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6 Metre

It's a sad reality that the world’s forests are being depleted. Whereas, as little as 10 years ago, a boatbuilder could count on quantities of a good boatbuilding wood at a good price, today that same species can be prohibitively expensive, inferior in quality, or even extinct. Though yacht builders draw only a fraction of the world’s wood consumption, we are often the first to feel the decline of a species. This comes from needing wood with the tightest grain, longest or widest lengths free of knots or sapwood and it is these stocks which disappear first. As stocks of traditional boatbuilding species decline, builders are forced to look elsewhere and at alternative species of tree to procure the quality and quantity we need to build and restore beautiful yachts life the Fife designed 1929 6-Metre Nada.

At Woodstock Boatbuilders here in Antigua, we often turn to South America for "next generation" boatbuilding timbers. When we needed 3" thick timber for Nada's 23 "floors", which give structural strength across the ship by way of the bilges, we used "Kopi" also known as "Kabukali". This reddish-brown hardwood from Guiana has a higher density than European oak, making it perfect for strengthening low down in a yacht bilges. Another favorite with the boatbuilders at Woodstock is "Angelique" (or Basralokus) which looks a bit like mahogany but has a density like oak and is highly resistant to worms and decay making it ideal for the marine environment. Nada's backbone is largely constructed of this fabulous wood from Surinam and the 41' Gauntlet Pegasa, also undergoing restoration at Woodstock, is completely re-framed with this species. A great source of these and other South American hardwoods like Silverbali and Wana is Caribbean Woods in Bequia.

Of course for components like beamshelves, deckbeams, and carlings there's nothing like Canadian Douglas Fir with its great weight-to-strength ratio and user-friendly workability. Because of Nada's high-powered rig, all components that will be laboured in compression (knees, mast partners, mast step, breast hook, etc.) have been fashioned from hardwood. Another nod to her high tech racing rig has been the inclusion below decks of 4 plywood ring frames which will go a long way to stiffening this 78-year-old boat for the rigors of Kevlar sails and rod rigging.

The boatbuilders, metal fabricators, riggers, and sail makers on the Nada Restoration Team have all begun to feel the pressure as the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta competition date draws steadily nearer. Co-owner and project manager Andrew Robinson has staked much on the timely completion of this historic rebuild and has his hands full as he draws together materials, manpower, and expertise from around the world to bring one of William Fife's finest creations back to life.

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