Isabella Completed Nov 2020

Deck coated with Kiwi grip over the epoxy fibreglass and 2 layers of plywood deck. Margin boards are varnished flooded gum.

Varnished transom and NZ Kauri rudder. Tiller and rudder socket lined with tufnol as wearing surfaces. Isabella’s registration matches her sail number A17 issued by Sydney Amateur sailing club.

Berths upholstered. White beech cabin soles. The control lines are for the Bartels under deck furler.

Isabella loaded on my trailer ready for towing to Woolwich dock for launch.

Rigged and ready for launch

Isabella safely berthed at Mosman Bay Marina Sydney

Isabella racing on Sydney harbour. We raced her every weekend from her launch through until the season ended in March. The winter series started in June but has been interrupted by lack of wind and now Covid.

Isabella has performed beautifully since launch. The electric drive system is a delight and Isabella has had great results racing against other Folkboats and in handicap events.

Isabella was featured in the Wordwide Classic Boat Show earlier this year and has recently appeared in the “Launchings” pages of Woodenboat magazine.


Finishing Steps Underway

Skipper seatHere is a pic of the sliding skipper’s seat, the white beech sole and the controls and instrumentation  for the motor systemWindow frame and grab rail The window frames are made from laminated NZ Kauri. The grab rails are celery top pine.

Rudder laminations Here is the glue up for the rudder blade. Laminations of NZ Kauri with grain direction reversed between each. Resorcinol glue. Needs lots of clamp pressure so achieved this with lots of wedges, sash cramps etc.Line boring gudgeonsLine boring the rudder gudgeons.  I cast these in silicon bronze together with the pintles

Rudder bladeThe rudder pintle cheeks run full width to give the blade transverse strength. Since this pic I have added a bronze strap between the top and middle pintles

Rudder head The rudder stock is topped with tufnol to protect the end grain. There’s also tufnol between the tiller and the stock where the tiller pivots.

Stem head fittingStem head fitting in 316 stainlessIn shed on cradleLast day in the shed. We have had concerns about bushfires so I moved the boat to a safer place on our property.  The cradle has rollers under the keel so I was able to winch it out onto the trailer.On trailer Here’s the boat near the house. I have built a canopy over it to protect it over the next couple of months.

Before moving I sandblasted the keel  with garnet then coated with Interprotect.  Simple sandblaster setup with a 20kW Atlas Copco compressor from Ebay and simple pot.

Current work going on is painting the cabin roof.  5 coats of Yacht Primer sanded between, tomorrow will be 3rd coat of Pre Kote before Toplac.

Other jobs recently were installing bilge pumps and final fit of cabin internal fitout.  Also refurbished the spruce mast and boom from the original US boat.

Hopefully just a few months away from launch.

‘Till next time




Cabin and Internals Underway


Deck is built from 2 layers of gaboon plywood with epoxy fibreglass covering.  Margin boards and rubbing strips  are flooded gum. The inner edges of the margin boards have a slight recess – about 1mm so the fibreglass can overlap for a good seal. Red cedar top strakes will be varnished.


The propshaft strut and skin fitting are silicon bronze cast at home using a LPG fired crucible furnace.  The strut was made from 3 pieces tig welded together after getting the alignment right.


This is the propshaft skin fitting on the kitchen bench.  The dripless seal is mounted on a bronze tube silver brazed into the skin fitting casting. Like the strut this item was cast in two pieces then tig welded together after alignment.IMG_20180227_172447

Here’s the Flexofold prop mounted near its final position.IMG_20180622_114116

Cabin berths arrangement. Sealed stainless steel boxes contain the 14 lithium ion battery cells.  The drive system consists of a Saietta 135R motor with V belt drive to the propshaft.


Motor controls, battery management system and charger system.   There’s also a system using Anderson plugs to directly connect the motor to either of the two battery packs so it can run on half voltage in the event of failure of the motor controller or battery management system.


Detail of cabin coamings with rounded insert. All red cedar.


Cabin faired with hatch underway. Similar system to deck with flooded gum margin boards and fibreglass epoxy sheathing.  Cabin roof has two layers of red cedar. First layer tongue and grooved.

Roof beams are laminated kauri.


Deck and gunwales completed

The deck beams are laminated NZ Kauri with 1 in 30 curvature. This was calculated using a spreadsheet.  This template was set for each beams using the calculated offsetsJpegJpeg



The deckbeams are fitted using tapered half dovetails at each end.  Multi tool followed by chisel worked well with a bit of practice.

The hanging and lodging knees are celery top pine. Chainplate backing is flooded gum. Nine  316ss bolts secure the chainplatesJpeg

This shows the fo’ard end and king plank sections each half dovetailed into the deck beams.Jpeg

First layer of 6mm gaboon. SS screwed and glued down. Butt joints scarfed over deck beams. Coated with epoxy on underside before fitting. The plywood bulkhead will be covered with cedar both sides.  It is there now to keep the boat in alignmentJpeg

Second layer of 6mm gaboon was vacuumed down. This worked well. Initially used blanket as breather and soon found shade cloth worked very well. Vacuum pump was only .33 HP and worked well. Main trick is to make sure there are no leaks. Epoxy coating the first ply layer top and bottom reduces leakage through this layer. Sanded of course before bonding second layerJpeg

Flooded gum covering or margin boards surround all openings and run along the sheerline.  A rebate about 1.5mm deep is for the deck sheathing to overlap onto.Jpeg

Finished deck sheathed with 350gsm fibreglass and epoxy then faired with epoxy fairing system.Jpeg


Ribs and sheer clamps finished

IMG_20170403_161654-min Here she is ready for Altex Timbercote varnish.  Already has about six coats of Deks 1 acting as a primer

First step in making each of the 58 ribs was to make a template using hot melt and small strips.

Rib template (1)


I marked the angle of the planks so I could bevel the ribs on the  inner and outer face.

A jig consisting of a series of blocks was then setup to steam bend the laminations and then glue them.


I made the laminations about 8 mm thick so that each  rib could be bevelled without cutting into the laminations and showing the glue line. I am using resorcinol glue and varnishing the interior. The ribs are made from Celery top pine from Tasmania

Being so thick meant that they needed to be steam bent before laminating.  I did this with a polythene sleeve and about an hour steaming with a wallpaper steamer.  I clamped the laminations into position with the steam still on so there was no hurry.

The laminations then needed to dry for a few hours to get the moisture below 15%

Steam bent laminations

Gluing in the same jig  involved lots of clamps as resorcinol needs a lot of pressure.

Gluing jig


Once cured there was very little springback even with only 4 laminations.

The rib was then resawn  to the exact shape using the original template without a bevel to fit the jig.

I rubbed chalk on the jig blocks to show any high spots

Any high spots were shaved off to make sure the laminated form fit the jig perfectly.

Each rib was then bevelled on the inner and out faces using the bandsaw with a tilting table.

The ribs were then screwed into position. Very minimal fitting was required to get a snug fit against the planks.

The  NZ Kauri sheer clamps were laminated into position in two halves.  They were the removed from the boat and trimmed to shape.  12 to 1 scarf joints were the prepared. The sheer clamps were then joined in situ and fastened with a combination of copper rivets and bronze screws.


Floor Timbers Finished


Here is one of the double sided templates used for the floors.  The mdf sheets are held apart at the correct floor thickness.  Heavy cardboard tabs hot melt glued to the mdf follow the planking.


This is a floor ready for installation. Laminated Flooded Gum using resorcinol for the lower laminations and epoxy for the laminated arms.

With accurate template work these templates could be fitted with very little if any trimming in-situ to fit

The semi circular limber holes for the plank lands were created using a Makita electric file – a 8mm wide belt sander.


All 14 floors fitted


Planking Completed

The last of 32 planks was fitted today. The sheerstrakes are Australian Red Cedar to provide a nice contrast to the sheerline.

Next steps are building an access platform, remove the station moulds and coating the inside prior to fitting ribs and floors.


24 Planks Completed


8 Planks to go. It consistently takes 3 days to do one plank:

  • Browing off previous plank takes about an hour.
  • Making spiling batten one hour
  • Marking  from  lined off plank lines one hour
  • Rough shape planking stock one hour
  • Lipped scarf joining planking hour and half
  • Transfer measurements from spiling batten, cut out, cut gerralds or gains at plank ends about 2 hours

ie about a day to prepare plank.

  • Fitting the stem and transom ends about 5 hours each. Includes steaming  in a twist and curvature to the plank  at the transom end
  • Marking nail positions 1 hour
  • Rivetting about 2 hours

ie another 2 days given a few breaks.