One of the things that gives me most pleasure is building things. Building is like story telling, you put things together and soon you have something; a story or a structure. Cooking is building, knitting is building… to my way of thinking if you put more than two things together, your building. You can call it making, constructing or putting things together. Most living things seem to do it, build; birds build nests, same with ants and bees. Humans build art, we paint a picture by building up blobs of paint or a sculpture by chipping away stone… Yep we get the picture.
I’ve built a few sailing boats, shacks and houses, bridges and stone walls, furniture rainwater tanks and swimming pools, fences and cattle yards; theres a myriad of other things I’v forgotten about or they didn’t work out.
A-frame Percy Island.
Some things worked; like the A-frame I built on Percy Island in 1974/5. Thats me up the first post fixing a cross beam, the bloke standing is Nick Ballsdon. I took Andy Martin’s cray boat over to Mackay to get the iron for the roof… that was a story in itself: got air in the fuel and when I’d fixed that, the battery went flat… taking the battery out a swarm of paper-wasps attacked me. Finally I got the battery on deck in the full Sun, hoping the heat would charge it enough to crank the engine… and all the wile I was drifting out of control . Four hours later I managed to start the engine; the trip to Mackay and back took about a week… Nick jumped ship in Mackay. When I got back to Percy I put the roof on.
This is the A-frame with a new roof 40 odd years later… see how the coconut trees have grown.
Entering the lagoon Percy Isl 1975. My wife Sharon getting the fenders ready.
Leaving the lagoon Percy Island a few months latter; me at the tiller – Sharon amidships.
Next, I designed and built a 62 foot Catamaran.
Made of Arex core and fibeglass it was years ahead in it’s design and concept… I just never had the money to get it sailing to its potential.
While I was building the Cat, I built this place so we had somewhere to live. I cut the trees down with an axe and dragged them into place with a chain block; the frame is full size trees as you can see, the cladding is thrown-out hardwood flooring and I got the windows at the dump; I made everything. The whole thing cost about 36 dollars, I was still building it when this photo was taken. My middle daughter Astra was born here the night a big astroid/space junk passed low overhead … hence the name Astra.
That’s me at the wheel in Noosa Sound 1980. On the Xbeam ahead of me were 2 Yanmar 3cyl diesels, driving 22 foot long shafts that could be lifted clear of the water. The rudders were daggers and could also be lifted clear of the water; with everything up she only drew 11 inches of water… wasn’t many places I couldn’t go. It was light,airy with plenty of room and very stable.
Noosa River 1980’s.
I’ve built a 30 foot Cat boat (not a Catamaran) Cat boats come from New England, they are fat, shallow drafted centre board with a gaff rig, the mast is close to the bow. I built one out of steel with bilge keels so it could sit upright on sand or mud. She was a dog at sailing, but if you ran aground on a coral reef, the reef would come of worst. She was 30’X 12’6”… I also had a 20′ plywood sloop.
Then I helped build a 38 foot fero-cement cutter, that 4 of us sailed up and down the Queensland coast. After that I had a need for speed.
40 years ago you could live aboard a boat for very little, sailing was cheep. Things have changed since then; you can’t do this, and you can’t do that… and everywhere you have to pay.
Next post on building I’d like to tell you about building houses and shacks; building a house doesent have to be expensive. In my opinion it’s the ‘experts’ and ‘red tape’ that make building simple dwellings so expensive.
SEPTEMBER 2016 Springtime
Cubby/Tree-house next to the Red Cedar.
Two of my grandchildren are visiting… what better thing to build than a cubby/tree-house. This is the first floor, when they get bigger we’ll build the 2nd floor, even a 3rd. Sand pit underneath. Cost: 150 bucks. My son-in-law did the hard-yakka… I stood back and told him how to do it.