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...)

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Throwing away the plans, once again as they refer to strip plank, and with laminated and riveted frames there was little choice but to make the gunwales open, in traditional style. Robbins Timber in Bristol supplied the Douglas fir which was planed down to around 15mm x 30mm, riveted to the frames then planed down again, not quite horizontal, but maybe 20 degrees sloping outwards. The rowlock bases will be angled inwards by the same amount to keep the pins vertical, or I may set the pin vertically into bases that slope outwards. Decisions, decisions...

Small spacer pieces, offcuts from the frames, were then glued and riveted, two forward, two aft to stiffen the last, unsupported sections of gunwale as they swept in to the stems. I quite like the way they parallel the sheerstrakes, before taking a direct line to the stem, where some sort of breasthook will tie all together.

Suddenly the hull has become almost stiff enough to plonk in the water and row.

Meanwhile the shape of the stem horns was roughed out according to the plans, and thoughts now turn to the rubbing strips and thwarts, again departing from the plans in order to make best use of the framing. Probably a short, but sturdy riser will go in from frames 3 to 9 and the thwarts fitted on top, the aft one moveable in case the owner wants to row solo.

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