Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time to Plan for Winter

Winter is coming fast and the weatherman says that it will be another cold one, much like last year. If you are into winter sports, this is a great time of year. If you are like me, you prefer the warmer months. Despite that, I don't let the cold trap me inside, you will often find me out on the ocean, surfing in air and water temperatures that are not many degrees above freezing. I will be covered head to toe in black neoprene, with only my face exposed to the elements. If the surf is good, that is where I will be.

When I am not surfing or working, I keep myself busy in the workshop with projects. My current project is rebuilding a 40 year old British sportscar, a Lotus Europa S2. It was given to me by a friend, in a very sad state. This project will keep me busy for a few winters.

My Lotus Europa rebuild project, garaged and with
 the body off the chassis. My surfboards are racked
 on the wall.

Now is the time to plan what you will do this winter. Building a small boat is a great project that will keep you busy, in a warm shop or garage. It will also result in a product of your own hands, of which you will be proud and which will give you lots of fun when the warmer weather returns.

Nomatter what your age, you can benefit from building a small boat. As a schoolboy, you can build it for yourself. As a father or grandfather, you can build it for yourself and your children or grandchildren. Whether you are into fishing, sailing or the exercise of rowing or paddling, there are boats that you can build with basic woodworking skills.

Some designs need boatbuilding skills but most can be built by people with only basic woodworking skills and no prior boatbuilding experience. You should choose a design that you are sure that you will be able to complete. It is good to challenge yourself but don't aim so high that your project will get the better of you.

We have a few designs that are suitable for winter builds. At the lower end of the skills scale are the 3:1 dinghies that are built by the stitch & glue method. They can be built by almost anyone and can be propelled by oars, sails or a small outboard motor. Use them for sailing, fishing, teaching boating skills or simply lazing around on the water, with or without a fishing rod.

Nicely built Argie 10 3:1 dinghy, built from
plywood by an inexperienced amateur builder.

At the other end of the skills scale are the lapstrake Challenger and the Paper Jet. A completed Challenger is also a 3:1 multi-purpose dinghy. The Paper Jet is very different, being only a sailing dinghy. But it is a sailing dinghy with a difference in that it has 3 sailing configurations that make it suitable for sailing at all skill levels.

Whatever, your boating preferences you can find a boat to build in our Winter Projects. If you get started now, you can be having fun "messing about in boats" when the warm summer months come again.

See all of our designs at .