Wood working03.07.2015

Over the Atlantic with a small boat

Two Polish sailors decided to build a boat for themselves and to attend a Polish STA regatta from Portugal to Caribbean Islands. Koskisen had a chance to follow their brave venture by supplying KoskiPly thin veneer for them. Below you can read how their dreams came true.

I've always been interested in Mini-Transat Regattas. Actually, I have to admit that, for several years now, I am drooling myself when the next edition of the regatta is about to start. The reason? Well, this event showcases the big regatta world! What else draws me into it? Simple: dozens of tiny yachts ready to face the Atlantic, at the helms are various sailors. Amateurs and professionals. Women and men. Old and young. Preachers and outlaws… What else does one need?

Mini Transat was first organized in 1977 by an Englishman Bob Solomon. At the end of the 1970s transatlantic yachts grew larger and so did the budgets of the contestants. Solomon created a new race and established couple of rules: sailors should cross the Atlantic alone and without any outside help and yachts’ length should be 6.5 meters. These rules have survived to this day - a small boat, a limited budget and a unique challenge. On the other hand, today's Mini Transat is a professional event.
On the entry list, there appears names from around the world. In addition to adventurers, there are also professionals who want to win and who want to sail on larger yachts in the future.

On the entry list, there appears names from around the world. In addition to adventurers, there are also professionals who want to win and who want to sail on larger yachts in the future. 

What then distinguishes the Mini Transat from STA?

In addition to the size of the yachts of course, the budget. Mini Regatta has with time turned into an armaments race with budgets of thousands of euros. In contrast, the STA is truly a regatta for everyone. One yacht, one ocean and one, well, in our case, two sailors. From Sagres in Portugal to Fort de France in Martinique.

There is one more difference between STA and Minitransat. Each participant of STA must independently build his own boat. And we decided to tackle this challenge!

Within three really intensive months we were able not only to collect most of the materials needed for the construction but most of the equipment for our yacht as well. We also already have an almost ready hull. How did we do this? This is what the story below is all about.

Planning of boat's body

We started in December. Despite our intensive research we could not find a hangar where we would be able to start building our yacht. In a moment of desperation we placed the construction… in the living room of Piotr's house.

We managed to put up the frames in just a few weeks. And then more obstacles came up. We did not have a single sheet of plywood and all the work stopped. We decided to do something about it. 

Sending our offer to Koskisen was a long shot. But t turned out that Agnieszka Weinar, the Polish representative of the company, was really interested in it and promised to put forward our plan for the bosses.

There was hope! 

While we were waiting for a reply from the land of Santa Claus, we weren’t just hanging around. We managed to obtain the honorary patronage of WOSP foundation. Our trip started to look more and more realistic.

And to us patronage of WOSP was already a pretty BIG DEAL. 

Finally, we got a response from Finland, the company was interested in helping us but plywood which they could offer us did not meet our requirements. We needed 10 mm plywood which they didn't have in stock. After weeks of waiting we faced such a disappointment. It looked like we were building our yacht from the end. We already had the mast and the set of on-board equipment, the ropes but still did not have the crucial ingrediend – plywood.

Installation of KoskiPly thin plywood

At the beginning of January an unexpected information came to us. The owner of Koskisen who, as the many Scandinavians, is a keen sailor, decided that even though the company doesn't offer 10 mm plywood, they will make it especially for us. Short batch to cover our demand to build the boat! It turned out that this unusual project has one more amazing supporter. We could not believe it when we saw the email.  

We had to wait a little longer for it though because our special plywood was still in the production. And when it was finished it was sent to our "yacht shipyard" in more or less two weeks. But it was worth waiting for.

Finished body coated with KoskiPly thin plywood

So we were able to get back to work. Initially we had planned that we only make A-frames in the living room but eventually we decided that it all fits beautifully: the Finnish plywood, Finnish glue in the Finnish home. And so we did! A-frames were put together there and then the entire hull was covered with our amazing plywood. How Koskisen product looks like I don’t need to elaborate because surely you know. Ok, one word: Awesome.

KoskiPly boat was moved into its own carport

After three months we had almost finished the hull. Because spring came suddenly, we decided to leave the living room and move outdoors.

Although the operation was difficult and involved the dismantling of the front walls, everything went smoothly and without notable losses in men and equipment.The boat moved into the new carport which was built just for her. 

And what is next? Now we need to laminate and paint our yacht.

Then rigging and casting a bulb keel. And next spring, we plan to compete in series of regattas to prepare ourselves and the boat to jump across the Atlantic.

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