Building Tokyo express

The Build

Working in the bush

In the small shed built from trees, in the bush on my parent’s property, I had finished making the port hull. The next step, was building the bridge deck or centre section of the boat. I had to extend the shed with tarps to make room to work, which wasn’t the best, and worrying whenever there was a storm about.

Next module – the bridge deck

With the first hull out of the small shed, I got straight back into it. Here you can see the bridge deck floor, which would later be the central living area and the command centre.

Adding bulkheads to the bridge deck floor

This part of the boat moved along quickly. It was a lot easier to make than the curved hull. All the planks were straight. You can see the temporary frames for building the hull, stacked up against the shed wall, on the left.

Stop work – time for a new shed

I gave away my idea of building the boat in 3 pieces and decided to make myself a new shed. I wanted more space and protection, and in this new shed, I could build the boat to completion.

More shade with new roof

Port hull now back under cover

It took 3 months to make the shed. It was great to move everything in under the roof, protected. And to set up my shiny new workshop.

2/3rds of the boat – sitting together

This was an exciting time. I had set myself up in my new shed and had completed most of the structural work on the centre, bridge deck section. It was mated to the port hull, temporarily and I was ready to start building the last remaining hull. 

2nd hull under construction

Here the starboard hull is nearly finished planking, ready to be fibreglassed and turned over.

Living in the bush

I was lucky to have this place to live and work. It might have been a little quiet at times, but waking up to the birds and kangaroos, was pretty hard to beat. I could make as much noise as I wanted, there was nobody close enough to worry.

Turning the 2nd hull

This time turning was easy, with the gantry and chain blocks, I could almost do it single handed. I applied the antifouling before I turned it this time too. I used a copper epoxy antifouling that didn’t have any problems being out of the water. So there was no rush to get the boat in the water after applying it.

Out fitting the 2nd hull – next to the rest of the boat

Again, the steps to finishing the starboard hull were identical to the first hull. Here you can see the transom steps in plywood ready to bond onto the hull. You can see the rudder shaft sitting in place, checking the alignment of the nylon bearings. I installed the rudder shaft tube between the bearings, before bonding the steps in place.

Video – 4

This video has some rare live footage – of the interior of the boat at this time.

Nearly ready for painting

Here she is almost ready to paint. All of the hull surfaces had been primed and spot faired. It was time now to bond and tape the 3 sections of the hull together – creating the complete boat as one piece. The joins have the same strength as the rest of the boat. There’s more in the book about this.

Painting the boat – was a BIG job

The actual painting took place over 3 very long days. But that was nothing compared the time spent preparing for this moment. It was a monumental task, but the results were worth working for. It was better than Christmas;) 

Video – 5

Video 5 looks at the two Yamaha 9.9hp, four-stroke outboard motors. Also, how I generated electricity, and where I stored the water in the boat. The painting of the boat is discussed and a look at how I brought the 15m mast home (behind my car).

Sanding the anti-fouling, ready for launch

This was it – a few weeks before launch – time for a cuppa

It seemed to take forever, to get to this stage, but finally the time had come. Time to order the truck and crane and tear apart the rear of the shed. It was time to get out of here…

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Tim Weston Boats