What floats your boat?


She’d been high and dry for four years and needed scraping, recaulking and paint. Lots of scraping, recaulking and paint!
High and dry

First stop: the Winterton Boat Building Museum for information on recaulking and general boat construction.
A caulking demonstration on a rodney at theWinterton Boat Building Museum. The stuff hanging off is oakum.

trying my hand

caulking tools

Hand of the craftsman

The Winterton museum is a converted United Church School and is a really cool place to learn more than you ever wanted to know about the tradition of hand-building wooden boats in the Winterton area!

Equipped with some basic skills and hopefully the tools to do the job, I hunted down marline cord and boat paint (IMP Sales, St. John’s, Newfoundland) and a wide array of scrapers and sandpaper (thanks Bob!). The boat is located on Exploits Islands in Notre Dame Bay. We have no electricity, running water or phone there, so I took everything I might possibly need.

Dad and I rolled her over and I faced this:

surface of keel

There were a number of neat things on the keel that had been growing there when last she was pulled from the water. I found tiny mussels, scallops and sea sponges growing on the old paint.

Here she is, scraped and ready for work:

Keeled over

Caulking isn’t actually all that hard, just monotonous and plentiful.


Scaping the keel

The Dolphin II has had a rough go of it in the past thirty years. I managed to work over the outside of her and have the prep done to repaint her innards next summer. It’s amazing what a coat of paint will do for appearances….

The Dolphin afloatNext summer’s project: painting the inside.

Interestingly enough, this project has got me thinking of building a small boat this winter. Currently the choices are a Nutshell Pram, the Shellback dinghy or the Bisacayne Bay Sailing Skiff.

I’ll probably start small, in a Nutshell.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. rexton says:

    The kit project sounds like fun. What were your primary determinants for the three choices? I’m guessing you were thinking car-toppable?

    My brother-in-law builds boats on occasion, and he was raised as a fisherman before shifting over to electronics. He likes the glued-lapstrake technique over the traditional lapstrake. The only think he doesn’t like about it is the fumes. Where would you build it?

    The Biscayne looks nice, and probably tracks better through the water. Given the Bermuda rig, it should also point higher into the wind on a tack. It will be a little harder to single-hand than the other two.

    For all three designs a couple of lines of reef points will give you much greater flexibility to adjust for higher winds.

    For pure fun my favourite dinghy is the Laser I. Don’t expect to stay dry, but it very responsive and fast. In the right conditions the boat will actually start planing like a speedboat. The only dinghies faster for the same waterline length are catamarans and windsurfers. However a well built wooden boat, while requiring more care, has an aesthetic that appeals to me.

    Good luck, have fun, and for God’s sake don’t dump in St. John’s Harbour! Keep us posted.

  2. Pingback: Way-finding

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