This blog is about sailing my home-build "Goat Island Skiff". A 16ft wooden "new classic" dinghy designed by Michael Storer.
I have started building this boat in September 2009 and launched it October 2010. I am using it mainly as a single-handed trailer-sailer dinghy in my home-area, the inland waterways of the Dutch "Biesbosch" and surrounding rivers.

woensdag 29 september 2010

Hicking straps

Just before launching my GIS on a windy day I was wondering how to get simple hicking straps fixed quickly. I had some dynema rope, soft plastic tubing and pipe-isolation foam available, so I tried to use that for a "temperary solution"
Initially I had fixed 2 stainless eyes in the middle and used one strap, but that's not an ideal position for comfortable hiking ( if "hiking" could be called "comfortable " at all )
Now I have fixed two stainless eyes in the front, 20 cm from the centerline, and 2 straps. This seems to be the right position for me. The straps work very well and are quite comfortable with this foam padding. It's closed cell foam and could be replaced very cheaply if needed.

donderdag 23 september 2010

Oars and oarlocks.

For convenient rowing it's nice to have your oars fixed in the oarlocks at the right position.
I have made epoxy-glas reinforcements on these places to avoid wearing.
After that I applied some thickend epoxy and winded a piece of rope around it. I used some masking tape to fix this rope until the epoxy has cured.
When the epoxy is hard, the rope is well fixed and avoids sliding out of the oarlocks.

Light weather sailing

Today there was not much wind, but I was surprized how well GIS sailed with very little wind.
You have to keep your weight on the middle seat. You also have to keep a nice amount of heeling, that also helps to have the sail set quite well. Keep the tip of the boom well overboard and she is "speedy" with almost no wind at all. Under these superlight circumstances she still steers very well, you will have sufficient "feeling" about her balance and tuning. In this perspective it is one of the nicest boats I have ever sailed in these very light-wind conditions.

When the wind completely died I have rowed her a long way back. I have kept the rudder down and fixed the helm with a rope in the middle. I lifted the centerboard by about 30-40 cm and than she rows and tracks very well at reasonable speed.

I took my outboard with me for the first time. It's an older 2Hp 2stroke, weight 10kg. Plenty of power to have a GIS speed up very well. I used my rudder to steer and kept the centerboard down. It is nice that there is plenty of stability if you need to sit or kneel on the aft deck to handle the outboard. But keep your weight on the middle seat to maximize speed. It is nice to see that the hull hardly makes any waves and runs so smooth.
I think it's quite useless to buy and take an outboard on GIS in case there is no wind; GIS rows very well and you will get her anywhere rowing.
But an outboard gives more overall speed and could be helpfull if you need to go against waves and wind, when there is no space to tack or in busy harbours. I already had a small outboard, but I probably would not have spend money to buy one for my GIS.

Goat Island Skiff on a standard box-trailer

One of the nice things of a flat-bottum skiff design is that it fits on any trailer.
I already had this 200x120 cm box-trailer and made it ready to carry my new boat. The overall weight of the boat is around 100kg so it is quite light-weight.
You see everything fits nice and compact inside the hull. I have made a cut-out in the transom for a small outboard and another one to hold the mast.

Getting the boat into the water on a trailer-ramp is quite easy; just lift the bow a bit and push it back. Gravity helps to slide the hull towards the water. If the back of the hull is afloat, you simply lower the bow into the water standing in the trailer-box.
To get the boat on the trailer takes a bit more effort. First step is to stand in the trailer-box and lift the bow onto the trailer. After that I attach a heavy 1:4 tackle ( old mainsheet system from a yacht ) on the bow ( strong eye-bolt ) and pull the hull forward untill it is in the right position.
If you handle things right, you do not even get your feet wet.

KIS principle on a GIS part 2

I have used holes to fix ropes in more occasions.
I drilled 12 mm holes to fix mooring lines. Just take a rope through a hole and use a stopper-knot to hold it in place.

I have also used holes to fix a rope-traveller. I have used 5 mm Dynema for this.

To have these holes nicely rounded helps to protect both epoxy and the rope itself.
I have used a router to make these roundings in a quick way.

dinsdag 21 september 2010

KIS principle on a GIS, part1

One of the main interesting things in the design of a Goat Island Skiff is simplicity! In my opinion KIS (Keep It Simple) is one of the main principles of succesfull boatdesign, sailing and yachting. You eliminate costs and maintenance and improve fun and safety.

Following this KIS principle I try to keep rigging as simple as possible. While building this GIS I have drilled 8mm holes around the mast area, rounded them as much as possible and soaked them with epoxy. Simple 4mm dynema rope-loops are used to fix anything needed. I have used 8mm stainless washers to avoid knots to enter these holes.
No screws, nothing that can be damaged, light weight, easy adaptable or removed, and at very little costs.

Non-slip in my GIS part 3

Last step in making non-slip area's.
After the varnish has cured you can start brushing loose sand and smaller stones off . Do not use a very soft brush, but also avoid to damage the fixed layer of sand.
Use a vacuum cleaner to remove things carefully.
The last step is a second layer of varnish on the sand to fix it.
This sand will soak up quite a lot of varnish, I have used some extra thinner to be able to spread it better. I also varnished the masked area's to have a smooth layer on both bottum panels.
It can take a few days before this last layer of varnished has fully cured.
This leaves a very functional semi-transparant non-slip area with great durability. If it appears to be too sharp, you can use a second layer of varnish.

Non-slip in my GIS part 2.

Second step is to varnish the area and let is smoothen a bit ( 30 minutes ) .
Than poor fine sand onto this fresh and still wet varnish.
You have to use a fine sieve to eliminate bigger particles. It's important to use plenty of sand and cover everything with a nice and thick layer of it. I have used a 1.5 kg bag of this sand for this job.
Let the varnish cure for several hours untill it does not feel sticky anymore. Than you have to remove the excess of the sand by using gravity; I have turned my boat almost up-side-down and the sand falls down. An equal thin layer of sand will stick to the varnish.
Don't touch or brush anything! Just let gravity do the job.
At this stage you can also carefully remove masking tape.
Let the varnish cure for another day.

Making Non-Slip panels in my Goat Island Skiff

The inside of my GIS is fully varnished, so it has also varnished floorpanels.
It appears that these panels are too slippery to be comfortable especially when wet in more heavy sailing circumstances.
This is also due to the fact that a GIS can handle greater angles of heeling in gusts and f.e. when you are roll-tacking.
I decides to make non-slip area's in a simple inexpensive way; using fine sand ( so-called "birds-sand") and varnish.
First step is to sand the floorpanels and to mask the area's that should not have a non-slip surface.
The main area's that needs a non-slip surface is in the back of the boat, where you do most of your sailing. But I also made a non-slip area in the front part.