August 2012

A lot has changed since my last update and as the launch date gets closer time seems to be moving faster! There’s still a lot to do, but the prospect of getting our boat in the water is spurring us on so things are progressing well.

We coated the hull in two layers of fibreglass, using a biaxial glass cloth and epoxy resin. This was a sticky, awkward job requiring plenty of gloves, patience and coffee as well as a reasonable amount of speed given the curing time of epoxy, but we got there in the end. Once this had hardened, we set to work fairing and filling the hull ready to paint. Fairing’s a bit of an open ended task; you could spend weeks achieving an almost perfect finish and indeed if we were building a boat designed for racing we might well have done just this. However, our boat’s going to be a working boat and we have to build her to the constraints that time and budget allow. So we faired her to a level we were happy with from the point of view of both aesthetics and performance and got on with painting.

I think we’d both anticipated that painting would be a relaxing, satisfying job given that holding a paintbrush is significantly less physically draining than using a longboard. So we were a little disappointed when the first coat of undercoat went on and looked less than perfect. We always knew the first coat would look the worst, but we were hoping for a slightly better finish. But we carried on; applying a couple of thicker coats with brushes (reasonably relaxing) and wet sanding them back in between coats (less than relaxing). It quickly started to look fairer and smoother, and by the time we’d put the fifth coat on most imperfections were covered. So we did a final sand and applied the sixth coat of undercoat as well as a first coat of antifoul to the area below the waterline before starting with the topside paint. We’ve chosen a cream colour for this; it’s visible, traditional and we think it’ll look good with our tan sails when we’re fishing out in the bay. We applied three coats of topcoat, each one shinier than the last, and by the end we were really pleased with the results.

The last thing to do before turning her over was to fix a section of stainless steel band to the bottom of the keel and the bilge runners, which we fitted between fibreglassing and painting.

And finally this week we turned her over! With the help of four other people, all of whom conveniently happened to be boatbuilding or transporting experts (only in Portscatho!), we managed to turn her comfortably and with no damage inside the workshop. It was a very exciting moment to see our boat the right way up for the first time and we love her all the more now that we can see her lines better and appreciate more how she will look on the water.

We’ve also decided on a name for her! She is the first boat we’ve ever built and the first completely original boat design of Simon’s to be built. She’s also, to the best of our knowledge, the first new fishing boat to be built and launched in Portscatho for fifty years. So we’ve decided to call her ‘Kensa’, which is a Cornish girl’s name meaning ‘first’.

We hope our launch day will mark not only the completion of the boat build but also the start of us making a living from fishing under sail and oar. We’d love everyone to come and celebrate this with us. It’s not going to be an organised, formal occasion (we’re not very good at that!) but it will be an excellent excuse to spend the afternoon on the beach, raise a glass to our boat and her future and enjoy the sunshine… See you on the 19th August!

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