View Full Version : Any others out there that have a Culler 18'6" good little skiff?
10-04-2008, 08:22 PM
Hi - I recently bought a used 18'6" Good Little Skiff here in NC, and wonder if there are other owners out there. Based on what I know, this is a larger version of the 13'6" Good Little Skiff that Pete Culler designed, and was commissioned specifically by Waldo Howland (Pete's boss @ Concordia). Very difficult to find any of these on the internet. Please email me if you have one of these 18'6" boats, as I have a few Qs. Please forgive if these Qs are very basic... I've never handled a sail like this:
1) The mast has 2 step choices, about 15" apart, the first one about 24" from the bow. In which wind conditions would I use which step? The sprit rig seems to handle best with the mast in the forward step, on reaches and points approaching the wind. Running downwind doesn't seem to matter, which step position I use.
2) There are 3 rowing stations, including one far forward that presumes one would be sitting immediately aft of the mast. Doing so would impede use of the belaying pins. I'm curious -- in what conditions would one use that forward rowing station, vs the others? Seems that it would result in a less efficient rowing motion, given that the bow is only ~ 3ft ahead. Any advice?
3 ) I was inspired by Culler's books to build a wooden bailer, as I like the idea of wood-only equipment onboard. Does anyone have a design recommendation for a small, simple bailing bucket with a flat edge?
FYI, This is my first wooden boat, and I'm new to this forum, so forgive my very basic Qs . It seems a great community, and I REALLY appreciate the generosity of advice and idea sharing among folks. I have poor wood building skills, and not much techical savvy. I may never be among those who build a boat. However, my sailing skill is good, and at least I can do basic maintenance well. I can't honestly say I bought this skiff for any other reason than it is really, really, really good lookin' : ) That sounds ridiculous, but I don't know that I've ever enjoyed a boat this much, despite the several boats we've owned over the years. We take it fishing, rowing, coastal sailing, gunk-holin' around coves, etc. Adventures continue to unfold. My wife says it reminds her of the simple joys of optimist sailing as a 7yr old. My sons think it is a fishing machine. I just think it's a hoot to sail, row, or just mess around.
"Water Rat" 18'6" Good Little Skiff
"Mullet" Grady White Tournament 19' fishin' boat
"Callinectes" Hinterhoeller 25' sloop
"Zip" Lowe 16' fishin' boat
Clinton B Chase
10-05-2008, 09:45 AM
Andrew, I wish I had a Culler G' little skiff but can provide a few comments having studied his design work thoroughly. Often Pete Culler had two mast steps in his boats that were ketch rigged such that without the mizzen you would use the aft step and the forward step would be required when the mizzen is in use. However, I am not aware of a ketch rigged good little skiff....in an 18 1/2' skiff it would be a useful rig. Is there a mast partner aft?
Regarding the rowing position...if there were just two of you in the boat and one were rowing, you would need the forward-most position to row from so that the boat trims correctly. Otherwise there is too much weight aft and the transom drags and it becomes difficult to row. This trim is very important in a skiff. Try rowing with your passenger in the sternsheets and you at the midship rowing station, then switch to the forward station. You will be amazed about the difference in rowing performance.
Do you have the most recent Culler book? In it he discusses his gear he brings aboard; the bailer you speak of is pictured. You could probably make something looking at this picture.
Welcome to wooden boats. It sounds like you are discovering that beautiful boats are not only wonderful to look at but to sit in....they feel great and can perform great.
Will you post pictures of you boat? I would love to see some as this boat is on my long list of "would love to build".
10-05-2008, 12:19 PM
I have one of Pete Cullers boats unfortunatly not a skiff! I have his 34' raised deck ketch that was built for Fred Stanton, which I am in the middle of restoreing. Pete was a pretty cantankerous guy! All of what he did was very old school and all of the weird things that you see have to be figured out. He has done some wherry's that were single and double masted, one example is one he build for John Parkinson I think in 1967. Alot of his boats I'm learning are similar and almost never the same. One guy on here may be able to tell you a bit more about what you have and why things are the way they are! His name is Alden Trull, his sign in is "Trull" He is a great guy to talk to personally! However he is a very ill man and needs help from his aid to do most things. He worked for Pete culler back in 1970 and on, my boat was if I'm not mistaken the fist boat he ever worked on. If you send him a note on here it will be a while before you here from him! His direct email is email@example.com I don't remember exactly where he is however, I"m pretty sure he is still in Maine. The other side of old Pete is alot of his stuff was custom and some of the things you ask about may well be there for the person they were built for. I spend alot of time trying to learn just how Pete thought and built his boats. There are a few weirdities on mine that I wouldn't really under stand without alot of research and reading his books. The guy was a true boat builder! On mine, I found that there was only 3 coats of original paint on the bottom, that in it self told me I was lucky to get it the way I did. It has cedar over oak, red leaded on the inside and tared on the out side, then red leaded over that as a primer and 2 top coats of anti fouling paint, which I researched to be kirby paint and it has all lasted since launch day of March 1971. I hope some of this helps you some. Get your self a copy of Skiffs & Schooners by R.D. Culler and good chance you will see how I have, how this guy used to tick. My boat is on page 30 and 31 of that book and also in "Pete Cullers boats" under "live aboard ketch for Fred Stanton" I just looked thru my Book and If I'm not mistaken your boat is on page 112 and 113 and it looks to me that you have Waldo Howlands personal boat! In the drawing it shows 2 mast steps and 3 oar positions but no 3rd. thwart forward, designed in 1971 and launched or finnished March 17, 1972 one year after mine. Pretty cool to me! Anyway, best of luck to you!
10-06-2008, 04:17 PM
come on man. photos please. culler's skiff is one of the handsomest skiffs (is that a word?) i have ever seen.
10-12-2008, 10:27 PM
: ) Here are some photos of my boat... pardon the dirt, etc. My boys and I use it many weekends to sneak up on crappie and smallmouth bass. The in-water photo is down in Oriental, a coastal town in NC protected by the outer banks, offering great sailing, with typical NE or SW prevailing winds in nearly perfect sailing position.
10-15-2008, 08:57 PM
Clint, thanks for your info. No, my skiff doesn't have an aft mast step. I'll continue to experiment w/ positioning the mast in either of the steps, in varying winds, and see how it handles.
Yes, I do have Culler's book, and found a photo in there of a wooden simple bailer he devised. I'll try to make one this winter. Ashamedly, someone recently admired my boat on the water, then looked in dismay at the modified plastic milkjug I had aboard as a bailer : )
10-15-2008, 09:05 PM
Hi Paul, thanks for your note - I don't yet have that book by Culler but will order it. I've found the online bookstore at woodenboat to offer a good array of books, and likely can find it there. Your boat sounds beautiful, a 34' ketch. Wow. Must be wonderful to handle. I sometimes miss having a boat in the water, having done that for many yrs. However, I really enjoy have a small, trailerable boat to park in my yard, given the convenience of maintenance, etc.
I appreciate your reference for Alden. I'll contact him offline.
Clinton B Chase
10-15-2008, 10:54 PM
Andrew, so that second step is for a reefed sail...as you reef down eventually you want to switch to the aft step to keep the center of effort of the sail positioned over the correctly centerboard.
Nice, nice skiff. What a classic to own!
10-16-2008, 08:36 AM
I would have to agree with Clinton on the step issue! That's the kind of thing old Pete was good at, if he saw an easier way he did it. As far as sailing my ketch??? That day is still to come! Unfortunatly I got it from a guy that really had no bussiness owning a boat like that, fortunatly for me, ever thing he started on it he never finnished. For the most part it is all mainly original but, by the time I got it all the brass had been removed and sold. He said stolen, I don't think so. For one, you need a 12 foot ladder just to get on this thing, sure, you can squirrel the sprit wires but that's a hell of a task in its own.
I have been told it sails like a dream and I can only amagine it will. I am very seriously looking put it in by the end of next year, will it happen........tough to tell right now but I'm getting there soon enough.
This is what it looked like a few years before I got it.
And these are of it being moved to mosquito heaven where it sits right now covered.
That's me on top.
I have done a fair amout of scraping and removed garboard planks to keep her dry and well vented. I actually used the mizzen mast to tent it with the ends open. Trust me, the wasps think its great! These are the first ever veiws of it on here. Hope you all like it, I do.
10-16-2008, 11:34 AM
10-16-2008, 10:00 PM
hey, that's a sharp design, and some unique lines. Handsome. I like the cabin design; looks like it has good interior room with the bulkheads pushed out to the rails.
I hear you on the merits of covering it. I learned that lesson a few yrs ago. I left my old C&C 25' in dry storage for 18mos while I moved for a job out of state... I returned to find it filled with 6-8in of water, that had gradually trickled in along the stantions, rail, etc. Ugh. Covering is better, even if it means a mildew hell.... at least that cleans up ok. it took me a long time to get all that water out.
10-17-2008, 12:44 AM
10-17-2008, 10:52 AM
This is what the women that gave me the boat wrote to me when I first asked about it. Some of what she wrote isn't accurate but close.
Her and her husband sold their home and because of overwelming bills they didn't have the money to have it moved, I did! She originally wanted 5800.00 for the boat, which really isnt a bad price for that kind of boat. I told her she had a better chance of seeing God! I told her I would get the boat out of the new home owners yard for her, the new homeowner was freaking out about having that goliath in her front yard! So as it goes, I aquired the Plover for absolutely 0.00 dollars and so far I have about 1000.00 in it and alittle (Alot) elbow grease. The sails (all 9 of them) for her are in decent shape, the engine is a brand spanking new 27HP Westerbeke which is what caught my eye first and formost! The pics bellow are of the interior when I first got her, its alot nicer now! The worst part of the whole job was to remove all the lead in the bilge before the move. My wife and I were up where it was last Febuary chopping ice to get at the lead that was fossilized in there, not a fun task at all! The lead pigs are 25Lbs. a peice and the Ford Ranger we were useing could only take 40 of them at a time. We moved about 400 of them. The first time my wife squashed a finger in the bitter cold she said "do you really want this boat?"
Here is some text to go along with the pictures and, hopefully will answer some questions.
Plover is a custom ketch designed and built at
Concordia by Pete Culler. 34' x 12'6" x 5'5" draft. The
hull is 1 1/8" cedar on an oak frame. Hull is in good
condition. Some top planking needs repair. Transom
is 2" mahogany, the top two planks of which need to be
replaced. Cabin is full width. This is a stronger
design than a cabin trunk interrupted by side decks.
Fore and aft faces of the cabin need repair. Cockpit seats need to
be rebuilt. Davits for dingy need repair/replacement/just
removal. Cabin top trim is new oak and needs
installation, as do new toerails.
Cabin interior is very spacious and needs a little
cosmetic work, primarily in forward cabin. Engine is
almost new. (Westerbeke with less than 50hrs) New water tanks are needed. There are 4 berths - 2 single, 1 double.
The rig is a gaff ketch. While not common these days,
it is a very user-friendly rig setup, especially for
single-handing. Mainmast needs a little
repair. Main boom and gaff are okay. Mizzen mast
needs repair/replacement. Mizzen boom needs repair.
Sails are generally in good to very good condition.
Mainsail is worn, but useable.
Overall, while there is a bit of work to be done, it's
a relatvely inexpensive way to get a a comfortable
live-aboard boat, capable of long range cruising.
As regards the hull, I honestly think this is
relatively minor. It may not seem that way to you,
but "repairing" the lower hull planking is basically a
matter of pulling the wooden plugs covering the screws
for a little ways back, backing out the screws,
pulling the planks out a little, cleaning any debris
that has gotten in, and refastening with new bronze
screws (probably a size larger than originals). I'd
be glad to discuss in detail. However, at this time,
I have no time or tools to actually do any hull work.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
P.S. As far as taking on water... last time we put her in the boat yard had a betting "pool" as to if she would take on water.... well, she didn't!
looking forward, that's my shipmate 212 and my fat leg
This is the starb'rd quarter berth.
This is where my wife and I hope to be gently rocked to sleep someday.
She is kind of a strange design and as big as it is there is quite a bit of wasted space in it. If you throw all the sails forward in to the v-berth there is no room left for anything! The head is pretty tight as well but it does have a really nice butterfly hatch above it, as well there is another one just aft of it over the galley and shipmate. A pretty good design in that regard, just to let the heat out. That's the story on mine, I thought all of you would get a kick out of it.
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