Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hardy Boatbuilders

I have built all of my big boats outside, sometimes with temporary shelters over them to allow me to work through the winter rainy season or to protect new materials that were sentitive to moisture. I built a 36 footer (not my design) when in my 20s, a 34 footer (CW975) when in my 30s and a 38 footer (Didi 38) when in my 40s, all of them from plywood.

I had it easy, compared to many builders of our boats. A few days ago, Bill Connor in Boulder Colorado sent me this photo after an early winter blizzard. Doesn't look like a boat but under all that cold white stuff is a Didi 40cr  hull and deck.

Stern view of Bill Connor's Didi 40cr

Bill writes the following. "As you know, building ourside requires an understanding of local weather, cooperation with the weather you are given (as opposed to forecast), perseverance, and a sense of humor, not unlike sailing itself. Local weather in Boulder means Chinooks, cold, and snow. The winds came early this year with 85kts. at the house mid-October, so the tent had to come down for the season. I finished glassing the deck and cabin, but the cockpit coamings were in progress so they'll have to wait under plastic until an Indian Summer or until Spring rolls around - so it goes. Meanwhile, I'll work on assemblies in the shop with an eye towards next Summer's goal: painting the exterior and decking."

Bill highlights something that I mention in various places on my website and documentation supplied with our designs. It is important with a large project like this to always have a few sub-projects on the go or being planned so that you can carry on with other work inside the workshop or inside the covered boat. If you are going to sit and wait out the rain or snow then the boat might never be finished.

Igor Pokusaev is building his Hout Bay 30 in
Moscow, Russia.

So, almost wherever you are, you should be able to build a boat. You must make allowances in your planning for your local conditions and you might have to seek premises that will allow you to build indoors. However, by making suitable choices, you will be able to successfully build a boat.