Over two years ago, I decided to build a boat (or more accurately, two). According to the detailed instructions, each hull should take about 20 hours. In the end, after many diversions, trips, procrastination’s and more trips, I did complete both hulls in a slightly embarrassing 12 months. Then promptly moved to the other side of the country. Initial plans were for sails on both boats, but the lucky find of an ancient motor changed that idea. Before a sail could be found for the second boat, more diversions followed, including a prize winning race down the Waikato River and a visit to a real shipyard in Costa Rica. Eventually, I did finally get around to making the oars, and just recently, a simple sail rig. Could both boats be finally finished?
If you want to sail a boat in any direction *other* than what the wind is blowing, you need more than just a sail. First up, a rudder and tiller. With clever of arrangement of stainless bolts and a length of rubber strap, I assembled a design that keeps the rudder pointing down, but allows it to kick up if you run into shallow water. To prevent the boat going sideways (to leeward) when sailing upwind, you also need some sort of resistance in the water, or a keel. I went with simple, and made a lee-board that goes into a slot on the outer hull and can be pulled up in shallow water.
With rudder and lee-board created, plus a socket for the free-standing 14ft bamboo mast to go into, work begun on the sail. A cheap blue tarp from the local auto parts shop was cut to size, with the edges and centre dart double stitched. The original eye holes on the tarp were used to zip-tie it permanently to the mast. For storage, the sail is rolled up on the mast. After a short, but tense test on a Sunday afternoon in the small inlet adjacent to the local boat club (unfortunately also located adjacent to many drunken comments) a few minor adjustment were made to the rigging. The next weekend, on a fine Auckland summer day, the dinghy was christened “Jig-About” by her captain and new owner. We set off into the blue unknown, also known as Karepiro Bay.
Is the journey now complete? What should I build next? Who knows, but after constructing such a challenging design, almost anything seems possible!