Projects: My Herreshoff 12 ½ day sailing boat with WEST SYSTEM epoxy
This week’s featured project from an epoxycraft reader comes from boatbuilder Gary Thompson, who’s based in Romsey. His Herreshoff Haven 12 ½, called Lashanna, took him months to build. We caught up with Gary to find out how he did it.
How did the project come about?
The project came about during my year at Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy when I completed their 38-week long course in Boat Building. As part of the course’s City & Guilds Level 3 qualification, students carry out a number of workshop assignments and exams but 350 hours of workshop time is allocated to each student to actually build a boat, which they get to take away at the end of the course.
I chose to build a very classic shallow draft yacht, the Herreshoff Haven 12 ½ by Joel White. Although the boat is only 16ft overall length, it has the feel and handling of a big boat in a small package. It’s also extremely stable having just under half a tonne of lead ballast keel on the bottom making it ideal for all the family and young children to go out for a day’s sailing.
Which WEST SYSTEM or PRO-SET epoxy products did you use? How did they help?
I chose to construct the hull on my Haven in lightweight foam and epoxy as I wanted to try using modern materials. I trimmed the boat in classic mahogany and American white oak. This would provide a classic boat with reduced maintenance.
I used WEST SYSTEM® 105 Epoxy Resin® with WEST SYSTEM 205 Hardener® throughout the build, with WEST SYSTEM 406 Colloidal Silica for all of the bonding applications and WEST SYSTEM 409 Microspheres for fairing the hull. I decided at a later date to then coat the bottom of the boat using a mixture of 105 Epoxy Resin, 205 Hardener and WEST SYSTEM 425 Copper Compound.
The 406 Colloidal Silica was an ideal universal thickener for bonding as I was adapting the resin and hardener to various different consistencies for bonding glass to foam core, wood to wood and glass to wood. The 205 Hardener was ideal as the build occurred from January to June across a range of temperatures in an unheated workshop.
The whole boat only contains 12 screws which hold the seats in place. Everything else is bonded with WEST SYSTEM epoxy.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
Every day had its highs and lows. The most rewarding point was when I popped the sheathed hull off the male mould and set it onto its cradle for interior fit out. At this point you first see the actual hull shape as it will sit for the rest of its life and you say to yourself: “Wow, I’ve just built a boat!” Even though you are just about a quarter of the way into the build…
What’s your top tip for boatbuilders looking to start a similar project?
For me, it was brilliant having tutors to call on for advice. So if anyone doesn’t have this, I would recommend at least completing a short course at Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy or a day’s epoxy workshop at Wessex Resins where you will receive a massive amount of valuable advice and be introduced to people to call on for advice at any stage of your build.
During the build, spend lots of time ‘having meetings with yourself’, thinking and re-thinking each stage. And be aware that each stage is connected to the next so always think of the possible consequences of each decision for the next stage of the build.
Finally, try to set aside an organised and dedicated epoxy mixing zone – it’s the nerve centre of the whole build. A tidy workshop provides a tidy mind for clear thinking!
Thanks Gary – she looks fantastic! Happy sailing.