What do I do about ropes? hardware?? sails???

Your choice again. Cheap doesn't necessarily mean nasty. You can outfit this boat with very little expenditure at the chandlery or you can run riot and sprout super stainless steel fittings everywhere. There are a couple of thousand dollars between these two extremes.


Ordinary UV-stabilised silver rope  is fine for sheets, topping lifts, and sundry lines but you'll enjoy life more if you pay five times as much and use pre-stretch braided dacron for halliards. The silver rope stretches and drives you nuts if it's being used for halliards, because the sail peaks go all saggy and the jib dies.

On the other hand you can imitate Flying Tadpole II - rig with silver rope, enter a couple of races unwise enough to be offering prize money, win them, then spend the proceeds on "proper" cordage!


Make your own where you can and patronise your local friendly hardware store where you can't. All the cleats (and there are a lot of them) on Flying Tadpole II were handmade from close-grained douglas fir scrap, though a fine grained hardwood would have been better. You have to make the mooring and main sheet cleats in any case.

Cleats are all attached using 1/4 inch galvanised gutter bolts (or a bronze equivalent), countersunk and epoxy filled in the cleat and bolting through to large backing plates made from 1/2" ply scrap. You can get away with galvanised or even just zinc-plated steel fasteners because most are going to be encapsulated in epoxy anyway.

The plans do show a make-your-own brass gudgeon and pintle for the rudder. We gave up at this stage and just bought chandlery gear, which cost.

Use lightweight and oversize blocks for the running rigging. For these, you'll have to visit a chandlery but they're relatively inexpensive.

Remember, one of the points of this design is that crudities are acceptable and often intended. We use zinc-plated snaplinks for fast sheet and halliard attachment. They're one-seventh the price of stainless equivalents. They take two to five years to rust and die, at which point we throw them away. Note that five years is about the time you should be throwing stainless steel fittings away too, if they've been under strain. Want a vang on your foreboom? Two ring bolts and a length of line... everything works without actually looking crude and there's no credit card meltdown.

(Although... one day... we'll surreptitiously buy cam cleats for the staysail... when we've remortgaged the house to pay for them..)


Only two ways to go. Make the lot yourself (out of polytarp even!) and spend as little as possible, or get the working sails made by an expert. Either spend next to no money, or don't stint at all.

If you're going to have them professionally made, make sure the sailmakers really know what they're doing. Sailmakers who can cut a good gaff-rigged sail, let alone a matched pair, are few and far between. You can get away with all sorts of terrible things for a staysail, in our case old anchor rope, ducting tape and black polythene concrete underlay.

By public demand, and because we're getting tired of constantly emailing off his address, here's our sailmaker and yes, he makes and sells internationally. If memory serves us right, he also happened to be head sailmaker for an Australian boat which removed some sort of old mug or cup from the Americas a few years ago (forget all the nonsense about winged keels, folks, that was simply psychological warfare - it was all in the sails). More to the point, he's cut an awful lot of traditional sails of all shapes and sizes.

Ken O'Brien
KA Sails
27 Byre Avenue
Somerton Park SA 5044
Fax: + 61 8 8294 9599

And for all you cheapskates or polytarp freaks who are going to do it yourself, you need Murray Isles' recently revised sailmaking notes, which is the best compendium on how to do it we know of. Price of the book is $AUS35.00 (includes packing and airmail). Murray can accept bank drafts but NO CREDIT CARDS (quote devices of the devil to promote debt and surely against the BolgerBoat ethic :) endquote). Contact:

Murray Isles
GPO Box 1086
Hobart, Tasmania, 7001
Phone/Fax: + 61 3 6231 5553
Email: islesscd@mpx.com.au

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