Tuesday 20 November 2007

Pretty as a Picture

I'm spending a lot of time on TurboCAD at the moment. Not only trying to design the finer points of this wee boat but also trying to learn how the software works! So by way of a detour I had a wee play on Photo Shop to see what I could do there so tonight here she is in all her glory with a suit of sails and a brand new paint job. She's been putting on a bit of weight around those buttocks but should be better balanced for that. In fact the TurboCAD version already has a bigger rig and is about to get some further tweaks around the dagger board.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Sopwith Camel

One of the committee said he wanted something with the up and at'em, ready for anything stance of a Sopwith Camel, and with its high stem sweeping down and back to the raked stern I think the latest modifications are starting to get there. I've pushed the centre of buoyancy back to approx where my bum is likely to be, raised the freeboard a bit to stop me getting to wet and I'll also have small side decks and a coaming which will also help. The stem is much raised which should also keep me dry while providing plenty of reserve buoyancy, bury for the mast and some useful storage space. I'm thinking the first strake needs to be a bit firmer to provide a wee bit more stability. I'll add a small skeg to help with tracking as this boat needs to be able to row, and put a curve in the forefoot so that she doesn't trip up when coming in to land. Enough for today lets see what the committee think.

Monday 12 November 2007

Why does a Camel have the Hump ?

Because it was designed by a committee which is what is happening to this boat. The committee are members of HBBR who are chipping in with their tuppenceworth. So as a result the following changes have been made. The beamiest section has been moved aft together with the centre of buoyancy which makes sense as that's where the maximum load (me) is likely to be sitting. The height of the stem is approx 15inches above the waterline and the freeboard is only about 8inches which isn't much soi think its back to the drawing board again. More soon. If yo'd like to join in the debate sign up on the HBBR Yahoo Group, there's a link on the right hand column.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Potential project

Here is he first sight of a potential new project code named PNS4 she is a little 11ft tub I have in mind to build as a winter project. The main issue here is trying to get a fun boat with a reasonable amount of space and load carrying capacity without compromising the sailing ability and performance too much.

Saturday 3 November 2007

Up the Creek paddle and all

While I've been worrying myself senseless about what boat to build next, as if it was the most important thing in the world, others have been getting on with their lives. The HBBR were having a gathering on the upper reaches of the Hamble and rather than tow his 14ft Mini Cruiser Millibee all the way from Gloucester, Paul Hadley decided to build a smaller boat and bring it instead. So here he is in Canoodle a Paul Fisher "Little Kate" design which he built in less than two weeks! That's less time than it takes me to decide which socks i'm wearing.

The day dawned blustery and wet. More sensible men would have stayed in bed but Paul and others decided to brave the elements and head on down to Swanwick.

Here are the committee trying to think up excuses not to go sailing as Chris rows off in the background, game to at least give it a try. He bravely hoisted his sails and did a couple of tacks before running for home, well the pub actually, where Paul christened Canoodle.

There was so much rain we couldn't tell whether Canoodle had a leak or was just filling up with rainwater. Congratulations to Paul and a big lesson to me about vacillation.
I've just heard some bad news. The girl who was our bridesmaid has just lost her husband to a heart-attack at the age of 49. A harsh reminder to us all, if you've got a boat to build, or anything else to do, now is the time.

Monday 29 October 2007

My Baby's Done Gone.

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

The Beginning

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.

Sea Trials

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.

Saturday 29 September 2007


Hi. This blog will be mainly about boat building, but might deviate to other subjects as the mood fits. The photo above shows two boats designed by Iain Oughtred, the closest one is my Whilly Tern "Caitlin" and the one on the water is a Ness Boat "Wideawake" built by Phil Humphrey. Both of these boats were built by amateurs in their sheds or garages.