Thread: Beginners Dinghy
3rd Jan 2010, 02:52 PM #16
It has occurred to me that I'm the very last person who should be contributing to this thread! Time, tools, materials, methods, idiocy, money spent - you name it...
So I'll withdraw into my own idiosyncratic little shell (which is now finally 100 % sealed up, q.v. :) and stay there ;).
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4th Jan 2010, 01:39 PM #17
Matthew, now that you've had a chance to think about this boat caper a bit, and have made an intial choice of design, you'd be well served to sit down and forget about the boat and think about the use.
You need to work out what you'll be using this boat for. This isn't as easy as it sounds because perceived need will always be different to the awful reality, sometimes dramatically. It's easier of course, if you already have a boating background and current activity and you're building a boat to fit an known niche.
So, what will you DEFINITELY be doing with this boat?
Realistically, how often will you be doing this?
I have this mental image of being out on the boat every weekend, the reality is very different. It's just too hard for a family man.
Who will be in this boat?
Although you'd love to be out with your kids, what will they be doing and will they be enjoying themselves? Kids get bored. Kids don't always like discomfort. The fun of doing something weird with Dad can fade. Will the missus definitely be involved or is it a case of 'you'd like her too'?
Realistically, you need a boat that will serve for you alone while the family tolerates your latest fetish. Then you start adding passengers and the wee brats do grow - my daughter is still only little but at 8, I already need to think about adult accomodation for her.
Looks DO matter.
The PDR is a great little sail boat but you wouldn't be the first to be turned off by the square looks (required under her class rules, not by design choice). Joel White's Nutshell will do the same job as the PDR, is still an easy build but is more curvaceous - that's the 7'7" version but there's also a 9' version - Hawk (member here) has one and it's a great little boat.
Once you've worked out what you WILL be doing and what you HOPE to be doing with this boat, you're in a better place to make final decisions and choose something that was designed to do those tasks rather than something that was designed for one thing but can be asked to do the others - for example, if you want a row boat and a sail boat, a tender like the Nutshell above would be a better choice than the PDR, if you want a sail boat only, the PDR comes back to the front of the field.
I've always had this idea that I want to learn to sail, and have had sail boats, and Redback has spent far more time under oars than under sail and I still can't sail and don't really see the fascination in all the ropes and stuff ... which is why my recent activities have been aimed more at rowing.
Whatever you choose, this boat will take you a year to build, probably more. That's life mate. They don't build themselves, the boat building faires are notoriously lazy and it takes a genuine effort to do something on the boat every day. Long periods with it neglected in the shed are NORMAL. Look for a boat that will serve you not next summer, but the summer after. Of course, you might be bobbing about in the thing come the middle of this year, but there are so many jobs involved in finishing a boat once the excitement of gluing the basic hull together is over, that nearly every boat building project drags on and on and on (I started Sixpence in 1999 ).
It's okay, you will get confused and you will get it wrong, we all do, that's why getting the building bug is a good thing.
Have fun with journey.
and considering my track record, maybe forgetting this post is a good move too
4th Jan 2010, 02:17 PM #18New Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
- Rockhampton, Queensland
Thanks to all for the excellent comments and suggestions. I imagine tools will set me back a little now that I think about it.
I suppose sailing would be the major use, as that's something I'd like to learn, but maybe do some rowing for fishing. The kids just like doing things with their Dad and rarely get bored; I'm blessed with great children!
5th Jan 2010, 09:51 AM #19
Daddles is dead right to ask the question about where the emphasis is going to be.
Row power or sail.
There are other boats around beside the PDRacer.
However if it is sailing performance for the dollar you are after there is nothing that is close.
However if the emphasis is on rowing or fishing - the emphasis - then the nutshell would make a better choice in many ways. It sails well enough to spend time sailing around a bay too, but it not terribly effective at covering ground. It would be improved a bit with a bigger centreboard!
5th Jan 2010, 01:48 PM #20
Although I suggested the Nutshell, I'd look to the 12 foot class.
We've discussed learners sail boats before (coz I'm a muggins and was looking for something to learn on) and the 12 foot size seemed to give the best balance of sailing ability vs size. They are often designed (or are claimed to have been designed) to work under oars too, you just won't win any races.
The 12 footers give plenty of room inside. My Redback (at 7'5") is physically too small for me though a large part of that is the interior layout - the same sized Nutshell is far better (though if you go Nutshell, I'd suggest the 9 footer). For carrying passengers when sailing, going bigger is better again.
Note though, the PDR at only 8 foot, offers plenty of room inside for passengers thanks to its shape and sensible design sooooooo, if 12 foot proves too big to lug around, you might be well served to 'sacrifice looks' for capability. The PDR would also offer all or more sailing ability than the 12 footers so it scores on those grounds too.
Have a hunt around sites such as Selway Fisher to get an idea of the many options available (Selway Fisher have a good name for boats and plans too ).
At this stage of your search, there's nothing wrong with looking at lots of boats and evetually coming back to your original choice - it's like buying a pair of shoes, you get given the pair that are supposed to fit but you also try the next size just make sure you have the 'right' fit.
You mentioned car topping or similar. You can get some pretty impressive boats onto the tops of things - the killer is weight, not size. My 15' Little Black Dog should be car toppable when finished, though I'll probably need a helper to get it up there. Have you seen the sized tinnies people get on the tops of four wheel drives? You need to be able to move the thing from home to the water but be a little careful about the restictions you place on the boat - I chose Redback because it would fit inside the Tarago I drove at time ... and sold long before I finished the boat
The other suggestion that has a lot of merit, especially seeing it's summer now, is to go to your local yacht club and get some sailing experience, even if you don't intend to go racing. You may find you don't like it. You may find you love it. You may find yourself with a Heron racing dinghy instead (and some of those racers can make nice family boats ). If nothing else, it'll give you some skills and answer a lot of the questions it hasn't occured to you to ask yet.
The norm (especially on this site) seems to be that if you give sailing a go, you'll get right into it in some form or another ... but not always. I've tried it, and still intend to keep on trying it ... and am now building row boats. I've enjoyed the sailing I've done (oh okay, trying to sink my Heron in 15knot winds wasn't all that much fun) but it's no longer the burning desire it once was. A mate of mine and his missus went heavily into sailing, only to discover that she can't handle the way the boat heels, something neither of them expected. The only way you'll know which way you'll turn is to try it, and it's cheaper to try it with someone else's boat than your own (especially one you have to build).
avoiding working on the boat
6th Jan 2010, 09:01 PM #21Diamond Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Tyrendarra Vic.
Matthew , you have lots of good advise on this thread.
The point I would emphasize is that you should "try before you buy" first.
Try to get out sailing with your kids if at all possible .
Often yacht clubs are more than happy to introduce "newbies" to sailing.
It will allow you to make more informed decisions.
I would be putting in a lot of effort in to getting your bum , and your kids , in to boats , of any sort.
Then you will find you will look at the responses in this thread in a different light.
This is my emphasis , the rest of the comments I endorse , they are i believe well made.
Regards Rob J.
15th Jan 2010, 03:25 PM #22
I'm breaking my self-imposed silence with some info that is actually useful. This will apply to any boat that you build, and many other things besides.
One of the most-used set of tools that I have in my little arsenal (apart from conventional sandpapaer, a cork block and my fingers) is a couple of Perma-Grit sanding tools (see further down this post for the Oz link). I would be lost without them. They are essentially pieces of thin, tin-coated sheet steel with tungsten carbide granules welded onto them in a variety of grades/grits, like sandpaper. Where they differ from sandpaper is that they take a very long time to dull and/or wear out. Not only that, but they can take a great deal of pressure and are ideal for things like epoxy resin, reinforced resins, and resin-glue mixes. This is no accident, as they were specifically designed to work on modern synthetic composites (although they work a treat on things like wood, too) in areas such as yacht production, professional model-making, car-body work, etc., etc. I originally got one as a "subscription present" from a now sadly-defunct r/c scale aircraft magazine form the UK (RIP, RCSI). I was going to use it on my scale aircraft, but it somehow got lost in a drawer and forgotten about - until I started working on the boat and was looking through said drawer for something else. I haven't looked back!
If this sounds a bit like an ad - it is. These two little devices (see photo below) have saved my bacon time and time again when I've had to remove or repair a mistake. I remembered your thread as I was undoing the results of Yet Another Mistake(tm) this morning (see photo at bottom of that post, plus my following post), and thought that you could benefit from one of these - irrespective of making mistakes. I can just see everyone else rolling their eyes at the alex banging on again about the Perma-Grit - but it really does amazing things. In fact, it almost seems sometimes that all you have to do is show the glue blobs the plate, and off they run ;). Well, some effort is involved, but not much.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as grits. Perma-Grit have a website here in Oz, from which I ordered the wedge block - it's better to let them amortise the freight costs over bulk shipments ;).
The following photo shows the heavily-used items:
*** Note: The photo shown here can be viewed at various sizes via my Flickr page. Here ends yer contractual obligation notice ***
I hope you find this useful.
15th Jan 2010, 04:38 PM #23New Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2009
Useful tools for Matthew
Seeing how everbody has their own ideas re the value of tools for ease of doing the cutting/shaping of material for wooden boats..................Here are the items that I found made the job a lot easier,
I have a GMC table saw 2hp 10 inch tungsten tipped blade adjustable height & angle,bought at Bunnings for $98 ripped and cut all the ply and chine etc for my PDR
The next little beauty was a electric hand planer,same place for $56.
An old Metabo 1/2 inch drill,for both sanding,drilling,countersinking and driving the stainless screws I used(Everywhere & I left them in the areas I glued,cheap insurance)
A luftkin 8 metre tape and a metre measuring ruler.
Two good screwdrivers,blade and Phillips
In my old kit I have a 1/3 sheet and a random sander.
I ripped down wider pieces of timber to make chines and gunwales,cheaper than buying separate pieces.
CLAMPS O"Boy,do not scrimp on clamps C or adjustable are the best,not plastic,definetly steel borrow them if you got mates,20 should be enough (just) with a mouth of at least 6 inches,these really make all your jobs easier.
Also get at least two window sash clamps with 4/5 foot spaces,great when you are glueing transom/ bow and bottom together,most of these items can be had fairly cheaply,they will not be worked hard and are quite suitable for the materials we work with mostly ply and 19mm thickness timber.
those I consider are the tools which will make the cutting and shaping easy,particulary for us amatuers . Professionals have more expensive tastes but they are closer to the commercial side and seem to love their tools more than the items they put together.
Well just my thoughts,but there again a lot may just think I'm a cheap___s,
15th Jan 2010, 05:55 PM #24
The Perma-grit might be bit expensive initially, but they have recouped their cost (well, the one I actually went and bought) many, many times over, and have allowed a ham-fisted non-professional (me) to get out of some very tight corners...
And I still use hand-held sand-paper for most of my sanding.
26th Mar 2016, 12:36 PM #25Novice
- Join Date
- Jan 2009
- Elanora, Qld
I'm reasonably new to forum and boat building. I discovered your post whilst searching for info on Joel White Shellback Dinghy. This craft caught my eye a few years back whilst reading Wooden Boat mag. I have plans and booklet.
My problem is knowing what comparative Australian timber to use. The timber material list showing USA timber is as follows:
Stem & frame - Mahogany or Fir
Seats - Cedar or Pine
Various - Oak
Spars, Oars - Spruce
Could you give me names of Australian timbers that would be suitable to substitute above please?
In spare time I have been making various timber items over past years and have a reasonable workshop. I took part in a local boatbuilding class few years ago. I have more time now. I find the idea of constructing a boat that becomes a live and usable object on water very satisfying.
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