Introduction

'Sundancer' is a Countess33cc. She is 33ft length overall, fin keeled and sloop rigged. The cc stands for centre cockpit.

The Countess range of yachts were designed by Ian Anderson for Colvic Craft with home completion specifically in mind. The range includes the 28 (28ft length overall), the 33 and the 37, each with sloop or ketch rigs and fin or bilge keels. The 33 and 37 also come in centre cockpit and wheel-house variants.

We took delivery of the mouldings for our 33 in May 1985. Fitting out took 7 years, paced partly by the rate at which we could afford to buy the materials, fixtures and fittings, partly by the ammount of time we could spend on the project, bearing in mind we had a young family and were both in full-time occupations.

The Building Site

We were lucky in that we had a reasonably large garden into which we could crane the hull without it being totally dominant. We were also able to crane the hull in over a single storey garage although the reach was quite long, ½ a crane length plus 25 feet of garage plus 16½ feet of boat! Our neighbours garden was some 6 feet above ours and to further reduce the invasion of their privacy we decided to dig a pit into which to lower the keel. This process had to be curtailed when the digger exposed a foul drain which the original builder had not set deep enough. Nevertheless, we had a pit some 3 feet deep which we concreted, not forgetting drain holes. Around this was built a wooden support for the hull, designed using hull sectionsgiven in Ian Anderson's drawings.To preserve the hull shape over what we knew was going to be a prolonged building programme we ordered the hull and deck mouldings bonded with three main bulkheads glassed in. To save on the cranage we took the hull unballasted. A 25 tonne crane was then man enough for the approximate 2 tonne lift. A very substantial set of steps was fabricated in recognition of the thousands of journeys up and down to be made and a lifting cover over the cockpit to keep the weather out completed the preparatory work.

Tools

My father had been a carpenter so I already had a basic set of woodworking tools, hammers, chisels, planes and hand saws but a further investment in power tools more than repaid their cost in labour saving.

Power Drills
mains drill(s) - (I had two - a 1/4 inch chuck and 1/2 inch chuck)for heavy work including disc sanding. Two battery powered for drilling and screwing with at least one spare battery on charge
Power Plane
mainly used for reducing the thickness of ply bulkheads where glassing in.
Power Saws
A proper saw circular saw table with tilting head and 1HP motor plus a smaller hand operating one.

Levelling and Horizontal Reference

Fibreglassing Techniques

Designing the Layout