I guess like many I have toyed with the idea of building a boat for years, and finally decided to do something.
I first came across Phil Bolger's name in the book "Cruising on a Small Income". The author, Ann Hill, and her husband built a Tortoise as a tender for their 34 foot junk-rigged Badger dory. Lots of Internet hours later I knew a bit about Bolger's fascinating designs and got familiar with Dynamite Payson's web-site.
My kids bought me Dynamite's "New Instant Boats" so I decided it was time to
build. A square boat had to be easy, and it was. It's also appealing in
its ugliness and minimalist design (though I've long since started to
think it looks fine!)
- Well, not all that much really
- Mainly I made it 15% bigger all over, figuring it would then take 2 people sailing, if I could persuade anyone to come.
- Then I made the lee-board and rudder pivoting (for the shallows - there is a lot of shallow water nearby)
- and made buoyancy boxes at each end (that seemed a good idea - I've been reading Jim Michalak's articles, and the safety-first approach suits me well).
- scaled up the plan in Dynamite's book by 15%, making it 2200 mm (7' 4") long x 1100 mm (3' 8") beam x 470 mm (18") deep.
- For plywood I used cheap exterior 3-ply; marine-grade glue, but poor faces, and 7mm (just over 1/4") thick. Here in Australia (from Mister PlyWood) it is called CD grade, and cost me about $A30 per sheet (3 sheets). Marine ply is 2 to 3 times more costly. One face was better, so that went to the outside. It looked a bit wavy on the ground, but ended up looking straight in the boat.
- Glue - this is a cheap and cheerful project, so no epoxy. After some previous experiments I decided to try construction "liquid nails" type glue. Fuller's "MaxBond" was the choice. This is a thick, toothpaste consistency glue that comes in caulking gun cartridges (about $A3). It fills gaps wonderfully, and is very strong, and non-stringing. It is labeled as water-resistant only, but my test joint lay in the garden for months, and the joint remained strong. The glue worked, but is slow to cure, and sands poorly. I used it for all the main hull joints, but changed to a cross-linked aliphatic white glue (Selleys "Aquadhere - Tradesmens Choice") for the rest. Much easier to work with. I suspect this is the same stuff as the "Titebond II" I see mentioned in some US builders' web-pages.
- Fasteners - 22mm (7/8") x 1.6 mm (1/16") silicon bronze ring-nails - used these liberally to fasten the ply to the framing pieces. I also used some brass wood screws and some self-driving "treated-pine" decking screws in a few high stress areas.
- Framing - nearly all of it is 45 mm x 20mm (nominal 2" x 1") dressed radiata pine (cheap). The outside chines are a mixture of 90 x 20 and 70 x 20. I did this to avoid having to make the chines in 3 pieces as the plan has it. The acute angle cuts needed would have been tricky without a table saw. The penalty is weight, and a little more cost. Sure looks sturdy though!
- Buoyancy chambers. I boxed in the small rear deck, and also the front angle of the bow with a deck about 300 mm (12") long and a vertical bulkhead.
Here are some pictures of the second outing, at beautiful Bonnievale in the Royal National Park 30 minutes from my home.
On top of the car, ready to go...
in the water...
and sailing two-up at hull speed (maybe 3 knots)..
Here is the only time Tardus sailed at Port Stephens - a 1/10th scale model sailing on the end of a line at Taylors Beach. This was on the beach about 20 metres from the verandah of the holiday house we were renting.
Last changed 26 Jun 2007
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