A perfect pandemic project

Published on January 14th, 2021

An amateur Irish sailor is building his own boat at home in Co Wicklow to fulfill a lifelong dream of sailing solo across the Atlantic. Jim Schofield, 57, is assembling the 5.8m yacht in his garage as one of a number of sailors around the world who have taken on the “build at home” challenge.

Revealed less than a year ago, the Class Globe 5.80 One Design Ocean Racing yacht seeks to be an affordable option for those that want the challenge of offshore competition.

Conceived by Don McIntyre, Australian adventurer and founder of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, the plan is a solo racer that can be built by amateurs, with this 19-footer scheduled to set out on the 3600 nm Globe 5.80 Transat 2021 later in the year.

“Since my early 20s, a single-handed transatlantic race has been on my bucket list,” said Schofield. “So when I saw this opportunity pop up, I knew I had run out of excuses. The time had come.”

Having paid €300 for building plans, he started assembling his plywood and epoxy boat last year.

“In many ways, it’s the perfect pandemic project. I’m locked in the shed, building a boat by myself. And when the time comes, I will get on the boat and sail away by myself.

“It should be very seaworthy. The wood did come pre-cut but you have to decide how to put it together.

“You have to dry-fit it, pencil-line it and check it several times before you go for the epoxy. Then you’ve got one go at it, because the epoxy sets like glass. IKEA it’s not!”

McIntyre sees this as a boat for all sailors, young and old, who have a dream to sail oceans in small, fun, affordable and proven safe yachts. “This is a little yacht with a big heart,” he said. “Anyone can build it with simple tools and the human element is more important than the technology.”

Schofield has extended his garage to accommodate his build. “I hope to have it in the water by May. I want to spend the summer playing around with it.” The Transat schedule provides a two stage course, starting October 31 from Portugal to the Canary Islands, and then restarting November 20 for either Martinique or Antigua.

Source: RTE

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