banner for skerry dinghy being built

Part 3 of the Skerry Hull Construction

Part 1 of hull construction here. Part 2 of hull construction here

Skerry stern seatSkerry mid and front seats

I glued in the seats today. Had to collect all kind of odds and ends to weight down the seats while the glue sets. Once again my clamps come in handy, the box is quite heavy!

After fretting, measuring, and fretting some more I decided on the placement of the daggerboard well and screwed and glued it in place. I also added fiberglass cloth on the bulkhead facing back. I will also add some on the well where it connects to the middle seat.

I am cautious and like to overbuild everything. The whole boat assembly feels rock solid even before the glue really sets.

I added a couple of inserts at the bow and stern on the seats to allow me to attach things to them. I am considering changing the rig and it might be useful to be able to attach cleats or pad-eyes.

Skerry seat reinforcementSkerry seat reinforcement

At the bow I also fitted a piece of mahogany cut off from the rubrails along the stem. I plan to add an eye to attach a painter at the front of the boat, and this ""will back up the bolt. I made it long enough to allow a surface for attaching stuff if I need to. Notice how nice and even the gunnels are now that I have sanded them.

Skerry daggerboard holeSkerry daggerboard

I Used my router to make the openings for the daggerboard well. Pre drilled a starting hole (it's very scary to drill a hole in the bottom of a boat!) and used a flush trim bit with a little bearing. Worked very well and quickly.

Skerry daggerboard

I had to try the daggerboard in place. It fits with some slack front and back. Not so much side to side. I can imagine gluing a piece of rubber padding to the inside to cushion and tighten the fit. I'll keep that in mind. I have lots of old bike inner tubes that would work I think.

The skeg went on today. I had to recut it because the original one was just too warped. I have had trouble with warped mokume all along and I was not very clever about clamping the original pieces.

This skeg is nice and straight. I adjusted the pattern to the actual hull shape so the fit is good and there is no need to fill.

I added a couple strips of fiberglass on the side for added strength. I had installed the stern seat already so I had to access the screws through the openings for the watertight compartment. Not much fun but George and I got it done, I was not quite strong enough to get the screw on at that angle. Got everything glued, screwed and clamped to get a nice perpendicular skeg. The clamp and string hold the skeg perfectly square to the hull.

Worked under the boat to fillet under the seats. it's quite easy to do from that position.

Skerry skegSkerry sanding

After giving the hull a final coat of resin, I started to sand it. Since I've had so much trouble sanding with coarse paper and sanding right through to the wood, I'm using 220 and so far I have not sanded through to the wood yet. It is harder than it looks. It is also B O R I N G! I have to change the disk quite often because the resin clogs the paper and it becomes useless. I have to tell myself that this is important and has to be well done. I suspect that it will become "good enough" soon. I have to keep reminding myself that it's about sailing, not about a perfect finish that will soon be scratched anyway. It is not fine furniture.

I've been talking to myself a lot.

My little Makita sander is showing its worth. It has proved to be a very good tool and I would recommend it with no reservations. (even if it croaked tomorrow!)

After sanding and filling bad spots and sanding again, I finally applied my first coat of primer. It dries to a nice sandable finish that is not bad at all to sand compared to epoxy. It sort of goes to dust rather than gum up my sandpaper.

The finish looked surprisingly smooth at least to me. The only problem I have is that it's really hard to keep a wet line going and by the time I get back to a spot it has had a chance to dry and doesn't blend in with the new paint. I plan to sand this and apply a second coat and sand that, then apply my top finish. An elegant creamy yellow.

Skerry gets first coat of primerSkerry sanding primer

The primer has dried and now I take most of it off. Funny how that works. Went around and filled a couple of holes, then you guessed it, I sanded it.

I had planned to continue priming and sanding and improving the finish, but it looks like we are getting busy so I decided to accept a less than perfect finish, or rather a less than not quite perfect finish, in exchange for sooner in the water.

As many suggested in the Skerry forum, I diluted my paint slightly and applied it quickly tipping it off with a foam brush. It worked quite well. No one will begrudge me a cat hair or two n'est ce pas?

I'm deliberately not showing you the somewhat bumpy stern where the different boards merge. Otherwise the finish is quite smooth.

Skerry paintSkerry rudder

After turning over the boat the pintles and gudgeons were installed. Quite fiddly but finally they are set up. George did this.

I am notoriously bad at hanging doors and needed serious assistance! He also installed the eye at the bow. All I need to do now is finishing and installing the covers for the waterproof compartments. I'll be in the water in a couple of weeks.

Some people have reported that the Skerry rudder can jump out of the gudgeons if the waves are high. I have added a lock to prevent this. Other builders simply have made holes in one of the pintles and put in a ring or nut and bolt for the same reason.

Skerry rudder lock

After lots of sanding and a final coat of paint on the outside the boat was turned over and the gunnels were rounded and coated with a coat of resin. I had put some on the lower edge to help protect the scarf joints. They had detached themselves while bending and attaching to the boat.

I had quite a lot of trouble with the gunnels after I launched the boat. One of the scarf joints failed. I re glued it with epoxy and put some cloth on the outside / top and on the bottom of the joint. More resin, then the 8 or so coats of varnish.

Although I had followed the instructions using the varnish, when I launched I found that great big bubbles formed where the varnish had not really quite dried. I had let it dry for a couple of weeks but that is not enough. I found the Epiphane varnish to be very slow drying. I had better luck with the Behr spar varnish. It doesn't build up as fast but dries much better.

Skerry paint

Gunnels get 3 coats of resin, then 7 of varnish.

Back to my favourite, sanding. This time the inside gets the attention. it's harder to reach too. Eventually I put countless coats of varnish.

The covers for the buoyancy chambers get screwed in with waterproof goo in between.

I sprinkled some no skid finish in the last coat of varnish on the bottom and first board. I don't intend to put floorboards so it's safer in a boat if it's not to be too slippery.

Read about other parts of my Skerry being constructed

Part 1 of hull construction here. Part 2 of hull construction here

email: Christine

This web site reflects my personal ideas and doesn't represent anyone else's point of view.