My Paradox "Johanna"

Building a Matt Layden
13'10" Microcruiser

Building Blog

Building a Matt Layden Design "Paradox" Microcruiser

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Still Painting!

Posted by paradoxbuild on September 23, 2010 at 8:41 AM Comments comments (2)

This painting lark takes a long time! The weather has been anything but kind in that respect, with hardly a day passing without some precipitation.

I've now missed my target launch date of 11th September. I haven't set a new target as the good days are now becoming fewer and further apart!

At least the decks are now completed and I'm pretty happy with the results.

More to follow.

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men

Posted by paradoxbuild on August 31, 2010 at 4:36 PM Comments comments (5)

So here we are, August is gone and Johanna is still not finished!

I took 10 days leave from work in the hope that I'd at least get her all painted. As Robby Burns wrote:

"The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men

Gang aft agley"

So what happened? Well of the 10 days leave I had, it rained every single day. The only dry days were the weekends, when I would have been off work anyway! Add to that a leaking water tank in the attic, leading to the wrong sort of building, as I had to replace part of the ceiling in my daughter's bedroom (after fixing the leak).

I did however mange to get all the base coats applied and I'm pretty sure that 3 days will complete the hull and non skid on the decks. There are some minor parts to finish after that (rudder, hatch, washboard) but these can be done in slower time and are not really as weather dependant. The to-do list is definitely getting short, unfortunately so are the days as we draw towards winter!  Keep watching for more...

No update does not mean No Progress!

Posted by paradoxbuild on July 27, 2010 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been pretty busy working away on all sorts of things over thelast weeks. There are just so many little items to do that the list never seems to get any shorter.  A lot of the time has been spent making dust which turned into a real chore! I'm  hopeful that that stage has almost completed; filling, fairing and sanding are not my first love....



Someof the things I have done and have photographic evidence are the  leading of the rudder blade and sheathing of it and the rudder stock.

Notch cut out to accept lead

Lead poured

Filled, faired, glassed.


In the last photo above the eagle eyed will also notice the yuloh pivot. This was made from an A4 stainless bolt with  a drilled out bronze door knob off a piece of furniture. Yet another of those small jobs.

Mounting deck hardware, cleats blocks etc. has also taken up any idle time that I  may have had, not to mention marking and drilling about 400 hoes in the Lexan windows.

With the arrival of my sail, it became  apparent that I'd have to complete the tack strut assembly. I built one as to plan except of course it was not made of hard copper pipe as specified. I (like others have already discovered) was sure this would not be robust enough in use and lead to fairly rapid failure.

With that in mind I went about fabricating my own design using standard 15mm plumbing parts.

Component parts.

One T piece cut down and the inner shoulders reamed out to accept small joiner piece.

Two right angle bends trimmed down and two inline joiners and associated pipe work.

Nine parts in total.

Soldered together.


Filled with epoxy/microfibres

The entire top section was filled with epoxy/microfibre mix before re-drilling to accept bolt and rope strop. It all appears to be pretty bullet proof.






I've plenty to move along with. I'm hoping to get the sail rigged the next fine windless day and as I have all my paint waiting, I'll be starting final painting any day now.

More later.....

Slow but steady progress

Posted by paradoxbuild on May 12, 2010 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I suppose an update is about due as it appears a month has passed since the last one.

Not much to see, but slowly putting the finishing touches to a load of loose ends.

The mast was completed and glued up before we lost the warm weather of April. I installed a couple of cables for mast head lights and a VHF antenna before sealing up.

It took quite a bit of work to plane to size and shape, and quite a bit of fiddling to get it to fit through the deck! We got there eventually and have since installed the halyard sheave and glassed the top section.

Cables installed internally

No going back, all sealed up

It fits - eventually!

One of the more unexciting things was the bending of the 12mm phosphor bronze rod for the furling drum axle. This required a fair bit of ingenuity to get it right, involving drilling several holes in large immoveable objects and wielding a brazing torch to anneal the work hardened metal. In the end it all worked out OK.

No easy bend!

Lots more going on to prepare for painting once the weather decides to warm up again. I've also had quotes back from my sailmakers and am about to place an order. Watch this space.....

Good progress with the warm settled weather

Posted by paradoxbuild on April 11, 2010 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (0)

A few days of warm dry weather mean rapid progress with achance to mix up some epoxy!

First was glueing the mast up. This now just needs the starboard panel installed to finish. I need to run the internal wiring for the VHF antenna and the masthead lights before this happens, but it will be a straight forward simple job.

To get the sticky stuff over with I also laminated the tiller. Once again it will need some finishing and trimming but other than that another tick off the list.

More shavings!

Posted by paradoxbuild on April 7, 2010 at 5:23 PM Comments comments (0)

Well at long last the weather has improved enough to make a start on the boat again. So what's with all the shavings?

First off was the completion of the boom and yard, with work on the Yolah ongoing.

Then work started in earnest on the mast. Today I got more or less all the pieces planed to size, I say almost, because it still needs a little bit of trimming here and there to bring the dimensions down to size.It's starting to look good, and a quick clamp up of the parts is promissing. I'll continue to work on this with the goal of glueing it up once I have a fine warm day.

From left to right:

Yolah, yard, boom, Mast (p side, front, back, s side)

Mast clamped together

Pointing towards the blue sky!

In a departure from spar making, I've also been fabricating the tiller. This will be made by  laminating Mahogany and White Oak to give it a nice appearance, even though no one will ever see it! (gluten for punishment).  First job of course is ripping the laminates from a piece of stock, so the table saw was pressed into action. A jointer was then used to clean up and make the strips of uniform thickness (7 in total). The tiller has a very prounonced bend and making the strips any thicker would have made for an impossible bend.

The strips were placed on a jig and clamped into place.

Tiller Jig

(plywood mock up in background, used  to establish clearance above transom baffle)

It was pretty obvious that to aquire the bend was going to take some steaming, so once again the steam cleaner was resurrected from the garage, a steam box fabricated and the wood given a bit of a cooking. Once done the strips bent nicely into position. Once again I''ll glue together once a nice Epoxy day comes along!

Tiller clamped on Jig.

That's mostly it for now. More later.

Happy New Year to our Readers

Posted by paradoxbuild on January 11, 2010 at 5:51 PM Comments comments (0)

Well as you probably guessed, winter is upon us with a vengeance. Prior to Christmas we had some clear, dry, cold weather which enabled me to rip some wood for the spars.

I've roughly finished the yard and boom, and started work on the mast itself. The weather broke before I had managed to plane the pieces to size, so this is very much still a work in progress, as is the Yuloh. With no end in sight to the cold weather, all I can do is sit back and wait for better conditions and grab a few minutes here and there when it's not raining or snowing!


Ripping wood


Making Dust (note the sunshine, even if it is only 2ºC)


Working in the rain! (5ºC)


Posted by paradoxbuild on October 26, 2009 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Just like in "LOST", everyone needs a hatch cover!  This was quite straight forward and enjoyable to build. I've opted for a small skylight in the top, which was cut out after the hatch was fabricated and glassed on the inside. Fine tuning the fit of the hatch is still in progress, but it really needs the internal closed cell foam for it to run smoothly on the rails. I'll get round to glassing and fairing shortly. At the moment I'm working on the washboard and it's mountings, a problem I wouldn't have had if I'd not departed from the plans!


I have douglas fir on order for all the spars and yuloh, so I'll have plenty to keep myself busy with over the next few months. More progress reports as they happen.


Hatch rail components

Installed rails

Glassed internally

Runners and rails installed



Hatch Installed




Cabin top construction.

Posted by paradoxbuild on October 4, 2009 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (3)

Well almost a month since the last update. I've been pretty busy beavering away with the cabin top construction. A dose of the flu, last weekend, means my schedule has slipped again! Who cares? It'll be done when it's done.


I learnt a few things about Lexan this week.

  1. It's not cheap!
  2. It's very heavy.
  3. It's really tough.

Shaping the front window opening was a bit of a challenge. In the end I came up with the idea of clamping a piece of Lexan onto the framework on top of a layer of thickened epoxy. By doing so it would form a perfect fit. Next problem was cutting the front windscreen. There is just no way to clamp in in position to accuartely mark it out, so I eneded up screwing it in place and using a block plane to trim it to size. I'm not 100% happy because a couple of my screws did not line up. I may cut another piece of Lexan and redo it. I can use the existing piece in the aft washboard so it won't be wasted.


The side windows were much easier; again I trimmed using the block plane after rough cutting with a jig saw. This is how I know about (3) above!


With all that done it was just a question of mixing lots of epoxy, clamps at the ready and fixing the cabin top over the frame work. The epoxy had started to gell at 1800 this evening, but the temperature has fallen down into single figures tonight so I expect it'll be pretty soft still in the morning.

Once set up hard I can unclamp, trim the sides and start installing the hatch rails etc,. which I have already ripped and milled (on my new jointer!).


More to follow.


Front window shaping



Lexan Windows



The top goes on....



Upright again!

Posted by paradoxbuild on September 6, 2009 at 6:47 PM Comments comments (1)

Well we're now back on an even keel and forging ahead.

All the encapsulation work is complete and the bottom and topsides have been all faired and  painted with a high build 2 part epoxy primer.

Not much more to say; it's been quite a big job and I'm glad to be doing something other than relentless sanding again! Looking forward to finishing the superstructure and hatch. That will more or less complete the hull with only the spars, foils and Yuloh to complete the project.  :)


Lots of Sanding


Ready for the final turn



Back upright


Construction resumes