Some weeks, the boat leaps forward and I think that it may even swim one day. Other weeks not a lot happens - on the boat that is. Life has a way of disturbing one's boatbuilding routine. If I were desperate to go sailing again, this might by very upsetting. However, much as I would love to be back on the water (how can anyone
tolerate living ashore?) and back to sanity, going sailing again is a pleasant promise for the future rather than a burning desire. There are far worse ways to spend the days than building a boat and when that progress is interrupted by people that I value, it's an interruption I can happily handle.
A telephone call on Monday evening from Roger, told me that he had arrived safely back in Godzone, on the good ship Oryx
, with Linda and skipper Pete. They'd had a bit of a bumpy ride off N Cape and were happy to be safely in harbour. Rob and Maren were driving up to see them the next day: did I want to come too? My feeble protestations of "I shouldn't really", were shouted down, so I happily agreed and made arrangements to hitch a ride up with R&M.
was anchored off Paihia; Rob had brought his inflatable rubber duck, but as I'd gloomily envisaged, the light E breeze was quite sufficient to make launching off the beach something of a drama. Finally, with me soaked half way up my thighs, Rob wringing wet from a complete dunking and Maren sitting primly in the bow wondering what all the fuss was about, I shoved them off and climbed into Crake
, which Pete was holding offshore, waiting. As we rowed out he said that the drama off N Cape was caused when a wave had rudely climbed into the cockpit, completely filling it and managing to find its way below. "The wind wasn't that bad," he told me, "Force 8 gusting 9, but the seas were terrible - the worst I've seen for a long time". Spring tides rushing round the top of North Island, colliding with the SE current from the Tropics which was flowing against the SE gale had stirred things up a treat, it would appear. However, the gallant crew was stirred rather than shaken and a jolly afternoon was enjoyed by all, before we all headed back to Whangarei, with Roger on board.
A couple of days later Dave and Rosemary, back from their 6 months in Oz, came by to inspect progress and tell me all about the house and garden they've been building. Then Roger having hitched a ride up the harbour on Tystie
, came to view progress, together with Martin and Renate and Marcus broke out some beer ...
So, the long and the short of it is that there isn't that much progress to report. I know Real Builders will be shaking their heads and sucking their teeth, but when I'm old(er) and grey(er) I suspect I'll remember my friends' spontaneous visits with much more pleasure than gluing pieces of wood together. However, wood has been glued:
You may recall that I decided to cheat around the drawers in the forecabin. There is already heaps of stowage and I felt no need to use up every square centimetre. And making a perfectly rectangular box does somewhat challenge my skills. But, as those following with close attention will have noted, I do like things to Look Nice, so I am fitting kauri fronts to the plastic boxes. The kauri was acquired from a delightful wood turner - a friend of a friend - who is 'slowing down' and is offloading some of his shed full of stock. Lovely stuff. I had one of the one-inch boards sawn up to provide the drawer fronts.
I thought the boxes could do to be a bit stiffer, so screwed plywood to the front of them to form the interior front of the box. By making the kauri slightly larger, this would ensure that the boxes couldn't slide in too far. I shall use simple brass turnbuttons to stop them coming out too far.
The front of the box had stiffeners down it, between which I placed small pieces of ply for attaching the large ones. They were glued together and a screw goes through both pieces: the plastic is, of course, impossible to glue to. However, with the small pieces of ply snugly between the stiffeners, the drawer is reassuringly stiff. The kauri fronts were then fitted as accurately as possible - not very - and individually fitted back in the locker and trimmed into some sort of symmetry.
In the meantime, I had fitted the tigerwood counter top which I
think looks fantastic. To be honest it's all rather enormous - ideally I'd have made the whole thing a bit lower, but the stringer that it's resting on is the best part of 50mm from top to bottom and I'd have had to lower the counter far more than I wanted to be able to fit it under
the stringer with a reasonable gap between the two. It would have looked a bit odd snugged up under the stringer. Anyway, I now have another enormous
area of storage; but an unexpected benefit is that the forward end will take an Admiralty chart folded in two. It's not the ideal place for dashing to and from the cockpit, but would be perfect for more leisurely chart work.
A substantial 70mm fiddle finishes it off. Here are some of the drawers getting their final fitting. The doors have their tongues' and the clamps are holding in small pieces of wood that stop the doors going in too far. No doubt a Real Builder would have made a nice rabbeted frame and save himself from this fiddly work. I don't trust my skills to try this and besides, it requires a lot more wood. The main thing to me is that the doors will function and, of course, Look Nice. I can see a big varnishing job coming up!
I can easily see those screw heads pulling right through the plastic of the drawers, if a little force is ever accidentally applied to them. At minimum, I'd recommend some substantial washers under the screw heads, to spread the load, or better yet, a thin plywood backing plate to sandwich the plastic between it and the drawer face.
Very nice job, all the same!
It's almost impossible to apply force in the way in which you mention; the drawers are glued to the face, as well.
Ahh.. that's good to know.. it had me a little concerned.
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