Paul Gartside 18' Racing Gaff Cutter • Cabinversion designed by Dominik Gschwind


Week 22 - Boatlaunch

Boatlaunch at the harbour of Lyme Regis UK
December 5th 2012

This is the last post in my diary which documents a wide range of the building process of my 18' gaff cutter Glóey. It was a great pleasure to write about this exciting project and I hope it was and will be an inspiration for anyone who wants to build a similar boat or who just loves wooden boats.
Great thanks to everyone who has supported me and in special to all people at the Boat Building Academy BBA in Lyme Regis who helped me becoming a passionate boatbuilder...

••• END •••


Week 21/22 - Fittings / Rigging

All what is written about in this post happened the last 36 hours before the boatlaunch... it was just crazy!
Some of us and myself have been working day and night since a while with some very few hours of sleep each night. But the motivation to get Glóey finished for the launch on december 5th 2012 was unbreakable.

The fittings on a boat can have a similar effect like accessoires in the world of fashion. They add accents and set contrasts to the timber which ends in a joyfull unit for our sences.
Sorry, if I'm a little sentimental at that stage but while working those last hours on the boat I simply was too exhausted to realize it all...
Most of the fittings we used on Glóey are in bronze which is an excellent material combining very good properties of strength and corrosionresistance with optical beauty.
It was no question for me which material to use on the fittings... all material on Glóey is just of the best available quality and therefore it was a kind of logic to run that concept all the way to the end.
A cutterrig incoorporates a lot of robe and blocks. All robe is of braided type with a hemp color (Lyros Classic).
I used 12mm on the mainsheet, 10mm on all halyards and foresailsheets etc. and 8mm for the toppinglift and the topsailropes.
There are 6 ashdeckblocks (Davey) fixed on the masttabernacle and all the rest of the blocks are tufnolblocks (HYE). They are much cheaper but excellent quality and they look good on a wooden boat with creamy sails.
Beside that aspect they are also aging very well and only need minimal maintenance.
Quite a lot of fittings were necessary on the mast and spars. On the photo to the right you can see the cranseiron at the fore end of the bowsprit. It has 4 eyes and connects bobstay, bowspritshrouds, and traveller for the flying set jibsail.
Bobstay and bowspritshrouds as well as the 4 mast shrouds, the forestay and the running backstays are in 7x19 stainless steel wire (3/16").
All throughfastenings are either sealed with epoxy or at least bedded with butyl mastic  This is an important measure to avoid moisture getting in the timber.

On the photo you can see the chainplate for the portside bowspritshroud. The 316 stainless machinescrews are fastened through the beamshelf inside the hull to spread the load on the structure.

Other fittings which are not positioned over such a strong element are reinforced inside with a hardwoodpad (like turningblocks on the coachtop etc.).
Oh yes... I nearly forgot it... the flags :-)
They were under my workingbench for many weeks because I absolutely wanted to have a UK and a Swiss flag hoisted on launchday. A nice last work the evening before launchday.
The following picture gives a good overview on Glóey's deckplan with all those numerous fittings she needed. There is indeed also a pair of oarlocks because I wanted to be able to row out and in the harbour instead of having an outboardmotor which mostly takes a lot of the charme on a boat...


Week 20/21 - Varnishing / Painting

Painting and Varnishing... this is more or less the end of all woodwork on the built of Glóey.
However another very exciting step leading to the final finish.
All starts with a general preparation of sanding through the different grits.
First we checked the hull and had quite some smallrepairs to do before beeing ready to paint. I talk about minor damages that occured during the buildingtime. The most of it could be filled with P38 a polyesterbased filler that goes off in minutes. Then the whole hullsurface above the waterline got cleaned and tacked off (getting all dust away with tackraggs). 
We masked the painting-perimeter with 3M's Blue Tape and then we were ready for the paint.
Because of the low temperatures in November we had to build a tent around the boat and heat the inside up with a small ventheater.
I've choosen a 2-pack paint in a light and very warm grey from EPIFANES... timeless and elegant with all the warm timber-nuances.

Many weeks before when we did build the cradle we decided to place it so that it supports the hull just below the waterline. This allowed now to first paint all the parts above the waterline.
When changing to prepare for the antifoul below the waterline we've built a jig through the openings of the portholes (see photo) which allowed to take the cradles away.

Ok, 2 coats of PU based 2-pack paint above the waterline (rolled and tacked-off) and 2 coats of EPIFANES Foulaway below (rolled only). We used West System's yellow special rollers which are expensive but work really well.
The parts where the keel was stepped on 2 wooden blocks was allready painted with antifoul while the boat was on the crane some days earlier!

Well, so far so good... time for the bright varnished parts.
The same deal here, all starts with a really substancial sanding beginning with 120 grit then 150, 180 and finally 240. The mainproblem is that when sanding with the rougher grits you can't use protecting gloves which results in very very very smooth hands :-) ... to be honest we just managed to finish sanding on that boat when the first fingers started getting bloody!
After a general clean with the vacuumer (equiped with a hairy hole) we cleaned the whole surface with white spirit and finally got all dustparticles away with tack-raggs. All bright varnishing was made with single-pack varnish starting with 4 coats of EPIFANES Rapid Clear which builds up a certain thickness without need for sanding inbetween. And after that 2 coats with traditional Clear Varnish from EPIFANES with a sanding with 400 grit paper inbetween (first 240 grit after Rapid Clear). It was as much as was possible in the resting time before the boat launch respecting the recommended overcoatingtimes etc.
The contrast between the fully sanded boat and the newly varnished one is enormous and every stroke with the brush is a pure joy when you can see the beautiful mahogany shining through...
Compare the two photos and you can imagine what i mean... there is something magic in varnishing :-)

However the whole process off painting and varnishing is a very interesting one and it brought Glóey much closer to her final look.
Some words to the coachtop: after sheating the top with canvas we coated it with Seatech (Hempel) a 2-pack epoxy primer. On top of that we applied the same 2-pack PU paint as on the hull.

Inside the benchboxes in the cockpit we also used Seatech and the aerea behind the benches is painted white.


Week 20 - Ballastkeel / Slidinghatch

In my post of week 7/8 I allready described how we prepared the ballastkeel-plug for Irons Brothers to cast the leadkeel. And here you can see how both the leadkeel and the plug got delivered.
We were very happy with the result and they have drilled the holes for the bolts as shown on our drawing... excellent.
The first time since many weeks we lifted the boat out of it's exact level position in the cradle, placed her on 4 trolleys and moved it under the crane.
The leadkeel has a weigth of 498 kg and therefore health and savety played a big role when handling it.
For that reason we decided to build a drilljig for drilling the boltholes instead of dryfitting the real keel and drill through those holes.
That drilljig consisted of a sandwich of 3 sheets of plywood as visible on the photo to the right. And it both allowed to place the drill at the right position as well as in the right angle (6 of 9 bolts are in an angle!).
The drilljob with this jig let us achieve a very accurate result... all 9 holes came out at the planed position on the topside :-)
Now the next thrilling moment... will it fitt or not?
Yes it fitted excellently!
What a good feeling,... this was a bit of an unsure thing because of the fact that the plug had to be fashioned oversized to respect the shrinkage of about 0.5% when casting lead. With other words... we never had the chance to check the fitt of the plug before!
A cleansweep over the contactsurface and ready for the final fitt. I should mention that we've sealed all drilled holes with epoxy overnight!
We used 3M's Marine Adhesive Sealant 5200, a very sticky white material which we spread over the whole topside of the ballastkeel.
All 9 bolts are 3/8" in diameter and made from siliconbronze rod.
When tightening the nuts we had to work in intervalls with breaks of some hours inbetween to give the sealant time to spread and get the most of the airvoids out.
The photo to the left shows the dryfitt which made us really happy :-)
Some of the very last elements was the sliding-hatch on the coachtop. This was not the easiest part of the boat to be honest ...but i wanted to get it very well working as well as aestethicly nice too.

To reach that goal one of the most important things was that both rails on the coachroof got positioned very very accurate.
They both have a routed 4mm wide slot (see photo) in which the brassplatefitting will slide in the future.
When glueing the rails i aligned the slots to the exakt heigths at each end with the help of a selflevelling laser.
What a fantastic tool... it made accurate work so much easier!

The mentioned slidingslot was prepared with very fine sandpaper and masked when varnishing. The idea was to get the slot oiled and waxed in a second step... the oil as a lubricant and the wax to avoid drying out of the timber. And this way the slidingslot can easily be maintained later.

The hatchshell itself was made out of 2 sheets of marine plywood, cold molded over a former in the shape of the coachtop below.
An inner frame and an outher frame all in sapele mahogani made the whole slidinghatch very rigid and formstable. Thinking about the fact that the boom can touch the aft end of the hatch when lowering I made this part extrastrong and it also is a nice way to get a good grip with your hands when moving it.

I'm sorry for having no better photos of the finished hatch below.... they are a quite unsharp, but the boat is now covered until spring :-)
However, they give an idea of how the slidinghatch looks finished...