We can eat! The Oughtred-designed Arctic Tern that has been flitting about for a few weeks, has alighted on the roof of Viking Boats International's (Ullapool) shed and will be under construction just as soon as I can clear it of the other projects, notably the Tammie Norrie (finished but awaiting delivery) and the Guillemot, back in for some pre season fettling. There is also a Flying Fifteen and a small grp motor boat cluttering up the place.
Iain has redesigned the boat at 17ft and she will be built traditionally, in larch with Shetland-style framing, not steamed timbers, perhaps the first of his Arctic Terns to be built properly (cue angry cries from epoxy/plywood fans).
She'll be heavier, but will need less ballast than a plywood version. The buoyancy will not be built in, but in the form of bags under thwarts, the boat being essentially open. Iain has drawn her for eight strakes, rather than the original six, but I reckon we could go down to a more traditional seven a side.
After ten years on my own I am being joined by one Mattis Voss, a shipwright from Ireland who spent a couple of years at Skeppsholmens Folkhogskola in Stockholm, during which he built a 21ft haddock boat. He clearly knows a thing or two about Scandinavian types, and is also an aeronautical engineer, speaks five languages and has a CV that quite frankly puts mine to shame. The general idea is that I will simply pull up an armchair in front of the wood burner, light a fat cigar and from time to time say encouraging things as he builds the boat, while I deal with the admin and marketing (and count the cash).
It won't of course be like that. First off, we'll have to see if we get on; and furthermore, if he can stand the cold inside the shed for longer than a few hours, and the leaking roof and the choice of radio station. For this is boat building in the raw, as practised centuries ago in these parts, and the way I would like it to stay, for all its discomforts.
Mattis expects to learn a great deal from me, although I suspect it will be the other way around. Anyway, it seems the Arctic Tern arrived at the right time.
More next week...