We begin!

We finally began today!  We've been a little sidetracked by a summer injury (I fell off a dock while hauling a kayak up, ripped up my ACL and meniscus - surgery someday soon!)

The lumber yard delivered a couple tons fo douglas fir, and we spent today ripping it down to size.  Goal is to get 1/2" strips, plane those down, and then create the laminated stems and ribs we'll need.  Also have some MDF to used for the construction forms.  We've been reading books and websites on other builders' methods and madness - hopefully we're taking the best route!

Fair winds


Barn find - Thistle 1040 Restoration to begin

Thistle 1040This is the way she looked on her way home after spending 25 years nice and dry in the barn. Owned by Roger S., this is a nice Thistle and my task is to bring her back into sailing form. The boat has no rot or holes. The rails and gratings are in good shape and that just shows how well Roger cared for her over the years. It turns out his father sailed Thistles too.

So far my plans include replacing the oak rails and perhaps the gratings too with lighter wood. I'll also add a bow tank to make the boat self-rescuing. I could leave the sides natural but there are several places on the bottom, under the waterline that will need small repairs and fairing. That means that the bottom will be repaired, faired and painted. For some reason I'm wanting to paint the hull a nice bright neon blue and think that would look great with new mahogany rails. We'll throw in some purple heart in there too for good measure. We'll also use all new rigging, blades and sails. The boat was never rigged or sailed with a spinnaker.  Let's see if we can get it ready in time for the Thistle 2012 Nationals in San Diego next summer.

Below are a YouTube walk-around and a short Picasa slide show with more photos.


Let the games begin

Well, I am anxiously awaiting my plans so that I can get started building. A friend gave me a couple hundred feet of old growth fir That I plan on planing and using where possible. Should have the plans in a few days. Is Baltic Birch a good coice for the hull?


Planning the Albury 19 build

We've purchased the plans from Wooden Boat, and will be spending the next few months (years... decades) building the Albury 19' runabout from Doug Hylan's plans.  We're a father-son team in upstate NY, and this will be our first build.

It's been fun so far decoding the plans, figuring out the lumber purchase, and, of course, buying the necessary power tools we've been lacking (planer).  We're going to have fun with this project and, ideally, have it out on Lake George along with our fiberglass sailboat!!  Best of both worlds!

My son will be taking over the blog from here.  Any feedback sincerely appreciated as we embark upon this adventure!

Next step: purchasing douglas fir for the keel, stem, and rib constructions, building the strongback and the steambox!

Thistle 339 in need of restoration

Thistle 339 for sale... Thistle 339 for sale... Today I went to look at a Thistle offered for sale on Craigslist. It was first titled in 1956 and registered as having hull number 339. The owner (Doug) is a woodworker moving his shop from Portland to Bend. He wanted the boat to be gone by July 31st but I had to walk away from it, even though the price at $400 seemed fair.

The boat included a spruce mast, boom, whisker pole, tiller, original centerboard and rudder and a few original fittings like the chromed bow plate and a very cool, roller bearing bronze mainsheet block and swivel cleat. My guess is that piece alone is rare enough that some Thistler would pay a couple of hundred $$ for it.

Riverswest Family Boat Build

The Riverswest Small Craft Center is building 10 skiffs this weekend at Willamette Sailing Club in Portland. It's a family event with men, women, old and young participating. All 10 skiffs are well on their way to completion and will be finished after just two days of hard work. It's great to see the inter-generational aspect of this event as eager hands learn from older boat builders. Enjoly the photo set below. All photos by PhotoBoat.us.

The First Cut Is The Deepest

OK, so the titles are getting cheesey, got to keep it interesting though.

Below is the (highly accurate) panel layout for the first step in building my Summer Breeze. The only real difference between this and the original is the butt straps. Because my metric ply sheets are 40mm shorter than proper ones I didn't want to loose length in the boat, so where David cuts two 3 inch butt straps off the end of the panel, I cut none and gained over 4 inches in the length of the sides.

I also got the skeg and two triangles (marked here as butt blocks) for the frame out of this panel.

Step 1 of my build then was to mark up and cut out this panel, ready for glueing. There is also some complex maths on my original build log for determining the length of the chine logs and rubrails as these would be longer than the original.

I had originally planned to do stitch and glue, but wasnt confident about getting a good fillet and was wary of the sheer amount of epoxy it might consume. I didn't want external chine logs as this would make the interior space (and thus displacement) of the hull less, so I opted for internal chine logs.

Everything Changes

What to Change?

Well, personal choice, I wanted a centreboard instead of the leeboard. Beeing a total newb the centreboard seem more 'boaty' if there is such a word. Switching to a centreboard meant it no longer had to be at the widest beam of the boat, and I needed to push it forward to allow room for the crew, this in turn pushed the mast forward, which was OK, I had been looking at catboats and loved the look, plans for a gaf rig were fermenting in my brain.

Got the impression I don't know what I am doing yet?

Next Decision - What To Build

Next decision, what to build. I was looking for something simple, quick, and cheap and so scoured the internet for plans I could download and build. The DP racer and several other similar '2 sheet' boats kept turning up in my searches, but I wanted something that I though looked more like a boat. At this point I had not considered buying plans, or realised just how much of an art there was in both design and building of a boat. I found the plans for the Harley 8, but that was a little too small. Eventually I found the http://www.simplicityboats.com/ web site, and David Beede's "Summer Breeze" - it was just what I was looking for, almost.

David beede's Summer Breeze

And so it begins....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swallows_and_AmazonsWhen I was about 9~10 years old I read a book my brother had picked up somewhere - Swallows & Amazons, by Arthur Ransome. I thought, wouldn't it be greate to have a boat. Forty years later, whilst clearing out her garage, mum found the very same book and gave it to me. I read it from cover to cover, turned back to the start, and read it again.

When I first read it as a child we lived in rural Victoria, 200 miles from the sea (they didn't have kilometers back in those days). Now I live on the Queensland coast - absolutely no reason not have a boat any more. Whilst looking for a copy of Boat Trader in the newsagents I happened accross a copy of AABB [Australian Amateur Boat Builder] - and here I am....

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