View Full Version : 18 foot Culler design - need help
01-13-2006, 04:03 PM
In Wooden Boat back issue #47 on page 151 there is a boat for sale listed as such:
"17' Concordia Gaff Sloop. See Wooden Boat, July 1978. Built 1966 by Concordia. Designed by Culler. Excellent. $3,200."
Does anybody have info on this. Google hasn't helped any...
01-13-2006, 04:43 PM
Can't speak to that particular boat, Capt., but in Burke's book the author states "The hull of this craft is one of the finest shapes Pete ever produced", and the boat in general has a host of nice touch from rudder through stemhead. He includes a half-dozen owner indorsements of a couple of paragraphs each. Good reading.
The Landing School built an 18' Concordia drawn by Culler.
I'll refrain from giving my opinion on any Culler boat
01-13-2006, 06:08 PM
The Center for Wooden Boats here in Seattle had a Concordia boat about that length. Pretty boat but pretty much a slug unless you got a pretty good breeze.
01-13-2006, 06:09 PM
Originally posted by Hwyl:
The Landing School built an 18' Concordia drawn by Culler.
I'll refrain from giving my opinion on any Culler boatWhat IS the deal with Culler boats. Several references on the web mentioned this very thing. Bolger I can understand but was Culler worse?
Bolger is a nice guy who designs boats that sail
Culler was (anecdotaly) a curmudgeon who designed uncomfortable boats to his own aesthetic without regard for safety, the needs of the owner or sailing ability.
01-13-2006, 07:12 PM
Thanks, there is a consensus against the fellow but I didn't know why. No intended slap against Bolger but... No, I'll just stop there with "no intended slap against Bolger." ;)
Has anyone got the July 1978 issue of Wooden Boat? The advertisement isn't clear if there was an article written about this design or what. There MUST be an article based upon the ad referencing it.
[ 01-13-2006, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: Captain Pre-Capsize ]
01-13-2006, 08:33 PM
I've sailed a Concordia Sloop Boat many times. Not my favorite design. It isn't roomy, it doesn't sail that well, and it's so tender you have to carry a lot of internal ballast. Given that much lumber and dacron, you could certainly come up with a more useful boat. Culler's designs were well-liked for their traditional looks.
01-14-2006, 05:19 AM
I think you'll find some repartee about whether Bolger's boats "sail" all that well...in at least a few designs, swimming trunks are mandatory.
01-14-2006, 10:46 AM
There is a division amongst us of those who "just want to get out there" and those who want to build a boat and to who getting out there is secondary to "looks". In other words they want it to look good FIRST and then, oh yea it floats too.
The benefit to a design looking right is that the evolution of designs being what it is, the ones that look right are right all the way around too. Kind of like a Robb White designed boat. ;) I'm closer to the second group than the first. That's why Bolger dosn't attract me as much as some others.
Harry: as to the swimming trunks; with a name like mine... well, the trunks are more necessary than most anything else, PFD excepted. :D
Note to Old Bingey: Thanks for the PM and duly noted.
[ 01-14-2006, 11:55 AM: Message edited by: Captain Pre-Capsize ]
01-14-2006, 10:51 AM
As the person who recently posted my remembrances of Bud McIntosh's comments about Culler designs, I feel that I should weigh in here and say that I don't believe there is a CONSENSUS that his designs were bad. If you read John Burke's book you will see that most of Culler's small boats were commissioned and that the owners often came back for another boat later. Presumably they liked the first one. As I've said before, Mystic Seaport has Culler "Good Little Skiffs" in their rental fleet, and I take that as praise indeed. Culler also designed small boats for Maynard and Anne Bray (long a part of the WB staff), who certainly knew what a good small boat was. I have have heard mixed reports on the Sloop Boats. Some have said they were tender, but there is a published report of a man who built one and then sailed it across Long Island Sound in quite a blow and seemingly felt comfortable and secure. I have a friend who is quite the boatman, living and writing within steps of his own docks and small personal fleet. He owns a Culler-built Sloop Boat and seems to like it just fine. It would probably do to read the article WB published on the Sloop Boat. IIRC
it isn't meant to be a fast daysailer, but more of a 'ship's boat' type. The article describes what sorts of uses play to the design's strengths. If these fit in with yours, then I'd say take a good long look at her before you make a decision.
01-14-2006, 01:01 PM
I suspect there can be bit of defensiveness anytime designers, boats, or heck even outboard motors are discussed, depending on who owns or builds what, myself certainly included. I agree with your statement about divisions a bit Capt., except there are a few more. There are those of us who love a beautiful boat and can find a useful one among the many that incorporate classic lines, for instance. ;)
As to Culler's vessels, many were designed to row and sail, act as "beach boats" etc. Many of the timeworn, handsome and traditional Whitehalls and such of history didn't sail well at all, except with wind aft, so I would not be surprised to see Pete's "combo" boats behave similarly. But that would not stop me from wanting to build or own one of them. And his pulling boats are some slippery. Handsome, too.
Yep, put me down squarely in the pro-Culler camp for both design and practical aspects of his work.
John, your points are pretty much right on. A design cannot be all things to all folks. You pays your money and you takes your choice. So too, are your notes about the Brays, Mystic and others in the know. Culler's long and prolific association with Concordia is fairly impressive, too. I'd hate to see the guy broadsided over the John F. Leavtt debate, particularly when there is so much inconclusive back and forth.
I sure wish his books were back in print. (Burke's Pete Culler's Boats goes for a couple hundred bucks, if you can find one). I think they would be more than well received in WB circles.
01-14-2006, 01:48 PM
I don't think all Culler's designs were good or all were bad. The sloop boat is an example of a boat for rowing as well as sailing. He said it was designed to be like one of the inshore lobster boats he knew about. Most lobster boats were more oriented to sailing, like the Woods Hole spritsail boats. I do think the sloop boat was one of his less successful desings. I remember reading a review of it in National Fisherman when I was a kid. They didn't like it either. On the other hand, I know someone who has a Culler cutter, and is quite pleased with it. Part of the question is, does it suit your needs? Whether I was lobstering or sailing, I don't think the sloop boat was as good as some of the other designs for the purpose. It's not roomy for the cost, it doesn't sail well, but it probaby does row better than a Woods Hole boat. And it's quite good looking.
01-14-2006, 03:15 PM
Captain PC , The July 78 reference seems to refer to a Eulogy written by Jon Wilson on the Editor's Page of that issue ( 23:2 ).Culler had died earlier that Spring .It's not about the Sloop boat ,but does touch on his importance to the Wooden Boat Revival ,which was still fresh in people's minds back then .
If I was keeping a boat in a situation where good rowing qualities would eliminate the need for an otherwise necessary outboard , maybe the often noted tenderness of the sloop boat would be a sensible compromise to me .She has side benches , which sounds comfortable .
Culler designed a more powerful version for a man sailing around CuttyHunk .This is called the Buzzards Bay Sloop .She's a foot longer and wider , with harder bilges and 700 lb. of outside ballast .
Mike O'Brian wrote an article on this boat in issue 122 . The lines of the 2 boats were published , which are interesting to compare .He liked the ride but noted she's slower in stays than a light center boarder with a big rudder . He wrote that the Landing School ( in Kennebunkport ) had built about 20 of the boats ,so I guess the design was considered significant and saleable . Maybe someone from around those parts has sailed one of these bigger boats ?
01-14-2006, 03:28 PM
I Googled 'Pete Culler' and got this picture of a Sloop Boat:
01-14-2006, 03:54 PM
OOOooohhhhhhh, I would LOVE that boat... How does one find out more about it? Character just, just ooses out of it. What a beautiful sheer, size, rig... Oh, stop me before I sell my car and just...
01-14-2006, 04:32 PM
Capt., you gotta get yourself the aforementioned "Pete Culler's Boats - The Complete Design Catalog".....nice photos, details and a page or two of discussion on each boat. Gorgeous Stuff. Your loved ones would not be able to get your attention for a week or two.
01-14-2006, 06:29 PM
Here's one for sale. You might be able to get a much lower price.
[ 01-14-2006, 07:32 PM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]
01-14-2006, 09:25 PM
Cap'n Pre Cap: use the search function on the WB homepage and you'll find they did a nice article about the sloop boat some years ago. IIRC it too has nice photos, a couple of small drawings, and a nice write-up of the design requiements. If WB still has back issues of this issue in stock, I think it would be worth your while and a lot cheaper than buying a copy of Burke's book ($100? wow! I thought it was a lot when I paid $50 for mine!)
01-15-2006, 01:50 PM
Cap ; Culler also presented the Sloopboat design ,slightly altered ,as a Kingston Lobster boat ( the type all these were derived from in the first place ). This is said to be his preferred rig for the boat .I think you should get hold of a copy of the book somehow , if you like Culler's style .The book functions as the catalog for the collection of his plans at Mystic .Tell them what page you're looking at and they'll sell you the plans
01-15-2006, 03:39 PM
Despite their superficial resemblence of shere and bow profile, the sloop boat and the heftier Buzzard's Bay boat are quite different.
I know the Concordia, sailed her maybe 15 years ago or so. Very fine all around little boat. The fellow who owned her then did not ballast her at all, by the way. That's what sane sail trim and hiking out are for.
She ghosted nicely in calm weather and was safe out on the boisterous Nantucket Sound up to a Fresh Breeze (Force 5). I saw her blasting along in a Moderate Gale (Force 7) so I know that with good handling she can do pretty much whatever you have the nerve and skill for.
01-19-2006, 03:42 PM
I have all of Captain Pete's books ( I think) and he WAS a curmudgeon, but in the good sense; his opinions and ideas were not vague, that's for sure. After reading Mike O'Brien's review of the Buzzards Bay boat, I got the plans from Mystic. That boat is on my 'someday' list. Rick
01-19-2006, 04:44 PM
I was fortunate to purchase some plans from Capt Pete's wife shortly after he passed away and got a quick look at his shop and home. I do think his boats were based on designs from a much earlier era when men were men and it was assumed you knew what you were about before venturing out on the water in one of these craft. Although these boats are lovely to look at they do carry a substantial amount of sail area and were meant to be reefed early and often some real beef was required to do these things. I think many forumites would do best to admire these vessels from afar.
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