Monday, 16 February 2015

Life of a Boat Builder Part Seven

Having completed my Boat building apprenticeship and needing to spread my wings, I left the boatyard on the Norfolk Broads and looked to go to another boatyard in the area. As I looked around it became obvious that my future did not at that time continue in the wooden boat building field, but in the Fibreglass part of the industry.

So started my time in the Fitting out of fibreglass boats, I know that is is not as challenging as building a wooden boat from scratch. But it did give me a knowledge and understanding of how these modern constructed boats were build and how they differed from the boats I had been building and repairing up until this time.

The Boatyard I did go to built a range of both motorboats and yachts and the work was interesting in as much as I got to work on the whole range of boats. So this gave me a understanding of the different methods of construction across a wide range of sizes from 16 foot up to 33 foot and a few special project boats along the way.

It was at this time I start to spent my weekends and holidays sailing offshore, both cruising and racing around the East Coast of the UK. In the mid 1980's I got the chance to sail in a completion to find the next crews for the major national and international racing circuit. I did well at this and was asked to sail of some of the east and south coast racing yachts which I did for the next 3 to 4 years.

At this time the family bought a 25 foot sailing yacht and then up sized to a 33 foot yacht which was  moved to down to Woodbridge and then Ipswich where I still sail from to this day.

It was during my time in Ipswich that I got my chance to move into the larger boat building  part of my life as a boat builder and moved to a large boatyard in Ipswich. It was from there I would get to work on a number of large ocean going yachts and delivery a few of them and become a skipper of one of these yachts and sail it from the UK to the Med and then back to the UK after a few years when the owner moved on to other projects.       

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Spring just round the corner, it is time to make a start on Mai-Star II

Spring just round the corner, it is time to make a start on Mai-Star II and get her back together and ready to get in the water.but before I can do that I need to get a few jobs on the boat finished off , mainly the last plank in the bow and the rest of the ribs to make and steam into position.

Then get the cabin roof finished off and the cockpit to sort out and make more use of the available space above and below the cockpit sole. Because now that she as no engine under the cockpit sole there is now room for other items that can be stored under it.

Another bit to sort out will be the height of the cockpit coaming and the fitting of a pair of small winches for the headsails which it did not have before and that I found were needed when tacking up and down the rivers when the boat was last in the water and also needed is a small winch to tension the running backstays as this is needed to keep the tension in the mast when beating to windward in a bit of a blow.

But the main job for now is to get the hull and superstructure watertight and painted so we can get her afloat as soon as possible and start to enjoy our sailing of her again. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Now it time for other projects to get underway again, especially Mai-Star II and get her back in the water for May

Now that I am back from the North of England, it is time to make a start on some of the other projects currently waiting to be continued and in some cases finished off.

There are number of projects that were put on hold from before Christmas which now have the green light to get underway again. The two Shetland cruisers, the Princess 25 and the Enterprise dinghy, the new build clinker dinghy and Mai-Star II. As well as a couple of projects in the pipeline that could be started at any time.

The Enterprise is in need of a fair amount of painting and varnishing and general tidying and the re-fitting of fitting on both the inside and outside before it can take to the water again.

The new build clinker dinghy is in need of the last two planks aside to be fitted and then the interior fit out can start and the boat will start to take shape and be ready for the summer.

Then Mai-Star II need the last of its planks in the bow re-fitting and the rest of the missing ribs steamed in to place and cliched up and then the boat will be ready to be painted and varnished and in places re-caulked, then the cabin roof can be covered and sealed and the deck fitting can be re-fitted and sealed and finally the cockpit can be sorted out and made to be more user friendly. While doing all this work fit in working on two Shetland cruisers and a Princess 25. So the next couple of months are going to be busy at J-Star Boat Services.      

The final few jobs done before the Engineer and painter start their work.

Now that the planking is now finished and the boat is painted to the undercoat stage.
One final job to do was to make and fit the transom protection blocks and brass strip to both corners of the transom

The weather where the boat is so cold over night that the water in the pots which were keeping the brushes ready to use froze.

The job is now being turned over to the Engineers so they can fit the new engine and then the painters to paint the boat when the weather get warmer. 
So for now my work is done of this project.