Caledonia yawl project: winter progress

The winter has been productive but still requires working around cold days where it gets tricky to create conditions to be able to get the epoxy to cure.  This winter was also an active year with every sunday dedicated to coaching nordic skiing with the Hollyburn cross country club with my children.

Here is a summary of the activity this winter :


I bought sunbrella fabric at Dressew for the boat cover.


And over the Christmas break, with my friend Patrice we did a lot of sewing on his Sailrite sewing machine.



I finished carving the first set of eight cleats made of the reclaimed backyard cherry tree from a couple blocks away. I also used Deks Olje D1 and D2. They came out looking great and I look forward to installing them.


More Deks Olje on the centreboard well capping. This wood is reclaimed mahogany from door and window framing in Vancouver. It must be quite old, but looks fantastic.


I installed the aft deck beams and king plank. After struggling a little with the geometry of the bow, I had an easier time in the back… except that this time the deck beams land between the laps and so tracing the fair line for the edge of the aft deck was still a little challenging.


More Deks Olje on the centre thart. Also made of reclaimed mahogany.


Adding the extra bracing to the king plank to allow for a hole to be drilled for the mizzen mast. It is glued to the aft stem and to the aft deck  beam.


I had the foresight of ordering the sails over the winter when the sail lofts are maybe a little less busy than in the spring. I ended having them made from the local loft of Evolution Sails in East Vancouver. The bonus is their loft is right above Andina Brewing.  So far I’m really pleased with the way that they turned out. The real test will come when the get laced up to the spars for the first time.


Then to complete the aft compartment I installed the motor well.


This was a somewhat tricky to glue up and in the end looks pretty solid.  The only thing I’ve not done yet is cut out the hole out the bottom. That is going to be the weirdest part. I might have to put the boat on its side to do that because I can’t fit the jig-saw in from above.


My trusty assistant came in on one weekend to help with the surface preparations and testing out all the dimensions.



Then I had fun with cardboard templates trying to get the shape and geometry of the bench braces just right. It is tricky because you need the benches in place to know where the edges of the bench as well as the height of the bench.


I then returned to a half finished project that I had started earlier and carved out the rowlock risers from more off cuts of reclaimed mahogany. These will look really nice with the Deks Olje soon.



I struggled with the drain plug installation. Since the garboard planks are just 9mm (1/2″) there is not much wood for the screws to bite into. I thought of through bolting the bronze drain plugs but that is also problematic. So I finally took a few ends of 9mm marine plywood and made these risers that I then glued onto the garboard on the inside of the hull. The drain plugs will then be bedded and screwed on with #6 bronze 1/2 or 5/8 screws.


Finally a good Craigslist find, a new set of bronze oarlocks and the not yet installed leather ready for my as of yet not yet made oars.

My plan is to make them 11′ long with a scarfed coupling as described in Wooden Boat 229 by Harry Bryan for a sculling oar. I think that if it works it will allow me to have oars long enough for a boat with this wide a beam. By being able to separate the oars into a 5′ and a 6′ section, they will me much easier to stow and lash down below the benches. I’ve got some pieced of 1/2″ and 3/8″ half round brass keel rub strip that I think I can use for this.