Swiftlet Takes Flight by Lochlann

March 2014

When we bought Island Swift she came with a small 8ft fibreglass tender. 
The dinghy

After we had sailed Island Swift to Penzance we decided to change her into a sailing dinghy (the tender not Island Swift). 

We could see that she had once been a sailing dinghy, because she still had a centreboard case which had been sealed off. Mum said our tender had to be a sailing dingy so that we could learn the finer details of sailing. Dad did not think he had the time to do the work. But when Mum started to look at buying another tender (with sailing rig), Dad quickly changed his mind and started to pull up the seat and we started scraping the rotten wood away. When it was all cleaned out, Dad built a new case out of wood and fiberglass. The stern bulkhead that doubles as a seat was full of plastic bottles that gave buoyancy. Dad pulled them out and sealed it up, then he put in a watertight hatch.
In the forward bulkhead dad found a wheel arch for a launching wheel. He cut that away and put in another hatch this one nicknamed the 'toilet seat'!
We painted her hull in the original colours, black with a red antifoul paint on the underside to match Island Swift.
We looked at our old Mirror dinghy and stole the rudder, tiller, boom, sail and gaff. We couldn’t use the Mirror’s mast because it had woodworm, so we used a bamboo pole instead, cut to size with a bracket that Dad made. The rudder neatly hooked onto the stern and Mum cut the sail to size. I painted the name on her and Dad cut the centerboard to fit. When we put her into the water for the first time with the centerboard she floated (hooray!!!) but started slowly leaking (nnnooo!!!) not enough to make her sink thankfully, but enough to be noticeable.
But she sailed really well. Mum and I went in her first to test her and she sailed beautifully. Then Fin went in her on his own, then it was my turn, then Dad was allowed a go. We took her out of the water and back to the workshop to add another coat of fibreglass to fix the leak.
The second outing was on Penzance Pirate Day but that’s another story.

Written by Lochlann
Transformed into Swiflet

Hard work for Dad (note the 'toilet seat') 

Great fun for us all.

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