Monday, January 12, 2015

Some more Hells Bay Boatworks photos and history and other past history

Today taking a break from a design commission I'am drawing up, a small house, I have found these photos from my past. It's very rolly and windy today with guts in the 30s . Even anchored well behind and what would seem to be the lee in these big islands the anchorages here can be uncomfortable. You have to imagine getting in and out of the bath tub and that's how the seas make it around the corners of these islands. 
This is Jack Nicklaus's  yacht " The Bear" with three HBBWs skiffs on deck.We knew a Captian that knew Jacks Captian that said Jack was interested in our skiffs. I took three of our skiff models down to West Palm to meet up with Jack.
We spent half a day riding around in each skiff with me trying to show him how to drive them. At first he just did not understand that you had to run these skiffs like a sports car. Once he got the hang of it he loved our boats. He orderd all three models. I had a great time with him and meeting his wife.
He was to be leaving for the Bahamas to go fishing for a few weeks so I offered to come back in a few days to measure his boat for all the skiffs cradles to be made and bring him a loner skiff to use for his trip. It would be awhile before we had his skiffs built.
When I returned a few days later his Captian was ready to put this loaner skiff on deck. We had a brand new Guide for him to use. I brought along an employee to photograph this skiff being lifted onto the deck of Jacks boat. We had just really started getting into putting skiffs on decks of yachts. The deal was the Davits that lift these skiffs can only lift 1,000 lbs or less. Our skiffs all weighed with fuel way under this load so we had the market all to our shelfs. When hooking up the lift cable I explained to the Captian that he had it on wrong and when it was to be turned it would put a huge strain on his hook and tackle. No I was wrong according to him and his mates. Up goes the boat with me saying it's no good and when they went to turn the boat to lower BAM !!! Breaks the hook and the cable with my skiff bouncing over Jacks yacht and over the side. No one was hurt physically except the captains ego. 
I'am the guy that's pushing my skiff away from Jacks new boat. We lowered the Guide down to the dock . I now retied the lift my way and we lifted it up on deck and all worked fine. The damage to this Kevlar Guide consisted of two minor scratches that I could fix no problem. Jacks new aluminum yacht had four 4' cracks in its deck with the davit being the worst having broke away partially from the deck.
I looked the captain in the eye and said I won't tell if you won't , and I'll fix my damage and you can deal with yours. Yes please he said . Shit happens . I've always wondered how he explained the repair bill.
This is the Marquesa skiff plug starting. I have just cut out all the stations and installed them on the building jig. You  can see the two chine levels going in and the foam core planking going on. That's Stan Nash walking by. Having guys like Stan Nash working at HBBWs from the beginning really made the difference.
One side of the core skin almost on. Once on you can glass over this and pull off and glass the inside and then you have a cored hull . In the past I used cedar as it was cheaper.
I loved this cover. We had hired my sister who's a professional photographer to take pictures of all our skiffs. Flip had this idea of a shot. The shuttle was going up while she was in town so let's get as close as we can and set it up. During that time a few unmanned rockets had exploded and the shuttle was always being postponed. I thought this was a waste of time. Flip knew exactly where to go. Flip and Hal with the Guide skiff are in 1' of water anchored bow and stern. We are in another skiff with ladders in the water in about 2' of water. Flips wife  Diane has a camera with one lens size and my sister with another. I'am standing in the water holding up these two ladders for the girls so they are steady grumbling to myself of what a waste of time. The radio is tuned into the countdown,it's a beautiful day... Suddenly it's 9 8 7 6 .... The water around us starts vibrating like a shaking pool . We are 11 miles away from the launch site but it's so big it seems we'er going to get the smoke . 2 1 blast off ,and up she goes.
The picture used here was taken by Diane Pallot. We photo shopped the anchor line out of the picture.

When taking all the early morning sunrise pictures with my sister I would lay in the water and hold the skiffs still. 
Chris Peterson, what's Hal Chittum doing in this advertizement?
Sailing in the Bahamas at the age of 19 in my little sloop. Looks like shark for dinner.
In today's sailing world a flat top mainsail is all the rage. This is one i fitted to my sailing dinghy 28 years ago. I'am sailing onto the beach in Cat Island Bahamas. Way ahead of my time ,I just only had so long of a mast.
This is Dick Negleys Scooter boat I built in all Kevlar. I'am in the Laguna Madre in 6" of water with my feet holding the skiif still.
Rachel next to Hogfish Maximus showing off Hoggys nice box shape.
Ah spear fishing below Andros on the Bahama banks. All shot on one coral head free diving. That's Cress Newbold the best man at our wedding in Spanish Wells 26 years ago.
Chris Pinder in red and Rupert Sawyer with a morning catch of crawfish- lobster. No sun protection back then. 
Johnny Pinder coming up with a few 
I will leave you with this shot from the 70s of a bahamian sailing sloop hauled out on the shore in Lisbon Creek Andos. They're all gone now.


boatman said...

what is funny is me n geno saw Jack nicklaus' hatteras with your loner skiff on it when were in west end waiting out a blow.

ralph sheppard said...

wow, amazing to read and think of what has transpired for all of us over the last 30 years.

I still have my whipray, still has original gelcoat , and it is actually sitting at Randy;s house in Islamorada right now.

Has to be all your hand made solutions to my leaking issues that made be feel more affectionate to the boat. Actually, the fish I have caught and the places I have been in that skiff fill a lifetime of my memories.

ralph sheppard

ralph sheppard