I have not had much chance to do anything to the boat in the last 2 weeks. Jo and I were in Melbourne for a week and we got back Tuesday of last week, then on Friday through to Sunday we had the annual Schionning Muster. I would not miss the muster for anything. In fact I cant wait to attend a muster with our boat. For those that don’t know, the muster is an annual event held by Schionning’s to bring together current boat owners, past builders and their boats where possible and current and future builders and anyone generally interested in cats for a weekend of social racing and a dinner on Saturday night. It showcases the many variants of Schionning (and a few other designs) cats and is fantastic from both a motivational and informational point of view. You can compare the many ideas that builders have used and choose the ideas that you like and use them in your build. And not to mention just how much fun it is.

On Thursday we were visited by our new friends Geoff and Linda who are attending the muster to finalize their plans and kit to build a wilderness 1320. They came to see our hulls to get an idea of what building is like. I hope I was able to shed some light on the process and that they start soon on the adventure of their lives. Good luck with it, I am sure you wont regret it.

On the Friday we had the chance to board about 7 different boats of varying size and to inspect the boats at the marina (at Lemon Tree Passage). During the day Brett Schionning also did a demonstration of boat building techniques and general information of the material by making part of a daggerboard case. There was also the opportunity to talk with reps from some of the equipment and material suppliers.

On Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon there were 2 races. Such was the popularity of the weekend that there were too many people and not enough crew berths so Jo and I had to sit out the morning race. The winds were light but picked up in the afternoon. For the afternoon race Jo and I got to go on Wandera, a Schionning Cosmos 1250S built to NSW Survey and about to go into service as a charter cat, and an absolutely incredible boat. The work and expertise in building is clearly evident and I doubt you will ever see a better cat, anywhere. The boat will be available for Charter out of Bateman’s Bay NSW with John Owens the owner skipper, and I thoroughly recommend anyone to check this boat out.

dagger case 1

So impressed were we with Wandera that we asked and were allowed to sail in her again for the Sunday race. Whilst it may have been a good idea to see how another boat sailed, we were just so impressed with the boat and with John Owens, the owner, that we just had to sail on her again. Besides, being a 1250 she is only 200mm longer than our boat so it made sense to stay on a boat that would be most representative of our boat, although I doubt I will be able to finish our boat as well as John has his. You will soon be able to see Wandera on Johns website www.baysail.com.au and sail on her by charter. Thanks again John, we hope to sail with you again on Wandera very soon and hope you have heaps of success with your new business.

muster 06

The above pic is of the Saturday morning race start. The boat on the right is a Wilderness 1480 kit cat and has the same hull shape (albeit 2 meters longer) as ours and if you zoom in you can see the hard hull chines. You can compare this to the boat in the foreground on the left. This is a round bilge strip planked 1480 Schionning cat (I think it is a Waterline but it could be a Cosmos). There isn’t much in it and the designs both look very impressive. And just to put paid to any thoughts that a round bilge cat out sails a hard chine cat, Le Tigre (the boat on the right) was by far the fastest cat and was only just piped by a trimaran helmed by a champion sailor (Daniel Van Kerckhoff from the design office). Although I wasn’t on board this year (I got to sail on her at last years muster) I am told she consistently hits 20 knots.

On the Saturday night there was a lovely casual dinner (spit roast), a band and some presentations. Very unexpected to us, the team at Schionning awarded Jo and I a prize for having this website. I was so overwhelmed that I actually sang the mahnamahna theme in front of about 100 people! Lets just hope a video of this does not materialize! I even surprised Jo as this is quite out of character for me. The reward consisted of some through hull transducers for speed (through the water) and water temp and depth sounding transducer. Perfect for us as we are just starting to shop for such things. I cant thank Schionning’s enough for their generosity. I will report on these items as I fit them to the hull.

So to today. I intended to get started on the taping but unfortunately I must have got some heat stroke from the sun on the weekend and around lunchtime I started feeling a bit under the weather with a headache and mild nausea so Jo insisted I go home and lie down, which I did. But before I went home I had to do a little repair work on the wombat so that I can be ready to glass on the weekend (I have more business trips for the rest of the week). To explain, when we glassed the hull we used the wombat to wet the 12mt tapes out and we were a little messy as we were working fast to get the whole hull done and were so tired at the end of the day we forgot to clean the wombat and we resined the bottom pvc tube to the axle. It set so hard I snapped the crank handle trying to free it up. In the end I had to take the wombat apart to free the bottom roller and then had to cut the pvc tube away from the aluminum axle. I used the circular saw set to about 1mm and scored it almost through and then ran a chisel down the groove to finally cut the tube away.

wombat repair

This was a careless mistake but in the end will only cost a 600mm pvc tube, less than $10 to fix, so no big deal, but it pays to be careful and to clean everything after use.

So on the weekend I will be back into the building, super motivated to get on with it if I wasn’t before. If you are building and getting a bit tired of it and want to give yourself a boost, get onto a finished cat. You are sure to get back to it with renewed vigor.

My thanks again to the team at Schionning’s and to everyone that had such kind things to say to us at the muster, many of whom we didn’t know but who knew us from the website, and to the many new friends we made at the muster, new builders that will no doubt finish ahead of us and existing owners, in particular John Owens for their incredible generosity of spirit in letting us sail with them. I cant wait to return the favor.

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Paul