Final turnover

With the underside of the hull finished, it was time to turn the boat over to finish the painting and brightwork.

Fortunately, as a result of another rash purchase of a small 10ft rowing/sailing dinghy for use on the canal, I had a handy road trailer which was forced into service.

The final painting job is the sheer strake in green, and varnishing the rubbing beads and any remaining brightwork. Again, don’t stint on the varnish – two-pot International is incredibly tough, and gives a good finish on well-prepared surfaces

The transom fittings were also added – I thought about using modern Seasure pintles for this, as the cost of bronze ones from Classic Marine was exhorbitant. But in the end, why spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar, so I splashed out on the real thing, including gunmetal rowlock sockets and a couple of fairleads.

I ended up not making the oars from scratch as my friend Bill donated me a pair, which I tarted up to match, and they fitted in the stowage very snugly (see above). In practice, these turned out to be slightly too short, so I might revert to making them, as the material is in stock!

What’s in a name?

Boadicea is a Colchester smack, built in Maldon just after the Battle of Trafalgar, and still sailing today, in the hands of the Frost family in Mersea. That makes her probably the oldest sailing vessel still in use in Europe today! Strictly speaking, she is more like a Bawley, with a transom stern rather than the elegant sweeping counter you normally see on oyster-dredging smacks. At only 30ft long, she’s small by the standards of later boats, but well-proportioned nonetheless.

I was brought up in Mersea to the sight of Boudicea moored off the houseboats in Besom Creek, and I suppose the name stuck. I therefore chose the name Boudicca for my creation, preferring the less anglicised version of the name.

Boudicca was Queen of the Iceni tribe, based in Colchester (Camulodunum), and led an uprising against the Romans in AD60, when they reneged on a previous agreement with her husband Prasutagus. Colchester (allegedly the oldest town in England) was razed to the ground as a result and Boudicca died shortly afterwards.

The Victorians loved the story, and she became a symbol of British resistance, with her bronze statue standing opposite Big Ben on the Embankment in London, riding a horse-drawn chariot.

All that remains is to add the name to the transom, so I chose a suitably Celtic font and ordered up the artwork from Funky Monkey.

Again, the laser proved useful in getting it horizontal, and while at it, I added a piece of masking tape, to ensure the rudder fittings would be vertical when fitted.

Final touches to the hull

Once painted, the hull needs a few extra touches to complete the outside. A couple of brass half-rounds are fitted to the skeg and the stem, to make things a bit more hard-wearing……..

….and the drainage hole fitted in the transom

Before the final turnover, I thought it a good idea just to check the fit of the centreboard, and get the shockcord hooks in the right place inside.

I had thought about putting some slot gasket too, but let’s see how she sails before seeing if it’s really necessary.

Laser technology

Now, call me Mr Picky, but I hate it when waterlines are not straight or actually following the, er, waterline when the boat is afloat.

It’s particularly tricky with clinker hulls to get it right, especially when there is a sharp return under the quarter. Many choose simply to follow the clinker lines, which always looks like a cop out.

Now I suppose if I had lofted the hull from the plans, I could have marked out the waterline then, but I came up with a smarter way.

Assuming the upturned hull is levelled correctly (see use of Bekvam stools), then I used a builder’s laser level to project a line onto the hull, and then apply Frog tape along the line. I chose a waterline a couple of centimetres above that on the plan, so the white underside would be visible. This helps to make the boat look less tubby in the water.

Once masked off, the real painting can begin. White below the waterline, and grey above.