Back from the Duck Flat Summer School

I was asked by the people at Duck Flat Wooden Boats whether I would be interested in teaching at their Spring School.

It is their first one for a few years and has the purpose of “getting people excited about boatbuilding”.

I must admit that was pretty well how it went. 12 different projects and sometimes up to 30 people miilling around.

The projects were
Two different CLC (Chesapeake Light Craft) Kayaks
Four Iain Oughtred Clinker boats – Puffin, Fulmar, a pram and a Skerry Skiff.
A couple of John Welsford’s designs a dory and a Jeanette.
A Bolger Gypsy
A Murray Isles Coorong Traveller
and one of my PDRacers – The simplest, cheapest sailing, rowing, outboard boat

By the end of the week the CLC, Bolger and my PDR design all went together quite quickly with the boats very close to being ready to tidy up and paint.

All the builders made really significant progress with each of their boats, but from the point of view of the instructors the Dory and the Jeanette required a lot more input compared to any of the others. The Jeanette had so many little pieces which had to fit together with close tolerances and the not to scale drawings requiring second guessing the designer – the Dory was poorly documented and laid out on the ply sheets quite arbitrarily with no reference points or lines to work from. But we worked it all out eventually

The lag on the Jeanette was significantly reduced by intructor David Wilson who suggested on the morning of the second last day that the timber strakes that take the chines be eliminated and the boat wired together stitch and glue style with a fibreglass tape run down the chine inside and out. Once skinned up in this way the Jeanette started to look like quite a nice little boat and Mike, the builder, will have lots of fun sailing her around the Lower Murray River.

The Oughtred boats are more labour than the others but straighforward because of the step-by-step detail in the plan. A much more traditional type of construction, but the work was all straightforward with moulds set up and bevelled, stems laminated, patterns made for the planks and planks hung. Three out of the four boats were off the moulds and on the trailers at the end of our time. The builders all equipped with the methods to finish the boats at home. A great effort!!

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