Friday, 24 January 2014

Back to work

A number of things have kept me away from boat building over the last few months, but things are starting to settle down and I can turn my attention back to the pleasant complexities of working with bits of wood.  I've been looking at some of the bits and pieces I can work on without a massive outlay on ply and without requiring the space to plank up the hull - space I don't have until I work out what to do with my Tammie Norrie.  

I'll build the bulkheads next but my first little project was to out together the rudder, rudder stock and tiller.The photo below is a relatively early stage.

The tiller was sawn, chiselled and spokeshaved to shape from an old piece of Tasmanian Oak that was once part of a roof timber, I think.  The rudder stock sides were made from 18mm hardwood marine ply, with a core of Douglas Fir (Oregon).  I lined the tiller socket with thin strips of cedar to give a nice soft fit.

The  rudder was made largely from two pieces of 18mm hardwood marine ply laminated up and edged at the front with hardwood and glassed. I added a piece of brass half round strip I had left over to the lower edge.  

The rudder will be held in place by a 12mm SS bolt and lacking the appropriate size tubing as bushing I epoxied stacks of M12 washers into the bolt hole in the rudder and stock - should keep the wear down.

Next step the bulkheads


  1. John, it's nice to see that you've started building a Penguin. I finished one a few years ago, and it's worth it. Just a note on the rudder: You may wish to raise the tiller to get more clearance for the outboard and your knees. A few Penguin builders have done this. You can see my modification posted on a WoodenBoat forum thread:
    Phil R.

  2. Thanks for the advice Phil. In fact it was the pictures of "Ann Martin" that helped me decide on a Penguin build. Lovely boat. I also liked the way you looked for workable alternatives in some of the tricky areas - ballast and tabernacle, for example.

  3. Hi John, tabernacle and ballast are both expensive and difficult components. There are alternatives.

    An oak tabernacle is a traditional design that is straightforward in design, strong, affordable, and will also look good. If welded, 1/4" stainless steel plates sometimes warp in the process, as one Penguin builder has reported; 3/8" may be better.

    If I were to do it again, I would consider a ballast box filled with concrete and iron scrap, as Buehler outlines in his book. It's affordable, strong, and seems much easier. Welsford had suggested something like that to me, but it should be done first, before laying down the bottom sole. I was too late. It would need to be a bit deeper and wider than the lead ballast but that would not be a big deal at all. Without much effort, it could be streamlined somewhat. Also, be careful because parts of the plans seem a bit off on the lead ballast and it's possible to cast it underweight, again as one builder reports.

    I chose the yawl, and glad I did, because the main boom is shorter and can fit inside the cabin for trailering, along with the gaff and mizzen mast. Also, being forward of the cabin, the main mast on a yawl is very easy to put up by simply 'walking' it.

    I'm excited about another Penguin and look forward to future posts. It's a great boat and was fun to build. I hope you don't mind the unsolicited advice. Cheers, Phil

    1. Thanks Phil

      I chose the Yawl also - the mizzen is such a useful sail and I like the overall versatility of the rig. My Tammie Norrie has a balanced lug main and a small jib headed mizzen.

      Thanks for the advice on the ballast. My local library has a copy of Buehler's book and I'll read that carefully while I make all the bulkheads. My first thought is that a welded steel box is a lot easier than a big lead casting

      And please feel free to give advice whenever you wish :) I know all too well how easy it is to make mistakes



    2. Phil

      I'm slightly puzzled. Looking at the plans, the Yawl rig calls for a compression post under the mast, which would lie in the middle of the forepeak bunk - not ideal. How did you deal with this, because the photos I've seen of your build don't show any such support



  4. Retry:
    There are two solutions to the 'compression post in the berth' problem. The standard way is to put in a removable post that is removed when not sailing. I built a 'box' out of 4x4inch lumber under the deck and along the hull that transfers the weight to the sole. It seems to work well and I've detected no unwanted motion.
    Here's a nice sketch of the boat by a local artist