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6 Metre

It’s a sad reality that the world’s forests are being
depleted. Whereas, as little as 10 years ago, a boatbuilder
could count on quantities of a good boatbuilding wood at a good price, today
that same species can be prohibitively expensive, inferior in quality, or even
extinct. Though yacht builders draw only a fraction of the world’s wood
consumption, we are often the first to feel the decline of a species. This
comes from needing wood with the tightest grain, longest or widest lengths free
of knots or sapwood and it is these stocks which disappear first. As stocks of
traditional boatbuilding species decline, builders are forced to look elsewhere
and at alternative species of tree to procure the quality and quantity we need
to build and restore beautiful yachts life the Fife
designed 1929 6-Metre Nada.

At Woodstock Boatbuilders here in Antigua, we often turn to
South America for "next generation"
boatbuilding timbers. When we needed 3" thick timber for Nada’s 23
"floors", which give structural strength across the ship by way of
the bilges, we used "Kopi" also known as "Kabukali".
This reddish-brown hardwood from Guiana has a
higher density than European oak, making it perfect for strengthening low down
in a yacht bilges. Another favorite with the boatbuilders
at Woodstock is
"Angelique" (or Basralokus) which looks a
bit like mahogany but has a density like oak and is highly resistant to worms
and decay making it ideal for the marine environment. Nada’s backbone is
largely constructed of this fabulous wood from Surinam
and the 41′ Gauntlet Pegasa, also undergoing
restoration at Woodstock,
is completely re-framed with this species. A great source of these and other
South American hardwoods like Silverbali and Wana is Caribbean Woods in
Bequia.

Of course for
components like beamshelves, deckbeams,
and carlings there’s nothing like Canadian Douglas Fir with its great
weight-to-strength ratio and user-friendly workability. Because of Nada’s
high-powered rig, all components that will be laboured
in compression (knees, mast partners, mast step, breast hook, etc.) have been
fashioned from hardwood. Another nod to her high tech racing rig has been the
inclusion below decks of 4 plywood ring frames which will go a long way to
stiffening this 78-year-old boat for the rigors of Kevlar sails and rod
rigging.

The boatbuilders, metal fabricators, riggers, and sail makers
on the Nada Restoration Team have all begun to feel the pressure as the
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta competition date draws steadily nearer. Co-owner
and project manager Andrew Robinson has staked much on the timely completion of
this historic rebuild and has his hands full as he draws together materials,
manpower, and expertise from around the world to bring one of William Fife’s
finest creations back to life.

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