The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2017.05.27 - Still Making Things

Despite having spend time onboard Naiad everyday since her launch bar shopping days, I've still not been out on a voyage. Naiad has remained peacefully on her mooring.



The main reason for this is

that I broke the starboard thwart on the trip from Ely to the mooring. I'd been sitting on the thwart for many months without problems but this time I was kneeling on it with my right knee, the left foot being in the cockpit and I was paddling over the side. Too much pressure on one point and the thwart snapped along it's length. So the repair has taken precedence over everything else.


I glued and screwed cross-wise support battens on the underside of the thwart...



...and also glued and screwed a support piece on the aft part of the frame. Once the thwart had been repaired, including varnishing, it was put back in place and the port thwart removed and similarly reinforced.

The other reason for not going anywhere just yet is that the mainsail is still not bent on. Ideally I need no wind for this but not more than a light wind would do especially if from the East which means it would be blowing from the bows to the stern. However, we have had everything but that during the times that I've been aboard.

I dare say that I could get the sail bent on in windier conditions but it would be a struggle and possibly dangerous to the boat moored next to me if the boom or gaff were to be blown against the other boat Both of these have to swing freely while the sail is being put on especially if there is wind so that the boat is not capsized by a sudden sting gust of wind from the side. On the mooring Naiad is not free to move and a sideways string gust of wind could be very awkward indeed.

Still, I may have to put the sail on despite the wind, I've missed some great sailing weather, but the forecast on this Bank Holiday weekend is not looking too favourable wind-wise. I would probably paddle the boat out into the river and drop the mud weight or anchor the bows to the bank with a rond anchor windy side of the river and then try not to fall in!


But not today as it was blowing a hoolie!

I have also been looking at where to stow things and I had that nice set of kitchen knives Tina gave me for my birthday in the boat resting on the table top that sits on top of the milk crate. I though that it was a shame that the table top were not hollow and that gave me an idea.


Here is the box of knives.


The knives being nicely held in a form.


The form is easily removed from the box...


...and can be built into a suitable place.


Like here. This is the underside of the table top. If I glue pieces of wood around the form and put a lid over the whole thing with hinges and a catch I will have a good stowage for these knives.


It will make the table top nearly an inch and a half thicker than it was before but that is not a problem as it does not need to fit into a thinner space.


I don't have any wood of the correct size to make the box sides, so I had to glue several pieces together and that immediate brought the construction to a halt until tomorrow when the glue has dried.


Another thing that was made for Naiad was a pig stick.


A pig stick has a burgee attached to it and is hauled to the top of the mast as a wind direction indicator. Traditionally the flag has a wide seam on the hoist (the side of the flag next to the spar on which it is hoisted) and the pig stick is threaded through the seam. The seam is just a little too narrow for the stick so the fabric stretches over the stick and stops the flag from flying away. But, generally what happens is that the flag ends up wrapped around the stick and you have to take it down, unwrap it and then hoist it again.

I put a rotating device at the top of the stick instead and the flag is sewn to that and it then free to rotate around the pig stick without getting tangles up. I hope.

A screw was put into the top of an arrow shaft blank, the wire binding at the top is to stop the wood from splitting as the screw was put it, and a flag holder was made from an old coat-hanger. A loop at the top is held in place by the screw but is free to turn around the screw. The bottom of the wire also has a loop around the pig stick the idea being that the holder is then free to rotate around the stick.


I used a light fabric for this trial burgee and it seems to work quite well.


It certainly indicates the wind direction!


This was another thing that was made since the launch. The original sheath for the rigging knife disintegrated a long time ago, the knife is at least 30 years old, and although I could have bought a new one for around £5 not including the postage, we have lots of leather around that we use on various medieval projects so I cut the required sheath shape from that, soaked the leather in warm water and then clamped it around the knife with bulldog clips whilst the leather dried. The knife was covered in cling film to stop it getting wet.


I sat in the cockpit one afternoon after work and stitched the sheath together. it is a snug fit as I do not want the knife to be able to fall out.


The belt loop is much larger than you would normally find on a sheath like this as the belts I wear with my kilt are 2" wide which is also the reason for not buying a new sheath since they are designed for belts that are around 1" wide.

I has always been my practise to wear a rigging knife when onboard a sailing boat when she is underway. This is the practise of many other sailors both present and past. the argument is that normally speaking when you need to cut a rope or use a knife there is time to wander back to the bosun's locker and get it but there are occasions when you need a sharp knife right now and it could be a risk of severe injury or even a matter of life and death.

Sailing vessels of all sizes are festooned with ropes and getting tangled up in one at the wrong time could have serious consequences.

It has never happened to me, but I'm not going to stop having a knife to hand when sailing.