The last couple of evenings have seen a fine gathering of unlikely lads (would have included lasses as well but for a severe case of nasal congestion – get well soon, Sue) in young Adrian’s Cow Shed down by Loch Broom shore at Leckmelm. This assembly represented the combined energy of the Ullapool 1 Skiff Syndicate building team. For me this was a revelation of the privations of the ‘professional’ boatbuilder, cold, damp and very, very dark. Adrian certainly earns every last groat of the pittance he charges his customers, I think he has yet to understand one of the essential truths of the labour market. The less you charge the less valued are the results of your labouring, to the extent that from experience, when you charge zilch there is no value placed on ones output whatsoever.
The latest ‘real wood’ production from Adrian’s hand (nicely advanced since last seen ) was sitting glowing dimly in the gloom so I grabbed the opportunity of a few more shots – what these pics can’t convey is the delectable scent of freshly soaked Varnol planking, gorgeous – and very good for clearing a slight headcold. The combination of Larch’s natural decay resistance and Adrian’s thorough Varnol soaking should mean this little vessel will have a long and fairly low maintenance life.
Back to the main agenda – which was to start getting grubby building ‘our’ skiff. We had decided that getting on with the stems while the kit was reworked to reflect the experience gained at Anstruther a month ago from the prototypes launch was doable. So we spent three hours on the last day of November getting used to each other and building the laminating jig ready for the first tangible output last night – the fore and aft aprons. Pleased to say that with no formal leadership from anyone the team is gelling and the laminating proceeded apace. Balcotan was used in preference to Epoxy, largely due to the ambient temperature in the shed, about 2ºC. Padded boiler suits evidenced those used to these conditions – the rest of us just shivered. The continuing build story is over on the Ullapool Coastal Rowing Website - I dare say we shall also see the occasional report from our host on the horrors of watching amateurs build in the dreaded epoxy ply in his ‘Ullapool Outlook’ column in Classic Boat.
As usual – click on the thumbnail for the bigger picture