Over the next four months we made our payments at the dates specified and the delivery date was looming.Then out of the blue we had a phone call from Don stating that he could not meet the delivery date as there were problems with the steel supplier he amended the delivery date to the end of July 1997.OK I thought problems do happen.July came and passes no delivery.
The steel was to be plasma cut in Holland and eventually Don Fuller Love (now renamed Don Fuller Shit) admitted that he had a cash flow problem that our kit was the first yacht kit he had done and that he would do his best to get the kit to us by the 1st of September.I was not a happy bunny.All sort of thoughts went through my head.
Was Steel Kit going bust?Was Fuller Shit sorry Love ripping us off?What was going on?I decided to call Harry, Don’s CAD designer he told me the truth.Don had not paid his suppliers and they were not starting any other work for them until he paid up.Steel Kit was BROKE.Our money was all tied up except for the final £2,000 we were to pay on delivery.
Ann and I were very worried.Was this the end? How were we going to save up another £10,000?Harry gave me the number for the company in Holland.They said they would cut the plate and deliver it directly to me if I paid them the remaining money.I agreed.Delivery was to be on the 30 September 1997.It had been a worrying time but all was well.
It was getting very close to the revised delivery date of the steel kit.I had the chance to rent a section of an old aircraft hanger on Weston Super Mare airfield but they wanted £3000 per year for this which I thought was very expensive.Uphill Boat Yard only wanted £600 per year but it was outside.I thought this was it; I only needed the spot for 12 months so I went ahead.
My father helped me put in an armoured cable from the power supply box to the build site. It was only about 20 meters long so we thought that there would be no problems.After this was complete I placed concrete slabs onto the ground to level the ground. Angle steel sections were placed onto these slabs to provide a base to build on. The keel was laid on the 3 October 1997 this took around two weeks to complete. The frames were next they were laid out on the ground and tack welded together.
This showed up the first problem as the electricity supply kept tripping.The supply was tested and we found that only 170 volts were present at the build site end.The boatyard owner was not interested in this he said had never been a problem for any one else.We measured the voltage at the supply side and it was also only 170 volts.As I had already paid for the year and as I could not move anywhere else, seven tons of steel and the entire base etc. were not easily moved even if I had somewhere to go to.
The only solution was to buy a generator.I purchased a 6 kva generator and continued building the frames.This took six weeks.By this time it was December and getting very cold.No work took place over Christmas 1997 as we had a lot of snow.My timing plan was starting to develop serious flaws.I had not thought about the British winter and very seriously under estimated the time it took to build the hull.I had not even placed the frames into the keel.
Building commenced at the end of January 1998.The frames were placed into the keel one by one. Then the stringers were put into the slots in the frames. This took six weeks. In my timing plan I had estimated that the keel complete with side plates and frames and stringers would take six weeks to finish. It had taken nearly 18 weeks to get this far, three times as long.
Moral was low. I spent the next 10 days measuring and making sure the frames, stringers and keel were in the right place and at right angles to each other. Here Steel Kit were helpful. I asked if they could measure the distances from bottom of keel to the top of the bulwarks and although it took them two weeks to do this the information finally arrived. All the measurements were spot on.I could start tack welding on the keel plates. <<Next Plating of the Hull>>