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.

Week 14 – More sanding & priming

We seemed to have worked on a lot of different aspects of the boat this week mainly because we’ve had a lot of downtime between applying coats of primer and anti-foul. We’ve now put on four coats of primer on the whole boat and a fifth on the topsides. It’s been somewhat frustrating because the rollers we’ve been using create a stipple effect. This then means you have to sand off most of the primer to get back to a smooth finish. However, we’ve changed the rollers and the fifth coat went on much better last night. Fingers crossed this will be the last coat.

We put on all three layers of anti-foul using a product called Coppershield. This should last several years and is re-activated each year by giving it a light sand. Again it was frustrating because this time the rollers shed quite a lot of material on the finish, but this should come out when we sand it next week.

Here’s Wilbur marking out the waterline using a self-levelling laser (on a tripod just behind him) in preparation for applying the anti-foul.


And here is the boat with the anti-foul applied.


In the meantime we have also been making the cradle in which the boat will sit when we turn her over. We made the templates last week, to obtain the rough shape of the hull. This week Wilbur has cut out the shapes in OSB (orientated strand board), and we have stuck carpet to these using fibre glass and polyester resin, allowing this all to dry overnight on the boat.


The three “stands” have also now been cut to the right height so the boat will be level, again using a laser. Next week we will use more OSB and lengths of wood to join the stands and create a strong cradle. Bearing in mind that the boat will weigh close to a metric tonne when fitted out and will also have me and Wilbur and possibly others working in it this will need to be pretty sturdy!

Adam and Wilbur have also started to work on the spars – we have eight to make! Here is Adam working on the bowsprit while making a scary face and wearing a naughty teeshirt!


Wilbur has also been working on one of the two spars needed for the topsail. Here you can see it on the right of the bowsprit and the centreboard. It’s only 25mm in diameter as per the plans.


Adam has started on the main mast as well which will be 7.3m high and the second topsail spar. All these spars will be made out of spruce (strong and bendy) and are created from square lengths of wood. These lengths are cut in half and then turned around and the opposite sides are glued together. This builds more strength into the spar and helps keep it straight. The larger ones are hollowed out to reduce weight. In the case of the mast Adam has had to join each of the two lengths (using a scarf joint) because we didn’t have wood long enough to do it in one piece. So this is quite complicated work!

In the meantime I have been working on the centreboard case. Here you can see the posts sitting on top of the plywood which will be used for the sides of the case. I made a template for the case using the lofting a little while ago, so was able to shape the posts from sapele using this.


The sides need to be 28mm in thickness so we are using three sheets of 9mm ply for each side (those of you good at maths will realise that this adds up to 27mm but whats 1mm between friends!) I worked on a “master” sheet first to get the overall shape right again using the template, cut this out with the bandsaw and finished it off with a plane. I then cut out the other five pieces roughly using the bandsaw, clamped them to the master piece, and used a router with a top bearing to finish off the other five pieces. Each side, consisting of three pieces each, was then glued and vacuum bagged to get a good fixing.

The next step was to cut out formica for the insides of the case and you’ll see one sheet here.


This will then be glued to the inside of each side again using a vacuum bag to get a good fix. This time I’ll try and remember to take a picture! The formica is used to help prevent the centreboard getting stuck.

Next week we have two exams but we should get the top coat on (International royal blue) and may even turn her over at the end of the week.

Week 13 – Filling, sanding & priming

Last week we spent some time in the classroom for the last lessons of the course and for revision in preparation for the four exams we take later in April. So time has yet again been fairly short in terms of actual boat building. We’ve spent the time filling, sanding and priming. Most of the sanding has been done with long boards as seen in the picture below, and is very hard work! The problem with electrical sanders (even random orbital ones) is that they tend to exaggerate any dips & bumps rather than the reverse.


Here’s a closer view of the filling at the stern where we’ve added a fair amount of material, to remove bumps and ridges. I think these undulations were created by the stresses caused when the planks were twisted in multiple directions.


This is Adam and Wilbur discussing something important – possibly not related to boat building!


And here is the start of a template from which we will create the cradle to hold the boat once we turn it the right way up. We will have three supports along the boat to hold it securely. It’s difficult to see but the aft section of the keel is now properly shaped ready to accept the rudder stock.


This is the hull with the second primer just applied.


Now for an update on the other boats. Firstly, Regina’s where a few more planks are fixed. This is Carson (he’s Canadian)


This is Bob and Dan’s boat, Lucille, and here they are just completing the fourth and last layer of laminates. Bob is sporting fashionable green overalls today!


This is Max’s international sailing canoe. The sheer line has now been cut and bulkheads added.


And this is Adrian’s Beer boat with about eight planks done – there are fifteen in total for each side.


That’s it for this week, readers.

Week 12 – Keel & outer stem completed

We’ve only had about two days to work on the boat this week because we’ve been having lessons on rope splicing. Here’s a selection of splices (and Harry, the dog!)


The rest of the week we’ve been focused on getting the outer stem and keel onto the hull and I’m pleased to say we got this done! Here you can see part of the aft section of the keel glued and clamped.


And here it is with all the keel and outer stem in place. The aft section had only been glued that morning so is held down with weights as it dries.


The gap is for the lead ballast which is being made by a company in Cornwall and should arrive in early May. This will have the centre board slot in it which you’ll see I have already cut out in the top of the keel (using a router). Let’s hope it fits!

Here’s a view from the stern.


And here’s another view. It’s difficult to see but the stem has been shaped to create a cutwater – this involves narrowing the stem at the front so it’s a V shape and allows the boat to cut through the water more easily.


Here you can see that the outer deadwood has also been epoxied in place with a channel cut in it, ready to take the rudder stock. The end of the keel still needs cutting to shape.



For the next two weeks we have revision lessons every afternoon in preparation for the City & Guilds exams in late April – oh good!! – but I hope that over this period we will finish fairing the hull, priming and painting it.

Week 11 – All glassed!

This week was all about applying the two layers of glass to the hull. We started by applying a filler coat made up of epoxy mixed with a thickener (lots of minute glass balls). Here you can see the team applying this filler. The white lines are created by the filler getting between the strips of cedar. You can see the glass sheets, prepared and cut to shape, hanging on the pole by the boat.


We used a lot of epoxy and here are cups of the stuff ready to mix with the hardener. Disposable gloves are a good away of sealing any liquid in a plastic cup!


Here’s the hull with glass applied and cured. You’ll also see the template used to create the shape for the outer stem. This took me most of a day to create during the lofting we did last year.


Here’s another photo where we are using a laser light to set out the centre line along the keel.


And here you can see the scarf joint between the outer stem and the top of the keel. I’m quite proud of this!


This photo shows the view from the stern and in particular the outer deadwood. This required creating a channel in the aft edge of the deadwood along which the rudder stock will sit. The chrome pipe is a temporary fix to help us position the deadwood.


Next week includes two days of rope making so we won’t spend much time on the boat, but I do expect to post an entry as usual.