By Bruce S. Kershaw
The Stevenson Pocket Yachts seem
to draw a fair amount of attention from our mates down-under.
BYYB member Steven Campbell is building a Weekender. Heres
what Steve has to say about himself, and his boat.
"By training, I am an accountant,
but I now work as project manager in the Strategic Planning,
Business Process area of my current company. I work for Linfox,
which is the second largest logistics company in Australia. My
aim is to retire at around age 55 and to the cruise on a sailboat,
probably around Australia and the Pacific. So I really only work
to support my dream. But then I have not met too many people
who work for any other reason.
I have been married for 20 years to
Giuli (pronounced Julie) and we have two boys. Robert, aged 19,
and Anthony, aged 15. Robert has finished his secondary education
and is currently working as a forklift driver while he is waiting
to join the Air force. Anthony is in secondary school and is
our musician. He plays trumpet in Junior and Senior band, the
Senior Stage band and the Jazz band. Giuli works as a career
in an Aged Persons home.
We live in Pyalong, in country Victoria.
It is about 50 miles from Melbourne, which is where I work. We
moved here about four years ago to get away from suburbia. We
are on 5 acres and only have three neighbors. We currently have
three cows (lawn movers), two dogs, five cats and a duck. We
had a few more ducks but they were taken by foxes. The cats keep
the rodent population under control, which in turn means we are
not likely to find snakes near the house. The area around us
has tiger, brown, and black snakes. A six-foot black lives in
the culvert at the end of our drive. Snakes are protected in
Australia, but as far as Im concerned, the only good snake
is a dead snake. In the four years we have been here, we have
only seen the one snake on two occasions.
Giuli and I are both ex-Navy and during
our time in the Navy managed to live in quite a few places around
Australia including Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Darwin.
After a life of having to pack up and move every 2 years, staying
in one place is fantastic.
I grew up in Woomera, South Australia,
home to the Australian space program. My father worked on the
Black Arrow and Black Knight programs. Woomera is at the edge
of the Simpson Desert, in the middle of nowhere. It was also
the home base for the Americans who were working at the Norgunga
base. I dont know what they did there, but I think it was
part of the early warning system."
I started sailing when I joined the
Navy, and sailed whenever I had the opportunity. When I left
the Navy, 16 years ago, I stopped sailing. Probably because I
did not have my own boat and was not close to facilities. Six
years ago I was on holidays with the family at a resort on Lake
Hume. They had Hobie Cats for use by the guests, so I took my
boys out on them. Then I remembered why I had enjoyed sailing
and discussed purchasing a boat with my wife. When I ran out
of reading material, I picked up my first copy of WoodenBoat,
just to have a read. I was then hooked. I needed a boat that
was not just another plastic production job designed by accountants.
(ie: How many people can you jamb into a limited space?) I wanted
a wooden boat and I was now convinced that I could build one
myself. It took my wife about three years to accept that I was
serious and now she just humors me.
This is my first boat building project,
but definitely not my last. The urge to build has been getting
stronger over the last few years. (I should have never read that
issue of WoodenBoat.) I had ordered plans for Tango, a Glen-L
design, but after studying the plans and instructions did not
feel confident that I could complete the boat. Prior to starting
this, my only experience with any building tasks was putting
up a few shelves. My family and friends are amazed at the progress
that I have made and that it even looks like a boat. I had looked
at hollow masts etc., but Terrys words of wisdom to not
over engineer have hit home, so this one is being built pretty
much to plan. However I did scarf the ½" ply so that
I could loft the bottom out without having any joiners. I have
also left the rear cabin bulkhead without any cutouts into the
seats. I probably will not overnight, so I did not see the point
to being able to use this area from the cabin. It means I will
have a larger storage area accessible from outside.
I have ordered my sails from Paul rather
than going with the polytarp. Im not sure if I will have
them in time for my initial launch date, so I may have to rig
up polytarp to start with.
I chose the Weekender after visiting
the Stevensons site and lurking on the BYYB, BBS. I have
made mistakes etc., but the process has built my confidence and
I am now convinced that I will be able to take on a bigger project.
I would like to build the 26 Norwalk Island Sharpie next,
as this is still trail-able but capable of extended coastal cruising
in comfort. After that I would build the Beauhler design, Emily.
A 30 vessel for my retire sailing.
The problem with building the Weekender
is that boat building is contagious and I also have a list of
smaller craft that I would like to build. Oh, and one of the
Stevensons pedal cars for my nephew. The Weekender will
mainly be used for day-sailing and camping holidays (but probably
not as the accommodation). We have a lake, (Lake Eppalock) which
is a water catchment dam about 20 minutes from home. So a lot
of my sailing will be done there. I am also pretty close to the
Melbourne, and a number of other lakes. I hope to finish by March,
and have it at the SA Wooden Boat Festival, which is held at
Goolwa. At some stage I also plan to take it to Sydney so I can
sail in Sydney Harbor.
Another sailing goal is to sail it on
the large salt lakes in the middle of Australia. These are normally
dry, but every ten years or so, the Cooper River System (also
normally pretty dry) floods and the lakes are filled.
My other interest is computers, and
I do some programming for the fun of it. I have acquired a Palm
unit and am trying to work out how to write programs for it.
Mind you, I dont have much spare time at the moment.
I am planning on a total renovation
of our house, which will start once the Weekender is finished.
Our house has a four-car garage that I use as a workshop. So
I have plenty of space, but it never seems enough. Our weather
never really gets that cold. (Not compared to some of the temps
quoted on the BBS.) So I dont have too many problems."
One of the things I asked Steve about
was his thoughts on the Back Yard Yacht Builders Association.
"This is a good question," he replied, "as it
is unlikely that there will be many other Aussies who join. So
the possibility of sanctioned events etc. is slim. I know of
a number of Stevenson designs being built and at some stage would
like to organize a get-together. I joined because I use the resources
of the BBS and I believe that if you receive value from a service
you should support it. The best way to support the people who
have helped me was to join the BYYB."
Thank you for your time, Steve. It
sounds like youre as busy as the rest of us.
Well be watching for you in
the Launchings Column.