Not Robert, but a projection. Photo by Edouard Boubat

Not Robert, but a projection. Photo by Edouard Boubat

I’ve had a great couple of months with more than average time given to the build. You have to counter some seriously heavy stress at work with some serious boat building.

The keelson was fitted over the centreboard with a brave drop of the circular saw. Many years ago I had stood by whilst one of Robert Ayliffe’s gun boat builders straddled my little boat and lowered a saw into the keel to cut through for the centreboard. That has stuck in my mind, so I did my version of the manoeuvre. With the slot carefully marked and a saw guide set so I could not drift out of the waste, I lowered a shallow set 9″ blade into my scarfe joined, seven meter keelson. Thankfully, it worked well.

Lifting the keelson on by myself was risky as it had the large central chunk removed, so I clamped a support 35x85mm that reached 600mm beyond either side of the slot to support it all. Aside from the weight, it went in without drama. I glued it up in a frenzy, as you do in the Australian summer using epoxy.

I’ve been looking forward to the next stage, the fairing of the cleats and chine logs to accept the bottom laminations. Lots of work with planes. Lots of curly shavings.

I think I forgot how much effort it takes wielding a plane at shoulder height. It’s exhausting! I found myself questioning the blade sharpness just to take a break. It has highlighted my lack of build fitness.

When I spend a day with Robert, who is 20 years my senior, I am always taken back by his stamina. He can work solidly, chipping away at a job. Clearly a life of hard work. This is a healthy way to live. Our bodies need the physical-mental challenge of hard labour. It youthens you. We know Robert has the mind of a 20 something (if you know what I mean) and the fitness of most that age.

I am hoping to gain the stamina I had when building my little boat, It’s a great feeling.

About paulatkins

I own a 3rd generation family businss printing for lovers of photography. My favourite hobby is building and sailing wooden boats.
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4 Responses to Fitness

  1. I agree completely, I train in the gym or outdoors regularly and hate missing my sessions. My sister bought a boat to live on a few years ago and soon found her stamina and strength increasing with everything that comes from the boat owner’s lifestyle. Replacing gas bottles, driving the boat, pulling it into position with ropes when parking. It’s all good for the old ticker!

  2. It’s amazing, but there doesn’t seem to be any exercise regime that prepares us for boatbuilding or boat repair. These activities find muscles we never otherwise use and/or stretch our range-of-motion in new ways. I guess the only solution is to do more work on the boats!

    • paulatkins says:

      It’s the best excuse to avoid: running, running shorts, running shoes, fancy bikes, lycra, shaving your legs, sweaty locker rooms, sweaty gym equipment, exercise nuts….etc.

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