The end of a chapter, but the saga continues

After steady hard work over the summer, the Greta T is now back in Grimsby to be finished. The pandemic lockdowns and increased summer rates for motel rooms have put a real dent in the building budget for the project and reluctantly I decided that our final two weeks of work would have to focus on what Skip Izon could do that I couldn’t, and so began a very concentrated effort: fit the deck and make the molding for the coaming; build the forward mast support structure for under the deck and finish the floor where the sliding seat is located. I am happy to say that all of this was achieved, while I managed to get the transom structure and rudder post installed and the mast partners finished.

With a very laden trailer (full of all my tools and the remaining building supplies) and the Greta T well snugged down and tarped on top, I made the long journey from Grand Bend back to Grimsby. I owe a big debt of gratitude to Skip for all the extra help just in packing up and loading and to Skip’s partner Elizabeth who gave us a much needed hand on the morning of the move and for being so understanding of the very full work week that Skip was undergoing for the last several months in order to build this boat.

It has been an intense experience working away from home so much and for such long hours – I am glad that Skip and I built up what I consider to be a real friendship during the time. For two such stubborn old guys that’s an achievement! I have learned so much from his 40+ years of boatbuilding experience and his patience in putting up with my very modest boatbuilding skills (and my terrible puns).

At the Grimsby end, June and Maya had tidied up and created a great working space in the loft above the garage and with the help the neighbours (thanks to Steven and Ted Allingham) we installed the boat in its custom made “bunks” on two sturdy sawhorses. A couple of days have been spent organizing this work space and then I can begin again in earnest.

Below you can see some more details: the oval side storage compartments (taped over in earlier pictures) and the rowing seat in place. The floor (black panels with tape on them) slopes downwards to the stern so the water will drain out automatically, however to get the sliding seat a low as possible in the boat we built a “well” for the foot stretchers, and this will probably have to be sponged out the old fashioned way. You can also see the grey supports for the forward rowing system.

Finally, a bit more about the masts and the mast “partners”: the old windsurfer masts have been reinforced at their base with a carbon fibre sleeve and extra strengthening plugs which I turned on the lathe from sitka spruce are ready to be inserted in each mast and boom. The end of these plugs that is furthest into the mast is drilled out and cut to form long “fingers” (which are not epoxied to the inside of the mast) with the aim of making the transition from solid wood to a more flexible portion which will allow the masts and booms bend more smoothly rather than with an abrupt transition where the wooden plug ends.

The mast partners have been laminated with one layer of carbon fibre (unidirectional) and then faired prior to adding a second layer of bi-axial carbon fibre. You can see these above in the picture where I lashed them in roughly their final positions in the boat (the main mast is about 5” too high as it will go through a hole in the floor to the mast step at the bottom of the boat. In the second picture you can see the unique feature of the sloping mast partner: as it is rotated (easing the sail out) the mast tilts to windward, keeping the main part of the sail over the boat for better efficiency and balance. I told you this boat was really different!

So the work continues, with a hope of getting in the water early in October in time to get some practice sails and rowing training.

Published by Ian C. Robertson

I am a retired Mathematics teacher and formerly a sailing instructor and Instructor-Evaluator with the CYA. I have been planning this fundraising trip for a number of years now, and despite setbacks - notably a cancer diagnosis and the pandemic - I am now at the building stages of a light, wooden, 16 foot rowing and sailing boat for the trip. The trip: 1,3000 km. along Lake Ontario, up through the Trent-Severn Waterway, along Georgian Bay to Lake Huron, through the St. Clair River, Lake Erie, alongside the Welland Canal and back onto Lake Ontario to get home to Grimsby! I am offering to match all donations to the WWF for this trip up to $8,000 and I hope and believe that there are lots of people who will support me and the WWF!

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