Category Archives: Modern boatbuilding

Modern and plywood boatbuilding and plans

Timber-orientated boat builder and restorer Ian Baird fixes up a plastic boat shock!

Portland boat builder and repairer, freelance writer and environmentalist Ian Baird (contact him here or here) has just fixed up an old plastic boat and brought it back to life. How did that happen?

It began with a neglected wreck on the shore. I’ll let Ian tell his story.

‘A pile of broken boats, uncared for and abandoned on the beach is never a happy sight for those of us that enjoy taking to the water, but then, when one is in the right frame of mind, it does present an opportunity…

‘My friend Dean needed a new fishing boat. At 6ft5in tall, the aluminium saucer that he was taking out to sea was, to say the least, a bit risky, especially when bins full of nets were involved. He told me that he was looking for a new boat, something longer with a lot more freeboard but his search had been fruitless, basically because of budgetary restrictions.

‘So when a pile of three boats presented themselves on Castletown slipway awaiting removal by the council to go to landfill the opportunity had to be taken.

‘The largest was an 11ft purpose-built harbour fishing boat built by Clarkes of Castletown, probably in the 1970/80s. The keel was smashed at the stern end and the woodwork was completely shot, but the hull was salvageable.

‘Dean is an incredibly generous person. He feeds the street with the excess fish he catches, freely giving away the fruits of his labour but fishing is his hobby, not his income, so I restored the boat for free in return for past and future suppers.

‘Because it wasn’t a paid job it was an as and when and was done over the course of a year. If it had been done in a clear workshop and hit in one go it would have taken a few days. Also, a lot of the job was done on the beach and all of it outside which slows things down.

‘GRP isn’t my favourite material to work with but I would rather breathe life into an old GRP boat than consign it to landfill, for ecological reasons every bit as much as practical reasons.

‘Dean reckons the bill for materials and bits was about £800 – but £800 isn’t bad for what is now effectively a new boat that will last many years.

‘This was a belt and braces job. We used American white oak for all the woodwork and everything was ‘over-engineered’ to produce a very solid boat that will see out his fishing days.

‘I would definitely recommend taking this approach.  It does mean that you can own a decent boat at reduced cost and help the environment by not sending it to landfill.

‘It is a perfectly reasonable job for someone with some woodworking skills, although if you don’t have a good knowledge of fibreglass boats I would recommend an inspection by a surveyor before it is used.

‘You’re going to put your life in this vessel so you have to make sure that it is safe. If the hull is badly damaged – holes, fractured – it may not be a good idea without good laminating skills to try to restore it – you don’t want the thing breaking up on you with 150’ of the deep blue underneath you! Having said that, one can argue that nothing is irreparable. It may even be worth repairing a damaged hull and fairing it to use as a plug for a mould to lay up new boats.

‘Another time on a GRP boat like this I think I would prefer to laminate the gunwales and inwales. We used much chunkier material than the originals, and laminating would have made it easier and quicker to fit.’

So what are Dean and Ian doing with the little boat? ‘We fish from it and have adventures, of course!’

BBA students build a Herreshoff 12½

Boat Building Academy students have built a gaff rigged strip-planked Herreshoff 12½ for the first time at the December student launch last year.

Built of western red cedar and sheathed inside and out with two layers of biaxial glass cloth and epoxy resin, she has a laminated sapele stem, hog, keel and deadwood, and a lead ballast keel, and was built by Steven Adler, Mark Dumble and the class.

Steven already owned a large cruising yacht and wanted a classic example of an early 20th century day sailer, so he chose to build a boat to the Herreshoff 12½ plans bought from Mystic Seaport museum. The plans drawn by the legendary Nat Herreshoff were lofted by the students.

The 1914 designed Herreshoff 12½  was intended to be carvel built, with planking on steamed timbers.

Steven is a retired information technology professional, and came to the BBA as a student from Australia in order to fulfil a dream of building his own boat.

Steven has now returned to Australia with his boat, which is amed Larrikin of Lyme (‘larrikin’ is an Australian word describing a person who ‘acts with apparently careless disregard for social or political conventions’).

Mark Dumble from New Zealand worked alongside Steven on the project. Mark and his father built New Zealand’s first custom-built backpacker hostel at Lake Taupo, which he then ran for 18 years, and created a marketing network to promote the backpacking industry, which grew into New Zealand’s largest hostel network.

Mark learned about the Boat Building Academy’s courses during a visit to the Southampton Boat Show in 2014. He enjoys sailing and having admired the craftsmanship of wooden boats for many years came to the academy to learn boatbuilding skills for himself.

While at the Academy, Mark enjoyed playing his ukulele with The Luggers – a Lyme Regis ukulele band, who performed with Mark at the class’ launch party to celebrate their achievements.

Since graduating, Mark has returned to New Zealand where he will use his new skills to restore a yacht he owns, before choosing a boat design to loft and build for fishing.

See the build diary here and click here for further details about the 38 week BBA course on boat building, maintenance and support.

 

Impressive 18ft lugsail dinghy for sale

Frankly, I can’t imagine why anyone would /not/ hanker after something like this. With that hull and sail I suspect it will go like the clappers…

If anyone I know buys it, can I come for a ride please? Click on the image and enlarge it for details.

My thanks to Fowey boatbuilder Marcus Lewis for this one!

18ft dinghy for sale