2010 SMUHA Galley Building
Many, many hours of work went into making what was a particularly bonny galley Skiðblaðnir. The 2010 galley design has an
interesting history. Shortly after David was elected Jarl, he was chatting to an old friend when the question of galley
construction was raised. It was explained that he had a concept for efficiently making elegant galleys using software
generated plank patterns. After a presentation of the flat-pack galley idea to the rest of the committee it was decided to give
this new approach a go. Work started in early May – just to make sure there was sufficient time to have another go, if needed!
The main interesting aspects of the whole procedure were the high-tech design/construction
methods, and the decision to make her a complete sea-worthy hull rather than platform
based. The idea was to use sophisticated technology where appropriate, to supplement the
traditional craftsmanship. This allowed fair lines to be achieved, without excessively
time-consuming amounts of fitting.
The design specification was that she had to be able to float with a large number of torches
aboard, yet not burn through too quickly. Overall dimensions (7m over her stems, 2m beam)
were limited by the locations and roads she would need to be pulled through. Within those
limits the hull shape was designed to be relatively full-figured with a flat bottom, yet
elegantly proportioned with expressive curves.
The hull shape was created using purpose written 3D CAD software. This provided the 2D
pattern shapes for the planks, including the required seam overlap offsets. Each full plank
was completely assembled prior to being attached to the hull.
The issue of avoiding early burn-through was solved by the use of a multiple skin approach. The outer planked skin was made
from lightweight 4mm ply. This, being very flexible, permitted simple assembly and adjustment of overall shape by squeezing
and pulling the combined shell. Once the hull was fair, the seams were sealed with GRP, producing a strong and resilient
shell similar to the "stitch and tape" technique used for Mirror dinghy construction. Transverse frames were then attached to
this shell for stiffening, and then an inner skin of two layers of much thicker sheeting was attached to the frames. This
provided considerable resistance to burn-through in the locally critical zones, without adding weight higher up.
In order to simulate the visual effect of thick clinker plank
landings, each of the 4mm outer planks were edged with
strips of wood prior to assembly.
The head and tail were hand carved from rigid polyurethane
foam slabs, covered with papier mache, painted gold, and
finally "aged" with fake dirt. The head was equipped with
"ruby" jeweled eyes. Two sets were necessary. During the
day the eyes used had conventional mirrored backing mounts.
For the procession and burning these were exchanged for
identical jewels with back illumination. Illuminated galley eyes
were first introduced in the Lerwick Up Helly Aa in the early
1900's, but were discontinued soon after. The design of the
galley head was based on the well-known dragonhead stone
carving found at Jarlshof. This is especially appropriate as the
galley construction was carried out across the water from the
site at the Ness Boating Club who very kindly allowed
SMUHA the use of the shed for the construction.
2010 Galley builders & painters
Rear row - left to right: Robert Halcrow, Brian Halcrow, Scott Lobban, David Smith (Jarl), Kevin Adamson, Brydon Robertson,
Dale Smith, Erik Moncrieff (in box top right).
Front row - left to right: Ross Smith, Ian Jarmson, Bobby Halcrow, Alma Stove, Leonard Christie.
Completed Galley at Naming Party
Boof attaching nameplate
Scott Lobban Painting the nameplates
Bobby Halcrow painting
Ross Smith curving the
The curved galley shields
Janet Smith checking fangs
How the galley head will look
Taking shape with joke polystyrene head and temporary nameplate
Robert Halcrow painting the interior
Outer hull progressing
Inner hull being added
Fibreglassing and Sealing outer hull
Plank assembly before attaching to galley
Constructing curved bow, stern and keel
Attaching base to keel
Attaching reference mould and planking
Galley on trailer ready for towing
Carved Galley Head attached