We haven’t heard from Devonian boat builder Nick Smith for quite a while, so I was very pleased the other day when he sent over these photos of a carvel-built picarooner he built earlier this year, modelled on a boat from five decades before.
Here’s what he says about it:
‘My customer saw the old hull in Clovelly and wanted me to restore it. It was too far gone but in good fair shape, so I took five sections off the hull and transom, sweetened them up by eye, and didn’t need to reloft.
‘I think the origianl boat started out with a sailing rig, but latterly had an old style heavy diesel. I guess she was 50 of more years old.
‘I shan’t build another carvel boat in a hurry – the job really needs two good blokes and a boy, not one bloke – and planking took twice as long as the equivalent clinker-built boat.
‘Being 17ft 6in with a square bilge, it required a lot of internal hollowing of the planks.
‘This is the most carvel work I have done since being apprenticed – since then it’s been mostly replacing one or two planks or, occasionally, replanking one side following an accident in which a boat has been T-boned.
‘However 7/8in douglas fir is solid and strong, and will be great with a dipping lug and/or an old diesel thunker. It will be very sea worthy and stable.
‘Things didn’t work out as planned for the customer, and I have bought the picarooner from them. It’s now for sale, fitted out as the buyer wishes – if I fit her out I will likely fit deep bilge keels for stability and to enable her stay upright when taking the ground.
‘She has heavy steam,bent oak frames , bigger scantlings than I use for my clinker launches. They are also overlapped across the hog by three or four planks, tying her strongly in the bottom of the boat – so she’s as solid as a brick outhouse.
‘I had the unheard of luxury of turning the boat upside down to “scuff off”, I had rounded the outside of the planks when planking up so that all I needed was to run the belt sander over the hull – no planing was needed.