Arinar
by Craig McEwan - Queensland, Australia

My boat building project got underway in February 2004 with the arrival of my plans and I started construction in April 2004. I’d been building radio controlled yachts from 600mm monohulls to 2m Trimarans, and all sorts in between for a number of years to fill the need after selling my 27’ Choey Lee. I bought it while working in Fiji and spent the best part of a year with the family sailing it back to Queensland. The people you meet and the places you go stay with you forever, and the dream lives on.

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My boat building project got underway in February 2004 with the arrival of my plans and I started construction in April 2004.

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Anyway I wanted to get back into “real boats “, not to do blue water sailing but be able to have regular weekends away, and with Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast Broadwater at hand, all I needed was something easily handled, that you could also get out of the sun. I had in mind what I wanted, the layout, the look, and what I didn’t want. One thing I didn’t want was a centreboard case in the way. Another thing I didn’t want was a hard chine. If I was going to build a yacht I wanted to have a go at something different. I decided on a Bruce Roberts 19 in version “B”.

A fixed keel Double diagonal ply cold mould 20 footer. This I could fit corner to corner in my double garage and be able to work on it day or night, rain (still waiting) or shine. This was a boat plenty big enough for me to single hand, and take the family as well. I don’t have the yard room to park a boat and trailer so this is a boat that will live in the water.

I started driving around the new housing developments collecting scrap 3x2’s and 4x2’s and soon had enough to build the strongback. Then it was off to see Ian Philips at Bote Cote for the sheets of ply, stringers, epoxy etc. We had talked several times on the phone, and his book explaining Bote Cote products was very informative. I’ve found Ian to be very helpful and always keen to know how it’s going.

I started driving around the new housing developments collecting scrap 3x2’s and 4x2’s and soon had enough to build the strongback.

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After going over the plans a few times making the changes I wanted to suit me, and where I would be sailing it, then discussing them with Paul, from Bruce Roberts International and adding his alterations to compensate, I laid up 18 sheets of 4mm ply and ran down the lot with the skilly cutting them into 150mm strips by 2400.

The frames for this boat are in two types, Permanent and temp. The perm frames I cut out two layers of 9mm x 70mm ply and saturated and glued with epoxy, then gave a couple more coats. The temp frames I made out of anything as they are only there to hold shape. The stem was cut from 3 layers of 12mm by 180mm, glued and coated the same as the frames. All joints in the laminating were offset.

Once the stem and frames were up, the keelson, two layers of 20 x 150mm x 6m, were glued and screwed from stem, the perm frames to the stern. A piece of plastic was laid over the temp frames where the keelson was set into it so they wouldn’t stick. This was then epoxy coated. Once they were all in place on went the stringers, glued, screwed and epoxyed. The Gunwhale stringers are double 45 x 20 from stern to midships then three layers from midships to join the stem at the bow. I used an electric plan to shape, or plane, it back to two thicknesses at midship. Again these had plastic under them at the temp frames. The next job is onto the planking.

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The Gunwhale stringers are double 45 x 20 from stern to midships then three layers from midships to join the stem at the bow.

The first layer goes on at 45deg to the gunwhale starting midship and I would hold it in place with some hand clamps and the lay up two either side of it to mark what needed to be shaped off so they would butt together when laid across the stringers. I would then do the same on the opposite side so the planking was kept even both sides. If you plank one side first you can build twist into the hull. I found I could mix enough epoxy / filler to fix five planks aside before it went off with no waste. I attached the planks using a staple gun and compressor and placed 40mm cut lengths of blue woven packing tape under the staples so I could pull them out with pliers later. I would go around collecting used packing tape from businesses and sit at night cutting piles because I wasn’t shy in using staples.

I was surprised how easy the planking went on. After I’d marked what needed to come off and numbered the ten planks, five aside, I’d cut them all with a band saw, The best tool I’ve ever bought. And if they needed it I use a small hand plane. You soon get very good at cutting them. When the first layer was finished, trimmed, and all the staples removed, a fun job, not, I climbed under it and ran a strip of masking tape down each butt join so that when any epoxy filler was used in a gap, after it went off I could peal off the tape and have a smooth finish inside without sanding it. The hull was saturated with a diluted coat and given another coat of epoxy. Then the second layer was put on the same way at 90 deg to the first. This time the epoxy / filler was brushed on so the second layer had no gaps or air between it. You end up with an incredibly strong light hull, and with a layer of 200gm woven fibre glass over that it finishes up around 10mm thick. It only took me two full weekends to plank both layers, and I was working on my own.

I was surprised how easy the planking went on. After I’d marked what needed to come off and numbered the ten planks, five aside, I’d cut them all with a band saw, The best tool I’ve ever bought.

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While I was waiting on epoxy drying, I would get on with other things like the Rudder and Tiller and started building the keel. I changed the way my keel was to be made, because I was building in my garage I couldn’t fit the keel as plan or I would never get it out the door, so I had to made it in two pieces. The keel is 2400 long by 700mm deep. My plan was to split it so I had a piece 300mm deep, I could then glue and bolt to the keelson. This also gave the hull something to sit on after it was turned. The other piece I’ll slide under after it’s out the garage.

Some of the changes I made to the plans are: version “A” has a centreboard and side decks but the hull has 100mm less free board. Version “B” has Knuckle flats ( a flat side section like an additional chine were the hull tilts back inwards and joins the cabin sides and no side deck. I incorporated parts of A with B by continuing the lines of the frames because I wanted side decks. I’ve passed climbing over cabin tops to get to the bow. This also gave me an extra 100mm headroom.

I then stepped the coach roof another 120mm almost to where the mast steps and it’s resulted in almost full head room over the galley area with a well balance look, to me, with a clear cabin sole on a 20 footer.

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My plan was to split the keel so I had a piece 300mm deep, I could then glue and bolt to the keelson. This also gave the hull something to sit on after it was turned....

I made some other changes too. it originally had a vee birth and two ¼ berths under the cockpit seats. I reduced the length of the cockpit 250mm (10”) and increased the cabin size and sacrificed the starboard ¼ berth. I still have plenty of seating space in the cockpit for the amount of people I’ll have onboard, or to stretch out and relax. I added an icebox next to the cooker and good size cockpit locker, which we will go into later. I also added a Sampson post if it’s going to moored.

Most of my sailing will be shorter trips, and more at anchor enjoying the splendours of the islands around the bay, so I wanted more comfort and to be more airy below to suit Queensland weather.

I’ve dedicated all my weekends to building since the start, including a couple of weeks full time at Christmas and the only help so far was turning the hull. It’s taken 18 months to date and I’m close to painting. Had I done bits here and there it would have dragged on and maybe lost interest so I was determined to keep at it so I could sooner be away on some Leisurely “ARINAR”.

...The other piece I’ll slide under after it’s out the garage.

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So the second layer of ply is finished, sanded, and coated with epoxy, and on to the keel. I used a piece of 20 x 150 x 2500mm as a template, which would also be the top plate when the keel is fixed to the hull. I marked its position and the keel bolt positions and the shape the keel will finish. It’s 140mm wide at the widest point so I bevelled its edge to the hull. I packed up the back of the template until it reads level, that gave me the size and shape of the wedge I needed to fit between the hull. With the amount of plan sheets and information you get with these plans you can’t go far wrong, anyway I epoxyed two 75 x 50’s together, roughed it to shape and finished it with a belt sander, then epoxyed it to the hull. Now I was able to work on a level surface.

A friend gave me a part sheet of 45mm thick marine ply he’d used to replace his power boat transom, so I marked it 300mm deep, cut it, and epoxyed it together. I used the electric plane to tapper the ends. I also got hold of some lengths of laminated hard wood that was the right width for the rest of the keel minus the ballast section. The double piece of 300mm deep-laminated ply was epoxyed to my template as this part of the keel was going to be joined to the hull so that when it was turned it could sit on it. I then drilled the boltholes through this piece, positioned it on the hull and drilled those. I put the two keel pieces together, marked and drilled the other. To make the keel easier to shape I epoxyed 30mm high density foam to the side and filed it back to the shape I wanted, with a good result. This was then coated with epoxy. I epoxyed and bolted the section to the hull.

The next job was to cover the hull and keel with 200gsm woven fibreglass. It’s a job better tackled by two, but, since that was not to be, I laid the cloth over the lot, held it in place with masking tape and worked my way around doing a drop at a time. After this a layer of epoxy / sanding filler was screed over and sanded then a coat of Bote Cote 2 Pac primer was brushed on. Definitely should be sprayed as I ended up screeding another layer over the top to get the finish I want. Now the time we all look forward to, The turning over.

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You end up with an incredibly strong light hull, and with a layer of 200gm woven fibre glass over that it finishes up around 10mm thick.

So the day was planned, the lads were all called, I’d been to Bridgestone to get a pile of old tyres. I’d made up a trolley to wheel it back down the drive into the garage after it was turned. I put three braces across the Gunwhale with chocks both sides so it would be rolled on those not the hull and waited for the blokes to turn up.

Everyone was on time and it took no time at all. I’d been under the boat and unscrewed the frames from the strongback, she was up and out before I could grab a corner. Out into the middle of the street, put the tyres under and over she went. A historical moment, and captured on film. The first look inside the hull right way up, wow it looks big. The trolley was awkward so it ended up being carried back and positioned in the garage.

After a couple of beers and everyone had gone I started measuring and marking what would be were. Of the original eight frames only three remained, 2,3 and 4. 2 and 3 had the supports for the vee berth attached before they were placed on the strongback. 4 comes mid cabin. Two additional ones were to be laminated up in position, 5 and 6. 5 being the end of cockpit / cabin bulkhead, and 6 being mid-cockpit. Number one was to become the bulkhead for cabin one side, chain locker the other. I had decided to shorten the cockpit 250mm (10”) and increase cabin length to fit in a ice box and good size table.

So the day was planned, the lads were all called, I’d been to Bridgestone to get a pile of old tyres. I’d made up a trolley to wheel it back down the drive into the garage after it was turned.

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I’ve got a good deep chain locker, with the hatch through the bulkhead, then the vee berth, with a forward opening hatch above it, to get the breeze, with a splash guard around it. Then to starboard, a sink, two-burner gimballed cooker and the ice box. To port I have a fixed table 900 x 500 x 70mm deep. The front hinges down to give me flat chart storage and an internal draw for rulers, pencils, hand held g.p.s. etc. Above the table is the radio’s, cd player, switch panel, digital battery monitor and two cigarette jacks which are panelled in the cavity between the table and deck. Under the table against the vee berth is a locker and behind an area to hold the porta potty. There is stowage under the vee berth and a 50lt water bladder. Behind this is the port quarter berth, which forms the other seat. A lot of boats store the Porta potty under the vee berth. That’s one thing I didn’t want under my head at night. You hear enough of that through the day without having to sleep on it.

The first job was to apply a dilute coat of epoxy over the interior then a second coat undiluted, and I then put on another coat halfway up the hull in case of water while on a heel. So back to laminating frames. Once I marked, and measured up the length from gunwhale to gunwhale, I then cut the strips of 6mm x 25mm across the sheet to finish 7 laminations high. I pencil marked the hull mixed the epoxy / filler and started from one gunwhale working across to the other, stapling them to the stringers as I went.

I got hold of some 20 x 60mm hard wood to use for the deck bearers which I laminated to both, ply knees and the frames and also used stainless bolts. These had cut outs for the deck carlins and cabin sides. Once they were in place then came the cabin bulkhead. This was epoxyed and filleted to the number 5 frame. I kept the companionway opening high enough so that with one wash board in, the top was above the cockpit seats to avoid water getting into the cabin, and I wanted to fit a manual bilge pump in the cockpit under the companionway opening so I could reach it and the tiller if I had to.

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The first look inside the hull right way up, wow it looks big.

Now that the deck bearer’s and cabin carlins are in, and the bulkhead for the chain locker, the vee berth is in, with storage hatches in it. It was time to make and fit the deck beam, which will frame the forward hatch opening. This was laminated from two 12mm ply pieces then cut to shape. You cut a ply template for the curve of the deck beams and a second one for the curve of the cabin beams from the plans.

I also laminated up 12 pieces of 6mm x 72 mm to make a 72mm square Sampson post, far stronger than a solid piece, and nicer looking. I left a slot at the base to straddle the stem and it went in with plenty of epoxy. It was also bolted through the bulkhead beam. I then framed and made the hatch opening. Because I was changing the profile of the cabin sides and stepping the coach roof, I had drawn the profile onto paper, held it in place to make sure it was how I wanted it then transferred it on to ply. Being a Pattern Maker I did this with a number of jobs in the building and have ended up with very little waste. Next we’ll get onto the icebox, cockpit locker, wiring in LED’s instead of bulbs.

I then framed up the bench top and cupboards and made the table and chart draw. I cut the hole through the bulkhead for the ¼ berth, framed and put the base on. I then moved on to the icebox. If I was going to the bother of making one, I wanted one that would be efficient, so did a bit of research on the net. What I ended up with was ply box well saturated in epoxy, while the last coat was going off on the out side, I rolled on a layer of cooking foil then later epoxyed 100mm high density foam to the sides and 110mm to the bottom. The lid also had 100mm on it. The icebox fits up against the bulkhead so I stuck a piece of foam 700 x700 x 100mm to the cockpit side of the bulkhead so heat couldn’t penetrate. The drain for the icebox is 12mm copper tube lagged with it’s own through hull waste just below the waterline with a tap so you can hold cold run off in the line to stop heat penetration. It finished up internally 300 x 300 x 350 deep. I’d sooner reduce the size and have one that worked well than a large one that didn’t, and I had limited space to start with.

It was time to make and fit the deck beam, which will frame the forward hatch opening. This was laminated from two 12mm ply pieces then cut to shape.

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Now it was onto the cockpit. The sole has a 25mm fall aft with two 40mm drains straight through the transom. The cockpit locker is to starboard with an opening 300 x 800. It has a 40mm deep channel with two drains that empty back into the cockpit well. This was something I found daunting, as I thought it would be too hard, but I worked out how I was going to attack it, and got on with it.

Once I had the locker opening cut, I then made a frame out of 40 x 20mm to fit the opening with a second frame 12mm inside it, to form the channel. This was screwed and epoxyed to a base of 9mm ply with the lot being saturated and painted prior to installing. In the two back corners is where I fitted a 12mm brass tube for the drains, that way any water that got in on a heel, or at anchor, would run out. The lid would sit on to the inner side of the gutter and I glued a 6mm ply bead on the lid to sit over the gutter to stop water getting passed. On the port side of the well I fitted clear screw in hatches to give light and air into the quarter berth and can also light the well at night from the bunk light.

My cabin sides were cut and positioned, as were the cockpit comings. I changed the comings to incorporate backrests and sheet tail lockers as well as mounts for the winches and cleats. I also put scuppers in these frames so any water could drain over the stern.

Out with another sheet of 6mm, and I started marking the profiles for the cabin beams. Because I changed the plans and stepped the coach roof I added three extra beams, two under the mast step, and six extra supports, three a side. I also doubled the width of the load bearing beams under the mast step with the intension of not having a compression post for ease of access. We’ll see, I’ve made the post anyway, but I’m interested to try it.

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I kept the companionway opening high enough so that with one wash board in, the top was above the cockpit seats to avoid water getting into the cabin.

While all this was going on I was thinking about lighting, so I started researching other boats using LED’s. I played around with it a bit until I was happy. What I’ve ended up with is the only incandesent bulb on the boat is in a torch. I have two banks of cabin lights, one white and one red. The whites use clusters of 4x10,000 mcd and the red uses 5x 9000 mcd. These are two way switchable red to white and side to side.( port to starboard ) I’ve put lighting in the anchor well, cockpit locker, bunk lights, deck lights I even changed all the festoons in the nav lights to strips with 4 x whites. While I was at it, I also replaced all the instrument bulbs with LED’s. I’ve reduced the wire size on lighting and with every light on it draws less than the cd, so I can reduce battery size.

Every connection is soldered so I have no worries. I bought them from “Goodwillsales UK” on ebay, ( continually advertised under electronics), or for more info on this have a look at THIS. It includes wiring diagrams. Because it was so easy to do I’ve ended up getting more from them and when I first told them what I was using them for they included a wiring diagram, and all the diodes. It’s a different light, very clean almost to an icy bright colour and I have no shortage of light. None of this trying to read under yellowish light saving power. It won’t be long before there won’t be bulbs, just look at the auto trade, or traffic lights. The other good part is, all installed, it was under $200.00, but I did make my own simple light fittings.

For the wiring I drew an outline of the boat and marked everything requiring power, its placement including aerials, and spares. Then I mounted split tube and fed strings through it so I could pull cables back and forth, pull one through, pull four back, etc, until I had everything ticked off. These were tagged and labelled both ends, and the diagram stays in the chart draw.

Make up an LED lead lamp to try, add more until you get the light you want. I didn’t think I could do it, but it really wasn’t that hard. Next I’ll cover the finishing the keel ballast, fitting windows, mast tabernacle and painting. I’ll certainly be needing some serious weekends of Ariniar.

See Craig's website at:

http://arinar.bravehost.com/