Photo Shoot!


Saturday August 29th 2015

I was contacted recently by a GP Commissioning Trade Publication. They were looking for GP commissioners with “an interesting back story or hobby”. They had trawled every CCG website in the country for the biographies of Board Members and came up with me! I had a telephone interview and Terry, my professional photographer neighbour, kindly took the photos in the quality format for glossy magazines (330 DPI).

They’re a bit cheesy and contrived but that is what the magazine requested. They are however a nice record of the build as it is now. It was also fun to watch him photoshop out any unwanted clutter (like my conservatory in one shot)

No blog for a couple of weeks as I’m off to Heathrow later today; quick trip to Tanzania!







Well Done!

Thursday 20th August 2015


Lately I have been turning my attention to the engine wells/boxes. The plans show auxillary power from two, 10HP outboard motors mounted on cradles under the deck platform. Simplicity! Not only are there no holes in the hulls, but they can be lifted out of the water, so reducing unnecessary drag. In theory it will be possible to turn the boat within it’s own length. In addition,  if one engine goes kaputt,  you have another to spare. Furthermore, if you experience a breakdown there will always be someone in far off anchorages with the nouse to effect a repair.

As I progress with the build the plans become less and less clear! I guess JWD feels that if you have got this far you don’t need help. It took a bit of head scratching to work out what is to be done. The engines are mounted on bespoke wells which are suspended beneath the engine boxes with stainless steel rods. The engine boxes (housing fuel tanks and batteries) in turn, are slung between the beams with steel rods. The fact that the engine boxes are not square (the outer side is 15mm shorter than the inner side) confused me for a while, but I think I have it now.

The whole assembly is made from 12mm ply doubled up to make 24mm. In short, there is a lot of fiddling around; a task I thought could have been completed in a weekend, has taken much longer.

The top picture shows  the brackets which will support the engine wells under the engine boxes. I was concerned that the 12mm hole might invite ingress of water, so I drilled a 20mm hole, filled it with epoxy, then drilled the correct-sized hole through the middle. Below are a couple of close ups.



On The Right Track


Saturday 8 August 2015

This week Janine and I have been busy sticking various bits of hardwood onto the sides of the hull. I perhaps spend a morning shaping wood and then spend the afternoon setting up a production line of applying neat epoxy with a brush, then smearing said piece with peanut butter consistency thickened epoxy, screwing it to the hull, scraping off the excess with a doctor’s tongue depressor to leave a small fillet, and finally a clean up with paper soaked in methylated spirit.

I have also turned my attention to ways of securing the hatches. The plans show a sliding assembly running on tracks, with shock cord securing a watertight seal. Other builders have disregarded this design and opted for a hinge that allows the hatch to be slid out of the way across an aluminium pole; a neat solution, and a solution I was going to adopt until a last minute change of mind. I am going to stick to the plans



My main reason for the change is that a hinged hatch is either fully closed or fully open; a sliding hatch can be partially opened to control ventilation better. You can also slide it shut from inside without having to get onto the deck. I am, however, going to use a hinge for the two aft deck hatches as the tracks will probably foul the self steering paraphernalia, and they quite neatly hinge back and rest on the coach roof.

The other problem is that my tracking (dinghy mainsheet traveller) is unbendable extruded aluminium and the coach roof and decks are curved. It was fun to make the tracking supports from scrap oak. They look so nice it will be a shame to paint them, perhaps I will just oil them.

I’m Back!

imageI am going to have to get into a routine again. The discipline of sitting down at the end of the day and writing about boatbuilding. Janine is doing her embroidery while watching TV and I have a glass of wine and an ipad.

I have various boat tasks on the go. If it is not too hot and its dry, I’ll get on and do outside jobs. If its raining I’m inside doing other stuff. I actually find that warm sunny weather is the most challenging weather of all. If you mix more than one pump of epoxy it is curing before you can use it.

So this week I have cut a hole in the aft deck of the port hull. This will become a large locker. It is the first hatch and coaming set I have made that isn’t square– I believe it is technically an isosceles trapezium.. In fact there isn’t a right angle to be seen so every cut you have to transfer the angle from the boat to the table saw. It is enjoyable work when it goes well; miserable when you cock things up. Anyway it is all glassed now and will be fitted next week after a final sanding.


I also completed the hardwood pads which will support the lashing strake. I’ve made over 100 of them, and having fitted half of them yesterday, I’ve done a few too many. I searched Neil’s site to see how many he used (94) and I think I’ll use 84. Perhaps Gleda is longer than Kira.

imageI’ve also turned my attention to the rudders. They are all cut out and I’ve scarfed the joints, being mindful not to join them back to front like Cat Named Dog. My sympathies as it is so easily done.

New Year, New Start


Tuesday 1 January 2013

It seems incredible that it is over 2 months since my last post, and over 2 months since I did any work on Kira. That is not to say that I have been idle in the last few weeks, it is just that “life” outside Kira has had to take precedence.

Various things created a perfect storm of inactivity. Local GPs have had to get organised into groups so they can commission services for the local area. This required a lot of training from management consultants so I could acquire the skills to manage multimillion pound health budgets, and then prove to the powers that be that I am a fit and proper person to carry the responsibility. On top of that we had a major underground water leak in our kitchen and so we had to organise the repair work and took advantage of the disruption for a bit of a refit; and then of course there was Christmas…..

2013 has to be “The Big Push” as, by November, the local planning department will start to pester me to remove the boat shed. My big news is that, all being well, my GP partners have agreed a 3 months’ sabbatical from April to July and so hopefully we can make huge strides forward when we both build full time.

So thanks everybody for bearing with me, and I will endeavour to keep you posted.

Happy New Year to you all and may 2013 be a year of health and happiness.

Very A-PEEL-ing


Sunday 14 October 2012

1500 Hours So Far

We have had a couple of productive days, and so are spending a restful day having a roast dinner and watching the TV, while thinking of Neil on his half marathon.

We have managed to glass the upper panel sides and so are feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. We did it in two continuous 12 metre runs with a generous wrap around on stem and stern. I remember doing the lower hull sides on my own a while back, although this time the work requires the use of access ladders, by working together things went very smoothly.

Our new purchase of a ladder/platform from the man who is always in front of the Holiday Inn at the Southampton Boat Show (next to the giant Bean Bag man and opposite Mr D’s Thermal Cooker stand, both of whom we visited and purchased from at the last Boat Show) has proved a real boon.

We wound the glass around a broom handle and gradually made our way along the boat. I worked with a roller and Janine followed behind with a brush and Stanley knife. We are great fans of Peel Ply as it gives an idiot proof method of obtaining a great finish and NO AMINE BLUSH. Janine’s talents and experience as a dressmaker stood us in good stead as she was quickly able to master the skill of smoothing on the Peel Ply without bubbles. The whole process is a little thirsty in terms of epoxy but the finish should be worth it.






Tape Deck


Saturday 29th September 2012

1484 Hours So Far

Kira is now fully decked from stem to stern! I know it is  much behind schedule but we have got there in the end, and mighty fine she looks too! I can lose many an hour just circling the boat and admiring our achievement.

We have done a lot of rounding off with the router and sander so there are no longer any hard corners. We have now started putting biaxial tape over the deck joints. I am not sure if it adds much to the strength of the joints, but I’m only following the plans. Once this is all done, it is onto the glassing. The last time I did glassing (2 years ago) all seemed to go OK. I rely heavily on the wonders of peel ply. Some say that peel ply is cheating, but as long as it gives a professional finish, I don’t care.


Show Boat


Sunday 23 September 2012

1474 Hours So Far

There has not been a great deal of time to add to the blog in the past couple of weeks as we have been on holiday to Croatia, our kitchen leak work has been completed, we are now having the rest of the kitchen refitted and Janine has been in a local AmDram production, but we finally attached the bow deck today.

We also spent a day at the Southampton Boat Show, where we saw the ‘community’ boat project – a boat constructed of donated pieces of wood, be they clothes pegs, cotton bobbins or guitars. Our neighbour, Mike, who had donated a piece of teak, put us on to it. The above picture shows one of the sides.

Our Croatian holiday was spent in Istria with the girls and their boyfriends. There was a lot of R and R and a few evenings spent wandering around marinas. Heaven!





The Limski Draga Fjord.

Sorry if the quality of the photos is not up to the usual standard, but they were downloaded from my iPhone.

On our return we had over 100 spam comments on this blog, all of them trying to advertise something, So now we are experimenting with a plugin to try and filter the real stuff from the rubbish and regain control of our own website.

Hop It!


Wednesday 5 September 2012

1470 Hours So Far

I live in an area of Kent which historically is renowned for hop growing , an essential ingredient when brewing beer. In days gone by, I recall hop vines as far as the eye could see; sadly today England imports most of its hops from mainland Europe. Faversham, Sittingbourne’s sister town, is a few miles east along the A2, and holds an annual Hop Festival; lots of country dancing, lots of music …. and lots of drinking. On Sunday we visited the festival, and took time out to walk along Faversham Creek to admire the Thames sailing barges which once transported goods(mainly bricks) up to London. The photo above is a hop vine taken on Janine’s iPhone.

We continue to plod on. Today we cut out the remaining 9mm deck pieces, and later put the first coat of epoxy on the undersurfaces. I hope to do the second flood coat tomorrow.


All White Now


Wednesday 29 August 2012

1460 Hours So Far

Preparations continue to attach the final bits of deck. This means that all joints need to have an epoxy fillet. all of which need to be sanded and prepped ready for painting. Time consuming stuff, and how much effort do you put in to areas that will only be seen through inspection hatches? I’m learning to accept the odd uneven fillet or paint run, but with my OCD tendencies, it has not been easy.

I have made all the supporting framework for the decks. I have even remembered to finish the inspection hatch into the collision bulkhead/sail locker. I have adapted four kitchen cabinet knobs to use as fixing lugs. This will be placed inside the compartment before it is decked over, otherwise there is no way of getting it in!