I am a sucker for a “project”, so the build-versus-buy decision was already made for me. But the problem was that despite being the grandson of a carpenter I have never “got on” with wood (nasty bendy/splity/splintery/warpy stuff) – metal was such an easier proposition, you can bend it or take a thou off without the slightest risk of getting a splinter or a split.
So this timber aversion (and my below-par welding skills) suggested Fibreglass or Feroconcrete as a build material.
.. the problem with these are that I have built cars in fibreglass before (and I am never going to do that again) and decent sized feroconcrete hulls don’t tow well!
I discover “strip planking” – all the beauty of a wooden boat without the 30-year apprenticeship. This is engineering in wood – this I can learn! (Basically a hull built from thin strips of wood assembled over formers, and clad (inside and out) with stressed skins of epoxy/glass composite.)
Then I discovered Selway Fisher – hundreds of designs – which one to choose – 3 months of avid reading (drooling) of the web site and three sets of study plans!
What are the criteria?
- Trailable – the workshop is 30 miles from water, no other choice really
- Seaworthy – while we have rivers and canals in reach, the Solent and south coast harbours are as close, so we need a hull that can perform in tidal and coastal waters…
- Accommodation – this is England we are talking about, and despite global warming it
can beis usually cold and wet… and if we are talking about coastal waters we need to be able to sleep the odd night – and it needs a loo…
- Steam powered – and the engine choice (see Choosing an Engine) dictated at least 20ft long…
- Pretty – well it’s all in the eyes of the beholder….
So firstly we looked at the Indian Runner, a nice 17ft or 21ft design, but according to Mr. Selway Fisher only suited for rivers and lakes… but pretty!
Then we looked at the 21ft Ijssel – certainly looked the part, and sufficiently seaworthy, but not long enough to fit the accommodation.
Then we looked at the 26ft Ijssel – long enough, but too wide to build in the place I had in mind……
At this point I decided a spreadsheet was in order, and tabulated all the data
…and decided that the 26ft 5inch Golden Bay, with a cabin styled on the 26ft Ijssel was the way to go… Here you can see the design, together with some pictures of Befur
A little further into the project we decided that to provide a backup in the case of mechanical problems, and to add some interest we would make Befur as a Steam Yacht, with an 17sqM Chinese-style Junk Rig.