Monday, April 10, 2006


Happiness; what is it? Usually it is a fleeting moment of inward joy, elation or ecstasy - a feeling that sometimes arrives unexpectedly. This afternoon was such a time.

Initially, as I started working on the transom, a biting northerly wind whipped around the corner of the garage where I had set up my Black and Decker work bench. Dark clouds and few spots of rain made the prospect of cutting the support cleat for the baffle an uninspiring task. Two of my fingers were a bloodless white as I gripped the jigsaw, but I persevered with the mechanical operation of keeping the oscillating blade exactly on the curved pencil line. I followed its path, but it was as if some other person were doing the job, and I was amazed to see the angled saw unhesitatingly stick to the graphite path. One more cut, this time vertical, finished the semicircular cleat, composed of two pieces of ply for the required 25 millimetre thickness.

Using a fine bradawl I pricked a series of small holes into the cleat for brass pin tacks in readiness for fixing it to the transom; meanwhile, the epoxy and hardener were being warmed in the kitchen while awaiting their destiny of being mixed in a ratio of two to one respectively. A half thrust of each pump delivered the required amount for this small job. There followed some vigorous stirring of the liquids to mix them thoroughly.

Having transferred my bench, transom and cleat to the garage to be out of the wind and rain, I had time to spread the mixed resin on adjoining surfaces before it became too cold for easy application. With some delicate hammering I tacked the cleat to the transom.

That’s when a glow of satisfaction transformed my face from having the gaunt appearance of a chilled white skull with dark sunken eyes, into a beaming, smiling ruddy physiognomy with the complexion of a juvenile shepherd like the biblical David, toned by sun and wind. At that moment I realised all the frames with their cleats and floors had been assembled; they only needed to be trimmed and cut for the sheer and chine strakes. Even the hull panels had been prepared for joining, and shortly afterwards I would start assembling the hull. I was as happy as a sandboy!

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