The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Building by Numbers

Brandon need not worry about mistakes in Iain's plans. Not for a boat that's built traditionally. I saw Mark Stockl the other day, and we discussed his Guillemot. Almost nothing is according to the plans. Mark hates building by numbers so, I imagine, he just took the sections, set them up as moulds on a backbone and got planking. Probably ignored the lining out too as that would have taken away the pleasure of using his own eye, rather than the designer's.

I am sure that a detailed set of plans is essential for building an exact plywood Guillemot, or Tammie Norrie for that matter, but who wants a clone of the last Guillemot or Tammie Norrie?

And it's much the same with me. Having been taught all I know by Mark it's not surprising that I agree entirely with his philosophy. Give me a shape, preferably taken from an old boat with a lovely hull form, and let me do the rest. Who cares if there's a missing dimension (or three). It's an organic thing, building in solid timber. Iain's plans are works of art, but provide only a starting point for the likes of Mark and, to a lesser extent, myself.

Of course I will be trying to stick as close as I can to Iain's plans, but already the temptation to go my own way in matters of detail is overwhelming. That way I can say, for good or ill, "that's my boat". It has something of my character in it. Which is why I hate building by numbers, or building in plywood a lovely boat like the Tammie Norrie that simply cries out to be built, how should I say? OK. Here goes... cries out to be built properly, larch, oak, copper nails, (you know the rest).

And for those following the build, here are some taken today. The centreboard case, you will note, is built like a cassette, which slots down into a widened slot. The sides are 5mm ply, which will then be faced in larch. I reckon it's a better way of building a centreboard case.

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