Saturday, 9 August 2014

Launch day (or splash day if you are American) is near!

One of the summer projects we had planned for the school holidays was to make a wooden dinghy. As well as being a useful, and bigger, solid dinghy we intend to use it as a day boat. It would be lovely to pack a picnic and enjoy the salty arc of the Sound and the silt-edged rivers of Plymouth. It will have a mast and sail as well as our electric outboard or can be rowed if anyone is feeling particularly energetic.
Marking up the shapes
The Skipper and the deckhands have been planning this for a couple of years now. He printed the plans from the internet and the boys have been very involved. They have been busy measuring, sawing, sanding, checking the plans and generally helping out. The Skipper has been busy teaching them (and me!) woodworking and traditional boat building skills. For some reason crew members under the age of 12 seem to think that butt plates are funny – can’t think why…

Deckhand hard at work

The little vessel is coming along nicely and getting many comments from passers-by. The deck is at eye level as you walk along the pontoon so many of the neighbours have been watching the progress and stopping for a chat. Bits for the rudder have arrived, wood has been strapped on the car roof and brought back from the wood shop and paint has been chosen at the chandlery.

Teaching session on using epoxy resin
The sunny weather has been fantastic for working on the deck over the last couple of weeks although a few days have proved that the new boat is waterproof, at least from the inside out. The youngest deckhand has become a dab hand at bailing the rain out in the mornings.

The Skipper using the spoke shave to shape the gunwales 
The deck is just big enough to fit its four metre length and we can squeeze around the dinghies sides to work on it. It is mainly made of plywood, white oak and redwood with pine and red hardwood in the prettily striped dagger board and rudder. Finally it will be protected with epoxy and varnish and painted in cream and scarlet before being named and launched.


Hopefully the nice weather will continue so that we can set sail before the end of the summer holidays.

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