Cheap Clamps!

I knew that would get your attention.

These are the improvised clamps that were used along with a few conventional models by Brian Carroll in the building of his new Sailfish. And there is an update on that as well, so scroll down and have a look at some really nice work in the latest photos.

But now, back to the clamps. First, get a length of 100mm diameter plastic waste pipe with a wall thickness of around 8 – 10 mm. Then cut this into roughly 30mm wide sections, so you end up with lots of little waste pipes. Then cut with a fine blade, like a hacksaw blade, each section along the 30mm length. Even with this split the section will be quite hard to open, thus creating a strong grip, a clamp.

If you are concerned about marking the deck slip some scrap pieces in between the deck and the plastic, and if any of the above is unclear check out the blog below on “A New Carroll Boat” dated June 25 and have a look at the picture roughly six down as of this writing to get a visual.

So Jack rang last night . . . . . .

Jack Carroll, class co-designer, specifically wanted to ask me to add his comments on what an excellent post, titled More on Boat Building, Chris Leyland had written last November about building a Sailfish.

Jack thought that Chris had really encouraged first time builders and had also captured the essence of what the boat is about, simple to build, fun to sail, easy to transport and, in the right hands, a very competitive boat for teenager or adult.

So have a look at what Chris has to say, look for his entry in the November posts or select Boatbuilding under Blog Topics, check out the information on the builds we know about, and have a go!


A new Carroll boat

It has been a very long time since one of the Carroll clan has built a new Sailfish but it is now officially time for the rest of us to start worrying, Brian has made a start on his new boat, and the sail is already done! If you are building or thinking about building keep checking out the photos on this blog, you really won’t get a better guide.

Latest update now at the top, Brian is racing along!


So here it is! New boat, new sail, new cradle, original Ockerfish mast sleeved to straighten and add the height it always needed. Note go fast hammer and water bottle. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 29 July 2017]


I am blown away! I didn’t think you could get ply that looked this good anymore. Check out the grain pattern and the detail on the nose. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 19 July 2017]


Hull turned and bottom epoxied, looking very nice. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 19 July 2017]


Deck epoxied. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 17 July 2017]


Check out the gunwale detail, overlapping the ply like this makes for a stronger and more watertight fit, and rounding the edge makes it just a LOT more comfortable. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 14 July 2017]


And the clamps come off. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 14 July 2017]


And the deck is on! No more secrets to be revealed about construction techniques then. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 11 July 2017]


Centreboard case detail. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 11 July 2017]

In the above photo note the blocks for the traveller and for the footstraps.


Chainplate and side detail, see my comments below. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 11 July 2017]

For those playing close attention to Brian’s progress there are a few thing to be aware of in the above photo. Firstly, the use of plywood sides, this keeps the weight down but does require the recalculation of frame sizes due to the reduced width of the sides. Also note the reinforcing around the chainplate for strength and rigidity and that the inside has been epoxied to seal the ply.


And turned over! Note the extra stringers for added strength and stiffness. Gunwales to go on tonight I am told. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 5 July 2017]


Bottom ply on, edges trimmed, Rana (the dog) inspecting for faults. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 5 July 2017]


Port side fitted, I don’t think the carpet roll or the fan in the background are a part of the same project. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 4 July 2017]


Starboard side fitted. Note the keel shaping and that at least some of the deck stringers are already in. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 4 July 2017]

And today’s helpful hint for all you budding boat builders out there – do both sides on the same day, DO NOT do one side and think you can come back tomorrow to do the other. You might find you have a slightly twisted hull.


Centreboard case detail. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 29 June 2017]


Transom fitted over frame 6, keel has started to be shaped. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 29 June 2017]


Bottom stringers and keel plank fitted. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville,29 June 2017]

Six days ago, Brian said progress might be slow, if that is the case I would be stunned to see what he could do when he was in a hurry! The three photos above were received this morning.

You might like to review Chris Cleary’s comments below about how fast a build can be!


Frame set up, looking from the stern. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 26 June 2017]

And there has been progress, today’s photo update is above.


Deck plank with centreboard slot cut out and set up on strong back. It does seem a bit minimalist so far. [By Brian Carroll, Paynesville, 23 June 2017]

Chris Cleary has seen the photo above, his comment . . . . “But a Sailfish can go from next to nothing to a completed hull in a very short time. Good on ya Brian. See you at Cairn Curran”





The Trials of older boats

This in this week from Jeff, one of our Inverloch Irregulars . . . .

Gave 1870 a big workout on the weekend. Fast but she showed her age and so did I.
Could not get comfortable unless hiking out, my hips are not as flexible as they once were!
Pulled the rudder screws out of the transom (rot)
Glue joint in the mast failed, repairable.
Who knows what we used way back then.
Good to see Ken back on the water too.

So, some wintertime repair and restoration in store to be ready for the 2018 Inverloch Classic Wooden Dinghy Regatta then.

More on Boatbuilding

Chris Leyland, influential Australian Sailfish racer and builder from the 1970’s has contributed an interesting and detailed post

Building an Australian Sailfish

It is quite strange that after so many years, this strange little craft that I sailed in the 70’s, stays with me and still has a strong , even endearing place in my memories.

Many people visiting this site may wonder why a simple “sailboard” style dinghy, is being talked about again, and can even be seen as a valid alternative to the existing stronger classes. It is quite simple really, the Sailfish is fast, sporty and fun, but also quite surprisingly simple and very economical to build; even for those people who have never built a boat before.

If you can use a few simple tools, you can build a Sailfish, for quite a surprisingly small amount of money, far less than many similar sized classes.

I sailed the Sailfish when I was a teenager in the mid 70’s, and had success in Club, State, National and even in “yardstick and handicap based inter-class” levels. The reason I am putting in my 2 cents worth here, in the boatbuilding section, is that I have built and repaired several Sailfish, including the co-building of the NSW authourised mould for the fibreglass Sailfish and several fibreglass/timber deck hulls.

Although this original F/G mould is no longer in use, there is always the possibility of building another in the future.

Mostly though, I wanted to assure people that are thinking about building a timber Sailfish, that if you can follow some basic instruction, use a pencil, a saw and tape measure and be capable of applying glue/fasteners in the correct positions, a Sailfish can be home built, part time over just a few weeks, or a few full time days if you are prepared to really go at it! You don’t need special skills, and many boats have been built by people that have NEVER used tools before. Granted, if someone really knows what they are doing, a beautifully crafted boat is quite something to see. However, there is nothing wrong with a painted hull that may hide a few first time imperfections.

There are many options out there for people that are “wanting to build”, but are a little apprehensive, including support by email or phone that is being trialed. So if you have an issue with construction, contact via the website with someone with experience is only an email or phone call away.

The choice of Timber or Aluminium spars is available, a selection of sailmakers and even a junior rig for those with not enough weight for a full sized rig. Fittings and hardware are standard off the shelf items, none of them “exotic” which keeps prices down as well.

The focus on a sturdy construction as mentioned in previous posts, around the mast support and centreboard area, is no different than many other boats, and in fact, being “encapsulated” between the deck and bottom sheeting actually makes it stronger than many classes that have free standing cases and mast step assemblies. This can be easily reinforced with stronger materials when initially building, with the much superior glues and fastenings that we have with today’s technology, than were used back when these boats were racing in large fleets years ago.  They are a strong sturdy dinghy and many an older Sailfish, won the top positions in State and National Championships.

A Sailfish can be a lot of fun, it can be tuned and raced, just as well as any other high performance dinghy. It is “one design” so no one has a real advantage with a “faster hull” design, it is safe, easily righted after a capsize and a good trainer. Although some people may think that such a boat is not really a racing craft, or even sail like a real boat, as it is seen as just another sailboard, nothing could be further from the truth. The Sailfish in full race trim, can keep up with all but the fastest Lasers, non foiling Moths and other fast classes, like small skiffs, proven by the fact that some “Club Champions” over the years were Sailfish sailors.  Some similar training boats or dinghies are significantly more  expensive than building a Sailfish. The Sailfish is well balanced, very responsive, and will teach skill, balance and coordination. They are challenging, yet forgiving, and once mastered, can be a pleasure to sail in all conditions. The Australian Sailfish, is NOT JUST a fun boat, it is also a full on, high speed, single handed racing dinghy, for Teens and adults, but can also be sailed with junior rig by 1 or 2 children.

Chris Leyland, Fury, 1257, Furyous, 2135 & Papryka, 2125.




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