Dinghy Andorinha Fioravante

A swallow never migrates alone, says the legend. However in the case of our dinghy Andorinha (Swallow in Portuguese), one of our most popular stock plans for amateur construction, this old saying didn`t work so well. This is the case of our Brazilian/Canadian friend Roberto Roque and his dinghy Andorinha, which will be called Fioravante when being completed.

The whole assemblage kit made by Roberto Roque. These panels can either be made in CNC cutting machine, or being cut with a jig-saw, what costs nothing and gives little work to be done. Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

We came to be acquainted with Roberto, and since then became good friends, when in 2007, the year B & G Yacht Design office shifted address to Perth, Western Australia, he bought our family`s boat, the twenty-eight foot cruising sailboat MC28 Fiu. We learned from him that he is accustomed to exchange the miserable winter in Alberta for the warm tropical weather of Southern Brazil, where part of his family lives. However, when spring shows all its colours, he flies back to Alberta, where he owns a property in Windermere, north of Calgary. Windermere is such a lovely place that if it wasn`t for the freezing winter, could be considered paradise on earth.

To live in a house where deers come to rest on the garden`s lawn is a privilege. Roberto Roque lives in such a place! Now that he is building the dinghy Andorinha in this very garden, then his story became surreal. Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

During his stay in Southern Brazil, one of his favourite sports is sailing. Since Windermere is quite distant from the North Pacific, sailing in the wet coast, oops, west coast, is quite annoying. Notwithstanding, not far from his home, there is a lake where a fleet of centreboard dinghies allow aficionados who don`t mind sailing in cold waters to practise the sport of sailing. To make Roberto`s Canadian season more spicy, he decided to build the dinghy Andorinha, since amateur construction is a hobby he had a desire to try, and that trial would fit as a glove in spending his time for one or two seasons.

To build a dinghy in one`s home lawn is cool. To make a break to enjoy a tot of a good harvest wine is priceless. Courtesy: Beto Roque.

The Andorinha is a dinghy we designed to be built in marine plywood by the so-called "stitch-and-glue" building process, a fantastic way of making a hull, since the boat is assembled with minimum effort, resulting in a sturdy and relatively light craft.

The plywood panels are stitched together until the hull assemblage is concluded. Then the hull is turned over and the internal edges are filleted with epoxy putty, and next reinforced with fibreglass tape. Finally the hull is once again turned upside-down and a fibreglass sheathing is applied over the external surface. Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

The transverse plywood panels are shown in full size drawings in the plans, while the longitudinal ones are shown in scale, but with measurements referring to the flat panels, so there is no difficulty in drawing the panels on the plywood sheets correctly.

The file for CNC cutting is also available. They are intended to those who prefer to pay for the service, and save the time it requires to cut them by hand. However for those who would like to save that money to spend in other items, doing the job manually with the jig-saw can be a good idea. What represented great concern from our part when developing the plans was to keep the whole construction simple to be accomplished. Since the resulting boats built to date, which are dozens presently, became excellent crafts, we are pretty sure we reached our goal. An easy to be understood building manual we included in the drawings package was also a good help in explaining how to overcome each step of the construction. This manual has proven to be of great value, especially for those with less experience in boat building.

The hull already stitched, ready to be sheathed with fibreglass. Internally the panel edges are filleted with epoxy putty and a fibreglass tape is applied over the fillets. Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

Roberto Roque is very close to complete the construction. The hull is already encapsulated with fibreglass and painted, internally and externally. At the moment he is installing the deck panels, since the cockpit is already built. Next stage will be sheathing the superstructure with fibreglass, painting the deck and installing the fittings. And then, there is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains at a stone`s throw from Roberto`s house, and it will be there where his "Swallow" will spend its summers.

When the construction reaches this stage, yearning is hard to be controlled. Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

Roberto will fly back to Brazil before winter knocks at his door. Then he will play with his new toy, the MC34/36 cruising sailboat he exchanged for the MC28 which he acquired from me. This boat, being much larger, is ideal for him to take the Brazilian branch of his family out. A young couple from another state bought the former boat and are having a great time enjoying their acquisition. (Soon we will write an article about the third owners of the boat I built with my own hands, sailed thousands of miles with her and now is in her third cycle of adventures). Roberto`s new boat, the MC34/36 Gibraltar, is fantastic. Presently she is in the lush green region of Southeast Brazil, Ilha Grande Bay, a world famous tropical paradise. For someone accustomed with living in places with gorgeous landscapes, he is profiting from the best of both worlds. The only thing I don`t have a clue is if the two crafts, the dingy and the cruising sailboat, will ever meet each other.

What on earth is this boat doing in my forest? Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

For the Andorinha class to have a member of the fleet sailing in a lake in the heart of the Canadian wilderness is glory. There are Andorinhas built in many places, but a beautiful place like this one is hard to be matched.

The hull ready to be turned over. This is the dream of any amateur boat builder. Courtesy: Roberto Roque.

Note from Luis Gouveia, partner and team member of B&G Yacht Design

I built an Andorinha for my family`s leisure. Besides being assured that the construction is a piece of cake, when the boat was launched, it was great fun for the family. When the office changed address to Down Under, we didn`t manage to bring the boat with us, however the memories are unforgettable, and we are considering building a new one here in Perth, so as to reproduce the good moments the boat proportioned to us in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, the new venture being to go sailing on the Swan River.

Luis, Astrid, Christian and Juliana onboard the Andorinha, going out for a day-sail in family.

Click here to know more about the Dinghy Andorinha.