TEAL - to the ABER design of Francois Vivier

Building TEAL - an ABER designed by Francois Vivier - launched 2014


- a "sail-and-oar" boat with standing lug rig along traditional lines. Category "C" (for 3 people)


- 6mm sapele glued-clinker marine ply planking over laminated mahogany frames, iroko and oak centreline, mahogany transom and fitting out, with pine thwarts and sole boards.


- Hull length 4.30m; Beam 1.48m; draught 0.25m/0.85m; Sail Area 9.7 sq.m; weights: bare boat ready to sail 240 kgs; maximum load displacement 500 kgs.


The big decision with this boat is how to do the framing - I wanted to follow the plans/ideas of the designer as closely as possible in order to capture the character and feel of the design which has a distinct Breton appeal. I do not approve of steamed frames in a clinker ply boat for several reasons: with wide thin planks the frames will not lie well; the copper nailing will leave the ply around the fastenings vulnerable to water penetration; we create spaces behind the frames which cannot be easily coated or maintained; finally, light steamed frames are poor anchors for a sound interior, buoyancy compartments, and so on.
I decided to use laminated frames of African mahogany (rather than sawn - as in short con-joined segments) as the given alternative which are fitted to the planking. One then has to decide whether to install these after planking, which requires complex fitting to do a good job; or. alternatively, whether to plank over the laminated frames, which requires cutting back the frames for each plank, and/or adding wedges to joggle the frame to the planking as one progresses - which can be rather tedious! I have built two larger boats in clinker ply over laminated frames (Zeina II (30 ft) and Molly Cobbler (19 ft)) which went very well, but their frames were much heavier than those required for TEAL. This structure is thought to be unnecessary for glued clinker ply boats but actually I think the extra labour is amply justified in producing a much tougher hull and providing a better way (distributing stresses and simplifying the fitting) to fix in the interior without creating the stress points created by the occasional ply web glassed and filleted to the monocoque hull. The result is also very aesthetically pleasing; and for some boats, the fitting of a lining is facilitated.
For plans I had the plan "books" which in ABER's case contain the offsets for the plank landings at each station (possibly not available for later designs from FV). From these I created the moulds using chipboard (so as not to use mdf - on FAITH now building in 2015, I decided to go back to using 6" x1" pine bought in our local weekly auction simply because it is more pleasant, and actually not much dearer in time or material!). The moulds were used for creating the shapes to laminate the frames which were made slightly oversize. The moulds, stem and transom were then set up on the strongback and checked for the plank lining out and fairness - once satisfied, I then fixed (with small screws)the laminated frames (joined centrally by a floor) onto the moulds allowing for fairing for planking - the moulds were polished to prevent glue sticking, and after each plank was fixed I checked they were free.
Once the garboards were on, I spanned the centre join with glass & epoxy and then finished the keel and deadwood - the stem was made in traditional fashion - cutting the rebate rather than adding a false stem. Planking was then finished, and the bottom sheathed and bilge rubbers added prior to turning right way up.
(unfortunately I have lost the photos of all this, but there is nothing much out of the ordinary!)

The fit-out is fairly complex with this boat but again it adds to the character; I departed from the plans over the mast partner - Dick Wynne (the owner) did not want to have to lift the (substantial) mast above the partner so I adapted the method used in ILUR; The partner was made from a single ply piece laminated from three layers of the hull planking (6mm sapely ply) glued and screwed under the inwale. I also made a "guide" for the heel of the mast in lieu of a tabernacle, which aids stepping the mast.

I was slightly perplexed by the buoyancy compartment arrangement - in the end I decided the compartments had to be sealed (no drain plugs) and completely filled with polyurethane foam; this means having plywood tops so any deck/seating in solid timber has to go over this. I fill such compartments by cutting suitable slabs of 50mm thick (or similar) insulation foam to fit the hull approximately and bed them in with expanding foam bit by bit. Once a compartment is filled and cured, the top of the foam is cut flat and the top glued and screwed down (using the foam again). This process should give a 100% filling without too much risk of distorting any panels.

Columbian Pine (Douglas Fir - but softer) was used for thwarts, sternsheets and sole boards ; this detail gives a proper "wooden boat aura" to TEAL - over the buoyancy compartments the only way to do this is to glue it down with epoxy with a gap between each board to give room for a tiny bit of movement. In the bow the planks can be thin, which gives the glue a better chance of holding, but aft you need more thickness.... the planks were well soaked with Deks Olje No 1, and we hope for the best.

I suppose the only alternative is to make a "detachable" interior and use foam blocks and buoyancy bags strapped in below the thwarts; this will be adequate but not so efficient a use of space, and makes the boat more difficult to use, keep clean, and maintain.

The outcome is a very satisfying little boat - heavy, indeed, but forgiving and seaworthy........

.....photos of construction, launch, and details.... below.....