Damien O’Grady reports on sailing Murray Isles Aurette dinghy

Damien O'Grady's Auray punt

Australian Damien O’Grady has sent us this photo and a short report of his experience of sailing Murray Isles’ Aurette small Auray punt design.

Auray punt fans may remember he wrote a short report of his experience of building the boat a while ago. The plans are included in my book published by International Marine,  Ultrasimple Boatbuilding.

See the photos and what Damien had to say in his earlier post here.

This is what he says now he has rigged the boat as specified in Murray’s plans. I’d say it sounds just right for a dinghy of this size:

‘Hi Gavin

‘I finally made the mast and yard from what is here called white beech [it’s called hornbeam here – ed], which I soaked with Sikkens Cetol HLS. I put two canvas collars around the mast – one at the point where it passes through the foredeck, and one where the yard rubs up against it – I stitched these on using heavy duty thread, criss-crossed as you would put laces on your boots. The halyard passes through a simple “dumb sheave”, just as is suggested in your book, which I made by drilling a 12mm hole and working it with a D-section file.

‘You can see most of the arrangement in the attached photo, in which my son is hoisting the yard for the first time. The tack has a line that attaches first to the mast, and then to the little bulkhead just behind the foredeck – this serves to hold the mast in place in case you capsize. I shaped the spars just as shown in your book. I reinforced the foredeck aperture with glass tape.

‘She needs plenty of wind to really get going, but she can handle pretty much anything you throw at her. I’ve had her with that much wind that the bow is almost buried under the bow wave, and you have to shift your weight aft to compensate. Very forgiving for kids to begin sailing in. As an adult, if you capsize, it won’t be because of the wind – it’s more likely to be bad balance on your part.

‘That’s it – I’m very fond of her – my son has been seduced by the speed and glamour of the RS Feva, so now he only takes out the little Aurette to humour me, but that’s fine. I’m thinking next of making a light boom for her, to keep better sail shape.



PS – Damien has sent over some additional measurment information for the rudder not included in the published plans. See them here: rudder_extras

Damien O’Grady builds Murray Isles’ Aurette dinghy from my book, Ultrasimple Boatbuilding

Murray Isles dinghy built by Damien O'Grady 4 Murray Isles dinghy built by Damien O'Grady

Murray Isles dinghy built by Damien O'Grady  Murray Isles dinghy built by Damien O'Grady Murray Isles dinghy built by Damien O'Grady

Damien O’Grady of the Australian town of Cairns has reported that he’s built Murray Isles’ great little Aurette stitch and glue dinghy from plans included in my book Ultrasimple Boatbuilding, which was published by International Marine a few years ago now.

The Aurette is Murray’s take on the legendary Auray punt (see earlier posts),  and the project has clearly gone well. Here’s a little of what he says about it:

‘Probably the hardest part was early on, fitting the forward transom to the sides – a lot of twisting and manipulating of the ply sides to get them right, and then I had to temporarily screw the pieces together to give me time to get the ties in, and then remove the screws. Also there’s quite a camber on the foredeck, so that took some grunting.

‘Anyway, she’s great to row, and I’m looking forward to sailing her. I have the yard done – the mast is still to be shaped. I have made the sail – making it by hand took a few hours in front of the TV in the evenings.

‘Congratulations on your great book and website – I wish I could persuade some of the jet-ski mob around here to have a go. Actually there is a wooden boat club here in Cairns – http://www.wbac.com.au/ – they have an annual romp up at Lake Tinaroo in the Tablelands (no crocs, no jellyfish, no sharks, but, if you’re lucky, a few barramundi).

‘I’ll send more pics when I get the sail hoisted.

‘Cheers, Damien’

Thanks Damien – it’s always great to hear about successful projects from Ultrasimple Boatbuilding.

Boadicea at the Boat Show

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200-year old smack Boadicea at the Boat Show

200-year old smack Boadicea at the Boat Show 200-year old smack Boadicea at the Boat Show 200-year old smack Boadicea at the Boat Show

200-year old smack Boadicea at the Boat Show

200-year old smack Boadicea at the busy London Boat Show

I took a trip to the London Boat Show yesterday. I try to keep away, but some times the pilgrimage is inevitable. This year I was asked to spend some time signing my book Ultrasimple Boatbuilding on the Kelvin Hughes stand, and since this would be a completely new experience, I duly trotted along and took my camera.

At 200 years old this year, Boadicea is fabulous and I sensed a real buzz about her around the Show that was exemplified when I asked for directions from some chaps on the stand belonging to the GRP dinghy manufacturer Comet. ‘Oh yes,’ said one of them. ‘Boadicea’s down there and she’s bloody marvellous.’

For more on Boadicea, check http://www.boadicea-ck213.org.uk .

Book signing, it turns out, isn’t so much an event as a test of determination and endurance. The author sits or stands by a pile of his books talking to people who come by and show an interest. Some authors take a commendably positive view of all this and introduce themselves and their book to everyone they can. More timid souls like myself simply chatter amiably with whoever passes by.

I have to say I didn’t expect to meet many people interested in building my simple plans for small boats at a show focusing on sailing big seas in commensurately large boats, and that was how it turned out. Most I spoke with commended home boatbuilders but had no wish to become one, and I couldn’t help reflecting that this was a wonderfully English view.

Nevertheless, the Kelvin Hughes people reported that in the background Ultrasimple Boatbuilding was selling at a steady if slow rate; in the end, I think it’s clear that the big market is in the USA.

Making the trip to the Show brought some other bonuses, too. A few people with interesting boat stories dropped by the Kelvin Hughes stand, and I was lucky enough to meet both globe-trotting cruising author Liza Copeland and Don Street of Iolaire fame, and Atlantic rower Sally Kettle. Needless to say, all their books are available from the Kelvin Hughes website http://www.bookharbour.com .And finally, visitors to the show had an unusual close-up view of the Cutty Sark’s famous figurehead in a short nightie and holding the tail of the Tam O’Shanter’s horse. She makes an intriguing and impressive sight, but there’s something terribly sad about the thought of her separated from the rest of her ship.

Don Street and Liza Copeland Cutty Sark figurehead

Don Street of Iolaire fame, cruising author Liza Copeland, and the Cutty Sark’s sad figurehead

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