Keel laying


If you decide to replace all of the wood in the old boat, or if you are building a new boat, the first step is to start off a new bilge; laying the keel plank. The condition of the original ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ was so bad that it was decided to replace all of the wood, after the original wood parts had been studied carefully.


Starting off a new bilge is undertaken as follows:

  • You start with the garboard strake, the broad plank in the centre of the bilge (image 1). This is always a half to one inch thicker than the rest of the bilge. The garboard strake always protrudes slightly from the bilge. The garboard strake is placed on a flat base or is supported on timber blocks. The garboard strake must be level.

  • Strakes, as wide as possible, are then placed on either side of the garboard strake (image 3). Broad strakes are selected because under water timber doesn’t warp. As a result of water saturation there will be no splits or contraction. Also important: broad strakes have fewer caulking seams (image 4). And, furthermore, you are also finished sooner.

  • Now you start on the sides, for which you have a different frame shape fore and aft because from a twist (image 5) in the centre of the boat of approximately 45 degrees fore and aft you have to match up with the wash strake, whereby you have to remain sufficient wide fore (image 6) and aft (image 7). In front of the mast the boat has to have sufficient volume (it has to have ‘broad shoulders’) so that it can still be steered correctly. An additional benefit of a boat with ‘broad shoulders’ is that the skipper can trim the boat more by using the cargo – utilising the cargo to gain the best possible sailing and steerage depending on the weather and draught.
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Tools Required

  • Folding rule
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Spirit level

Materials Required

None applicable