Posted by: Mike Randall | January 23, 2010

Planking Almost Done

It’s been a busy eight weeks since the last post, but here’s where we’re at.

After the garboards went on in late November I set myself the ridiculous goal of finishing the planking by Christmas! In hindsight I don’t know what I was thinking as I was under the pump at work and was caught up in the general pre Christmas summer holiday mayhem.

But by the 27th of December (yes I know that’s 2 days after Christmas) I only had the sheer strakes to go! I’d obviously got in the zone and had the process down pat.

Before that though I sought some email advice from Walt Donaldson in Florida whose Stirven build photos feature on Francois site. His best tip was about using the L clamps to hold each plank in place while checking for fit. I had totally overlooked this incredibly useful device in the instruction manual, maybe because that section was all in French! He also had some good general strategies for cutting gains and keeping the planks aligned with the planking marks on the bulkheads.

I mixed Walt’s advice and experience with my own take on things and amazingly each plank went on with a minimum of fuss. I now know why clinker planking with ply and epoxy is so popular and well suited to the amateur builder.

Here are some pics of how things went

Current Status – Sheer strakes to go


Life saving L clamps. A must for the solo builder




I cut my gains on the boat


Plank cutting gymnastics


Looking to the bow – One plank to go


On the 28th December the family and I left for a desperately needed and much anticipated three week vacation surfing, swimming and sunning in Bali and Lombok (Indonesia).

Ever the boat nerd I enjoyed chatting with and watching how the locals built their boats. We spent a lot of time travelling to small islands, surf and snorkelling spots on these outriggers. I took some pics of boats at different stages of construction. Funnily enough my wife and girls didn’t show the same degree of interest in the use of hand cut wooden dowels for planking and techniques for  bending exotic tropical timbers? Hmmm.

Lengthening an existing boat


Rough cut planks


Hand cut dowels


Even the locals agreed Epoxy was good stuff


Island hopping


Gerupuk village Lombok – good surf there


The day we left Indo to go home I developed a nasty case of what I thought was Bali Belly, which made travel a nightmare. When we finally got home my wife tired of my whining took me off to the doctor who promptly diagnosed appendicitis, an hour later I was in hospital having my appendix removed. This was definitely not in my summer plans!

Post holiday fun!


The pair of strakes to finish the planking will have to wait a little longer while I’m on the mend.

This little medical incident though did make me reflect how lucky I am to live in a country with excellent health care – not something available to most in the third world!


  1. Love the shots of the indo builds. Makes yours look positively clinical. Which of course, it is. The planking looks fantastic. Can’t wait to see it. Need to link up this week sometime. One question: Who has the presence of mind to ask someone to take a picture of him before he’s wheeled in to the OR to have an appendix removed? Of is this an ‘After’ shot? 🙂

  2. I didn’t ask to be photographed. I couldn’t believe what was about to happen, but of course Vix thought it would be funny!

  3. And it is! Hey, did some scientific tests on glassing a piece of cuttlefish tonight. Works a treat. Is there room for a cuttlefish insert on the Stir-Ven?

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