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...)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Back to Work

It's been almost a month, during which time my Vertue Sally has been gven a 75th birthday makeover, the Tammie Norrie was finally delivered to Glen Affric, the Land Rover gave up the ghost; we sailed through the Sound of Harris to the remote Monach Islands... and much more besides.

Sally spent a day on legs in Loggie, where she had a fresh coat of enamel and antifouling, decks repaired and repainted and much more besides. Her mast, which had been out for over a year, is now back, freshly varnished (10 coats plus two of Hempels Woodseal Primer, alas, now discontinued). She now has a chartplotter, as the old GPS (circa 1990 something) refused to acquire any satellites. And that's the truth.

Sally refitting in Loggie Bay
There's a new (well I say "new", when it dates from 1997) 300 tdi Discovery in the drive, and already showing idiosyncracies, which is maybe why the last owner decided to part with it. Squealing from the fan belt tensioner is only the least worrying symptom. We'll see...

There's been a bit of boat building too: the opening stages in two new boats for delivery in the Autumn. The first is an Iain Oughtred Sula, a 17ft Shetland yole, one of a very few that Iain designed from scratch for solid wood construction, and the other is a 16ft Woodfish faering, again designed traditionally.

Which means two boats building side by side, a first for Viking Boats (but don't expect it to be a regular occurence).

The Shetland boat will be built using larch, almost exclusively for centreline and framing, while oak is the  material of choice for the Woodfish, but planked in larch, of which I have a superb stack seasoning.

The Woodfish will have a square sail, though not of my making, and a steerboard as the owner is very much into Viking boats and wanted something to  represent the recent Ardnamurchan find, so a faering sounded like the best equivalent without going into huge expense recreating a boat from scratch.

In the workshop are two sets of stems, waiting to be scarphed to their respective keels. The Sula is a bigger, far chunkier workboat, while the faering is a delicate, slip of a thing.

Mattis will be back in July, fresh from a stint at Kai Linde's shop in Norway, fired up and ready to put his considerable skills to work on a boat close to his heart. While he will be working on the Sula, I will tackle the faering's delightful structure, possibly the most efficient use of timber I can think of in a boat. Nothing wasted.

So, a busy summer ahead. Just hope the weather stays like this (generally superb, dry, sunny) and we don't get hammered like they are in the South. Makes a change.

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