Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Charlie Hussey, Boatbuilder

Charlie Hussey

Harlequin, Clyde 17/19 Lugger

'No photos of Katydid from this period have come to light but another 17/19 Clyde Lugger was the subject of a photographic supplement from The Yachtsman and gives an impression what it must have been like to race these boats.'

Katydid as Charlie found her

With Katydid in his shop, Charlie questions the originality of her deck. His intention is to restore he to her to 'look and sail as she did when launched in 1892'.
This entails a bit of detective work.

Garboard off

Sighting down the keel

Keel shot

Heavy Metal

Katydid opened up

all photos courtesy Charlie Hussey

Charlie Hussey is an interesting boat builder, with an interesting weblog. He is apparently meticulous and exacting in his work and has an artists eye that shows in his photography and the presentation of his blog. I like his attitude: "Let’s get one think straight. This blog is not a chronological account of work as it gets done. It is selective, irregular and completely biased in favour of the colourful aspects of what I do." And so it is. You can see from the evidence above that Charlie's got a real sense for color and proportion in his photographs. One gets a sense of Charlie's keen observation, sense of proportion, his discerning approach to his work and his process in this statement about Katydid, relating to her photo in profile view.

'This entry is more or less all about Katydid’s profile – the way that she looks when viewed from the side. There’s lots more to say about her ‘end-on’ view but that will have to wait.

More or less the first thing that I did once Katydid was moved into the shed was to level and measure her. Together with the design offsets provided by Fairlie Restorations from the Fife archive I had enough information to compare Katydid as designed and Katydid as she is now. While the tables of offsets and raw measurements were adequate to confirm a few basic facts I decided to create CAD models of Katydid’s hullform in order to investigate how and to what extent there are differences. The whole process was, for me, amazingly illuminating. I really don’t think that I would have got very far at all in interpreting the history of Katydid’s hull form without the use of CAD. For those of a technical inclination I am using PolyCAD for this work.

Katydid’s sheerline is a bit flat (and bumpy). The weight of the coach roof on the deck structures has nipped her in at the waist and paradoxically, lifted her sheerline amidships, contributing to her rather flat looking sheer. The damage that the running backstays have done to the beamshelf and frames where they attach also indicates that her hullform has been pulled about a fair bit over time. This photo, of Katydid on the water (probably in the 1970’s) gives a general impression of what she most recently looked like afloat.

Katydid in the 1970's

(note that she is a bit fine in the stern and not really designed to carry weight in the cruising cockpit – hence the nose-up attitude)" the full article here.

Charlie reports to me that much of his current work is what he calls 'boat joinery', ie: making glass boats look better. I suspect he'd prefer some more challenging work, say a commission for a wood boat, or another classic restoration. Based in Edinburgh (UK), Charlie can be contacted at 07870 104471 or by email at If you have a building or restoration project, I suggest you could do worse than to give Charlie a call.

1 comment:

uurchin said...

Love the colors in the photos. Thanks for posting these.