View Full Version : Next Project

Chad Smith
10-23-2000, 09:52 AM
Well I am at the point where I can really start planning my next project. I've got the hull on my Sharpie completed. I've still got a lot of work but I'm looking to my next one. I had thought about doing a canoe with strip planking but now I might want to do a sailbot with a small cabin. I'm thinking hard about the Weekender. I will be sailing in inland lakes. My concern is the absence of a ballested keel. I really like the looks of this boat and it appears to fit in my range of building experiance. Anyone with Weekender knowledge please respond.

10-23-2000, 12:20 PM
Wow! You're just smokin' along aren't ya? I looked at the weekender too. A couple of things that occurred odd to me were the lack of ballast, but more importantly, the lack of any foil below the boat. As I understand it, there is just the timber keel below the boat. Seems like it would be a slug to windward. I dunno.

The other design that I really liked, and have the study plans for is the Meadowlark. (Or Meadowbird or Meadow...something, I can't remember.) It has the option for a ballasted keel that brings it's overall draft to 18 in. Still fairly manageable on a trailer at that depth. It's a real good looking boat to.

Good luck.


BTW, When are the latest pictures coming out of the sharpie? Can't wait to see them.

Chad Smith
10-23-2000, 12:36 PM
I will try to post some more phots as soon as I can get the camera from the boss.

10-23-2000, 08:13 PM
The weekender is an excellent boat and I would highly encourage you to consider it. It is an unconventional design but actually derives many benefits from this. The lack of ballast makes for a very easy trailerable boat with shallow draft and an ability to get moving on a breath of wind that would leave ballasted boats standing still. Rather on depending upon ballast, the boat derives its excellent stability from a variety of factors rather than just relying on ballast. For instance, the gaff rig has a low center of effort and the hard chine hull has great reserve stability.

The lateral resistance is all in the keel. It is a shallow full-length keel but I can speak from direct observation and experience that these boat have all of the lateral resistance they need. These are fast boat as well! They won't beat an America's Cup racer but they do put Catalina's to shame on a reach. Also, the light weight and shallow draft means less wetted area and an increadible light-airs ability. They are also good (and safe) when the wind pipes up.

The building of the weekender is straightforward and relatively easy with no jigs or framing required. This gives builders the ability to spend time on customizing details which make the boat your own. The video is great and the plans are clear. The Stevenson's are very quick to respond to emails with plenty of advice. Best yet, there is a very active group of builders with a good BBS where you can get all of the advice, help, and moral support you would ever need.

The Stevenson's are driving across the country next summer meeting with several fleets of Stevenson designed boats. The get-together we will be having with them on the Chesapeake bay will probably have ten to twelve boats there including my own. I chose to build the Pocket Cruiser catboat.

Weekender BBS: http://www.webcdi.com/cgi-bin/byyb_bbs.pl?

My website: http://gozips.uakron.edu/~widmier/boat.html

Regatta on Lake George, Summer 2000: http://gozips.uakron.edu/~widmier/regatta.html

Chad Smith
10-24-2000, 06:18 AM
Hey Swidm,
Is the cabin on the weekender big enough to sleep in for one or two? This is not a requirment, but it would be nice to do weekend trips in and be able to sleep on the boat instead of setting up a tent.

garland reese
10-24-2000, 10:37 AM
Hi Chad,

It looks like your present project will be a fun one to use. I've been looking at small daysailor plans for a long time. I think I've managed to confuse myself more of late than to come to any firm decision as to which to build. I have built a cedar strip canoe and find the strip/sheathed process to be fairly forgiving, though not fast construction, and not as pleasant as an all wood project.

I like the Stevenson boats too. I think the pocket cruiser feel roomier, both in the cabin and the cockpit. The cockpit seats seem to take up a large portion of the cockpit sole in the Weekender. All who've built the weekender though, seem to really like the boat and it looks very nice in the pics. There are several email addresses for Weekender builders at the Stevenson site. I have emailed some of them (over a year ago though), and they responded promptly, with mostly positive comments.

I purchased the Meadowbird study plans from GFC Boats. I like this boat a whole bunch. It has strip built topsides, with ply bottom, bulkheads and cabin sides. The decks on Gary's boat were done in strip. It is fairly beamy for her length and the centerboard is housed in the small shallow keel, so it does not intrude into the cabin. The cabin top can be built as a pop up top with canvas sides. The boat can be built ballasted or unballasted. Even if you build it ballasted, it weighs less than 1000 lbs. It is a lovely little boat with a very nice shearline.

I am not experienced in sailing. I guess maybe the ballasted vs unballated argument may need to be decided by your desired sailing characteristics. If you want a solid feeling yet trailerable cruiser, maybe some ballast is in order. If you like the feel of a fast daysailer, maybe ballast is not so important for your needs. I had the opportunity to have my first sail this past summer in a daysailor of 16 feet, shallow draft no keel, with a light centerboard. It was very exciting. I even managed to cause a capsize (I'm really thankful to have had a very patient helmsman). What surprised me was that the boat was righted quite quickly, by the skipper. After all was said and done, he told me that he'd never capsized her before, and he wondered how difficlut it would be to right.....guess we found out (we weren't the only ones to capsize that day.....a bit of redemtion!).
To make a short story longer, this experience has only served to get me to thinking about a light unballasted design, to make trailering and handling on land easier. There are pluses and minuses to both.
Other designs I like are the Ultralight Cruiser from Bob Stephens (17' cold molded, about 7' in beam and very light weight), and any of Iain Oughtred's cruisers (especially the Wee Seal, a ballated 18' double ender), or the Eel, from William Garden (18' canoe yawl.......beautiful!). Also, from a totally different perspective, check out www.nwmarinedesigns.com (http://www.nwmarinedesigns.com) no cabins, but they look pretty sporty.
good luck.

BTW........I would not be to awfully concerned with the particluar construction methods, so long as it fits the time and money you have to devote and it suits the intended use. One might require more time in the moaning chair than another, but as long as the project is not too big, I'd bet you can get it done. The projects I've seen from the folks here on the forum are very inspiring, and most claim to be amature builders, though their projects don't look to be any facsimle to amature to me!

Chad Smith
10-24-2000, 11:49 AM
Hey Garland poke around this site http://www.bateau.com/ I got my plans for my Sharpie here. He has some pretty good designs. I was thinking about his Vagabound but I like the way the Weekender looks better.


10-24-2000, 08:00 PM
The weekender can sleep two in about the same area offered by a comfortable backpacking tent. The dimension for the three boats from stevproj.com faq are:
The Vacationer has the largest cabin, followed by the Pocket Cruiser, and then the Weekender. The dimensions are as follows.

The Vacationer:

Just over eight feet long, just under eight feet wide, and averaging 38" high.

The Pocket Cruiser

Just over eight feet long, just under seven feet wide, and about 33" high (average).

The Weekender

Just over six feet long, just under 6 feet wide, and averaging 32" high.

I have the pocket cruiser and find it quiet roomy both in the cabin as well as cockpit. I have sailed with four adults and three kids on the boat just fine. This in a boat just 14' long. I also have slept in the boat with my wife and all of our camping stuff. Very comfortable.

FAQ: http://www.stevproj.com/BYYCFAQ.html
Boats: http://www.stevproj.com/PocketYachts.html

garland reese
10-24-2000, 08:59 PM
The Weekender is a salty looking boat.
I like the Vagabond also. There is a boat called Egoist, that was designed by a Frenchman (I think). He has a web site. Plans are free for the downloading. It is an interesting design....5 meters long, junk rigged or some type of lug-rigged configuration....trailerable, etc. He is in the process of building. Check it out at www.multimania.com/egoist (http://www.multimania.com/egoist)
I would really, I think, like a design that is more along some sort of traditional lines though; thus my leanings toward an Oughtred design. there are a lot of great design out there. It is tough to choose. After much consideraton, I've lately been thinking about whether or not a cabin would be even necessary for our needs. A cockpit tent might be just as good for us (though those little cabin cruisers really look fantastic). I've considered the Wee Seal as a dayboat, sans cabin, or the Eel, with a removeable cabin top, like some sharpies have been built with. As for ballast, I think we'll lean toward the light side, for ease of trailering, lest we build Wee Seal (she's got a bit of lead on her keel). If I had the room (and money and time), I'd like to give a go at that 21 foot daysailer from NW marine. Decisions, decisions!......ain't it fun! The only wood boat I've seen here in Oklahoma City is a couple of Snipes, so I've only got pictures and advice from those who know (that's why I come here so often) to guide me.
Here's something to think about........you could build those little models of the stevenson boats and the egoist. I haven't built any of them, but I built the hull of HH payson's Tiny Cat out of 1/16 (maybe less) craft wood from the hobby shop. You get a really good idea of the boat that way and to a degree, how the thing goes together and where difficulties might lie. It might be worth the effort here. The paper models should go together fast. I think you can see the smallish footwell in the Weekender (this really might not be a problem, it just looks small to me) this way.
Hey, BTW, I was looking at the sharpie at the bateau site. My hand does not fit a tiller too well, but I've chopped a little wood in my day, and that tiller on the sharpie there at bateau sure looks like an axe handle...........never wouldda' thought of that myself.....would that be considered traditional construction????? hehehehe! just kiddin'
How much left on your present boat project?

Chad Smith
10-25-2000, 06:44 AM
Yes it is an axe handle. I asked about that and he even mentions in his building notes that he had used one. I think that I might give it a try.


Jack C
10-25-2000, 07:31 AM
Since we're on the topic of dreaming, I would encourage looking at the Norwalk Islands Sharpie line as well. Because they are ballasted they are in a slightly different league as the Weekender and more aligned with the Vagabond. I'm building the 18 footer, and judging from the websites I think the NIS 18 takes about twice as long to build as a Weekender (which makes sense since the NIS 18 is almost twice the displacement). As far as the cabin, it has the most room I've ever seen in an 18 footer, with a 6'3" double bunk. Check out the layout at http://pages.slic.com/wempsall/home.htm

And check out my progress at http://www.stompingground.com/users/jclayton/

Good luck.


11-03-2000, 05:34 PM
I built a weekender.

It is easy to build (took me two years).

It looks great.

It is fast in moderate to heavy winds. Undercanvassed in light winds.

It doesn't sail upwind (make progress, point, anything) as well as almost anything else in the harbor.

It can capsize. Mine capsized when I accidentally gybed heading downwind. With my wife and a kid onboard.

Because it seems like a cruising boat, you tend to fill it up with stuff that you'll regret having filled it up with when it capsizes. If it was a sunfish and it capsized, you wouldn't think twice, but when this little ship capsizes, it's weird. Plus, a bunch of hatches float away while you're trying to get it upright and figure out why your cell phone is making that weird buzz.

If I had to do it over again, I'd either build something more ballasted, or I'd build a dingy.

If you do build one of these, fill up the behind-seat and underseat areas with foam, and get some foam up front too so it'll float high enough to bail. It doesn't, built to plan.

You could also think of ballasting it, but there are all kinds of considerations if you really want this to work. The hull-bottom attachment has to be reworked. I'm not sure if this is a good idea.


11-05-2000, 06:37 AM
The current issue of Wooden Boat has an article by Bolger on water ballast for flat bottom boats. Pretty interesting, but I think the construction of his two boats might be more than you're thinking of for your protected sailing area.

There are a lot of day sailer plans out there, and I seriously considered the Hartley 16 and Glen-L small sailboat. I decided on the Weekender, mainly because of the support group (about 100 guys and one gal building it or one of its cousins congregate at the website mentioned above, and their help has really been valuable when I didn't understand something on the plans, etc.)

I'll probably build a more traditional boat some time in the future, using traditional methods. I've really enjoyed my foray into boat building so far, even though its from the plywood box school rather than the traditional school. I suspect my Weekender will not be my last boat project.

11-05-2000, 12:25 PM
I built the Weekender and now have one full season sailing it. It is a great little boat. I too had a cpasize happen from an accidental jibe. My own fault, my second time out. I had never sailed before. Since then I have not come close to that happening again. The boat points just fine. Sure other boats can point higher, but I make the mark in about the same time as the production guys. However, put the boat on a reach and it will blow the production guys away. At 550# displacement under full sail, you watch those two ton monsters disappear behind you.

I also don't understand how hatches were floating away. My boat, built to the plans, has no unsecured hatches. I was able to right the boat (after dropping sail) and bail it out easily.

At least when my boat went over, it floated on its side. There was never a danger of a turtle, the wooden mast had enough bouyancy to hold it right there.

I strongly recommend this design to any new builder. It's easy to build, mine took less than 300 hours. Total cost was about $1700.00, although some have spent double that.


James Manning
11-05-2000, 05:30 PM
I built a Weekender in the 1980’s soon after the design appeared in Popular Science
magazine. I sailed it for about 15 years almost exclusively on a 13 square mile lake in
South Dakota. In building the boat, I used polyester resin/fiberglass on a pine keel and
the boat eventually rotted. The fiberglass separated from the ACX ply I used for hull
material as well.
I found a builder’s BBS quite sometime ago and was able to find a very inexperienced
sailor and neophyte boatbuilder to whom to donate the salvaged parts of the boat. I gave
him a doug fir mast (which had been given to me by a Great Pelican builder). I also gave
him four custom made dacron sails (main, jib, staysail and topsail....the later two of my
own design), a lauan boom and gaff of my own design, cabin doors, teak handrails,
stainless standing rigging, stainless gooseneck, stainless sail track, marine hatch hinges as
well as miscellaneous blocks and hardware. I’ve now moved on to other sailboats. Currently I have two, a Bucc 18, which I trailer
sail, and a 1/2 interest in a Cape Dory 25 moored on a large reservoir.
I’ve read a lot of posts about this boat recently. I am intimately familiar with this boat. I
have the following comments to make. ALL STRICTLY MY OPINION:
1) It is without question a handsome boat. The marriage of a flat bottom skiff with a
Friendship (or Skipjack) looking keel is a very creative idea. IN MY OPINION, it is a
good boat as an introduction to sailing... with emphasis on the word “introduction”. I did
not find it a strong performer on any point of sail. I was consistently beat on all points of
sail by any number of craft including Cats of every description, Scows, Lasers,
Buccaneers, Scots, Harpoons, Potters, even a poky twin bilge keel Brit 26 footer. I am
going to respectfully ask what specific sailboats the Weekender has sailed against. I’m
also going to specifically ask the Portsmouth number of the Weekender. I would also like
to ask the name and size of the body of water where the racing occurred, the date it
occurred and the name and address of the organizing entity, if it was an organized race,
for independent verification of race results.
Incidentally, for me, the boat sailed best in under 15 knots. Winds of over 20 knots were
not fun for me in this boat. That in itself is not a condemnation, however....lots of small,
unballasted boats are not fun in sustained wind speeds of over 20. I do not consider the
Weekender to be tender, but it can and will capsize under circumstances.
I did not find the cabin useful. I slept in the boat twice. For me, it was far more
comfortable to pitch a tent on shore. Where are you going to “go” when you or your
spouse have to get up in the middle of the night? Direct discharge into the lake or harbor
with butt hanging over the rail? Swim to shore?
2) For those contemplating building the boat, decisions need to be made that will affect
the longevity of the boat. If you slap Wal Mart paint on ACX ply, in a manner similar to
building a garden shed, for example....well, in my opinion, you will get a cheap ticket to
the water but that’s about all. Same goes for plastic tarp sails, Vinylester resin and
awning hardware.
I highly recommend that anyone contemplating building this boat take a LONG and
HARD look at materials and methods. I highly recommend reading BOOKS on
boatbuilding vs. information gleaned from the Internet.
3) My final question is...where are all the first generation Weekenders? If thousands
were built, where are they? Many other boats have had production runs in the thousands
and they are all over the place and widely available in the used boat market...Lightnings,
Buccs, Snipes, Potters you name it. As far as I know, about 7 first generation
Weekenders have shown up on the net, and if my tally is correct, three were rotted beyond

John Weigandt
11-05-2000, 09:54 PM
Just a gentle reminder Mr Manning.

1. Some of us don't sail to race. We sail for the peace and quiet, and the personal enjoyment of it. I do agree that 15's are fun and at about 20's gusting to 25 this boat becomes too much like work, and less like fun. not scary but hard to open your pepsi when single handing.

2. A well built ACX ply boat can survive long term in the elements.. even when done in polyester (I don't reccomend polyester, but it is possible)

How do I know this?? I have a little Stevenson's mini cup sitting in the backyard that is about 15 years old. It has lived outdoors about 10 of those years.

It has suffered some neglect and abuse, Has been re painted once.

There is no delam... some checking on the deck because it has no cloth... just resin. The rest of the boat was done with a layer of laminating resin then 6 oz cloth then "finish" style resin.

And btw... it survived a branch falling on it this spring from about 50 feet up in a tree. (Thank goodness red oak rots)


Went on to build the Weekender, in epoxy resin. Been sailing my Weekender for 2 years now, and enjoy it immensely.. won't win any races, but who the hell cares.


[This message has been edited by John Weigandt (edited 11-05-2000).]

Chad Smith
11-06-2000, 09:12 AM
I appreciate everyones input. I think I have decided and I will probably build the weekender. I just need to get through the Christmas season before I buy the plans. Maybe I can get the plans and start laying the keel around Jan.

Thanks for all your input


James Manning
11-06-2000, 10:01 AM
Chad, I wish you many years of enjoyable sailing, as I had, with the Weekender.

11-06-2000, 03:25 PM
I hear tell of a big Weekender gathering near Yankton S.D. next spring. Am told the designer will be trailering his boat to the meeting. There is a web site. To lazy to dig out specifics but surely there are enough weekenders here to come up with it. If not let me know and I'll dig.


11-06-2000, 07:50 PM
The Stevenson Projects website will have news of the various get togethers at http://www.stevproj.com They are holding a few, and the BYYB -- "Back Yard Yacht Builder's" -- will also be sponsoring some regattas. http://byyb.homepage.com

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the BYYB and so enthusiastic about the planned get togethers. I missed the Stevenson's this weekend in Tomales Bay (n. of San Francisco) with my parents moving, and my boat isn't finished yet anyway.

The SD Fleet has just three members so far, but at least three others have committed to driving in to the meet. If I can make it, I will. There are 3 other fleets formed, the NW, NE and Lone Star Fleet.

11-12-2000, 08:21 PM
The Stevensons will be holding get-togethers with their boats all over the country so there will be one close to you if you are interested. I don't envy them the circular drive hauling their boat around the country but the get-togethers should be a blast. I know there will be a meeting in the Chesapeake Bay area around August 4th.

Chad Smith
11-14-2000, 07:29 AM
Are they coming anywhere near Chattanooga, TN. I haven't found anybody that has the Weekender from this area yet.


11-16-2000, 10:59 AM
Hey Chad, I live in Huntland which is about an hour west of you. I have the plans for the weekender but haven't made up my mind to build it. Let me know if you decide to pursue the Weekender, we could help each other out.