Tag Archives: boat plans

BBA students build 20ft Roger Dongray trailer-sailer

The 20ft Roger Dongray-designed Golant Ketch shown above was built by Boat Building Academy student Keith McIlwain on the BBA’s long course. (Photos by Liz Griffiths, Becky Joseph, Jon Pritchard and Jenny Steer.)

Daydream, the largest boat built by the BBA’s October 2013 intake, is a decked trailer sailer with lifting centreboard, outboard engine and cabin. Her hull is constructed using the ply on frame method.

From Bristol, Keith started his working life as a sailmaker and worked his way up to loft manager for a premier sail company before starting a career in sales and marketing.

He decided to join the 38-week course as a way of returning to the boating industry with a new career, and is currently setting up his own boat building, restoration and repairs business just outside of Bristol, to be called Daydream Boats.

Keith will build on his prior experience of furniture and sail-making, and will also be an agent for Jeckells Sails in the South West.

He chose to build the Golant Ketch as he wanted a boat he could sail around Bristol and the South West, and to help promote his business to potential customers.

Brenton Pyle from South Africa worked with Keith throughout the build.

Brenton moved to the UK with his family in 2005 and worked for an aircraft maintenance company. He joined the Academy to start a career in boat building, and throughout the course has particularly enjoyed developing his woodworking skills.

He is currently working with former academy instructor, Justin Adkin at his workshop based in Axminster and in the future will consider options in boat building, woodworking and furniture making.

Students Andy Jones, George Le Gallais and Steven Roberts also worked closely with Keith to build Daydream, but between them also made a 14ft paddleboard, again shown in the gallery above .

George was the first to paddle it out into the harbour on launch day.

The plans for the ply on frame Kaholo board were purchased from Chesapeake Light Craft website. It was sheathed in glass and epoxy; to paddle it the students use paddles they built as part of the course.

Andy who grew up in Lyme Regis, joined the Academy from London where he worked for Babcock Critical Services in partnership with the London and Lincolnshire fire and rescue brigades. During the course he worked on all of the boat projects, in particular Keith’s Golant Ketch, to which he became quite attached.

Joe who loves to experience different cultures and to throw himself into unfamiliar territory, spent time travelling around Europe, North and South America, Australia and India before joining the Academy. Like Andy and all 38-week course students Joe worked on all of the course boat projects and enjoyed learning modern and traditional techniques.

Joe from Devon has work lined up at the Underfall Boatyard in Bristol, and Andy is working at Sutton Oars in Teignmouth, making wooden oars for gigs, and carbon skull oars.

Philip Risacher’s Ella skiff dream photos

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Reader Philip Risacher sent me these photos of a great 1/10th scale model he made of my Ella skiff design – and I am of course completely charmed. Here’s what he says:

‘I started the model about four years ago, but it lay as a brown cardboard model until a few weeks ago when reading through Ben Crawshaw’s blog got me back in the mood to build myself a boat. Of course the “everything needed to build a full size boat” is not yet within reach, but luckily my eyes fell on my little Cheerios box skiff and my brain said “oohh, that could be quite beautiful.”

‘So I started back at it, first gluing on some mahogany gunwales, then sealing the whole thing with shellac, painting, thole pins, Samson post, and the hand made oars complete with Turk’s head knots and eyes to scare the sea monsters away.

‘Just this weekend I brought her out on the lake to take some pictures, you’d think she were big enough to sit in, but alas it is only an illusion. I hope some day to make a boat I can sit in. Thank you for the great design(s), so kindly shared with us out here in dream land.’

Here’s the giveaway:

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See more shots here.

Ella skiff plans are here.

BBA students build a Don Kurlyko Alaska beach cruiser

These photos are of an 18ft Alaska beach cruiser designed by Don Kurlyko and built by students – now graduates – of the Boat Building Academy’s 38-week long course, Reuben Thompson and Tony Corke.

The photos were taken by Jenny Steer, Becky Joseph and Liz Griffiths.

Reuben first saw this design at the Beale Park Boat Show where he entered a small sailing boat he’d designed in the Amateur Boat Building Competition.

He fell in love with the Alaska beach cruiser’s shape and efficient sail design, and when asked if he’d like to build a boat at the Academy, he jumped at the opportunity to build one for himself.

It is strip-planked in western red cedar, and has two masts and a yawl rig. Just two adjustments were made to the original design, which is based on the American Whitehall skiff: instead of building internal frames the boat was fibre-glassed inside and out to provide more internal space (the fibreglass providing the strength the frames would have), and extra water-tight compartments were added to prevent the boat from sinking should it capsize.

A week’s work experience with Thames boatbuilders Henwood and Dean convinced Reuben that boat building was the career for him, and he decided to join the Academy for ‘some advice on how to get there’.

A keen sailor, he taught sailing at Frampton Sailing Club and became involved in teaching at the Lyme Regis Club while on the course.

Tony worked as an activity instructor and group leader at PGL Travel in Wiltshire before attending the Academy.

With a passion for kayaking and working towards a two star canoe and kayak qualification with the British Canoe Union, he also built a modern skin on frame kayak while on the course. Tony found the design for kayak on the website Yostwerks.

Its frames were made of marine ply and western red cedar was used for the stringers.

The kayak’s coating was made of Dacron, a layer of glass fibre and epoxy.

Reuben is now working at Cockwells in Falmouth and Tony at  Mussett Engineering  in Norfolk where he’ll use his new composite skills working with F1 racing cars rather than boats.

Reuben looks forward to exploring the creeks in his beach cruiser and once it is complete, Tony plans to paddle his kayak on the Norfolk Broads.

An appeal: help local boat builders replace the Phillipines’ 50,000 lost fishing boats

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This piece by boat designer and sailmaker Michael Storer is a short report about instant boat building in the Philippines – an appeal for help in replacing the lost boats so important to feeding the Filipino people and to the economy.

If you want to cut straight to the donations page … it is here. $210 pays for a complete boat on the water without a motor, and there is also there is an urgent need for nets.

As most people will known, typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) cut across the bottom part of the Philippines late last year. Tacloban was one of the worst affected areas.

A two storey-height storm surge reached ing as far inland as 1.5km (that’s a mile in old money), leaving wasted urban areas not looking much different from Hiroshima.

People, houses, cars were all just washed away. Immediately after there were only three working trucks in the city and things are not improving very rapidly – the photos of the area were taken by me in early March.

The name Tacloban might ring a bell to history buffs: it was the town (now city) on the island of Leyte where General MacArthur made set up his headquarters when the Philippines were retaken from the Japanese.

It should be said that Japanese control was fragile due to the staunch resistance of Filipino guerillas, and it’s the Filipinos’ nuggety, tough resilience I want to write about here – and boats, their design and building methods.

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This map gives an indication of the area of devastation. In the green area alone, the Bureau of Fisheries census has estimated that 19,000 small fishing boats were lost along the coast.

In essence these are fishing communities; they are resilient and independent.

Fishing is very small scale; after a day fishermen return with a bucket or two of water with fish swimming around in them. They eat what they need and sell the rest; if they can sell a few kilograms of extra fish a week, they can buy a bag of cement or a couple of sheets of plywood for building a more permanent house rather than waiting for handouts – in short, they can get on with life!

The fishing also underpins the local economy. Some politicians talk about the trickle down effect, but this is more truly a trickle-up effect – if cheap fish are caught locally then small businesses distribute the produce, run roadside stalls selling fresh or grilled fish, and small cafes and restaurants can also sell local produce.

Lots of people get a little money in their pockets and the economy starts moving.

The reason I was there with my friend Dylan Tantuico (who originally came from the area) was to have a look at projects rebuilding some of the estimated 50,000 small one- or two-person fishing boats destroyed by the typhoon.

Part of the problem is that in Tacloban two out of the three traditional boat builders died, and neighbouring boat builders across the bay in Samar are working flat out dealing with their own local devastation.

The traditional boats take longer to build than instant boats, but there is a second, equally significant issue here. Illegal logging by Filipino and Chinese interests has led to nationwide logging bans, which is a problem because the local boats are built with a dugout bottom (‘casco’ meaning ‘like the shell of a coconut or the internal space of a skull’ – it’s not not dissimilar to our word ‘hull’ meaning the outside case of a seed).

Traditionally the sides were planked in solid timber,but more commonly plywood is used.

Aid and government agencies have managed to replace just over 10 percent of the destroyed boats, mostly with fibreglass boats that in many cases don’t quite fit the needs of the local fishermen and don’t really teach anything. So many fishermen continue to wait for help.

These photos are from the BalikDagat (balik=return to dagat=sea) project, which uses traditional construction to repair and build new boats. The folks behind the project are currently deciding whether to continue, after they achieved their fundraising project for 200 boats, most of which have been delivered over the last months.

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Looking at the construction… the casco is visible in this bow. The ribs are there to hold the planked sides together; they’re not really needed now, but fishermen are a bit nervous about removing them.

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All these boats are slender and balanced by outriggers. The crossbeams are steam-bent green bamboo, and the outside hulls are bamboo lengths.

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But even where traditional builders work they can’t get the materials.

But there are a number of exciting projects that buck this trend, for example by moving to full plywood construction. Get rid of the aid agencies’ notion of fibreglass and industrial production, and teach fishermen to build boats for themselves using materials that are available?

The first one we visited was run by the national religious order, The Sisters of the Holy Spirit. They used their community links as well as donations from graduates of their schools to acquire building materials for non-traditional boats, then brought in an experienced ply epoxy boatbuilder from a less affected area further south.

These are totally Filipino boats progressively developed by people in small communities; Pinoy boatbuilders are no slouches in development and design. If you want to see an article about the power of this progression have a look at this article on my website. These boats are both beautiful and effective.

It is quite a shock to see what we think of as our usual methods for fast building boats employed in a village somewhere that to us seems remote and very different.

The boats have 9mm (3/8in) bottom and 5mm (under 1/4in) sides, and have a hybrid hull form that comes from a requirement for a boat that may be driven under power or paddled. The result is a standard hullshape that will do both, with very little rocker and a dead flat bottom. In the photo we see the side ribs as well.

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The deal here is sweeter in many ways. A fisherman helps others build their boats for four days, and is then helped to build their own boat; they then walk away with a boat and with knowledge about building and materials.

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The guy in this photo is finishing off his boat. He has never built a boat before. ~The building rate is two boats at a time, each of which takes two days.

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I love the detailing of these boats. There is some very nice custom work that the fibreglass boats can’t incorporate.

The Sisters of the Holy Spirit have a plan for 125 boats. Effectively they are producing one a day or a little faster, but the project covers just two tiny barangay (local areas) within the Tacloban city.

But what would happen if you go the full fast building hog, and start building the way we would series build simple boats like my Quick Canoe or Andy Linn’s Easy Weekend canoe?

Since moving to the Philippines my support group has been Pinoyboats.org. This group is pretty well the same sort of people that build boats for fun in Australia or the USA: office workers, retired engineers, public servants.

What can they bring to the mix? One of the members, ‘Kuton’, organised for his old school classmates to donate materials for 70 boats. At the same time a group on the pinoyboats forum was discussing and designing a bangka (boat) for fast construction from precut kits. It was based on local boats that had been measured up.

The plan was that the classmates and other volunteer labour would cut the panels and join the sheets. They would be shipped to Ilo-Ilo and fishermen would assemble them with guidance from four of the Pinoyboats members.

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This is a trial of the Biglang Bangka in a suburban Manila swimming pool – Biglang = quick or instant, so the name represents a nod to Dynamite Payson and Phil Bolger.

It not only meets the functional criteria, but it is actually a very beautiful looking boat. A couple of weekends of hectic work and a couple of weeks of two men working by themselves produced 70 kits.

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The packs were shipped to Ilo-Ilo by one of Kuton’s classmates shipping company.

And then the fun started: a four-day project with a target of 70 boats to build, with Fishermen building their own boats for the first time.

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One of the fun things was that it was easier for two boatbuilding teams to work together. So a lot of friendships made on the day.

This is what Filipino grit can achieve in a very short time.

We can help by providing funds. These will be donated to specific projects that are delivering excellent boats and building the skills of local people, and which I am able to track down with help from members of Pinoyboats.

These projects will also put the power in their hands to improve their own boat designs and do repairs without the slightest hesitation into the future.

Duckworks is collecting the money via one of its pages – as I mentioned earlier, $220 is the total cost for one boat, and smaller amounts will buy nets or contribute to building further boats. Duckworks will transfer the dollar amount donated, so Duckworks itself is effectively donating all the exchange, transfer, bank and institutional fees. I will put it directly in the hands of the active groups.

So please consider helping this exciting initiative! They will keep building as long as money flows.

Michael Storer

A Duck Punt builder’s weblog

Donkey Riding

This is Rusty Knorr’s weblog recording how he has built – and now loves – his Duck Punt.

On his page you’ll find he has lso put up a couple of YouTubes of himself sailing it, during which, rather marvellously, nothing much happens. The cold blue sky above and the trickling of the water below have a pleasantly mellow effect on the viewer, so why not treat yourself to a moment’s peace…

More posts about Duck Punts can be found here, but be warned – they’re not exactly larded with safety features (I don’t think there are any!) and best sailed in company capable of rescuing someone in the water. And probably not for beginners either…

News about the Julie skiff design

A Julie skiff has been built in Russia from the free plans available on this website. It’s pretty close the the plans, though the builder left off the corner pieces at the stern and decided against the neat draining foredeck I’d intended as a good place to put a small anchor and line, or a painter. Oh well…

I know nothing of the language, but the chap seems pretty positive about it all! See the boat in action here:

Also, Mick Webb in Queensland, Australia, has started building a Julie using a more traditional strongback-and–frames approach. Photos of his frames are below.

I think the result will be rather appealing – I have a set of frame heights, if anyone wants to build a Julie skiff in the same way.

Free plans for building a stitch and glue Julie skiff are available from the Plans page of this website.