudder tube – here’s Carson positioning the rudder to ensure everything lines up as it should. You can see the bronze rudder foot temporarily fixed with rods. The only item to finish now in the bottom of the boat is the mast step. We’ve made this but can’t finalise its position and cut the slot for the mast foot until we have the mast partners in place (which form part of the deck structure).


Here are the deck beams epoxied and screwed in place for the foredeck. There’s not much of a camber to the deck so we were able to jig saw these out of solid wood (douglas fir) rather than laminating them. This is good news because it saves a lot of time which is now very short! They involved cutting some multiple angles where the ends meet the hull, which is always interesting!

In this picture you can also see the end of the carlins. These are the deck beams that go fore and aft. These were made from three strips of western red cedar with extra laminates put in where the bend is most extreme, and then glued in their actual position with some temporary half beams in place, to achieve the correct shape. This worked pretty well although they did need some fairing to obtain the right shape and to ensure both sides were the same.


Here are the beams in place for the aft deck. You can also see the other end of the carlins, a half beam and the rudder tube in place. All together there are 21 beams and half beams to make, so the next job is to finish the half beams – these support the carlins and create the cockpit shape.


On Thursday we turned Lucille over, Bob & Dan’s boat. If you’ve ever wondered how you manually turn a boat this sequence of photos should illustrate. You can actually turn quite big boats using this technique. I can vouch for this having been part of a group of about 40 people who turned a 38 foot sailing gig!







Over the weekend Richard & Jan are here and they will help us prime the inside of the boat, complete the glassing of the rudder and put a final coat of oil on the spars. The boom is now finished (thanks to Harry) so all 7 spars and the tiller are done. By the end of the coming week we should be putting on the ply sub deck.

Week 18 – Only 5 weeks to go!

This week started with oiling the spars. Here’s Sarah applying danish oil to the mast. You keep applying the coats wet on wet until the wood won’t take any more. This took about 3 hours for the mast!


Here we are fitting the floors. I spent most of the bank holiday weekend making templates for each of the 11 floors which gave us a good head start this week. You can see one of them next to Carson in the boat. The floors are made from sapele.


This picture shows Adam making the tiller out of ash laminates.


We’ve also continued work on the centreboard, here applying a layer of 300g bi-axial glass cloth. Next this will be sanded, filled and the pivot hole drilled. Both this and the rudder will be painted with primer and anti-foul before fitting. You can see the panel under which 16kg of lead has been epoxied, to ensure it actually sinks when in the water. Wilbur calculated the amount of lead required so it must be right!


Here you can see us putting the seat risers back in. The cross pieces are temporary, and were screwed in place before we took out the risers with the moulds, so allowing us to re-locate them in the right place.


Here we have the floors, centreboard case, seat risers & one of the harpins in place. The sides and top of the centreboard case are still being completed. It needs two sheaves (the internal part of a pulley) fixed on the inside, on which the wire from the top of the centreboard (used to haul it up) will run to a pulley system. We’ve already drilled the holes in the side of the centreboard ready to accept the bronze rods which will hold the sheaves in place.


Last thing Friday we painted the white boot top – we will put on two more coats over the weekend. For each coat we mask off the surrounding tape and remove it, to avoid a build up of paint along the masked off line. I’d forgotten how shapely this boat is, having had her draped in plastic for some time to protect the paint.


Next week we start the deck structure and with 4 weeks to go until launch we need to work flat out to finish her.

Week 17 -filling & sanding again

Much of his week was spent filling the inside of the boat then getting covered in epoxy dust as we sanded it smooth with orbital sanders! It needed filling twice to achieve a respectable finish. You can see the rudder stock at the stern of the boat as we’ve also been checking how the rudder set up will work. Unfortunately the fibreglass tube in which the stock will sit came with bushes that were too small, and it’s been returned to be re-done.

We also had more exams this week and I’m pleased to say I passed all of them – good to get those out of the way!


Here you can see what is called a rod which we’ve built above the boat. This has a tape measure fixed to it on which we have marked key items from the lofting such as the stations and where the centre board and mast are located. We then hang a plumb bob from the rod to find the same point in the boat. We have already dry fitted the centreboard case and will epoxy this in place next week.


Carson has been working on the rudder which is made of douglas fir and here you can see it dry fitted to the rudder stock. It needs some more shaping, then glassing, filling & painting. The centreboard needs the pivot hole re-drilling (don’t ask!) and then will be ready for glassing and so on.


Adam made the ensign flagpole on Friday and here he is posing with his creation. This will sit right at the stern in a bronze fitting and will fly the red ensign. We now only have the boom to do and all the spars will be complete. This is being worked on by Harry, a graduate of the Academy. Then it’s a matter of oiling them and attaching the fittings. This is quite an achievement, finishing this number of spars so quickly. Thanks, Adam & Harry!


We had to move the mast off the workshop floor yesterday so propped it up in a corner – this picture gives a good idea of its size!


This week I’ve also organised the trailer and the off-the-shelf fittings – the boat has 25 pulleys!! These will be Davey & Co ash ones.

We need to have the floors done in the next week – there are 10 of these – they go across the bottom of the boat to give it more rigidity and the soles (in effect the floor of the boat – confused or what!)  sit on top of these. Then the key next steps are putting in and finishing the centreboard case, painting the inside, putting the seat riser and harpin back in, thwarts & decking. The sail company are coming to help to rig her on Monday 6 June so we have just over 5 weeks to get all this done. Scary!

I’ve also included a quick update on the other boats. Here you can see Max’s international sailing canoe with the mahogany deck now added. This was vacuum bagged to ensure a good fixing.


And Regina has now completed all her planking and the moulds are off. What a pretty boat!


Adrian has also completed planking and removed the moulds yesterday. The diesel engine arrives soon. As with Regina’s boat the next steps are steaming in timbers (the pieces that go vertically from the sheer to the hog in the bottom of the boat) and the floors.



And Dan & Bob’s Lucille which now has the oak keel attached.



Week 16 – She’s the right way up!

So first thing Monday she looked like this:


This is the cradle being completed in preparation for turning her over.


And turned over.


Here’s the view inside with all the molds, harpin and seat risers still in place.


This is what she looked like when we moved her back into her space, having dismantled the base on which the hull was built, and we’d tidied up the sheer.


And with everything removed.


Lots of work has been done by Adam on the spars. Here’s the mast under construction with it planed by hand to 8 sides. This will then be taken down to 16 sides then 32 and rounded from there. It’s 90 mm across at the base and 7.3m long.


And here’s the throat mechanism on the end of the gaff, again made by Adam. These jaws go around the mast and allow the gaff to tilt as its lowered or raised. The jaws themselves are made from oak and they are re-enforced with stainless steel rods. See the leather covering on the inside of the jaws and the tilting block itself. This type of mechanism minimises the damage to the mast.


The centreboard is taking a fair amount of work to finish. You can see the square slot which we have created to take about 15 kg of lead (which you can see in the background). The lead should ensure that the centreboard actually sinks when in the water! This will be epoxied in and covered with a wood panel. It will all be glassed once the shaping is completed and the plate used to haul it up is fitted.


The last thing we did on Friday was to fill the inside. The strange shape in the bottom  of the stern is a temporary piece of hardboard which I made to hold in place some epoxy expanding foam. We’ve used this to fill a cavity created in the design between the deadwood and the sides of the hull. If we’d left this it would become a water & rot trap.


On Monday we will glass the inside with two layers of 300g bi axial cloth and lots of epoxy. Then we’re into the proper fit out, starting with installing the centreboard case!


Week 15 – Top coat done!

This week we applied the top coat and the colour (International royal blue) is fabulous. The white strip is the boot top (an added section of anti foul) which is only done in primer so far – we will finish this, and probably add a final top coat, when she is turned over.


And from the stern.


We struggled to remove some of the stippling effect created by the primer. But the finish now looks very good with three coats applied, and if we have time to apply the fourth layer will look even better. In particular the hull looks very fair.

I have also put together the centre board case which will be finished off in the boat. Here it is sitting on the floor upside down. The pieces sticking out will sit in a groove in the hog/ keel which is in effect an extension of the centre board slot. And yes I’ve checked that the centreboard fits inside it and it does!


We’ve also made great progress on the spars – there are seven to make for Terror. The bowsprit and two topsail spars are essentially completed, and Adam is now working on the gaff. This is complicated by the throat (the end which goes around the mast) because this needs a mechanism that moves up & down as the gaff is raised and lowered. More details on this in a later post.

The wood for the mast has been cut and partly hollowed by router – this is to reduce weight. Here you can see the two sections waiting to be glued.


And here it is all glued and clamped. Sad as I am I counted the number of clamps required – 63! This mast is 7.3 metres long.


Most of the bespoke fittings have now arrived and here’s a picture of a selection – rudder stock, traveller (for the mainsheet), gooseneck with band for the mast and pinrails (there are two of these, and they sit on the deck, one each side of the mast). All in bronze – beautiful!


On Monday we complete the building of the cradle in the morning and turn the boat over in the afternoon. Then it’s full steam ahead to complete the fit out.