Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Launching at Last!

It looks like we will be having a small christening/launching celebration on Thursday. If you're in the area (northern Utah), please consider yourself invited. It will be 5 p.m. on Thursday at Willard Bay State Park (the north marina). Potluck picnic to follow on Pelican beach. Bring a side dish to share.

Here's how she looks today:

Of course this doesn't show her fully dressed in sail and rigging, but you get the picture. Come celebrate with us!

Sunday, April 23, 2017


Well I think I will probably launch this boat next weekend. I've exceeded my 1 year target for completion by a couple of weeks. Finishing all the little pieces is consuming every free moment. Today I worked on getting the trailer set up to accommodate the boat; I put leather and buttons on the oars with mixed success; I mounted some blocks/pulleys on the boat; I installed the last permanent board on the whole boat-- a cap to the center board case. Would we be justified calling this a whiskey plank? And... I placed a silver half-dollar in the mast step.

It's a 1935 "walking Liberty" half dollar. And now that there's a hole through it, the only value it has is for luck or scrap.

I still need to finish screwing the seats down. I'm contemplating whether I might need to put a mizzen mast in the middle of the back seat. Perhaps sea trials will illuminate the worth of this idea.

My next posting will likely be from the launching. Praise be!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bright Work

It's the mistake of a first-time boat builder: going overboard with bright work. Uncle Doug, the salty seaman who guided me through this journey, says it would be better to paint it all. I followed his advice half-way: I'm oiling the wood rather than varnishing.

Today I got the center board case closed in (the last of the "structural" carpentry; the "whiskey plank" if you will). I also installed the jamb cleat just forward of the mast partner. This will hold the lashing that keeps the mast in the partner. Tomorrow I'm hoping to finish the spars.

At any rate, it's been a year since I started cutting plywood for this project. With any luck I should be able to launch within the next couple of weeks. My goal is to make it to the "Blessing of the Fleet" at the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, first Saturday in May.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Getting closer...

It's been a while since I updated my progress. The winter was cold and snowy, which deterred my willingness to work out in the shop. But spring is here now, and I have vowed to finish this before a year is up.

Recently I began painting the interior, and over the last weekend I glued up the inwale. This rail runs inside the boat, and provides a place for the belay pins I wrote about in the previous episode. In the photo (at right) you see the clamps in place on the inwale. There's a bunch of other clutter in the boat as well (as usual). That long stick is to become the tiller (attaches to the rudder, used to steer). The other longer stick will be glued to the opposite side as a inwale as well.

I've also finished building and painting the rudder meanwhile. I think I will install rub rails this week, and seats, and hopefully begin oiling the raw wood that won't be painted. Next week I hope to get the rigging in place. The hull will splash water this spring for sure.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Last time I posted about the awesome belaying pins my buddy made for me. To return the favor, I made this door mat from a pattern found in The Arts of the Sailor by Hervey Garrett Smith.

It took 50 feet of 3/8-inch manila, and another 20 feet of 1/2-inch around the outside. My first attempt was in 1/4-inch rope, and there 50 feet made a hotpad trivet for the table not much bigger than a doily. This one looks a little lumpy, but I think it will flatten out as it gets stepped on.

Just a small distraction from painting the boat. The weather being colder, I couldn't paint. But this week promises temps in the 70s, so I hope to finish painting the bottom. I'm going with Rustoleum.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Home-made Boat

Back when I was sailing the fiberglass production model Lido 14, I thought a home-made boat might look amateurish and clumsy. The Lido looked like a professional job. But the more I sailed that boat, the more I decided it had no character, and no soul.

So I'm feeling very close to finishing the new boat, the boat I built myself. I've been told I could have it finished in a week, if only I didn't have to work my day job. And it doesn't look too clunky, if I do say so myself. I've made almost everything on the boat myself. I milled the scantling timbers myself out of 2x8 lumber. I laid the epoxy and fiberglass myself. I designed new elements beyond the plans, like the foreward hatch, and the centerboard. My wife and I sewed the sail together, and I set the grommets.

But this evening I got by with a little help from my friend Cody. He's an incredible wood worker. I was worrying about how to make the belaying pins for the rigging. I want this boat to feel salty, and belaying pins do that. Round things require a lathe that I don't have. Cody, however, also makes his own gear, and he made a lathe that is powered by a foot treadle. And he made my belaying pin in an hour. It would have taken me several hours (and several failures), or else I would have had to pay $12 each plus shipping to order them online. So I don't feel too bad about having something I didn't make myself.