Building a Minahouët from a kit
1 A flat-pack boat. The kit arrives with every single part pre-cut. 2 The first step is to set up the jig including bulkheads and frames, which slots together and ensures everything is correctly lined up. 4 The inner stem is made from several layers of ply epoxied together and bevelled to take the hood ends. No need for a complicated laminating jig. 7 The first strake is attached. Planks come in two parts with pre-cut finger scarfs which are glued together before fitting. Note the lower land has been bevelled to receive the next plank. 3 The centreboard case is also assembled and fitted at this point. The inside surfaces are sealed with epoxy, as they’ll be difficult to access once they’re in place. Note the slots for the centreboard pivot. 5 Once complete and cured the inner stem is epoxied to the forward bulkhead, the jig holding everything correctly in line. 8 The transom, frames and bulkheads are pre-cut to receive each plank. Note how the aft bulkhead is attached to the jig, to hold it square. 6 The bottom panel – already epoxy coated on the inside, is held in place while the epoxy cures using clamps and shores wedged against the ceiling. 9 Temporary screws with wooden and metal washers hold the strakes in place while the glue is drying. They’ll be removed once the glue has cured, and the holes sealed with epoxy.
10 With three strakes fitted, the Minahouët begins to take shape. The hood end screws can be removed and the holes filled with epoxy, or they can be recessed and filled over. 13 This builder has strengthened the bottom panel and bottom strakes by sheathing them with fibreglass and epoxy before applying the upper strakes. 11 Rather than fit a backing block inside the bulwarks, this builder has screwed a temporary block on the transom to hold the sheerstrake in place. An epoxy fillet was applied inside later. 14 The outer stem is laminated from hardwood supplied with the kit, using the inner stem as a jig. 16 This skeg is made from a single piece of hardwood, glued and then screwed through from the inside of the hull. There is also an option to have a laminated skeg. No outer keel is fitted. 12 Traditional wooden clamps were used to hold the sheerstrake in place on this Minahouët – simple, effective, and cheaper than metal clamps. 15 The outer stem is glued and screwed to the hull, sealing the ends of the planks and making an extremely strong collision barrier! 17 Once assembled, the whole hull is sanded down and sealed with epoxy. Note small slot in the stem which is used to lash the boat to the trailer. 18 Undercoated and ready for a top coat of paint. The underwater shape reveals a reasonably fine forefoot, promising good upwind performance.