Doug Jackson

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Doug Jackson is a well know gent around town; however, what you may not know is that he built a boat in his backyard shed … Lucky for Doug, his boat did float! He tells FOCUS all about it.


From the first idea to completion, how long has it taken you to build this masterpiece?
We bought the mould in Toronto on 4 November 1993 for the current boat. We estimated it would take about six years, and here we are 22 years later just finished.

Where did you build this project?
I built it at our home at Arding. A purpose built shed was built to house it in, and I also had the woodworking machinery here to carry out the work.

What made you want to build?
After many years sailing, we had ideas on how we would like the design of the boat to be. I also wanted a wood interior, which is rare these days.

We gather the parts aren’t available locally. Where did you get all the fittings and bits and pieces?
Sourcing all the many parts was a job in itself. You would find a product you thought was good and sort out the reliable ones who supplied the right article at the right price. I now have a large list of suppliers.

So, you started with a mould. Explain the process after this starting point …
I engaged a professional fibreglasser to lay up the inside of the mould, making it ready for the deck to be built. The deck was layered up with 3 x 2 hardwood forming the frame, and then three layers of 6 mm ply laminated together with epoxy resin. All this took considerable time, as the ply had to be staggered and fitted to the hull as, too, the hardwood. The interior bulkheads were quite a challenge. These were 18 mm hardwood ply from Grafton. They consisted of four sheets of ply tongue and grooved, cut and fitted to the shape of the hull. Once these were in, I could then fit the stringers for the sole. Once again, similar to the deck, the hardwood and ply were cut and fitted to the hull. About this time the fuel tanks, water tanks, plumbing and electrical were added, and then began the interior fit out. This was probably the slowest of all the jobs, as some woodworking jobs could take up to two days to fit a small piece of timber. Pattern making is really the shipwright’s art; the many intricate shapes and angles can take considerable time. So making a pattern of the shape eliminates the waste of material and, if done correctly, should fit the first time. I was lucky to have a retiring shipwright show me the tricks, which I am grateful for. The interior of the boat is built out of Sally Wattle, Tasmanian Blackwood and Teak. I also had some marble table tops that came out of the old IXL café which I fitted into the showers and bar.



So there is a lot of work that goes into a build. What would you estimate you have spent?
I have never added it up – maybe better not to!

So the next exciting thing is getting it into the water. What is involved in getting it there?
This will involve a police escort, two pilots and a special trailer that opens up in the middle to allow the keel to fit in. We will also need two cranes to lift it on and off. We had to obtain a special permit for the trip.

You can’t just throw an anchor anywhere. Do you need to park it in a parking spot?
No, I have a government mooring in the Clarence River. This took some considerable time to organise as moorings are quite scarce.

Do you have to carry out a testing period?
Yes, it takes about six months of testing the motor, stern gland, skin fittings, rigging and sails. Also, the boat structure has to be tested to handle strong seas. There are always adjustments that need to be made.

Can it travel internationally?

Finally, where do you think you will go first?
I would like to sail New Guinea, especially on the northern side. There are some beautiful islands there. Then, who knows.

Thanks Doug.

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