Saturday, October 31, 2015

Flint and Alby Sailing Videos

I've written a fair amount about a group of my designs which make use of a very simple boat-building method, know by a range of names including "Stitch-and-Glue", "Taped-Seam", "Tack-and-Tape", "Composite-Chine", and so on.

A taped-seam hull under construction - in this case a hull made from my First Mate design.
There are some significant advantages associated with this construction method, with notable ones being:-

  • if properly designed, hull panels can be marked directly onto the sheets of plywood used in the boat's construction;
  • the builder can produce a "flat-pack" kit ahead of time, which allows those who have limited building space to get a head-start on the job;
  • again, if the boat has been properly designed, accurately marked, and carefully cut, the hull can be built without a fixed strong-back and station mould assembly - a very significant saving in time and resources;
  • the amount of timber framing in the hull can be reduced to a minimum, saving cost, reducing weight, and avoiding rot-traps - all without sacrifice in strength;
  • the vulnerable edge-grain of the plywood is exceptionally well protected within a cocoon of thickened epoxy and glass firbes;
  • sanding, painting, and maintenance are all made easier due to the clean interior (and exterior) of the hull.
Please do not get me wrong - I am not advocating this system over other methods of construction. All construction methods have advantages and disadvantages, and every boat design and building project must be carefully considered in the light of many compromises. What I am saying is that taped-seam/stitch-and-glue/composite chine should be given the respect that it deserves.

I continue to design boats to be built glued-lapstrake (glued-clinker), glued-strip-plank, cold-moulded, and taped-seam. Frequently the design itself determines which method will be the most appropriate, and it is very important that the builder understands the design, materials, and application very clearly. Education is the word!

Here are two video clips of taped-seam (stitch-and-glue etc) boats under sail.

The first is a clip shot by Paul Hernes, a Phoenix III owner-builder, showing a boat built to my Flint design by Paul McShea. Flint was designed primarily to be a rowing boat, but her hull shape assumes that some will feel the need to sail her, and/or mount a small outboard motor. The plans include details for a sailing rig, daggerboard and rudder. However, Paul McShea had a Heron rig on hand, and it happens to be just about the right size and shape for Flint.

I've also been able to shoot a short clip showing my Alby design under sail, showing-off her tanbark-coloured balance lugsail. There are plenty of eight foot long pram dinghies in the world, but what is important about Alby is that she has an unusually large carrying capacity, and due to the design of her chine-line, she is still able to travel quite fast while leaving a relatively flat wake. Both Alby and Flint have easily-driven hulls for their size.

This particular Alby carries a short foredeck, which is a variation from the plans - something I do not recommend.


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  2. I'm waiting for Alby plans ordered from duckworks. Would like to make oars while waiting, but I don't know how long they should be. I'll make them using Michalak's suggestions. Any recommendation for length for Alby? Thanks, john