Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Building Boats in the Street

Today's post is a good follow-on to my post of yesterday about building boats in exotic places. It is also in South America but in Brazil rather than Colombia.

Today I received a link from Eugênio Herkenhoff in Vitoria, Brazil. He has been building a Cape Henry 21 for awhile and sending me occasional feedback and photos of his progress. Eugênio is a professional builder but this video shows that he is very different from the professional boatbuilders you will find in most other places.
View into the workshop from the street.
Eugênio has a very small workshop and it is in a very built-up part of the city. I have seen workshops like this in Rio de Janeiro as well, so they must be common in Brazil. All sorts of businesses operate out of these small facilities, supplying custom woodwork, metalwork, plumbing, electrical etc. But there is only so much that can be done inside the building. In the video at Voiles et Voiliers magazine it is described as "a boat in the streets". That is where Eugênio builds his boats. The video is narrated in French but you can get the gist of it without understanding the language.

Being in the middle of a densely populated area, he must be considerate of his neighbours, who are very close. So Eugênio chooses to do most of his work with hand tools rather than electric. That is green boatbuilding with a difference. He also prefers it for better precision and it is less dangerous. Eugênio says that many people stop to watch and chat, "spreading the boatbuilding virus".
Birdsmouth mast of the Cape Henry 21
Don't think of this as primitive boatbuilding either. We all have to adapt to suit the conditions under which we must work and this is what Eugênio has done. He is also very accomplished with computers. He occasionally sends me images of CAD drawings that he has prepared for cutting patterns, to ease his work. The upper photo in this post shows two complicated frames that he has built and over which he will laminate the twisted forward bottom panels of the CH21s that he builds. He designed these frames on CAD.

Eugênio's drawing of the building stocks and frame for rolling the hull.
I feel honoured to be able to work with builders as talented and diverse in their methods as Eugênio and others like him, wherever they are. Thank you Eugênio for your work.