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In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
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Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
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02 April, 2017

Finally - I have started work on the forecabin.

Oh lord!  I can't believe how long it is since I last posted.  I have been working pretty constantly on the boat, with my only real reprieve being a nice tiki tour with my old friend, Steve, during which time we pottered around parts of North Island and encountered some pretty dire weather.  In spite of this we had a great time and some wonderful encounters with kiwi, parrots and other splendid natives of the country, including a number of my friends.  Fortunately, Steve enjoys meeting interesting people, so I had a fine excuse to catch up friends I haven't seen for too long.

Once again, I have to apologise for the dreadful layout of the blog.  I did exactly the same thing before and after each photo, but some nicely between the text and in some cases the text ended up alongside.  I've no time to play with it - I have a boat to build! - so I'm afraid you'll just have to put up with it.

And then back to the grindstone.  Again, I think a 'photo essay' is probably the easiest way for people to see what I've been up to.  I hope all this boatbuilding isn't too tedious for those wondering what I'm up to.  If you want to read the adventures of a real sailor, I suggest you look at this blog.

So back to the anchor locker:  in order to complete the anchor locker, I needed a bit of additional framing for the lid. Here I'm sawing up some treated kahikatea I've been given by Marcus.

The locker lids and the central panel will land on the saligna stringers shown below. No doubt people will occasionally jump down onto the foredeck: saligna is good and strong!


With the plywood for the deck in place, I needed to work out where the teak would be, to assess where the hinges would be.  However, before laying the teak, I had to cap the forward end of the bulwarks.  It all required a lot of thought so as to get things in the right order.


 The stringers were then glued in to place.

Before proceeding any further with the foredeck, I had to finish capping the bulwark ends.

I laminated treated kahikatea into place and, because of the curve of the hull, screwed it rather than clamping.  In fact the curve of the hull meant that it was quite tricky to get a clamp to hold, anyway.


After making a pattern, I cut the locker lid.  I'd debated whether to cut the hinge line parallel to the hull or the centreline. I decided the former would give more support to the deck - thinking once more of these putative heavy people leaping all over my boat!

The previously flo-coated deck was given 2 coats of epoxy primer and 2 of custom-coloured polyurethane paint. it was surprisingly difficult to get the colour that I wanted and the guy in the shop insisted on taking me out into daylight to prove that it matched the colour I had chosen: the artificial light made it look quite different.  It's a warm, light yellow, in case your computer doesn't show it correctly, either.  The epoxy undercoat is there only because of the poor covering ability of 2-pack polyurethane paint.  If it covered better, I'd just put it straight on to the WEST, but epoxy primer is a lot cheaper, so I use that first.

It occurred to me that making the scupper with the teak in place, might damage my deck, so I did it before gluing down the plywood. The two holes will be joined together to make a long slot. 

Allowance was made for the teak overlay.


A little distraction: one of NZ's delightful insects is the praying mantis. They're usually bright green and lurk in the grass, waiting for their prey. This one is camouflaged to match the okoume ply!  Unfortunately, it's one of the South African interlopers.  Apparently the kiwi male praying mantis can't tell the difference between them and a native female, with disastrous results, because the SA female often indulges in the unpleasant habit of eating her partner, which the male has no defences against: kiwi praying mantids are rather safer lovers!
The lids for the anchor locker and the removable centre panel land on framework, coated with epoxy and graphite, for a hard, UV resistant surface. 
Now for the fun bit - fitting the teak to the foredeck.  I started with the removable centre panel so as to be sure that my 'king plank' was in the correct place.
Dry fitting the teak to the forward end of the foredeck. I decided to fill in the space between the bow rollers with teak, too. I've got plenty of it and as it's just above the copper, it would be difficult to decide what colour to paint it.
1 February - the removable centre plank sanded.
The stack of prepared teak for the anchor locker lids.

Fitting the teak to the rest of the deck. The screws and washers go between the planks: the screws act as spacers, the washers hold the teak down, while the glue sets.  This works well and save having to drill out, plug and fill screw holes in the planks.  To say nothing of having to cut the plugs.
One of the craftsmen in the yard here, suggested that investing in masking tape might save me a lot of work. If you tape up the edges of the teak before gluing it down, it becomes a lot easier to remove the excess.  Ideally, one does this at the just-beyond-sticky stage, but that normally meant when I was tucked up in bed.  If I weren't so idle, I'd have saved myself even more work.  I also sent every piece of teak for the foredeck, through the thicknesser at the same setting.  They looked as though they were all the same thickness, but when I came to sand the deck I realised that it was well worth doing.  By and large, all I sanded off was glue.
A tiny triangle of teak was required to finish the corner. I was delighted that the starboard side could be used as a pattern for the port side.  Delighted and astonished when I think of the grief the bow had caused me,when planking up.
It all looks a bit messy after gluing it down. but the masking tape kept the worst of the epoxy off the cabin front and bulwark. 
Gluing down the starboard planks. To port, the old masking tape has been removed,taking the worst of the mess with it and new tape laid down for filling gaps in the seams and topping up screw holes. 
Finishing laying the deck. The masking tape, combined with the accurately thicknessed teak, saves a lot of sanding.  Thank you, Craig, for the idea.
Final top up of the seams.  Graphite and epoxy makes for a particularly filthy dust: a vacuum cleaner, attached to the sander, makes sanding much more tolerable. 
The portholes I bought are impossible (for me) to fit as designed, so I decided to fit them back to front. To clean them up I discovered some fantastic pads from 3M which leave no scratches.  It's a long and tedious job which I tend to pick up when I'm stuck on something or towards the end of the day.
Here is the foredeck all done and dusted. Nice, eh?  My detractors think I'm crazy, but I will get so much pleasure from these decks.  And even more pleasure from not having to repaint them regularly.
Saligna and teak knock seven bells out of edge tools and my thicknesser was protesting. I needed to change the planer blades: 'when all else fails, read the instructions'!  In fact I think I put them back in better than they were originally.  Double-sided so no bill, this time.
With the foredeck just about finished (apart from the hardware) I could finally start fiting out the forecabin.  I can't believe how long it's taken me to get here.  The photo shows me sawing up kaihikatea for cabin sole bearers. 
 The first of the bearers fitted and glued in to place.
The outboard bearers are also cut to fit, but I waited until I'd finished painting out the bilge area to fit them, because they were hard to paint around. 
The back of the cabin sole flocoated. I won't paint this, so the epoxy is the final coating.
Here the cabin sole is down and the bunk panel roughly fitted. Because I - foolishly - only took the kauri panelling part way down, fitting this piece of plywood proved to be a bit of a mission. 
To match the bulkheads, I fitted kauri 'tongue and groove' to the bunk panel. 
On Badger, all the locker interiors were clear finished, but this made them very dark. It was both diccicult to find things and to keep them clean. I'm going to paint the ones on SibLim, but leave the bottom panel clear, which will show up water ingress.  (Although I very much hope there won't be any!)
15th March.  Trying out the bunk panel for size, having painted out the locker.

The panel glued in place.
A quick final coat on the inside of the panel to tidy up. Painting out the lockers is time consuming, but I think will be worth it when I come to look for things in the future.
The top of the bunk is a big flat area, so will need a fair bit of stout framing to support it. Here I'm fitting a transverse member, supported by an upright. 
The rest of the framing. I'm trying to keep it true, in spite of someone commenting that the boat is unlikely to float perfectly level. 
Originally I was going to fit the flat as one piece and then cut out the hatches. One trip up the ladder with it convinced me that there was an easier, if less elegant, way of doing it.

Framing glued in place.

Because the panelling didn't go all the way down the bulkheads, I had to add pieces at each end of the bunk front after the event.

The lids were cut out of the bunk and everything was flocoated. 

The flat was then glued into place. Yes, the lids are enormous: from experience this huge locker is the only one that will take some items, for example spare oars. It's a nightmare if the opening is too small and you either have to take everything else out, or jiggle around what's already there.


1st April. The bunk flat finished, apart from a couple of coats of varnish. There is room around the outboard edge for the cushion to be supported, and the lid to rest against it, when I need to get underneath.  It's very irritating to have to take the cushion off completely and to pu it somewhere else, each time you dive into the locker.


OK, that's the state of play as at the start of April.  Yes, it's all taking a very long time, but I never thought I had a chance of building this boat in less than two years.  Now I realise it's more likely to be three.  But as I'm enjoying it, I don't suppose that really matters.  And I do have enough money, although I shall have to pull my belt in hard once the boat is in the water.  This doesn't bother me in the slightest - I can think of nothing I would enjoy more than disappearing out of sight, somewhere up a long and winding creek, far from the madding crowd and any places where I can spend my money!