Howard Irving Chappelle’s intriguing small ketch Southwind

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Chappelle’s Southwind dory-sharpie schooner

Chappelle’s picturesque schooner Southwind

Howard Irving Chappelle was a giant among chroniclers of American vernacular boats and boatbuilding – his books Small American Sailing Craft and Boatbuilding are classics, but look out also for his books on schooners, speed in sailing ships and the development of the sharpie. His books are of wide interest far beyond America’s borders because so many small American sailing craft derived from the old world, as Chappelle makes clear.

Although they’ve been reprinted several times over the years, many of them are difficult to find and not available through Amazon – so if I hadn’t already got most of them I’d begin my search at Abe Books.

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Amid all the research, line-taking and writing he did over the years, it’s often forgotten that Chappelle was a practising naval architect who also found time for designing dinghies, cruising yachts and fishing craft. I’ve written posts in the past about his friendship with the British boatbuilding innovator Herbert Ashcroft, but today I thought I’d draw attention to his shippy-looking shallow-draft dory-sharpie ketch Southwind.

Take a look at the article and drawings at the Svenson website – there’s enough in this material to actually build the boat, and certainly enough to make a nice model.

I must say I’m intrigued. The boat makes a handsome picture, would no doubt turn heads anywhere and has a lot to offer shallow water sailors. But has it ever been built? If so, can anyone tell us how it performs?

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8 thoughts on “Howard Irving Chappelle’s intriguing small ketch Southwind”

  1. I am not aware of any southwinds here north of the border but I do own a 23 Ft tabloid cruising sloop built from Chapelles book and plans and was wondering if any others exist. Please feel free to email me at debwrite@nexicom .net

  2. Mr. Millage,

    I have just now seen your note about your owning a 23' tabloid cruising sloop from the plans in Howard Chapelle's boat building book. I have been studying the plans for a while now and think that this would be the perfect shallow draught trailer sailer, and that I would like to build one before I fall off the twig. I have owned a Folkboat, which I should probably never have let go, and then we went off the rails and got an old WW II Royal Canadian Navy motor cutter, which we are currently trying to sell, or even donate to the Naval museum in Calgary, Alberta. There will be nothing done about other boats until HMCS Fraser is in a new home.

    If you have a few minutes, would you mind letting me know how you like your 23-footer? Thank you. Dave Phillips

      1. That’s very interesting to hear. Could you send me photos that I can publish to please? Also, how was the building project, and did you find the plans worked well for you? I’ve long been intrigued by this boat.

        Many thanks for getting in touch.


  3. Hi, I'm also intrigued by the 23 footer, but I'm looking for more length. 30 foot skipjack, dory or flattie perhaps. Do you know of any websites devoted to these styles?

  4. I currently employ a young lad who owns a Tabloid built of strip plank cedar approx. 20 years old ? quick under sail compared to trailer yachts the same age. sailing in Goolwa south Australia

  5. hi there .i have build the tabloid in my shed at coffs harbour . i have now moved to qld . it is on a trailer and when she is in the water it is a very nice boat . i found that it had a little bit too much weather helm so i put on a small bow sprit and as it very hot up here so i made a small wooden openning sky light hatch . she is cold moulded with hoop pine decks .

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