Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Building your own power boat

Ever since i first went to the Grenadines in November i have been intrigued with the passion many young people there have for building their own speed boats. Since there are so many islands scattered around eachother people need to get to and fro using boats. Fiberglass boats are too expensive down there so almost all small powerboats (and many of the larger boats) are locally build out of wood. As many of you know, i was down there getting a 40 foot wooden sloop made. Ocean Nomad which we do sailing and snorkeling tours on was finished on the beach there back in April 2008. Anyway, each time i go there i take great pleasure is seeing all these little powerboats. Most of the islands in the Caribbean still have one or two people still making them but in the Grenadines almost all of them are locally build of wood. Here is one i saw in Union Island back in November 2007:
As you can see, the young desingers there love to make their boats full of colour, and there is quite a bit of competition and pride encompassed in building them.
Here is another one anchored off the west coast of Carriacou at sunset:
Simple boats but very functional in our choppy waters. With plenty of deep V up in the front of the boat these little vessels cut through the water very well.
Here are photos of some in Grenada:



Most of the fast more modern ones are built using a two by four skeleton and a ply wood skin covered in some fiberglass to keep the wood from rotting. The older ones are built the old school way as our sloop was. No ply wood and no fiberglass. Ones like this have been built the same way for hundreds of years:
The slower and older boats are all like this:
Anyway, without having any experience in boat building I was very interested to listen carefully to my boat's designer speak about making models so that he could scale from there to the big boat. Seen here the model of my new sailing boat still being built is carefully designed with 16th of an inch to one inch scale.
Notice any resemblance?
Hopefully by the end of this yeat she will look something like her sister (our other boat) Ocean Nomad seen here below in photos taken by www.photoaction.com :

Anyway, with some of the things i learnt i decided to start building my own small powerboat. Last week my sister Nell told me that she wanted to go boating with some of her friends and that it wasn't fair that we didn't have a small boat she could use. I agreed! Not only that, when it's calm and i want to go fishing by myself i always think it's crazy to use one of the big boats.
Tomorrow i will show you the simple model i have made. It took me about three days of work on and off, but a scaled model has been almost finished of what will be a fun 14 foot speed boat which will be perfect for fishing and playing.
For more info on our wooden boats check http://www.sailing-antigua.com/ and http://www.adventureantigua.com/