Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Goat Island Skiff

Over the last few months I have been putting a lot of thought into what, if anything, I am going to build next. Whatever I build it needs to be or real value to both myself and the family, it must also offer something different to the sailing that we already do. I really like the idea of a small trailer sailor, ideally gaff-rigged with an easily driven hull, it would also have to offer cosy accommodation for 2-4 people for the odd long weekend away. Being able to drive to a new cruising ground and then go exploring for a long weekend sounds like fun and with the time restrictions of work and family it would offer more options than cruising a larger boat. Designs that I have looked at seriously include the Dudley Dix Cape Henry and Cape Cutter and the Selway Fisher Evening/White Swan. The Problems with these are time for the build, space for the build and also cost. Once I had weighed up all the factors a decision was made that the trailer-sailor build would be postponed for the time being and an alternative project investigated.

I have been very interested to read about UK RAID events and Raiding in general. There was the first Solent Raid this year ( that looked great fun, the Scottish raid appeals even more as you travel from the East to West coast ( One of the boats that completed Sail Caledonia this year (2010) was a Goat Island Skiff designed but Michael Storer in Australia. My initial thoughts where that this is a pretty boat and of a size to make it suitable for single and two-handed sailing as well as being a relatively stable platform to load up with gear and take the kids sailing if suitably reefed for the conditions. I had some reservations about some aspects of the design such as the flat bottom and Lug rig but there were more down to my lack of understanding than a technical problem with the design and having had some conversations with the designer and reading lots of information about the boat I have come to the conclusion that the GIS is actually a very clever design.

In a nutshell, the GIS is a very light weight, traditional Australian skiff with a large balanced Lugsail. She has an easily driven hull and will outperform most “Character” boats of a similar size yet has the load carrying capacity to be used as a family or carry enough gear to go camp-cruising or Raiding. From what I have read the goals of the designer were to have a performant and pretty design that is relatively cheap to build and fun to sail, all the reports and videos that I have seen show that this brief was exceeded.

The GIS is 15ft 6” in length with a Beam of 5ft. The hull should weigh around 125lbs (depending on how it is built) and the rig has an impressive sail area of 105 sq ft (9.75 sq meters) although the sail is designed to have two reefing positions. As a comparison to a well known design, the Laser sailing dinghy is 13ft 6” (2ft shorter), weighs in at 130lbs (heavier than a GIS) and has a sail area of 76 sq feet (29 sq ft less than the GIS). All this adds up to a light boat with great performance. I have been reading quite a lot about the intricacies of the balanced Lug rig and how is it designed to bend and flex to absorb the energy of gusts, it is all very interesting stuff and I look forward to playing with it once the boat is afloat.

So here it is, the next build is going to be a Goat Island Skiff and below is a picture of the designer putting a GIS through its paces in a good breeze…

Michael Storer sailing a GIS, Pic by Peter Hyndman

Here is a great pic of a UK GIS called Blanche..

Mark Sailing Blanche, Pic by Chris Perkins

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Finished, just in time for Christmas

Finally finished off the painting on the rocker last night. The hardest bit has been painting the waves as I'm not particularly artistic and it was frustrating for me, however if you don't get too close the waves give the effect I was looking for and I'm sure for a toddler it will be just fine.

I just need to give it a few days to harden off before it is wrapped up in Christmas paper

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The rockers and cross-beams have been glued together and thickened epoxy fillets added on all the visible joins to make it neat and give additional strength. Lots of primer and rubbing down followed on both the rockers and the hull before the two parts were screwed together, again thickened epoxy fillets are used on the visible joints.

The picture shows the rocking boat complete with the first top coat of paint applied to the inside. The colour scheme will be based on the Pup dinghy, Blue on the outside and Ivory on the inside (both International Toplac). Blakes Classic varnish will be used on the brightwork with red along the bottom of the hull to look like antifouling paint. The rockers will be more tricky to paint and will use two lighter shades of blue with some white detailing to make them look like breaking waves (hopefully).