Friday, June 30

What's in a name?

The name on the boat. It means little boat in Chinese. Xiau Chuan. It looks very nice on the boat. I am going to put a black stripe on it and another layer of lacquer. Its almost ready!

Thursday, June 29

the first layer

The first layer of lacquer makes the hull shine beautifully. It also smells very good. We are almost done.

Monday, June 26

Working as a team

The epoxy dry's rather fast, so Nicky and Twan work on both sides of the boat and I work on the bowside. The epoxy forms a hard layer and gives a lot of protection against water. The boat will be more out of the water then in it, but it will keep the boat in good shape for years to come. The kids are both very eager to go and sail with it. We have a beautifull dvd on which some pro's show what they can do with an Optimist. That is a lot. See on

Sunday, June 25

The name of the boat

The name of the boat had to be a Chinese name. Twan has this China obsession and we decided that little boat in Chinese would be a good name. Jaap studied Chinese, so we asked him for a translation. This is what he returned, xiao chuan, little boat. I made on the computer a design of the characters on a red field, just like a Chinese stamp. The name is sealed and we attach it to the boat with epoxy.

ready for the first layer of lacquer

The boat is completely sanded and ready for the first layer of lacquer. We are going to use the same epoxy raisin to lacquer the boat, because this gives a very good and hard protection.

Tuesday, June 20

Sanding the boat

After sawing off the lips and joints that are superfluous now, the hull has to be sanded inside and outside. I have some really heavy equipment for this job. I use a rotating sandingmachine, but the real stuff is this belt sanding machine. It has this powerfull motor and a roundgoing sandingbelt, it is amazing how fast this machine works. The dust you produce is overwhelming, the mask, goggles and earprotection I wear are absolutely necessary. After a while everything is covered with the dust. On the picture you see the light of the cameraflash reflecting on the dustparticles in the air.

Monday, June 19

24 hours later...

The epoxy needs a few hours to dry, but it needs longer to harden realy wel. 24 hours later we remove the clamps and admire the result.
This is how it looks inside.

Sunday, June 18

Working now, sailing later

Nicky and Twan working together in great harmony. They both are very keen on working together to prevent one working longer then the other, thus preventing that the boat will be more the other ones boat. They are very aware of the fact that they have to share the work now and share the sailing later.


Some parts can be clamped with glue-clamps, but some have to be tightened by other means. On the picture you can see we used some heavy weights, such as a toolbox and the welding transformator. We also use ropes and belts with clever pieces of boards and planks.
On the picture Nicky is working on the triangels that strengthen the four corners of the boat. We also put in the little blocks where the fittings are going to be screwed on, such as the pully block for the main sail sheet and the floating bags.

Saturday, June 17

Sopping the epoxy

Twan is sopping the epoxy on the wood. This is the first real part that will be put in with glue. I had a quarrel with Nicky who had to make the glue by putting the two components together. Everybody has to wear plastic gloves and the glue is weighed on an electronic balance. I warned her not to spill any of it on the delicate balance, but she can't do anything without making a real mess, so I could forsee what happened. She spilled the glue on the balance and I yelled at her. She yelled at me and disappeared with tears in her eyes. I am such a stupid bullying brutal dumbo. Afterwards I appoligized to her and we hugged. Boatbuilding should be fun, not a quarrel. I was very much ashamed of myself.

Friday, June 16

Mixing and glueing with epoxy

The boat will contain no nails or screws, we use epoxy. Epoxy is a raisin with hardener that can be used to glue and to laminate with glassfiber or other materials. It works very easy and smooth, but you have to be carefull, it is very toxic and dangerous for your eyes. When everything is on its place, we use clamps to keep everything fixed together. But first we have to know what should be fixed where and in what order.
Twan is reading the manual. Where are we going to start?

Wednesday, June 14

putting the puzzle together

All the pieces of the boat can be put together like a jig saw puzzle. Specialy added tabs and slots make it easy to form the hull. On the picture everything is put together without any glue, just a few tiestrips and you have a boat.

Saturday, June 10

Boat building

40 years ago I found in a librarybook a drawing of an Optimist, a new model sailingboat, specialy designed for children and for easy selfbuilding.
Somehow the decision to build this boat was made and with a list of buildingmaterial and my savings we went to "Ome Riekelt", who was a building contractor.
We bought a lot of mahogany, special waterproof two components glue, and a special material, a sheet of waterproof "masonite", to form the outside.

With my father I build this boat, now I repeat history, we got ourselves a building kit for a brand new Optimist. In the following posts you can see how it is build by Nicky, Twan and myself.