The BIG Sailboat Project

The BIG Sailboat Project

A film series by Sandra Sims
Ten years in the making, The BIG Sailboat Project tracks the gritty effort of two gals as they pursue their dream of building and cruising a 43 foot steel sailboat. Located a 1000 miles from the coast in rural Alberta, Canada, the duo decide on steel as their building material, which they shape into a Bruce Roberts designed 43 MKII Long Keel Cutter.

Each episode is approximately 23 minutes long, and includes detailed footage and narration artfully edited and interspersed with incredible 3D animation illustrating construction techniques.

The first five episodes cover steel construction from keel to fully enclosed vessel. The last five episodes (shot in HD) cover finishing and rigging through launch and sea trials.

This remarkable series will inspire any would-be boat builder. Later episodes covering interior construction provide a wealth of tips that apply to any boat.

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The BIG Sailboat Project

12 Videos

  • TBSBP - Ep1: Getting Started

    Sandra and Gina visit France and decide they want to sail the world on their own large sailboat. After extensive research, they decide to build their own 43 foot sailboat out of steel. They find a house in rural Alberta, Canada to serve as their construction site.

    After acquiring the necessar...

  • TBSBP- Ep2: Frames & Plate

    Sandra and Gina build a gantry for the chain hoist they'll need to lift steel plates, then start serving up radius curved stringers, bottom and side plate, and more plate to cover the keel. Learning as they go, they discover new tricks to keep welds straight and bend heavy steel into the graceful...

  • TBSBP - Ep3: Roll Over

    Sandra and Gina start welding up the hull, learning more tricks to keep the hull shape fare. They check all the welds and grind them smooth, fighting off spring rains. With the hull plate finished, it's finally time to roll the hull over. After fabricating their own boat stands, they secure a gia...

  • TBSBP - Ep4: Closing up the Hull

    With the poop deck frames inplace, Sandra and Gina secure the deck plate, and cut out and install the metal aft bulkhead. Taking advantage of a rare winter warm spell they attach the cabin side plates and install the pilot house frames, cabin rooftop and cockpit frames. When spring finally arrive...

  • TBSBP - Ep5: Ready for Finishing

    Sandra and Gina take a break for a week-long CYA cruise and learn course in Vancouver. The experience motivates them to get their boat in the water. On their return, they tackle fabricating the swim platform not included in the plans. All the skills they've acquired pay off in a beautiful, seamle...

  • TBSBP - Ep6: Finishing Begins (HD)

    Sandra builds winch mounts out of scrap steel pipe for the large, Lewmar 55 main winches and finishes off the back of the pilot house. Sandra builds and installs the fuel tanks, and makes chain plates. They weld up a metal door frame for the forward sail locker bulkhead and install two more cabin...

  • TBSBP - Ep7: Finishing 2 (HD)

    Down below, Sandra and Gina start the first woodworking project-a large wooden bulkhead in the center of the boat, add stand pipes through the hull bottom for the main cockpit drains, test and install hull transducers confined inside a watertight box, add fittings to the waste holding tank and st...

  • TBSBP - Ep8: Finishing 3 (HD)

    On deck, Sandra builds the hatch frames, hinges, and dogs to batten them down, then adds the Lexan lenses. She builds and installs several mushroom vents into the deck for ventilation, attaches safety hooks for harnesses in foul weather, cuts out the hole for the mast and adds parallel bung rails...

  • TBSBP - EP9: Finishing 4 (HD)

    Sandra builds the cockpit steering station and adds more deck vents including a chimney for the diesel cabin heater. Next she and Gina fabricate the transom radar arch from steel tubing, add mounts for hand rail and life line stanchions, and hawse holes for mooring lines. Next Sandra starts build...

  • TBSBP - Ep10, Pt. 1: Finishing 5 (HD)

    In part 1, Sandra starts off by designing and building her desk workstation to accommodate her computer and audio equipment. Gina frames in the seat area in the main saloon, covers the settee cushions, and builds the dinette table. Sandra adds additional storage racks and cubbies then builds all ...

  • TBSBP - Ep10, Pt. 2 - Final Finish & Launch (HD)

    Part 2 begins with finishing up the wiring including a computer program designed by Sandra that labels and traces circuits throughout the boat. Gina installs three separate electrical panels then tackles the engine hookup. The next big project is the potable water system for the galley and head p...

  • TBSBP - Launch & Epilogue

    Sandra and Gina complete final finishing projects, launch their vessel and take her on sea trials. They review the project and all the skills they've learned over ten years of steel boat building.