About Me

Welcome to My Stir-Ven Build

thinkingI’m Mike, I live in Melbourne in Victoria Australia. My reason for documenting my build in a blog is that maybe it’ll inspire others and also to keep me motivated when it all gets a bit hard. I’ve also learnt an enormous amount from other builders who have been good enough to document their building experiences on all sorts of boats all over the world. So I’m going to add to that growing pool of knowledge and entertainment – you’ve gotta love the internet. I’ve listed some of my favourites on my links page.

I’ve been making noises and threatening to build a boat for quiet a few years now but have always found plenty of reasons not to start i.e. two house renovations, family time, running a graphic design business, surfing, sailing, lack of space, fear of not finishing, cost etc.

Then one day I realised none of this was going to change, well not in the short term anyway. So with the saying “life is what happens while you’re making plans” I decided to just start and somehow it will all sort itself out.

I chose the Stir-Ven after seeing it in Wooden Boat magazine a couple of years back. It’s a 22ft glued lap strake day sailer, camp cruiser, traditional gaff/gunter rig etc. To get all the info on this boat you can check it out at www.vivierboats.com

My main reasons for choosing this design is it’s probably the biggest and most practical boat for the type of sailing I’ll be doing in the medium term – day sailing with friends and family, occasional racing and trailerable for the odd over night adventure. I also like open boats and the more traditional look. The 38ft ocean cruiser will have to wait till the kids have finished school and I’ve made a bigger dent in the mortgage.

Two major hurdles for building this boat that need to be overcome are $$$ and space to build. Some would argue time as well, but I never have any of that. So the $$$ issue will be spread over the life of the build (don’t know how long), it appears most of the major inescapable costs come towards the end i.e. sails, trailers, fittings, outboards etc. In the meantime a bit of epoxy, a few sheets of marine ply and some recycled Oregon are all proving to be pretty manageable.

Where to build? The design is a bit big for a normal car garage (not that I’ve got one) so initially I’m building all the components at home in my long skinny workshop (grandiose term for shed). The workshop has seen the birth of a number of long skinny wooden kayaks and surfboards and now hopefully a real boat.


My skinny workshop

My skinny workshop

My wife and neighbours haven’t shown the same enthusiasm for me milling timber or sanding for hours on end in the workshop or driveway! I try to do all the noisy stuff in the car park at the back of my office. This requires a bit of forward planning but has worked so far. So no complaints from anyone who has lots of space, I’m jealous!

Once I’ve drawn, cut, glued screwed and assembled as many components as I can in my limited space I intend to put everything together at the Wooden Boat Centre in the Melbourne Docklands http://www.woodenboatcentre.com.au

It does cost to rent space at the Wooden Boat Centre but I’ve had a chat to Brian Atkins who runs the operation and the price seems pretty reasonable, particularly if I’m well prepared and can assemble the whole thing as quickly as possible.

So that’s the plan that I cobbled together to give me the impetus to start, follow my blog of trials and tribulations and hopefully in the not to distant future I’ll actually have a boat to go sailing in.

The Wooden Boat Centre option turned out to be a no go. This threw my construction plans into a bit of a spin! What happened was I contacted them again when I was ready to begin assembly and somehow the rental of the space had doubled in price!! They wouldn’t negotiate or budge on the monthly fee, so I had to let that option go.

Anyway one door closes and another opens. When discussing my dilemma with a mate he very generously offered a corner of one of his warehouses which is about 20min from home. Of course I jumped at the offer and am now happily ensconced in a corner of the newly christened boat building division of Westbury Supplies and Packaging’s toner cartridge recycling warehouse!!!

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