Taking Shape

Nine of the eighty or so planks are now laid and edge glued. The boat is taking shape, a very exciting time. One of the planks cracked and broke between bulkhead 10 and 11 today, hence all the clamps. First thing tomorrow a further three planks each side will be fastened. Each plank is 10.4 meters so a total of 12 per side x 2 sides x 11.4 = 260 linear metres of planking, done. Each plank is 36mm wide, and allowing for 100mm offcut each end gives almost 9 square meters of approximate total of 40, done.

P1040237SThere are a few more lights in the shed and with tarps for walls its getting quite cosy.


Standing on my head and looking forward one gets an idea of the sweeping sheer.


First nine planks with edges planed off. Very soon I can remove the jig extensions to get better access as the hull ends are almost self supporting.


If you think this is a lot of work try this planking a longboat. Have a look at the bow shape when the boat is launched, remarkably similar to the Eric’s bow.

One more photo, I love these lines.



At last some planks

First three planks glued in position, at last.


I extended the jig to get a strong secure mounting for stem and stern post.


Temporary battens at 1/3 and 2/3 midsection girth to check planking run. The batten nearest to the keelson kicks up at fore and aft. The runs seem easy with my 36 x 19 mm strip planks. The original design calls for planks 120 x 32mm which would have been a challenge!


Final shaping of the keelson


Then drill the ballast keel bolt holes.


Then clean up bulkheads and prepare for planking.


A trial dry fit of planking.


Then final checks to ensure bulkheads are straight.

And after a number of trials planking is fitted to starboard side using finger clamps and stainless steel brads.




Reclaiming Cedar

About ten years back I was able to rip and recover the western red cedar planking from the central section of a Volvo 70 mock-up. At the time I had no idea what it would be used for, except that I hoped it would be an offshore boat of some description and likely to be 9 to 10m length overall as this is I believe the sweat spot for affordability, accommodation and minimum off shore capability. My lunch breaks were spent dodging brads as they were shot out at high velocity whizzing past my ear by the circular saw nail cutting blade. Those that could not be dodged and made contact created a warm sticky mess with my ear lobe dripping blood down my neck and resulting in frantic clean ups before heading back to the office.


The Eric midsection half girth is about 2.5m. The recovered strip planks 36mm wide. So 2500/36 = 72 planks per side. Each plank is about 10m long so 72×10 = 720 linear metres per side. A total of about 1.4km of planking required. At AUD  $5.30 per metre I hope to save almost $7500 on material costs. BUT there is some work in this.

First I must remove the remnants of the brads, fortunately they are stainless steel so apart from damaging tools and fingers they won’t case much harm if the occasional one is overlooked.

Nail nippers then..


.. an old matador nail extractor passed on to me by Bill our neighbour when moving to retirement accommodation, he was in his mid eighties, many years ago, are the tools of choice.


Then the faces are lightly sanded to avoid losing too much thickness using a bench mounted drum sander.


And finally thicknessed and straightened to 36mm.


And stored ready for scarfing.


In the foreground is the penultimate bulkhead #7 with laminates just finished after grinding the edges.


At about 34kg I can manhandle back to the jig.


Bulkhead #5 the last bulkhead only needs a light sheathing and keel floor laminates. But the Elu sander had had enough, and seized the lower bearing. All fixed, but now can only resin coat tomorrow AM.




Almost ready for planking

The plan is now to have everything finished to allow planking to start on the 1st. of May.

  • Bulkheads need finishing
  • The scarfing area needs to be set up
  • Sternpost (deadwood ) needs to be chamfered to suit planking
  • Keelson needs to be trimmed and fitted.

Starting with Bulkheads:

  • Bulkhead #5 needs sheathing and floor laminates , both sides.
  • Bulkhead #7 needs sheathing and floor laminates, one side.
  • Bulkhead #9 needs sheathing and floor laminates, one side.

The weather is perfect , 11 to 26C. But getting through the work is taking so much time, why? I took a few photos to get an idea., a bit of time and motion study.

After removing the 47kg bulkhead from the jig  and moving it to the flat bench, the first job is to remove the epoxy/colloidal silica/western red cedar flour glue. I add a touch of wood flour to keep the glue line dark and unobtrusive. The old Hitachi belt sander with 80grit paper makes short work of removing the hard resin without digging into the soft birch plywood. The bearings sound like they need regreasing, there’s always unplanned work. Actually, before sanding I first gave the bulkhead another wipe down with oxalic acid to remove any traces of black mould.


The good old Elu orbital kicks up a bit of dust whilst removing the belt sander score marks.


Confession Time! It looks like I did not allow for planking thickness when preparing the CNC cut files.


Fortunately its a case of removing material, first I need a fair curve to cut to.


Then a very careful jigsaw cut.


Right, all done. That was a stupid mistake.


Now to mix up 130 grams of epoxy per square meter as a seal coat. This bulkhead is about 2.5 square meters, so 130 x 2.5 = 325 grams. I’ve mixed up 320 gram of resin plus 80 grams of hardener giving a total of 400 grams to allow for waste. The scale photo below is for the resin only.


On it goes.


And while it soaks in, I can cut glass.


The day is warming up and we getting typical outgassing from the plywood.


After an hour or so its time to squeegee to remove excess resin.


A few hours later and the epoxy resin has cured sufficiently to allow the plain weave sheathing to be applied. To reduce waste I’m using offcuts in the bilge area. The epoxy is just tacky at this stage.


The puzzle joins get an extra double bias tape reinforcing.


Its 1AM next day, the integral floor reinforcement laminates are done, and a peel ply  added. There’s condensation on the tin roof, a tarp is rolled over the bulkhead to keep it dry and protected from drips.


A quick glass of buoyancy wine, and then bed.


TC Debbie, Black Mould, Fore cabin

Interior view 2

Hamilton Island saw some incredible 100 knot winds with the arrival of  TC Debbie last week.

TC Debbie
Sail World Australia

Fortunately my shed is almost 1400km South of Hamilton Island and apart from a lot of rain and damp, no damage.

goggle maps

A bit of trench digging kept the water run off level below the shed floor and kept it relatively dry.


And a liberal rubdown with oxalic acid to get rid of the black mould on uncoated plywood panels resulting from the damp.

In between the rain showers the internal panels were sheathed with a single 200gsm plain weave Eglass cloth in epoxy resin. This layer will keep the plywood dry and protect it. Tropical timber is naturally decay resistant, birch from Finland has little immunity and the sooner all plywood panels are protected the better. Sealing the panels will also prevent warping.


My main objective was to finish the fore cabin panels.


The anchor locker is located under the sole at the aft end of the cabin.  Spot the lunch pick!  The black water tank will be located in the bilge area immediately aft. Then three fresh water integral tanks under the saloon sole.


One day the fore cabin may look a bit like this


At the moment there is only a slight resemblance


Moving aft in to the heads area, we have a bucket, almost done.


According to the redline concept mark-up the heads will be big enough, just.

arrange redline

Interior view

Back to work…




Tarps are off, tarps are on

Its seems to have been raining non stop since Hobart, the rainfall records show 180mm so far for March, with shed floor 20mm underwater it was not really conducive to working. Progress has suffered badly. Building walls seems to be the “cure all”  fix these days, so I have done the same and the 2100mm high wall on the southern side has made a huge difference in reducing wind born rain ingress from that that side. Roller doors and polycarbonate sheeting above the wall are high on the shed building priority list.


Before erecting the wall it was necessary to move the boat. A hydraulic jack made quick work of pushing boat and jig about 300mm further into the shed.


In gumboots I took the Chinese jack hammer to smash a few rocks in the ditch that were causing a hindrance to water drainage. No more water over the shed floor. I really should not complain as the first three William Atkins Erics built for Henry Bixby appear to have been built outdoors exposed to the Huntingdon Long Island weather with average annual temperature of about 11C and 1138mm rainfall.

3 Erics - Huntington HarborFaith, Hope and Charity the first three Erics under construction by Richard Chute.

Of Yachts and Men – William Atkin

I’ve been concentrating on cutting all the internal panels which could have been done on a CNC router.


The cockpit was tackled first, two panels run from deck to hull forming a water tight compartment below the shallow cockpit locker sole which is at the same level as the cockpit sole allowing any water that finds its way into these lockers to drain into the cockpit well. The buoyancy compartments will be filled with used milk bottles.


The bulkheads form part of the furniture.


Bunk tops and sides extend to the hull creating a strong structure.


A peek inside the forward cabin which will used for sails, tools, anchor and ground tackle and equipment spares.


The main cabin looking forward from the engine compartment with galley on the left hand side and water tankage below the cabin sole.


And finally the pilot berth bunk top.It will be snug.


And the Engine Compartment and ice box access to the right, looking aft.




The chance to meet Don McIntyre, the organiser of the GGR 2108  was a good enough excuse to escape the predicted 47C ( 116F ) temperatures at the shed and recover in Hobart’s invigorating 15C ( 59F) weather, that’s a 30C difference for about 10 degrees of latitude.  Don and Jane kindly fitted me into their busy schedule and it was great to discuss a few things, but all too short.


In any case the Wooden Boat Festival was on and I desperately need access to boats similar to Eric for design ideas. By sheer coincidence an Eric design ketch called Erik was at the festival and the owner known by our friends who live at Dennes Point on North Bruny Island,  just a few kilometres south of Hobart. We were fortunate to be invited aboard to have a look from one end to the other.  Erik’s Interior Arrangement deviates from the Eric plans although it is similar to the William Atkins Dragon (a cutter version of the Eric design ) and also to Suhaili .


The other boat of major interest was Brolga  a 32’2” Double ended cutter designed by Francois Graeser and very nicely set up.  Apart from the deck and interior arrangements I also scrutinised these old girls in great detail from end to end. Cranse Iron, Bow sprit, Gammon Iron, Bob Stay and fitting, hatches, Mast and deck fitting, deadlights, ventilators, solar panels, travellers, winches and pedestals, Bulwarks, Cockpits, Tiller, Rudder, boarding ladders, Pulpit, companionways, dodgers, etc .  I took heaps of photographs and notes of what liked, or did not. Some solutions seem so cluttered and clumsy. I really want a simple boat.


Photo Credit – Brooklyn Boatyard

Eric Blake, a Project Manager at Brooklin Boatyard gave a very interesting talk on composite timber construction at the ANMM ( Australian National Maritime Museum ) International Wooden Boat Symposium, and specifically on some of their carbon timber composite boats. I cornered Eric as he was leaving to get his ideas on keel bolts and bonding, he reassured me that my ideas seemed okay and put me onto Gflex.  So on to the ATL stand to speak to Nick Cossich about using  Gflex for bonding the lead keel to the composite hull. In addition keel bolts will be bonded to the 50mm thick oregon keelson which is supported by composite floors integral to the closely spaced bulkheads. Nick also gave some advice regarding epoxy coating the integral water tanks which I’m planning.


Amongst the numerous stall holders  I found the  Power Equipment Stand who are agents for both the Yanmar 3YM30AE and the Gori 3 Bladed Propellor. These are both on my short list of preferred equipment. Having access to the engine at the festival I could confirm my engine compartment will have the necessary access to the donk.


The Gori is a real piece of functional art, in my opinion. Its needed just for its look. But low drag and overdrive seem good enough technical reasons.


Storm Bay, isn’t that a beautiful scene?

Storm Bay 2.JPG

Image – Google Maps

Whilst in Hobart we took the opportunity to have a quick look at Storm Bay It’s a lovely place which reminds me so much of Cape Town’s False Bay with mountains fringed by open sea to the South and exposed to the Southern Ocean. Storm Bay is one of the Gates for the GGR 2018.



and back to work…



Bulkhead #7 – Reinforcement’s

1-6Bulkhead #7 is in essence a ring frame with hull side, deck, cabin side and cabin roof frame sections. These frame sections provide structural support to the hull, deck and cabin panels. Additional epoxy / E-glass laminates are applied to the plywood bulkhead to provide the required reinforcement for the loads. A web floor section below the sole provides support for the Ballast Keel and is heavily reinforced. Triangular pieces on the Side Frame sections provide support for Settee and Pilot berths, as well as being the sides for the storage lockers located below the berths.

First the assembled bulkhead is positioned on a Flat Table which ensures the laminated bulkhead remains flat. The Flat Table also provides a handy storage for the large plywood sheets. The entire bulkhead surface is sanded, with particular attention to the puzzle join, to ensure there are no prominent or rough protrusions that could effect the laminate. The  plastic bottles are filled with lead scrapings and are used to hold the bulkhead flat in areas where there is a slight tendency to bow.


An epoxy resin seal coat is applied and allowed to partly cure before reinforcement layers are applied.


While the seal coat cures the E-glass reinforcements are cut.


First is the plain weave interface ply.


This is followed by a +-45 double bias stitched fabric and then the unidirectional tapes are applied.

1-7Finally a peel ply is applied and the laminate allowed to cure before trimming.