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Thread: North Carolina Small Craft History

  1. #1
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    Default North Carolina Small Craft History

    I was searching the web for information on the North Carolina Spritsail Skiff, as I have recently read something about them, and have really become fascinated with them. I have ordered the book about building the model, and will also get the plans from the NC Maritime Museum.

    During my searches, I came across a pretty interesting paper written in 1990 by Mark Wilde-Ramsing and Michael Alford. The paper is titled "North Carolina Small Craft Historical Context - An Underwater Archaeology Unit Management Plan", and it is on the web as a pdf format. Some of you may have seen it, but I figured that there are others out there that have not seen it, and my be interested.

    http://www.archaeology.ncdcr.gov/nca...ent%20Plan.pdf

    By the way, if anyone has any information on the Spritsail Skiffs, please post it. Right now I am torn between a Duck Punt, Melonseed, Spritsail Skiff, and some of the Sharpies that are out there. My main consideration is ease-of-build, shallow water ability, and ability to sail singlehanded, as well as with my wife and daughter.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Your list of boats do not have the same water characteristics or building ease, meaning that a Melonseed is not the same as the sprits'l skiff and will not do the job for family outings to the extent of the sprits'l skiffs. First you must decide what your main intent is and then target that particular boat. Then the building technigue can be discussed. If you read up on the sprits'l skiffs they were considered to be the pick up truck for water use in the days of old.
    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Erster,

    Good call on the ease of building. I do realize that the Melonseed will most likely be the most complicated build, and the Duck Punt the easiest. I am thinking that the Duck Punt will be my first boat, after I finish the Kaholo SUP that was featured in the last few issues. Then I need to focus on something to bring along my wife and daughter. I love the Sharpies, and have been reading Reuel Parker's book. I also really love those Spritsail Skiffs, although it is hard to find more than a handful of pictures of them on the internet. Something about them just calls to me though, so that is where my mind thinks that I should go for my build.

    The Melonseed is definitely something that I will want to build someday, as they are beautiful, and there are a fair amount of them in my general area. First order of business though is something for cruising around the marshes of southern NJ, being able to singlehand the boat, as well as take a few passengers, and possibly do some camp crusing around the Chesapeake, Assateague (especially after seeing some of those great pictures in the thread that is pretty current on someone's recent trip there), and the Outer Banks area.

    The SUP gets my wife on the water quickly, and allows me to flyfish in the small creeks behind the island. The Duck Punt gets me on the water with a sail, and just looks like such a fun boat to toy around with while not going anywhere too quickly, or with much hassle. The Spritsail and Sharpie would meet the rest of my criteria, and the Melonseed is just a beautiful boat.

    Thank you for the reply.
    Last edited by doyle007; 01-10-2013 at 10:02 AM. Reason: I missed the second "o" in the word "too".

  4. #4
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Well the Reul Parker book is a good place to start. But there are a decent amount of differences in those boats and the ones that you speak about from the local areas of the museum. First off you will have to ignore some of the more vocal members on the forum that claim a large disdain for any and all sharpies. While some are seasoned boaters, the region that you speak about and the areas along the inner and outer banks lends itself to those types of boats. My last one was a round stern, with a large amount of sail area with a huge centerboard and really sailed well and handled in tight corners. They do take some getting used to in open water. The key to every single shallow water hard chine boat is the jib, in particular an overlapping one but does come with some downsides in winds over 15 knots. Later on I will add more about the 20 footer, the standard of most of the ones at the museums. But for starters look at this thread and setup, a very family friendly boat, even built for camping. The same can be done on the 20 footers. This was 23 foot, and even with the narrower than most skipjack beams a very accomadating and forgiving boat.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...47#post3649247
    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Good afternoon, Doyle007!

    I live on Roanoke Island, N.C. and will get together some information that is available locally. There are several shad boats here that are in various states of restoration and or deterioration. Are you interested in any photographs of these boats? My computer skills are lacking but I can muddle through Thorne's instructions on posting pictures if you are.
    On a side note, one of my sons told me last week that he had a lead on a shad boat down sound that his son's (eight months old) great great grandfather was the builder of. My son wants to restore it for his son if this works out as hoped. The boat building lineage is on the other side of the family, maybe in three or four generations it will be on both sides.


    Have a great day,

    Tom

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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Unless you have a need for the duck punt I would go straight to building your sharpy or even a flattom sailing skiff. They are not that much harder to build than your SUP. I built a 14' Flapjack skiff which can sail with 3 adults. It was not all that difficult. Then you can build your Mellonseed, I would go with the 16' version for 3 people. The 13 ft. isn't very roomy

  7. #7
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    I own a 20' spritsail skiff built by Mr. Erster and I love it. I mostly sail it on Bogue Sound. I've had it about three years but only get to use it for a few days each year so I'm still learning its ways. Its fast, we usually have 4-5 folks on board, and it feels pretty stable with little heeling in 10-15 kt breezes. The jib is indispensible for tacking in light winds or in water too shallow to have the CB down.

    As I mentioned, we're still newlyweds but I'll try to answer any questions you have.

    Gary


  8. #8
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    As you are interested in the duck punt style of boat, do some research on "Rail Skiff". This is a very similar style boat indiginous to the Chesapeake and surounding areas, ie, waterfowling boats meant for marshy shallow waters. Some were transomed sterned, others double ended like the British duck punts.

    Bob

  9. #9
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Guys,

    Thank you for all of the great information. I truly do appreciate it.

    Tom, I would love to see some pictures if you are able. I just started using Photobucket, and it is very easy for posting pictures. I even found an app on my phone for them, so I can upload and then post pictures without needing a PC.

    By the way, I love your island. What a fantastic place to call home.

    Hunky, I looked at the Flapjack a few years ago, and really liked that boat as well. I am thinking though that the Duck Punt could be completed by summer, so that gets me back on the water that much sooner. The Sharpie or Spritsail Skiff will take me significantly longer for sure, so a simple, no nonsense boat is my plan.

    Gary, I may pick your brain quite a bit, as well as Mr Erster's now that I know that he built the boat. Do you ever singlehand it, or are you always with a crew? I would love to see more pictures if you have them, whether they are on the water, in the yard, during the building stage, whatever.

    Bob, I am going to search for the rail skiff. I am assuming that this is the same as the Railbird Skiff, which I know is a design mentioned on the TraditionalSmallCraft.com website. I will check it out for sure.

    I have just downloaded the PDF file from my original post onto my iPad, and plan to read it on my flight to Detroit on Monday. It looks to be an interesting read.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    In the beginning, carolina style, trees are cut down and this is how it starts out. Are you confused yet? But seriously, you do need some improv skills if you wish to go the route of solid wood and plans from the Beaufort Maritime Museum. Most every design that they sell are pretty basic, hince the reasonable price of them by comparison to most other internet sites selling plans. There are some simular plans sold from someone up around Maryland way, can't remember now, thats a version of the older skipjack, mini style.

    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Mr. 007,

    I have yet to single-hand the skiff, but intend to give it a shot this summer. If folks know I'm leaving the beach house for the boat, there's always someone that wants to go along.

    These images are from the previous owner - not Mr. Erster. I don't have any decent images of her sailing because we're always in the boat with no one on shore to shoot.







    Let me know if you have other questions.

    Gary

  12. #12
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    This is a shot one from the museum races of another boat with the short mast speced on the plans with the topsail rigged on it. The previous owner redid the original 16 foot mast to the museum plans of about 12 foot, IIRC, and reduced the sail area that was originally on the boat, which was a real power house, but a bit scary when the wind kicked up. I used a 34 inch reef in a broader sail configuation, for a total of 185 sq. ft. which gave me a decent lite wind sailing feature. Seeing under the sail foot was also important for me and my wife. The sails showing on the boat is the original sail area from the plans, and created for the second owner.

    Last edited by erster; 01-11-2013 at 11:08 AM.
    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    I know that one of the people erster was referring to was me when he said to ignore the vocal members of this forum and their comments about sprits'ls and sharpies. I will take a bow and not say anything about sprits'ls and sharpies
    Tom L

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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    I know that one of the people erster was referring to was me when he said to ignore the vocal members of this forum and their comments about sprits'ls and sharpies. I will take a bow and not say anything about sprits'ls and sharpies
    LOL< Now that is funny. I never considered you to be in the mix this time around. You get a pass since I respect my grandpa.

    I found one more of a couple of 20s with the round stern in the protected creek. I used the same sails that were on the 20 and was a well balanced setup. If you look on both sides of the ruond stern, you will see two different versions of the sail setup, even though one that is showing is a smaller 17 I think.

    Last edited by erster; 01-11-2013 at 11:18 AM.
    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Gorgeous boats....That topsail rig is too cool!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    A few more,,,,
    As you can see, folks are not afraid of over sheeting the shallow draft boats.







    Last edited by erster; 01-12-2013 at 12:37 PM.
    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Fantastic pictures. Do you know what the approximate hull weight is of these boats? That could be a determining factor for me, as I will frequently be alone, so I need something that is somewhat manageable.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Quote Originally Posted by doyle007 View Post
    Fantastic pictures. Do you know what the approximate hull weight is of these boats? That could be a determining factor for me, as I will frequently be alone, so I need something that is somewhat manageable.
    Here again is where we must inject that no one boat is the absolute perfect boat. If you are dealing with small tow vehicles, well thats one thing when choosing any hull. But you do not want to build the boat as a liteweight trailer sailor, even though most of the standard hulls are in and around 20 foot and I would not consider any of that size and interior room to be liteweight by any standard.

    You can build the boat with reduced weight, without all the solid oak or even pine framing, which I would only do if you choose some woods carefully and still have a nice boat. But with that said sailing any boat single handled in that size does require a learned sailor that only comes after getting used to the characteristics of what the boat will handle. As far as one person sailing the boat when it comes to the rigging, no big deal, as thats as simple as it gets. If you also check with J Dillon on this site, you will find that he sails his beautiful sprit rig by himself all the time. He has provided numerous photos while underway and would be more than happy to express his thoughts on sailing a simular hull by himself.

    The only thing that is a downside is reefing when sailing single handed with the loose foot and the nature of the sprit rig, IMO. If you look at the 23 round stern, you should be able to see the reef points that I used. You can also add an additional point too and further reduce your sail area. If this is another consideration about sailing by yourself, personally I would also make two jibs, the second one being about 60 percent of an overlaping jib. By the way, the bowsprit is a must for a couple of reasons, one being in the launching and retrieving and the other in securing a fore stay for the mast, especially if you have any real sail area on the boat. Your mast can be made with reduced weight from the free standing ones , which assists in stepping the mast when having a trailer sailor boat.

    Disclaimer: I am not a designer or play one on the internet. But the above opinions are my own personal observation as a novice sailor, with a wife that beats me with a whip when I wet her reading materials when sitting on any deck like a queen.
    Last edited by erster; 01-13-2013 at 09:26 AM.
    If you have seen it, I can build it. If you haven't seen it, I can built it too.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Doyke007,

    I'm also a big fan of spritsl's. I built one of my own design 18 yrs ago and still love her.
    As ester says I have posted many images here on the WBF.

    One of the chief advantages is the ability to brail up the main instantly . This slows the boat down fast as well as an instant reef for courses with the wind on the beam or down wind.

    The rig is self contained no projecting bow sprits or boomkins exposed to be measured by marina's out for more bucks to squeeze out of you.

    If thought out properly all sail control lines can lead to easy access by the helmsman.

    Mine are except the main & jib halyard( the latter can be lead aft by means of a snatch block.)

    Here's a video of my boat "Carrianne" and I enjoying an Afternoon Sail.




    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  20. #20
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    JD, thank you for the video. It is fantastic.

    Take care.
    Joe

  21. #21
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    Default Re: North Carolina Small Craft History

    Spritsails are in my blood. Grew up on the Great South Bay of Long Island. Learned to sail on a Seaford Skiff ( cousin to melonseed). Live now on Outer Banks and volunteer as skipper of the "Spirit of Roanoke Island" shadboat at the Maritime museum in Manteo. Did get to sail on a spritsail skiff at Beaufort wooden boat show. And, m slowly building a sharpie in the garage. If you can't decide which type of boat is for you, try them all out. I'd take any of the ones you mentioned.

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