Day 1 Setting up
the steel
(Gena in photo)
Actually, day 1 could be considered as many days of planning and preparation!
In fact, building our own boat has altered our choice of where we live, our holidays, the vehicle we drive, and replaced most of our outdoor leisure time.
It all started 4 years ago after we'd made the decision to one day make cruising a way of life.
Neither of us have any experience in boat building and have no idea how this will all come out! While we lived in town we rebuilt a glass over wood 21 footer and added a cabin for weekends aboard. That took us a whole summer to do as the weather just wouldn't co-operate. Somedays we'd just get started and it would start to rain, then rain all day.
Lesson 1:
Always have a roof or cover over the boat, particularly wooden boats!
Lesson 2:
Never rush a job because of impending bad weather. (i.e. lesson 1!)
I could go on with lesson 3, 4, 5 etc as we learned a lot that summer, but that was
another project! After careful consideration we have decided to build a Bruce Roberts 43 MKII with a pilot house and cutter rig. ( see main page.) Our first goal was to find a location to build our boat. We already had a place in town so we started looking for places near town to rent or buy. Quonsets or sheds seemed to be at a premium and were renting for $1000/month!
After searching all over central Alberta we decided that renting would not be a good idea! We had to buy some land. After 3 months we finally found a place with a partially finished house and lots of space to build our boat. Treed in so as not to spoil the view from our neighbors windows (if you know what I mean!) and a lake nearby to boot! The house would need to be finished though as the property is 35 minutes from town and it just wouldn't have been feasible to drive all the way out for an hour or two of work on the boat.
Dry walling, partitioning to make rooms, putting in a furnace, well for water, field system, planting grass, new deck, making a second floor, painting, and all the plumbing, took 9 months.
For two girls that must be some kind of record!
Spring of '99 came around and we were finally ready to start preparations for building our boat. In May the weather began to co-operate, so we put in a 50' concrete pad with holes every 3' to mount pipes in for our make-shift tarp shed.
We also built a small steel shed to put all the 'big' tools in. In June we built the tent out of triple sections of 10' fence pipe and pulled over a tarp. It is now 36' long.
Then we built a gantry out of old drill stem, which proved to be very difficult to cut before we had the plasma cutter, in the shape of two A-frames with a 6" bar connecting the two.
Of course the tent would have to be removed to use it as it is 16' high by 16' wide.
Instead of using a couple of old railroad tracks, we decided to use heavy rubber wheels to move it back and forth.

In early July we purchased the plasma cutter, which I must say, is an amazing piece of equipment. It can slice through 1/4" plate at almost and inch a second! Much easier than conventional means. We have yet to purchase a large Mig welder but our small one will do for tacking pieces together.

Sorry no pic, you haven't .jpg recognitionThe steel arrived last week and we are ready to draw on the patterns from the blue-prints
so I consider this day 1. In the photo is our first plate drawn out.
Day 1:
8 hours. Moved plate into position, cut up and taped plans, then traced onto first two 5'x10'
plates. This is for the webbing. The weather became rainy and the air humid. Blue-prints
don't like humidity so there were several times we couldn't do anything but wait.
Tomorrow we will do some cutting and mark more plates.