Wednesday, December 29, 2010

top coats and blissful sails

Here's 'Annie' with some top coat on, but the video that I wanted to show of some blissful moments in our other boat apparently don't want to be uploaded to blogger. There is a low res version on flickr for those interested. I had hoped to add some sailing to brighten the day for those frozen inside their houses, but not yet it seems.
As well as the hull paint, the spars are progressing nicely, and I'm tempted to finish them with the plane, imperfections and all, because it is such a nice surface without yucky abrasive paper. I never use sandpaper on a violin, but that is a much smaller-scaled object to plane and scrape. We'll see how they turn out.

The Waller is such a lovely boat to sail with three competent crew. She just loves the weight and the multiple hands to the task, and sailing her with family lined up in the cockpit is such a joy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Australian Empathy

Such is the empathy that Australia feels for those northern countries currently frozen and blizzarded (!), we have had a foot of snow falling in our 'Alpine' areas this week, in Summer. Where normally, I would be escaping the heat and self-medicating in the long hot evening with a measured, controlled and manageable quantity of beer, instead I am now enjoying something red and much more hearty. A Merlot from New Zealand actually- and I have to say it is quite different from Australian Merlot, more akin to our Cabernet, or even maybe some of the softer shirazes with lovely colour and long complicated flavours. It's from Oyster bay in NZ.

This summer we have been under the influence of some hot air generated over near South America that has generated what is called a 'la Nina ' pattern, bringing tropical moisture right down the eastern coast to Victoria, and quite exceptional rainfall. After more than a decade of drought, in part because of the effects of the opposite South American phenomenon, the 'El Nino' which seems to have been a regular visitor since the 1990's, we are reveling in the rain, but some crops are ruined again in the process. Some communities are flooded too. And when we get a change, the Southerly brings an icy blast from Antarctica, and Winter conditions in Summer.

The upshot is (for the purposes of this blog, anyway) that my paint is not drying on the hull, and I'm drinking winter wine, and the shed fairies that might have dried the paint are off helping Santa, although I heard a rumour their flights north have been cancelled, so why the hell haven't they stayed in my shed?

So Steve, I can't compete with the splendid photos of a white Christmas in Plymouth, but we are doing our best to get cold in sympathy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A little blog site for the new book....

'Something About Navigator' has its own little blog site now, to enable specific feed-back and communicate any items of related interest, and to provide a place to purchase copies on-line.
The site can be found here.

The boat, above is of Dave Perillo at the helm of a rampant and quite hormonal 'Jaunty', going somewhere quite quickly...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Navigator book released on

Amazon have listed the books on line. The color edition of Something About Navigator can be found here and the monochrome edition, here. Or a search with the title will also find them.

I should point out that bundles of ten books, tied to-gether with string will make a brilliant door-stop, and copies epoxied edge to edge would make a very decorative floor.

Recent research shows that nine out of ten doctors surveyed recommend reading this book as a cure for insomnia, and world conflict. Reading this book instead of watching TV will reduce your carbon footprint, and it will cost you less than taking your family to a hotel for a meal.

Even if you can't read, looking at the pictures will have the same effect as long-term use of Prozac, but with fewer side effects. Further, the author of this post sometimes exaggerates things. A bit.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Navigator Book is available

There are two different editions of 'Something About Navigator' available now through one sales channel, with others becoming available soon. The original plan was to make the book as affordable as possible, by keeping production costs low, using a print on demand process, and monochrome printing in the USA on modest paper. I have done that, and it is available at @ $20USD (The 'black and white edition').

But following some encouraging feed-back, I have also produced a more expensive edition that is printed on better paper and with mainly coloured illustrations, in other words, a printed version of the color PDF that will also be for sale later. It is available for $42 USD. This is definitely a more attractive book, but obviously more than twice the price.

Chuck at Duckworks has said that copies will ultimately be available through his online shop, ands I'm a bit unclear how that will be managed, but I think an order from Duckworks will be filled by me and drop-shipped straight to the customer from the printer.

In the next few weeks the book will also come online at, and I'll put up a link when that happens.

In the meantime, it seems that the best way for me to sell the book is by the direct link to my Createspace e-store here for the color edition, or here for the black and white one. ( I have to say that my little 'cut' is much more respectable with this sales channel than an Amazon purchase will be)

This is a very low-key sort of book launch, just me and my computer, but I really need to mention some of the people that made writing this thing so much fun, and who have given their stories to the book.

The book gives a bit of an outline of the development of the design, and a bit of an analysis of the things that maybe have made it such a happy and successful boat enjoyed in so many ways, in so many places, then there are some stories by Navigator owners and sailors and some builders. After that there is a bit of writing about the whole building a boat thing, and a chapter about building a hull. Following this there is a bit of detail about fittings. Finally there is a concise list of resources for enthusiasts to follow up. Those of you reading this on my blog will probably have already spotted those....

The other voices though were given so generously and with such a co-operative and helpful spirit, and the essays they contributed lift this little book off the page and out yonder onto the water. There are some great photos too, although in striving for an economical product I haven't done them their due justice. In no particular order, Steve Parke, Owen Sinclair, Richard Schmidt, John Welsford, Chuck Leinweber, Kevin Brennan, Martin Welby, Dave Perillo, Dave Johnstone Barrett Faneuf and others all made the process an absolute delight and I thank them most sincerely for listening to my idea and jumping in without hesitation to support it.

It is my sincere hope that this little book will give some pleasure, not only to Navigator enthusiasts, but to dreamers, builders and sailors who just want something simple, real, and creative in their lives and who find that thinking about little boats is helpful and maybe even inspirational in all that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Plan B and the rubbing strip.

A great week-end for epoxy, despite the odd bit of tropical rain, I managed two lots of double- wet-on wet coatings for the hull, embedding then covering the fibreglass matting. The wood looks delicious....

Months ago, I decided that I wouldn't add a lower rubbing strake, figuring that I liked the contours without them, but also realising that these things seemed to exaggerate any unfairness in the sheer and the top board. Then, after epoxying the hull, my normal infatuation with the various colours of timber kicked in, and I started fantasising about varnishing the hull- which, after all, would be facing down, away from the sun most of the time. The next step in the process of thinking this through was to remember how nasty the Ozzie sun can be and how enthusiastic most woods are to turn grey from exposure, unlike people, who turn red. I didn't want to have the first boat with a melanoma, so I started thinking that maybe the top strake could stay woody (despite the fact that I made no effort to choose the prettiest boards or take any particular care in the board joints)....but that required a lower rubbing strip. So, plan B it is.
The spars are a lovely bit of work to do, and so far there is a mast, a main boom and above, the mizzen glue-up has been done. Because this is a thinner spar, I took extra care in laying it out straight, even clamping along a straight edge and using a stringline, but I have to say the fairies got into my shed overnight and just gave it a 2-3mm kick to one side over the 3.6 metre length. I can accommodate this though because I made the material a little thicker for the glue-up, and the taper can be off-set a tiny bit to compensate for the bend. I still need to glue the yard and gaff jaw pieces, do a heap of rounding, and then the mizzen boom and boomkin. Rudder, foil and tiller bits are sort of organising themselves while the spars are happening.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tea and templates for the tillerman

First sail for the season last week, with a son and a couple of his friends, a very gentle sail it was too, squeezed between a near gale and an electrical storm, but we got the best of it and had a relaxing time.

Having started the spar making over the week-end, I turned my attention to the rudder box just for a change of scenery; glued it up and made a template for the rudder foil, to make economical use of off-cuts for the foil glue-up.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Navigator book proof arrives

The first print proof arrived to-day. The book is two hundred and twenty-something pages long and will be available for about $20 when released. I need to read this one carefully, looking for errors and typos and all the other naughty stuff we get up to when we try to say something in writing.
There is a very good section in there written by other Navigator owners- stories of Navigators 'in the wild'- experienced voices much more interesting than mine.
When this one is corrected, I'll send a new version to be processed, and then they'll send me another proof....and then I'll read it and maybe approve it for print...I'm not much of an editor, being much too impatient to achieve perfection. I don't apologise for that though, because that's just how I get things done. The next thing is always more important, somehow.
This book will have it's own blog page, just in case anyone is interested in it. I've finished the book before finishing my boat, and despite some very sound advice from friends who felt that the book should show my finished 'Annie', I feel very strongly that this book should be about the Navigator, not my Navigator.
Some of you will recognise the lovely photo on the cover as being Dave Johnstone's 'Korora."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

not just because birds don't have mouths

The birdsmouth method of spar construction is quite brilliant in the way it enables thin timbers to create a light spar, and it can also save valuable material, but all that machining will also create waste. What interests me even more is that it might be an unnecessary complication that could prevent some people from attempting to make their own spars, especially if they don't own, or are intimidated by a table saw- and plenty of people are, for very good reason.
I'm really interested in processes that enable people, rather than intimidate them, and I wonder if, in part, our current fascination with the birdsmouth method is part of our tendency to look for technical improvements, even when they aren't necessary.
So, I'm building these spars as per plan- hollow the old-fashioned way, and rounded with a plane. I'll have more fun, less machine work and fewer exposed epoxy joints on the spars to soak up the UV radiation, and there maybe just the odd would-be builder that can see themselves achieving a nice mast this way. Using a plane is after all, one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Very few things come close.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Outboard motor mount

Call it 'Belt & Braces', but this Navigator is going to have some options when it comes to, well, when it comes to going. Coming or going, a choice is nice. We have that in our home in lots of ways, like a wood burning stove that can cook and make hot water, but a gas stove or an electric kettle (powered by solar electricity), or solar hot water, or gas boost hot water. Whatever the weather, we can choose. Navigator 'Annie' won't have all that stuff, but the electric pod won't always be appropriate to back up the sails, so we wanted an outboard- with an unobtrusive mount. It can be taken off, leaving a few small fittings on the transom.

This great little unit is from Duckworks, and was a joy to unpack, because it is really solid and well-made. Kevin has one for 'Slipjig' and he recently reassured me that it is very servicable, doing all he wants from a motor mount.

Now if Chuck could just make it so that it produced hot water....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Navigator flip-side

This very grubby shot, above shows the hatch for the auxiliary motor, and the final gluing of that rear seat panel, having established that I can in fact fish the motor pod out through the hole. I wanted a flush mount in case I want to stretch out sometime, and the fact that there will generally be a bit of water sloshing around in there means that a water-proof cover wasn't necessary. The rear deck has also been fitted, as have it's reinforcing beams.
Hay bales were useful again for the turning. I felt that the method and the size of the hull meant that making a party of the turning was un-called for, so I rigged up a ratchet strap and pulled her up near vertical on my own, and then had Julia's assistance in steadying the hull while I came around to lower it from the other side. As she came up on her side the hull looked bigger, and then when rolled completely over she became quite compact again.
The planking will have a bit of a tidy up, and some has been done since this picture was taken. Going round and round in circles is very peculiar behaviour for a bloke of my age, but that's what happens when you have a rebate plane in your hand and you spot a little bump, which leads to another etc. Fortunately, these are only little bumps that seem only to be visible from particular angles (hence the circling).

Up and over, then round and round...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Power Resistor versus Mamba Max

The round black thing (as we call it in the trade) above is the resistor or I think maybe even reostat (probably just jumped way out of my league here) that normally lives inside the head of a Minn Kota motor unit. Apparently it reduces motor speed by complaining and whinging and making a fuss, with a result that the battery gets really bored and feels a bit flat well before it should.

These, on the other hand are pictures of MAMBA MAX, who just rolls over and cons the motor into doing less work by tickling it or something, and in the process the battery stays interested for longer. Combined with a neat little thing with the disturbing name of a "Servo Tester", it will also allow me to turn the motor on (in good 1960's fashion) and also make it go backwards.

As a bonus, I've put it on my teak CB case top for decorative purposes to make this post look more useful than it probably is.
There are also efficierncies that can be improved by using different impellers, or propellors. Apparently model aircraft ones are very efficient, but they don't cut weeds as well...I'm going to avoid that one for the moment, because it is very easy to get carried away with experiments, forgetting that it's just about going for a sail after all...

The mamba max thing (SKU16184) is from Castle Creations, which I found at

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

electric pod

The thinking behind all this mucking about with an electric pod is that when using our current boat, the outboard motor is one of the bits of the experience that I like least. Typically, we find a ramp at a sheltered place, motor out of that place, sail, and then repeat the motoring process. It's nice to have the capacity to move the boat in the event of rigging failure or loss of wind, but the fuel, the noise and the fuss and drama just don't fit the rest of the experience. Then when I get home, I have to run the motor in a bucket to clean it out. Boring.
I quite like pottering slowly. In fact moving slowly is something I'd like to learn to do more frequently. I'd also like to learn how to relax and not feel guilty about not achieving stuff, and not getting things done. Learning to sit still is one of my ambitions. Maybe one day, I'll even sit still long enough to get some line on my rod and fling the hook into some water. And wiggle it about...or whatever it is that people do when they fish.

So this Minn Kota mutation is not about hoping to move fast, but to make the two ends of a sailing trip more beautiful and peaceful. But I don't want an ugly plastic thing hanging off the end of the boat, so I'll stash it under the seat in a way that enables me to replace it with a flat hull plug when I don't need it- but maybe it will let me explore some quiet water with my one true love in peace and quiet, perhaps with a glass of something appropriate to the moment. I do believe in moments. They are one of the few things that I can believe in. And glasses. I believe in the power of a glass to expand the intensity of a moment. But not too many glasses- that is the secret, knowing which glass is the last for the moment.

More mundanely, it will also be a pleasure to be able to re-charge the batteries with home made solar electricity.

So I took courage in both hands and cut the head off a brand new Minn Kota 55lb thrust motor and have frankensteined it to a wooden fairing that will hang from a hole cut in the perfectly waterproof bottom of the boat that still hasn't met the water. The head is lying in absolute disbelief on my workbench since its decapitation. Who said the French Revolution was over? The aristocrat of electric outboards has been cleaved, beheaded, bisected, poleaxed. I cut it off, and it was a pity that my wife was not there to knit and chuckle heartily at the event.

The other complication is that these motors have speed reduction achieved through resistance, apparently. I needed to prove to it that there was no point resisting, so I've found some gadgetry from radio-controlled cars that will provide a more efficient method of controlling speed and direction, and thereby make the battery more efficient. I didn't discover this though. The real inventor was Denny Wolfe- he did this to his Arctic Tern and wrote about it on the Woodenboat Forum. I did draw my pod design a couple of years ago for the Waller 540 I built, but I never had the courage to carry it through until I saw that he had taken a very similar idea, but he KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING...(despite that I still found it hard to cut the motor in half)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

the sky leans on me

This is a poem by Sylvia Plath, and if I had copyrights to it this is what I would post. But since I don't, disrgard the poem below.
It reminds me of Yorkshire, the wild big sky that, in its turn reminds me of some bits of Victoria Australia, which in turn remind me that I'm alive.
Look up Sylvia Plath and maybe buy a book of her poetry so I don't have to feel bad about infringing her rights.

'Wuthering Heights' by Sylvia Plath-

The horizons ring me like faggots,
Tilted and disparate, and always unstable.
Touched by a match, they might warm me,
And their fine lines singe
The air to orange
Before the distances they pin evaporate,
Weighting the pale sky with a soldier color.
But they only dissolve and dissolve
Like a series of promises, as I step forward.

There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction.
I can feel it trying
To funnel my heat away.
If I pay the roots of the heather
Too close attention, they will invite me
To whiten my bones among them.

The sheep know where they are,
Browsing in their dirty wool-clouds,
Gray as the weather.
The black slots of their pupils take me in.
It is like being mailed into space,
A thin, silly message.
They stand about in grandmotherly disguise,
All wig curls and yellow teeth
And hard, marbly baas.

I come to wheel ruts, and water
Limpid as the solitudes
That flee through my fingers.
Hollow doorsteps go from grass to grass;
Lintel and sill have unhinged themselves.
Of people and the air only
Remembers a few odd syllables.
It rehearses them moaningly:
Black stone, black stone.

The sky leans on me, me, the one upright
Among all horizontals.
The grass is beating its head distractedly.
It is too delicate
For a life in such company;
Darkness terrifies it.
Now, in valleys narrow
And black as purses, the house lights
Gleam like small change.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Navigator work

The centreboard top has been laminated, with the top layer being made from teak, in a moment of weakness when I couldn't resist the stupid urge to feature some nice timber...probably a result of the priming of some lovely ply, and having to say a sad good-bye to the grain, the colour and the evidence of organic growth. This because our Australian sun is so rich in UV and so quick to degrade real lumber. So the varnished teak is a sort of rebellion against the sun, but I know it is a rebellion that I'll need to fight every season from now on. So much for a working boat sort of finish.
Seat tops are primed and I will probably install the side decks over the next few days.

I'm quite excited about the next book. It will be called 'Something about Navigator', and has written itself so quickly that my build can't keep up with it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An old friend moving on

This dear old Klotz violin came in the other day for a valuation. I have serviced it for years and have grown quite fond of it, but the fine lady who had owned it since the 1940's recently died and the family need to find it a new home.
The scroll (above) is particularly sweet, as is some of the repair work- including some repairs to the belly carried out in Melbourne in 1878...the instrument was over one hundred years old even then.
There are little features and signatures in a Klotz instrument that ring little bells in my head, because I was taught to make in the same tradition by a maker who was taught by a maker who was one of this violin's maker's descendants! ( I had to read that twice too)
I wonder whose story will be embedded in this little fiddle next?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

navigator cockpit seats

The weather allowed me to complete a wet on wet double application of epoxy on the seat bases- actually is should be called wet on tacky. Amazing that. I normally try to avoid tacky.

The rear panel of the seat base has been kept as a removable panel while I dither about the size and style of the well for the removable electric pod.

This seems like a terse and overly economical post. But I've started writing another book, and I always felt that I have a sort of 'word allowance' in my head, and I've exceeded that several times over this week.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

navigator progress

I hope you like to watch paint dry. The boat is at that point where a builder can turn up day after day, without a lot of changes to report. Coatings, sandings, primings and all...

The cockpit seat panels are both glued in now, and the doublers are glued in on the starboard side. I need to do some thinking about the installation of a modified Minn Kota electric outboard that will be made into a removable pod to live under the rear seat.

I know what I want to do, and pretty much how I'll do it, but I have to summon the courage to cut the shaft off a perfectly good motor, and cut a hole in the perfectly water-tight bottom panel of the boat.
It's all about the size and placement of openings, methods of fixing and worst of all: re-wiring the motor to make the speed control more efficient than the resistor system on it now.

Then I need to pick my moment to turn the hull and attend to the outer side of the planking.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Navigator: the ugly shots

After ten days off, I've started to undercoat the bits that will be hard to access once the foredecks are glued on. The fillets and corners always seem to need extra attention, so they get treated first, in the knowledge that most of this will be sanded off while working towards getting a nice surface for the final coats.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

back pain in old violins

This old dear has dried out. I sometimes think I know how he feels. The centre joint on the back has opened up completely- and that is a tricky repair in itself to do nicely because the curved surfaces are so thin- but it has dried out and warped in the process. Wood changes shape and size with moisture changes, so the pieces no longer fit the perfect book-matched joint that the maker cut with a jointer plane.
What I've done in the picture is pre-clamp the pieces while I undertake preliminary rehydrating of the wood, prior to gluing. If this doesn't make the joint disappear, the back will have to come off and be re-joined.

Friday, September 17, 2010

whale spotting in Moolooaba Queensland

We took a very pleasant day trip with a boat owned by Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo from Mooloolaba Marina, out from the coast to a distance of about 12 nautical miles, approaching Morton Island. We were blessed with a number of close encounters, all Hump Backs, and all over about 25 tonnes; not huge by whale standards. These were very difficult to photograph well, and I won't bore you with the evidence, and the same applies to the Dolphins that swam alongside us. These extraordinary animals were heading south for an annual feast of cold food, having given the new calves a good start in warmer waters.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Navigator forward seat edge preparation

The port side has had the edges shaped, ready for profiling. At this point the starboard side edge has been rounded. The block plane and a sanding block do the places that the router can't reach.

And here the profiled edges and the front area has had a coat of epoxy. I'm moving ahead with the sealing and priming of this forward area before the foredeck is glued on. The 9mm doublers have a large radius routed onto their top face and a smaller one underneath. This feels good and is quite strong visually too. The total edge thickness is 16mm.
In the top pic the front coaming is clamped on. Those pieces are 9mm ply and I need to decide whether to keep and paint them, or cut them again in solid timber for bright finishing. I have some 100+ year old pine- a bit like Kauri- that would do nicely there....just have to make a decision.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Anchor well, and wish New Zealand neighbors well too...

The weather system that stormed in from the North West has filled some reservoirs, flooded towns and farms, and maybe stalled the death of the Murray Darling basin (I hope I am not being too optimistic too soon), so there is drought breaking rain as well as devastation in southern Australia. This weather pattern is now making it's way across to New Zealand, and will further complicate the lives of our neighbors there who are dealing with the shocking effects of an earthquake. Mercifully, no lives have been lost so far, but massive property damage will take years to recover from. This humble blogger wishes NZ readers well in this turmoil, and sincerely hopes that the population will rise to the challenge of looking after each other with their typical warmth and generosity of spirit.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

sometimes, the unthinkable....

This hundred year old factory made cello has been in the possession of a notable school music department for most of its life. In good condition it would have a value in the order of A$8000, but it has had to live with generations of school boys, and some of them have more interest in 'decoration' (generally with a finger nail) than playing.
I have maintained this instrument for them for nearly twenty years, with vain attempts to head off the vandalism by rescuing the varnish and restoring some sort of dignity to the old thing. But the incremental repairs have not kept pace with the vandals. The school has a collection of orchestral instruments which remain at school for lessons and orchestral rehearsals, to save them bringing their own instruments in every day, so this one has suffered particularly from the lack of a sense of ownership I suppose.
This year, the question was asked; 'Do we continue to patch it, or is it time to buy a new one?' Well, I'm a softie, and much as I'm sick of repairing it (because this sort of work isn't very glam, or very satisfying) I quoted a figure that was cheaper than it's replacement cost to give it another chance at life. But this involves the complete removal of the old varnish as well as the structural repairs. Removing old varnish is an absolute no-no to me, but what can I do? The thing would be junked, tipped and discarded if it isn't re-birthed as a tidier, more respectable instrument.
So I'm stuck with the job and it's taking four times longer than it should, but occasionally it's nicer to be on the side of the instrument even if it isn't profitable. And there is just a small chance that maybe for the next couple of generations of students, it will be charming and inspirational enough to keep their thoughts on the music and their hands on the bow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

navigator deck work

The template cut out earlier enabled a very economical layout of the two foredeck pieces onto the ply sheet, and the pieces are sitting on the boat in the photos above. These pieces are cut a little oversized at this stage to avoid any potential for drama when finally positioning them later when the inside surfaces are sealed and painted.
The shape of the forward coaming is a little different from that shown in the plans. I was hoping to create a slightly more conservative line up there, to further enhance some of the sweet curves elsewhere, but also to give a little more sitting space on the forward seats. I hope these little tweaks work OK.
Over the last week-end the slightly drier days enabled me to coat the cockpit interior with epoxy: some bits for the second time. There is still a bit of filleting to do in there, and it is those details that soak up the major time portions, not the fitting of large slabs of wood.
It is a real struggle to come up with a colour scheme for this boat. I see too many options! The sails (from Duckworks) are an 'Egyptian cotton' colour. This is a warmish beige actually, rather than a cream, and I do want them to look well with the hull. The last boat was simply white with timber trim; no brave choices there. This boat has me torn though, because there is a bit of me that would have it as a workmanlike boat, all greys and neutral knock-about colours, but also a bit of me that wants it to look happy and playful. This isn't a heavy weight classic, it is a recreational dinghy that has made lots of sailors very happy!
I still haven't had a chance to begin making the spars, but have made the bowsprit. The centre-board is shaped but not yet weighted or 'glassed. The rudder box is dry assembled, but the foil is still a pile of timber. The seat bases are mostly fitted and put aside until the epoxying and sealing is complete. The tabernacle is dry assembled but won't be fitted until the king plank, anchor well and forward compartment are ready to be covered in for ever.
This isn't a hard boat to build, but like any sailing craft there is an enormous number of sub-assemblies and components to make (and assemble in an order that doesn't make other fittings impossible).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

looking up again

This is our Northeast ridge under an evening cloud fly-past. Some small, dark, knobbly, angry, belligerent ones are harassing a couple of beautifully inflated noble optimists, who, like many people I know, are happily drifting under elemental influences, to areas of lower pressure.

There are some new cloudscapes in my Flickr set of that name. The fact that I keep looking for these images is probably evidence of a childlike romanticism that seems to be increasing with age. A good foil or antidote for cynicism, anyway.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

navigator outer stem

Between frequent sleety and sometimes icy outbursts a few moments have been spent on the outer stem, with a bit of preliminary shaping happening now that the epoxy has hardened sufficiently. Unusually, and because of the moist air, I have some waxy amine blush on the internal epoxy, so it will need to be scrubbed with soapy water before sanding and recoating. I can't install the anchor well floor until that forward compartment is fully sealed and maybe I won't fit the king plank till then, so I can't fit the foredeck sheets either...

But I have cut out the foredeck sheets and they are waiting like good little soldiers, in the shed and out of the weather.

Yes, the floor looks like a tip. Remember it is sometimes a hay shed, and you can't store bales without there being a bit of extra floor decoration going on, but I admit I'm a very untidy worker, always more worried about the next challenge than cleaning up after the last, and I have real trouble calling any small piece of wood 'waste', preferring to live with it long enough to give it the chance to find a second life with me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More on a landscape of huge contrasts

We had some wonderful moments at the centre of things in continental terms, and at the edges of beautiful things while exploring the country around Alice Springs a few years ago. My previous post touched upon the unusual needs of some of our species and the high variability of some of our rivers, and while thinking on those things I was reminded of other extremes we have come across in this spectacular continent. I admit that I thought in particular of this trip because it has not gone unnoticed that there is a disproportionally large red dot on my reader 'clustrmap' in the middle of Australia- a place not generally known for boats or violins...and I do wonder if that dot is one very voracious reader, or several! Either way, this post is to acknowledge the producers of that dot and the bit of our country in which you live.
The space and the light in this landscape combine to give things a shift in value, including our very self. Whatever our thoughts are, the context is overwhelming. This has a habit of making for unpretentious attitudes, I think.
There is water to be had at the edges of things. The lack of it all around only serves to make water more magical when you find it. These wet places have been hugely significant to people for times longer than any history on Earth.
In geological time we pass across it like shadows.