Saturday 31 March 2012

Polly Wee

Down in East Sussex something stirred. 

That inveterate boat-builder, designer, sailor, physician, raconteur and all round Jolly Good Chap,  Cee Dubbs is busy in his shed, turning sheets of ply into gracefully proportioned craft.

This is Polly Wee, the physical embodiment of  Cee Dubbs'  Premis. 

Now this isn't a design as such, its more, well..........  a premise to be honest, which says; take the seaworthiness and load carrying of a dory, and blend it in with a huge dollop of Thames Barge, i.e. flat bottom and tucked up transom. Multiply in sizes divisible by the size of a sheet of ply, and you'll get a burdensome sea-kindly craft which will lie level when it dries out and be ideal for sleep aboard camp cruising.

This is the Premis 12. so its made from a sheet and a half of full cream plywood down each side. 

Katie Beardie is of course a not so distant cousin to the Premis.
She's actually a canoe-stern'd Premis 16 on a narrow waterline and has the same single chine curving up from a flat bottom aft to a vee in the bow. 

As Polly is only really intended to be a single hander, with the occasional crew,  she'll have plenty of locker space, built in buoyancy, room to sleep and cook, possibly at the same time, and water ballast under the floor to keep her well behaved. 

Like Katie Beardie, Polly is planning to do the Thames Raid in June.  Best crack on then!  

Saturday 24 March 2012

Was it just an Illusion?

For quite a number of years I've harboured the dream of building a boat I designed myself.

I've sketched dozens, gone as far as drawing a few, Built three or four models and even done a full scale lofting of one. But I've never actually started to build one.

One day.

My HBBR mate Paul is a bit less reserved than me and so he decided to design and build his own micro cruiser based around Matt Leyden's Ellusion. Paul brought a whole new meaning to the phrase Design & Build. Sometimes the cart got ahead of the horse and the designing was being done well after the epoxy had dried.  Sometimes he would ask for opinions, some were offered, occasionally advice was taken but just as often it was declined due to some criteria which hadn't originally been made clear, like, if I put that there i wouldn't have anywhere to keep the beer. 

I think lots of us got a lot of enjoyment out of that boat. Here are paul and I at the launching , fooling around as usual. 

Now the Boat did get finished and made a very late arrival at Beale Park, I seem to remember it was around 11.30 PM when we pitched his tent in the dark and sent Dyllis off home on her own. 

This is Paul and Cee Dubbs soaking up the atmosphere during the show. Paul set off with the rest of us on the Thames Raid II that wet and windy day last June.

The fuzzy image is partly due to low res. photography and partly due to damp. He struggled to keep illusion up to pace, due partly to short oars and an awkward rowing position but Paul is resolute and managed to keep going through it all and even managing to crack a smile.

He did eventually manage to make it to the end by hook or by crook.  Quite recently in an episode of the property programme Location Location, right in the last couple of seconds before the credits there is a shot of two boats rowing down the Thames. On closer inspection only those in the know would recognise Illusion, getting a tow from Tony Waller in Isabella.

Walton on Thames was eventually reached where Paul, having been roused from his slumbers to ensure an early departure and therefore missing first breakfast demonstrated the versatile galley arrangements by having a fry up. 

Now Paul, like most of us is a serial Boat Builder, and like most of us has limited space and a long suffering spouse who, although patient to the last has her limits, and her limit is three boats so one had to go.  And sadly due to its shortcomings it had to be illusion. 

A truly brave attempt, and the man has more balls than me for giving it a go, so raise a glass to Paul Hadley, pioneer, and join me once more in remembering those great days when illusion took to the water.   

Wednesday 21 March 2012

The Wee Gadget.

Peter Hallam was in touch recently saying he was about to start fitting the floors into his Coot, 
Now this is a particularly fiddly job but it can be made a lot easier with the right tool. 

I read somewhere that once a boat is turned right side up, it becomes she.
So here she is, looking grand if a little cluttered. 

I offered to lend Peter the tool I made up to make the job a bit easier and he gladly accepted. 
This is it. 

 Its use is pretty self explanatory, but the trick is to get the horizontal bar at the right height for the floor, and then...................

Cutting out the floor becomes simple, well provided you have a decent band saw, but I know it can be done the hard way. 

Peter must have cracked on because a week or so later and the gadget was back and he'd finished the job. 

Thursday 8 March 2012

The Steamie

Welcome to the much publicised never to be repeated second part of The Second Coaming. 

There are probably a hundred easier ways this could have been done but this is how I did it. 

As previously explained I'm using extremely cheap WBP ply of dubious origin and unknown species. I was trying to save my wallet not the planet, but as is so often the case if I'd used decent materials in the first place I would have saved a whole lot of time and money not doing it twice. 
We live, sometimes we learn.  

So here is the hardboard template I made to start off with. The forward part of the coaming is supposed to slope forward in a stylish and sporty fashion, which means that the template has to be a wide curve and looks like this on the flat. 

Problemo numero 1 with this ply is that it doesn't like to be cut, so the surface veneer (!) splinters and cracks leaving a nasty edge.

Problemo numero 2 is that the ply doesn't like to be bent as the inside veneer with bubble and bulge if not treated very gently. 

Problemo numero 3 is that once bent and glued the edge doesn't like being trimmed without doing that splintering thing again, which will result in the kind of dogs breakfast I made of the first attempt. 

So here we are cutting the blanks oversize to overcome problemo no1.  

I hasten to point out to the fashion concious that I'm wearing my favourite padded boiler suit, as we were still in the deep mid winter at the time and yes I'm in my winter plumage. 

What follows shows how problemo No 2 was overcome with a bit of gentle heat and steam. The observant will also notice that the blanks were cut across the board in the hope that the grain would compress when bent rather than bubble.  

To entertain you while you watch the equivalent to paint drying I have supplied a sound track by Mr Bruce Springsteen who I doubt has ever been seen bashing away with a smoothing iron. 
You may wish to ensure your wife is visiting her mothers before borrowing her favourite Morphy Richards.   Sorry about the lack of editing, the PC kept freezing.

Play Loud!

And finally, to overcome Problemo No 3  I coated the whole caboodle with epoxy in an attempt to stop the edge splintering when it was being planed down to size. This seemed to work and you can see the nearly finished result below. Next stage will be to trim and fit the forward and aft parts then bridge the gap with short spacers.

You can also see a sneak preview of the hatch covers, exciting isn't it ......................................