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In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail


At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Annie Hill

Annie Hill
Photo credit: Alvah Simon

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

About Me

01 April, 2017

Finally - I have started work on the forecabin.

Oh lord!  I can't believe how long it is since I last posted.  I have been working pretty constantly on the boat, with my only real reprieve being a nice tiki tour with my old friend, Steve, during which time we pottered around parts of North Island and encountered some pretty dire weather.  In spite of this we had a great time and some wonderful encounters with kiwi, parrots and other splendid natives of the country, including a number of my friends.  Fortunately, Steve enjoys meeting interesting people, so I had a fine excuse to catch up friends I haven't seen for too long.

Once again, I have to apologise for the dreadful layout of the blog.  I did exactly the same thing before and after each photo, but some nicely between the text and in some cases the text ended up alongside.  I've no time to play with it - I have a boat to build! - so I'm afraid you'll just have to put up with it.

And then back to the grindstone.  Again, I think a 'photo essay' is probably the easiest way for people to see what I've been up to.  I hope all this boatbuilding isn't too tedious for those wondering what I'm up to.  If you want to read the adventures of a real sailor, I suggest you look at this blog.

So back to the anchor locker:  in order to complete the anchor locker, I needed a bit of additional framing for the lid. Here I'm sawing up some treated kahikatea I've been given by Marcus.

The locker lids and the central panel will land on the saligna stringers shown below. No doubt people will occasionally jump down onto the foredeck: saligna is good and strong!


With the plywood for the deck in place, I needed to work out where the teak would be, to assess where the hinges would be.  However, before laying the teak, I had to cap the forward end of the bulwarks.  It all required a lot of thought so as to get things in the right order.


 The stringers were then glued in to place.

Before proceeding any further with the foredeck, I had to finish capping the bulwark ends.

I laminated treated kahikatea into place and, because of the curve of the hull, screwed it rather than clamping.  In fact the curve of the hull meant that it was quite tricky to get a clamp to hold, anyway.


After making a pattern, I cut the locker lid.  I'd debated whether to cut the hinge line parallel to the hull or the centreline. I decided the former would give more support to the deck - thinking once more of these putative heavy people leaping all over my boat!

The previously flo-coated deck was given 2 coats of epoxy primer and 2 of custom-coloured polyurethane paint. it was surprisingly difficult to get the colour that I wanted and the guy in the shop insisted on taking me out into daylight to prove that it matched the colour I had chosen: the artificial light made it look quite different.  It's a warm, light yellow, in case your computer doesn't show it correctly, either.  The epoxy undercoat is there only because of the poor covering ability of 2-pack polyurethane paint.  If it covered better, I'd just put it straight on to the WEST, but epoxy primer is a lot cheaper, so I use that first.

It occurred to me that making the scupper with the teak in place, might damage my deck, so I did it before gluing down the plywood. The two holes will be joined together to make a long slot. 

Allowance was made for the teak overlay.


A little distraction: one of NZ's delightful insects is the praying mantis. They're usually bright green and lurk in the grass, waiting for their prey. This one is camouflaged to match the okoume ply!  Unfortunately, it's one of the South African interlopers.  Apparently the kiwi male praying mantis can't tell the difference between them and a native female, with disastrous results, because the SA female often indulges in the unpleasant habit of eating her partner, which the male has no defences against: kiwi praying mantids are rather safer lovers!
The lids for the anchor locker and the removable centre panel land on framework, coated with epoxy and graphite, for a hard, UV resistant surface. 
Now for the fun bit - fitting the teak to the foredeck.  I started with the removable centre panel so as to be sure that my 'king plank' was in the correct place.
Dry fitting the teak to the forward end of the foredeck. I decided to fill in the space between the bow rollers with teak, too. I've got plenty of it and as it's just above the copper, it would be difficult to decide what colour to paint it.
1 February - the removable centre plank sanded.
The stack of prepared teak for the anchor locker lids.

Fitting the teak to the rest of the deck. The screws and washers go between the planks: the screws act as spacers, the washers hold the teak down, while the glue sets.  This works well and save having to drill out, plug and fill screw holes in the planks.  To say nothing of having to cut the plugs.
One of the craftsmen in the yard here, suggested that investing in masking tape might save me a lot of work. If you tape up the edges of the teak before gluing it down, it becomes a lot easier to remove the excess.  Ideally, one does this at the just-beyond-sticky stage, but that normally meant when I was tucked up in bed.  If I weren't so idle, I'd have saved myself even more work.  I also sent every piece of teak for the foredeck, through the thicknesser at the same setting.  They looked as though they were all the same thickness, but when I came to sand the deck I realised that it was well worth doing.  By and large, all I sanded off was glue.
A tiny triangle of teak was required to finish the corner. I was delighted that the starboard side could be used as a pattern for the port side.  Delighted and astonished when I think of the grief the bow had caused me,when planking up.
It all looks a bit messy after gluing it down. but the masking tape kept the worst of the epoxy off the cabin front and bulwark. 
Gluing down the starboard planks. To port, the old masking tape has been removed,taking the worst of the mess with it and new tape laid down for filling gaps in the seams and topping up screw holes. 
Finishing laying the deck. The masking tape, combined with the accurately thicknessed teak, saves a lot of sanding.  Thank you, Craig, for the idea.
Final top up of the seams.  Graphite and epoxy makes for a particularly filthy dust: a vacuum cleaner, attached to the sander, makes sanding much more tolerable. 
The portholes I bought are impossible (for me) to fit as designed, so I decided to fit them back to front. To clean them up I discovered some fantastic pads from 3M which leave no scratches.  It's a long and tedious job which I tend to pick up when I'm stuck on something or towards the end of the day.
Here is the foredeck all done and dusted. Nice, eh?  My detractors think I'm crazy, but I will get so much pleasure from these decks.  And even more pleasure from not having to repaint them regularly.
Saligna and teak knock seven bells out of edge tools and my thicknesser was protesting. I needed to change the planer blades: 'when all else fails, read the instructions'!  In fact I think I put them back in better than they were originally.  Double-sided so no bill, this time.
With the foredeck just about finished (apart from the hardware) I could finally start fiting out the forecabin.  I can't believe how long it's taken me to get here.  The photo shows me sawing up kaihikatea for cabin sole bearers. 
 The first of the bearers fitted and glued in to place.
The outboard bearers are also cut to fit, but I waited until I'd finished painting out the bilge area to fit them, because they were hard to paint around. 
The back of the cabin sole flocoated. I won't paint this, so the epoxy is the final coating.
Here the cabin sole is down and the bunk panel roughly fitted. Because I - foolishly - only took the kauri panelling part way down, fitting this piece of plywood proved to be a bit of a mission. 
To match the bulkheads, I fitted kauri 'tongue and groove' to the bunk panel. 
On Badger, all the locker interiors were clear finished, but this made them very dark. It was both diccicult to find things and to keep them clean. I'm going to paint the ones on SibLim, but leave the bottom panel clear, which will show up water ingress.  (Although I very much hope there won't be any!)
15th March.  Trying out the bunk panel for size, having painted out the locker.

The panel glued in place.
A quick final coat on the inside of the panel to tidy up. Painting out the lockers is time consuming, but I think will be worth it when I come to look for things in the future.
The top of the bunk is a big flat area, so will need a fair bit of stout framing to support it. Here I'm fitting a transverse member, supported by an upright. 
The rest of the framing. I'm trying to keep it true, in spite of someone commenting that the boat is unlikely to float perfectly level. 
Originally I was going to fit the flat as one piece and then cut out the hatches. One trip up the ladder with it convinced me that there was an easier, if less elegant, way of doing it.

Framing glued in place.

Because the panelling didn't go all the way down the bulkheads, I had to add pieces at each end of the bunk front after the event.

The lids were cut out of the bunk and everything was flocoated. 

The flat was then glued into place. Yes, the lids are enormous: from experience this huge locker is the only one that will take some items, for example spare oars. It's a nightmare if the opening is too small and you either have to take everything else out, or jiggle around what's already there.


1st April. The bunk flat finished, apart from a couple of coats of varnish. There is room around the outboard edge for the cushion to be supported, and the lid to rest against it, when I need to get underneath.  It's very irritating to have to take the cushion off completely and to pu it somewhere else, each time you dive into the locker.


OK, that's the state of play as at the start of April.  Yes, it's all taking a very long time, but I never thought I had a chance of building this boat in less than two years.  Now I realise it's more likely to be three.  But as I'm enjoying it, I don't suppose that really matters.  And I do have enough money, although I shall have to pull my belt in hard once the boat is in the water.  This doesn't bother me in the slightest - I can think of nothing I would enjoy more than disappearing out of sight, somewhere up a long and winding creek, far from the madding crowd and any places where I can spend my money! 

14 January, 2017

Starting the fitout

As I have probably mentioned before, boat building is a rather time consuming task. I try to keep up with this blog, but by the time I've posted on the Junk Rig Association, website, I've usually run out of time to write on this blog.  I am hoping to do better this year, but as I probably won't, if you want to see the latest photos, I suggest you go here and look at my photo albums.

By the way, my apologies for the big gaps in the layout.  I saw them in the Preview and tried to correct them, but without success.  This is what comes of using free blog sites!

Looking towards the saloon while sitting on the stern.

A view down the centreline

Where the bow met the bottom of the boat was very messy, as a result of the difficulties of bending the plywood, etc. I flooded where everything met with epoxy, thickened with high-density filler put fillets along the stringers and sanded it all.


To make it easier to keep the boat clean, I'm filleting all the top surfaces of stringers. I'm also fairing the scarphs and filleting the plywood floors. Where the chine log meets the hull, there is a triangle especially designed to trap dirt. This area is also being filled with thickened epoxy, which has the additional advantage of increasing the gluing area.

Forward of the bulkhead and under the anchor locker will be sealed off. I filled chips, and screw holes, filletted and put 3 more coats of resin on everything.It was quite a struggle to get right into the bottom of the most forward part of the boat, but I'm satisfied that everything is well coated.  Whether or not to put in access hatches was my big debate.  Some say that the space will be fine; others that the tiniest crack could let in moisture and then the whole bow will rot away and that okoume/gaboon is not a durable species of wood.  I decided not to fit the hatches: I can always do it at a later date.

Bird's-eye view of the after part of the hull showing bilgeboard cases, saloon/galley and cockpit. I am where the outboard motor will be fitted.

Once I turned the boat over, I got busy filleting and coating all the places that were hard to get to when it was the right way up.  

Leaning on the bridge deck. Or at least where it will be.

Standing in the sleeping cabin

After due consideration, I decided to fair the keel, not so much for smooth water flow as to prevent there being any crevices for barnacles and the like to get a 'toe hold'.

The plan was to put Coppercoat over the entire bilge panel up to the chine. The chine makes a natural place to paint to and while the final appearance will be unusual, I don't think this boat follows the norm that closely anyway.  Because the chine runs out at the bow, I epoxied some string in place to mark the 'waterline'. (In fact well above it.)

I've bought two splendid bow rollers. Because of the shapes of my Manson Supreme anchor, and the junk bow, they need to be fitted on their own little 'bowsprits'.

With my saligna came some unidentified (and very attractive) gum. Lighter in weight than the saligna it's perfect for this job. 


My unidentified gum was originally 'decking', as they call it here, ie to put on a verandah, porch or balcony.  Thicknessed to 15mm and with the tongues and grooves trimmed off it could be laminated into a substantial support for the bow rollers.

Preparing the bow for the foredeck. Two lengths of hardwood will go from the bulkhead to the bow to carry the anchor rollers. Framing has been put along the plywood running fore and aft.

The bulwarks will interfere with a fair lead to deck cleats, so I instead. I have chosen to fit mooring posts, as with traditional junks. The bow roller timbers are behind the pilularis I sawed up for these posts. 

Getting to be a real pro boatbuilder: using an angle grinder to shape the end of the Samson post. Well, as they are quite dainty, maybe Delilah post would be a better name!

The first Delilah post being shaped and the blank for the second one behind it. 


After fitting the port post, I put a wedge-shaped piece between it and the bulwark. Not only does it make the post stronger, but the post now acts as a knee for the bulwark.

I'd been procrastinating on applying the Coppercoat as I'd been told it was heavy work, but once I'd got the job done, it meant that I could prop up the hull and remove the framework aft, that is supporting it.  (A job I still haven't done!).  All 5 coats have to be applied in one day.  This was obviously an impossibility on my own, so I divided the job into bow, bottom and keel; starboard bilge panel; port bilge panel.  Then I divided the allotted quantities of resin, hardener and copper into containers, ready to mix.

The keel and bottom panel, which includes the bow, worked out at around 4 sq m - and as this should take one litre to cover, I divided the Coppercoat into five equal portions as in the previous photo. The first coat was very patchy and I suspect I was putting it on a bit too thinly. 

I decided to take the copper right up the bow to bow roller level. I think it looks great. Maybe I'll burnish it to a high gloss!

The following morning, the overall effect was satisfactory, although the finish is a bit patchy due to the uneven spread of copper on each roller stroke.  But you can no longer see where the wood joins the steel.

The next step was the starboard bilge panel: 2 litres. I thought I'd easily knock it over in a day, but it took until 2130! Fortunately, the work wasn't as heavy as I'd anticipated, but I was still pretty tired by the time I'd finished.  The first coat, again, didn't cover so well. 

But the final result looks a lot better and the patchwork of plywood at the bow is thankfully, finally covered up.

Those with a critical eye will notice a 'hard point' abaft the bilgeboard case, which shows now that the bilge panel is all one colour. The good news is that it won't often be seen. I took the Coppercoat up about 30cm into the cases.

The 'bowsprits', it has to be said, do look a little strange from underneath. I hope they'll look better with the bow rollers fitted.

I added extra framing along the centreline and worked out what had to be done before I could actually put plywood on the foredeck.


Another 12-hour day saw the Coppercoat finished. It's a bit patchy and has to be sanded with fine paper to burnish it.  If the burnishing doesn't improve it, it won't be noticed once it's turned green.

Making a pattern for the foredeck plywood. The easiest way to fit it was in two pieces, joining at the bulkhead.

December 1st.  Working late in the day, gluing in the Delilah posts.


Delilah post in place. I was rather pleased at how squarely I'd drilled for the stainless steel rod.


Both posts glued into place. A couple of nice, big screws back up the glue.

I put fillets around the posts.

Coating the 'bowsprits'.
I made a 'cast' of epoxy before gluing down the 'bowsprits'.  Firstly, I lined out the space to catch drips. I know, I know - nobody's going to see ... 

All set up for gluing. You can see where I 'cast' epoxy right at the bow to ensure a good joint.

The 'bowsprits' glued into place. Excess glue was used to fill the screwholes left over from when I'd laminated them up.  

I was especially careful about gluing down the foredeck plywood, because there would be no way of checking the glue job after the event.  With the space underneath being inaccessible, I needed to feel confident that there wouldn't be the slightest void.  Unsure that all the framing was perfectly level, I covered the back of the plywood with tape, put down a good layer of epoxy thickened with hi-density filler and made a plinth for the deck to land on. When the epoxy had cured, I lifted off the plywood and had a perfectly flat and fair surface to which to glue.

I bought a couple of bronze fittings from my friend, Gary, for the foredeck and made a pilularis bar to go between them. This will be the cleat I use when I pick up the occasional mooring.  Yes, it's big, but then, generally, so is the rope on most moorings.  Cleats are one of these things that I don't think are necessarily in proportion to a boat's LOA.

Ready to glue on the foredeck.

The foredeck down, with the space below a void. Some day I may cut out an inspection hatch in the bulkhead to check there is no moisture ingress.

The base of the anchor locker has to land on the 'spine' and the sheer clamp. The former was too low, so I made a U-shaped fitting out of plywood to go on top, making it higher and thicker.  This gives better support to the floor of the anchor locker, which will often have to bear the weight of 30m 8mm chain a lot of nylon multiplait - and me.

 The framing along the after bulkhead was also too low, so I added some more cedar to raise it to the correct height.

A further frame was required across the forward bulkhead.


There was a bit of juggling required, because the longitudinal had to go in before the forward frame. I tend to do these things the in the wrong order, but fitting the wood had shown me what was needed.

Then the excess glue was cleaned up and the screws given an extra half turn to ensure a close fit.

The next stage was to make a pattern for the floor of the anchor locker, using strips of plywood and a hot glue gun. 

It fitted amazingly well for me - I'm not that clever at getting things to fit and would be completely unable to construct a boat without epoxy - and I reckon can double up as an extra cabin!

I coated and glassed the floor, then glued it in and filleted. I was sure I'd taken photos of the glassing, but obviously didn't. I put on two layers, because it will often be wet and will be chafed by grit and stones that come in with the anchor cable.

I scavenged an old teak boarding platform and up the wood from it to use as a divider in the anchor locker. Two old pieces in the foreground.


The grating will be removable to make cleaning and repainting easier and to enable me to fit access hatches if necessary. First I drew it out full size.

I've been given some treated kahikatea, which is a very light wood and am using this for framing.  Up until now, I've been using Alaskan Yellow Cedar, which is very durable.  Kahikatea is lovely to work with, but not at all durable.  However having been treated and well-coated with epoxy, I shouldn't have any problems with it.

The runners ready for coating with epoxy.

In the meantime I got hold of a heap of quarter sawn teak decking for $640. Teak decks are great non-slip and require hardly any maintenance besides looking beautiful.  They were one of the things I loved most about Badger and although David Tyler, who designed SibLim, will have hysterics about it, (the weight!) I am so happy to be able to have teak decks again.

Before painting out the anchor locker, drainage holes were made, which are to be coated with many layers of epoxy with graphite powder to protect it from the sun.

The assembled grating being fitted: the runners are temporarily held in place with heat gun glue. 

Once the initial grating was assembled, I fitted end pieces and another piece along the middle. Easier said than done: the old wood was a bit distorted and didn't take to the idea of parallel. I ended up having to simply fill gaps with epoxy.

Gluing up the grating.  I sandwiched the ends between hefty pieces of wood in an effort to force it straight.

The runners glued in.


3rd January 2017  Happy New Year! I'm trying to make the boat low-maintenance, but have been dithering about what paint to use. I was assured that Hempels Bilge and Locker paint would cover well and be durable, so I decided to use this.  I remember bilge paint as being the sort of stuff that would cover everything with just one coat.  However, either my memory has let me down or this is no longer the case.

I duly applied one coat of the paint and could see right through.  A second coat was still terribly patchy.  What bit of 'high opacity' do modern paint manufacturers not understand?  Then it occurred to me that paint intended for bilges and lockers was probably devoid of UV inhibitors.  I checked the spec sheet and there was no mention of them.  So I looked for another product and the blurb said that the paint was a 'high opacity semi-gloss topcoat and primer. Durable with good resistance to sunlight, water and oil. Can be used as a complete coating system.'  This sounded like the go, so I bought some and put it on.  I could still see the wood underneath.  By now I'd lost patience and opened a can of International Brightside that I'd been given.  I applied a coat of this - nice gloss and finally the locker was properly coated.  But four coats of paint and essentially just to keep the sun from attacking the epoxy.  Going back to it a few days later, I realised just how soft oil paints are compared with nasty-to-apply polyurethane, and thinking about how this locker is going to have all water, grit and stones in it on a regular basis, decided that I'd made a mistake.  Ah well.  Too late now.  But the rest of the external paint is going to be polyurethane.  

So I went out and bought some two-pack polyurethane varnish for the runners

and the grating.  It went on beautifully


and looks pretty smart, in place.  They eyebolt is for the bitter end of the anchor cable.

We designed the boat to have the mast in the tabernacle, and the tabernacle was going to be in a trunk, to lower the sail's height above deck.  However, I came to the conclusion that it was going to be more trouble than it's worth and am not that bothered if the boom is a metre above deck at the forward end.  It was the same height on Fantail, and just fine.  However, we had just butted the join in the plywood forming the cabin front, on the assumption it would be cut out, framed, etc, etc.  There is a school of thought that says plywood can be butted by cutting out a layer of wood at the butt and laminating glass on either side.  I reckoned that if I put another two layers of glass on it, this would do a more than adequate job, especially as there is 5mm of kauri on the other side of the butt.  The joint wasn't perfectly smooth, so I mixed up epoxy filler (with about half high-density filler to make it stronger) and then faired over the joint.  The next day I sanded it, taking care not to sand through the original layer of glass.

The following day, I put on two layers of glass cloth, one after the other.


With the locker finished, it can now be decked over and fitted with lids. The central 'plank' will be removable, held in place with machine screws, so that the grating can be pulled out and the locker cleaned, painted, etc.

The teak that I bought, while intended to be used for decking, and quarter sawn, is too thick to be laid using the Gougeon Bros method.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that cut in two, it gives me twice as much wood!  The tools that I have (and my skills) weren't really up to the task, so I got Noel at Norsand to do it for me.  The '10mm' varied from about 8 to 11mm, so the cut teak is also in different thicknesses.  I'll grade it all  - up to 4mm, 4 -4.5mm, etc - so that I can use a standard thickness per job, putting it through my own planer to get it an even thickness once I've selected sufficient for the job.  There is heaps of wood: not only enough for the decks and cockpit fit out, but also sufficient to veneer the galley counter, saloon table and probably the cabin sole, too.  Bearing poor David's worry about building an overweight boat in mind, I worked out the weight of all this teak.  91 kilos.  I'll throw out some books to make up for it.  I can also use thinner plywood for the centre of the main deck and around the cockpit.  

I couldn't resist laying a bit of it out to see what it will look like.  Pretty good, I reckon!