Category Archives: Modern boatbuilding

Modern and plywood boatbuilding and plans

Anthony Mace fixes up an old Merlin Rocket

Anthony Mace runs a small Bristol-based business called Shipshape Boatbuilding & Woodwork from a workshop at Underfall Yard, Bristol, and also does mobile repairs and restoration work, and takes on bespoke commissions.

He set up in business around a year or so ago, after graduating from the Boatbuilding Academy at Lyme Regis in 2015, and prior to that worked as a designer and occasionally taught product design at the University of the West of England.

Anthony chose to retrain at the BBA after over a decade of sitting in front of the computer – he’d got into design because of a love of making things and decided it was time to get back in the workshop and work with his hands again.

I’ve had some interesting projects since I graduated including fixing a Maltese dysa, but I wanted to let you know about a recent project I’ve just finished:

‘The job was a restoration of a Merlin Rocket (no. 2480). I believe this boat was started sometime in the 70s (so the owner told me) and had never been completed. The owner had bought the boat as just a hull with some framing and the centreboard case, as well as a really interesting curved thwart.

‘I stripped the old varnish off, repaired the cracked transom (which had split) and buoyancy tank, before fitting new curved side and fore and aft deck framing in marine ply.

‘I also steamed and fitted a sapele cockpit combing, spinnaker chute and gunnels, as well as finished it in a mix of paint (outside), oil (to make maintenance of the hull interior more practical) and varnish (decks and combing).

‘The boat has now gone back to the south coast where the owner plans to rig it himself before getting it on the water this summer.

‘I’m always looking for similar projects and commissions.

 

‘All the best, Anthony Mace’

I’ve attached a couple of images of the boat before and after the work, but there are lots more of the work in progress on my Facebook page and Instagram.

Restoration of an early Merlin Rocket (no. 2480). This boat was started sometime in the 70's and had never been…

Posted by Shipshape Woodwork & Boatbuilding on Thursday, 26 January 2017

 

Mouseboats at Port Aransas

Boats and boating are such a blessed relief from the woes and divisions of the world. So an email from Gerard Mittelstaedt about a bunch of kids building Mouseboats at Farley Boat Works at Port Aransas, Texas (it’s not far from Corpus Christi) had me grinning from ear to ear, as emails like this /always/ do. Thanks Gerard!

The Mouseboat design they used was the flat-bottomed Mini-mouse, which may now be the most popular version. Here’s what Gerard says about the project:

‘It was great fun. My wife, Mona, and I assisted… It was a 180 mile drive from our home in McAllen, Texas to do this… and well worth it. I’ve put a web page up celebrating the event.

‘A good time was had by all and the launching was very celebratory.

‘Mona, a retired teacher of the very young, noted that the children participating were amazingly well behavedand managed to finish and enjoy the project and the launch. It was amazing how well the children took to water… like little ducklings paddling along with great joy.’

If you’re in the area or can be, two youth boat building sessions at Farley Boat Works are scheduled for Summer 2017.

For Mouseboat plans, see the plans page here on Intheboatshed.net.

Philip Burton’s Julie skiff

Oxfordshire-based Philip Burton is building a Julie skiff – and once it’s done we’re naturally very much looking forward to being able to call by to see it in action on the river. Here’s what he says:

‘I have spent the last few months building my first boat which I choose to be a Julie skiff.

‘I live in Oxford uk and I’m sure you will be aware that the river Thames runs right through our beautiful university city, so I’m really looking forward to getting the boat in the water very soon.

‘I am very impressed how easy it was to follow your plans and the basic hull came together relatively quickly, and I learned a lot about stitch and glue and fibreglass techniques.

‘I used 6mm marine ply and I was quite surprised by how much it weighed, and also how much it blunted my planes and chisels. But I guess that’s the price to pay for using ply that will last a long time in wet and soggy conditions.’