Thursday, 28 November 2013

Why Build a Welsford Pathfinder...

Those of you who are long term followers of my ramblings, may know that i had (or am currently trying to sell) my Jedda 22 trailersailer...

The plan is to replace it with a sail boat which can live in my garage. The main reason for this is so I can do any required maintenance, upgrades, and just general tinkering without having to waste too much time travelling back and forth to the marina.

The size of boat which can fit in my garage is limited to about 16ft or so. And with the low headroom, it only leaves daysailers as a viable option - as they don't have cabins.

The other issue is the variety of conditions in which i want to go sailing.  The waterways around home are generally open to the prevailing winds, with quite expansive fetches, thereby enabling quite choppy conditions to develop both in a short time, and in quite light winds (in the order of 15 kts).

The "keep it in the garage" criteria lends itself a daysailer quite nicely.

After my initial investigations, i really liked the look of the Islay Skiff...

However, the "choppy conditions (and try to remain relatively dry)" criteria lends itself to something with high(ish) gunwales and internal buoyancy (in case of swamping).

So after a little more searching, and the watching of a few YouTube vid's, i found the Welsford Navigator...

I love the look of the Yawl and thought that was that...

Then i saw that John Welsford also designed a slightly larger version, the Pathfinder...

and was absolutely sold!

Quick check of the dimensions showed it would fit on the garage, and now i'm the proud owner of a set of plans...

Just need to do some major landscaping works around the house (and various other things), and then it's time to build!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

List of links which may come in handy...

This post is more of a scrap book of links and ideas which i've found on the interwebs which may come in handy.
I'll be adding to it as stuff comes to my attention.

Well what does one need when building a timber boat...??  Fittings!! Hopefully i'll end up making all the said fittings, but if not --->>>

A boat building specific search engine... that'll surely come in handy!! -->>

Looking at updates from other builds is going to be a great here's a start -->>

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Lofting...I have to do what...?!?!?!?

So... just as an aside, when i start a sentence with "so", it's just a way of giving myself extra time to think before i have to write something down - kind of like written procrastination.

So, lofting...???...

So, I have a pile of 12 sheets of paper which will apparently magically turn into a sailboat...

To quote from The Unlikely Boatbuilder...

Lofting is the process of blowing up the relatively small-scale plans you get from your naval architect into full size plans.
This process is thought to be so complicated that many modern architects supply full-size plans to eliminate the need for lofting.

So, that's what lofting is...but how does one actually go about lofting?

Well in awesome related news, i was searching through the posts / conversations on the JWBuilders Yahoo Group for lofting advice and i found this message from John Welsford...

Lofting is not something that i expect my customers to do, i do that here, and scale the drawings off it.  The most you have to do is draw out a component from a scale drawing with baselines established and offsets shown.  Not hard work at all.

And in other "That's Brilliant" news, i've found some layouts showing how people have fitted all the "pieces" (so, my boat building lingo needs some work) of frame onto the 9mm and 12mm ply to minimise the number of sheets required.

So i think this evening i might go home and have a look at the plans in some detail and start to mentally prepare!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Because I haven't had a crazy idea for a few months...

With my Jedda up for sale, it's time to think about a new boat.  The Australia market is pretty devoid of daysailers, so i'm planning to build one...

It's a John Welsford designed Gaff rigged Yawl.

There has been a lot of enquiry for a “bigger Navigator”. Someone said, “One with room to sleep on a nice flat space that doesn’t need rearrangement of the floorboards to stretch out”. Another said, “I have a family which is effectively four adults, and while Navigator will accommodate that many, we’d like a boat just like that but stretched a bit”. Others wanted more speed or more range, a motor in a well inside, room for more gear, and so on. Lots of enquiries.

I had in mind a really serious cruising dinghy. With full buoyancy, lots of storage, about the maximum size that two people could right if swamped in a hard chance, really capable in a head sea ( a weakness in almost any small boat) and capable of making some sort of progress in really nasty conditions. A boat still really well adapted to exploring an estuary with the family, cruising along a sunny coast or even just knocking around the bay while Mum and Dad have a quiet snooze on the beach, but capable of fulfilling the dreams of those who read Frank and Margaret Dyes stories with far away looks in their eyes, capable of really covering some miles, and capable of doing so in the sort of weather that will eventually catch up with every voyager.

My experience in sailing Navigators led me to strongly favour a rig similar to the yawl rig so popular on that design, she can heave to head to wind with the mizzen sheeted hard on with the jib and main sheets flying, will balance and sail well on jib and mizzen only in really awful weather, can be sailed forwards, sideways or backwards and will self steer on most points of sail. One really good point of this rig is that the main lies straight down the middle of the boat when you are putting a reef in, much easier than a sloop where the boom invariably hangs over the side.

I have though drawn a gaff sloop rig for those who like to race in the old gaffers events, or who are into daysailing more than cruising, it will offer more speed upwind and slightly more downwind due to the greater projected area of that big main, but for me the versatility of the yawl is hard to beat.

I’d drawn the hull years ago, and built a scale model. The numbers were all done and for some reason she ended up being put away. I did pull the drawing out now and again, I even asked the guys on Openboat forum (A yahoo group) what they’d like in the way of a serious cruising dinghy. Very recently the clamour got too much and I spent a couple of days on her. The shape got altered a little to incorporate some design lessons learned and I have almost all of the plans done. I’m very pleased with the way she is shaping up.

This boat has a very high power to weight ratio, her extra length over the 15 ft Navigator means a lot of extra sail carrying ability and still having the fine lines necessary for speed and comfort, I really like the rig, the gaff headed main is very controllable and the extra spacing between the main and mizzen will help the boat point well. She’ll be a rocket reaching and running and I suspect that it will take a very good boat to get away from her upwind.

The shape forward should mean she is a dry boat, and the big foredeck and wide side decks will help the crew to stay out of the spray, there are lots of dry storage spaces for camping gear and stores, and the swinging centreboard and rudder mean that she can be sailed into water as little as knee deep.

The construction method is the same as Navigator, a flat bottom panel substitutes for a keel, plywood frames are cut out and erected on the bottom panel and stringers bent around, then clinker lapped planks are laid over those. Most Navigator builders have never built a boat before and I expect that Pathfinder will be the same so I’ve stuck with my tried and true methods. 

She should take an experienced and motivated builder about 225 hours unpainted, you can think how much slower your own skills would be in comparison and get an idea of how long she would take you. She’s not beyond a winter of evenings for a couple of keen friends and even for one it would not be an impossible task.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of these around; being honest I want to borrow one!

John Welsford.