How to build a boat Catamaran you can live aboard part 1
This is the first of a series of tutorials about a catamaran I built back in the 90s. Building a boat, something big enough to live on and sail off over the horizon is a dream I had for years. My original idea was to build a monohull, in fact I bought plans for a little 21 footer that I was going to weld up and sail around the world in. The plan got postponed for a number of years.
And in that time I come across a couple of books that changed my ideas. It was back in the early 90’s First book was the Gougeon Brothers on boat building, all about building with epoxy and wood. And the other book was the cruising multihull by Chris White. The two of them together made sense Building a multihull, that didn’t rely on tonnes of lead to keep itself upright and building with wood, epoxy and fibreglass, all made sense to me.
I found plans I liked from a local multihull designer, Tony Grainger. I then started preparing the place to build it, in the bush on my parents property out the back of Noosa Heads. Queensland, Australia. The original shed was only big enough to build the 21ft boat that I originally planned to build. So I lengthened it with the idea of building the boat in 3 sections.
2 hulls separately and then the centre section. Which I ended up doing. Building of the hull starts with a strong back. It’s a ladder like construction that I concreted into the ground. I cut out temporary frames in chipboard. to make the cross sectional shapes of the hull. Using full size contours on mylar sheet that I laid down on the wood and traced out with a dressmakers wheel.
Each temporary frame is set up on the strong back. and lined up. It’s worth spending a little extra time to get everything spot on at this stage Getting it all lined up perfect. and the contours cut out perfect. made for an absolutely fair hull. It saves you a lot of time down the track. The construction was strip plank western red cedar.
Basically a wood cored fibreglass boat. My reasons for building it this way were that its a simple system for a one off boat You don’t need to build a mould before you can make it. produces a very fair hull. It’s strong, its light. The cedar strips were 14mm thick and for the majority of the boat 90mm wide.
What I’d bought, machined ah, were not long enough to make up the length of the hull so they have to be scarfed together to give you the full length of the hull. I set up a jig with my brothers radial saw, to saw them all give them a feather edge for scarfing. and then set up a jig table to scarf them all together. Once they were dried then I could start screwing them on to the temporary frames. Edge gluing them as I went.