View Full Version : Penobscot 14 New Build - Lake Occoquan, VA

10-22-2016, 02:04 PM
My first boat build. Spent years dreaming of building this boat with my son - last fall we got the boatbuilding workshop built and all the hardscaping and landscaping done to tie it to the house. My wife and I wanted it look like it was a purpose built outbuilding that looked like the house. In this thread I will start with the workshop build and proceed to the boat build which began in earnest late August (collecting wood, cutting patterns, etc.) and building the boat in September. I have spent over a year pouring over everyone's P14 builds, learning from your mistakes hoping not to repeat them - but, apparently that's not how things work!

I do a lot of other woodworking, build furniture, cabinets, lots of molding and wainscot in the house etc. - problem is all that stuff is square and plumb! Boatbuilding is a whole different thang.

This post will be picture heavy, and text light:

The boat will be used on the Occoquan Reservoir in Northern VA where we live - not very wide, but long lake and we have a dock with a slip in the backyard:



Here is the workshop being built - it is 24' x 12' - I built the foundation a few years back - used to be a raised vegetable garden - used 77 lb interconnected blocks with geogrid reinforcement, topped off with 1' of compacted crush run and a 6" concrete slab with lots of rebar and metal mesh:

This is the foundation next to the cyprus beehives:

Pouring Concrete:



10-22-2016, 02:42 PM
Framing the structure:





10-22-2016, 02:49 PM
Working on the hardscaping:







10-22-2016, 02:52 PM






10-22-2016, 02:57 PM





Paul Girouard
10-22-2016, 03:12 PM
Nice work! Did you do all the work yourself, or hire subcontractors?

Do you have a link to the step lights you used, they seem to cast a lot of light , and the small wire indicates they are low voltage , maybe solar powered???

Judging by the property we won't be seeing a shoe string budget on the boat build!!

Snow photo's are very nice, must have been this past winter when Virgina got dumped on, my niece lives in Cozett, Virginia , I think that's the right spelling, she posted similar amounts of snow around her place last winter.

Welcome to the forum , looking forward to following along on your build.

10-22-2016, 04:12 PM
Yes - did all the hardscaping, foundation, low voltage wiring, cabinetry in the workshop, countertop - used maple hardwood flooring from lumber liquidators, the trim work, shelving etc. Have more to post this evening.

I got the lighting from from VOLT Lighting - 12" hardscape 12v step lights - they are awesome - not solar though.

I am at Wintergreen tonight at our place in the mountains - Crozet is 20 mins from here. Yes, the winter pics are this past Feb - we did get dumped on. We built the workshop last fall.

Paul Girouard
10-22-2016, 05:06 PM
Yes - did all the hardscaping, foundation, low voltage wiring, cabinetry in the workshop, countertop - used maple hardwood flooring from lumber liquidators, the trim work, shelving etc. Have more to post this evening.

I got the lighting from from VOLT Lighting - 12" hardscape 12v step lights - they are awesome - not solar though.

I am at Wintergreen tonight at our place in the mountains - Crozet is 20 mins from here. Yes, the winter pics are this past Feb - we did get dumped on. We built the workshop last fall.

Nice ! Are you a retired contractor / carpenter , that's LOT of work to do in a relatively short time, so you must be able to work on it full time! If you're doing it in your spare time / weekends / evenings you doing extremely well !

Thanks for the lighting brand, I'm going to show them to our electrician , they seem to throw more light than the ones he's been using on our projects.

10-22-2016, 05:32 PM
No - I work 60+ hours a week - I just don't sleep much....

10-22-2016, 05:40 PM






10-22-2016, 05:44 PM

And now for the Penobscot Build!!




Lookee what crawls in when you leave the doors open!!

Sharp tools and a Guinness I brewed on my home brewery system in the basement...

10-22-2016, 05:50 PM
My boy Connor helping build the jig:



Transom and bulkheads made of white oak:





10-22-2016, 05:53 PM





10-22-2016, 05:56 PM






10-22-2016, 06:01 PM





10-22-2016, 06:08 PM






10-23-2016, 08:51 AM
A few boats my buddies own - the Maribel cruising on the Potomac near Georgetown:


One of two steam boats that cruise the Occoquan Reservoir - my buddy Dave owns one:


Aboard "Steamboat Dave's" fantail launch:



10-23-2016, 07:15 PM
Very nice. I built a P14 in 2011-2012. You are moving right along, and your other work is impressive too. It's ironic, as a hobby woodworker, I remember a year or two ago I looked into beehives and read up on how they are put together. Pretty neat system. Would have liked to have built some and tried to get a colony going but for where I am located (suburbia) it's not allowed.

Your boatbuilding shed is out of this world. Standing seam metal roof. Pretty sure you have more cupboards in there than I have in my kitchen :) Also thank you for showing the construction photos for the concrete slab. I've been reading up a lot on concrete lately, particularly concrete countertops but anything concrete related in general. It looks like a well executed slab, the workers knew what they were doing.

There are a few others on the forum that have built a P14 as well. If you have any questions, let me know, although it looks like you've got things under control. Y>

10-23-2016, 09:04 PM
Thanks! Yeah the cabinets are to hide all the crap. My wife also uses the workshop for stained glass work and oil painting - so we need lots of storage.

A buddy of mine did the concrete work and they did do a fantastic job. Had them do a polished finish for the surface and it is square and level!

I built the beehives from Cyprus and run 3 hives - hard time to be a beekeeper though.

You have any pics of your P14 in action?

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10-24-2016, 09:10 AM
These were from 3 years ago I think. When you are on your boat you can't take pictures of it so on this day I went out for a quick spin while my wife took the pictures from shore. Normally I would not keep the oars stowed like this. There's a chance the rigging can catch on them when making a turn. DAMHIKT

Since it's still early on in the build for you, there are a couple things I should mention (this is for the lug rig):
1) Consider making the mast about 1 ft longer than the plans show. I'm 5'9" and if I'm by myself at the helm, it's ok for headroom but you have to watch the boom. There's a builder from Texas who made a second mast after his first season, and reported the sailing characteristics hadn't really changed with the longer mast.
2) On the mast, don't bother with the collar that is shown on the plans. I think the idea was to be a stop against which the boom jaws would rest, but you can't generate anywhere near enough tension in the halyard when you are raising the sail and tying it off to a cleat on the mast. I added a downhaul with some blocks to get mechanical advantage. The downhaul is looped around the boom and goes down to the stem where it turns and runs along the top of the keel. It ends under the front thwart at a nylon clam cleat so if I need to snug it up under way it's not too far to go.
3) In order to get some tension along the edges of the sail, you'll need adjustable outhauls, one each for the boom and yard. I made these using nylon clam cleats. These don't need adjusting under way, I just check they are snug before I raise the sail.
4) Definitely make a mast traveller for the halyard. Basically it's a metal ring that goes around the mast and has a S-hook welded to it. The ring acts as a stay to keep the yard close to the mast while raising/lowering the yard. In my pics you can sort of see it. This allows for quick setup.

Basically to get going, once I have the mast in place, I have to connect the mainsheet to the aft end of the boom with a quicklink (chain link with threaded closure), connect the downhaul at the front end of the boom (also quicklink), and slip the loop of line on the yard onto the traveller and hoist up the sail. Once it's up I tie the halyard off on a cleat on the front of the mast, then tension it using the downhaul. Of course the centreboard and rudder have to be in place as well ;)



10-24-2016, 03:22 PM
Beautiful! I love the red sheer board. She looks like she is making a pretty good wake at speed too! Funny, at this point thinking of the mast feels WAAAY down the line. I am hoping to get the transom ply on and the first garboard on this weekend - finished laminating the outer stem this past weekend - as we come into the holidays, my time is not MY time.

Did you pick the lug rig for simplicity and ease of setup? I kinda like the look of the gunter rig with main and jib. I will definitely look at the boom height either way - I am 5'8" but have a thick head, soooo....

10-24-2016, 11:04 PM
Beautiful! I love the red sheer board. She looks like she is making a pretty good wake at speed too! Funny, at this point thinking of the mast feels WAAAY down the line. I am hoping to get the transom ply on and the first garboard on this weekend - finished laminating the outer stem this past weekend - as we come into the holidays, my time is not MY time.

Did you pick the lug rig for simplicity and ease of setup? I kinda like the look of the gunter rig with main and jib. I will definitely look at the boom height either way - I am 5'8" but have a thick head, soooo....

Yes I went with lug for ease of setup. The main difference of the gunter compared to the others is that it needs standing rigging. After putting up the mast you'd have to put up the forestay and two shrouds. Mind you, the gunter will be able to point higher, that is it can point closer to the wind when tacking back and forth going upwind, and probably a bit faster too. So it's a trade off.

Another thing that's not in the photo is a tiller extension. The following year I went sailing by myself for the first time and the winds were strong and steady so I worked up the courage to sit on the gunwale as this kept the boat more upright. I found that when I was by myself, the bow tended to be higher so I moved further forward as this improved the fore-aft balance. But when I moved that far forward I found myself reaching for the tiller, so a tiller extension was in order. It's pretty easy to make one, mine is just a piece of wood and a piece of metal bent into a U. The extension can pivot side to side as well as up and down. If not needed it can be folded back on top of the tiller and clipped to it.

10-25-2016, 01:21 AM
Really enjoying following along with this one. Keep up the great work.

10-25-2016, 07:17 AM
RowandSail - would love some close ups of your boat and your tiller extension. I grew up sailing FJs and Lasers on the Chesapeake Bay and a tiller extension was a must when single handing in a good blow. At our end of the lake, the lake points northwest and is saddled between two long hillsides - in the fall, winter and spring, we get quite a wind moving through the area as it funnels between the hills and heads towards the Potomac.

Peter - thanks! Will endeavor to do so! Hopefully I can add more pics after this weekend's work.

10-25-2016, 09:29 PM
Looking great, boat and shed. Our P14 St Jacques took a break while we worked on an old rowboat, and has the run of the carriage house now. We hope to get back on her build in November.




10-25-2016, 10:15 PM
Jonymac, sure thing. I should be able to get that tiller extension pic in a day or so.

As for close-ups, anything in particular you want to see?

10-26-2016, 09:17 PM
Signalcharlie! I have followed your build and have most your pictures memorized. I posted on your blog asking for an update - you just can't let those other boats get in the way of your P14 build! You have a beautiful setup right on the water, beautiful shed and patio!

Rowandsail, whatever you think is interesting - I love the mods you made, close ups of the interior, joinery, whatever. I am in soak mode now trying to visualize how this thing goes together. The centerboard trunk seems to be quite a puzzle too.

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10-31-2016, 10:13 AM
Ok here we go. Sorry for the delay. Had to drop a lot of things for a few days as a family member had to be taken to hospital, gave us all a bit of a scare.

Anyway, here are some pics of the tiller extension. I just used left over sheer clamp or rub rail material (Douglas Fir). Never even applied any finish to it :d I kept it full width at the hinge to hopefully keep it from splitting, but a few inches away, I reduced the width to more or less a 3/4" square cross section with rounded corners.

Close-up of the hinge. It's made out of 1/8"x1" aluminum, bent into a U and drilled for machine screws. Acorn nuts to avoid having pokey screw ends, and washers so it all slides smoothly and doesn't rub on the wood. I think I got the clip on the tiller arm from the electrical aisle at a hardware store. Not fancy but speed was of the essence when I put it together.

The boat is tucked away for the winter but I have a couple shots taken a year or two ago which show my "road ready" setup. On the rail at both ends of the mast partner you can see where I was in the middle of a repair. I initially had cleats there but found it was more convenient to use the painter for tying the bow end of the boat to docks. There was also a bit of damage on the starboard rub rail from rubbing against a dock. Everything that stays in the boat is tied to some part of the structure so that it won't float away in the event of a capsize. The spar bags and oars are tied in a bundle and secured to keep them from moving around too much when on the road.

The spars are inside cloth bags that my wife made. Under the thwarts I placed foam blocks, wrapped in cloth bags, to provide additional flotation. I learned a couple of years ago that the built-in flotation wasn't quite enough. I capsized and after righting the boat the top of the centreboard case was just below the water level, so bailing was ineffective. As it were I was in a area with plenty of boats around and within a few minutes someone came by and towed me closer to shore where I could row the rest of the way. The foam blocks were built up from 2" foam layers cut to try and take up as much room under the thwarts as possible.
Just ahead of the CB case you can see the nylon clamcleat on the keel, this is the end of my downhaul. It's within easy reach of the passenger if there is one, and also the helmsman if alone. There is a block shackled to the stem near the step where the downhaul turns from vertical to horizontal.

One thing you can't see in the photos is the mast step. I didn't like the idea of mortising into the stem itself, so I placed a separate step on top of the stem, but when I put it on I realized I used the wrong measurement and it was directly in line with the hole in the partner, so I had to remove it (I had of course epoxied it on). The original step was made of wood wrapped in fiberglass and it took a fair bit of effort to make. For the replacement one I got a bar of aluminum and routed out a square through hole for the tenon on the bottom of the mast. It's held in place on top of the stem with 2 long screws that go deep into the stem.

11-03-2016, 08:18 PM
RowandSail - thanks for all the great pics! I love the tiller extension idea and the flotation under the seats. You sure keep a clean boat!

Here is what I accomplished last weekend:

Planed down the laminated outer stem.


Clamping the mahogany ply to the white oak transom frame:

Removed clamps and routed the transom flush with the frame - ready for adding the garboards this weekend!

11-04-2016, 10:36 AM
jonymac thanks for the encouragement on our build, we are getting in to our cool weather now in Florida so they'll be some time to make things happen. Y'all's arts and craft studio is awesome. lots of good energy out there! Sorry I can't find comments on our blog right now, hopefully I answered your question. P14 is next, then a wooden Sunfish and then a wooden Super Sailfish.

We are leaning towards a sprit rig for several reasons. 0) Skipper doesn't want to duck a boom on a small boat (there's really no reason to list any more of the reasons...) but anyway, 1) This boat will be primarily rowed for exercise, the sail rig will be just for goofing off 2) If I want to sit on a rail in higher breezes I'll launch a Sunfish, 3) least expensive route, 4) we already have a sliding gunter rig on our Drascombe, which we love, but it is boomless as well, 5) the rig will fit inside the boat and does not have stays, so I think I could head out rowing and step the mast later if I wanted to, 6) everything will easily stow inside and under a boat cover, she will live outside under a tin roof, and 7) we don't have a sprit rig.

You did a great job on the stringers up at the bow. My boat looks like frankenboat up there but it works :/ Are you planning on painting the topsides/interior or finishing bright? If bright, I'd suggest NOT mixing and matching different batches of plywood as I did. Instead consider cutting each strake from the same piece, otherwise you may get some variety in finish and see a big difference in shade right at a scarf. That could be tempered by stain I suppose. If you are going to paint then I found I could maximize usage of the plywood by cutting forward strake halves from one sheet and aft strake halves from another sheet. All of this plywood pictured below is Hydrotek BS1088 okume, but different batches.


I know Arch uses SS screws and I did as well below the waterline to fasten the planks, but I might consider silicone bronze on the next boat.

One other thought, my cabinet maker friend finished his boat bright inside and subsequently won "Best Sailboat" at the Madisonville Show a few years back. But then the boat got mildew stains from being covered outside and he ended up refinishing it with paint. Still looks awesome, but if your boat will be outside I'd take precautions against a mildew invasion.



His boat is the second P14 he built, the first is still MIA after Hurricane Ivan. He has rowed the two of them over 1200 miles and he is in his 70s, and he is the inspiration for the path we are on. He is downsizing and selling Deja Vu Too, I suggest you check out his craigslist ad (https://pensacola.craigslist.org/boa/5773002247.html) and capture his images for ideas. He went a different route with the seats/flotation as well, made the top slats removable and put vent ports on the bulkheads. As discussed above, if this boat swamped he would not be able to bail it out, but he rows in a confined area and is always close to shore, so a PFD is his preferred flotation mitigation.

12-16-2016, 09:05 AM
Howdy jonymac

As I started sealing up the inside with epoxy I found there are a lot of nooks and crannies in the bow stem/stringer area. Tough to get a brush in there. So you may want to coat the inner plank ends and the stringers/stem right before the plank goes on with your chosen sealer. The lowers ones don't matter as much visually as they are hidden inside the bulkhead.

Also as Arch said, pay a lot of attention to cleaning up excess epoxy from the lap seams. His method of a sharp stick worked great and I smoothed the last bit down with the "finger fillet" tool. But I missed a few spots and those blobs would have been unsightly with a bright finish. I got most of them off with a sander, I decided to go the paint route and didn't feel the need to get every last bump.


04-13-2017, 09:12 AM

05-17-2017, 09:00 PM
Going well! Lost some speed on the project - work has been relentless the past 8 months. Did more hardscaping and landscaping - those projects are close to being complete. I still have a fish pond to put in and may work on that this summer. So far I have put the garboards on and planed the keel area to accept the keel. I am ready to put the next two planks on now that the stringers and edges of the garboards are planed properly. I will work on the boat during rainy days and the pond on sunny days through the summer.

05-17-2017, 09:45 PM
Sunset on the pontoon

My kingdom for some thumbs...

First scarf ever!



05-17-2017, 09:45 PM






05-18-2017, 08:53 AM
Very nice, brings back memories.

I see the power planer in the last pic. I don't have one but thankfully I have a friend that does and was able to borrow it, sure made quick work of dealing with the flat for the deadwood.

One tip: you may have already thought of it, but I'll mention it anyway: once you've got a plank on one side mostly figured out (with a bit of extra still left to trim), use it as a template for the other side. Should help speed things up a bit.

Rich Jones
05-18-2017, 02:52 PM
You have, without the shadow of a doubt, the classiest looking shop on the entire Forum. It's got everything, including the kitchen sink!
Seeing the attention to detail with the shop, I can imagine how nice that boat will be.
Isn't it fun twisting those garboards up by the bow? I've built five glued lap boats and I always expect that area of the garboard to crack under the strain while putting it in place. So far, I've been lucky.

05-18-2017, 03:24 PM

Congrats on the first scarf! I fretted about that then finally did it. Yours looks great. It's a challenge to divide up time between other boating, ponds etc but your boat will look great out there when she's finished. Does she have a name yet?

We are working on rail cap this week.

Kent and Audrey

05-18-2017, 08:40 PM
RowandSail - thanks for the tip, and no, that didn't occur to me - guess I didn't trust that each side was a mirror of the other - maybe I can do that with the next two planks.

Rich - thanks! It was fun to design and build. Of course if I could have afforded it, I would have doubled the size. The garboards were definitely a challenge, especially because they were my first ones, but I am nervous about the next planks too - been dragging my feet on that. Maybe this weekend...

Kent & Audrey - Thanks! The boat does not have a name yet - guess it will will come to me when the time is right. Do you have pics of the rail cap?


05-18-2017, 09:17 PM
Hi jonymac

Here are a few pictures. We cut a rough blank for the smaller caps and then split them with the table saw, planed them down to 5/16th inch.


Lots of pictures on our blog (http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2017/05/st-jacques-log-10-may-17-breasthook-cap.html) and on the WB Forum thread (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?171985-Penobscot-14-St-Jacques-New-Build&highlight=st+jacques).

Quarter knee caps


Look at our blog 22 Nov 15 entry. (http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/p/penobscot-14-st-jacques.html) Don't despair on the date, we are taking our time with the build, pretty much every other project has had priority over this boat, including last year's restoration of Barbashela (http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_16.html), yard work, built the shop, restored 6 other boats, etc...

I made a paper pattern for the next plank, traced it and cut it a bit oversize after I added the 3/4 inch lap. Put it on, marked the lap and stringer, took it off, added the 3/4 inch lap and trimmed/planed fair. Got the stringer trimmed close then final trimmed it with router on the boat. I was able to use that new plank as a pattern for the opposite side. Remember to account for the scarf overlap when transferring pattern to plank.



Kent and Audrey
holler if you need more specifics, not all pics are on the blog.