1 April 2003.

    1st of April,  did you get caught?
     I was at work at the day job today, and the war in Iraq,  movements in foreign exchange and uncertainty in the world economy finally lead to a considerable reduction in the companies workforce.  No April fools joke for most of my now ex workmates but I have at least something to fall back upon, so I am a full time designer as of this afternoon. Scary but nothing like a wolf banging on the front door to concentrate the mind
    But this is a trade that I love,  to see a use, an environment and opportunity for a small boat to give someone the means to realise their dreams,  to draw the boat, puzzling over the compromises and features, to research both the shape and structure and then to draw, first the shape, proving it with the maths and statistics, then drawing out the bones and  and flesh so others may build what I have visualized. Its a very rewarding thing, to see one of my designs afloat as a result of someone else's faith , sweat and elbow grease.

    I'm playing with a couple of concepts,  "Bocks" I have mentioned in other forums, she is to be a serious attempt at an alternative lifestyle for those who wish to be afloat and mobile, almost a houseboat that will sail decently rather than a yacht with accommodation crammed into her tapered and rounded shape.   "Rotoiti" is a charter day launch for a local operator,  a little over 7m long and of trailable weight and beam she will be powered by a fourstroke outboard rather than an inboard diesel, the boats are short range cruisers and those superbly quiet new motors  are ideal for this sort of business and fit the quiet of the peaceful bush clad hills around the lakes where the fleet will operate. There will be plans for this one,  and as she is one of the rare commercial commissions that will suit the amateur both in construction method and in type I am keen to get her finished and "out there" for those who want an alternative to the high speed planing hull that is so dominant in the powered boat market.
    "India Packet"  Inspired by discussions with David LeBlanc about a workable very small serious cruising yacht,  India Packet is well under 6m long but very tough and surprisingly roomy. She is intended as a long haul coastal cruiser,  adequate for a single person to live aboard for quite long periods while away exploring far distant harbours as well as themselves,  her traditional gaff cutter rigged beamy full keeled hull also cope with having a friend aboard and will carry enough stores to provide for those two for a month or so at a time.  An interesting little boat that could suit those who don't want a big boat but need something very seaworthy.

    There are lots of other boats on the list to be done one day, and I've other opportunities out there.  Lectures to write and deliver to Marine Technology Students at the School of Design at a local University ,  a possibility to be involved with a sawmill producing ( among other things) boatbuilding timbers, and of course I will now have some time to get on with my own "Emerald City" project.  Our 13.6m x 3.450m 15 tonne long range cruising launch that is still only a stack of frames, a huge lofted drawing and a 3cylinder Gardner Diesel.

It will be a busy time.

John Welsford