This week we were lofting! This is basically when we use the plans for the boat and draw it out on pieces of board at full length. One of the guys on the course ahead of us described lofting as being the first time that you really get to look into the eyes of your boat and that has been exactly what it has been like. I am totally in love with our beautiful Christmas Wherry, right from drawing the first sheer line. It has been emotional.
However... the start of the week saw the Christmas Wherry plans intercepted and taken by HM Revenue and Customs which rather put a spanner in the works as we needed them ASAP! So, on Monday I emailed the wonderful people at www.duck-trap.com (where I purchased the plans) and Walter Simmons himself (the designer of the Christmas Wherry) sent over a copy of the table of offsets so we could get started. He didn’t have to do that and I will forever be indebted to him for his kindness. He literally saved our lofting week! In fact by the time I had paid the ransom to the customs people and received the glorious and beautiful plans on Thursday afternoon my bench buddy and I (I was lucky enough to snaffle her for the lofting... we are a bit of a dream team to be honest) had lofted the whole boat, with help from our wonderful instructors of course.
We also made the decision to take a bit of the rake off the transom (in essence make the angle a bit less severe) so that she will take an outboard a bit more easily. This means that we had to redraw the transom and extend out her lines a little bit. Apparently this means she will run a little faster, be a bit more stable and her lines look even more beautiful. This also means that she will have never been built before. Isn’t that exciting? It’s like we are doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box! BUT BETTER! I honestly think she looks even more beautiful and I am so excited to meet her. I am now beginning to understand how the people commissioning the boats get a little bit obsessed with their own boats and find it hard to move on to the other boats... I will try hard not to go down that road but I must admit that I am totally in love with our little Wherry.
I was thinking of calling her the Leap Day Wherry or the Leap Year Wherry as we started our course on Leap Day. However, it doesn’t really run off the tongue very well... I was chatting with Yvonne (the Principal) about this and she suggested the Merry Wherry, which I kinda like. It has that Christmas feeling and sounds very cute too. So I guess I think of her as a Merry Wherry nowadays, she certainly makes me very merry!
This week has been incredible as we haven’t been using our tools to craft wood and learn the physical skills necessary to build a boat, instead we have been using our minds to visualize and bring these boats off the paper and in to a 2D space which has become a 3D space in our minds. Does that make any sense? I suppose what I’m trying to say is that when I look at our lofting I see a boat rather than a series of lines. It’s like she is floating there and I can look at her from any angle and find that point on our plans and our lofting. We have marked, deliberated and discussed every one of those lines and made sure that they all work together. She already exists now, we just have to build her. It is exhilarating.
I have been so lucky with my lofting partner too, it has been such a team effort. She understands things a little quicker than I do and she has been patient with explaining things and making sure I get them and can do things before we move on. What a gift. Also, we have been using mathematical formulas to work things out and measuring in imperial measurements. This has been an invigorating challenge. I was never terrible at maths but I was never brilliant either and actually learning formulas that we then go and use immediately for a practical purpose has made me realise that a lot of my confusion with learning maths at school came from not seeing a practical application for what we were learning at the time. When you can see that a particular formula will help ensure that your boat will actually float then it suddenly becomes very interesting!
Next week we are doing more lofting (hurrah!) and I think we will be working out a bit of project management, the following week we will be making moulds to take downstairs that will actually be used to build our boats.
The other course’s boats launch in 7 weeks and already our boat building is becoming a reality as we will move down to the big workshop floor and start building our boats as soon as theirs are launched. It is bizarre... but in an amazing way!