The Gecko Project
Gecko is a Bolero 26 from the design board of David Thomas, originally built in 1978 and successfully first campaigned on the Clyde; a sister ship to the very successful Purple Haze. She was assembled and originally completed on the Clyde.
Since 2017 Gecko has been the subject of a re-engineering project that now sees her meeting and exceeding the build standard and commissioning that befits a contemporary Quarter Ton class contender.
During that period John Corby has been the consulting engineer providing formal drawings and build expertise to guide the project, visiting the build site in Bangor, Northern Ireland to inspect the workmanship.
A summary of the worklist that has transformed Gecko from an aging QT to a unique and contemporary race yacht is:
- The GRP hull as initially laid down has been retained as the design base
- The hull was braced then the original hand layup CSM manually ground out to the mould base
- The hull was re-skinned from the inside with bi-axial carbon fibre and fibreglass, all with epoxy matrix, using vacuum bagging technique. The calculated panel strengths, fully tabbed and bonded with the other internal structures, provide a stiff yet lightweight platform.
- The keel area is reinforced with an ‘egg crate’ of carbon fibre over foam. It supports the Mark Mills designed and Iron Brothers cast 100% lead keel synonymous with the top Quarter Ton class contenders.
- Four internal marine ply bulkheads provide athwartships support, with two carbon fibre/foam sandwich ‘bunks’ and their supports providing further stiffness amidships.
- The deck, minimal coach-house and cockpit areas are carbon over foam sandwich lightweight construction, again vacuum bagged using custom moulds.
- The rudder is provided by Jefa Rudder Systems, Denmark, and is the 28R model from their racing range. It is supported by a Jefa supplied tube with self-aligning bearings.
- The hull exterior has been sanded back to laminate, repaired and made fair, then finished in Jotun Penguard HB Epoxy Primer and Jotun Epoxy Hardtop, the latter in Violet White, using air spray application.
- The hull is anti-fouled with white Nautix A4.T-Speed hard-matrix using air spray application.
- Both hull finishes are polished to a mirror like sheen.
- The deck and cockpit are bonded with grey Gisatex Non-Slip covering, stylish and practical.
- In addition to the new keel and rudder all hardware on the boat is new in September 2021.
- All stainless work, including pulpit, push pit and stanchions, are custom built by the suppliers to Corby Yachts.
- The spars and standing rigging are supplied by Z-Spars, the mast a keel stepped Z230 section on an Iroko mast step.
The running rigging is a combination of Dyneema and polyester braid as appropriate. The deck layout is custom designed, optimized for close-quarters class racing, including many controls below deck leading to central consoles for efficient access.
- Mainsheet traveller track support and tiller are crafted from a single Iroko plank.
- A minimum sail wardrobe of new North Sails in NPL Sport Xi Aramid comprising an Inshore Mainsail and AP Jib is provided such that the owner may expand to a complete wardrobe to suit their competitive expectations. Plus a J3 is on order with North Sails.
- Motorised propulsion for navigating marinas and moorings is from a detachable EPropulsion Spirit 1.0 Plus outboard electric motor.
- Brand new SBS trailer is on order and due in June.
A full photographic history across all stages of the build is available.