Monday, March 30, 2020

We Are Open For Business

I didn't realise that it is more than two months since my last post. Time flies when you are having fun, or busy. I am working on a 71ft aluminium cruiser, with the detailing taking a lot of time.

Our lives are being disrupted by the COVID-19 virus that is bringing the world to a standstill. Here in Virginia we are not yet in a lock-down situation but that is probably in our future before long. For now we are social distancing, chatting to neighbours at a distance and keeping contact with faraway family by Skype and WhatsApp.

I work from home, with my wife Dehlia as my only co-worker. We are able to work on as before despite the restrictions.

Many people are taking a break from their normal work, some enforced by authorities and others by choice, to ensure isolation from potential infection sources. We all hope that the situation will return to normal within a few weeks but that looks more and more unlikely.

When stuck at home, staying productive helps to fill the days and lift the spirits. A big enough project can involve most or all of the family, racking up quality time and keeping minds off wanting to be elsewhere. Making something worthwhile with our own hands is very satisfying and can provide the balance needed to keep us sane, reducing cabin fever.

If that something worthwhile that you build is a boat then you will have a new family toy when summer comes or when we can get to the water again. Some of my happiest times as a child were those spent sailing or fishing with my dad. As a teenager those prized memories were made on the water, rowing our family dinghies and, especially, sailing my own boat.

If you are already building one of our boats then nothing changes. Our personal backup, included in the price of our plans, continues as usual and we can advise when needed. If you are considering building, we will do all that we can to help you. We have offered study packs and dinghy plans for delivery as PDF files by email as an alternative to traditional paper prints. We will now expand this to include construction plans, under our normal terms of sale.

In the past most customers have been happy with paper plans sent by first class mail, transported by the airlines and delivered by the postal services in the destination country. There have been massive cutbacks in air travel, so most of the aircraft that would have carried the packages to faraway places are grounded. With so few planes, airmail services are under pressure and have slowed considerably, aggravated by slower delivery in the destination country due to restrictions in movement of people. The alternative of courier service speeds up delivery but is costly. Receiving the plans as PDF files may be a viable option for some builders.

PDF files do have drawbacks, related to the size of the drawings that you will be using. Most of them were drawn to A1 size of 491x841mm (23.4x33.1"). These are way too big to print on a standard A4 or letter size printer but you can view them on-screen and zoom in to see details. You may be able to print sections of a drawing or your printer may have a nesting feature to print in sections for taping together into a single sheet. The best option is to take the files to a print shop for printing on a large format inkjet printer.

Here are samples of drawings to show what you will receive for two different types of designs. Click on the links to see them online, which will have limited clarity. Download into your computer and view in a PDF Reader program. Zoom in to appreciate the greater clarity that is available.
Sample PDF file of a CAD drawing, applicable to most of our designs drawn since 1995.
Sample PDF file of a hand-drawn drawing, applicable to most of our designs before 1995.

Some of our designs include full-size patterns, which we normally print on 36" Mylar roll media. Some of them are as long as 16ft, totally impractical to print in small sections with an expectation of accuracy. These must be printed on a wide format printer. You can print on paper instead of Mylar if you store them in a sealed plastic sleeve and use them within a few weeks. Delaying their use risks dimensional change due to variations in humidity.

Whichever delivery method you choose, we can supply any design from our pricelist, except for the Trika 540. This was drawn by a colleague and is only supplied as paper prints, shipped from Germany.

We wish all of our supporters and families continued good health through this worldwide crisis.