Monday 25 November 2013

Hanningfield Gig cont

Heres a postscript to the story.
Last week i was working down the yacht club & found the old moulds that built the gigs Dauntless & Proud Mary, i had thought they were scrapped in a Club clear up years ago but somehow they escaped the bonfire. There they were poking out of the brambles!

This bought it all back, & is an example of how to build a cut & shut!
Lengthening boats is nothing new it was done to fishing smacks, Schooners, & is done with fishing boats & even cruise ships today!
I started with one of the 18ft Skiffs from Hanningfield reservoir.
These themselves came from a mould taken from an old wooden skiff of completely unknown provenance.
The donor hull was cut in half edges sanded to a feather edge & dropped into these moulds then lined up & joins secured with self tappers. New sections of hull then laid up in the moulds.
The mould for the original boats was by no means fair to start with & as you can imagine lining it all up took a good eye.
The fact that Dauntless came out ok was something of a minor miracle.
Proud mary had a sight tendency to steer one way but it wasnt drastic.

It did not matter in the slightest as i built the two Gigs to get the Club going.
Though the club paid for the materials eventually i was never paid & didnt expect to either. As founder Chairman it was the right thing to do.

Years later when the club desired a new boat i had designed the Seax gig & the club had decided to run with it. It had been suggested that we take a mould from Dauntless but knowing how unfair they were i wasnt keen & said so.
Unfortunately the club had become riddled with politics, Others decided to go to another builder & asked him to rip a mould directly from Dauntless, naturally i objected to this.
I had no recourse to the copying of the gig as there were never any plans the design having came out of my head. I resigned from the club over the issue.
The new builder had a lot of trouble & built a mould plus new Gig.

Looking back on it all i find it rather flattering not to say funny that they felt it was necessary to copy a boat of such lowly origins.
Other thing is two Gigs built by me ten years ago for nothing have introduced hundreds of people to the sport of rowing, of that i am rightly proud.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Hanningfield Gigs

Years after i built the first two of these i thought its time to tell the story! A couple of friends had acquired a fleet of Angling skiffs from Hanningfield reservoir in darkest essex. These were heavy GRP 18 footers.
A few of us had started a new Rowing club Ltrc in 2003 & having been pressganged into the job of founder Chairman i had to address the problem of how we could fit the fledgling club out with a few boats.
Sketching on the back of the proverbial fag packet in the yacht club bar came up with the idea of stretching one of the 18 footers.
The most beat up Skiff was put into my garage & the length was fixed at 21ft as it was the maximum length i could get in on the diagonal. Her transom & aft tank was cut out with a diamond cutter & a gig style stern fabricated from mdf. A mould was then taken polished & re affixed. This allowed the boat to grow by 3ft.

This is a photo of the as yet unnamed Gig on launch day in 2003. She was not a great success being far too heavy & did not have enough carrying capacity.
Needless to say she showed some potential by racing at the annual row 4 a reason race & winning it in some style.
In September the Clubs base at Benfleet station burned to the ground & the new club promptly collapsed.

The Club restarted in 2005 April fools day if i remember correctly!
Again i was pressganged into the Chairmans job. Again the question became pressing, we needed boats!
The Gig had been languishing on the marshes for over a year & she was again brought to my house & put into the Garden.

This time i sawed of the heavy GRP gunwales & seats & cut her in half right across the middle a centre section mould was knocked up & this was the result. Great care was taken to make sure the hull was straight and this shot shows she came out well!
Despite now being 26ft long she was now at least 50kgs lighter. Shortly after this she was named Dauntless after the Clubs Sponsor.
She proved to be a Good boat & tracked straight & true.

I built a second Gig in Dauntless Boatyard's Shed in early 2006, built underneath Paul redmans catamaran in just three weeks. This one was named Proud Mary after the Credence clearwater revival song.
There were a few subtle differences, her thwarts were slightly wider spaced & the stern had a slight kink in it, this caused a slight tendency to turn one way at speed.

This shot shows her just as she emerged from the shed.

 To be continued!

Friday 15 November 2013

A New Commission!

Those of you with an eye for a good rowing boat may recognise this one!
I recently corresponded with a potential customer & after much talk of rowboats he placed an order for this boat.

Those of you who may have done the Great River Race will have seen the "Dinghy" Maggie which won it this year & has featured in the trophies for many years.
She is a standard Cosine Wherry 14ft long.

This one is a stretched version of the same boat.

There are some small differences, the sheer on the standard boat tends to go flat or droop if you follow the plans exactly so i have sprung it up a little at the ends.
She will make a fine pair oared Skiff.

Behind her is the mould for the 18ft Hanningfield Skiff & it was polished out last week ready to lay a new one up for the new Southend Coastal Rowing club,
There is a first class crew who need a good light fast boat.
Lots going on at the moment!