View Full Version : Penobscot 14 launched... finally!

Dennis Rioux
06-18-2006, 04:14 PM
Well, I missed launching on my 40th birthday by four weeks, but Fatherís Day makes a good second choice even if it was raining. There are still some small things to do like get the name (Isentropic) on that funky vertically grained transom (oops) and buttons on the oars and leather on the boom jaws, but by and large after 670 hours of building time and countless offline hours thinking about it spread out over the last 23 months she is done enough to sail.



My first sail ever, actually, and I could not have done it without my friend Brad (in the yellow -- thatís me in the green and my girls looking wet but having fun and my spouse is behind the camera). He helped me rig the boat yesterday afternoon and talked me through some tacks and jibes this morning, and I am modestly proud to say we didnít dump in. It was a little crowded with five of us aboard, but winds were light (which led to an awkward bit of rowing under the boom at the end but we wonít dwell on that).

I also couldnít have done this without the collective wisdom of all the people on this forum, and I thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts. And thank you to WoodenBoat for hosting the forum. I would also particularly like to thank Bob Quick for sending me a most valuable CD-ROM of photos of his Penobscot 14 build, Al Meyer for sharing his experiences on this forum and elsewhere, Bob Smalser for teaching me about odd numbers (solid mast laminations -- I was going to do something stupid...), and to Todd Bradshaw who made the sail and taught me a thing or three about sails along the way . And thank you to everybody who wrote in response to various threads on topics like painting, varnishing, wooden blocks, oar making, leathering, rope fenders, and all the other good stuff that make these boats so addictive.



There are more photos on my web page: Isentropic (http://www.phys.uwosh.edu/rioux/boats/penobscot.html). Itíll get updated in the next day or two with some better driveway sailing shots of the sail when the weather improves and I get more comfortable hoisting the sail -- that floppy yard takes some getting used to.


Dave Gray
06-18-2006, 06:14 PM
She's a beauty, Dennis. Good work on the boat, you and your family should enjoy her for years to come. If I may ask, what brand and color is the light green paint?

06-18-2006, 07:25 PM
She's a beauty Dennis. Congratulations and thanks for sharing. :)


06-18-2006, 07:32 PM
Man you did good!! Excellent website too. Great photos.
Did she sail as well as she looks?

Did you make those fenders yourself?
Good job!

Ken Hutchins
06-18-2006, 07:39 PM
Beautiful,:) isn't a great feeling to finally get her wet?

S/V Laura Ellen
06-18-2006, 07:57 PM
Congrats, beautiful boat!

Dave R
06-18-2006, 08:09 PM
Oh, she's lovely. Congratulations Dennis.

Reilly, Mark
06-18-2006, 08:13 PM
Great Work. Good Sailing!

06-18-2006, 08:19 PM
Nice work, and love the colour scheme. Hope you enjoy using her.

Dennis Rioux
06-18-2006, 08:19 PM
Dave: I think the color rendering is a little deceptive or maybe it is the lighting, but in any case it is Kirby's Irish Green (#38 I think) which is seems a little darker in real life. The other color is their Cream (#9). In some lights it looks very yellow. Full disclosure: I had to put the chevrons on the oar blades because there was big old punky knot hiding in there when I sliced off the outer faces which I had to fill with epoxy. So I took more inspiration from Culler than I had originally intended when I got a copy of his book.

Jimmy: I thought she sailed just perfect, but then I had absolutely nothing to compare the experience to. It was pretty exciting to be going and there was no motor noise and my arms weren't tired. My friend Brad who has vast experience was quite happy and pleasantly surprised at how well she points into the wind.

And, yes, I did make the fenders... with Mom's help :rolleyes: (more full disclosure). She was visiting last weekend and figured out how to do the crown knot. Of course, in the excitement to get the boat into the water the fenders got left in the car. No matter, the dock at this landing was tremendously high and the fenders would have done nothing.

Ken: It certainly is a good feeling -- I hope I can learn to sail quicker than it took me to build.

06-18-2006, 08:39 PM

06-18-2006, 09:54 PM
Dennis - where do we find info on making the rope fenders?

06-18-2006, 10:47 PM
Lovely boat, hope you have a drier day for your next adventure!

06-19-2006, 02:17 AM
Lovely job, Dennis. and once again thanks for your web page which has been very helpful to me as well as your emails!

Bob Hart

06-19-2006, 03:35 AM
Wow! Sweet :)

06-19-2006, 03:53 AM
Wow! Beautiful boat!

Buddy Sharpton
06-19-2006, 07:09 AM
Congratulations on your beautiful boat Dennis.
About that awkward rowing. Brail your sail.
Don't need anymore rigging. Just gather up your main, boom, and spar around your mast and use the mainsheet to snug it "alongside" in as neat a vertical roll as you want to make it and using a slip knot. Then you can row, and your girls troll or cast for fish as you go along.
One knot to release with a quick tug and you're sailing again.

Dennis Rioux
06-19-2006, 07:34 AM
Nanoose: There is an article on p. 91 in the March/April 1992 issue of Wooden Boat by Barbara Merry and Benjamin Martinez on making rope fenders. There are also a number of posts in the archives of this forum that you can find with the search feature (hurray for the new bulletin board engine/code/thingy!). My library had to bring the old issues out of deep storage for me, so I spent some time browsing and came across another article by the same authors on bow puddings on p. 109 of the November/December 1992 issue which I thought was pretty neat. Don't need one, but they are pretty.

Buddy: Thanks for teaching me about brailing. We were within 50 yards of the dock and the wind had died and we were in some weeds and the three year old was screaming bloody murder to go to the bathroom (and had been for 15 minutes -- ahh, Father's Day) so none of us was thinking too clearly. In our more relaxed future sailing adventures I will give it a whirl.

David Geiss
06-19-2006, 07:34 AM
Congrats on your tenacity and great results!
Sail it in good health!
Some shots under sail later this summer?

Miami Mike
06-19-2006, 09:05 AM

Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration. You have allot to be proud of and the experience of having taken your children sailing on a boat you built yourself! Now that's a Fathers Day.

Enjoy it!


Whidbey Wherry
06-19-2006, 09:16 AM

You did a great job on this boat. It really looks good.

I echo your appreciation of all the contributions made by this forum. I could not have built my 14 foot wherry without their help. Mine was a little simpler that yours; I got the kit from Pygmy Boats of Port Townsend, but it was still quite challenging for a first-time boat builder.

I am still looking for a suitable trailer for mine. I like that Shorelandír that you have. Could you let me know which model it is, and what is cost?

Thanks, Jerry

06-19-2006, 10:07 AM
Fine job, Dennis, a beautiful boat. You'll enjoy sailing or rowing it, she moves through the water just fine, very stable for a round bottom boat. I've found that the lug rig likes a little bit of wind. The gunter sloop would probably sail better in light air, but I like the easy set-up of the lug rig enough to offset the increased performance of the sloop. When the wind has died, I have dropped canvas; the sail, yard and boom store easily to the side. But I like Buddy's suggestion better, I'll have to give it a try. Again, congradulations, she looks great.

06-19-2006, 11:25 AM
Thanks Dennis for the info on the fenders (I tried the search feature to no avail before I asked you).

Buddy Sharpton
06-19-2006, 11:34 AM
Never too soon to introduce the ladies to the joy of an always oresent bailing bucket and the realtive impossibility onshore standards of privacy on boats of anysize. Gentlemen can be trusted to avert their eyes, and like John Wayne says, "Git 'er done". Honestly my wife and the other ladies of our circle get a lot more fishing done and enjoy a lot more sailing time in a much bigger variety of boats thia way.

Buddy Sharpton
06-19-2006, 11:43 AM
Never too soon to intoduce the ladies to the joy of the ever present bailing bucket ( with knotted line attached ) and that courteous gentlemen will avert their eyes. Marine standards of privacy never reach those of the shore. My wife and our circle of lady friends do a lot more fishing and sailing this way.

Dennis Rioux
06-19-2006, 01:14 PM
Jerry: It is the SLB7TS trailer, retail price $595. 700 lb capacity which is overkill for me. Has the winch and the bigger tires and that square frame which puts the boat "up there" a bit. It does not come with a tongue jack which cost me another $25. And I bought an extra one of those flat things to slide on for the back for $30 (probably could have done it cheaper myself). It looks like this in its original configuration:


Those bunks are 6 ft long 2x4s wrapped in that black bunk fabric stuff. The bunk supports and the frames just have clearance holes for 3/8" bolts in them, no slots, so you are restricted to rectilinear, parallel bunk configurations. Given the shape of my hull I had to make shorter replacement bunks if I hoped ever to get it off the trailer. The bunk supports that came with the trailer were too short so I had to make my own out of 1.5" square tubing with pre-drilled holes. I made slots for extra flexibility. I also had to extend the support for the winch with the same stuff because my bow eye was up a little high. There is also a TL model that is 2' longer but I have plenty of room for the 14' Penobscot with enough left over to cheat everything back enough to open the hatch on the station wagon without disconnecting the trailer from the hitch. More than you wanted to know, I am sure...

Al: I wondered if the sail and all might fit to one side with fewer people in the boat. Thanks for the tip.

Buddy: We did think about the bailing bucket, but without getting too graphic about our little one's intestinal condition let's just say the bailing bucket might not have been of sufficient capacity.:eek:

John Meachen
06-19-2006, 03:57 PM
A nice design,nicely built and beautifully finished.

06-19-2006, 04:07 PM
Actually we are all facinated by the trailer info -- see the Trailer Time thread -- and how you managed to modify the bunk supports.

Unless we buy a pre-modified trailer, all of us with the smaller wooden boats are faced with the same issues of trailer purchase and modification.

I **don't** recommend buying a utility trailer and modifying it as I did -- purchasing a commercial trailer as you have done is the correct method, and you didn't spend much more than I did at the end of the day...

As for the bailing bucket...brings back memories of me salad daze, it does...when my idea of a perfect date was a girl who could pee behind the jib without anyone getting upset about it.

;0 )

Dennis Rioux
06-19-2006, 05:53 PM

Oh, I was all over that Trailer Time thread trying to figure out what to do. There were moments of despair where I thought cartopping the boat might be easier. Even the trailer experience was brand new to me -- I have never pulled anything behind my car before. In fact, I had my first ever trailer hitch installed three days before my 40th birthday. (More full disclosure: I was talking to Mom on my birthday and said something like "Mom, you should be proud of me -- I am a Real Man now because I have a trailer hitch." Without missing a beat she responds "But, Dennis, if you wanted to be a Real Man the hitch would have to be on a pickup truck." Ouch, zinged by Mom...) Anyway, here is a closer shot of my bunk support. I cannibalized the bunk hardware from the factory bunks. Those bunks are only 18" long. I may install another set farther forward for more support using that same square tubing as the cross member, but for now the single set seems adequate for my three block trip to the lake.



06-19-2006, 06:16 PM
Thanks for the closeup pic.

Hey, if she knots up fenders for ya -- she has "zinging" rights!

;0 )

06-19-2006, 06:25 PM
I can hear Fred Astaire now: Sailing in the Rain...Sailing in the Rain...what a glorious feeling...


Whidbey Wherry
06-20-2006, 09:57 AM
Thanks, Dennis. That's the trailer that I will get. Now, I need to find a local dealer here in Washngton.


06-20-2006, 11:13 AM
WOW. Beautiful job.

... and great launch timing ... who cares about the rain, the kids were there!!! Boats are meant to be wet, no?


Steve Lansdowne
06-20-2006, 08:28 PM
So, what's your second boat going to be???

Dennis Rioux
06-20-2006, 10:26 PM

Got this here MacGregor canoe already started in the basement. :) Needed something to keep me busy last winter while the Penobscot froze out in the garage.


What got me started on this whole thing was the desire to build the seven strake version of Oughtred's Caledonia Yawl, but when I got the plans (the old version, before the recent update) I got a little spooked and down-sized and simplified with the Penobscot. So maybe that will be my third boat. Well, fourth, if you count the CLC West River 18 stitch-and-glue kayak I built a couple years ago.


It begins to dawn on me that I might have a problem. The garage is getting kind of crowded...


06-20-2006, 11:15 PM
Like you will get either help with your/our "problem" or sympathy here! Build a workshed and there will be *plenty* of room for more boats...

;0 )

Bob Perkins
06-21-2006, 07:49 AM
Beautiful Job!! - I can only hope my brightwork will look half as nice as yours.

Super job..

Tar Devil
06-21-2006, 07:58 AM
Spectacular boat!



donald branscom
06-21-2006, 03:27 PM
Beautiful boat . WOW

I wanted to know how you post these pics on the post.

Sincerely, Don

06-21-2006, 04:29 PM
I love the Irish Green. Have you seen this thread?

tinyurl.com/qymjd (http://tinyurl.com/qymjd)


06-21-2006, 05:08 PM
Dennis, how big is your workshop? I've considered building a Caledonia Yawl (along with about 20 other boats) for a "next" project, but space is an issue for me.

edited to add: By the way, the MacGregor looks nice.

Dennis Rioux
06-22-2006, 12:37 PM
Don: You need a place for your photos to "live" -- a lot of people use free hosting sites like ImageStation. Or perhaps you have a certain amount of storage available from your internet service provider. Then in the body of your message you type {img}url of your photo here{/img} except those curly brackets are supposed to be square brackets (I did it that way so the bulletin board software wouldn't think I was trying to post a photo). If you follow the FAQ link on that brown bar at the top of each page there is another link to "Reading and Posting Messages" that will give you detailed instructions.

Steven: No, I hadn't seen that thread. Pretty funny and true. I have one so-called friend who is berating me for the green but he's only seen the photos. I keep telling him it is far more fetching in person. We'll just see if I ever buy him another beer on a Friday night...

Al: My workshop is my 20'x20' garage (interior dimensions) which gives a corner-to-corner distance of about 28' and I won't consider building a CY without satisfying two conditions. First, the rest of the junk (and I mean everythig) has to find a new home like a nice extension off the back of the garage. Second, the building frame has to have retractable casters so I can wheel it out onto my driveway and look at it from farther away than five feet. I built the P14 on the diagonal but fixed in place and I had some problems getting stringers and whatnot fair. There was an oops with the decorative trim bit on the bottom of the port sheerstrake that was purely due to me not being able to get farther away. Had to chop it out and scarf in a new piece. Anyway, what options have you considered for a larger space? Oh, and do you single-hand your P14 and if so have you made any modifications to the rigging or tiller that allow you to access the halyard and downhaul from aft? I went out for the first time by myself this morning in light winds and was all proud of myself to be going what felt like a hundred miles an hour and looked up to see a big ol' crease in the sail. So I let go of the tiller and tried to adjust the downhaul and everything went downhill from there shall we say. :eek: At least I backed the trailer down the ramp (twice!) for the first time without losing it or my vehicle...