CODBLOG11: The New Stem

Arthur had been whittling away at the big banana-shaped piece of oak and this week arrived at the boat with the new stem ready for its first fitting. This was the first of several fittings and after each time the stem was “fettled” to get a better fit.

The bottom of the stem is secured to the keel with two large coach bolts and for the final fitting the interface was given a large dollup of Sikaflex sealant.

Martin Williams, who used to work at his father’s boat yard, Williams & Nixon on Deganwy Dock, came round this week to see how we were getting on and offered the use of some large clamps that had come from the old boatyard. These came in very handy when fitting the stem. They obviously hadn’t been used for many years and we couldn’t help wondering about which old boat they were last used on!

Gwalch has no deck on, so, as you squeeze the sides together the bow pushes forward. Hence the requirement for the clamps — as we wound them in amidships the bow planks lined up with the new stem.

The end of the planks have been renovated using fibreglass. These were then drilled and nailed to the new stem. The final finishing of the stem can now be done in situ.

After so long with a gaping hole at the front, Gwalch is now looking like a boat again!

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