View Full Version : Building Ian Oughtred's ELF

05-26-2003, 04:40 AM
Iv'e decided finally on my next project, Ian Oughtred's ELF. Some fine Scandinavian boat porn settled it and I will source the plans sometime next month. I would appreciate any comments from someone who has experience with the design. Thanks in advance,

Wild Dingo
05-26-2003, 05:55 AM
Jeff... fine choice mate!

I must admit to being rather amoured of Elf meself... but now I have a choice of Grey Seal or Dark Harbor {just waitin on their arrival! :cool: }... Elf is in extreme doubt ;)

Source?... Duck Flats (http://www.duckflatwoodenboats.com/) of course! :D price? $235.40AUD post paid!!

And!! theyre just up the road from you in South Aussie! :D

ohh have you read the article in a back issue of WB? I know Ive seen someone post something about someone building an elf in their living room or cellar something like that... will have a bit of a hunt up later on :rolleyes:

[ 05-26-2003, 07:05 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

05-26-2003, 06:41 AM
Jeff, please post a picy of an "Elf"

Wild Dingo
05-26-2003, 06:51 AM
Here yer go Chris! ;) {note the 3 star value given in the first pic :cool: }


One of Iains better ones if there is such a thing :cool:

Norwegian Hardanger Faering 15ft x 4 - 5ft 140lbs sail area of 53sq ft

Based on the originals with similarity in form to the old Scottish and Irish fishing boats


Im sure theres someone thats built one! damn wish I could remember who the flamin blazes it was! :mad: ah well hopefully they will step forth.. :cool:

[ 05-26-2003, 07:52 AM: Message edited by: Wild Dingo ]

imported_Steven Bauer
05-26-2003, 08:55 AM
Hey Jeff, I'm building an Elf with my 13 year old son Gavin. He's the builder - I'm the supervisor. The plans were $102US from Iain and $8 shipping. I ordered them on a Wednesday and had the plans the following Friday! Nine days turnaround, not bad. Of course, I don't think he's cashed the check yet. ;) So Gavin has marked out and cut on the bandsaw 5 of the 8 molds. I'll re-use the building form from the lapstrake canoe I built last year. We'll probably finish the molds today(it's memorial day here) and start laminating the stems this week. The planking comes from just four sheets of ply so this is a relativly inexpensive design to build. I'll try to take some pictures later. Let's stay in touch.

Wild Dingo
05-26-2003, 11:11 AM
See I knowed there was someone building it!! and I knowed that theres someone builded it! flamin oldtimers! mutter grumble snuffle snort... zzzzzzzzzzz eh wot??! :D

Thanks Steven :cool:

05-27-2003, 05:15 AM
Hi Steven and Dingo, I found that 'front room' article in Watercraft #36. I'd thought I'd add a couple of feet to the orig specs, but it looks so perfect that I changed my mind. I found another short piece from a WB school in Enkhuizen in Holland, they launched theirs in 8 days!
Steven, love to keep in touch! I like the division of labour, I'm painting up a storm at home, building up brownie points and I've got a Sailfish repair to finish first. Only so much room in the shop. I'm looking at the alternate bulb keel and retractable centreboard in a boat sailed in the 'Raid of Scotland(??), I think in a recent WB, but it could be another mag, I'll let you know tomorrow if Dingo doesn't get in first.
Steven and Gavin, I sail a Macgreggor and the old Sailfish at the moment. If ELF is half as pleasant as the Mack to sail she'll be great.

imported_Steven Bauer
05-27-2003, 07:09 AM
There was a three part how to build article in ClassicBoat Magazine. I borrowed one of the issues and was planning to try to find the others but Iain included photocopies of all three articles with the plans. We made two more molds yesterday - one to go. smile.gif


05-27-2003, 07:15 AM
Hi , nice to coincide with you on line. In that case I might buy my plans direct too, rather than a local supplier. Are you going to use the rig as illustrated. I'd rather something that pointed a little higher as my sailing water is shallow and can be a bit restricted at low tide.
I was considering a gaf main and jib.
I know I shouldn't mess with a perfect design but I cant help myself!!

imported_Steven Bauer
05-27-2003, 10:35 AM
Actually, the plans came with two rig options: the sprit and a ballanced lug. I think we're leaning towards the ballanced lug rig. Neither one shows a jib. As Todd says it's hard to get a jib to set well on an unstayed rig. Better to keep it simple.


06-11-2003, 04:18 AM
Steve, today I visited a local boatbuilder and teacher. One of his pupils has an ELF at almost finished hull stage. I had a good look at the plans, and discussed alternate rigs and the possibility of a jib. I'd rather a rig that is easier to reef than a sprit. Now Iv'e seen it I'm even more sure. I may construct the hull on his premises as he has some handy machinery I dont and the extra pair of hands would be useful occasionally.

[ 06-11-2003, 05:19 AM: Message edited by: skuthorp ]

06-11-2003, 04:43 AM

I don't know i this helps, but Meindert has build a "Puffin" from Oughtred.


Quit an interesting site with a lot of pictures.

Good luck with your project.

imported_Steven Bauer
06-12-2003, 12:32 AM
No pictures Sku?

Here are a couple:

laying out the molds:

laminating the stems:

06-12-2003, 02:40 AM
Hi Steven & Gavin. No pics, I dont normally cart a camera around and anyway it's not my boat.
I just noted your'e location. Is the Maine coast prone to tidal shallows?, Westernport, where I sail is very much effected. The tide can go out a mile or so. Range of 6 to 12ft so you have to watch the times and tables! The Macgreggor operates happily in 5ins of water, but it's a bit small for two in the cockpit on a day sailing.
Your shop looks tidier than mine, is it your basement? I'll need to tidy up before I start, and the Ski seasons just beginning here too!
By the way, what is the origin of the state name? The old kings of Ireland's family name was "U'MAINE" (pre 1300's) with an umlaut. Later "Caellaigh" and eventually "Kelly", any connection?

[ 06-12-2003, 05:22 AM: Message edited by: skuthorp ]

Wild Dingo
06-12-2003, 10:01 AM
GAWD!!! Get yer hand outta the way Steven!!! :eek: gadzoooks lookin at that devilish grin the twinkle in his eye as he looks like hes gonna plunge that awl fair through yer mit mate!!! :(

Looks like a great dad and hoon moment there mate :cool:

Tom Dugan
06-12-2003, 11:37 AM
Very nice, guys! This won't turn into a hijacking, I hope, but can you who've chosen ELF tell me what made you choose it over, say, the Whilly Boat?


14'6" Whilly Boat
Derived from traditional Norwegian small craft, this handsome double-ender performs as well as a daysailer and beach cruiser. Clean, frameless, glued-lapstrake plywood hukk means, easy construction, happy trailering, and low maintainence.
LOA - 14' 6"
Beam - 4' 7"
Draft (db up) - 8 1/2"
(db down) - 3'
Weight - 140 lbs.
Sail Area :
Stunding lug - 74 sq. ft.
Gaff sloop or
balanced lug - 80 sq. ft.
No lofting is required
Skill level: Intermediate
Plans include 5 sheets.
[WoodenBoat Store description]
Looks really similar to me, save the stayed vs unstayed rig?


imported_Steven Bauer
06-12-2003, 09:45 PM
Skuthorp - My shop is in the basement of the garage. When we moved in 7 years ago the garage (barn) was sitting on rotten sills on the bare ground - no foundation. One corner was down 11 inches! When you stood inside you felt like you were on a big sailing ship, it tilted so much. It's a nice building 20' x 25' with a gambrel roof, so it was definitly worth saving. When I got some prices to have it jacked up in the air and have a slab poured under it I was in sticker shock. So I had the brilliant idea of jacking it up and putting a full foundation under it so I could have my shop under the garage and we could make a family room in the basement of the main house. The really amazing thing is that Mary readily agreed to all this. I hired out the lifting of the building ($5,000) and hired out the excavation ($7,000) and built the foundation myself. (In 6 days, some neighbors helped a little) So now the shop is in the basement of the garage, the ground floor is for cars and boats and the second floor is storage and a possible future master bedroom suite.
We have 10 - 12 foot tides but the water is deep very close to shore so there is no drying out.
I'm not sure about the origins of our State name - I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Tom, I guess I'm not sure why I chose ELF over the Whilly boat. Something about her shape must call out to my Scandinavian blood. As Iain says - these boats have not changed in 1000 years. he speaks of 'their elegance of line: they seemed to be a supreme example of functional simplicity, an artifact perfectly suited to it's purpose'
From what Iain says the ELF should row better than the Whilly. And with much smaller sail area maybe I can keep up with Gavin when I'm in my John Gardner 14' Skiff and he's in the ELF. We hope to set up the molds on the builing form in the next week or so. More pics then.


imported_Steven Bauer
06-12-2003, 10:52 PM
Tony, there was a Valgerda at the the Maine Boatbuilder's Show about five years ago. I kept finding myself wandering over to the corner she was in. She wasn't the fanciest boat there, but she just kept drawing me back. I have some pamphlets from the builder somewhere around here.

Another very similar boat is Joel White's Shearwater. A 16' Oselver boat. He wanted to name the design Joelselver but was talked out of it. smile.gif


[ 06-12-2003, 11:53 PM: Message edited by: Steven.Bauer ]

Todd Bradshaw
06-12-2003, 11:45 PM
This is an unofficial, but pretty accurate profile of Valgerda.

I've always wanted to "borrow" that profile, stretch it a bit and combine my love for Norse boats and my love for schooners. It will probably never get much farther than the wallpaper stage, but would make an interesting boat.
In the mean time, I could see myself tooling around in an Elf and working the concept out of my system. Too many boats, too little time...

Wild Dingo
06-13-2003, 12:53 AM
Originally posted by TonyH:
Another very similar design is William & John Atkin's "Valgerda". Dingo may be willing to post us up a look at her, perhaps??What goes around comes around... mate no worries be happy to post the 4 pages about Vergarda ;)





The above 4 pages come courtesty of moi courtesy of the afore mentioned legend of the old mags TonyH!! :cool:

Wild Dingo
06-13-2003, 09:02 AM
:D Your welcome mate :cool:

imported_Steven Bauer
09-27-2003, 10:28 PM
Gavin and I finally set the stem and sternpost today. I used the new laser level which made it a snap. We just lined the laser up with the DWL on the molds and made the notch in the building form gradually deeper until the DWL mark on the stem lined up with the laser. :D

Here's a pic of the stern:


And the stem:



We hope to mount the keelson tomorrow.


03-14-2005, 09:39 AM
OK, we've been back at it after a long hiatus. Here is the second plank:



When we set the molds with the laser we marked the waterline on the wall so with the planks on we just had to line the laser up with the mark on the wall and there you go: instant waterline for the hull:




03-14-2005, 10:24 AM
Oh yeah, I forgot to ask Jeff how it's going with his ELF. So?...


03-14-2005, 02:34 PM
Looking good Steve! Hope to see you at the show this week. Bill Taylor

03-14-2005, 08:49 PM

Brilliant! Waterline on the wall. Brilliant!

Learning every day in the Swamp! :D

05-03-2005, 06:49 PM
Gavin looks so young in those first pictures! :eek:
We just measured him and he's now 5' 9 7/8" to my 5' 10 1/2". OMG. Well, in a few more weeks it'll be two years that we've been working on this boat. :eek:
There is some progress to report, however. The planking is done, the outer stems are on and the keel, too. We just need to shape the keel some and fillet the laps and we can turn her over!

Gavin spiling the last plank:




We've also made the mast, bought the paint (Kirby's See Red) and bought the rudder hardware Iain and Moray MacPhail designed just for Elf. And we have the ballanced lug sail that Todd made for Gavin.
So wish us well, getting stuck in irons is definitely something to be avoided in these kids of projects.


Joe (SoCal)
05-03-2005, 08:14 PM
Looking real good Steven & Gavin http://www.woodenboat-ubb.com/ubb/icons/icon14.gif

05-04-2005, 03:21 AM
Strewth, I'd forgot this thread. I've built most of the rig, blocks etc. The new shop for the hull is being fitted out along with a new kitchen being installed upstairs. Some discussion of priorities occurs here.
Alan Chin, of Ibis Boat Works will give me a hand with some of the laminations, and I've drawn a small locker foreward for camp gear etc.
I look like taking on the preservation or restoration of a horsedrawn vehicle too but with no timeline so the boat comes first.
Beautiful shape, I hope I can do as well with my hull as you two have. Looks like my old garage too, thats the reason for the new premises! :cool: