View Full Version : Culler plans

11-05-2002, 04:10 PM
I have contacted Mystic Seaport regarding R.D. "Pete" Culler's plans. They indeed have them as various individuals on this forum have pointed out. Unfortunately, they have yet to be catalogued. The instructions to me are to supply them with the page number and name of the design in Skiffs and Schooners or the Burke book on Culler's designs. well, I have Culler's Skiffs and Schooners, but the Burke book is out of print and not available in my public library. Given this I would like to ask if some fortunate forumite might scan their copy of the contents or list of plans with page numbers for me. Perhaps others would be as grateful as I would be. Mystic apparently will not have cataloguing of his plans for some time. BTW, I am really interested in only the smaller craft: <24'

If you would prefer email me, I can be had at:

Folks may also be interested to know of an upcoming price hike on plans: Blueline copies of plans are available for $7.00 per sheet for members of Mystic Seaport or $10.00 per sheet for non-members. Effective February 1, 2003, prices will increase by $2. Postage and handling charges are 15% of the total order, and if you would like your plans to be rolled and shipped
in a tube, include an additional $2.00.

Please make any check or money order payable to Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.
and and address your correspondence to the attention of the Ships Plans
Division. We also accept MasterCard, Visa and American Express.

Ships Plans Division
The Museum of America and the Sea
P O Box 6000
Mystic CT 06355-0990
tel: 860.572.5360

Thanks in advance,

Dave Fleming
11-05-2002, 04:20 PM
Why not just tell US what plan or plans YOU are interested in and one of US may supply you with plan # or page number and YOU contact Mystic with that info.
You must have some idea of what particular type or design you want, no?

PS: Burkes book is roughly 300 pages and you want someone to scan it for you????????? :rolleyes:

PPS: the plans are not catalogued bye length, rather bye type

[ 11-05-2002, 04:23 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

11-05-2002, 04:38 PM
No I don't want anyone to scan the book, Sheesh! Just a list of the plans or table of contents. Not having access to the book, I have no idea as to how it's laid out or even if there is an index or table of contents, so your input is greatly appreciated. ;)

As to what craft I'm interested in, I can say I am hoping to get the plans for his swampscott dory, Dancing Feather I believe is the name with multiple rigs, and also a beach boat pictured in Skiffs and Schooners. I would however like to have a list of the others similar to these. I hope that is not asking too much smile.gif

Dave Fleming
11-05-2002, 04:53 PM
Well Laddy Buck, there is no listing in Burkes book based on size just divided into 6 parts with titles like...Round Bilged Open Craft for Sail and Oar or Vee- and Flat Bottomed Open Boats for Sail and Oar.

In Burkes book there is ONE Swampscott Dory plan.
Entitled Swampscott Dory for Captain Charles Sayle.
Moulded Beam-4'10"
moulded Depth-1'6.250"
Sail Area-94 Sq.Ft.

There is one listing for a beachboat called JAVA, a V-bottomed Pod for Paul Glaser

There is NO listing bye length at all, in fact it is rather poorly organized,IMOOP.
Seems more like a book to sit and skim through until you come across a design that catches your eye.

Might be a good idea if you are dead set on Culler to get a used copy of this thing using the on-line used book sellers, ya folla?

[ 11-05-2002, 04:55 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

11-05-2002, 05:08 PM
Thanks Dave. That info really helped. I did try to 'folla' and have tried ordering out of print copy twice already (thru Barnes and Noble and thru Amazon's OOP services), but each fell through and the sellers sold their copies). Guess a few folks are interested in the book as well. I'm still looking however. Sorry to hear how the book is laid or mislaid out (at least for me). If and when I can I will love to peruse the book. I can't want what I don't know exists. Can I? tongue.gif

Keith Wilson
11-05-2002, 05:12 PM
Lordy, I just looked up Burke's book on AdAll (http://used.addall.com/) , the best used book search site I know of (it searches a whole bunch of other sites for you) and the cheapest copy of Burke's boat listed is $135! Seems a bit much. I tell ya what, I'll look in my copy for Dancing Feather tonight when I get home and let you know. I think I know where it is. If I remember right he called it something other than a dory; a "clipper bateau" or something. Culler was quirky. GREAT price for the plans, though. Interlibrary loan is a great way to get a look at obscure books if you're patient.

[ 11-05-2002, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: Keith Wilson ]

Dave Fleming
11-05-2002, 05:49 PM
OK, on page 50 there is mention in the comments regarding the Clipper Pulling Bateau for Dr. James Eldredge of a 17'6" Swampscott Dory, Dancing Feather.
That Swampscott Dory on page 45 entitled:
Swampscott Dory for Captain Charles Sayle is 18'8". In the comments for it there is this bye Burke, he is speaking of boat speed, "Captain Pete's Swampscott, Dancing Feather, though 1 1/2 feet shorter, consistently did the measured mile in 12 minutes. This one would be faster."
And that's it.

[ 11-05-2002, 05:55 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

Dave Fleming
11-05-2002, 05:53 PM
MichaelC, just a FYI if you wish to do the Interlibrary Loan thing.

Title: Pete Culler's Boats
Author: John Burke
Pub: International Marine Publishing Company

Copyright: 1984

ISBN: 0-87742-142-0

I was given my copy in 1990 so it was still in print and available at that time.
Amazing that it now sells for that much money!

Keith Wilson
11-07-2002, 01:10 AM
OK, sorry it took so long. Here’s the list for John Burke’s book. Part II is entitled “Vee- and Flat-Bottomed Craft for Sail and Oar”. The following are rowing/sailing skiffs that roughly resemble the swampscott with multiple rigs pictured in Skiffs and Schooners:

Revised Sharptown Barge: 24’ x 4’-9”, long skinny flat-bottomed sharpie hull, multiple sail rigs, variations on boomless spritsail main, sprit boom mizzen, balanced jib with boom, set flying.

Sharpie for John Parkinson: 20’ x 5’, standard 2-masted sharpie rig and hull, or can use either of the sails alone in a third mast step for heavy weather.

Swampscott Dory for Capt. Charles Sayle: 18’-8” x 4’-10”, ordinary swampscott dory hull with rounded sides and flat bottom. Boomless sprit main, sprit mizzen with sprit boom. Text says that Pete Culler's own boat, "Dancing Feather" was 18" shorter

Clipper Pulling Bateau “Otter”: 17’-4 “ x 3’, double-ender, very small spritsail, oars on outriggers

Clipper Pulling Bateau for Dr. James Eldredge: 20’ x 4’ Larger version of Otter

The Good Little Skiffs: 13’-6”, 15’-8”, and 18’-6” x 4’-8”, Flatiron skiffs with lots of flare. Booomless spritsails. The longer version was Waldo Howland's boat, and looks very nice to my eye.

Beachboat Java;15’-9” x 4’-8” and V-bottomed pod for Paul Glaser: 11’-6” x 3’5”
Both V-bottom double-enders with boomless spritsails.

Skiff for Maynard Bray: 17’ x 4’-9”, flatiron skiff with lots of flare, boomless sprit main, mizzen with sprit boom, interchangeable masts for various configurations

Skiff for Anne Bray: 17’-9”x 4’ 8-3/4”, very similar to above.

Another relevant point is a drawing in the last chapter that very clearly details a slotted mast partner used in most of the 2-masted skiffs to rake the mainmast more aft when it is used without the mizzen.

None of them, alas, seems to be Pete’s swampscott dory. Perhaps he built it without formal plans, or the plans were lost, or maybe Burke's book isn't as complete as advertised.

11-07-2002, 08:01 AM
John Burke told me that Pete didn't build DANCING FEATHER. It originated in Friendship, Maine. He adapted it for sail. If I had known, when I was working with Pete, that I would own DANCING FEATHER for a few years, I would have learned its history.

11-07-2002, 08:55 AM
Hi Trull,
Totally off topic,but did you work at Concordia when Pete was building the schooners there? I've heard that some sort of blowout happened during that time bringing the schooner building to a halt. Can you shed any light on that? Just curious.


11-08-2002, 07:41 AM
I wasn't aware of there being a major blowout. Pete was in charge of building INTEGRITY for Waldo. Subsequently he did the designs and came up from Hyannis once a week to consult. I left in 71 and I believe they built the schooner WELCOME after that. I think the market was turning towards cold molding. Add to that some retiring foreman, changing ownership and Pete's health and the focus was less on traditional wooden construction. I remember visiting the shop a few years later and seeing the great ship' s saw covered in fiberglass dust.

11-08-2002, 10:18 AM
Thank you, Thank you, Thankyou :D

11-12-2002, 12:27 AM
HAs anyone built Culler's "Otter" "Owl" or his fast gig (lines in "Skiffs & Schooners"). Look like long fast boats.

11-13-2002, 07:45 AM

Off the subject, but did you work at Concordia when Mr. Culler was building his small, power skiffs? I ask because I am curious about what appears to be a design change in the forefoot of these hulls.

Back in March of 2000, I came across a picture of a 15 1/2' Culler skiff("number 13" in the catalog)in the classified section of a 1997 issue (December) of WoodenBoat. The skiff was built in 1958 and, as I recall, the owner said his mother was a friend of Mrs. Culler and had asked her husband to build a skiff for the family. The skiff in the ad's picture has a rounded forefoot, unlike the sharp, knuckle style forefoot that eventually developed on his later hulls.

Do you know why he may have made this change?

I corresponded with Burke and he said there were no plans for design number 13 and he didn't know why the design may have changed, other than it may have been just a work-in-progress type of thing.