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, 5 September 2012

Taking Over

Mattis Voss, who first approached me via a well-worded letter of introduction, is off to Norway next week, leaving me the task of finishing the Shetland yole he began - or rather which I began by making the stems a few months back.

It's a strange thing working on a boat that someone else has built and put heart and soul into. A boat, until it's delivered, belongs to the builder even if the money's been paid. You form a strong bond with that inanimate object through hours of head scratching, planing and hammering which is hard to break. And now, after little or no head scratching, just the occasional word of advice, I will be charged with bringing it to fruition - like fostering someone else's child.

In contrast - and what a contrast it is between the Shetland boat and the faering - the faering I built is off south soon and although I will be glad to see it safely delivered, part of me would like to keep it a little longer, even to the extent of paying back the fee.

"Pity. I'd like to keep this one for myself..."
In truth, I'll be sorry to see it go. In so many ways it is different to the yole; the one being as precise an interpretation of the plans as Mattis's skills could make it, vs the faering for which the brief was to build a boat that looked like it could have been built many centuries ago, hence the darkened oiled finish and the tool marks. Much else departs from the plans, both in basics such as length and sheerline as well as details, like the breasthooks and frames. It feels more like my boat, rather than the designer's. I like that!

But it is not, of course, my boat. The owner whose instructions I tried to follow will soon take possession of her and I hope that my interpretation of what he wanted will be the same as his, if you see what I mean.

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