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, 6 June 2015

On Reflection

As the first of the two boats occupying the Old Milking Parlour awaits her new owner, it was time to reflect on boats built past and present. The Ilur and 16ft Gartside skiff, a traditional Breton design and a West Country rowing boat, will be the last new boats for a while as I concentrate on repairs, and try and make the most of a summer that has barely begun up here.

All have been designed, or based on traditional designs, often, as in the case of the faerings, dating back centuries. Most have been built using time-honoured materials and methods; some methods have been brought up to date, but still  keeping with tradition. As the old saying goes: if the vikings had had glassfibre, they would have used it (although I am not so sure...)

It is ironic that, having been so scathing about plywood and epoxy, I have at last come around to accepting the method, if not the materials. I still have little love for epoxy, for its mess and mixing and waste, and rot-cut marine ply I will maintain looks horrid under varnish, and is better painted, so don't waste money on the super duper stuff.

But if I had to build in plywood and glue, then this is the method I would choose. Collano/Vendia lapstrake.

Instead of epoxy I have been using Collano Semparoc for some years now, and recently I discovered Vendia, a lovely Finnish laminate made from pine, of which Finland has vast, inexhaustible forests. And it comes in handy sized boards, not 8 x 4in monstrosities.

12ft skiff; Vendia pine or solid larch?
Not only does it take varnish and looks great, but it is lovely to work And Bob is proof, I reckon, of that. So, if anyone would like to start building glued lapstrake boats out of a wood laminate that look nice varnished, and using a glue that makes them a pleasure to build, give me a call.

And to illustrate the full circle, I put together a selection of some of the boats I have built over the years, both traditionally built and not quite so. Here they are:

15ft fishing skiff in larch and oak

Atkin Ninigret launch (Robbins Elite plywood)

Traditional lugsail

15ft Scottish type lug sail

Viking faering, in larch

 Arctic Tern in larch/oak

19ft, 1930s sjekte and little 12ft sister

Cradle boat

15ft Norwegian-type rowing boat

Tammie Norrie pulling boat

Karsten Ausland, 1930s racing sjekte

Sailing lugsail double ender

Oughtred Faering

Caledonia Yawl in plywood/Vendia lapstrake

Gartside 16ft skiff in Vendia/Collano

Faering for Viking re-enactment society
Francois Vivier Breton sailing boat in plywood/Collano

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