Monday, February 27, 2017

a little cabin with some woods...


Bandicoot's cabin was in very good condition but a bit sparse for us, lacking any lining and a few other details that make things work more easily- an armrest for example. I can't help being a rather visual person either  and it seemed to me that the structure of the cabin frame and the hull made for some very busy surfaces. The intention with the new trim was to make some strong horizontals fore and aft to make the curves more sweeping and the areas simpler.

at purchase.

The skippers chair was made by and for the previous helmsman in such a way as to save space and provide support but it was a bit low for me.

at purchase..

Below, I tried a workbench stool I had at home which was height adjustable and had a swivel. 

before...

more recent

 The cabin is still incomplete; bench cushions, blinds and more soundproofing under floors will get us closer to that.

more recent




Tripping Up The Tambo



The last time I was this far up the Tambo I was driving a small outboard 'tinny', coaching a couple of senior rowing eights at a rowing camp in 1986. Above, this trip a group of us stopping for lunch. Bandicoot at the bottom of the picture. By the time we emerged  into Lake King for the trip home we faced into a strong head wind -right on the nose- and lines of persistent waves, but it was a comfortable 8 knots in the cab.


Boating with a motor is in no way as restful as sailing when the weather is fair. Even the little Yanmar on Beachcomber is quite calming as she potters along if she needs a push. But there are advantages to going a bit faster, having a bit of protection and a few facilities onboard and some real space to relax in. Most of all it is quite liberating to go home with fewer concerns about the weather.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Venturesome Voyages of Captain Voss. A Review








The Venturesome Voyages of Captain VossThe Venturesome Voyages of Captain Voss by John Claus Voss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain Voss was an early and enthusiastic exponent of the use of sea anchors, particularly for small boats on very big voyages. This book contains several of these ground-breaking small boat voyages, narrated with panache and an eye not only for weather and sail trimming detail, but some acute observations of humanity in his descriptions of crew under pressure.
Written at the very start of the 20th Century, the book reveals aspects of the world that are now so utterly different- as are his very Euro-centric views about the peoples of the places he visited, but he was a generous man very much of his time.

Highly recommended for 'armchair' and other sailors, this is very readable. There are several editions about, mine was a hardcover lent to me which had an interesting introduction by Richard Hughes. Published by Rupert Hart-Davis, London in 1955. There are more recent editions.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

my mojo was hiding in the bandsaw



It is a source of amazement to me, the powerful effect that a new set of design and build challenges has had on my energy levels. With Bandicoot I have been able to forget about things below the waterline and just concentrate on making the interior a cheerful and comfortable space in which to spend some precious time. The bandsaw is humming and I spend many days meandering between  a wide range of tasks and tools, drawing and imagining and coming up with little modifications - in the full understanding that they will never be noticed by anyone else- they are just  for us and the pure joy I find in the transformation of space by recycling materials shaped to lines that I have drawn. This is what I am made for. Wood, tools and design are the most essential me.


I began in the berth by lining it out, after sanding and painting and removing redundant wiring and other bits and pieces used in the boats previous lives. And talking of previous lives, all of the timber I have used so far has been recycled from leftovers from boats and buildings, and it is a real pleasure to see timber 'scraps' from my two boat builds and from house renovations come to life in new roles.


The new lining is removable and it allows air movement over the ribs and stringers.


The workshop is now littered with about two dozen pieces of shaped and fitted timber trim pieces in the process of being varnished. The old table has gone from the cabin and so has the original skipper's chair. Three new solar powered vents have replaced the dead ones. The floor around the cabin seating has been raised in several places to bring it all to the same height while still allowing easy access to the motor and the bilge. Work has progressed on lining parts of the cabin walls and increasing the depth of the seats. These are very mundane things, but I have had a whole lot of fun, all the while bobbing in the boat on the creek in the sun.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Combined Clubs on Bancroft Bay


After forecasts which threatened gales and heavy rain, the morning arrived sporting blue skies and very gentle breezes. We gathered with a dozen or so old classic boats for a social sail and a sail past the Metung Hotel and the Metung Yacht Club. The event was sponsored by the Metung club in conjunction with the Gippsland Lakes Classic Boat Club. While the forecast weather trimmed the numbers of participants somewhat, the morning was a glorious celebration of being in the outdoors enjoying simples pleasures.

Pearl and Endeavour showed that the big muscle Couta boats can thrive in light conditions.











Thursday, February 16, 2017

Beginning with Bandicoot


So another little adventure begins. I'm so ready for this kind of open-ended-hands-on-how-can-I-make-it-better sort of work.
On the hard, Bandicoot looks like a large 8.3 metres, partly because of her beam and partly because of the flare at the bow. She's in very good fettle for a boat over fifty and her last two owners in particular have attended to the hull regularly and with care. There is a Nissan diesel at the other end of the screw and I have to say that on first taking the helm it was the power she has in reverse that made me happiest. I love it when I feel confident of coming to a proper sort of stop in a tight space. I do value slowing down more than  I enjoy speeding up...


The work we have planned for the outside is largely cosmetic but the interior is rather tired and lacking finish, although the timber is all good and well painted. Instrumentation is good and the wiring loom is very well done- quite recently I think. The usual niggles like the fuel gauge that reads backwards...

The galley will want a refit below the sink. We have removed the table pictured below because we would rather have less cluttered lounging space, and room for a dog or two indoors. If we need a table we will find a light collapsible one that can be deployed in the cab or out in the cockpit. I haven't pictured the V berth because I have been working on that area all week and will post about that later.






Thursday, February 9, 2017

a small confession

There has been a small addition to our little fleet.
But I didn't build it and it doesn't sail
or row.
So if you are a hardline sailor 
you might want to stop reading now.
And if you think I've slipped over the edge
I understand.

It's been fun to have your interest.
I can cope with the music thing (he said)
and even the dogs and cows.
But I did come for the dinghy stuff,
the type with string and sails.

I've bought a swimming platform 
that can cruise around the lakes.
It is of the displacement type
and I'm going to avoid even a hint of iambic pentameter and glimmers of rhyme
just for this line.

Thing is,
the price was such that with some work it will appreciate
(and I get to keep the other boats for now)
and have fun swimming off the back
while I give the insides
a jolly good refit. 

So here is Bandicoot
8.3 m Hartley 
Bondwood cruiser
from the 1960's




Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beachcomber and Badger's Blissful Beaching at the Barrier


A lovely Summer day, and a picnic on the beach with friends...a bit of pleasant sailing thrown in just to remind me how incredibly lucky I am.
Barrier Landing is about an hour and a quarter from us by displacement boat. Beachcomber had all three sails set, but the breeze turned onto the nose and the narrow Reeve Channel was fairly well attended by planing boats (appearing to be late for an important appointment), and tacking across all of them repeatedly upwind was a bit tedious, so we kicked the little diesel into life and set her to idle and that gave us enough way to pinch into the wind higher than she could have under sail alone, with sails and motor both contributing to our passage along with Badger- who has the more grown-up 3 cylinder diesel to push her along.


Before heading off we called into the local fuel jetty to fill the tank with diesel. I honestly can't remember the last time I did this- maybe August last year- but she only took seven dollars to fill her up. I'm told the little Yanmar sips 0.5 litres per hour at around five knots.



The Barrier is a strip of beach on the lakeside of dunes that face Ninety Mile Beach on the east coast for, well, ninety odd miles. It is an easy walk across the scrub covered dunes to the ocean, but we were more than happy to set up near the boats for lunch and swim in the salty, tidal lake.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cape Horn in a Small Cat- a review


If you like salty tales of smallish boats doing battle with big distances and sometimes terrifying seas, find a copy of this in a second hand bookshop, or a new one if you can find an edition still in print.
My copy was published by Elek Books in GB and Ure Smith, Sydney in Australia 1974
ISBN 7254 0167 2


Children of Cape HornChildren of Cape Horn by Rosie Swale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Going from Gibraltar to Australia and then to England via Cape Horn is an arduous and uncommon adventure. Doing it as a couple in 1971 with two children under school age in a fibreglass catamaran, is a wonderful and even less likely story. Rosie Swale wrote a fascinating account in this book and her observations about the children and the unusual choice of boat provide a marvellous context for the details in preparation required, and the tremendous concentration expected from these folk as they did battle with some legendary seas- against all sensible advice.

Their boat was a production GRP cat designed by Bill O'Brien.
I enjoyed every page.


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Saturday, January 21, 2017

not a cabin in sight


This week end the Gippsland Lakes Classic Boat Club had a gathering of open boats at Paynesville, with a static display for the community on Saturday morning, followed by a sail past in the afternoon. Above are two local traditional types  above, the boat reported here during it's restoration (top), and the one in front was completed last year. What a splendid thing to have an old boat restored, and the old ways kept alive in a new boat; the two stories rafted up next to each other. These hulls have a real presence on the water.






Above, most of the boats have left for the sail past here, but I'm still chewing the fat in Annie. (Beachcomber stayed home for this one). I include this picture to show the local 'floating shed'- it appears to be at the end of the jetty, but it is in fact a mobile floating music stage and MC platform, a bit of an institution around here. It is powered by a 60hp outboard 'behind the shed'.