Graham Bothers (Dunoon) 12' Clinker boat
The latest project in the workshop is this delightful 12″ Clinker dinghy from the Graham brothers Yard in Dunoon. We think she was built in the 1950’s. In a remarkable condition for her age, this is largely a re-finishing job, the Thwarts and most of the internal structure have been removed to be stripped and re-varnished, making preparation of the planking and the frames much easier.
The mark of a properly built traditional boat really shows here, everything was removed simply by removing a couple of fasteners and tapping it with a mallet. The best materials were used to build this boat, with lovely quarter sawn larch planking, very straight, tight grain oak frames and thwarts and most of the internal structure of teak. Making for a very pleasant boat to work on. Most of what I would expect to be replacing has simply been stripped of its old varnish, re-finished and will go right back where it came from, even the thwart risers will be re-installed.
Some issues did need addressing however, a couple of the frames where a little soft so have been replaced, the planking has a couple of small splits that will be glued. new inner and outer gunnels are required, with a full new set of knees and breasthook. Regrettably, once the gunnels were removed, it was discovered that the sheer strakes where quite worn, and so she will get a new pair from Iroko. Once she is turned over, there’s a little re-fastening to do around the hood ends of the planks before she gets a new paint job and she is ready to head back to the island of Rassey where she lives.
There’s been a multitude of small repairs to do and a couple of larger projects that are still underway in the workshop this summer.
But the most exciting project is the restoration job on this beautiful 33 foot Bermudan Cutter named Isonda. She came out of the water 3 years ago to have a new engine fitted, and as the age old story goes, John the owner started looking at a couple of other jobs and the project rapidly escalated.
I came along at the beginning of the year to give her a good look over and discovered a rotten king beam, Carlins in need of repair, cracked house sides, cracked frames, a damaged sheer strake and a deck that had had some poorly executed sheathing. So this May, work began removing the deck house and a fair portion of the old decking as well as the damaged sheer strake to get a better Idea of her condition and begin the real work.
To date, the rotten beam and supporting quarter knees have been replaced in Iroko, the Carlin beams have had repairs, about 1/3 of her tongue-and-grove decking has been replaced in Larch, the damaged sheer strake has been replaced in Douglas fir, the Teak house sides have been repaired and the house popped back into place.
Take a look at the gallery photos and you will get the picture.
We still have some work ahead of us, the deck now requires some considerable fairing before receiving two layers of glass sheathing. A number of frames internally will be repaired, the cockpit has a number of small jobs that require attention to make her watertight. Last of all a repair needs to be made to her Sitka Spruce mast before I leave john to get his hands stuck into the final finishing a preparing her for her first season at sea for nearly 4 years.
Further updates on her progress coming soon.
This Iain Oughtred ‘Elf’ is being built in the workshop at the moment. She is a 15 foot long, double ended rowing boat with an auxiliary Sprit sail for occasional sailing when the wind is right. Iain drew the Elf based on his extensive research into the traditional Norwegian Fearing which is a type of sail and oar boat who’s design has barely changed in nearly 1000 years, so they must have done something right!
I’m building the boat from an Alec Jordan Kit, which the customer had bought before commissioning me to build her, so I’ve had precious little set up to do. Things are moving along very quickly, and her owner is looking forward to an early start to the season.
This 14″ double ended dinghy is being put together in my spare time for my own use. She will carry a small gunter sloop rig, and have a pair of rowing positions. She is being built from one of my own designs, so it is a bit of a voyage of discovery, but so far everything is looking pretty grand!
As with all small boats with the goal of performing well under both sail and oars, she is a bit of a compromise between two ideal hull forms. I’ve lent a little towards the rowing optimized shape, as I intend to use her under oars quite a bit. A long , straight keel, a narrow(ish) beam and suitable amount of dead rise should make her a pleasure to scull. Whilst a slightly reduced sail area and a bit of ballast in the bottom of a well shaped dagger board should make her stable with reasonable up-wind performance.
The Loch Goil Dinghy’s
This Project was done in colaboration with Ben Duffin, his website can be found here. These two Clinker dinghy’s where brought in by the owner of a Hotel based on the banks of Loch Goil. One 9 foot, and one 12 feet long, extensive repairs and re-furbishing was done to return them to their former glory, Including new timbers (oak ribs) and gunnels/rubbing strips throughout both boats, some new Larch planking on the 12 footer, a new stem and apron for the 9 footer. Lastly the outside of both boats was given a high gloss enamel finish, with the interior of both boats being finished with Linseed oil. A couple of photos are included in the gallery below.
This Iain Oughtred Caledonia Yawl was built in the Summer of 2012 as a Show case, and is currently up for sale. if you are interested in her, or commissioning a boat like her, please don’t hesitate to get in contact and talk about your desires/requirements. A second Yawl is currently under construction, to a very different specification, you can follow the progress of ‘Hull no. 2′ on the ‘Current projects’ page. She is built in ‘glued lap’ plywood construction, with built in buoyancy forward and aft. She carries a balanced lug yawl rig which has an un-stayed mast, making her very simple to rig. Both masts are hollow and very light. All cleats and trim are hand made from Sepeli and Teak. She is beautiful, and sails like a dream, even if I do say so myself
A good example of how repairs can be worked around almost any budget; Heron No. 1291 came to me requiring a new deck and some keel repairs. Her owners decided to carry out some of the final re-finishing themselves. Her new deck is marine plywood re-enforced with fiberglass. Her centerboard case was found to have some damage due to poorly driven screws, so a new logs where fastened to the lower edge and new screws where fastened through from below. She had her deck fittings re-installed and a new set of buoyancy bags fitted.
This Motor Dingy from Stronmness in Orkney came in for a good thorough refurbish. All of her frames where replaced, the port garboard was replaced, new stern sheets, knees, gunnels and a new deck were all installed before the entire hull was stripped and re finished. She’s now back up in Balmaha with her owner.
The second Caledonia Yawl has recently been launched. She is modified from the plans slightly as her owner has some specific plans for her. She is going to be used for some long distance cruising, and so with that in mind we decided to build a deck at gunnel-level with a spacious, but dry cockpit in the middle. The side benches have been replaced with boxed in tanks to provide yet more storage/ and reserve buoyancy. She will carry the 3-sail Gunter Yawl rig, giving an easier rig to handle if sailing single handed. She has also had a number of re-enforcement’s made in key places to help her deal with the rougher conditions she is likely to encounter. With this rig she really sails very well, she points very high for a traditional boat, and really gets moving in a breath of wind!
Some kind words from the owner of "Rascal"
“It was a big day when Jonny handed over “Rascal” the Caledonia Yawl that he’d spent most of the previous nine months building. Jonny, Ben, Ed (my son) and I spent a few minutes sailing in the upper reaches of the Clyde before Ed and I took over the boat and headed for Tarbert. We reefed as it was blowing much harder than we would have liked for a first sail – it was the sort of fresh breeze where, in a brand new boat, you might expect something to crack or fail, but we needn’t have worried; we pressed the boat hard but she felt solid took everything in her stride.
We took the last of the ebb to Greenock, slept for a few hours then took the first of the ebb to Toward Point early the next morning. The wind had eased overnight so we shook out the reef and on a beautiful broad reach the boat skittered across to Bute and down the East Kyle – fantastic, fast sailing. With light headwinds it took us the best part of twelve hours to get to Tarbert and we had to get the oars out on more than one occasion (no hole in the hull for an outboard motor on this boat!). On the final approach to Tarbert the wind picked up and, with it being right on the nose, we short-tacked briskly through the harbour’s narrow entrance and sailed up to the dock.
With its red sails, varnished hollow spars, grey hull, ivory decks and interior and the most beautifully varnished cockpit coaming and brightwork, Rascal looked stunning – everyone loves this boat!
With Rascal, Jonny set himself the highest standard. The boat’s been built to be pressed hard in open water and Jonny and I would be surprised if there’s a more strongly built Caledonia Yawl. Wherever you look the quality of Jonny’s workmanship is breathtaking; whether it’s the leatherwork on the oars, the sprit or the gaff throat fitting, or the joinerywork on the coamings or the way the cockpit floors fit round the centreboard case, the sapele rudder stock and the lifting rudder blade or the beautifully laminated tiller, it would be hard to imagine any builder creating a more beautifully put together boat.
I’ve had Rascal a month now and having sailed the boat in pretty well every type of weather condition I have real confidence in this boat.”
A cedar strip Canadian canoe built in my workshop in 2013, and is a bit of a nod to my first boat building efforts as a teenager which were all Canoes and Kayaks. She is planked in some of the finest canadian Red Cedar which was carefully selected and milled in house. The stems are laminated in Rippled Ash from Govan old parish church just down the road. Finished in a glorious high gloss finish inside and out, she is pretty eye catching.