17 March, '06

He’s back, the noises out in the workshop have started again, the pile of shavings is growing, and I have company once more. I’m used to working on my own here but over the last few months have become accustomed to having company so its good to have Charlie back and things happening again.

He’s pretty much got the first layer of planking all faired off, and we will later today be working out the angle and “lay” of the second layer of 8.5mm kauri planking, and getting into the swing of things again.

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The chine and surrounding planking all faired off ready for the next layer to go on over it. The topsides go on first, then the chines and then the bottom so the overlaps protect the edges in case of sliding off some object that the boat is up against.

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Easier than doing a scarf joint in place this fingerjoint has about 4 times the area of a butt joint, not normally enough to be really secure but in this case the joint area is also screwed down to a hardwood cross member that acts not only to spread the stress of the rig and keel but as a backing piece for this join. There is also another layer of 9mm ply and then fibreglass to go on over the top. Strong! The joint itself is easy, Charlie made a pattern to my drawing, just a simple zigzag to the right proportions, traced it on with a pencil and then cut the toothed pattern with a saw.  

Building boats is not really an expensive thing, relatively few dollars go a long way when its spent on wood, glue and fastenings. Relatively few that is to the cosrt of buying fittings and equipment. I had a boatbuilder tell me a while back that the hull cost 1/3rd, the rig and keel cost 1/3rd and the fitting out and things like electronics, winches and deck gear cost 1/3rd . Makes the hull a pretty cheap part of the boat.

In this case the builder sits searching Ebay and Trade Me (our local version of an on line auction market place) for bits and pieces. Parcels turn up from all over the place, heavy ones! A box came in the other day marked “boat wrenches” . Not far off, it had been packed up by someone not familiar with boating equipment and wrenches are not far different in sound or spelling from winches. Two pretty nice bronze bottom handle sheet winches with pedestal mounts, not bad for US$180 the pair!

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These bow chocks will fit into Resolutions toe rail up alongside the bowsprit, there is room enough to drag a big anchor warp, the eye splice and shackle and then the chain in through them and they have good solid bases for fastening them . Good buying !

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Workshops develop their own language after a while, and we have fallen into the habit of describing these as "wrenches" after a well meaning helper filled out the shipping documents for these nice bottom handle winches that way. These "wrenches"will be Resolutions jib sheet winches, good value as brand new ones would be around $800.00!

Other boxes have had portholes, fairleads and chocks, cleats and jammers. Bronze fittings brand new are not cheap! In fact that deserves a lot more exclamation marks. Not cheap !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Its these sort of things that really begin to erode a hole in the bottom of the barrel when scraping for the last bucks to pay to get the boat finished so the time spent hunting and competing in the on line auctions has been very profitable in this case.

On the winches, they are good solid looking gear, but I have suggested that he strip them, find a source of springs and buy some spares , its broken springs that are the most common failure in these pawl type winches and a non functional sheet winch is a pain in rough weather.

Sundowner is not the biggest cruising yacht around, but she can generate big loads so it pays when searching to buy fittings for boats of about a third bigger. A light displacement 30 footer will generate loads not dissimilar to Sundowner with her heavy ballast and wide beam.

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Top handle winches like this are great for halyards, downhauls and so on, The Sundowners rig being a gaff rig there is a lot of rope, and these are destined for the after end of the cabin top where each will handle a group of halyards ( there are going to be eight plus two downhauls ) through a bank of sheet jammers.  

Bear in mind when you look at chocks, cleats and fairleads that you will have at least a 10mm and possibly a 12mm anchor warp, plus a pile of ¼ inch short link chain and the eye splices and shackles and all the gear has to go through the bow or stern fairlead / chocks and around a cleat proportioned to take the rope, and with a base big enough to cope with the loading of a nearly 3 ton boat being anchored in a rough anchorage in a gale.

Set her up for the worst, and hope you never need it!

John Welsford