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Cedric Rhyn
12-17-2007, 01:24 AM
I've gotten all interested in small cruisers, John Welsfords Fafnir over in the designs and plans section is really interesting but its too small for my old bones to be comfortable in. I'd been scratching around on the net lookking for something that would appeal and still be achieveable. Lyle Hess and Paul Gartside are artists (were in Hess' case) but I just cant imagine learning the skills to build one of those beautiful boats.

But then I discovered JW! And Sundowner! Not as pretty, but workable. Hmmmm!

I went to look again yesterday and see that he has an update on Charles Whipples Sundowner in his building progress. www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz (http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz) " Click here for latest on Sundowner" where the sunset is.
Boy o boy thats one tough little boat, the word is that they pulled it out of the workshop a few days back, I'm really looking forward to seeing what its like from a distance.

Ced

Thorne
12-17-2007, 09:55 AM
I think there has been at least one other Sundowner built already -- by some guy in South America who focused on building the boat instead of writing about building it...

;0 )

Oops -- my bad! It is a Swaggie, not a Sundowner.
http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/projects/luis/index.htm

Don't see the charm in the teensy cruisers myself, as the slowness of a short waterline combined with the cramped accommodations would be an issue. Did quite a bit of protected-water cruising on a San Juan 21 and there were many days (and nights) that I felt like the proverbial large dog in a small kennel.

Cedric Rhyn
12-17-2007, 01:47 PM
I think thats a bit unfair, heres a guy, not experienced in boatbuilding, who has flown to another country taking his job as a writer with him, set up in a little caravan and renting a workshop, who has built a very capable looking little voyager from scratch as well as earning a living. If you have a look at the Sundowner Diaries that the designer posts "here" http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/sundowner/updates.htm you can see that its been a big job, and if you read his blog " Here" http://tokyowest.typepad.com/charlies_blog/ you will see that hes stuck at it in spite of some big downers and is close to achieving his dream.
I am never ever going to be able to do what he has, and intends to do, but I am hugely enjoying reading about his adventure and am very grateful that he is prepared to share it with us.
More power to him!

Ced



I think there has been at least one other Sundowner built already -- by some guy in South America who focused on building the boat instead of writing about building it...

;0 )

Oops -- my bad! It is a Swaggie, not a Sundowner.
http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/projects/luis/index.htm

Don't see the charm in the teensy cruisers myself, as the slowness of a short waterline combined with the cramped accommodations would be an issue. Did quite a bit of protected-water cruising on a San Juan 21 and there were many days (and nights) that I felt like the proverbial large dog in a small kennel.

JimD
12-17-2007, 01:52 PM
I've been following the Sundowner build with interest, too. That's a very big little boat, Ced. And the construction method will be slow going. Faster to build a sheet plywood boat if you care about building time. The skills for building many of the Gartside designs would be about the same. These are cold molded boat with multiple layers of plywood epoxy glued. Gartside usually combines that with strip plank as well. He feels its provides extra stability in the wood, I recall, although it's hard to imagine cold molded hulls moving much. Sundowner and Swaggie have chined hulls but that won't make them significantly easier or less work to build:

http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/sundowner/images/07-01-15f.jpg

http://tokyowest.typepad.com/charlies_blog/images/2007/12/15/outside372.jpg (http://tokyowest.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/12/15/outside372.jpg)http://tokyowest.typepad.com/charlies_blog/images/2007/12/15/outside172.jpg (http://tokyowest.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/12/15/outside172.jpg)

Thorne
12-17-2007, 02:04 PM
Didn't mean any disrespect to Charlie, just that the project has taken a long time, and that I thought he'd been beaten to the punch by another builder.

I guess that highly-publicized builds like this one make me a bit nervous, as I worry that something will happen to keep the boat from being completed. I really like John W's designs and wouldn't want a high-profile flop to impact his business or interest in designing. Currently either a Navigator or Pathfinder is my dream boat...

Cedric Rhyn
12-18-2007, 02:41 PM
I emailed John Welsford on why he'd chosen the construction method that he has for the Swaggie and Sundowner designs, these are slightly unusual boats in that respect and I was wondering why. Here is a section of his reply.

"
The construction method for both Swaggie and Sundowner is intended for complete beginner boatbuilders. The system is to a large degree self correcting in terms of fairness, does not have complex shapes anywhere, does not require lofting , and does not require much more than hand tools and a good jigsaw ( although a good collection of power tools speeds the job up).
The frames are built flat on the bench, and form much of the interior furniture. The stringers can be faired by packing or setting into the frames a little. The two skin planks are short, donít have much shape in them and are each one only about 10 minutes to fit, and being short and wrapped around a slight curve are very easy to get in full contact with the stringers or inner layer.
Fiberglass gives this 18mm thick wooden skin a very high abrasion resistance as well as stabilising the laminates, and in the case of Charles Whipples boat there is a layer of Kevlar in the forward sections under the fibreglass as a collision damage limitation measure.

While there may be quicker methods of building, the intention here is to break the structure down into smaller and lesser skilled tasks to make the construction accessible to amateurs who may not have long blocks of time available. So rather than fewer smaller jobs, there are more and smaller jobs that suit the ordinary guy who will have other demands on their time but who could put in an hour a day with perhaps a half day on a weekend.

John Welsford



Didn't mean any disrespect to Charlie, just that the project has taken a long time, and that I thought he'd been beaten to the punch by another builder.

I guess that highly-publicized builds like this one make me a bit nervous, as I worry that something will happen to keep the boat from being completed. I really like John W's designs and wouldn't want a high-profile flop to impact his business or interest in designing. Currently either a Navigator or Pathfinder is my dream boat...

JimD
12-18-2007, 05:17 PM
Thanks for that, Ced and John. I guess the only other question I might ask is why the cold molding for a chined hull in the first place? Is there really that much gained over a simple five panel plywood hull form?

john welsford
12-18-2007, 07:33 PM
Hi Jim, several reasons. There is a lot more shape ( compound curve ) in those panels than there looks, plus the shape around the forefoot is quite complex. That shape greatly helps strength. Sheet ply in the strength that is needed wont bend ( the skin is a fraction under 20mm thick before fiberglassing) and a two layer sheet ply skin is expensive. If its going to be two layers thick then solid wood is a better option being easier, cheaper and stronger.
Two layers of Fijiian kauri in 7 inch widths is easy work as long as the pieces are not really long and the panel type construction is easier than conventional construction.
There are hydrodynamic plusses and minuses to the shape, and I wont bother to go through all those other than to say I've used the shape in several boats and they perform better than you'd expect for heavy fat boats and tend to self damp in roll and pitch which helps the comfort or lack of it in a small cruiser
Dont forget when you look at this design, that it was designed for a particular set of skills, resources, and goals. That is, unskilled amateur builder, not much of a budget, and a long voyage in potentially rough seas. Give me a different set of criteria, youd get a different boat.

I will say though, that for a small boat the accommodation is very comfortable, and everything looks workable so far. Its about time for designers nerves, launching time! I think I'll go on holiday somewhere far away, and keep so busy I wont worry about it.

JohnW


Thanks for that, Ced and John. I guess the only other question I might ask is why the cold molding for a chined hull in the first place? Is there really that much gained over a simple five panel plywood hull form?

slusher_ben
12-18-2007, 10:31 PM
I too have followed Charlies progress on his sundowner vessle that he calls Resolution. His is the first to be so near completion, there is another in S. America in progress and a couple other plans holders (myself included). From the conversations that I have had with Charlie and JW online I believe that Charlie is more than capable of doing this. I believe that he has built other boats and is quite experienced with open water sailing. I don't believe that it's so much what he is attempting to do but that he has the determination to work hard at a dream. I for one wish him well and await with anticipation to hear about his exploits while on his voyage.

epoxyboy
12-19-2007, 12:06 AM
Didn't mean any disrespect to Charlie, just that the project has taken a long time, and that I thought he'd been beaten to the punch by another builder.



Two years for a boat that size strikes me as pretty damn quick! My Pathfinder build is coming up on 3 years - nearly done though!

Pete