Tag Archives: stitch and glue

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.

Tod Kerr dips his small Cinderella open canoe built from free plans

Tod Kerr hadn’t quite finished building his Cinderella canoe when he put it in the water for the first time – but he seems pretty pleased with it. Take a look at his weblog account to see what he has to say.

Free plans are available from this page.

The Cinderella is an unconventional stitch and glue design that’s very easy and quick to build using a method that works at this small size – there are no real frames or a proper strongback, just (using the plans in Ultrasimple Boatbuilding) three T-shaped temporary frames – though the boat can also be built using just one T, as outlined in the online plans.

Tod went with the book as you’ll see from his photos, has clearly done a good job (well done Tod!) and reports that Cinderella is ‘really light, very maneuverable, easy to paddle and fast’. 

With these characteristics she’s also tippier than larger commercial open canoes with wide flat bottoms, and Tod has learned that trying to sit up too high can be a bit wobbly…

I predict that he’ll find his best seating position and be very happy balancing the little boat – but I also think he’ll likely find he enjoys uses his Cinderella in the sheltered waters she was designed for, rather than far from shore on the sea.

Mouseboat narrowboat Mouseboat 79 gets ready for her public

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David Emsley has just sent me these photos of the 10ft stretched Mouseboat he built back in 2005 and painted in narrowboat style.

He tells me he has now repainted it twice – he’s just finished this second re-paint ahead of putting it on display on the Wey and Arun Canal stand at the National Waterways Festival at Cassiobury Park
this weekend.

It’s amazing what people do with their Mouseboats. They also make quick and inexpensive small stitch and glue or chine-log first home boat building projects. Get the free plans from the Yahoogroup Mouseboats, or from the Duckworks Boat Building Supply plans page.

Mark Napier’s Julie skiff

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In South Africa, Mark Napier has built a Julie skiff adapted for a sliding seat, and loves it! Here’s what he says:

‘Hi Gavin,

‘I built a rowing boat based on your Julie skiff design. I fitted it with a sliding seat and use it to troll for large mouth bass.

‘Being my first boat, I made a few mistakes. Fortunately, I discovered that my father has a friend who is on his fifth boat, so he gave me tips on local suppliers of decent epoxy and varnishes.

‘Stitch and glue is not big out here in South Africa. The epoxy supplier is nearby in Durban, luckily.

‘The boat has turned out really nicely. I made some minor changes to the foredeck and transom – I wanted to fit two sliding seats on the boat, but I realise now that that’s going to be tight for comfort.

‘I power it with a 2hp outboard as well, which works great, especially when I keep the weight well balanced. I wouldn’t mind getting a sneaker motor later.

‘We have the Albert Falls dam 15 minutes down the road – a wonderful setting. Good fishing too.

‘The sliding seat is just wonderful. I started rowing (sculling) last year, but was looking for something where I could include my two young daughters. I considered many designs, but settled on yours due to its simplicity. It is so awesome to row for brilliant exercise, to be stable in the boat and able to enjoy the scenery around us.

‘Many thanks for making your designs available to the public.

‘Kind regards,

‘Mark’

The boat looks great and the lake is even better! What a handsome lake to have just 15 minutes from your home.

It’s great to see another Julie skiff on the water and to have a builder so pleased with the boat – Julie herself is delighted as well. I trust Mark realises those girls will likely need little boats of their own one day when the can swim well…

Plans for the Julie skiff, a lightweight and easy to build stitch and glue plywood skiff developed from traditional flat-bottomed skiff designs are available here. There is of course no need at all to have the complicated sliding seat arrangement if you don’t fancy it – for most of us a simple thwart, and oarlocks and oars will do nicely.

What’s more if you’d prefer a smaller boat, the Julie has sisters at 14ft and 12ft.

30-ft stitch and glue Yachting World Diamond racer to join the Round the Island Race on her 50th birthday

  

Greg Dunn and his crew are to celebrate the 50th year of their Jack Holt-designed plywood racer Black Diamond by entering her in the Round the Island Race, raising sponsorship money for the RNLI as they go round (see their Just Giving page), and playing accordions at every possible opportunity.

Black Diamond is a Yachting World Diamond class racing yacht designed by Jack Holt in response to a brief from Yachting World to draw a 30ft keelboat, capable of being home-built.

Like the earlier Mirror dinghy also designed by Holt (with TV handyman Barry Bucknell), the stitch and glue YW Diamond was a deliberate attempt to open up the elitist world of yacht racing to the working man. The YW Diamond was also unusual for its time in that it is a planing keelboat – in that way it was in line with Uffa Fox’s Flying series of designs, including the Flying 15, Flying 30 and Flying 50.

But what about the accordions? Last year, Greg and partner Juliet Doyle founded a company marketing Chinese-made accordions and melodeons fitted with distinctive-sounding Italian reeds – and named it Black Diamond Accordions after Greg’s boat.

So we’re told to expect lots of accordion action before, after and possibly during the race from Greg himself and also from crew member James Delarre, a member of the popular folk-scene band Mawkin.

Greg says Black Diamond has survived until 2012 owing to a restoration that encapsulated the hull in epoxy resin, and will hopefully remain viable for the next 50 years.

Here’s what Greg has to say about Black Diamond:

‘In some ways, she is a Volkswagen, in that her design brief was a deliberate attempt to reduce the elitist image of keelboat racing in what was still the post-war epoch, although I’m sure the ‘you’ve never had it so good’ economy was starting to kick in.

‘Put simply, Yachting World recognised Holt’s use of stitch-and-glue plywood in the Mirror as having potential for a keelboats, and he was engaged to draw a lightweight keelboat capable of being home-built, that would give exciting performance on a modest budget.

‘What he created was the mother of all sportsboats. It does take the best part of a gale to make the hull plane, though, and never wanting to push my old Diamond that hard, I generally suffer by carrying the class yardstick, which definitely assumes planing conditions!

‘The keelboat Holt drew was basically a very large Mirror, but with the sheer line brought up to a bow rather than the pram we see in the dinghy. He also carried the lines including the hard chine that helps in planing well aft, also.

‘He also used the Nordic device of bringing the forestay down well aft of the bow, giving the boat a distinctive skerries-cruiser look.

‘The boats were originally called the YW Keelboat, but changed to the YW Diamond in 1967 to the Diamond. Boat number 1 was Zest, which I have recently seen in a shed in southern Holland, totally original and stripped back to the ply for repainting.

Black Diamond was professionally built (rather than home-built built) in 1962 and this is possibly the reason she’s still afloat, and was restored by a chap called Bob Rule in Portsmouth during the 90s. He encapsulated her in epoxy, and did a good job – I have only had to do a small section of repair under the port chainplates, after a hard winter in the open.

‘There is more of the story at the Bursledon Blogger weblog, more information about YW Diamonds in Australia here, and a very lively video of an Aussie Diamond sailing in 30-plus knots of wind here.

‘I have seen several adapted Diamonds, but the one that takes the biscuit is Saltash II in Brisbane, still a plywood hull, but sheathed, cabined and fenced, with a deep spade rudder, two foot aft of the rudder shown in the plans, a deep bulb keel and faired underwater section, a sugarscoop transom, narrow rigging and 6 feet extra on the mast. She holds the record for the Brisbane Hamilton race, 309 nautical miles in 31 hours!

‘There are many hybrids, as most Diamonds have been fiddled with at some time or other, including mine. The design had great qualities, but back in 1960, underwater dynamics were not then a fully explored science, and the keel and rudder are, quite frankly, disaster areas! I am planning to take the back edge down to a point next winter.

‘I did pay a small fortune to have a carbon fibre rudder designed and moved three foot aft, and this turned her into the last boat in the fleet to drop her spinny – the control we now have is utterly amazing! I’m not claiming to have had the idea: I went to Australia to research the Diamond, where they still race them as a class, with two guys on trapezes, and that was where I discovered Saltash II.’

In fact, the story of Black Diamond, Greg and the accordion business is one for the ‘small world’ file. I remember reading about the boat from Max the Bursledon Blogger’s website some years ago, and I knew Greg from his stand at music festivals and events such as Melodeons & More (some readers may spot someone familiar here). What I didn’t know was that there was a connection. How could I have guessed?

Damien O’Grady builds Murray Isles’ Aurette dinghy from my book, Ultrasimple Boatbuilding

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Damien O’Grady of the Australian town of Cairns has reported that he’s built Murray Isles’ great little Aurette stitch and glue dinghy from plans included in my book Ultrasimple Boatbuilding, which was published by International Marine a few years ago now.

The Aurette is Murray’s take on the legendary Auray punt (see earlier posts),  and the project has clearly gone well. Here’s a little of what he says about it:

‘Probably the hardest part was early on, fitting the forward transom to the sides – a lot of twisting and manipulating of the ply sides to get them right, and then I had to temporarily screw the pieces together to give me time to get the ties in, and then remove the screws. Also there’s quite a camber on the foredeck, so that took some grunting.

‘Anyway, she’s great to row, and I’m looking forward to sailing her. I have the yard done – the mast is still to be shaped. I have made the sail – making it by hand took a few hours in front of the TV in the evenings.

‘Congratulations on your great book and website – I wish I could persuade some of the jet-ski mob around here to have a go. Actually there is a wooden boat club here in Cairns – http://www.wbac.com.au/ – they have an annual romp up at Lake Tinaroo in the Tablelands (no crocs, no jellyfish, no sharks, but, if you’re lucky, a few barramundi).

‘I’ll send more pics when I get the sail hoisted.

‘Cheers, Damien’

Thanks Damien – it’s always great to hear about successful projects from Ultrasimple Boatbuilding.

João Pereira builds a model Ella skiff

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Please forgive me what might seem a bit of self-puffery – but I just love it when people build my little boats, even when they’re models for kids to play with in the shower.

João Pereira’s model of an Ella skiff certainly charmed me, and the Lego people are just about to scale too!

Here’s what he wrote:

Hello Mr Atkin!

I’ve recently come across the intheboatshed web site looking for boat plans and I was surprised by the amount of information available.

The idea of allowing someone to make a model before the real boat was very good.
I tried to build mine entirely with 4mm ply but it didn’t work. The sides didn’t bend easily so I used card-board from a milk carton for the sides and bottom. The frames, deck and gunwales are 4mm ply.

My kids play with it in the shower often because it is glued with Araldite, painted and varnished. I think it is a good test to check for defects and durability.

Best regards from Portugal,

João Pereira

Thanks João! That’s not a bad way to start kids with boats. I hope you go on to build the real thing. If you do, please keep in close touch so that I can help make sure it’s as successful as the bath toy…