The Swell Season

As many of you know I work at Springload.

We are lucky enough to sponsor (by way of providing the website) the International Arts Festival every two years. Consequently we get to go to a few shows.

Last Sunday night was one of the best. I have to admit to having never heard of The Swell Season, nor have I seen their acclaimed movie Once. Now I own two CD’s and I’m ready to offer my hand in marriage to Mar – the female half of the song-writing duo.

Here’s a video from their website to give you a flavour. Beautiful in so many ways.

Minimax #7

And on a final note here’s a great photo of me and my son Harper on the boat. The photo was taken by Pete Notman, a Minimax builder and racer himself. Thanks Pete.

Two-up on the Minimax: Pic by Pete Notman

Two-up on the Minimax: Pic by Pete Notman

Minimax #6

Just to prove it floated and got up ‘on the plane’ – here are a few photos of my last race. I won on a disqualification – but that’s OK with me – a win is a win is a win.

At speed - about 15 knots

At speed - about 15 mph

The victor returns to shore

The victor returns to shore

Minimax #5

Well, I made it. The boat is strapped to the roof of the car.

Thanks to everyone who offered to help come round and paint. Your assistance was not required this time.

I put the last coat of epoxy on the hull at 6.00am this morning. It was dry by dinnertime and ready to attach to the car. The frame that I built yesterday was a perfect fit and with only two tie downs required it’s ready for the ferry in the morning. We should arrive at Lake Rotoiti around 3pm.

The boat remains a work in progress. The finish is not up to my expectations – this is what happens when you don’t plan your activity to the time remaining. But there’s nothing there that a month of careful sanding and another 4 litres of epoxy and varnish and paint can’t fix.

I have no doubt that it will be watertight and will remain above the water. This is, after-all, the essence of a boat.

Check back early next week for the You Tube link – fingers crossed.

Strapped to the roof, that's Garth who helped me lift it on, and Arlo climbing on the bonnet.

Strapped to the roof, that's Garth who helped me lift it on, and Arlo climbing on the bonnet.

Minimax #4

The race is on and frankly I have no way of knowing if I will win it.

Bloody epoxy takes so long to go off and according to the strange man at Barton Marine I need three layers of epoxy, three layers of varnish with sanding in between. When I’m painting I need to apply a special undercoat and top coat which ‘bind’ together and each of .

I did a quick and dirty spreadsheet listing all the tasks I have left, and I’m at least a day short – if not more.

Nevertheless progress has been steady. Over the weekend I finished making the insides of the sealed compartments watertight (I think) plus laid the deck onto the structure. I was worried about this part. To do it I needed to glue all areas that came into contact with the deck, and I needed to clinch the nails in the bow. The nails in question were some beautiful copper flat heads (kind of) that I purchased at considerable expense from Barton Marine.

I found a technique for clinching online (where else?) but I had no idea if it was going to work. First I drilled a small hole for the nail, through both pieces of ply. Then I drove the nail through, clamping close to where the nail went through to keep the glue and wood tight. Then, taking round nosed pliers I bent the end of the nail back on itself making a kind of staple. With two hammers, one in each hand, I drove the end of the nail back into the ply across the grain, while keeping the head of the nail close to the wood.

This technique proved to be incredibly successful and I achieved a solid bond all the way around.

Next I trimmed all edges of the ply that overhung the structure so that all edges were straight and flush. I then started fibre-glassing the top edge. This was easy but the drying process slows it down.

Tonight I cut and shaped the coamings. These are the pieces of timber that stop the water rushing over the sides at the back of the boat. They were glued and screwed. As well, the motor-board is firmly in place.

To all intents and purposes it looks completely like a boat – which is a relief.

Here are a few more pictures of my effort.

The deck is in place ready for trimming

The deck is in place ready for trimming

Clinching #1 - drive the nail through both pieces of ply

Clinching #1 - drive the nail through both pieces of ply

Clinching #2 - bend the nail back onto itself with round nosed pliers

Clinching #2 - bend the nail back onto itself with round nosed pliers

Clinching #3 - drive the end of the nail back through the ply across the grain

Clinching #3 - drive the end of the nail back through the ply across the grain

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