Friday, September 02, 2005


If you’ve been following this ‘blog’ you will know the current subject matter is about the building of a Paradox micro-sailboat. This is a highly specialized topic, but for those interested in the little boat, nothing could be more absorbing. Builders of Paradox share with one another at two Internet discussion groups: and . They compare building techniques, seek advice from those who have ‘been there before’, and report on their progress. Resources within the groups comprise photographs illustrating various aspects of the building process, notes on techniques and materials, and articles about the boat and her performance.

I started building my Paradox just under a month ago, and to date I have finished laminating all the beams, including the cabin and hatch beams. I’ve also made the tiller. Today, I’m working on the rudder stock, which is made from two pieces of 18 mm plywood. The purpose of the stock is to support the kick-up rudder. Like everything on this boat, her specification is much more than adequate; in fact, if there is a criticism of Matt Layden’s design, she is well over-built in terms of strength. For her overall length of 13’ 10” she is exceedingly heavy, but being a heavy displacement vessel also means she’s more comfortable to sail, although more ponderous than her lightweight counterparts.

At the base of the rudder stock there is a massive bronze rod acting as a pintle and at the upper end of the stock there is a traditional pintle, also made from bronze. Each of these are designed to fit gudgeons on the transom, but the lower one, instead of being cast in bronze will be made according to Matt’s design from chopped strand matt, woven roving and epoxy. Both the rudder and the stock will be encased in a layer of glass reinforced plastic (GRP). The GRP will not only increase the strength of the structure, but it will protect the plywood from the detrimental effects of the elements.

I cut the two pieces needed for making the rudder stock from a sheet of 18 mm marine plywood, and from the same sheet I also cut bulkhead number three. There’s sufficient left of the original piece of plywood to make the front end of the bottom of the boat.

After shaping and sanding the rudder stock pieces, I bonded them together with the bronze rod pintle embedded between them in two semicircular gullies, one in each cheek of the stock. By using gullies I avoided having to drill a straight hole through the stock to receive the pintle.

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