Friday 30 November 2018

Captain Vantastic (sorry)

Work on the Morbic 12 has been somewhat sporadic, mainly due to a lack of diligence on the part of the builder, but as you can see some progress has been made.
 She's coming along and the kit seems to go together pretty well with any small gaps and misalignments being down to the kack-handedness of the builder. It'll all look great once I've sprinkled some fairy dust over it. 
They say a proficient builder should manage a pair of planks per day, I'm making a rate of approx. one  pair per week, mainly due to the infinite number of distractions which seem to present themselves on a daily basis.

Three more pairs to go. 
Right way up by Christmas?

Don't count on it. 


The van has been off to Southcoastcamperconversions
where Brian has worked his magic.
 The roof has been chopped off and a Reimo pop top complete with double bunk fitted.

Inside, the front seats have been converted to Captain's Chairs and now swivel round to face the rear seats with a wee table to rest your tinny on, there's a Webasto diesel heater under the drivers seat  to keep us toasty on cool evenings and a leisure battery and split charger under the passenger's seat. 

The rear trim cards have been chucked and the whole thing insulated and carpet lined. Some LED lighting has been added and a 240volt hook-up installed to help run the cool-box.  

The van came with twin sliders so we've fitted two multi-rails so that an awning can be attached on either side.  
A tow bar, uprated gas struts for the tailgate and a 4 bike rack complete the package.

Eventually we might fit a removable camp kitchen in the back but for now we'll use our camping gear. 

The reason for going this route rather than a full camper conversion was to create a multi purpose vehicle which could be used for camping and day trips with the bikes and/or boat  
and still retain the three rear seats which have isofix fittings for the grandkids car seats.

 I can still use it as my everyday vehicle doing runs to the tip etc and it fits in a normal supermarket parking bay.    

I'm very impressed with the standard of work carried out by Brian, Joe and Alison and can highly recommend them. 
They took these photos for their web site and I've shamelessly lifted them.  
I'm as happy as a dug wi' twa tails. 


The Muddy Boys have been out enjoying the cooler weather during a tour of the Bridges and Bye-ways of Hampshire which turned into a Puncturathon (thanks Paul). 

Who knew there were so many different sizes of inner tube and valves? 


Wednesday 10 October 2018

Van Rouge and Christmas Cheer.

Distraction Distractions, always Distractions

When I was a wee laddie I liked to build model airplanes.
  The plastic ones with the kind of glue which could frazzle your brain cells. 
Ah such innocent times.

I had a collection of little pilots, which should have been seated in the cockpit,
 but which due to a complete lack of patience on my part and a refusal to read the instructions
 meant they were forever locked outside the glued halves of the fuselage.   

Some habits die hard but I'm trying to be a bit more careful in my old age.
 So I am reading the instructions supplied by M. Vivier
 and carefully naming each part as I cut it out. 

And blimey this kit is comprehensive. 
Every plywood part is included, which for this boat includes the transom, centreboard, rudder and stock, buoyancy tanks etc. 

So I got cracking as best I could, but then I had to go cycling with the Muddy Boys the weather being somewhat benign.

We looked at some boats and then stared out to sea. 

Then I spent half a day not selling my Volvo to a bloke who after agreeing a price decided that he couldn't afford it after all.

Then on Friday The Tooth Fairy and I had to go and collect the new wheels. 

I have been very excited. 

The eagle eyed will notice the bike rack and the tow bar, you won't notice the swivel front seats. There are lots more modifications to come. 

I told The Tooth Fairy that if I got the van she could have a little run-around. 

So of course we had to take it for a drive to the seaside. 

A Beautiful Day, but not many people down at their Beach Huts. 

This looks like a sail training ship, but I don't know which one. 
There was a gentle breeze from the north but they seemed in a hurry to get somewhere. 

So back to the shed on Monday, and a bit of progress made. 
So many parts! 

The kit certainly saves an enormous amount of time.
 It probably took about five hours in total to cut out all the plywood parts. 

I've even managed to start pre-assembling the stem and transom. 
Yes I did read the instructions.  

The Transom is two layers of ply and the stem is made up from five layers.
 They are temporarily bolted together through pre drilled guide holes to ensure they are properly aligned while the epoxy is going off. 

I nipped down to B&Q to get some 8mm bolts, and this is what greeted me as I walked in. 

So let me be the first to wish you...…………….

Thursday 4 October 2018

Francois Vivier Morbic 12

As October begins a man's attention naturally turns to his shed.

 Not for him the hyped up clap-alongy-tempo of "Strictly" or the tasteless innuendo of "The Bake Off" (Oh nice buns missus). Its time to get cracking with the next build. 

And so it was that Alec Jordan of arrived on Monday with a newly cut kit for the Morbic 12 designed by Francois Vivier. 

Just like the balsa wood glider kits of my childhood all the plywood parts are laid out on the 8x4 sheets ready to be cut out. 

I have admired the Morbic 12 for quite a long time and seen a few built examples.

At 12ft long with a balanced lug sail on an un-stayed mast this little clinker boat is the epitome of traditional style, but is in fact very modern, designed on CAD, cut on a CNC router and meeting the requirements of the dreaded EU Recreational Craft Directive.
And Why Not? 

This example, built by Adrian Donovan is featured on

I'll do my best to meet his high standards.
Watch this space. 

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Here Comes That Girl Again.

Polly Wee

Chris Waite and his incredible creation Polly Wee
 enjoying a fine day out during Cobnor week. 

and including what could possibly be the only Scamp in the UK

It was a bit crowded in the cockpit but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Friday 10 August 2018

The Inbetweener.

Its been a few months since the Coot disappeared down the road to Dittisham,
 transom bouncing with anticipation at the prospect of a cushy life on The Dart.

Back here at Port-Na-Storm HQ life has continued at a fair lick.
 A change of lifestyle for the family has meant Pappa doing rather more home decorating than is healthy for anyone my age.  

A cycling holiday in Slovenia with the Tooth fairy, 

and a three day event with the Muddy Boys through Middle Earth where we re-enacted scenes from the old Hovis advert, 

 have also managed to keep me out of the Development Lab so work on Katies Ama's has slowed to a crawl, although it hasn't completely stopped.
 This of course meant running the risk of not having a boat for this year's Cobnor camp. So I've been keeping an eye on the local boat market and just at the right time along came the little Heron you see at the top of this post. She even came with a Chichester Harbour license plate so it seemed rude not to buy her.  Previous owner and DCA member Ian says he's going to buy "something with a trapeze", we wish him well. 

The Heron will give me something to sail while I'm building the next "proper" boat, whatever that
might be. Don't hold your breath.   

Thursday 17 May 2018

Amas for Katie.

Now that the Coot has gone off to her new home I have been browsing through various designs choosing which boat to build next.
 This is a rare luxury and one which shouldn't be spoiled with any undue haste, and of course once I have finally made my decision it will be a wee while before she is launched. 
So in the meantime, and just to keep me busy I've decided to scratch the itch which has been annoying me for quite a while and build the amas for Katie Beardie.     

So it was off to Totton Timber for a couple of sheets of their finest 4mm Birch Ply, and I have to say it feels great to be building again. . 

I'm very happy to say that the the panels stitched together very well straight from the plans, with only a modicum of tweaking. 

Katie and I will be off for our annual Thames Raid at the end of next week so work will stop for a while but I hope to have the new additions ready for Cobnor in August. 

Watch this space.

Thursday 10 May 2018

The Coot has flown.

I'm happy to report that the Coot has now been sold and has gone off to sail the waters of the Dart in South Devon.
I wish the new owner good health and happiness.

and as the French say when they marry their mistress,
That creates a vacancy.

Mais Oui. 

Monday 30 April 2018

B-spoke Bike Pedaller Rings the Changers.

Its time to pull back the doors at Port-na-Storm after a long winter and see what's been occurring. 
 Since I bought my "New" bike three or four years ago my old Diamondback has been slowly mouldering in a corner. I had robbed bits off it to the point where it couldn't be ridden any more, but as avid readers will have guessed by now I hate to throw things out.
The bike had been whispering to me for a long time, calling out to be ridden, to feel the breeze through its spokes on some high bye-way. 
We'd had some adventures that bike and I and it seemed wrong to leave it neglected, so..............

Inspired by this. 

I got started.............

 This old clunker 

 was gradually dismantled 

 stripped down 


 and re-built.
 with pretty much every component replaced in the end. 


It finally emerged fully fledged and ready for another twenty years of adventures.

I have to say I'm quite please with the result 

For the Velominati out there, there's a 22 T chain-ring on the front and a 34-11 cassette on the back, which should winch me up most hills around here and if it doesn't I'll be the one at the  back snivelling. 

Rule #5 Dudes.