Garboards are fastened

After our last post about fitting the garboard planks (the first pair of planks next to the keel), we came back and cut the gain at the stem, which will get our planks laying flush. We’re cutting the gains half thickness on each plank.

We then laid out the next pattern, this time on the Port side – we’re alternating sides, to even out any accumulated error, just in case we haven’t got the molds perfectly symmetrical. We are quite pleased with the lattice truss pattern method!

The next pair of planks got rough cut, and the scarf joints cut. This is the second pair of planks, and the boat has 8 pairs – we should get pretty good at this by the end!

The garboard planks and the next planks scarf joints got glued during the week. The screw-clamping worked well, making a nice tight joint, and the screws came out easily – nice to have that system in place, allowing us to move forward with the next steps!

Flattening the joint for the keel came next, making room for the fir keel that is to come.

Meanwhile, in our tent, the next pair of planks got cut, trimmed, and ready for their test fit. The progress is feeling good, and it’s wonderful to see the hull coming together!

After our work sessions, some of us have been out enjoying our boats, whether it be the club boats or our members’ own boats. We’ve been fortunate to have decent weather for it, even if we do sometimes drift to a stop when the wind fades – in good company, it’s still a great time!

First plank dry fit

After cleaning the scarf joints (with a lot of elbow grease and mechanical assistance), we laid the pattern on the full length plank blanks, and traced out the two garboard planks, the first planks that fasten to the keelson.

We cut the planks using a small circular saw, and then cleaned the edge with a block plane. A few test fits and further trimming produced a very nice fit!

We’re going to try screw-clamping the glued joints, so that clamps won’t get in our way to make the next patterns. We did a dry-fit, screwing one plank to the keelson. That allowed us to plane the bevel for the next plank, which was a very minor bevel near the stern, and a slightly greater angle forward. Some careful work gave us a nice gradual rolling bevel. We should be ready to glue the first plank or two this Saturday!

[ed. SOLD, to a restaurant on Saltspring Island] We have advertised our little Fancy Pram for sale to a good home! Check out the ad, and let us know if you or someone you know wants to take care of her.

If you get Wooden Boat magazine (and if you love wooden boats, of COURSE you do!!), you’ll probably recognize the gorgeous boat on the cover of the January/February 2023 issue. Arnt & Valerie’s lovely boat Anja has an extensive article, with photos by Dale S. Congratulations to all of you on that exciting achievement!!

I did a bit of 3D modeling to try out the extent of decking and seating for the Gannet, then got a bit … carried away, and started messing around with the colour scheme. Here’s where I got (so far).  It has brought up a few interesting discussion topics!

Hope to see you at the shop to take part in this build!

Ready to plank!

Last Saturday we had a lot of fun bevelling the keelson – at one point we had 5 people attacking the board with planes – good times! We got the rough shaping done in short order, and then fine-tuned it and the stem to the proper gently rolling bevel.

After we got the keelson shaped, we took advantage of the gorgeous mid-winter day, and got all 4 boats out to enjoy some fun on the water! The rowboat made a trip to Granville Island for some beer, bread and cheese to welcome the sailors back to the dock – always appreciated!! What a fabulous day!

This week we did a bit more shaping of the stem, then got busy with the pattern for the first planks, the garboard planks.

We tried out the method of patterning where we clamp or nail a thin batten in place where each edge of the plank will land, then hot-gluing short sticks across the gap, effectively creating a lattice truss. We also glued a piece of thin plywood at the stem to get the shape of the hood end. Taking the assembly off the hull, we laid it flat to determine the shape of the plank. Worked like a charm!

Next, we moved on to cutting a blank for the planks, and scarfing and gluing them to create a full-length plank. The boat is 14′-5″ long, and our plywood is 8′ long. We need to join two pieces end-to-end, and the way to do that is a scarf joint, which is an angle cut across the width of the material, and then epoxy-gluing them together. We made a jig to get the proper angle, stacked 4 blanks (2 for each side of the boat) and then used hand-planes to cut the sloped ends.

The layers of the plywood are a great guide to get the angle nice and even – and it looks cool!

We then laid out the planks end-to-end (taking up much of the shop!), applied the epoxy, and clamped them together. The whole process went very smoothly, thanks to several of our members having experience with this type of construction, and it was a great educational experience for the rest of us!

Next week we plan to cut the shape of the first planks, and quite possibly fasten them to the boat!! We’ve had a great turnout of members the last few weeks as the excitement of the new build takes hold – it’s been great fun!!

Backbone is fastened!

We have a backbone on the Gannet build! Last Saturday was spent cleaning and mounting the laminated stem and the plywood transom. Yesterday we cut the keelson using a gorgeous Douglas Fir board provided by Arnt from his stash of church pews.

After cutting the keelson to size, we rounded over the edge that will show in the boat, to avoid splintering the edge. Then we epoxy-glued the keelson to the stem and transom, creating the backbone of the boat. Next up we start beveling the edge of the keelson and stem to accept the planking.

We spread some excess epoxy on the inner and outer faces of the transom, and that gave us the desire to finish the transom bright instead of painting it – I mean, LOOK at it!! Sadly there are some pencil marks that would end up being visible – but that may just provide an interesting patina. We’ll see!

That was a wonderful milestone in the progress of the boat build!

Beautiful Wintertime

Well, that’s been a very snowy December!! Duane and Michel have shared videos of their walks on the dock:

We had a great turnout for our Christmas party on the 17th – plenty of food and a good time, gathered ’round the boat moulds!

Before the festivities took over, we got some work done on the stem, doing a dry run of clamping the lamination strips to the form. Since then, a few of our members got together at Arnt’s shop to do the glue-up, as it needed more space and heat than we have available at the shop.

Tomorrow we’ll work on cleaning up the glue, and preparing to mount the stem on the strongback, and potentially cutting the transom.

Hope you have a happy New Year!

Gannet construction method

I forgot to mention one little thing in that last post – we’ve reconsidered the material choice for the boat, and have decided to build the hull in glued lapstrake plywood.

What brought that about was a discussion of flotation, and wanting to get it figured out right from the beginning. We talked about using foam or air-bags for flotation in a conventional clinker hull, but the conversation kept coming back to maintenance and ventilation. In the end, a suggestion was made to do it in glued lapstrake plywood, with built-in water-tight compartments. That should give us a lightweight self-recoverable boat.

After all, the plans we’re working from are designed for that method, and it will let us gain experience in another type of construction!

Boat shape

We had a busy few weeks building the molds and stem, leading up to very productive day on Saturday, getting all the molds set up on the strongback!

Over the last few weeks, we cut the patterns, and built the 8 molds for the Gannet. There were a few challenges to overcome, but in the end, the molds seem to be quite fair – laying a batten over the molds reveals some minor adjustments needed, but not bad.

The stem was also worked on during that time, and we’ve got the outer stem rough-cut using Black Locust. Next Saturday we plan to laminate the inner stem using Douglas Fir.

We’ve got a small model built, to get an idea of the shape, and to help describe the process to visitors. It’s also useful in planning the proposed half-decking, and seeing what that will do to the cockpit – we’ve realized that it would become more cramped than we’d like, so we’ll be reducing the amount of decking while maintaining appropriate flotation chambers.

The lights are up and the Grinch is on the dock, ready for the Christmas season – and we’ll be having our party on the dock this coming Saturday December 17th after our work session – do come down and raise a glass to a good year! Please bring some food to share, and a beverage of your choice. Contact Georgina for info or to let her know what you’re bringing. Hope to see you there!

North Star of Herschel Island

Exciting news from the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which is raising money to acquire the North Star of Herschel Island for the museum’s collection, ensuring and enhancing her presence in our harbour!

Thank you to those of you who have donated to our Arctic campaign. Your support is deeply appreciated and directly funds the museum’s efforts to refresh our Arctic galleries.
We are writing to you again because of an exciting development regarding the North Star of Herschel Island; we have received a significant pledge of $100,000 from a local resident towards the acquisition of this vessel!
Built in 1935, the North Star worked the Arctic simultaneously with the St. Roch, so much so that they have been called “sisters of the ice”. Currently moored at Heritage Harbour, this ship carries the story of her Inuit owners and their contribution to the community they made as operators in the Arctic. The North Star is the last sailing representative of the Western Canadian Arctic fur trade and serves as a reminder of the success that Inuvialuit trappers had in that era.
As part of our Arctic Exhibition Revitalization plan, our goal is to create a one-of-a-kind floating exhibit that speaks directly to the Inuit experience. But we still need your help to make this historic project happen. We are a small charitable organization, so being able to respond to significant opportunities like this requires the support of the community. Not unlike the acquisition of the St. Roch, this is a pivotal moment for our institution. The unique and exciting opportunity to obtain the iconic vessel, the North Star of Herschel Island is a time sensitive and once in a lifetime event.
By donating before the November 30 deadline, you’ll be a vital part of ensuring the legacy of this vessel carries on for generations. Help us keep this historic ship in Vancouver so we may immerse students, kids and adults with Indigenous maritime heritage. 
This ship is a testament to Inuit ingenuity and survival and its stories deserve to be told alongside the St. Roch. Donate today and help acquire the North Star of Herschel Island!
Thank you for being an important part of the VMM community.  
Donate today!
P.S. We are excited to now offer special benefits to our donors. Use the button below to learn what your gift could mean for you!
View donor benefits
“We anchored near Tuktoyaktuk when we hit shallow water. A boat came out to welcome us and I saw that there were many white people in the boat and I thought there was only one Inuk with them but when they came up to our boat, it was the other way around. These people were all Inuit and there was only one white man with them.That was the first time I had ever heard Inuit talk English. The white man in the boat was the Hudson’s Bay Company manager” – From the Reminiscences of Joe Panipakuttuk, Inuit hunter and guide 

Friendships and Wooden Boats

During the summertime cruising season, a few of our members got together and wrote a very catchy theme song for the club – it really captures a lot of the best parts of our great little slice of paradise!!

Georgina and Tom composed the music and recorded the song, and then a couple of weeks ago, Duane stepped in and shot the video while a bunch of our club members did our best lip-syncing and/or singing along. It turned out FABULOUSLY!!! Warning – you will be singing or humming this tune for the next couple of weeks!

We’ve got a good start on the molds for the Gannett build – we’ve got 3 of 8 done (or nearly so), with 5 to go. We’re also looking through our wood supplies for the material for the centerline – stem, keel, and transom.

We’ve got a few good slabs of Black Locust that should be good for the stem, thanks to Arnt and his urban logging. We’re looking through our stock which is stored at some of our members’ places for Fir for the keel and transom, but we may end up with Yellow Cedar for the keel if we can’t find suitable Fir.

Now that winter is setting in, the storms have started – Duane posted this video from last week, showing the rough conditions at the harbour. Thank goodness for the refreshed decking and structure in the dock – the Museum and Eric have been working hard to get that work done, with the last bit of it happening today – don’t bother going down there today (November 11) unless you plan to help lift the ramp! (I think they’ve got it figured out though)

And, if you’re looking to stay out of the weather, head over to the Britannia Art Gallery for a couple of our members’ show – Valerie and Arnt do some pretty cool things with old musical instrument parts!

Hope to see you at the shop as we get up to speed on the new boat build!

End of summer report (or IS it the end?!)

Summer doesn’t seem to want to let go quite yet! It’s (been) a good one! The Heritage Harbour Classic was a wild one this year – pretty high wind, and lots of wave action made for a challenging sail. Of the club boats, Ragna (with Walter and Vojtech) made a great showing, rounding the first mark in the lead – I’m not sure how long she held that lead, but finished well. Button Swan (Nick and Daniel) got into… a spot of bother with a rough gybe, and needed a tow back to the dock.

The small boats had a bit of a head start, but the big boats thrived in the windy conditions, and took the lead in the second lap. Winsome II came in first, with Querencia taking second. It was certainly an exciting day, not the usual light-wind crawl that it’s been for the last few years! Congratulations Stephen!

The rowing race was a well-fought battle between Tom and Arnt, with Tom coming in first. For more photos of the day, check out the album here.

The weekend before that, a bunch of our members enjoyed a wonderful time at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival – back in the shop, we were regaled with all the stories of the workshops, talks, and the many, many gorgeous boats – but perhaps most important was the new people met, and connections made! Since then, one of the Wooden Boat Magazine writers has been up to Vancouver to write a feature about Anja! That’s something to look forward to in the next year – he loved the harbour and our workshop as well. Take a look at some photos from the festival here.

The weekend after the Heritage Harbour Classic, Dale and Daniel got Button Swan out of the water on Dale’s trailer, and took her to New Westminster to the Vancouver Wooden Boat Society’s Small Boat Rendezvous – it was a great chance to show her to a lot of people, and to see the awesome shop they’ve got there! See more photos here.

We’ve been busy the last couple of weeks with preparations for our next build – the Gannet designed by Ian Oughtred. To make room for the longer boat in the shop, we’ve moved one of the benches, and in the process, cleaned out a lot of stuff that had found a home in the shop, and wasn’t needed.

For our boat users, we’ve also consolidated all the gear in one place, including oars, rudders, life-jackets, keys, log book – that should make it a little easier to keep track of! We do need to mount the key box somewhere that’s not as obvious to see from the window, but it’ll be in that corner somewhere.

The new bench currently holds our new set of plans – and we’ve got a start on building the strongback! Wood from the dock refurbishment was reused as the framework – there’s a bit of cleanup to do to get a flat foundation, but it feels good to make use of that!

Meanwhile in our tent, Enke is getting her garboard seam re-sealed – we reefed out the old caulking, and chose to use Sikaflex to fill that seam. That should keep her water-tight.

If you’ve been waiting to get involved in the club, now is the time, and be there from the start of the new build! Hope to see you at the dock!