An unexpected journey: landing the project of a life-time (Part II)

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Boatbuilder Dan Mill continues his tale of how he took on the challenge of building a 68ft cruiser in a shed in Galway. As Dan demonstrates, once you’ve got the tools, all you need is a little help from some friends.

After clearing up the pre-Christmas catastrophe, I turned my attention to completing the main deck. This involved a few more tasks, starting with the water ballast tanks, two on each side.

These had to be fully waterproofed to avoid rot and we also had to glass-in titanium plates for the deck fittings. We had to allow access for fastenings and hydraulic pipes which meant doubling-up on the vent tubes to get the full capacity in the tanks.

For water transfer we moulded 200mm pipes with hydraulic gate valves between each tank. The tanks were filled from a fire pump clutched off the port engine and a combination of electric valves, operated from the helm, enabled up to four tanks to be filled or drained simultaneously.

The water tank lids were then pre-glassed and bonded with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy® onto prefabricated flanges. The main deck was now complete.

All hands on deck 

By this time I had employed a fellow Kiwi, by the name of Jason Forrester, who had been painting and fairing on superyacht refits for a company in Auckland. We gave him the thankless task of doing the same for us. Still, with the help of four men the hard work paid off handsomely.

Work was ready to begin on the interior. We decided on pear wood for the fixtures and fittings and teak for the flooring. We were joined partway through the fit-out by a South African, Chris Collins. He proved himself to be a very competent joiner and a great help to me as I was constantly problem-solving and planning the next steps.

Building of Nimmo with epoxy

Then a good friend of mine – also from New Zealand – Terry Taylor, joined us. He had been working in Italy on some restoration work but leant himself to us for a couple of months to concentrate on laying the teak decking. It was a job that required full commitment and I was relieved to have him whilst I oversaw the final stages of the whole project.

There were always possible complications to foresee and avoid. Work continued around the clock, with people working through the night. The owner and his electrician friend ran all the wiring and hydraulic piping in the evenings so that we weren’t tripping over each other.

The final push

I oversaw the installation of three vacuum-flush toilets and showers and the steering system, opting for a Lewmar/Whitlock twin wheel system. We sourced parts locally and afar. The stainless-steel lifting keel fin was manufactured by a local engineering firm whilst a UK firm produced the 30 metre carbon mast and boom and we shipped the rudder and bearings from France.

“By using WEST SYSTEM products we were able to finish the boat to a high professional standard without expensive equipment.”

The finished boat weighed in at approximately 24 tonnes – not bad considering the low-tech construction. By using WEST SYSTEM products we were able to finish the boat to a high professional standard without expensive equipment. Nimmo has attracted attention wherever it goes and it remains humbly well ahead of its time for this type of fast cruising boat.

With a total build time of four years, it’s safe to say that Nimmo was a challenging project. We fought against the weather, lack of skilled labour and lack of support. But it was worth the wait and I’m mighty proud of what we achieved. Would I do it again? Maybe…

Dan Mill is the founder of Galway Boatbuilding and Marine Services Ltd, Galway, Ireland. He now undertakes a variety of restoration and repair work but is yet to do anything close to the same scale as Nimmo.

Discover the epoxy that brought Nimmo and so many other ambitious builds to life.

Building of Nimmo with epoxy

 

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