Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Many hands make light work....

Now she's on the trailer and out in the open, it gave me the chance to stand back a bit and take photos from a greater distance so you can see a bit more in one shot.

And more to report as another milestone passed. Today's challenge was to get the mast up and determine final lengths for forestay and shrouds. This involved attaching the shrouds, the backstays and the forestay to the appropriate places on the mast along with a decent length of strong rope to where the forestay attaches and then heaving the mast onto the deck. The foot of the mast was located into the tabernacle and the rope run forward to a block on the stemhead and then back to the cockpit through the halyard jam cleats. This was designed to provide some control and protect the mast from falling backwards once it was up. Before hoisting, the backstays were attached to provide some lateral stability and to stop the mast going forward. Next job was then to 'walk' the mast up. It helped that D is tall and strong and between us we managed to get the mast up but the decent piece of rope to the stemhead didn't provide much help to get the mast up due to the steep angle. Consequently, we stuck the bowsprit on and re-ran the rope to a block at the end of the bowsprit to give a better angle when dropping the mast down again.

NOTE. If you are going to do this then apply rope to the bowsprit to stop it going skyward as the mast comes down as you can't put the bobstay on as the trailer prevent this and it would be a shame to break it when we've come this far.....

Anyway we got the mast up and marked off what we guess is the final length of the shrouds so I can finalise splicing the hard eyes into the dynastay and D can fit the turnbuckle for the forestay (the only bit of rigging I am letting him do only 'cause he's done it before !). 

Handy hint....Also we took the opportunity to test the navigation lights on the top of the mast at this stage in case there were problems. Which there weren't (hooray).

Getting the mast down we decided to call on another pair of hands and our obliging neighbour helped out which made it rather easier, and so dear reader in the gathering gloom we came in to thaw out and celebrate (can you see the theme here ?).

Also, we have been contemplating vehicles as D's vehicle is just about at the limit for towing so we have now identified a secondhand Mitsubishi L200. It is less of a beast sizewise than it looks (see below) and the interior is less van, more car.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Up and under.

Yesterday another milestone passed. With the storms of the first week of January having abated, we prepared to make an attempt to get the boat onto its trailer. This involved jacking up the boat bit by bit and sliding the trailer underneath. The first step was to set up a framework D had built in order to provide some reassurance that the boat would not end up on its side if it all went horribly wrong. 
The framework and beam were set up at the position of the rear chainplates and block and tackles run either side onto the chainplates.

So far, so good...What else was useful ? Well, a friend gave us four small 'caterpillars' (see below) which were about nine inches by five inches. They were used by his father to move x-ray machines round hospitals and can take about 2 tonnes each. These were slipped between the bottom of the keel and the keel tray on the trailer with a piece of ply on top to stop the teeth 'nibbling' into anything.

Then,  a cable was attached to the front of the trailer and led aft through a 'cable puller' (see below) which was helpfully restrained by a rope round an obliging oak tree behind the tent. At this point we expected to have to apply a bit of force but no, with D applying some winching on the trailer winch and me on the cable puller the trailer slid under so easily without repositioning the oak tree. I couldn't quite believe it had been so straightforward. The next thing to do was to jack up and remove the caterpillars remembering to put a bit of wood under the keel to allow the strops to go under when lifting her ready for launch.

The whole process, working steadily with jacking up the boat and repositioning boat stands, blocks under the jack and faffing with the block and tackles took the afternoon but by the time dusk arrived she was up on her trailer and we retired to thaw out and celebrate.

Oh yes, while I remember... if you want to understand the inner workings of a Golant Gaffer I found this image below. This is on the website of what seems to be a group of German radio controlled model boat building enthusiasts whose work needs to be seen to be believed - exquisite. One of them is building a scale model Golant Gaffer and details of the group can be found here

Sunday, 24 December 2017

the end of the beginning

Those of you following this blog know I get reflective at Yuletide and this year is no different. I was going to title this entry 'the beginning of the end' given the position we are in with the build but then that seems to completely negate all that we plan to do with the boat once launched so really the completion of the build is just the start. I have looked back to the Christmas entry from last year and see that the main structure of the boat was then complete but during 2017 the teak deck was added, the cockpit fitted out, the rudder built, all the electrics and engine stuff completed,  boom and gaff built and all the painting and varnishing done and the rigging created. A couple of weeks ago we had a survey completed for insurance purposes, this went well (only one recommendation to add an extra clip to secure the intake hose for the engine) and the surveyor departed having thanked us for allowing her to survey our boat  (!). We area now at the stage where we need to get her out of the tent to set up the rig to finalise the shroud and forestay lengths and check where various fittings should be fixed. In the meantime, D has been adjusting parts of the trailer and  building the mast support for towing. We managed to get the boom and mainsail into the dining room and had a merry couple of hours sorting out what fittings were required for the boom and where they should go. More bits than you would imagine and trying not to get them in the way of each other takes a bit of thought. We now just need to order the fittings for the boom and attach them.

Just some of the rigging !

On the inside, D has built a couple of small cupboards into the forward compartment, useful for stopping stuff escaping.

Also, fitted on the aft bulkhead of the main cabin and within easy reach of the companion way is a fire extinguisher. This is a nano-particle fire extinguisher which has the advantages of being small and lightweight and the contents do not 'settle' like powder fire extinguishers and, God forbid we every have to use it but if we do, then it is kind to engines as well. See  

In order to be thoroughly ship-shape and to keep standards up, D has cannibalised an old flagstaff and it is now ready for its flag.

Ah yes, and she now has a name which is 'Satellite'. Why 'Satelilite' ? I hear you ask, well bit of family history really tied up with the famous T.E.Davis who owned the schooner 'Westward' build by Nathaniel Herreshoff and raced against King George V's yacht 'Britannia' between 1925 and 1935. T.E Davis's first trip to sea was on board a vessel named 'Satellite' on which D's forebear was master. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Benjamin_Frederick_Davis 

That's all for now, Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The cat's whiskers

D tells me we have had a new visitor to the shed this week as a small inquisitive cat has turned up on the scene and is interested in boat building.  I am  thinking of recruiting it as a ship's cat as we have not got one of those yet. Though I have not see it, apparently it is grey so will go with the hull nicely.

D has had to 'discourage' it from getting too involved and is now having to close the hatches when he leaves the boatshed so we don't come back to 'presents' from the cat. I am only glad that the varnishing is over....

Anyway, on to progress... we are now wired for sound with the VHF and radio installed and internal speakers for the radio and external repeater for the VHF (pictured below). Whilst I am not one for canned music generally, I have visions of cruising on calm seas is glorious sunshine with 'Sailing by' (if you don't know, look it up) playing quietly in the background. 

I have not had many specific requests in the build process, but my one stipulation has come to pass this week, let me explain.  There is a locker at the head of each berth, one of which has the cooker on it. Having decided that we wanted to stick with the spirit burners, that paved the way for using the space underneath in a much better way as we were not dealing with pipework for gas. As such my design request was a couple of gas struts to support the cooker allowing me to rummage underneath with both hands if necessary and without risking dropping the top down. Obviously this is only for when there is nothing on the cooker. So pictured below is the solution. The gas struts themselves are pretty strong and need a bit of 'tuning' as, at the moment, I think it could flip pancakes all on its own!

Above decks, instrumentation and compass are now installed properly.

This is far more fancy than our current boat which has a hand bearing compass, a depth sounder and piece of wet seaweed. 

Talking of fancy, the socket for the flag staff is now in place on top of the rudder stock and is a suitable match for the splendid ensign already provided by generous friends.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Let there be lights

Whilst progress may seem slow, when I look back and round up the photographs it is clear that lots has moved on since last time we met.

Antifouling is on and we have chosen Coppercoat which was a bit peculiar to apply for the first coat or two but eventually as the layers built up it began to give more confidence of a reasonable finish. If doing this, the technique is to pick the right day and go round and round until you've used it all up so be prepared for a long day. 

After that we had an enjoyable day putting in place skin fittings and trying not to get covered in mastic, and here are some the results.

The Golant Gaffer has a hatch in the cockpit centrally below the tiller which means that hinging the locker top doesn't help so D invested in some rather nice latches with handles (small fortune) and here they are in the process of being fitted ('scuse the mastic..that's now gone).

Regarding light in the cabin, here is one of the portholes in place and the finished forepeak hatch.

Below is the fitting that takes the bowsprit shroud, small but perfectly formed.

And the sheeting arrangement (forward end is on the left hand side). This has two leads for the jib and staysail and the aft one is for the cruising chute.

This photo below shows the compass, I looks wonky but its not finally fixed yet. Getting this compass required a bit of work as it needed to be one which would work at 15 degrees off vertical as this is the angle of the bulkhead. This is not as straightforward as it sounds but eventually we found one which was acceptable.

and below we have opted for a two burner spirit stove because we have used a one burner version  in our current boat and it has been a joy to use and very efficient. One of the considerations for its installation was how to make the most of the storage space below the cooker and here I have had my input such that D will be weighing the cooker plus the hinged panel it sits on and installing a gas strut so that I can rummage two handed below. Obviously I will only do so when not cooking anything on top !

In terms of internal lighting, we have invested in two led lights above the cooker and nav station, two in the forward part of the main cabin and two task lights on long bendy arms (see below). They are quite sophisticated in that they are optionally red light or white light and dim as well. Manufactured by Prebit these at not for the faint hearted price-wise but from our point of view they need to do the job required and we were advised that cheaper ones just fall apart.

Underneath the companion way, D has built a really nice removable switch panel for all things engine and electric.

and to keep her safe and secure, a cunning lock for the hatch, well I say cunning.... once you have worked out that they are incorrectly put together when packaged and you actually have to take them apart and turn a key piece around and reassemble...... we had three grown men in a chandlery scratching their heads for quite some time trying to work out where the padlock went. I will take the credit for realising that it was impossible as presented and that it needed to be otherwise.

So, we're now down to the fiddly bits, plumbing, installing further lights, speakers, instruments, wiring up the mast and putting the fittings on the spars. It feels like the beginning of the end....

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Bowsprits and buckets

So this next installment concerns an essential part of every gaffer - the bowsprit. This started life as a three piece laminate which was trimmed square and then lovingly fettled into a splendid bowsprit. I came over a bit artistic as the sunlight caught a fragile curl of wood shaving.

Ah lovely... anyway after much more planing, the bowsprit emerged with the help of a cunning spar gauge which helps taper the bowsprit in proportion. I am not sure how best to explain except it is geometry which is far better explained here http://www.boat-building.org/learn-skills/index.php/en/wood/using-a-spar-gauge/
It is a very simple device but a very good 'trick of the trade'. Here it is pictured below.

Any way after taking the corners off and taking the corners off and taking the corners off again, you finally end up with one you try on for size.

I think the camera angle in this one makes it look quite intimidating and obviously it will get nicely rounded over on the end.

And what have I been up to ? Well I now have a pattern for the cover and will be ordering bits for that soon but in the meantime I have knocked up a canvas bucket for the hell of it really. For those interested in the technical specification of said bucket here we go, 15oz cotton canvas, with 12mm ply base (well, what else do you do with the hatch cut out from the boat your are building. Waste not want not is what I say....) 10-12 mm cotton rope and copper tacks. Two Matthew Walker knots and a backsplice later and there you go. In terms of usefulness these days probably in the same category as the cardboard propeller but I like it and have decreed it to be the 'bucket of declaration' to encourage post race donations from fellow Gaffers !...It will get its first outing this weekend.

Friday, 25 August 2017

All things bright and beautiful.....

I have been more use of late in the boatshed as we are completing the varnishing and painting. The transom, toe rail and rubbing strake are fully varnished (Hempel 'Diamond', thinned by about 5-10%) the cabin top and cockpit sides are painted (cream in the end as I couldn't get the idea of fibreglass out of my mind when looking at expanses of white so that had to go). The hand rails, cabin sides and fiddly bits of wood trimming round he cockpit have had two coats so a bit more to go and D has sanded the hull to perfection and is masking up in readiness for us to apply a coat of primer to the hull.  He will progress with a roller while I follow with a foam brush to remove any small air bubbles from the roller. Off we go.....  Well an hour later and we are done, Hempel primer was a bit think and sticky so we had to thin it down and work quickly with roller and the foam brush - you get one chance. Anyway here she is so far.

......with a coat of primer drying on the hull and with top coat

and here is the cabin top

The learning point from all this is when you think it is all sanded smooth and you can't feel any lumps and bumps, no matter how well you think you've done.... do some more...

In between varnish drying, the boom is in preparation, the piece of Douglas fir has been planed to rough size but will need more shaping. We will be using Woodskin on the spars, which is low maintenance and recommended by friends so I should be seeing the back of the varnish brush soon however I have enjoyed the alchemy that occurs when coat after coat of crystal clear varnish brings the wood alive. Below is the boom in preparation and the end fitting that fits the boom to the mast.

And also the bowsprit which has started life as a sandwich of three laminates and is here being planed to size. I have left D in the shed with yet more tea as he fashions something  rather more lovely out this rather agricultural looking lump of wood.
I am off to play with some canvas and rope as is my way.....