Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sailing a wooden boat

It's ten years now since I decided to build and sail  a wooden boat.
Despite any doubts I had when I began, this boat has never let me down.
Even with the appaling weather here in Ireland over the last several years
Spirit has remained a tough, dry and stable sailboat. 

 Spirit docked at Eastferry with Dan Gough as crew.

I have since started building and have built other smaller sailboats but thats for another post :)

A few nice sailing trips..

Sailing out past Roaches point

Being passed by traffic off the coast

Approaching Cobh, heading downriver.

A bit of sailing and a few more changes..

I sailed Spirit around the harbor and along the coast for a year or so. After this time I decided to make a few more changes, not so many as the last lay up though. I changed the cabin hatch to a raised one so that I would have standing room inside, a useful feature when staying overnight anywhere, I made the pullpit less in height, added a boom vang and a cockpit brace to run the main sheets from. All the lines could be controlled now from the cocpit which is needed for solo sailing.

Spirit was now quite comfortable inside and easily rode out any rough weather I met.

An almost built boat

At this stage I had been working on the boat for about two years, I
had to deviate from the plan a little bit though. The swing keel bothered me, I had heard a few scary stories about what could happen with them and it's housing took up a lot of space in the cabin.
So I redid the lower part of the hull and fitted a fixed and weighted keel instead, keeping to the original required parameters for the boat as it would be with the keel down.

Then came the expensive part.. kitting it out, it took a while, you can't take chances here.. I had had the construction inspected so far and was told that she was sound and solid and would be quite safe.. if a little heavy. But she needed all the gear a boat would need and so that's what she got.

Amazingly, by the time Spirit was finished...

                                                                                ... she looked just like a sailboat

With the hull cabin and cockpit nearing completion I fitted
a mast and boom to spirit. Now it really began to take shape
I had been really nervous when I started building this as I do
understand how quickly things can go wrong and that I might have been left with a bit of a mess on my hands. However luck
was on my side... this was really starting to look like a boat :)

Once I had the mast in place I made the rigging out of stainless steel
cabling. I made the crimping tools out of scrap metal I had collected.
I managed to get some old turnbuckles from wreaked sailboats as my rigging adjusters.