Building Meerkat, a very small catboat, nearing the end!

by John MacBeath Watkins

Well, I've taken some time out of boatbuilding and blogging to buy a lot of books and catalog my little heart out to try and make the money back, but at last, I've got some time to work on the boat. As a consequence, I've installed the foredeck and the after deck, nearly finished the rudder, with pintles and gudgeons, I've got the centerboard case about ready to install, I've shaped the centerboard and added weight to it (6 oz. should be enough to keep it down, I hope) and the access plates for the air chambers are installed.

The centerboard has a high-aspect part to it, but plenty of wood in the case so that it will have some strength for when (not if) I run aground. The line you can barely see is where the bottom of the case intersects it when the board is down. A daggerboard would have been simpler and lighter, but I want to be able to sail right onto a beach.

The after part of the centerboard case has to fit under the thwart, which in part dictates the key-like shape of the centerboard. I made the sides of the case with 4 mm okume, which is why I had to add a piece of half-inch cedar to hold the pin the board pivots on.

I'm building a boat only a little more than half as long as Black Swan, and sometimes the parts feel toylike, they are so small.

I've glued the two halves of the case together, and drilled the holes for the screws that will affix the bed logs to the keelson, so not a lot of work left to do on that part. I've still got to seal the board with thinned epoxy and paint it.

Not sure I'll have this ready for the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, but I'd like to.

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