The Boat

Katla is a 26ft Wooden Gaff Cutter built by Martin Lund in 2006 of the Wynfall design by Mark Smaalders.

She is
Carvel built of Mahogany planks over sawn Pine frames. The planks are fastened with Stainless Steel (316) screws and the frames are glued and fastened using wooden pegs and Galvanised bolts. Before painting, all wood was treated with a mixture of Turpentine, Pine Oil and Cuprinol.

The deck is Marine Plywood epoxy laminated and covered with chopped strand mat in epoxy resin. The Spar is of Siberian Larch. The rudder is transom hung on Stainless Steel (316) pintles.

The ballast keel is a Stainless Steel (316) box of 6mm sides and bottom, which has lead ingots in it. The lead is then laid in poliester resin inside. Five Stainless Steel (316) tubes are welded inside vertically through the keel box, where the keel bolts go through, meaning the box is completely sealed from seawater. There are 5 Stainless Steel (316) keelbolts to carry 1.5 tonnes. It is a massively strong construction.

There are no through hull fittings and a water tight bulkhead under the cockpit.

The broker described her as: 'A sturdy and salty little lady. Which will appeal to traditionalists on a budget'.

There is no inboard engine, no toilet, no electronics, and traditional (Block & Tackle) rigging (no winches).

LOA: 26' - 5"
LWL: 23' - 10"
BEAM: 8' - 10"
DRAFT: 3' - 10"
DISP: 9500 lbs
BALLAST: 3300 lbs
D/L: 343
SAIL AREA: 466 sq. ft.

The Trip

View Katla

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Slippery Slope!

The complete history and run up to the events below can be found here:

November 2008: Marcus, Lindsey, James & Freya (all of which previously worked on Wooden Brixham Trawlers at Trinity) in Las Palmas, Canaries. All 'harping' on about old boats over dinner. They sowed the initial seed of interest about owning an older classic type of boat for cruising. At this stage I still love Doris and was fighting the lure of old boats. I had however, just started to read Moitessier. The slippery slope begins!

January 2009: Completed solo transatlantic crossing and immediately wanted a different boat. I didn’t know quite what I wanted, but I did want simplicity and comfort 'a la Moitessier' my new found guru. Matti of Carma reinforced my belief in small boats and simplistic systems despite him seemingly being put off sailing for life after his Atlantic crossing.

Early 2009: Saw Katla listed and dismissed her due to size. At this time there were only a few exterior pictures. She was also wooden and I swore I would stay well away from wooden boats! At this stage I was looking for ideally Steel, Aluminum or Plastic.

March - April 2009: Classics Week in Antigua, racing Veracity, ‘hanging out’ with Marcus, James & Freya. Witnessing the camaraderie among the 'Classic boat owners’ and several conversations with Marcus about the maintenance of a (new build) wooden boat being relatively easy and comparable to steel and nothing like the trappings of an old wooden boat. I was now open to the idea of Steel, Plastic (if I had to), Aluminum, Wood (new build only) and Ferro cement, either way (despite never having sailed one) it had to be Gaff Rigged. Doris was placed for Sale on a few free Internet websites.

May 2009: After making endless notes during my return solo transatlantic trip to the Azores from Antigua, my 'new' boat had to be completely simple and cheap to maintain. Telegraph pole mast, galvanized rigging, no inboard engine, simple 3 strand rope and block running rigging, small enough to Single Hand. I wanted none of the trappings of modern boats and the associated expensive chandlery.

June 2009: After endless searching it seems that all Gaffers are either wooden (old - 50+yrs) with the occasional Ferro cement. Ferro is the hot choice with only two boats of interest found. Doris was placed for Sale with brokers in the UK.

14.06.2009: James sent me the Katla web link during another evening chat session discussion about 'boat porn'. This time there were interior pictures and I'm sure a more informative description than I previously remembered. The big attraction was the realization that Katla did not have an inboard engine. Requested more pictures from the broker.

15.06.2009: Received design sketches and some more info from broker. Learn the boat name is 'Katla'. Probably due to the name alone, Kat has agreed to loan me half the money until Doris sells despite it being 'everything' she didn't want in a boat. Asked Marcus for his opinion on Katla which comes back positive.

16.06.2009: More questions regarding the build materials and fastenings. James was due to visit St Martin to see another boat in the same boatyard so a viewing is a real possibility. Research on the Internet finds the designers website and build photos of Katla.

17.06.2009: Receive more answers from the vendor and learn that a 'Fully Conditional Offer Subject To Buyer Satisfaction' is possible. Also learn that a 2nd party has been interested since March 09 and is viewing the boat in a few days time (Thursday), James is due to go to St Martin on Friday. A 'conditional' offer is therefore made and accepted late evening. Due to me being in the Azores, and the difficulties of arranging Bank Transfers for the securing deposit, I enquire about the possibilities of James paying in cash - No response from the broker.

18.06.2009: AM - Despite a number of ‘chasing emails’ to the broker, no response received hence, deposit not transferred. PM - I receive an email saying the 2nd buyer has offered more money and left a deposit. I am livid! I could have paid my deposit by PayPal or Bank Transfer but silence from the broker resulted in neither happening. The broker advises us to still view the boat as planned and reserve our offer as a 'backup' as the 2nd buyer wants a lift out, survey and title search and cannot pay in full until late July.

19.06.2009: Broker advises me that the 2nd offer has not been formerly accepted by the vendor and that an extra '$2000USD' offered might put me 'back in the game'. James views Katla and advises that the boat is both worth the offer price and in good condition. A small deposit is made to show 'Good Faith' with the promise to increase the deposit first thing Monday morning when the banks open. A second payment will be made a few days later mid next week and then the final payment in early July. The 'irony' - Kat will again be paying a deposit on my second boat, another of which she doesn't actually agree with!

20.06.2009: Confirmation of the Vendor’s acceptance of our new offer is received from the broker. ‘You are the proud new owner of Katla'. I have read ‘Hand, Reef & Steer’ by Tom Cunliffe, but still not actually sailed a Gaffer!. Another steep learning curve and challenge ahead!

22.06.2009: Full deposit transfered and reciept confirmed by the broker, its safe to say that Katla in now secure. I am still 'stuck' in Horta and although I was thinking about leaving tomorrow a huge storm is forcast for Thursday.