There is an empty space in my heart and an even emptier space in my garage, Caitlin has been delivered to her new owner in Holland. This is the culmination of a series of events which started about five years ago with the boat building course in Lyme Regis. I always intended to see if I could build a boat and then sell it on at a profit. the choice of design, build method, standard of finish, sail maker and trailer were all chosen with this in mind. I decided to build the best boat I could and not to cut corners, and I think this has payed off. I never expected to sell the boat abroad so this has added an extra aspect to things. Having a prospective client fly in from Amsterdam to look at your creation is a terriffc buzz and its even better when he says "ya i think i buy your boat". I am really happy that she has gone to someone who I know will look after her, and I wish Willem many years of happy sailing.
Friday, 5 October 2007
Just a quick few words on the aforementioned car. This is a 1958 Wolseley 1500, we bought it 25 years ago just after we were married so its become a bit of a family heirloom. Its been round the clock at least once, has to my knowledge travelled as far north as Shetland as far west as the Isle of Mull as far south as Grandville in Normandy and was first registered in Ipswitch in the far east of England.
There had been a long wait before i could start building anything. We had moved house in 1995 and the new double garage was just right for a boat building project. However my trusty old Wolseley decided to fall apart just then, so it was pushed into the boatshed and there it stayed for the next seven years. I may build another boat but I'll never restore another car. Still this gave me plenty of time to think about what boat to build. In fact it had taken so long that I wasn't really sure if i still had this boat malarky in me so i hatched a plan. The long school holidays were coming up and I thought is would be good to involve my daughter in building something quick and easy which we could launch by the end of the hols. So we built a stitch n tape Selway Fisher canoe. I say we, Chloe did take part but be warned kids have a short attention span, she does however still regard the canoe as hers and that she built it, so the seeds are sown. She also now believes that its possible to fix or make anything in dad's garage. For me it confirmed that i wanted to boatbuild and that i wanted to do it properly.
The start of course starts way before the beginning(?) This is the modern boat building course at Lyme Regis where I first started learning the techniques needed to build caitlin. In the centre are Dick Phillips and Jack Chippendale both expert boat builders and excellent teachers. Jack was knocking on 80 at the time and as far as I know he's still at it although he has difficulty getting about these days. It was a real privelage to be taught by him. Between the eight of us on the course we managed to fix about four planks each side of this little dinghy, i wonder if she's ever been launched. We really did learn a lot in the five days and it gave me the confidence to get started.
This picture shows me and Peter Skidmore taking part in the Ashlett Creet Festival of Sail in 2006. You can just see peter's arm on the helm. This was really the first proper sea trials for Caitlin. The wind had been blowing up force 5+ and I must admit i was bricking it a little at first. Peter is a self confessed adrenalin junkie and I wasn't going to let the side down so kept going. The wind had eased a bit by the time this was taken and she sailed really well.
Monday, 1 October 2007
In a few weeks I'm planning to start my next build. The jury is still out regarding which design i'll choose. In the meantime I'll post some info on my current boat Caitlin. She is an Iain Oughtred Whilly Tern 15ft 3in loa. She took about two years to build and was launched in 2005.