Tag Archives: puffin

Film of Nick Smith and pals timbering out the steam launch Puffin

Nick Smith and friends timbering out a clinker built hull - in this case for the steam launch Puffin

This piece of YouTube film shows how Nick Smith and his colleagues timber out a clinker built hull using green oak steamed in a steam chest in Nick’s workshop.

It looks like damned hard work to me, but no-one can say the result isn’t worth the effort.

The only other thing I’ll say is that I edited this down from some film Nick sent over – and this will be the last time I’ll use Windows Live Movie Maker. It froze and crashed so many times I couldn’t count them, the only thing that got the software working each time was to go into the task manager and close it down that way. It quite spoiled my day – but hey, now we can all see how the professionals do this kind of thing (timber out a boat, I mean, not edit a YouTube clip!).

Nick comes from Devon, learned boatbuilding the traditional way and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. These days he’s based in Hampshire, and can be contacted by email at nick_smith_boatbuilder@yahoo.com and by phone on 07786 693370.

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Iain Oughtred: a life in wooden boats – a searching biography by Nic Compton

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Iain Oughtred: a life in wooden boats examines an unusual individual. Revered designer and small boat sailor Oughtred is an uncomfortable loner who has often felt at odds with many elements of his upbringing and his home country Australia, a wonderful designer’s eye and a clear sense of purpose. He’s also a man with almost incredible amount of determination and focus.

If you don’t already know Oughtred’s work, you probably should: he draws beautiful boats and his highly detailed plans have earned huge respect from those who have built them. One of a small group of designers and boatbuilders who pioneered the clinker or lapstrake approach to plywood boatbuilding during the 1970s and 80s, his designs borrow heavily from traditional craft, which he studies closely.

Yet there are some paradoxes here. Unlike other designers whose work draws from the tradition, almost all of his boats have a certain something that makes them instantly identifiable as being from his board. Another contradiction is that although Oughtred has over time drawn and re-drawn his boats with the aim of making them easier to build, few dinghy sailors building a boat for the first time feel confident enough to tackle one.

In fact, the home boatbuilders who seem most attracted to Oughtred’s work are at the most craftsman-like end of the spectrum of amateur builders. It’s certainly not always so, but these folks are quite often mainly interested in building a boat that seems to them a work of art – for some, actually sailing a lively small boat designed by a dinghy racing master is quite often a frightening prospect.

In writing Iain Oughtred: a life in wooden boats, author Nic Compton has explained much of this. He’s written a strikingly personal biography that shows clearly how Oughtred’s difficult childhood and dislike of a foreign and brash commercial culture led the boat designer to escape as far as possible from his Australian roots, becoming first very English and later very Scottish.

However, I’m less sure that he has managed to link the life to the boats themselves.

We expect biographies of composers or artists to link life events to their output – but the trick is difficult if not impossible when we’re talking about boats, and it’s perhaps harder to justify some of the public exposure Compton has included. Yet exposure is what we often ask from celebrities nowadays, and journalist Nic Compton’s instincts will all have been pulling strongly in the direction of more, not less disclosure.

Has he got the balance right? On balance I think he probably has, if only just. Reading this book, I find I’m glad to know more about this gentle man. I’m not remotely autistic, but I can identify strongly with his school life blighted by asthma and his sense of being different from other people, both of which I’ve also experienced to an extent. I’ve always respected his ability painstakingly to go on drawing more and more achingly beautiful boats, but now I know how he has struggled to keep going I have to admire him all the more. I just hope that publicising the sometimes difficult story of his life has not made the man himself uncomfortable.

Buy it or not? I say go ahead and expect to learn a lot about the wooden boat movement in general as well as an important boat designer. Iain Oughtred: a life in wooden boats

For more posts relating to Iain Oughtred’s work, click here.

Also, see 70.8% on the new Oughtred biography, together with a bundle of photos.

 

Jordan Boats supplies Iain Oughtred boatbuilding kits to the USA

Iain Oughtred’s Arctic Tern

Cut-out ply component parts and MDF frames and full-sized patterns for Iain Oughtred’s legendary catalogue of boat plans are now available in the USA from Jordan Boats.

Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats based in Fife, Scotland rang this week to say that the kits are being supplied in the USA by a company in Maine. Apparently, the same outfit also supplies for Woodenboat magazine.

The boat components are made from Bruynzeel and Shelmarine BS1088 marine plywood, which are not Lloyds Type Approved, but have an excellent reputation – Lloyds Type Approved ply kits are also available at an added cost of about 30 per cent.

Jordan Boats’ bank will not yet allow payment in US Dollars through its website, so the only way to order is by getting in touch through Jordan’s contact page and asking for a confirmed kit and shipping quotation. For shipping please remember to include your Zip Code, so please remember to include this together with your phone number and Skype name, if you have one.

Alec says it will take a day or two for his contractors to obtain the shipping quote, but when he has it he will will email it to you together with payment details.

Typical kit prices at the time of writing are: Ness Yawl, $2,208; Fulmar, $3,029; Feather Pram, $744; Badger, $1,254; Auk, $1,076; Acorn, $1,076; 13ft 6in Tammie Norrie, $1,346.

Kits are also available for Acorn 12, Acorn 15, Elf, Granny Pram, Guillemot, Humble Bee, Mole, Puffin, Skerrieskiff 15, 15ft Tammie Norrie, Tirrik, Wee Rob and Wee Seal. At the time of writing, Alec was working on adding the Shearwater and had plans to offer the Caledonia Yawl.

New designs can be added to order.

Jordan Boats

For more on Iain Oughtred’s boat designs, including photos of Chris Perkins’ award winning Macgregor canoe and his new Stickleback canoe, click here.

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