John Masefield inspired Sea-Fever

Around fifteen years after my school class read John Masefield’s poem “Sea-Fever” we were reading about his death in 1967. His lines beginning with, “ I must go down to the seas again….” impacted on me from the start.

In the intervening years I lived near lakes. Later all my visits to the coast were to the fishing villages near the Twelve Apostles. In the mornings the fishermen would return to shore and I would watch as they hauled their Couta boats out of the water onto the pier. Thus I saw the results of working as sea from the safety of the land.

Consequently my experience with boats is very limited. In fact to say I had an occasional sails on Gippsland lakes would sum it up.

Once though I spent thirty hours in Bass Strait on a 36 ft yacht. We started in blissfully calm waters that turned into a raging forty knot storm through the night. On that occasion my faith in boats was buoyed by memories of sticks, and how when tossed into a stream, they always floated. So I did on it. To think of sailors lost in stormy seas would have been too terrible that night.

Now I find, for reasons that can only be fathomed by analysis of my unconscious mind, I am building a dinghy. The plans suggest it can be fitted with a small sail. The knowledge it can be propelled by the wind has had me imagine I can pass on my love of sailing to my grandchildren playing in it. If I build one they can sail it single handedly, this is how I imagine it anyway.

Roger and I each started building “Blondie” a John Bell stitch-and-glue designed dinghy a few weeks ago. I think you need to come up to speed about how it is going.

The journey of this little boat started with a visit to the Internet where we found its rudimentary plans. From there we visited VJS Victorian Joinery Supplies and found marine plywood at a good price. Because we were building two boats we bought four sheets 1200×2400. fig 1.

Fig 1

When we got them to Roger’s workshop the first job was to measure and mark the dimensions of our first cuts. Like good tradesmen we measured twice before cutting. (It is safer to recheck your work before putting it under a saw. So we did.) We carefully measured and checked our cuts and work began. Fig 2.

Fig 2

We cut and rounded off two bottoms, two left sides and two right sides.

Then we used cable ties to pull the pieces together after we drilled holes every so often.

The boats came together when we applied resin and fibreglass around the inside joins. Fig 3

Fig 3

The job has only just begun but now you can see we each have a boat like shape. Fig 4

Fig 4

Thanks for reading. Come back again to follow the next stages.

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