Posted by: Mike Randall | October 24, 2010

Progress At Last

You could be forgiven If you thought I’d disappeared into a cloud of paint fumes never to pick up a wood working tool again. It’s been so long since I’ve actually made anything for the boat rust had started to form on some of my tools!

Looking back over my posts I see painting on the interior began sometime in August, with not much of interest to report during that whole long winded process blog posts seemed pretty pointless. One thing I have learnt about myself is I clearly don’t have the right demeanour to enjoy painting, even if it did come with a lot of mind altering fumes.

I’ve also noticed it’s a year almost to the day since I began construction in the warehouse, my how time flies…

It has also been an incredibly intense few months at work, so even though I’ve only had the boredom of painting to look forward to on the boat building project it has been my sanctuary of peace and done wonders for stress management and sanity. I knew I gave up yoga for a reason, boat building is way more Zen!

Here are some pics on the status of the Interior Painting. I’m pleased I’ve tackled the bulk of this before the decks and cabin top go on as it has been an awkward and uncomfortable business. The results of all the prep and paint tedium are very gratifying, so much so I insist all who visit and wish to come aboard including myself have to remove their shoes before hand! The captain Bligh is coming out already!

Interior Painting

Interior Painting

Inside the Cuddy Cabin

Inside the Cuddy Cabin

View from afar

In preparation for the excitement of putting the deck on, I purchased the recommended foam for the sealed buoyancy tanks. I bought my polystyrene from Foamex it is basically the stuff they use in refrigeration panels and came in varying densities and thicknesses. For whatever reason I bought the Very High Density stuff and I had to revisit a bit of high school maths to workout how many litres by volume were in each panel and how that would match up with the volume in the buoyancy tanks. As a Graphic designer maths has never been one of my strong points and at first I thought I’d over ordered, but it’s disappearing quiet quickly into the 600+ litres of buoyancy tanks and I don’t think there will be much left over.

High Density Polystyrene Foam

High Density Polystyrene Foam Panels – For the Bouyancy Tanks

Forward Buoyancy Tank – Three quarters full

Forward Buoyancy Tank – Three quarters full

On the weekend I got started on the fore deck – So nice to bust out the tools again and pack the turps away for a bit. As has been my way to date I made patterns for the various deck sections from 5mm MDF before chopping into my stash of Gaboon/Okume ply. The plans are quiet clear on the most efficient way to layout these sections to maximise efficient use of your ply sheets.

Fore Deck patterns

Fore deck patterns

The various deck sections have overlapping scarfs to make for neat and strong joins. Once upon a time for me cutting scarfs was an exercise in fear and trepidation! I now feel like a grizzled old hand at this process and confidently cut these two scarfs in about 10 minutes.

Forward Deck

Forward Deck

To break the boredom while painting the interior I started to get serious about getting the centreboard manufactured. I did a post about this on the the Woodworking Boatbuilding forum looking for advice and suggestions on the best way to go about this. My initial forays into obtaining quotes for a cast iron board were proving dishearteningly expensive and I was seriously considering an alternative construction method! Through advice I received on the forum and a few fortuitous phone calls I finally found Billmans a foundry in country Victoria about an hour and a half from Melbourne that could do the job at a price I was reasonably comfortable with. So for those of you who may have been following my centreboard trials and tribulations on the Woodwork forum I’m back to the original solid cast iron as specified by François. I’ll be delivering my pattern to them next week and it should take about 6 weeks to manufacture. Who thought a lump of steel could be exciting!!

With this in mind I dusted the pattern off that I’d made about 18 months ago and discovered it had developed a few cracks while sitting around in the shed. The foam and MDF had expanded and contracted at different rates.

On advice from the foundry, after seeing photos of my pattern they suggested I fill the safety line groove I’d created as it would make the casting process more complicated and therefore more expensive. So out with the sander, filler and high build undercoat, a bit of elbow grease and she’ll be good as new in no time.

The Centre Board Revisted

The Centre Board revisited and cracks filled

High Build Filler

High Build primer and groove in the head filled

Stay tuned as the posts will be coming thick and fast from now on as visible progress becomes much easier and more interesting to document. Also summers almost here and who knows just maybe…


  1. Glad to see progress, mate! I have to agree, I was getting a little worried there… But you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, now, can’t you? You’ll be glad you took the time to finish her right: as you rightly know, it ain’t the awesome scarfs and assorted feats of joinery you’ll be staring at for the next twenty years, but that ONE spot in the cuddy to port, where the aft bulkhead meets the house roof, where that ONE paint drip got past you, or worse, you saw it, but it was midnight and you thought, “bugger, I’ll have it!”

    Congrats on the beautiful build, she’s really looking amazing – you can be proud. This is François’ most beautiful design, if you ask me, and I’ve enjoyed vicariously building it with you. I’m curious why you settled on this particular boat, however. I have two young kids as well, and although I still think it’s the most gorgeous, I’m thinking if you are going to build something that big, then why not go with something more in the pocket cruiser line, like a Dix Cape Henry 21, for example? Otherwise you can can get by just fine with an open 15 ft beach-camper-cruiser and a tent?

    Anyway, can’t wait to see the centerboard come in from the foundry, and the rigging start to go up! Cheers from rainy Vancouver!

  2. Hi Dave,
    Glad you’ve enjoyed following my boat building trials and tribulations. I read on someone else’s blog or thread that boat building is really sanding and painting with the odd bit of nice carpentry thrown in! This is to true!
    I think in the “About me” I rabbit on about why I chose this design over a pocket cruiser, though I do like the look of the Cape Henry.
    I just received a huge parcel from Classic Marine in the UK full of fancy bronze fittings, can’t wait to start screwing those on.
    Might be raining in Vancouver but I love Snowboarding Whistler!
    Cheers Mike

  3. <>

    You and half of Oz, it sometimes seems, when I am up there!

    I spent two months in WA, myself, and we’ve got nothing on you, I think: from canoe-camping down the Blackwood River, to hiking the Stirling Range, to backpacking in Francois Peron Park around Monkey Mia (and nearly biting the dust from heat stroke!), it was an amazing trip. I hadn’t been bitten by the sailing bug yet, being your traditional Canuck canoe-head still, otherwise I am sure I would have taken a charter somewhere. I look forward to just that on my next trip to one of the other five states and two territories!


    PS: I’ll make sure to read your About Me entry. Can’t wait to see pics of the centreboard!

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