Getting Afloat with Nick Gates
7 hours ago
"I'm not sure who designed that alum dinghy I had, could well have been built as a prototype for the Vagabond, and therefore designed by Alan Payne. They maybe figured that alum was not the best way to go and so built the 3 class boats in glass. The 16ft Corsair is still going strong all over Oz, but the 12ft Vagabond and 10ft Gipsy seem to have faded. When I worked at Miller and Whitworth (Bob Miller and Craig Whitworth, sailmakers, Flying Dutchmen champs, and of course the legendary Bob Miller (aka Ben Lexcen). They became the agents for the 3 classes, and we would place an advertisement in the local paper for 'Free Sailboat rides', and we would take out prospective customers and then try to sell them a boat....was a fun job, but didn't get to see my kids much....that was 1966. Check out De Havilland Marine. I also worked there - that was where this boat came from. I bought it for 'scrap value', one of the perks of the job, I guess. In those days I was an accountant - ha...!
"The Eye of Quebec (Lac Manicouagan) is visible from space as a perfectly ring-shaped lake. Its center island is far larger than the water that surrounds it. 100km in diameter, it is the fourth largest meteor impact site on earth. We sailed around it and think that was the first ever circumnavigation of the reservoir under sail and oar. (We can find record of two other sailboats that have attempted the trip. While we're not sure of their success, both appeared to carry auxiliary engines. If it wasn't the wind pulling us it was our backs.)
Three years ago, when John and I drove the Trans-Labrador highway, we camped one night on the shores of the great Manicouaga and it captured our imaginations. Finally, this year, aboard the expedition re-fitted Wayfarer 4610, we made the voyage. We were on the water for about twelve days after a two day drive north. It is an astronomically great lake.
We camped ashore every night, and packed nearly 100 Ibs of dried food for the journey. We wore drysuits most of the time, cause the weather was typically cold and wet!
"The back story is I picked up this 1970'ish Skol Int. Moth because I needed something to sail while a health problem was stopping me sailing my Int Canoe in most conditions, and besides, I'd always fancied one. The fact that I am now about 5 stone too heavy even for a vintage Moth didn't deter me.
Anyway, the boat came out of someone's garage roof, and I completely failed to spot, under the layers of dust, that at some stage the boat had been sliced off at the waterline and been given a new wood bottom, replacing the original glass. This was no problem until after a season's use it became apparent that the wood bottom had been allowed to rot back in the day, and some crucial bits were now leaking badly as the water had re-penetrated.
So I ended up cutting off the wood bottom, and I'm now building a new one, and learning about cold moulding while I am at it. Shape wise its roughly based on a Cherub I drew in about 1974 but could never afford to build.
What have I learned from this project? Not to be afraid of cold moulding, and when you do it use plenty of strips. I originally was trying to use quite large panels in order to minimize the number of accurate edges I had to cut, but actually getting the sides of the strips accurate is surprisingly easy given a small sharp plane and a block and sandpaper. Its definitely right to have too many strips rather than too few. Getting the length right on a very 3d boat, on the other hand was a nightmare, but in any rational new build that wouldn't be an issue. 2mm ply was definitely much easier than 2.5mm veneer, having tried both, but if you use ply you can't varnish because the smart money is you'll go through the outer layer in some (or in my case, many) places when fairing up.
I did the boat partly in 2 * 3mm and partly in 3 * 2mm. The junction between the two was something of a pain and in any case I carried 3mm too far forward. The last bit of 3mm was definitely excessively 3d. I'm sure the boat is somewhat asymmettric in that area because with the panels at 45/45 ish, bending the last bit was problematic. The first layer has a much bigger impact on final shape than subsequent ones, and in the transition on one side the first skin was 2mm and the other 3mm. It would probably have been better to suffer the horrendous cost of the 2mm ply and done the whole boat in that. If I were doing a new boat it would be 2 * 2mm ply all over with a glass skin inside and out, uprating the inner skin appreciably in the slamming area round the bow by adding inner glass over skin and stringers, not under stringers.
This was the first project I used a router on which was interesting. Vision really was a major problem, I guess my shop isn't that well lit because I found it really hard to see what the cutting edge was doing. For a long accurate cut to put a rabett in the glass topside (ouch, terrible thing to do to a cutting tool) I stapled a batten as a guide right along the boat and that was a major win. The other thing that helped with a router was to get a marker pen and colour the area I wanted to remove, which made it soo much easier to be confident about what I was doing. I still had a few slips in the wrong places though.
"From what I can make out there seem to have been 4 Skol [models].
Mk 1 may have just been 3 prototypes, which look as if they had unstayed masts and a fair gunwale line.
George A.'s boat is a Mk 2. The 1969 Moth yearbook said production was planned for two versions, a SL and regate version. The SL was to have a daggerboard and was the lighter built. The yearbook also says [it sported] an unstayed mast. I think in practice many were built with stayed rigs. They seem to have had false floors and stern tanks, at least some with drains through the stern tank. The actual production detail may have varied, but all had the little extra piece at max beam [hiking winglets].
Mine started life as a Skol Mk 3. She has a fair gunwale line, an open stern and a deck stepped mast. The shrouds were supported by glassed in alloy tubes down to the base of the mast foot.