Tuesday, 7 January 2014

In the water

Gabrielle at soft launch, RHKYC, 7th January 2014
UPDATE (17 Jan): At Koko's request I wrote an article on the build, for the February issue of the Club magazine, Ahoy!  Published 28th January.  Article on page 22).
Well, we finally got around to popping Gabrielle* in the water -- I'm calling it a "soft launch" -- after some months of dawdling, Christmas, New Year and all that.  And trying to work out a small issue with getting the boom on -- having to try to find a new gooseneck, so far unsuccessfully, as the second-hand booms and masts (ex Lasers) which were supposed to be at our Club's Middle Island boatyard seem to have been cleared out. So now we -- as in Noel and the Boatyard -- will manufacture one. [UPDATE, 7 March]: boom now fitted; sails and boat cover being made next week]

      *[Gabrielle is Xena's sidekick in the cult classic series "Xena, Warrior Princess"]
Some photos from yesterday, at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Causeway Bay:
Sam, our neighbour in Discovery Bay.  We bumped into each other on the
ferry over to town and he decided to come along to the soft launch.
Here he is next to our "other boat", the lovely Xena, in fine condition
thanks to Noel's ministrations after a day out on the water last Sunday.

The 50-tonne crane finds this little lift a doddle....
Note nice new paint job, thanks to Noel.  Sanding.... sanding....sanding...

.... and gently into the water.

Noel next to Gabrielle, as she lies nice and even - I was
worried that due to my amateur build that she'd lean one
way or the other, but she seems to lie dead straight.
On quick look the waterline seems to be about right, but
to check that would mean some more careful measurements.
Here I am next to her. That lean is just bobbing...!

Noel and Ah Luk from the Boatyard.
On the original of this photo, you can make out the waterline (DWL) marked on the rudder,
sitting just above the waterline, which means she's riding a touch high in the water.
But that's what I would expect, as I made her -- not entirely deliberately --
a touch beamier than in the plans (don't ask...).

A pretty sight from behind.  But she does gain beauty
with contemplation from a distance.  I wouldn't want
a proper boat-builder to have too close a look!
(Should we paint on the transom: "Our other boat
is an X-yacht"? [kidding...])

Lying straight, by the pontoon at the Royal HK Yacht Club
LATER: Eagle-eyed builders of the Somes Sound will note that the mast is not the classic wooden one. That's because, by the time I'd finished building the hull, wife Jing had got a bit touchy with our house and garden being a boatyard, and wanted them back again.... and also, to be frank, that I'd rather run out of patience myself as well.  And... in the meantime, we'd been kindly offered a free second-hand mast from a Laser, courtesy our Yacht Club.  And... there's nothing wrong with having aluminium aloft: lighter than wood, it will make the boat stiffer.  Thanks to Roger and Simon at the RHKYC for the mast.  Now, just to sort out the boom issue...


  1. From Anne F:
    Very pretty. Bub says very elegant and the transom looks lovely! Does he know what he's talking about?

  2. He does indeed! You can see transom again, in the shot above, from behind....
    (up close, the transom -- amongst other things -- needs more work to smooth out)...

    1. Wow, she looks really lovely! Are you *sure* though, that she's just *bobbing* to the side there? Ha ha, just joking... I love the colours, the green and the timber together. I can't believe you needed that huge crane!! Couldn't you and Noel have hauled her in?? What wimps!

    2. Anne:
      Thanks for the comment. NO WAY Noel and I could haul her in. There’s a Lead Keel, which just itself weighs 265 kg, the hull another 200+ Kg, so 500Kg in all, a very HEAVY boat. And there’s no ramp at the Yacht Club. Assure you, only one way into the water and that’s by crane!

    3. Hi Anne .. Your Bro's a Brilliant Guy ..yourself and Mother be proud of his adventurous achievements. It's been an amazing journey to watch building of "Gabrielle" from start/finish with help from Arlene, Noel and Marcus at Home. Finally after much patience and perseverance WOW! She has a beckoning aura about her .. I like the colour green/varnished wood too .. maybe burgundy sails :-) A Happy New Year to "Xena" and "Gabrielle" their Owners, Noel and all those who sail aboard .. loads fun safe and smooth sailing. Arohanui Grant and Iris N.Z.

  3. From Mutti F
    Congrats! What a relief.

  4. From Garry S:
    I'd expect nothing else from your workmanship ;)
    Well done.

  5. From John F:
    I'm pleased. Looks good. Well done!

  6. Wow, beautiful. You must feel proud!
    Xena and Gabrielle - I like it

  7. she looks lovely!! congrats. I'm sure sitting straight in the water is more important than a little leak. when does she go to the new owner? xx jane

  8. Jane & Anna, thanks the comments!
    Jane: she'll move back to Discovery Bay when we manage to fit the boom and get some sails.

  9. From Pat Sherriff
    I need to log on to comment for some reason.. Here is what I said:

    Well done Peter. The time spent at the Flying Fifteens launching and recovering the boats was obviously beneficial!
    She looks great. Happy Sailing in 2014.

  10. Wow, she looks really lovely! Are you *sure* though, that she's just *bobbing* to the side there? Ha ha, just joking... I love the colours, the green and the timber together. I can't believe you needed that huge crane!! Couldn't you and Noel have hauled her in?? What wimps!

  11. From Anne:
    oh! yeah, i guess 500kg *is* fairly heavy

  12. Peter

    Your good yacht Gabrielle looks fine stable and has a stout look about her. Yes I think we need a wood mast !
    But we'll done , I am looking forward to grilling along the wharfs of Hong Kong in her in April...
    All the best
    Rob (B)

  13. Looks awesome mate!

  14. I am impressed – looks beautiful - you need to take her for a sail!
    Gordon K.

  15. Hi Forse
    Looks like a pretty little boat and being a bit beamy gives it a great classic look. Don't know if that's what you wanted but looks good....

    1. Baz, by a little beamier, I mean about an inch.... she's a beamy boat by design... i.e., basically you couldn't tell (well...maybe the designer, John Brooks could...)

  16. Bloody good looking boat you have made there. Any chance you can make me a classic 6 metre in wood?
    --- Michael ("MC") D

  17. Peter,
    I've been following your blog for some time and have now started on my own Somes Sound.

    Edith and I used to live in DB aboard Mañana when I flew for CX.

    I retired in 2002 back how to Australia.
    You can see my blog at http://downudersomesound.blogspot.com.au

    Might catch up with you in Hong Kong some time.



  18. Peter -
    Congratulations - you have made a beautiful elegant boat. I followed your build from the start and enjoyed your ingenuity and craftsmanship.

    The launching looked very professional and she sits beautifully on her lines. I'm looking forward to seeing her sail - maybe take a video of her sailing for us to see!

    In due course you might get a reprieve from your wife to build a wooden mast :-) but I think you are 100% right to push ahead and get her launched - too many "project" boats sitting in workshops (mine included!)

    Fair winds to all who sail in her,


  19. Beautiful boat and lovely colour scheme. Congratulations to all involved with the build and launch. Bronwyn

  20. Hi Peter

    Looks beautiful, good to see it in the water. Whens its first sail going to be?


    Alfie R

    1. Tx Alfie,
      Sail as soon as we get some sails made.... stay tuned!

  21. Peter, she looks beautiful – you should be very proud!
    Richard W.

  22. Hi Peter,

    Looks beautiful! Well done!

    Happy Chinese New Year!



  23. Wow cool stuff :-)

    So when will the boat be donated? Ah I'll just follow the blog, NM

    SCR this year, you do?


  24. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for all this tremendous detail [about 1980s North Korean business]. This will be fantastically useful. What memory!

    But I have to say I'm probably even more impressed by the fact that you've built a boat, which seems so far from anything I might be able to do that I can barely imagine it. And the end result looks beautiful.

    Warmest to you and Jing.


    Steve F

  25. Well done Peter!
    Pat. KHFC.