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View Article  Row, row, row the boat...

The oars in their raw state awaiting the attention of spokeshave and planes
Engines are all very well and undoubtedly useful when they're needed, but there is nothing quite like rowing a small sailing boat on a fine day. So when a customer, who is taking one of the boats we have built on a "raid" later this month, approached me and asked for a pair of substantial oars that would be up to the challenge of five days of constant action, I was delighted to oblige.
The result is a pair of hand-made oars of Douglas fir with oak inserts and mahogany tips that should pull his 18-foot double-ended gaff cutter through Scotland's Great Glen in style.
The oars were made by hand, using hand tools only, and the looms were rounded using planes and spokeshaves, not a lathe. They were finished off by being coated in in Deks Olje. It all might be a little more time-consuming but the results from this traditional method are unique and delightful.
The oars also match the mast and boom of the boat itself, so the combination should be easy on the eye as well as easy on the environment.
Now all he has to do is to pull them into what is sure to be a headwind - unless he can find a galley slave to do it for him while he stands at the tiller banging a drum. For the slave's sake I just hope he doesn't want to go water-skiing....

The new oars are much longer than ones we usually make

View Article  "Ensay Mist" transformed

Antifouling is a disgusting job, not for the fashion conscious

April was one of the best months of weather we have had for years. May, traditionally one of the best, has been one of the worst, with gales, hail, rain and biting winds.
No matter, the refurbishment of Ensay Mist, the 1975 Westerly Centaur, has been continuing apace. Among the million-and-one tasks we've completed, she now has a completely new interior with all her cupboard doors having been stripped and varnished and new runners fitted. She has new seat cushions with new foam and covers and new matching curtains.
She also has a bespoke slide-away chart table for the first time and a matching bespoke dining table. Her new instrument panel, which holds the GPS, DSC radio and log, has seen the electrics also refurbished to ensure the instruments talk to each other properly.
She also has a new bespoke saloon table at which we hope to enjoy many a dram.
Outside, her hull has changed from red to blue. The hull was stripped and cleaned and after four undercoats, four topcoats of International Toplac have been applied. Her teak rubbing strakes have been stripped and repaired and coated in teak oil.
Last weekend the old antifoul was wet-sanded and a coat of new antifoul applied. Another coat will go on before she heads to her west-coast mooring in a fortnight.
There is much to do in the last few days. Come back soon for more updates.

Bespoke chart table and instrument panel
View Article  Comings and Goings
As one boat leaves, another one arrives.....   more »
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