Painting the Iain Oughtred dinghy

After 8 years kept in the open, the Iain Oughtred feather pram finally needed its paint refreshed.

The Hempel all in one primer, undercoat and topcoat lasted amazingly well. The boat is stored upside down in the garden when not in use, and only had a tarpaulin over it in the winter.

First coat drying

We gave the hull a rub down with fine 600 grade wet and dry, then washed it and left it for 24 hours to dry before the first coat.There was enough paint left in the old pot for a full coat this time, to be followed by two coats of gloss.

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February – boat building, and a rediscovered sailing book

My most recent surrogate for sailing has been to watch You Tube videos from the Sampson Boat Company – an addictive glimpse into a  world where something beautiful, functional and powerful is being constructed out of wood, in a project run by an English boatbuilder working in the USA. I highly recommend it to anyone, boat person or otherwise, who wants to wind down from today’s tensions. This is a link. The YouTube viewing figures show that hundreds of thousands of others have found that out too.

Planking the hull of a 1910 Pilot Cutter being completely rebuilt at Sampson Boat. Still from YouTube.
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Building an Iain Oughtred pram dinghy

My birthday present was a kit to build a little wooden tender by the celebrated Scottish designer Iain Oughtred (celebrated, that is, by afficionados of wooden boats). However, this tender is not for Spring Fever, because there is nowhere on the deck it would fit, but for the grandchildren to row on the old farm pond in our garden, and perhaps on quiet stretches of a nearby river.

The boat is 6 feet 10 inches and called the ‘Feather’ pram, because it is Oughtred’s smallest and lightest design. Construction is lapstrake, which is like old fashioned clinker (overlapping plank), but glued instead of clenched with nails. Nearly everything is made from plywood. It’s a very pretty little boat.

The building frame on trestles.
The building frame on trestles.

The first stage was to buy some timber from a builders’ merchant and make a strong frame on which to build the boat, resting on a pair of trestles in our next door neighbour, Paul Broomhead’s, workshop, which he has kindly lent for the project.

Cutting planks from a plywood sheet.
Cutting planks from a plywood sheet.

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