Saturday, November 26, 2016

We are Building an Argie 15

The Argie 15 is our most popular design, with builds to date in the thousands, spread all over the world. I designed this boat 28 years ago but have only once sailed one. That was the prototype on launch day, when we did publicity photos for the Cape Argus newspaper that had commissioned the design. Sailing among the rows of moored boats at False Bay Yacht Club, I remember it as a speedy and nimble sailor that also rowed very easily.

Getting the boat to the water was an interesting experience of its own, showing us just how big this big 3-in-1 dinghy is. We didn't have a trailer to move it from the Fishoek home of the builder, journalist Dave Biggs, to the water. Our friend, single-handed sailor Kate Steward, came to our assistance with her bakkie (South African name for a pickup truck) with a fibreglass canopy. We placed the Argie 15 upside-down on the roof of the canopy. The boat was way too big to carry that way, overhanging the roof all round and obscuring much of the windscreen, with the tip of the bow not much more than a foot above the bonnet. It reminded me of a young boy scout with a brand new hat that he still has to grow into.
Argie 15 prototype on the slipway of False Bay Yacht Club.

Me at the helm and Dave Biggs as crew. The first sail of the first Argie 15, between the moorings of False Bay Yacht Club.
We have never had an Argie 15 exhibited on the Wooden Boat Show but that will soon change. We are building one now and expect to exhibit it at Mystic in June next year. The work is being done by my friend, Kevin Agee, working from one of our CNC kits. I will post progress photos over the next few months, through to launching and sailing the new boat. Here are the first few photos of Kevin's project.
Long hull panels are longer than a sheet of plywood, so two panels are glued together to make the full length. If building from a kit, they have jigsaw joints. If building from plans then scarph joints or taped butt joints are used.
Close-up of jigsaw joint after gluing. Once faired and sanded, it disappears into the finished surface.
Kevin will be showing this boat in the "I Built it Myself" section of the 2017 Wooden Boat Show at Mystic. If you have an Argie 15 or other of our boats that you have built yourself and you live on the USA East Coast, why not bring it to Mystic and show off your handiwork alongside Kevin's boat?

To see more of this and our other designs, go to our main website or mobile website.`

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Update on DS15A Project

The DS15A (Didi Sport 15 Adaptive) is the same hull as the DS15, modified to accommodate the needs of handicapped sailors. The prototype is being built in Santa Cruz, California. This plywood prototype will be used as the plug to make moulds to produce composite boats to order.

The hull has progressed to the stage that it is stable enough to be removed from the building stocks. It has been turned over so that work can be done on the deck along with completion of the hull.
Hull lifted off building stocks. The upper side panels haven't been fitted yet.

The hull is suspended on ropes while the support cradle is slid in under it.

Settled in her cradle and ready for work to continue.

3D rendering of the DS15A, a modern sportboat for sailors with special needs.
Hardware layout for the DS15A , with most controls operable from either seat.
To see our full range of designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Winter Project Time Again

That time is coming around again, for the northern hemisphere. Winter has a charm all of its own, with festive occasions, family gatherings, giving and receiving gifts, having fun in the snow and snuggling by a roaring log fire with eggnog. Then there are those times of being trapped inside, when nerves begin to be frayed by cabin fever after all of the Scrabble and other board games have worn out their appeal and you have run out of episodes of that TV series that you have binge-watched for 36 hours straight.

That is when it helps for Dad to have a project to work on in his man-cave that does double-duty as a workshop. A small boat is a great project for those times, creating something of value for the family to enjoy when warmer weather returns, while also giving opportunities for quality time working together and developing new skills that will be of value in the future.

We have a few boat designs that are ideally-sized to be built in a small space, some simple and quick to build and others more demanding of skills, time and financial resources. Here is brief info on all of them.
This 8ft Dixi Dinghy was built by Leslie Koen. It has a sailing rig option as well
This 9ft Oppikat was built by Frank Nagel for his children
This Argie 10 was built by schoolboy brothers while Dad was away on a business trip.
Challenger 13 built by Jonas Klimantavicius
Paper Jet built by Andre Siebert
Didi Sport 15 built by Jim Foot.
Argie 15 built by Tarquin Morkel
Lynnhaven 16 built by Mikhail Andrukov
Inlet Runner 16 built by Kevin Agee.
Time to sharpen your saws, chisels and planes, buy in some marine plywood, Douglas fir and epoxy, then get to work preparing for next summer. You will also need the plans, which can be ordered from our pricelist.

See more about these and our other designs on our main website or our mobile website.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Upgrades to a Cape Henry 21

"Slough Coot" is a Cape Henry 21 that was built by an amateur builder in Michigan for his own use. He named her "Margo" and sailed her a few seasons then sold her. He trailed her to the new owner, Michael Baccellieri, in Oregon. Michael is a talented woodworker and boatbuilder, among a host of other worthy accomplishments. He had bought his new boat based on the great reputation of the design as a seaworthy little boat.

The builder made some changes from my design, including increasing headroom and fitting used sails that changed the gaff cutter rig to gaff sloop.
Cape Henry 21 "Margo" as built and rigged by her original builder.
Her new owner expected to make mostly cosmetic improvements to bring her finishes up to his personal high standard. Once he started work he found that there was more work needed than he had anticipated because the builder had made incorrect material and finishing choices at times that impacted on the durability of the boat. Michael has gone through the boat meticulously over the past few months to bring her up to standard and get her back toward the designed configuration, as much as was practical.

In that process he has replaced the out-of-character windows with round portholes, modified the rig to gaff cutter and replaced the clear-finished timber of dubious specie and their corroding fasteners with Douglas fir, properly fastened and finished. He has also replaced some framing that was rotting due to incorrect timber and finishing choices, as well as generally upgrading finishes throughout the boat.
New paint, portholes and bright-finished timberwork and the
addition of an inner forestay to the stemhead.
Refinished interior. White for a bright and airy interior, with teal trim and fabric.
Comfortable and roomy interior in a 21 footer.
"Slough Coot" and a new friend, in comfy accommodations for the winter.
The most recent news from Michael about "Slough Coot" is that he has added a composting toilet to her inventory. This is an environmentally friendly solution for a small boat that is becoming popular in the Pacific Northwest. In a small boat this is essentially a big bucket, with a lid, in which waste is layered with sawdust and peat to cause it to decompose aerobically for later use as compost. "Slough Coot" has two buckets, one serving as the toilet and the other containing the material for layering.
Composting toilet stowed under the companionway step.
I wish Micheal happy cruising in his Cape Henry 21. He expects to have her at the 2017 Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, where she will keep company with a sister that is currently being built in Mill Creek, WA.

Visit Michael's boatyard website, Welcome Slough Boatworks.

See this and other designs on our desktop website or our mobile website.

Cape to Rio Race 2017

"Black Cat", the Didi 38 that I built in 1994/5 for the 1996 Cape to Rio Race, is entered for the 2017 race, starting from Cape Town on 1st January. I was to be co-skipper for this voyage, along with Dave Immelman (Wavy), her resident skipper. Unfortunately, that plan has had to fall by the wayside. I damaged a knee during the 2014 Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. That injury has somewhat limited my sailing on my Paper Jet skiff but not really affected anything else.
"Black Cat" soon after start of the 2014 Cape to Rio Race. Dave Mabin photo.
My knee suddenly worsened while sailing last month and can now immobilise me very suddenly. On a boat sailing trans-Atlantic is not the place to be with this injury, possibly endangering boat and crew in an emergency situation. Sadly, I have had to withdraw from the crew and "Black Cat" will now be skippered only by Dave Immelman. He is a very capable sailor, having skippered her to her win in the 2014 St Helena Race. Dave makes his living as an RYA sailing instructor with a sailing school in Cape Town.
This is me doing a repair on the headstay foil of
"Black Cat" during the 1996 Cape to Rio Race.
Gavin Muller photo.
I will have surgery on my knee next week, which will hopefully get me fully mobile again. I wish good sailing to Wavy and his crew, just sorry that I can't be there to share the voyage.