Thursday, July 19, 2012

Building a Classic Wooden Motor Boat - Part 2

In this last summer vacation I decided to start building an old wooden motorboat, a la Chris Craft or Hacker Craft or Gar Wood of the 50s, here's an update on the construction.


Cold Caulin

"This is the same wrong road we took on the bikes" Carola said. This time without helmets or shouting from the motorcycle next to me, since we were inside a rented car. But the situation was familiar, 8 or 9 years ago we were on this same muddy sloping road facing a deserted beach on the pacific ocean, on the southern island of Chiloe, and it was still the wrong road.

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This familiar road led to the wrong side of the right beach. On this wrong side there's a few houses of the local fishers and villagers, but no hotel. Our nice Caulin Lodge, with the Colorina de Caulin restaurant is on the right side, 900 meters away, by the stony beach filled with algae and waves that leave just a narrow lane when the tide is up.

I rode the bikes on the beach on that first occasion, but they were my bikes, ligher to drag out of the water, and i hadn't left a thousand dollar deposit for them on my credit card. So we took the "safe" approach and took the rented Subaru Impreza around and rode back up the muddy road, to the paved road, and back thru another dirt road (the right one) to our Hotel on the beach. Our closed Hotel to be precise.

Turns out the lodge only opens in summers these years, the Colorina got married moved up north to a warmer beach a couple of years ago, and the restaurant is closed even for breakfast, still... you don't have a lot of options on the top of lonely beach in the south pacific in autumn. So we knocked the door of the house and they were kind enough to rent us a frozen room with smell of fungi and penicillin.

The smell went away, the cold stayed with us through the night.

It was not just cold, it was fireplace-on-all-night go-to-bed-with-all-your-clothes-on, including-your-first-layer-and-your-fleece-jacket-on, under-a-ton-of-blankets-including-a-goose-feathers-one cold.

Pretty cold.

Cryogenic cold.

The place is not decaying, it's re entering the ice age.

Even soaked vultures think so...

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Walter the boatsman

The reason we are in this forgotten paradise at 2 degrees celsius is to visit Walter again, the boat builder that's working on the hull of the classic wooden motor boat (or launch) I decided to build a couple of months ago.

The boat could almost be ready by now, except that I made a major change to the design a couple of weeks ago (I think i'm catching the change-o-phillia of my clients at work...), I just switched at the last minute from hanging a huge lump of an outboard at the transom, to a period correct inboard. Yes, i know... but the outboard seemed like a simpler alternative at the time.

Actually is not fully period correct, since it will be a stern drive 4.3 liter Mercruiser, and the really correct choice with be an inboard with a propeller under the hull, but it's way better than the outboard alternative. 

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Walter is a very understanding soul, and after a minute of silence on the phone for all the wood work that was dying as I told him about my brilliant change in plans, he started working on changing the transom, the hull transom support, the engine support, and the engine hatch doors and openings. Now I can't complain about any changes at work because of his noble attitude.

A month has passed and Walter has advanced a lot with the hull, all the side planks are in place and also most of the deck. The first images show the boat with just the front deck, but when we got there he had already finished the whole deck and also redone the transom.

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 The hull really looks great and is starting to resemble the wooden boats of the 40s and 50s. 


It's our second trip here to see the boat, and already I realize i'm going to miss these trips and Walter once the boat is finished.

It's a beautiful place, and a great feeling to be able to help give birth such a pretty vessel...