Webb lockers, Adam Ant and Manna Hill

Nothing worthwhile comes without a struggle, and we are happy to be able to report that the web lockers are finally completed. They have turned out to be the most physically demanding aspect of the build so far. The web lockers need a lot of care. They are potentially subject to wave and collision impacts and will support weighty gear. This means the internal surfaces will be subject to abrasion and a lot of general wear and tear. Deb has done an incredible job over two weeks, laying up the two layers of fiberglass called for in the specifications in these tight and confined spaces. As an extension of the bridgedeck, the external hull -joint is treated in the same way as the lower bridgedeck join: a large radius epoxy fillet reinforced with four layers of fiberglass tape. The remainder of the external curved laminate gets a single layer of glass, then Qcell and fairing.

The web lockers are now completed, ready for painting and decking.
A tight fit.
Fiberglassing the web lockers has been the most demanding job to date.

Meanwhile, the internal fit-out has progressed. The navigation bench has been fabricated and fitted in place. Later a large pull out drawer will be added for storage of our collection of paper charts. We were fortunate to luck onto a complete set of secondhand charts for the Australian East Coast, PNG, Fiji and New Caledonia. We have no intention of crossing oceans at this stage, but you never know… in any case, the east coast charts are backup in case our electronic navigation fails.

The galley area around the cooktop and oven has also been completed. The shelving has been framed and fixed, plus the bench top is fabricated, awaiting laminexing before being glued in place.

The bamboo sheeting for the cupboard doors has arrived, and we are in the process of selecting hinges, catches, and handles.

The saloon settee is taking shape. Initially, it was a frustratingly slow build. The plans give general dimensions, but no structural details. This fabrication needs to be built strong enough to support the weight of (potentially) up to ten human bottoms while at the same time, leaving the space below clear enough for storage and access to batteries, inverters, water tanks and other important bits of hardware. Plus, for the courtesy of future owners, it is good practice to facilitate removal of the water tanks if necessary, so it needs to have the ability to be partially disassembled as well. Honestly, nothing is simple with boats! Designing for all of these competing factors, while using the minimum of materials has required discipline and time, but there is also a sense of achievement as each obstacle is thought through and overcome.

Saloon settee taking shape.
Navigation & office space.
IMG_2858 (1)
Starboard settee.
Deb and her new vapor mask. “Lets build a boat he said, it’ll be fun  …”
Cook-top/oven bench and shelving, Starboard hull

On Tuesday our friend John popped in and asked if we had done anything about a tender. He had been offered a small sailing dinghy, which he had no use for, but thought we may be interested. It was local and free, so we decided it wouldn’t hurt to have a look-see on the way home. We were pleasantly surprised to find it was a Manly Junior. Pete and MJ’s go back a long way. He and his brothers all learned to sail on a MJ that was in the family for years. That little thing lived a charmed existence and her stories deserve a blog post of her own. As a boy, he spent many happy hours rowing her around the magical red granite inlets of the Freycinet Peninsular, where his family holidayed for many years. It was in her that he learned to handle a small boat, gaining an understanding of drift, tide, and wave. MJ’s actually make excellent tenders. Light, buoyant and with their flared topsides, surprisingly dry in a chop. They row well and are very seaworthy. Pete has an aversion to the ubiquitous rigid inflatables, commonly used as tenders. Almost impossible to row in a blow, they are virtually usless if the outboard fails. Not good if you have to get back to the mothership urgently. So it was love at first sight and “Adam Ant” had to come home with us. She is tucked in under the bridge deck, waiting for her mothership to be completed. As an ex-racing dingy, she needs some minor modifications: rowlocks, oars and a stern thwart so Deb has somewhere to sit.

Pete and Adam Ant our new tender. She makes Pete smile every time he looks at her.

Anyway, all work and no play makes us (well Pete mostly) somewhat obsessive boatbuilders to be avoided by polite society, so we recently welcomed the opportunity to spend a sultry Sunday afternoon with fellow expats from Alice Springs, Simon, Eileen and Mayokun on the foothills of Mount Roland, about forty minutes inland from Port Sorell. Here Simon and Eileen are developing Manna Hill Studios: three self-contained chalets on fifty acres of rolling green hills, with breathtaking views of the mountain and surrounds. It was a stunning afternoon, and we enjoyed watching small planes take off and land from a private airstrip in the valley far below us. The ajoining propery is owned by the iNternode founder who sometimes flies over from Adelaide in his private Pilatus PC12: the RFDS plane.  Once a year the rocky escarpment of Mt Roland is used as a sort of giant projector screen for a laser light show. Manna Hill will surely have the best seats in the house next year. We have known Simon and Eileen for over ten years, and it is ironic that both couples find themselves in the same area, building their separate dreams, far away from the red hills of central Australia.

The Alice Springs mob on Manna Hill, Sheffield Tasmania.

3 thoughts on “Webb lockers, Adam Ant and Manna Hill

  1. Wow I got left behind with this and am having to do some fast catch up reading before we hit the Spirit next Tuesday night. We were only over there a week before you turned the hulls and clean forgot to come down from Westbury and “bother” you for a look see-actually could have been there to help turn them. Have to see if I can manage it this time seeing we are over again. Peters holidaying at Freycinet intrigues me-we spent from 1959 to 1980 every Christmas there on a campsite near the creek entrance to the beach and like him I spent my time rowing around though in a 12 ft Purdon “dingy”on an anchor off the beach till my father though I was competent enough one year to give me my freedom and the bay was my oyster!!


    • Hi Anthony. Our times at Freycinet would have certainly overlapped. Sounds like you were at the main beach end. My parents got permission to fix up one of the old miners huts (just past the fisheries on the track to the quarries. That was in the mid sixties. My father added a couple of rooms, which (much later) were moved to enlarge the YHA hut. After we lost the use of the hut we camped every year at honeymoon beach until the late seventies. Visitors are most welcome at our build : contact me on 0437600882 if you would like to swing by on your way past.


  2. How ioronical is that-sad thing about the Fisheries is my dad had the oppurtunity to buy all that land in the late 50s for I think it was $400 or $500 pounds as it was then and didn’t think it was worth it!!! Hindsight is a wonderful thing.I can remember seeing all the tents along the edge of the rocks at Honeymoon bay from where we were and watching them all blow around when we got those wild onshore winds that made rowing off the beach so much more interesting but very wet!! I’ll put your number in my phone and see how we go as have to head straight off the ship to my daughters at Whitemore. We’re over for 4-5 months this time so I’m sure I can get down there at some point-my Aunty is at Port Sorell so she’s not far away from you! Tony

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