Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another Successful Wooden Boat Show

We have exhibited at the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut every year since 2007, when our Paper Jet prototype received the Outstanding Innovation Award. In 2015 Kevin Agee was runner-up in the owner-built powerboat division of the Concourse d' Elegance with his Inlet Runner 16 prototype.

Last weekend we were there again, for the 25th anniversary of the show. I had sailed my Paper Jet at Cape Hatteras the previous weekend in a 20 knot breeze and it is sailing well, as usual. It is in need of some cosmetic work, after 9 years of sailing, boat shows and being trailed more than 10,000 miles, so we left it at home. Instead we borrowed the Inlet Runner from Kevin and took that to the show.

But our efforts are not what I want to write about. Also on the show was the very lovely "Alizee", the Didi 40cr that was built in Boulder, Colorado, then towed by the owners to Mystic for launching.
"Alizee" at left, dwarfed by the "Charles W Morgan" whaling ship.
 The visitors loved "Alizee"; she made a very good first appearance in public. That is because owner/builder Bill Connor and his family made such a great job of crafting her. It was no big surprise when she won the owner-built sailboat division of the Concourse d' Elegance.
Didi 40cr "Alizee" poses for her many admirers.
"Alizee" may be a big sister to "Black Cat", the Didi 38 prototype that I built in Cape Town. But I built her as a lightweight and fairly stripped-out racer to carry me and my crew across the South Atlantic Ocean multiple times. Bill built his boat to take himself and his family cruising in safety, with a bit of speed (of course).

Bill's project was way more ambitious than mine. He has finished her to a much higher standard, with a flawless level of finish on the exterior paintwork. This family did almost everything themselves, aside from rig, sails and keel. That includes, the welded stainless steel pulpits and dodger frame, as well as the canvas work.
Cockpit , with owner-built stainless and canvas work.
Although she has an inboard shaft-mounted rudder, she also has the V-notch in the sugar scoop to take a transom-hung rudder. This is because Bill has elected to carry an emergency rudder that quickly drops into the V-notch if needed. She still has a tiller though, no wheel steering for Bill. He says that his wife, Catherine, was apprehensive about tiller-steering. To cure her he left her steering all day - apprehension gone. Bill's comment was "Why anyone would put a wheel on such a sweet ride is beyond me".
Transom with sugar scoop and cut-out for emergency rudder.
As for sailing characteristics, best let Bill say it in his own words. "We did finally have 15 kts yesterday, so we jumped on it and had a great sail. She is absolutely perfectly balanced right out of the box. I took a swag at the rake and haven't touched it. Just a delight."
"Alizee" leaving Mystic Seaport after the show.
Next chapter in the life of "Alizee" is to start her cruising by spending the summer in Maine, where she will be based in Belfast. Watch for an article about her in a future issue of Wooden Boat magazine.
Beautiful interior of "Alizee", all the work of the owners.
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Launching of a Big Cat

People who have never seen the process may wonder how a large catamaran is moved from the build site to the launch site, if they are not close to each other. Recently a DH550 catamaran was launched at Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, South Africa and it was built about 30 miles away in a rural location. This series of photos and videos sent to me by the builders tell the transport story nicely.

The new boat, named "Friends Forever", was built by a team headed by Jean Jaques (JJ) Provoyeur and Richard (Thirsty) Bertie. JJ Provoyear is the owner of the boat and it was built on his property. The rig is being set up this weekend and we should soon see sailing photos.
Inside the building shed, being readied for transport
The men in this photo give scale to the boat. Ready for the transporter to be backed in.
This is a big boat, so it needs specialist transport equipment to get it to the water. Cape Town is the home of a few production catamaran builders, so there are transporters available that are ideal for this job. In countries where this sort of project is more rare, large flat-bed transporters from other industries can do the job as long as the boat is properly supported.
On the transporter and moved out of the shed, with the keels still to be fitted.
Cruising keels were test-fitted before leaving the build site but only fitted at the launch site. Road clearance would have been an issue if transported with the keels in place.
With a large package like this, it is very important to research the route before the build even starts. There is no point building at a convenient location then finding that you can't get it to the water. That means finding a route that is wide enough and high enough for the boat to fit through on the trailer. It may also mean having people on the boat during transport to lift lift power cables and tree branches if they are hanging a bit low.

It also needs liaison with and permits from local authorities to move the load on the roads. It may need narrow roads to be closed to other traffic and for police escorts to help it through congested areas and along heavily trafficked highways.
Negotiating tight corners can be an issue due to the width of the load, even on roads designed for use by tractor/trailers. This boat fills up three lanes of highway, which can become interesting when negotiating tight corners. That is when it really helps to have a transporter that has steerable wheels all along its length. These can be seen in the video below, at about 0:30, where the trailer wheels all steer to move the back end sidewards when they have a very tight 90 degree corner to negotiate at a traffic light, without taking out any poles nor damaging the boat on the curbs.
After being on the move from mid-morning through to well after dark, "Friends Forever" arrived at her launch site, at Royal Cape Yacht Club. There her cruising keels were fitted and other preparations completed over the next two days before she was launched.
Crane lowering the spreader frame over the boat preparatory to fitting the slings.
In the water for the first time. The end of her first journey.
At time of writing the rig of "Friends Forever" had still to be stepped, prior to sea trials. Thanks to Esther Provoyeur for the photos and videos.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

"Pinta del Sur", Classic Schooner on a Modern Hull

"Pinta del Sur" is a Shearwater 39 with a difference. She was professionally-built by Nebe Boats, starting with a production GRP hull out of the Shearwater 39 moulds. That is where the similarity to the standard boats ended. She then received a custom-built wooden deck with a classic two-box layout and a custom interior designed by her town-planner owner.

She was custom-built to fulfill the dream of the owner to own and sail a classic schooner in the image of those designed by Pete Culler. Her owner bought me a copy of the beautiful book "Pete Culler's Boats - The Complete Design Catalog" by John Burke, as inspiration to steer me along the right route when I was drawing her.
"Pinta del Sur", very pretty under sail.
She has now come onto the market and is available at a very good price. The perpetual decline of the South African currency has resulted in boats being available to foreign buyers at very good values. That includes this beautiful schooner that is ready to go world cruising.
Classic styling on a modern hull.
This is a yacht that would fit in very nicely with the schooner fleets on the US East Coast. She would account for herself very well in the big schooner races, like the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race between Baltimore and Portsmouth, Virginia and other schooner events up and down the coast. She is the smaller sister to the Shearwater 45 schooner "Apella", which has been in those fleets the past few years.
Nicely fitted comfortable low maintenance interior.
We have her listed in our brokerage listings, where you can see many more photos of her. She is a fine seaworthy and fast cruiser, capable of taking you to almost anywhere that you want on the normal cruising routes of the world.

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