Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Dry fitting berth supports
We really didn't expect a delay of quite this length. Ah well. The weather is still decent, and Tiger is once again underway.

Robbie spent the last couple of days reviewing the plans, mocking up the galley and dry-fitting berth supports and knees. 

We note sadly that we will never have the privilege of sailing our completed boat across the Atlantic to meet Ruth Wharram, who died recently at the age of 92. We are Wharramites-come-lately and never had the great pleasure of speaking to Ruth. By all accounts this was indeed a pleasure, and she was beloved in the Wharram community. May her life be a blessing and an inspiration to all sailors.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Penna floats!

And how wonderful it is!

I have always thought that Penna was the prettiest boat in the bay. Any bay. With any other boats in it.  (I suspect many people feel this way about their own boat -- I hope they do! -- and that doesn't make me wrong.) With all the updates done on this haulout, I'm even more confident now.

Here she is, at the Silva Bay dock.

The astute observer will note that we haven't yet painted the cabin top, and that the sides of the cabin top are not the same shade as the hull. Well done, observer! My limited experience of boats tells me that there is always another haulout -- and we may even get this painting done before the next one. If not, no worries.

Most of the really big changes don't show from this angle. To begin with, there's the tremendous sense of security we feel just walking around on the brand new, very solid deck... and knowing that the sheer strake is new, and the top several planks on each side are new. The standing rigging's odds of remaining standing have increased dramatically. Penna is a safer and healthier boat than she has been for many a year.

I managed to not get a good picture of the wonderful cockpit. Here's the best one I came up with.

It's much more traditional in style now -- deeper, with low benches instead of the lockers we had before, and without the lazarette. This is a profoundly good thing. The air circulation below the cockpit was never great. Now it is wonderful. 

And the rather mundane photo below shows one of my favourite new features -- an absolutely oil free bilge! Trevor pumped some water into the boat a couple of days before launch, to let the wood start taking up since we've been out of the water for quite a while. Look closely and you can see the water pumping out in this picture. It's clear! There's nothing like removing a diesel inboard and replacing it with an oar and a new paint job for the bilge to improve emissions.

And here's the obligatory photo of Penna suspended in the travel list. Yikes. This is definitely not my favourite part.

There are a few things to be done, including getting back to our Degnen Bay mooring from Silva Bay and sewing a deck tent, but they are relatively minor. 

We will soon return you to your regularly-scheduled catamaran.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The masts!

We had one very exciting Tiger day earlier this summer. We moved the masts from Trevor's shop to our shop.
Here they are, safe in the shop. Still some shaping to do on one of them -- see how the one on the left is round, and the one on the right is angular? It's octagonal. It won't be when it's done.

Although they are not tall for masts -- 34 feet, more or less -- and they are fairly light, they were waaaaaaay too long for our little trailer. 

Enter Mark Pounds, Somerset Excavating. (Thanks, Mark!) Strapping the masts on to this trailer definitely gave them the air of gravitas that my alternative idea (four people walking down the road with a mast on their shoulders) would have lacked. 

Plus, easier on the shoulders.
Here they are on the floor of Trevor's shop. The astute observer will note that they stick out the door. By the time we took this picture, we'd already removed the extension on the front of the shop.

Robbie and Mark strapping them into position on the trailer.
Here they come! Yes, it is a large truck, isn't it! The masts weight maybe 30 kilos each.

Oops, sorry -- been gardening!

Work on Penna is proceeding. Work on Tiger is delayed for the moment; Penna takes priority because we really want to go sailing! And she's a lovely boat, and it really is now or never for these repairs.

She has a lovely new sheer clamp that isn't visible in these pictures, and there has been much sanding, and sistering of frames at the top edge. Soon there will be a new sole, then new cockpit benches and decks.

And then can I go sailing, please? If I promise to plant the rest of the beets first?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A refreshing pause

... or perhaps a refitting pause?

We're taking a bit of a break from Tiger to get Penna back in shape. Penna's an old boat, and she was suffering the indignities of age that many an old boat faces. 

In the case of Penna, these indignities included rot where the standing rigging attaches. When we looked at that in more detail, there was a lot more to be done.

We already knew that we wanted to replace the cockpit. As is the nature of this kind of work, replacing the cockpit expanded. So now we are replacing the deck, quite a bit of planking including sheer strake and clamp, and painting the cabin top.

We also removed the engine and are replacing it with a yuloh. 

More photos of Penna will follow when we relaunch in June, then head back to Tiger for a summer of galley-building.

Penna looking aft from the bow

Penna looking forward from the transom

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

... and still masts

And it's still cold. Not really cold -- we've had a mild winter -- but cold for working in the boatshop without heat. 

Trevor is continuing to work on the masts in his cozy warm shop. 

Soon it will be spring.

On the right, you can see the first mast glued up. The second is in two pieces in the middle of the picture. You can't see the warmth of the shop, but the t-shirt gives you a clue.

There are slight differences between the foremast and the main mast, but since they're the same length and pretty darn similar, labelling where it wouldn't get sanded off seemed prudent.

A bit of a side project -- Trevor's building us a yuloh for Penna, our folkboat. A yuloh is a Chinese sculling oar. Robbie drew a plan for it based on a variety of sources. We'll experiment with Penna (2 tons) and see how it works there before we decide to try one on the much heavier catamaran.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


The boat shop remains chilly, the days remain long and dark, and Trevor's shop remains heated and well-lit. Glue something up, the cry rang out!

So -- masts it is. 

The astute reader will remember that this Narai Mk IV will be rigged as a wingsail schooner, so are two masts. Each is 34'6". We're building them from Douglas Fir. 

"We" in this case really means "Trevor" so far. Life having shouldered itself into the way in its usual fashion, Robbie hasn't been able to devote any time to mast building so far. Me neither -- educational consulting is boat work too, right? Sure -- it's all boat work, as we say.

Step 1 -- Buy the lumber. We went to Pacific Forest Products, and picked through what felt like every 16' 1x6 on Vancouver Island to find 24 we were satisfied with.

Doug fir, Doug fir everywhere -- but not all mast-worthy.

It was a nasty, sleety, snowy day, so the lumber had to be tucked in for its trip up the island.

Planed and in process. The mast is built as a square, then shaped.
Trevor added a bump-out at the front of his shop to allow for the mast length.

Custom-made bases to allow for clamping. A simple and elegant solution to a somewhat awkward problem. Wharram suggests wiring the pieces together while the glue sets, but not all boatbuilders rejoice in the Henderson clamp collection and Trevor's ability to solve problems in woodworking.