As we only had our Eun na Mara canoe yawl Islesburgh on the water on two days of all last season, we have reluctantly decided that the time has come to sell her. Alison is busy with other projects, and I do not want to launch, sail and retrieve Islesburgh on my own. She is on Trade Me now.
As I have a good workshop, and the tools and some experience, I decided to build a smaller, lighter boat that I could sail and row, with or without company, to replace the Swampscott dory we used to have. Inspired by discussions on the WoodenBoat Forum, I chose the the Sooty Tern, Iain Oughtred's latest variation on his range of designs based on the Shetland yole. It has six strakes rather than Iain's usual four. The Shetland yoles also have six strakes. The Sooty Tern design is actually longer than Islesburgh by 2 inches, at 19 ft 8 inches, but slimmer. The design was instigated by James McMullen, a professional wooden boatbuilder of Anacortes, Washington State, in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.
James lengthened the Arctic Tern design in consultation with Iain, who then drew up the details of the alteration as a supplement to the Arctic Tern plans. James called his boat Rowan. It is suitable for day-sailing locally and beach camping around the lakes, as I used to do with my dory. It will have a balanced lug sail and a mizzen. As I will be on my own (and feeling my age a little), I will also have a small outboard motor in a well. I intend to sail when I can, row when I want to and motor when needs must (hopefully not a lot). The motor can be put away inside the stern when not in use, and for beach landings.
I built the jig and moulds in January 2013. Then I was asked to finish the building work for the renovations of the 1901 Charles Bailey launch Elsie Evans, which is being restored by Otago Harbour Ferry Incorporated for trips on the harbour.
I worked on her full time for the next 6 months, with other volunteers helping as they were able, and she was launched into Otago Harbour at the beginning of August 2013. Then we went to America for a month's holiday and to attend the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, where we met other amateur boatbuilders, and went sailing with some of them too. We were pleased to meet James and his friends. They are keen “sail and oar” people, who explore Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, usually as a group. We also visited the North West School of Wooden Boatbuilding at Port Hadlock, about 20 minutes on the local bus south of Port Townsend. This school gave demonstrations of various aspects of wooden boat building throughout the Festival.
We came home last September 2013 and I started work in earnest on the new boat. The hull was turned the right way up in January and the boat is now almost complete, except for painting and rigging. The sails and trailer have been ordered. We hope to have her at the Akaroa Regatta in November.