Why a cat?

I don’t know what turned me onto reading about catamaran’s but once I did I was intrigued.  The more I read the more they made sense. I never could see the logic in traditional keel yachts.

Paying huge money for the lightest of materials and components to make it. Then attaching tonnes of the heaviest metal you could afford to the bottom of it!  And when underway constantly feeling like you are being pushed off your feet.. This never made sense to me.

Video – 1

This video looks at the reasons why I chose to build a catamaran. The shed where it all started. Setting up the foundation and cutting the temporary frames.

Also, preparing the cedar strips for planking and attaching them to the temporary frames.

The shed

The shed where I started, was built some years before in preparation to build a 21ft boat. I had built it quite cheaply, cutting down trees on the property and concreting them into the ground with a tin roof on top. But some lengthening was needed and some walls.. The caravan was my home and office.

The plans

I bought plans for this yacht from a local designer Tony Grainger. There are no instructions with these plans. They are drawings, dimensions and profile curves. How you put it all together is up to you. I had read some books and looked at some other boats being built. I built a small dingy in strip cedar and fibreglass to get some hands on using the same method. I spent a lot of time thinking about the process!

The temporary frames

I cut out temporary frames from chipboard. The full size mylar profile curves were laid down over the wood and traced onto it.  It’s time consuming, cutting with the jigsaw but worth going a little slower and trying to cut as accurate as possible. Any irregularities in the curves here show up in the final hull.

Setting up the frames

Plywood legs were screwed to the chipboard frames and attached to the strong back. The ladder like construction anchored to the ground. Accuracy is critical in this step too, even more so. The frames need to be setup perfectly inline, correctly spaced. The extra time spent here pays dividends later.

Scarfing the cedar strips

The cedar strips used for the hull had to be scarfed together to make them long enough to stretch the length of the hull. I made a jig for sawing the taper scarf and set up a “production line” for cutting and bonding them together.

Building the wooden core

Now with a rack full of correct length cedar strips it was time to start building the hull’s wooden core. The cedar strips are screwed to the temporary frames.  Here is my Dad Ted, giving me a hand. The strips are edge glued to each other with a peanut butter consistency mix of epoxy resin and cab-o-sil.

Video – 2

The planking of the hull. Sanding the wooden core, fibreglassing the outside of the hull and turning it.

Installing the bulkheads, deck and glassing the exterior. Fairing and painting the outside surfaces with primer.

Pulling the boat out of the shed ready to start building the bridge deck.

Creating the hull in wood

The process of adding the cedar strips is continued until the entire hull is formed. Around the sharper curves the strips need to be feathered into each other to fit.

I used wooden strips in between the frames to keep the cedar in line with each other. Keeping it all inline meant for a fairer hull and less sanding later!

Fibreglassing the hull

Once the planking was finished and the hull had been sanded smooth, fibreglassing was started.

Here the fibreglass is rolled off the reel over the boat. A shallow recess was planed along the length of the hull where the glass overlapped.

Fairing the hull

The most laborious part of building the boat. Fairing! By hand, sanding sanding, sanding..

Turning the hull

After finish fairing the hull. It was sprayed with primer and then turned ready to fibreglass the inside.

Turning the hull is certainly a milestone in the building of the boat.

Completing the hull

Once the inside of the hull had been fibreglassed the bulkheads that had been pre-cut were installed. The decks were made of strip cedar, like the hull. Fibreglassed both sides.

All external surfaces were bogged, faired and sprayed with primer before leaving the shed.

First hull out of the shed

The first hull was pulled out of the shed, on a purpose built trailer. Ready for moving it later to a place for assembly.

I then started preparing the shed for building the next section. The bridge deck.

Tim Weston Boats

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