The Last Lap

GrumpyI am now in total panic mode.  The cleats I ordered have not arrived but everything else seems to be progressing.  It's all the little things that take up the time, now.  That and fastening all the expensive bits of stainless steel to pads that you can't remember exactly where they were from the outside. 

There is also the celebration.  If you have taken so much out of your life to build a boat, there is no way that it is going into the water quietly.  The Pier and Harbour Commission have banned the consumption of alcohol at the launch so my ideas for a wee barbecue et cetera on the jetty have gone down the tubes.  There is nowhere else within the confines of the harbour that is suitable and not owned by them.  To compensate, I booked a room with a bar, booked a band, booked a buffet and invited a hundred people.  Instant party.

Somebody once told me that the name is the first thing that you think about, even before you start building.  It's true.  I had already decided on the name when I went to the bank to arrange for several years of overdraft.  Keeping the name secret was the hardest bit.  Your pals all come round with the argument that they are your best mates and won't you tell them?  But luckily you know them better than that.  I have had the letters done professionally which, although it isn't cheap, looks better than any DIY I could do.

Now that the washboards are in place and the main hatch on, it is time to lift the pod outside into the daylight.  I borrowed a flat trailer and with one person pushing the trailer in the workshop door, one whipping out the first trestle and two holding up the front, we got the trailer right under the pod.  We cocked up the trailer and the second trestle came out easy as winking.  I lashed a length of carcassing to the tow hitch and we hauled the pod out to meet the hulls once more.

This was when we found that the pod was on the trailer back to front.  I had left the hulls with the bows on to a wall and not enough space in front to pull the trailer clear.  We juggled the pod, trestles and the trailer until it was the other way around and backed the pod into place.  We then lifted the pod onto the trestles again, ready for the hulls.  The actual repositioning of the hulls was easy but it took six of us.  I had two people at each end of a hull with a short strop so that it was easy to lift, one kicking the cradles if they stuck, and me keeping an eye on the straightness of the approach.  I had the pod slightly high, about 5cms, and we just played with the beams until the bolts slotted home.  Once both were in place, the trestles came out and the pod slouched into position.  You might have to drag the cradles a little to start the slouch.Hebridean Funeral maybe

Now, of course, is the time when you find out if the splash 'wings' on the pod fit the hulls but with enough bodies around it is an easy matter to re-mark the wings and jig-saw off any excess material.  I added a quick dose of resin to the patch I had to cut before putting it together again, reasoning that the paint can get added one quiet night somewhere.

I measured out the position of the chain-plates from the after end of the pod and put one hole through for the first of the big pan head bolts I was going to use.  I drilled the bottom hole only, for each chain-plate.

Half a dozen of us had an absolutely tottering time putting the mast up because the wind picked up when we were only half way up.  We made it but at the expense of some of the paintwork.  The mast was stayed by blue polypropylene rope to the hulls and to the post office wall.  A convenient Post Office is a must for any amateur boat builder, I find.  The hulls were not level so, to give a good approximation of where the mast should be, I marked each of the shrouds at a fixed distance from the tang and then, when the mast was up, measured back from the mark to the top hole of the chain-plate.  I then allowed for the bottle-screws and the slope before cutting the wire.  Once the thing is in the water is plenty early enough to fix them properly.

 Fitting all the pads and blocks and everything else is just time consuming and usually needs two people, one inside to hold the pad in place and the other outside positioning the parts.  The day before the lift there must have been six of us swarming all over the hulls and pod putting the last touches to all sorts, getting it wrong, doing it again and generally confusing each other.