View Full Version : George Buehler Designs

02-15-2001, 09:59 AM
I'm interested in an easy to build sailboat that is both strong, 40+ ft. and a good sailer. I recently bought a good book by George Buehler titled Buehler's Backyard Boat Building.
I was wondering if anyone out there has any experience with any of Buehler's designs?

02-16-2001, 08:42 AM
Check out worldvoyagers.com They are sailing around the world in a modified Beuhler design. The site has quite a bit about the design and construction of the boat.

02-16-2001, 09:38 AM
Thanks for the info.!

02-16-2001, 02:00 PM
Do a Google or Yahoo search, and you'll find George's website as a good starting point.

Keith Wilson
02-16-2001, 03:04 PM

02-17-2001, 10:58 AM
Thanks everyone for the input. Actually, I was looking for people who have had experience with either sailing or building any of Buehler's designs. I have his book and have been to his website. Just wanted some first hand feedback.

Alan D. Hyde
02-19-2001, 09:24 AM
I have been to the worldvoyagers.com site, and there is some good feedback on their Buehler design, though most of it is up to the reader's inference.

If you go there and look at the section on the boat, and then read the log, the comments on day-to-day events and performance will provide some of the sort of guidance it seems that you are seeking.

Although there are of course real differences in seaworthiness between say a "Spray" type and a plank-on-edge classic cutter, what you choose from the many intermediary designs will partly be a matter
a personal preference.

How great should be your typical angle of heel? Would you rather slice through the wave-tops, or bob up and over them? How much space do you need on deck? How dry should it be? How much does ultimate stability matter?

RTFB. Amy does provide quite a bit of detail.
Relate that detail to the design.


Steve Souther
02-20-2001, 02:03 PM
I have been looking for the same thing. When you find someone who built and sailed, perhaps a Juno, please let me know. Thanks.


03-02-2001, 12:26 PM
I have the Juna study plans, and have been comparing them to some others, as was pointed out, she is doable, but, has some shortcomings for a long cruising boat, I think for coastal cruising would probably be o k,

Jeff, on here, has sent me some sketches of several comparable length ones by Benford,
Dawn at 35' and Sunrise at 38', of the two Dawn is a bit closer to Juna in capability, but Sunrise has more going for it in long cruising and space. Its pretty much what you are looking for, and weighing the options.

I am considering several others, but at the moment Sunrise looks most apt to meet my needs.

Peter Sibley
03-02-2001, 06:58 PM
I have watched a 42' Buehler cutter on a few different occasions,including the local old gaffer's race,I was quite interested in the boat for just the same reasons that you are...easy to build etc.In fact I watched the boat being built,and the owner[no names] did a beautiful job on her.The truth is she is slow and tender,she's the slowest boat at the gaffer's race and despite all the sail she carries she is always last....and this not amongst a fleet of racers, there are some pretty slow boats there by normal standards.On the
up side she looks lovely,very salty,but she won't GO!Perhaps in hatful of wind but without that...no go.
It as not as if she didn't have the sail area.If I was going to take my chances and build one of Mr. Beulher's designs I think it would be "Archimedes",his 43'schooner,she has a much smaller deadrise angle [about 27 degrees],very similar to Billy Aitkin's little sharpy schooners and the original fishing boat sharpies.In other words she should be able to carry sail .
I hope this doesn't upset anyone but it is the truth as observed.

Peter Sibley
03-02-2001, 07:23 PM
I have watched a 42' Buehler cutter on a few different occasions,including the local old gaffer's race,I was quite interested in the boat for just the same reasons that you are...easy to build etc.In fact I watched the boat being built,and the owner[no names] did a beautiful job on her.The truth is she is slow and tender,she's the slowest boat at the gaffer's race and despite all the sail she carries she is always last....and this not amongst a fleet of racers, there are some pretty slow boats there by normal standards.On the
up side she looks lovely,very salty,but she won't GO!Perhaps in hatful of wind but without that...no go.
It as not as if she didn't have the sail area.If I was going to take my chances and build one of Mr. Beulher's designs I think it would be "Archimedes",his 43'schooner,she has a much smaller deadrise angle [about 27 degrees],very similar to Billy Aitkin's little sharpy schooners and the original fishing boat sharpies.In other words she should be able to carry sail .
I hope this doesn't upset anyone but it is the truth as observed.

03-05-2001, 10:22 AM
Peter, So you think the Archimedes design might be a bit faster? What exactly is "Dead rise" anyway?

03-05-2001, 02:36 PM
Dead rise is the angle of the V bottom relative to an imaginary horizontal plane. Or was it a vertical plane? Anyway the acute-ness of the V. More dead rise - "sharper," less dead rise - less "sharp."

Steve Souther
03-05-2001, 03:49 PM
Peter, was that 42' Cutter a Juna ("Juno on steroids)?
Archimedes is a fine looking ship! It has a lot more displacement than Buehler's 50 foot Dragonfly. I would think Dragonfly would be the fastest by far of all his designs, although it's more boat than I want to build and keep up.
I'm very happy to see this thread. I've been looking at these designs for a long time. Thanks for bringing it up, Lee. I'm anxious to hear more news about Buehler boats. I wasn't expecting to hear they are very slow, though. Not sure if I like that.

Peter Sibley
03-05-2001, 06:48 PM
Steve, yes, she is almost the same boat,but almmost twice the size[displacement wise].Firstly ,I'm no expert but as it has been explained to me aboat needs either form stabiliity or ballast stability or a combination of the two."Juno "and this big sister don't have very much of either."Archimedes" has a lot more form stability....flatter bilges[less deadrise] and a fairly wide beam put a lot of bouyancy out wide and up high ,just under the water line.To heel she has to further submerge that bouyancy which gives resistance/stability and the ability to stand up to a breeze.At this point think about Slocum's "Spray",a famous example of form stability ,"Juno" on the other hand [with her steep deadrise] has little form stability and a cement and iron ballast keel that is not all that dense.I do think "Archimedes" would be the faster boat,[she couldn't be slower] and they're both about the same length and displacement.How much difference though?I couldnt say, perhaps someone who actually knows want they are talking about would like to offer some advice!

Steve Souther
03-05-2001, 08:08 PM
Peter, I checked Buehler's web cite and the large Juno is nearly 43 feet with 34,989 lb. displacement, and a 12.5' beam. Archimmedes, on the other hand, displaces 42,000 lbs. and has a 13.5' beam.
You relate 'form stability' with to speed. I know that a racing dingy depends on this, but I havn't translated it to a cruising boat. How does this fit in with the D & L ratio, everyone talks about? Herrashof boats seemed to be long and narrow.

Peter Sibley
03-05-2001, 11:21 PM
if you have access to the lines plans, they're in the Buehler building book,look where the bouyancy is.On "Archimedes" it's high [near the WL] and wide while the big "Juno" {I think "Olga "has the same body plan}has her displacement down lower where it does not contribute to the righting effect and I think if you compared the figures the Herreschoff boats would have a lot more ballast further from the WL.The righting arm
[the arm of the lever under water]is a factor of the weight in tons or pounds X the distance from center around which things rotate.....and the Herreschoff model would have it's weight concentrated further from that center than the Buehler[cement and boiler punchings are a cheap ballast but not very dense..in pounds per cubic foot]I'm sorry if my explanation is unclear!!but where is that articulate expert!!!

03-06-2001, 02:44 AM
The reason George builds slow and heavy boats izz because he is either a crummy sailor or izz bling....he says he likes to build heavy boats so he can run into things.....

03-06-2001, 02:45 AM
I didn't mean bling, I meant blind.....

Steve Souther
03-06-2001, 08:36 AM
Thanks, Peter. You have shed some light here, and I'm thankful. One thing which I've picked up in Buehler's book --and I'd like confirmed--is the design of Juno is supposed to provide comfort in a sea way. He makes a point that speed sacrifices comfort. The low ballast, say on a fin keel, gives more of a jirky motion to the boat. If this is true, maybe one could sacrifice some speed. Yet, I always get a bit anxious when I'm off a lee shore...but a diesel jib would probably take care of this.

03-06-2001, 08:40 AM
If we accept the terms laid down in Beulers book , the relevent comparison is to a wooden boat of the same Consruction Cost as his 42 footer . His claim is that his simple model will be faster because it's longer , while at the same time being more commodious -- superior at anchor where most time is spent .

I think it's a valid viewpoint . I'd love to see the raceing fleets grouped by honest cost calculations . Wonder what hull and rig configurations would evolve or reemerge ? Wonder where the professionally built Haven 12 1/2 's would place in the fleet ? Home builders of all types would be the cup holders in every class ( have to keep glass boats Out , of course ).

Peter Sibley
03-06-2001, 06:28 PM
Mr Buehler is attempting to appeal to potential builders who lack confidence in their abilities to construct a boat.His basic premise in wrong though,just because you want a cheap boat doesnt mean it has to be a lousy sailer!Using the standards that Mr Buehler sets, compare two boats built to the same standards ,lets say basic but strong.....there is no requirement for them to have bad hull shapes.The cost of a boat is set pretty well by the pound,more pounds ,more$$.You have got to buy all that wood.Just look at any old fishing boat,probably as cheaply built as could be but still a good hull shape.
The hull of a boat is 30% of the whole job and if you save say 30% on the hull ,you are saving 30% of 30% which is 10% to get a boat that will not be what you want!Take all the same materials and put them together in a way the the water likes!Build to the the best standard you can do and be proud of it.If you can't carvel plank a hull hire some help for a few weeks,you'll know how at the end and you might get the boat you really want........not a compromise!

Wild Dingo
05-09-2002, 03:33 PM
Gidday Lee and all... Thought I would wade in with me own 2 bobs worth... I am gonna sound like Im taking Peter apart here but Im using his comments simply because he covers most points I want to... so nothing against you mate okay?!! that said...

Originally posted by Peter Sibley:
Mr Buehler is attempting to appeal to potential builders who lack confidence in their abilities to construct a boat.

What I came away from reading the book going over the site a fair few times and emailing George on a number of occasions was that your quite wrong Peter... he tries to get people to build a seaworthy boat that will... last from materials they can afford ie: salvaged timbers concrete as ballast etc instead of being unable to afford to build a boat simply due to lack of enough finance... that is his aim to help people get sailing... its not gonna be the flashest duck in the pond but solid and sturdy... its not gonna be the fastest either probably but it is gonna be able to get you where you want to go... the old volkswagon compared to the rolls royce type of thing.

His basic premise in wrong though,just because you want a cheap boat doesnt mean it has to be a lousy sailer!

He doesnt profess to build or encourage people to build racers mate... just solid boats that will do the task set... I would say that those who have built his designs and sailed them over some time would be able to sail them effectively and probably win some of those races if handled properly... and they would probably dispute that statement... eye of the beholder mate... its sailing properties are probably within the intended aim of the design and usage.

Using the standards that Mr Buehler sets, compare two boats built to the same standards ,lets say basic but strong.....there is no requirement for them to have bad hull shapes.

I think if you look again they dont have bad hull shapes... in fact they have very similar hull forms as many other designers... he just doesnt aim at the fancy fellas thats all... no frills dodads and geegaws

The cost of a boat is set pretty well by the pound,more pounds ,more$$.You have got to buy all that wood.

aaahhh and here is where Mr Beuhler comes into his own... yes you do have to buy all that wood... but!... says Mr Beuhler you dont have to pay a hefty price for "new" wood from a lumber yard... you can use cheeper salvage lumber... so the cost of the boat can be reduced to a more affordable level.

Just look at any old fishing boat,probably as cheaply built as could be but still a good hull shape.

No arguement there mate :D

The hull of a boat is 30% of the whole job and if you save say 30% on the hull ,you are saving 30% of 30% which is 10% to get a boat that will not be what you want!

ooops Peter you assume that its not a boat that Lee or Steve want... yet they have already expressed an interest in them... they already like them... perhaps like the people already sailing them after having built them they may well be just what they want... maybe they dont want to go like the beeejeezuz every time they go out... maybe they do want to go nice and steady and just get where theyre goin... and maybe they kinda like the thought that if... IF... they do ever nudge into something in the dark at sea theyre probably gonna come out of it intact because the boat is built like a tank... maybe?

And... remember... 10% is 10%... not a lot on the overall... but a saving is a saving expecially if finance is tight to begin with...

Take all the same materials and put them together in a way the the water likes! Build to the the best standard you can do and be proud of it.

And what do you think they will do?... of course they will build to the best standard they can and of course they will be proud of it!... Of course!!... doesnt matter what final design choice they make they will do that anyway!... The performance or "the way the water likes" of the boat will depend on the sailors abilities the captain the wind and the sea at the time as well as the design... the hull forms are not so very different to others... and they are not built to race.

If you can't carvel plank a hull hire some help for a few weeks,

oooooops again mate... that cost of hiring the help for a few weeks... the whole idea is to save money not spend it on paying someone to do the work!... to finance the boat get out sailing within the shortest possible time for the least amount of cost is the whole concept of Beuhlers designs from what I can gather... think volkswagan to rolls again mate

you'll know how at the end and you might get the boat you really want........not a compromise!Ohhhhhh Peter mate! MATE!!! :rolleyes: NOT a compromise?????... but surely all boat designs are a matter of compromise? Even the best designers say so!...

I know many of my comments may seem flippant and possibly even sarcastic... but its strange to me that lately Ive heard several people... mates... here denigrate George Beuhler designs... "butt ugly" was what one person called one of the designs and now I find this?... George designs boats of different styles the duck comes to mind Archemedies anther Olga yet another then Juno which has been a liveabourd and well travelled little vessel...

What he doesnt do is he doesnt design a Peterson Coaster!... He does design something remotely similar... sorta the poor mans coaster if you will... the Archemedies... remotely similar...the poor mans coaster... a schooner of a different color is all... he designs it not with a lead keel but a concrete one... concrete being more affordable to some people than a cast lead one... he designs it not with fancy expensive woods but with what you can get your hands on... he gives the basic size need and then a suggestion of what would be better and what would be best... if you can get it!!...

Hes not aimin at the fellas that have unlimited resourses or even those with a reasonably healthy boataccount... hes aiming at those who want a boat and are prepared to get down and dirty and get the timbers themselves from the salvage yards nails bolts and all... who are prepared to get dirty laying the concrete keel right in the boatshed or front lawn... in other words hes aimin at trying to help people to get a good solid boat they built themselves and go sailing... aint nothing wrong with that in my book.

I wont be building one of Georges designs because I can afford a Coaster... if I budget effectively if I can find a boatyard with a source of timber and if I do the finishing myself... but if I couldnt afford the coaster I would be looking very seriously at Archemedies...

Take a deep breath Shane as you post this... count to 10 before you reopen it and then definantly count to 100 real s...l...o...w...l...y before you touch the keyboard!! :eek: :D

Take it easy

[ 05-09-2002, 04:47 PM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Wild Dingo
05-09-2002, 03:38 PM
Chuck... he says IF he should hit something... IF... being the operative word... theres a lot of things floating out there on that big blue pond that could and do do a lot of seriass damage to boats... so hes sayin now IF we should hit something... thats why he wants them built like tanks... this sounds sorta like good forward thinking to me??? not as though hes planning on actually hitting something intentionally but rather being prepared as much as he can be in case he hits something... well thats what comes accross to me smile.gif

Take it easy

05-09-2002, 05:56 PM
Just thought I would post this again for anyone who missed it the first time. Go through the archives and you will find a wealth of information on building and sailing a Buehler design.

ken mcclure
05-09-2002, 07:00 PM
If you have questions, why don't you just call George? He's built and sailed 'em himself.

Wild Dingo
05-09-2002, 09:37 PM
perfek solution Ken! :D now why dint I thunk of that... mmm maybe a bit biased?? :D

Take it easy

John Gearing
05-09-2002, 11:00 PM
Hi gang--
Just got back from surfing the worldvoyagers website and as a result dashed them off an email inviting them to post a note here giving us their finding regarding the sailing ability of their boat. Why not, I figured, hear it from some folks with lots of miles under the keel? According to their log, they are in Oz right now, at a place in NSW called Coff's Harbour. Any of the Oz crew know of it?

05-10-2002, 04:40 AM
Hi "Gang"

To make it short. I have done that already some days ago. I will add Phils answer. I don't think that I must add any comment to that. Only that I'm also one of these poor builders of a Buehler designed sailboat. In my case it is a 63 feet long schooner which I will built as a backyard project in Nova Sotia. The design is based on the ALCA i, but George is changing the round bilge hull to a single chine hull for me. Three days ago I have received the new line plan and in the moment I'm collecting the wood for the planks and frames. I will use mostly salvaged wood and got her some help and advice from John Steele of Covey Island Boatworks, Nova Scotia. By the way. John is building his own 56 feet schooner just in the moment also using salvaged wood. But enough now. Her come Phils comment about Peters view of Buehler designed boats.

All the best to you

Dear Jochen,
I wouldn't put much faith into what Peter says about George Buehler
designs. Peter is judging a boat by it's speed. Nonsense! Under what
conditions are the boats racing? Winds of 10 knots and flat water?
Unless you plan on racing your boat, don't worry about speed. In an
afternoon race, the difference between winning and coming in last
could be as little as 1/2 knot of hull speed. A lot depends on the
ability of the crew. I bet if you switched the crews on the boats in
Peters example, you would see different results.
I raced the pinky schooner "Maine" in the Rockland,Maine schooner
races for 10 years. We came in first 8 times. The schooner had a
"bulldoser bow". Anyone looking at this 150 year old, cods head
mackrel tail design would say that she would go faster backwards than
forwards. I proved different. Afternoon racing takes lots of canvas
and good tactics, not the fastest hull design.
Iwalani is based on Olga. I did some major changes though. I lessened
the deadrise by 6 inches and increased the outside ballest to 12,000
pounds. I used a gaff rig to keep the center of effort low. With
these changes she holds her sail well and we average 120 nautical
miles per day and have done 160.
Every boat is a compromise. My dream boat was a traditional Colin
Archer. Finest materials, lead ballest etc. If I listened to Peter, I
would still be talking about building the perfect boat, not sitting
here in Australia writing to you.=20
I would like to hear more about you boat. Please write when you can.
Best wished and fair winds,
Phil, Amy and Stewart!=20
P.S. I wonder what George has to say about Peter!

05-14-2002, 03:40 AM
I think this is actually quite a balanced debate, so just to fan the flames a bit...

I briefly looked over Buehler's website the other day, because his name comes up so often on this forum.

One thing that struck me was his leanings towards diesel cruisers rather than using sail at all, arguing (basically) that the money you spend on sails, rig, hassle etc. would pretty much buy you enough diesel to get round the world anyway!! (excuse me for taking this in very broad terms). Also that motorboats can be every bit as 'salty', seaworthy and comfortable as sail.

Now, while I have the utmost respect for this point of view, and Mr. Beuhler, it occurs to me that most folk who build and sail sailing boats don't care about the fact that it might be more sensible to do it under power - the reasons for wanting to sail are manifold and for the most part inexplicable.

Therefore is it not fairly likely that Mr. Buehler's sailing designs are going to disappoint a good few of us who DON'T want to put ease of building or cheapness at the very top of our priority lists? It's horses for courses, as they say, and if one of your priorities is a boat that's 'a good sailer' as the thread starter stated, then I'd suggest looking at a few more designs before deciding upon one from a designer who thinks you'd be better off with an engine anyway!!

I repeat, I mean no disrespect towards George Beuhler or his fans by this post: I am not a yacht designer, this is just my opinion.

Best regards,

Wild Dingo
05-14-2002, 04:02 AM
Good points Ruaridh... will have to have another read of the book... just to clarify what you say

Take it easy

05-14-2002, 04:33 AM
Yes good points. I hope my english is good enough for the ongoing discussion. So if it is difficult to follow, please be patient.

But please keep in mind that Mr. Buehler is one of the designers which has built several of his designes himself. I think that that is an very important point for anybody of us which is thinking of doing the same. Building his own boat himself. And I think that it is also important that Mr. Buehler is now comparing the two different worlds. Oceangoing powerboats and oceangoing sailboats. Both do have their own advantages and it is up to us, or the prospective builder to make his own dicission.

But I was glad to find a man which has started to make me thinking of building a oceangoing powerboat. So I tried to compare both worlds for me and came to my result which is a 3 masted wooden schooner.


05-14-2002, 06:31 AM
Well ,it looks as if I got under Mr Dingos skin,a pity really cos it wasn't my objective.On rereading my posts I really don't want to back down from the stuff about the 42' Beuhler cutter.I just can't see the point in building a slow boat!If someone wants to use Mr Buehlers building methods,sure ,cross planked sharpies are a good type.My criticsm is for the deep v type.I feel it lacks stiffness and therefore sail carrying ability and that the "Archimedes" design would be a distinct improvement.It has the same deadrise as on of Bill Aitkins little schooners (like "Coot")
Mr Dingo.......as for using demolition timber ....go for it!!My stem ,stern,hog and a few other bit and pieces are 6"x12" ironbark bridge timbers rescued from the blokes rebuilding the local bridge,they were going to burn it.The stern knee was gotten out by me with my 850 Mc Cullock,from the forest,courtesy of a post splitter.The floors are demo 9"3",etc,etc and as for doing it cheap......this is a pay by pay job and the pays are skinny!Ive seen a Buehler hull built and there is very little difference materials wise,about the only on is me using bent frames and him using 4"x2" demo plus 2"x2" between,much the same overall.My lead keel definitely cost more than the concrete option(even if I did collect wheel weights to use),and we both bought new planking......its hard to find 24' lengths of anything you would trust your life to in a demo yard!

Roger Stouff
05-14-2002, 07:29 AM
I'd rather build a boat out of white boards and CDX from Home Depot if that was the best I could do, than sit on the shore longing.

We may dream of the finely fitted yacht, the gleaming runabout. I know I do. I continue to strive for that.

But the defining moments of my life, the place where my memory always nests when I recall the best days of childhood, is a little wooden bateau built for maybe $150 bucks in 1962 by a man who had to work a full-time and two part-time jobs just to make ends meet for his family. Cypress frames and Douglas fir plywood. When I find a need to escape, to recharge the soul, I still always turn to that little, cheap boat. Because if my dad hadn't built it, using what he could afford and on what he could build, we might never have gone out on the water at all.


Best regards from the Rez,

05-14-2002, 09:11 AM
Rodger, Sounds like your old man left you with a lot to live up to. smile.gif

Wild Dingo
05-15-2002, 04:10 AM
Hey Peter no worries mate... you didnt get under my skin!... I sorta thought I made it clear that I wasnt haveing a go at you or your post its just you covered most things that I felt should be seen from another perspective so it was the obvious to use yours... (insert rather large shrug here) horses for courses mate... smile.gif well I thought anyway. :rolleyes:

Originally posted by Wild Dingo

I am gonna sound like Im taking Peter apart here but Im using his comments simply because he covers most points I want to... so nothing against you mate okay?!! that said...

Somehow I sorta figured saying that would have avoided any problems... but then I also posted this...

Originally posted by Wild Dingo
Take a deep breath Shane as you post this... count to 10 before you reopen it and then definantly count to 100 real s...l...o...w...l...y before you touch the keyboard!!

Maybe... oh... never mind...

Its all part of the discussion mate thats all. :cool:

Take it easy

[ 05-15-2002, 05:24 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

Ken Hall
05-15-2002, 02:36 PM
Buehler does like 'em strong. I've read Buehler's Backyard Boatbuilding a couple of times, own a copy, and he was talking about one of his designs that shot down a float plane when it came over too low and hit the stick--allagedly without harming said stick. He recommends grown masts, you see... :D ...suppose it's easier out on that side of the country, where you maybe still have a chancet to walk up to a standing Sitka spruce and say "I'll take that one."

[ 05-15-2002, 03:37 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hall ]

John Gearing
05-15-2002, 06:10 PM
Now I have to admit that I haven't read all of the log entries of those folks who are taking their Buehler design around the world, but I did notice a few places where there is discussion about how slow the boat is under sail. Admitedly, a lot of times this was when she was having to beat. Seems to be lots of engine use, though as I say, I haven't read all of the logs. Also note that these folks modified their boat from Buehler's design--I think it has a lot less deadrise as I recall. Sometimes when these world voyages cranked up the iron jib it was because they were becalmed and wanted to put some miles under the keel. Yet Lin and Larry Pardey sailed around the world in an engineless boat and liked it. (yeah, I know that Taliesin has a motor now!). Maybe it is more a case of what your individual take is on the whole thing. Someone who is reall into sailing probably wouldn't like a Buehler boat. Nor would a consummate craftsman, probably. But to someone who just wants to get from point A to point B and doesn't much care if he has to turn the engine on, and who maybe also doesn't give a hoot about "yachts", a Buehler design might be perfect.

ken mcclure
05-15-2002, 06:52 PM
Um, just because a design is simple it doesn't mean that good craftsmanship can't be used. Admittedly you're not going to have a Neria or a Bounty, but attention to your finish should yield a pretty darn nice looking boat.

05-15-2002, 10:50 PM
I'd just like to address some of John Gearing's points. I've known Phil Shelton, the builder of "Iwalani" for about 25 years. I don't think that you could find a more consumate craftsman than Phil. He was the head instuctor at the MMM apprenticeshop for about ten years and has built everything from exquisite rangley lake boats to large sawn frame schooners. He is also a lifelong sailor with a great deal of experience. He will freely admit that his dream boat would be a Colin Archer with lead ballast, copper fastenings and the finest of materials and fittings. But he is a boatbuilder and has to deal with the reality of a limited budget. So rather than dreaming about sailing around the world in a boat that he can't afford, he IS sailing around the world in one he can afford. His boat is built with fir timbers and yelllow pine planking that cost about $1.00/ft. from Morse Lumber instead of mahogany for $4.00/ft. His fittings are fabricated steel instead of bronze and his deck is ply and epoxy instead of teak. His boat may be closer to workboat than yacht but it is very well built.
Beuhler may appeal to some who think that they can't build a "real" boat. And many of his designs may not in fact be all that well built, but the concept of a simple, sturdy boat should not be discounted if that is what will help you fullfill your dream.

05-21-2002, 08:30 AM
So, is the problem with George Buehler's designs the single chine and the low density ballast? What could be done to take one of George's designs and make it faster and less tender?

05-22-2002, 01:26 PM

Buehler is a fan of large length/beam ratio boats mainly to conserve fuel. I think stability goes up with the cube of the beam. I think you could reduce length of most designs %10 without problems.

To increase ballast density you could use old car wheel weights (%90 lead/%10 steel) with your concrete instead of all steel punchings. I have not seen this done so am not sure it is a good idea.


05-22-2002, 02:36 PM
I'm imagining George sitting back with a pint reading this and grinning his face off! Next time you hear a criticism of his designs or of what builders do with them, wonder to yourselves if you are enjoying life as he must be, living here on Whidbey on his few acres, designing and building boats he believes in. Would that we all had his skill and huevos! If I run into him in the grocery store, I'll shake his hand and say, "Well done!"

Gadzooks, I envy him.

But I've been wrong before.

Wild Dingo
05-23-2002, 11:19 AM
So your in his area Kermit? do you know how his latest build is going a 50fter I believe he says in his book?... shake his hand for me while your at it mate! oh and he does answer emails!! :cool:

Must admit I reckon hes doing just that with one massive grin on his dial... :D

Everything Ive read learnt and possibly "know" about sailing and boats in general one thing is real clear about designs... Its all about compromise and choice.

Take it easy

John Gearing
05-30-2002, 11:16 AM
I think the point that some of the others here have been making is that you could also build a more "conventional" boat (versus a Buehler design) using the same quality of lumber, fastenings, etc that he uses in his boats. If you know the story of the Appledore schooners, that fellow built the first one with very little prior boatbuilding experience. He did get some help from the noted builder/designer Bud McIntosh. Once he had the backbone bolted together Bud came over and chopped out a few sections of rabbet along the keel and then told the builder to connect them and call him when he was done. Bud came back later and examined the work and then told him to go ahead and do the same thing on the other side. My point is that this fellow, with a little help here and there, built a big, round-hull schooner with very little prior experience and on a very tight budget to boot. Therefore it stands to reason that a Buehler design is just one of a number of ways that one can get a cruising boat without being Bill Gates.

I have no doubt that Phil Shelton is an excellent craftsman. This is evident not only from the info on his website pertaining to the building of his current boat, but also from the material regarding the big schooner he constructed earlier, and also from the log entries regarding maintenance etc during his current voyage. Seems to me that he could have built to a number of different designs, by various construction methods. He chose one that appealed to him for a number of reasons, modified it a bit (and he had the skill to do this), and built it. I'm not quibbling with his choice or questioning his talent. He seems quite happy with the boat that resulted. Every rig and hull type has its fans. One man's ambrosia is another's poison, right?

Another variation on the theme of cruising boats was covered in the recent article on Spaulding Dunbar's shoal-draft cruisers, many of which were built "Chesapeake style" (i.e. deadrise boats similar in concept to Buehler's approach). Dunbar's work appeals to me more than Buehler's does, but again that's simply personal opinion.

05-30-2002, 12:51 PM
I remember reading the story about the Appeldore Schooner. But, if I'm not mistaken, he spent well over $100,000 in materials and it took him five years to complete.

Dan Payne
05-30-2002, 12:57 PM
Pick up Buhler's second book... (can't remember the name, someone help me...borrowed it to a friend and of course, no return). He has a great 40 ish footer. Thin long and sexy.

ken mcclure
05-30-2002, 01:06 PM
"The Troller Yacht" book, I think.

Alan D. Hyde
05-30-2002, 01:46 PM
There have been five Appledore schooners built by Herb and Doris Smith over the years. The first was covered in WB #76. The building of their most recent vessel, Eastwind , along with some background on their earlier projects, is described in "Pragmatic Dreamers," WB #153.

As John mentions, that's an excellent article to read.

Whether or not your tastes run similarly to theirs, there's a lot to be learned from their experiences.


05-30-2002, 01:55 PM
Yes, Eastwind that's the one I'm thinking of. The article says that Smith spent over $100,000 just for the lumber.

06-04-2002, 05:42 AM
I guess that was kind of the point I was making a while ago.You have still got to buy the timber ,I doesn't really matter if you lay it carvel or sharpie......same timber/same price.Sure you can use recycled timber and we all do ,especially in big lumps ,mainly cos it's cheap ,dry and available.If the quality is OK,no problems.
Big boats use a lot of wood and it has to be pretty good stuff,not perfect,but not rubbish either ,I mean we do want the thing to last! The cost of fastenings is a big item,probably around A$3500 in my case ,all copper (we Australians don't use galv steel anywhere,we've got warm water and it eats galv).I think Buehlers boats would need the same number of bits of copper to keep them together,no saving......at least I can't see it.
The one thing I really agree with Mr Buehler on is the design philosophy ,not on shape but simplicity.If we build boats the way they would have been built in 1925,for a working sailor or even a poor yachtsman the price will be a fraction of todays costs,mainly because it will have no systems,no hot water,no refridgeration,no hydralic steering,no mind boggling nav station.These are the things that run up the dollars.It is possible to build simple boats simply,strongly and still have them sail beautifully. End of rave.

06-04-2002, 08:33 AM
Yes, I am attracted to the simple design and construction techniques Buehler offers as well. I've been doing some research on the hard chine designs and it seems that in some cases this can be a stable and even fast design. Now, I keep hearing Buehler's boats are slow and tender. So, I can't keep from wondering whether there is something that's being overlooked in his designs. Perhaps, it's just a matter of his heavy solid spars putting too much weight aloft and maybe his low density ballast not putting enough weight below. Then maybe a more moderate dead rise (like Archimedes). I don't think Buehler's designs are lacking in quality. That's up to the individual builder to see to. You know, in his book and on his website, he's mentioned building some of his boats that are in the mid thirty to mid forty foot size, for under $20k!

06-04-2002, 03:47 PM
Sometimes I think George learned a bit from Pete Culler's deadrise boats. If you haven't, get your hands on the "catalog" of Pete's designs. Unfortunately, I think it's way out of print, but interlibrary loan should get you a copy to squint at. I spend hours in my copy. Sure would like to build his periauger scow! Now THERE's a boat! Unfortunately, for sentimental reasons, it's the only design his widow won't sell plans for. Anyhow. A scow is almost always either dead flat or with some deadrise. I wonder if George would draw up plans based on Pete's periauger scow. One fine little ship that would be. I sometimes want to build a 1":1' scale model for RC. Dreams.

[ 06-04-2002, 04:49 PM: Message edited by: Kermit ]

06-04-2002, 04:18 PM
Mystic Seaport now sells Pete Culler's plans. I believe they have the plans of the scow in question.

06-05-2002, 08:36 AM
I found one of Buehler's "Juno" for sale at Project Boat Company. Doesn't look too bad!

http://www.projectboatco.com/broker/br_listing_full_detail.jsp?company=projectboats&url=&boat_id=986995&align=left&units=Feet&page=broker&currency=USD&access=Public&listing_id=1186 4&mls_true=

06-05-2002, 11:17 AM
Thanks, holzbt, I'll check it out.

Captain Pete designed two scow schooners that I'm aware of. One was his smaller periauger rigged scow that his "catalog" indicates is the only design his widow wouldn't let go of. The other is considerably larger--40+'--and in two hull configurations. One has moderate deadrise and a shapelier hull--for a scow. The alternate hull lines are flatbottomed and squared off. The beam is constant fore and aft. He shows leeboards as an alternative to that massive centerboard trunk. Homely, but dead simple.

Michael C. Kelly
06-08-2002, 11:17 AM
Originally posted by Steve Souther:
I have been looking for the same thing. When you find someone who built and sailed, perhaps a Juno, please let me know. Thanks.

SteveCheck Out this group:

" This little discussion group is for boatbuilding enthusiasts who believe in the George Buehler method of building boats!"


The photo on this page is of a beautiful JUNA but if you are building any Buehler
design, feel free to drop by and join our list!

06-08-2002, 09:05 PM
Lee ,
the boat I am working on is around 11 tons ,36 ft OA,10 ft beam.The timber costs ,some secondhand ,mainly new,is around A$3500, fastenings A$3500 ,mast ,booms etc.....timber cost for good quality oregon,secondhand,around A$1200.I plan to rip up most of my extensive collection of (secondhand) srounged cedar,lots of shorts and strange bits into 1/4" thick veneers and cold mold the deck in place.The timber cost is very low,say A $200 and the epoxy will be expensive and I dont know how much!Internal fitout will be simple and all timber ,it will consume a lot of hours but not a vast amount of money.I don't really have a price on stoves etc.Engine and accessories are not included as peoples requirements vary so much.
So my costs for a 36 foot hull,deck and spars
will be less than $10000 Australian dollars.Of course prices differ a lot from place to place ,I live in the country and tend to find small mills etc,it certainly helps,its worth driving a lot!
From my experiences I have no trouble with Mr Buehlers costings.....ie $20,000 for a 36-42 footer as long as the "systems" are very,very simple.Good luck!

06-09-2002, 02:41 AM
I forgot to mention my ballast keel,which is around 6000 pound ,cost about A$800 and a lot of work refining lead wheel weights!

Donal Philby
06-09-2002, 04:47 PM
I heard there was a discussion on G Buehler's designs here. Interesting. But nothing 'til now from someone who has sailed one.

We own the Juna (Solitude) pictured on Buehler's web site. We bought her last year and sailed her down to San Diego and are working to fit her out for some years of cruising.

Some observations:

High comfort. The boats I have sailed with similar comfort level are the Sea Witch gaff ketch, an Atkin Eric, and the replica of America. I have also crewed on race boats from 30-70 feet and no comparison. They are too jerky for anything but day races. Very quiet inside. Where we bought her in the Sacramento Delta summer temperatures reached 110?. Inside the cabin, it never topped 80. A couple nearby said they couldn't go inside their plastic cruiser until after dark.

Speed: Reasonably fast. I haven't felt like we had any handicap for cruising. We do need to build a drifter and that will help. She goes right through chop. That is far different that the last boat we had, a Flicka, which is quite fast except for chop, when the beam and bluff bow makes it labor. We took the Juna out the Golden Gate in a southerly wind against an outgoing tide. While it wasn't comfortable, we never had that feeling of someone slamming on the breaks when we plow into a wave. Nice skinny bow just splits the water.

One day coming down the coast we were doing 4.5 knots with bare pole and 6.5 with just a double reef staysail. Quartering the large swells (a surfer aboard estimated them at 15 feet) was comfortable. No fight. No great desire to broach.

She never jerks upright. Solid mast and box steel keel with dense ballast. Not as stiff as the Doug Peterson design I've been crewing on, but that's for a different purpose, a different compromise.

Room: The boat is not vastly roomy. In fact, in doing a bit of thinking about the interior, I discovered that there is just slightly more room than the Pardey's Taliesen. Rather than an 8' bowsprit, our Juna has two feet more overhang and a six footer. The stern doesn't need a boomkin. Waterline length longer. But interior room about the same, despite 37'8" LOD.

Security: There is something about the boat that is very comforting. Everyone who has come aboard remarks on it, without prompting. The hard thing is not to just go below and sleep. Partly that is the nature of heavily built wooden boats, in my limited experience. Good vibes.

Other Designs: We considered buying the steel 50' Otter shown on the GB site. I have never been in a boat which was more comfortable for living aboard and cruising. It would be my ideal compromise between sail and power.

General observations: Almost any boat can be made expensive or cheap. We've looked at a Taliesen replica that cost the owner over $200,000. It never did go cruising. It was a piece of fine furniture. Do you want furniture? Or do yo want to do cruising? Sure, both is nice--if you can pay the price. Read the Griffith's book Blue Water. Here's someone who built a ferro boat in six months after wrecking a wood boat on a pacific reef and sailed it three times around the world. If you love boatbuilding, there are numerous lovely challenges for craftsmanship. Pick one of those. If you have to build yourself because of budget or just want some pleasure without obsessing, then the Buehler basic designs should be considered.

Yes, we lust occasionally for the room in a flimsy, high freeboard Hunter (especially just after hitting head on the low overhead forward!). But we didn't have to sell the house and invest all the savings to own her, either. Indeed, rental from the house should fund many years of modestly budgeted, yet comfortable and safe cruising.

The fellow who surveyed the boat for insurance said it was the only boat he's ever surveyed that he'd willingly take around Cape Horn.


Donal Philby
San Diego

06-10-2002, 03:51 AM
Thank you Donal,I'm impressed!!

06-10-2002, 08:45 AM
Thank you Donal! This is what I Have been waiting for. Feedback from someone who has actually sailed a Buehler boat!

06-12-2002, 09:43 AM
Hi Lee,

Get yourself a copy of Dave Gerr's "The Nature of Boats". Full of varied information, from form stability, to SA/displacement ratios, to accomadations, to engines etc. Lively and very informative. Best,

06-12-2002, 12:44 PM

That's sounds exciting! How many hours do you figure it takes to build a boat that size? When do you expect to launch it?

06-12-2002, 12:46 PM

Thanks for the info.. I'll see if I can find a copy of it.

06-15-2002, 06:37 AM
How long is a piece of string?I mean I'm hoping to use up around 4000 hours!!!!!!!if all goes well. Perhaps you can do faster,I sure hope so!It all depends obviously on skill and organisation,things we all have in differing amounts.I am a reasonable house carpenter and mechanic,a boatbuilder I'm not.I was talking to a friend the other day,(who is a professional boatbuilder)and we were discussing just this,how fast?He said he thought that 2 good tradesmen could probably build a 24'-28'foot carvel yacht in 3 months,IF,the standard of finish was
"relaxed" and the men involved really knew their stuff! Thats about the time that Bud McIntosh talked about ,although I think he said somewhere that he and a friend built one in 6 weeks during the Depression .The same job would probably take me 3 years full time..........I can put up a house frame pretty fast though,it depends on what you practice.

06-20-2002, 08:36 AM
Speaking of boat prices... I was nosing around devlin's site yesterday. he also builds boats, in fact i think that is his main cash crop.
when i saw some of his boats were priced around $360,000 I almost fell off me chair.
i guess it took me by surprise because i've always associated him + his designs with the DIY mindset.
Nice boats though - if i were able/interested in putting $360,000 into a powerboat, i think i'd prefer one of his to any of the "flying bridge sport fisherman luxury yachts" that ply the intracoastal all winter.

Steve Souther
06-24-2002, 04:29 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Donal Philby:
We own the Juna (Solitude) pictured on Buehler's web site.

Donal, I appreciate hearing your perspective on a Buehler boat. Very helpful. This is the next best thing to seeing one in person.


PS: nice web site

06-26-2002, 10:43 AM
Hi All! I'm new to the forum and would like to talk about what it is about GB's designs that I like. I'm doing a little free associating here so please forgive my rant. Any comments are extremenly welcome.

A little background here. I'm a 39 year old married father of of a 9 month old daughter with a VERY (emphasis added) understanding wife. I'm a natural tinkerer. I've restored old motorcycles, cars/hotrods and done a lot of carpentery around my house and garden. While I'm not on a "burger flippers" salary, my wife is a full time nursing student and is not yet working so we live (for now) on my income of about 42k a year. We just bought a modest house in the Jacksonville Fl suburbs which has a nice open backyard about 80 feet long. I'm posting on this thread so of course I'm dreaming about building a sailboat and doing some modest cruising with my family and my yet to be concieved son (wink). I've done a good deal of offshore fishing in the North Florida area and seen enough scary things at sea that building for sturdyness is more important to me than building for speed or flawless looks.

In other words, I'm pretty much GB's ideal client.

Now a few more points in no particular order.

I've read his book so many times that my wife is staring to worry.

I've spent so much time on the web and the library and bookstores researching designers and "possibalities" that I'm starting to worry.

After all the time that I've spent doing this I keep coming back to GB's boats. I "believe" that they are the best of comprimises for a guy like me for several reasons:

I "believe" I can build a very solid/seaworthy/safe boat with my own hands and skill level.

I "believe" I can best afford a buehler design. (Heck I've actually convinced myself that I can do it right from the book.) I've actually already assembled a fairly complete 3 dimensional Juno within Autocad (I'm a CADD draftsmen for a living).

I "believe" I can do it in a reasonable amount of time. (by the time my yet to be concieved son is 5 or so)

I "believe" I can do it with the least amount of outside help/cost.

Thats the thing about GB. He's touched on that perfect balance to bring a guy like me into his web. Simplicity, affordability, and most importantly, a "belief" in the possibe if that's even accurate. Gb commented once that he was "accused" of being a dream merchant.... well he's sold me.

Anyway folks...

I "believe" I'll take another pull from the jug and actually begin this boat.

Sure hope the wife is still with me for the launch....

I've been following this forum for a while and just thought I'd jump in.

Thanks All for letting me rant a bit.

Steve in Florida.

landlocked sailor
06-26-2002, 07:10 PM
I, too, have become enamored with GB's philosphy. His whole attitude is no nonsense and pragmatic. He is also quite funny and irreverent; all characteristics that I admire. I had a couple questions for him a couple months ago and he answers his e-mail promptly. His sailing designs are too deep for Chesapeake sailing and gunkholing. I wish he had a stock design that was shoal draft with CB or leeboard. Rick

Doug Tutty
07-06-2003, 02:48 PM
I've read this thread with interest, and am wondering if there's any recent feedback on Buehler's designs. Specifically, I'm trying to narrow my choice of which boat to build from a short-list of 4 contenders:

Criteria: able to be built of oak by a good woodworker, (both carpentry and furniture gread), with no prior boat-building experience; no internal synthetics/glues/etc; able to be single-handed (with some help), a good boat to learn on; seaworthy in all weather (Great Lakes coastal and passage sailing); no motor (unless electric), schooner or ketch rig, less than 50' LOA (so will fit in the Trent-Severn waterway).

Contenders: Buehler's 43' double-ender RUARRI with schooner or ketch rather than cutter; Buehler's 43' schooner ARCHIMEDES; Brewer's SOPHIA CHRISTINA 46' schooner; Colvin's Dunmowen 42' pinky schooner.

Reason for new construction is inability to find a used boat that hasn't had an engine and therefore contaminated the interior, located near here since I don't want to learn to sail while crossing the North Atlantic. (See threads "White Oak Sailing Dory", "Design Begging for Oak", etc).

I'm leaning toward the Buehler Archie, but I would like to hear the discussion.

07-07-2003, 09:05 AM
There is a brand-new Juna for sale in this month's Woodenboat - no photo but a link was given 'www.members.cox.net/gabe26.

Donal - your Juna on the B. website, is that the one with the green trim? (Only curious - I cant read the name).

Tartane - I too, was surprised by the cost of Devlin's new boats. My guess is that they are built as one-offs (well finished and fitted out according to the photos on the website) - this doesn't allow for any of the bulk savings available say to the mass produced fiberglass yachts (like buying 500 masts, 5000 fittings etc).

In the same plywood vein - 'Waarschip' is a company in the Netherlands who build complete or supply in kit form a number of yachts and a motor cruiser (in ply). I was researching them perhaps to buy a kit to self-build. I saw a warning on one web site (www.waarschip-experte.de)to do your sums carefully - that to build a Waarschip model (even self-built) can often be more expensive that purchasing a new fiberglass ETap, Hunter etc.

I guess that is where Mr B. designs come into their own. One could add or omit fittings, winches as one liked and it wouldn't look out of place.


07-07-2003, 06:25 PM
The photos of the 40 foot(?) Sockeye on Devlin's site took a mere 15,000 hours to build and ran the owner $600,000. Pretty boat though.

07-07-2003, 06:46 PM

I've been on GB's designs and they are a bit tender, the two I've been on rolled over to 15 degrees and firmed up solid. They gave me and others aboard a real sense of comfortable and safe sailing.

I've not seen a GB design with what I'd call a reasonable SA/D ratio, most being in the 14 to 15 range, much to low for most coastal sailing, even giving the tenderness of the designs. For off shore work the low SA/D would come in handy, especially on a schooner, but for what most folks do in an afternoon sail, an increase in sail area would help these designs a bunch.

Using concrete and lead in the ballast mix (this is what I did) as well as iron will bring up the density in the ballast.

Using a good appendage(s) shape would help the performance, a lot, especially to wind. His designs just use slab sided assemblies. His designs also have massive keel/dead wood structures that could be re-engineered to be lighter and more importantly better shaped leading forward and trailing edges. His designs make no effort to clean up these entrance and exits. My 48'er has very similar construction techniques used, but my planking covers the stem, making a fine entrance, rather then the blunt cutwater he prefers.

Built up sticks, sprits, boom and gaffs could save quite a bit of weight where you really don't need it.

George's designs are sound and in keeping with his wish to sail safe, sure and without worry of bumping things or pinching the wallet for construction. Most of his earlier work seems based on work boat lines so the shapes aren't as ugly as has been suggested by some.

I do think saving weight aloft with better designed sticks and gear, some shaping of the appendages and increasing the ballast density would do well to improve the designs.

I know your out there, when are you going to splash Dragonfly? That design will shut up the slow as hell folks.

Seth Wood
07-08-2003, 08:48 AM
What are you building, SailBoatDude? I'm building Buehler's 30' Emily design, modified somewhat with a 6" higher sheer. Still, "slab-sided" is a good description: my deadwood, keel and stems are over 9" wide. The stems will be beveled, of course, but overall it is a solid, hefty design.

You're the second person I've heard say that the GB designs are tender but then get real solid around 15 degrees. That's encouraging.

07-08-2003, 02:28 PM
Dick Newick has an appropriate adage about the compromises made in a multihull design that seems approproate to this discussion: "You cannot have a roomy, fast and cheap boat" - Choose any two of these three or the other option roomy, fast, and expensive.

Buehler's earlier designs were more geared to the roomy and inexpensive - it is no crime, just a design tradeoff. Looking at his site now it seems he has gotten more expensive and upscale hence the deisel powered craft. Still the Juno type boats are very appealing to me - I think they are rather attractive.

On tire weights for ballast - Paul Johnson has succesfully used the concrete/tire weight combination poured into the bilge as ballast for several of his Venus designs. He recast the weights into ingots, placed them in the bilge and poured concrete around them, then glassed to whole over to secure it (foam cored glass construction). It does take a bit more space than an outside lead balast but in a boat with plenty of bilge this not troublesome. Sure the CG is a bit higher too, but not by much.

07-08-2003, 02:48 PM
I'm about to enter my forth year of construction of a 48' schooner of my own design. It's a single chine design with some shape rolled into the topsides. It's got a broken sheer, flush decked to the pilot house, divided appendages though quite full in the fin, with about 30 degrees deadrise. She's 43' on the water, 12' in beam and 5' 6" draft. Her D/L is 205 and is built like a tank. The bottom is 1 1/2" thick double file plank and the topsides are 1 1/4" triple diagonal (outer layer being fore and aft) over sawn 5/4's and 2 x 6 framing.

This design differs from GB's work in that the appendages have good shapes, no cutwater, lower CG, less burdened entrance and forward sections, hollow spars, more energy put into the sailing performance then the load carrying ability or punching through confused seas.

This lean a boat with the D/L she carries will be pushed around a bit when the sea picks up, but she'll coast along better (16.6 SA/D) with much less wind. The under body will let her be more maneuverable and point better, the relatively short over hangs will keep hobby horsing down, the balanced ends will help in a seaway. The rig is different too, having near equal areas in the triangle, fore and main, making it easy to balance as well. From a technical standpoint, she's a ketch as the fore is larger in area, but being a gaff not as tall as the bimu main, so I call her a schooner.

All designs are a large set of compromises, decided by the designer in hopes of pleasing the client. There are times that I've been aboard yachts who's numbers were enviably, but when the conditions changed we all would have liked to be on a nice heavy sloth like craft with a 400 plus D/L, if for no other reason to eat dinner let alone keep it in our bellies. Then we change our minds after the worst has past and enjoy a spirited reach home in less wind then would move the high D/L boat.

I've tried as recently as two days ago to get drawings posted, but I yet have the skill or software for the transition from my preview program. I'll get a nephew to show me someday. It's not at the top of my to do list, I have three projects I need to get out of my yard, so I can get back to some serious time on my schooner.

Howard Sharp
07-08-2003, 08:24 PM

I've been looking at the Emily too - seems like you might be further along than me. I'm interested in hearing why you decided the extra 6" on the sheer was the way to go - I know Beuhler recommends it, but it seems it might make the boat even more tender than it already is. How will it affect the stem and stern lines? And are you going to stick with the interior configuration? It seems to work well the way it is, but space for a guest would be useful - and maybe off-duty watches at sea. Juna gives the extra berth room easily, but at the cost of five more tons, double the building time, and nearly double the cost. I love the lines of both boats; if anyone's been on an Emily I'd be curious to know if it has the same feeling of comfort and heft as the Juna/o.

Seth Wood
07-09-2003, 11:21 AM
Howard -

I added the 6" to the sheer to make the cabin top seem less boxy, with George's blessing. (The cabin top stays in the same place.) The new sheer flows into the stems smoothly -- the stem shapes themselves are just continuations of the curves. This took a little fiddling while I was lofting, but I finally got a shape I like.

I figured raising the sheer would make for a drier boat and more room below. And to my eye it looks better.

My *sketched* belowdecks layout (it has changed many times and likely will again) has a chart table and galley, a settee/berth and a berth fwd. that might expand to a double if the spacing works out. No dinette. There's not a lot of room down there -- George comments that it's bascially a stretched 24' boat, which is about right.

Howard Sharp
07-09-2003, 08:24 PM
Thanks. The other thing I might try to do if I raised the deck would be to keep the seats at the original deck height to give more support for my poor ol' back and a little more protection from the weather.
I think you're right about the dinette - it needs a lot of room to work properly. The original Hagar layout might be more comfortable. I"ll be watching for progress reports !

Ken Hall
07-10-2003, 09:00 AM
For more information, peruse


It's a Yahoo! Group for Buehler fans, including some builders and owners.

I still have this fugitive dream of building an Uncle Sam....


[ 07-10-2003, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: Ken Hall ]

07-10-2003, 10:00 PM
Hi SailBoatDude

I have looking for and have not been able
to find the procedures for mixing concrete
and lead. Can you point me to some books or
web sites. I would like to mix tire weights,
lead shot and concrete.



07-11-2003, 03:06 PM
What procedures? Just drop the stuff in the mud during the pour. I melted the lead down as it came from several sources and needed cleaning, de-steeling and to be cast into easily managed sizes (40 lb. plates)

The lead was placed in the mold after a few inches of mud was vibrated down firm in the bottom. The plates where sized to leave an inch and a half to two inches on the sides of the mold. I'd put in a layer of plates, add a couple of inches of mud, another layer of plates until I ran out of plates. The mud worked all around the lead and steel (I used that too)

Some planning will be necessary to work in the reinforcement and bolts or bolt holes as was my need. My bolt holes where 1 1/4" dowels glued to the bottom of the mold and drilled out after the pour. The lead content in my pour was in the lower third of the casting. I used small aggregate and lots of steel. The holes where lined with epoxy, bolts inserted and then filled with epoxy. The outside is skined in 12 oz. cloth in epoxy.

I know a guy in Delaware, who built a 45' Witholt (sp?) design and used lead shot as his aggreate. He also had a mold, built out of strip planked steel (1/4" x 1" strips) which served as the outer shell for his finished keel. He just tacked it together over some plate station molds with holes cut in it to let the mud flow through from one section to the next. Sounds easy, but I wanted the lead as low as I could get it, so I used this method.

07-13-2003, 01:09 AM
Thank you SailBoatDude, that helps alot. I understand that the well respected GRP Island Packet has lead pigs set in concrete also.

07-13-2003, 06:01 AM
"Iwalani" has just completed her circumnavigation and will be at the woodenboat show for any Buehler fans who will be attending.

10-10-2003, 11:14 PM
Just came across this thread and thought I would make 2 comments:

1) I had a chance to see Iwalani and boy is she sure sturdy! And its always nice to see sturdy and pretty in the same sentence. ;) Nice boat Phil!

2) Lead Ballast in concrete: Personally, if I was using steel in the boat at all, I would make lead ingots from my scrap, then paint em in epoxy before puting them into the concrete. I'd hate to set up any current between the ballast lead and the fasteners


Frank E. Price
10-18-2003, 03:01 PM
I appreciate Buehler's designs and what he's done for the penniless who'd like to build a cruising boat. One of the points I think he makes is that his construction methods are about the simplest he can come up with, and that anyone who wants to add some of the more traditional features are free to do so. He refers those readers to short list of building manuals, including Chapelle and McIntosh. He is about the least jealous of his methods of any designer I have read.

The primary thing I think of changing when I daydream about building a Buehler design is replacing the hanging knees (gussets) at the sheer with sheer clamp and shelf. I notice that Iwalami (sp?) doesn't even have cabin carlins. But they finished their circumnavigation. Good on them!


10-19-2003, 02:15 AM
I would not use the shelf, but rather use the frame method he suggests. I built my frames in a similar way, though not near as heavy as 2 by stock he recommends. My frames where made with the deck beams and gussets in place on the station mold table. I built them as a complete assembly. Most had half of a floor attached as well (the other half attached after setup and truing as the bevel changes). My floors are a sandwich of 5/4th stock the actual floors are sandwiching the frame of the same stock (in most cases) This allowed me to set the frame assemblies on the backbone as a single unit and bend stock around the hull with little waste setup lumber. The sheer followed by the chine then the stringers.

Making a "T" shaped or "L" shaped sheer Log seemed unnecessary and heavy. The gusseted framing and bulkheads provide the lateral strength, the sheer clamp or band bridges the gaps and makes the affair fair. The sheer clamp, stringer, chine and planking provide the fore and aft strength. My sheer clamp is quite heavy as it serves as the top strake and rub. The planking laps under this nearly 3" thick build up of lumber, not counting the rub strip of stainless.

Those gussets, as he has them designed, are overly strong, much stronger then the framing stock. Mine were let into the frame sides by 30% of their thickness, with a filler added underneath the deck beam on the gusset. Similar was done with the floors (filler piece on the frame, between the floor pieces), but little effort was made to clean up the look there. It sort of looks like a laminated deal at the sheer/deck joint, though painted it's moot.

Why do you want to make this change? Strength? George's work has never been clamed to be weak or light.

10-19-2003, 08:13 AM
Frank- there are a few other radicals who don't use cabin carlins (fore and aft deck framing) including Nat Herreshoff. Think about how much stronger the trunk side is than a carlin timber and you will understand why. HMCo through bolted the trunk sides through the deck beams and Iwalani's are also as well as having trunk side frames.

Frank E. Price
10-23-2003, 07:03 PM
Yep, Nat Herreshoff even built boats with no keel -- the garboards rabbeted into the lead ballast casting. I was aboard a Q-boat in Seattle many years ago built that way. The boat ( Grayling ) was over 50 years old then and looking good.

A boat built with hanging knees instead of shelf and clamp has been proven strong enough if all the scantlings are heavy enough and it's well fastened and so forth. Chapelle's drawing of the Canadian pinky Dove shows no hanging knees or sheer clamp at the beam ends, but big lodging knees between each pair of heavy deck beams and another set of deck beams let into them. But I like shelf and clamp. Don't know why. Just seems right.

But I'll take a crack at it. With a sheer clamp the frame heads are sandwiched between sheer strake and clamp, making a very strong sheer, a girder, that yet retains some spring. The shelf adds more strength still (permitting a bit lighter scantling in the clamp) and makes an excellent landing for the beam ends and plenty of meat for bolts. I think if I had a boat being squeezed between a much bigger boat and a wharf, I'd appreciate the extra strength of such construction.

Additionally, such construction provides for a gap between frame head and planksheer, and between beam end and sheer strake, meaning more ventilation for those parts and more time before they start to rot. And when they do start to rot, the offending piece can (maybe) be removed and replaced with new wood. That may also be possible with Buehler's construction, depending on whether or not glue was used.

Another personal quirk, I don't trust glue in the faying surfaces of large timbers. I would rather trust large bearing surfaces and fastenings with plenty of non-setting goop between. When the glue joint breaks water settles in on a surface that holds no preservative or barrier other than the glue that has already given way. You know what follows.

I try to visual the construction as it will be after 20 years hard service in harsh conditions, and try to eliminate or mitigate ill consequences. But I'm not a boatbuilder. I've only built small boats, and only for myself. I have probably read too much, and that's affected my thinking. Some people build boats out of nothing but plywood and glue.


[ 10-23-2003, 08:08 PM: Message edited by: Frank E. Price ]

11-23-2011, 06:24 PM
argo. im building a 64 foot dragonfly 64x15.6x6.6. railway track is cheap and is great ballast cut to 2 foot lengths(cut with a torch) to fit into the ballast box made from 1/2 inch steel.check on ebay and you can find real 8x2 iron bark and spooted gum in 10 foot long sections for about $26.00 each you need to check them out, i have 180, that takes care of thekeel,stemand stern post and all the frames,8x4s make great floors.

wizbang 13
11-23-2011, 07:28 PM
8 years this thread has been anchored.
what's up argo?

11-23-2011, 07:34 PM
sorry mate did not look at the date,at anchor to long dont you think? argo

wizbang 13
11-23-2011, 07:41 PM
Yes, too long. I was not "here" 8 years ago, but I have opinions and experience on this kind of thing.
I wonder how it worked out for Doug Tutty (post71) and his " un-contaminated by engine" boat, yet not knowing how to sail?

11-23-2011, 08:44 PM
Argo, how far along are you on the dragonfly? Got any pics?

11-24-2011, 12:03 AM
Somehow I haven't got the impression that Buehler's boats are all that slow, as Peter says. I remember a comment Phil Bolger made about the first build of one of his designs. He was very disappointed in it's performance but a friend suggested that the sails may not be cut right. Then under the new sails the boat performed as designed.

170 miles a day ain't slow.

11-24-2011, 02:56 AM
sorry mate pics soon,dragonfly 64,is only 13foot 6ins at her widest point on the waterline and displaces 64,000 pound its a big canoe,with sails(the final rig has not been decided yet either,but it will be a schooner, read (georges backyard boat building)then read it again,and again,i have hundreds of plans and books on the subject,and have built a few boats and ships,and i have studied the subject to death and its still one of the best books on the subject i have read i estimate the total cost of the hull, to lock up at $ 30,000 in material 2011 prices .

,my frames are 8x2 ironbark,on 2 foot centers,the stringers are 4x2 on 12 inch centers.(they are recycled hardwood floor joists)$2.00 a meter. the final planking has not been decided.(see georges book on dragonflys composite) deckbeams,will be laminated cypress. engine will be a 6cyl lister of course its sleeping in my shed. as for the no engine thing try tacking into a bay on an outgoing tide with no wind?? right! at least get a push boat,tow boat. argo.

11-24-2011, 09:20 AM
Here's a Dragonfly 50, not quite what you're building but gives an idea:



And a drawing of a schooner rig:

http://www.georgebuehler.com/Dragonfly/Schooner rig.jpg

Quite a header turner to my eye. Any idea how long its going to take to complete?

11-24-2011, 10:27 AM
Good on you Argo. I think the Dragonfly with any rig is a sweet design. My copy of Backyard Boatbuilding is well read and dog eared. I have no tbuilt one of his boats yet. Good wishes on your build and please keep us posted.

11-24-2011, 05:22 PM
is that a sweet hull or what thanks,jim that pilotschooner wil make it fly.

11-24-2011, 05:26 PM
the trouble with georges designs is you all ways want to build a bigger one, like oceans 82. now if i could just????

11-25-2011, 12:02 PM
the trouble with georges designs is you all ways want to build a bigger one, like oceans 82. now if i could just????

I think for most of us 64 feet would do. Heck, I could even scrape by on the 50 :p

11-25-2011, 03:12 PM
Your right jim ,but a man can dream,To much( adventures in paradise)as a kid,i have some of the old dvd set (amazon.com). The TIKI appears in (designs to inspire,by Manard Bray) her real name was Pilgrim. designed by John.G.Alden. the owner Donald Starr,sailed her around the world, the book The schooner Pilgrams progress is a good read (amazon.com) argo.

Scot McPherson
07-17-2014, 02:48 PM
I think for most of us 64 feet would do. Heck, I could even scrape by on the 50 :p

Yeah, like Argo I would live to build an Oceans 82...but it's not realistic. I do however believe I can handle a hard chine 65 ft...I have picked the Archimedes 43ft, restationed it to 3 ft, and the corrected table of offsets taken back at 2 ft again so I can build it at 2ft frames and stations. 8 inches added to the shear and freeboard and 35% added to the beam at the chine, and will be threemasted with the ALCAi's sailplan, but as a gaff schooner rather than marconi schooner. All with George's blessing.

I really apprciate the folks who have contributed to this thread who have actually sailed these boats, especially Dona's Post #60. Those are the folks who need to comment on them, not folks who don't like them simply out of preference or prejudice. Not everyone wants a racer, and I think people have become so used to "newish" boats that they don't realize that what's being called a cruiser design really isn't a cruiser at all but still a racing or semi-racing design outfitted to cruise.

07-17-2014, 04:18 PM
Yeah, like Argo I would love to build an Oceans 82...but it's not realistic. I do however believe I can handle a hard chine 65 ft...

I hope you're a young man, or have lots of help.:D

Scot McPherson
07-24-2014, 02:31 PM
I have done a few projects in my life.

Scot McPherson
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