A Boat on the Side
16Feb/160

Super Secret

We bade a fond farewell to Secret 33 No. 1 as she was loaded on to the big rig for her new life on the Swan River in Perth early last November. Now she’s on the water in Perth, attending the opening of Elizabeth Quay and getting out and about generally.

Secret 33

Secret night life

Secret 33

Secret on the Swan River

Secret 33

More fun on the river

A year ago this boat did not exist. In eleven months we’ve designed and refined her lines, her layout, her power-train, and her aesthetics.
Lots of custom fittings, gleeful use of fibreglass, foams, resins, and plastics with an abundance of red cedar, some of it over a century old and nearly black. Purists queue here for outraged spluttering and sundry accusations.
But really, a 21st Century commercial ferry/charter boat is obliged to exploit all the advantages of modern materials and her hull, while looking like something from the roaring twenties, is actually a racing yacht in disguise. Which is really why she goes so well and yes, sea trials prove it. In 22ish knots and plenty of white horses she proved to be stable and comfortable with nary a drop of spray disturbing the passengers.
“Faster!” I cried, “full ahead both!”and her skipper wound her up to over 7.5 knots.
“What range captain?” I enquired.
“At 5.5 knots we’d do close on 15 hours, sir.”
“Excellent! – I assume that’s with 1.6 watts of solar on the roof?”
“Yes, and allowing for the fitting of fast props.”

Secret 33

Secret 33 first sea trials

Incidentally, the new ferry hulls are sprayed in Colourthane B62 Midnight Blue which is a nice colour but has a touch of purple in strong sunlight. I fancied a purer blue, perhaps a little on the cooler spectrum, so I called up Wattyl with a Pantone reference – more like a deep dark turquoise. They were very helpful, so Secret Blue, a new Wattyl colour, will be tested in the coming weeks and be available nationally as soon as we’ve settled on a formula. Hopefully Ferry II will debut the all new shade of blue – perfect for the bay on cooler days.
On to other news, we’ve re-worked the Shimmy 12 to a 13 in GRP again, this one with a skeg keel and fully enclosed centreboard. A centreboard? – Yes, not a dagger-board – I’d never live it down, but a nicely engineered centreboard fitted entirely under the flat floor and raised via a concealed block and tackle. The beauty of this arrangement means that two versions, a solar/rowing/outboarding one plus a sailing version are easy to manufacture. Easier, that is, once you’ve built and fine-tuned the plug, done the sea trials, made all the moulds, worked out how it all fits together and . . . . . sigh. God knows when I’ll get time.
Meanwhile, talking of plugs, am I the only one who is truly pissed off by modern electric plugs? I have an old grinder fitted with two polishing wheels for when we do our own metalwork and the plug is still perfect. Contrast that to a new good quality jigsaw which is great apart from a crap plug.
Question: how does the rest of the world work a jigsaw? Answer: you pick up the tool and plug it in.
Question: how do Australians work a jigsaw? Answer: you pick it up, attempt to plug it in, bend the prongs, and try again. Next you bend them a little more and finally plug the thing in. It’s the same with nearly all of my newer tools, am I cursed with weak plug syndrome? My new socks have both got holes in them too – both sides . . .
I’ve looked at socks from both sides now and still somehow its socks’ illusions I recall, I really don’t know socks at all . . . . . .

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