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Spindrift 11N build in Scotland


Aphers
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After considering all the options for a tender, I persuaded myself that a Spindrift was the best choice. Our yacht has limited deck space and the idea of a floppy roll-up rubber dinghy somehow lacked appeal against a nesting dinghy that promised to row beautifully and give us some fun under sail too.

We are a family of three and plan to become full time liveaboards; this pushed up towards the largest version, the 11N.

After a year of procrastinating, and waiting for a suitable build space to become available, I finally have most of the pieces in place. Four sheets of finest Okume plywood, 4 12ft lengths of 2x1 ash, several gallons of epoxy, and a good working space. The plans and templates are in the post and should be here later in the week.

 

I've never built a boat before, and my timescale is potentially quite tight. The workshop is a holiday cottage which is out of use just now whilst all travel is locked down. In fact the workshop is a cottage that I designed and built myself. A bigger project than a dinghy but quite a different set of skills. I've used epoxy and glass before, but only for relatively small repairs.

 

To help speed things along, I've opted tor the full size templates. I also have an old 'OK' class sailing dinghy to use as a parts bin. Having a heated indoor workspace means I don't have to worry about the weather at all, but working around my (part time) day job means I will only have four days per week, plus my evenings, to get this completed. I'm guessing a couple of hundred hours might go in to this, and I need to have the cottage freed up by the spring, so time could get tight.

 

I shall be bombarding you all with questions as I go, so here's the first one: what size is the building frame for the Spindrift 11? I could get the timber for that on order right now and hit the ground running once I have the plans.

 

 

cottage empty.jpg

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Geetings from the states! First of all, that looks like a sweet place to build a boat if that's your shop!

 

As for the building jig, there isn't one. Take a look at the build pics below to get a good idea of what happens. Yes, therey will be a time where you need to make sure everything is square, but it's a different sort of process, unless something has changed, but I'm pretty sure they haven't.

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Ah thanks for that, I had assumed that the frame was built to a specific size/shape but I guess not. Which is good in a way since I can make it up from scrap timber.

 

Since I took the photo I've laid plastic and cardboard down to protect the floor, and a bunch of tools are in there now including my big table saw. I've also built a temporary workbench from old kitchen units.

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What Amos said! There are many of us working in windowless garages with the doors shut that are envious of your workspace with a view and wood heat. Looks like you might even be able to raise the mast in there.

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Progress so far: all major panels cut out, transom and bulkhead assembled, the two sets of floor/side panels are joined at the bow and ready for stitching. Cradle set up (I had an old bed to get rid of so modified that as a frame).

 

I'm surprised how much time it took to epoxy together the transom and nesting bulkhead. Maybe I should have enlisted SWMBO to mix the batches of epoxy and stir in the silica. I've ordered some better (larger!) epoxy tools which should speed things up a little.

 

I'll upload a few photos when I get a chance. Hoping to do the grand opening tomorrow.

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As promised, progress so far.

I was pretty nervous when it came to the opening up. But I needn't have worried, the joints all held.

My first taped butt joints weren't brilliant. I've put the better side to the outside, where possible, as I think that will see more stress. I can also hide an ugly joint more easily on the inside. My epoxy work has got steadily better with each little job.

I've been doing this mostly on my own, although my 4yo son likes to help out where he can. I gave him the job of poking the wires through the pairs of holes which he took to with great enthusiasm. I had to go round and pull out all the ones that were in random old screw holes of course :)

 

The old bed frame has been great. Unlike trestles, I can move the entire thing around without having to get it aligned afterwards. And with the extra width, I was able to tack on various battens to help me with the unfolding. You'll see in one photo that I have a sort of goalpost arrangement at the forward end; this lets me put a little downward pressure on the sheer line to gently persuade the boat to open up. It's just held by one screw each side so can swing fore and aft, and by pulling it forward I can press down to lower the sheer. It made fitting the forward bulkhead pretty easy.

 

Well that's tea break over so back to work...

s11n kready to unfold.jpg

s11n unfolded 1.jpg

s11n unfolded 2.jpg

s11n unfolded 3.jpg

s11n fitting fwd bulkhead.jpg

s11n flat packed.jpg

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Quick question: the stock I have for making the breast hook and knees is 45mm, so about double the thickness called for in the plans. Other than the slight increase in weight is there any reason not to use this? I've already made the breast hook and quite fancy having a little more material there since it is a fairly high stress area.

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First mistake, fortunately I spotted it before it was too late.

I have no idea how I managed to do this, but I've made a pair of beautiful knees, perfect mirror images of one another, with the prescribed angles to the transom and sides all in place. Took me a good chunk of this evening (if I had a bandsaw I'm sure it would have taken a fraction of the time).

When I offered them up to the hull, the angle between the side and transom was all wrong. It would pull in with a bit of persuasion but just to be sure, I checked against the drawing and it was way out. Aargh! Maybe at some point I started reading from the breast hook drawing- I've been putting a fair number of hours in so getting a bit tired.

Annoyingly, that was my last good chunk of hardwood. I've got my ash for the gunwhales etc, there would be enough spare to do the knees, but it's only 2x1 so would have be laminated up from two or three pieces. Is that a problem?

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If a laminate is glued up well it is probably as strong as a solid piece of wood.  It is probably more stabile as well, though for knees that really isn't an issue. Use thickened epoxy and clamp the pieces firmly, not over tight.

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I did not expect the knees and breast hook to take that long. Where do the hours go?

I found another piece of hardwood after all so didn't have to laminate. I didn't see any benefit in ripping the stock down, I quite liked the chunky look. It will be adding about 300g to the total weight, I can live with that. One benefit of my little mistake last night was that I got better at making them- five in all, when you count the breast hook! With a bit of patience, the pillar drill and table saw did the bulk of the work.

 

I was a bit unsure about what order everything happens after the initial unfolding and dry fitting of bulkheads and transom. I glued the breast hook in place, then moved on to the transom and knees. I'll start on the gunwhales tomorrow. Should I glue up the nesting bulkhead before or after the gunwhales? At the moment it's just screwed in place, and the forward bulkhead is wired in.

 

Everything seems nice and square with no twist. Measuring from the bow to each corner of the transom I was within 2mm, which is probably within the margin of error with a bit of sag in the tape.

s11n knees.jpg

s11n overhead.jpg

s11n ahead.jpg

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That's the ash ripped for the gunwhales. Bit nerve wracking but it was good clear timber. A 6.5x30mm x3.6m strip seems extremely fragile.  Thank goodness I still have the table saw- I nearly sold it just before deciding to do this project. I was working from 28mm stock, cutting it into thirds, so the way it worked out I have four strips of identical thickness, and two that are a tiny bit thicker. I might put the thicker strips on the very outside after the thinner strips have established the curve, if that makes sense.

 

Thinking about the gunwhales leads me on to the rowlocks. I guess the correct type to fit are the ones that sit on the side of the gunwhale? If I had the money to spare I would go for these: https://shop.classic-boat-supplies.com.au/boat-hardware/rowlocks/bronze-rowlocks-drop-style-shallow-mount-pair/

But failing that, I will probably go galvanised instead: https://shop.classicmarine.co.uk/galvanised-turnover-rowlock.html

 

 

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That's an interesting gunwhale detail, @Chick Ludwig -  would give some options for attaching fendering.

I've also spotted some chromed brass captive rowlocks (https://seamarknunn.com/acatalog/captive-folding-rowlock-50mm-chromed-brass-2257.html) which are a good price, but I'm not sure how they would look after a few months of use. There is a reason we use bronze instead of brass for structural boat fittings.

 

Anyway, better get back to work...

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I have the oarlocks that are in PadrePoint’s post, and I hate them.  I don’t use the word hate often, but it is appropriate here. The hardware is placed on the gunwale exactly where I want to be when sailing.  It is like this both on my Bay River Skiff and my Two Paw 8.  I lean back, and get poked by a chunk of brass.  I am very close to switching over to these: 

https://www.gacooarlocks.com/gaco-oarlock.html  If you were closer, I’d send you my old brass hardware.

1C69DEE1-4502-442F-B220-4A2085857081.jpeg

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I found a pair of galvanised drop/captive style rowlocks going cheap on eBay, they look terrible but they might scrub up OK, and they were very cheap. Worth a shot.

 

I persuaded my other half to help me with the gunwhales last night... told her it would take an hour, it took more than three :D

By the time we'd finished tidying, we got to bed at 2am. But that's how you make progress...

 

Oh and of course I did run out of clamps. Made some wooden ones using slats from the old bed, the gift that keeps on giving. And when you're really stuck it's amazing what you can use for a clamp...

s11n clamps.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had to take a week off the build, away from home for a work thing. Been back a couple of days now and got all the inside seams filleted and taped.

I'm not happy with one of my butt joins, it seems strong enough but I don't think it was properly wetted out- no real surprise I suppose since it was the very first task on the project. So I'll probably sand/grind that back and do it again, but I'll wait until all the outside seams are done so that the boat is as strong as possible.

 

Next up is flipping the boat and taping the outside. Any tips on how to do this really neatly, to reduce the amount of fairing and sanding that will be required?

s11n taped inside.jpg

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