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Thread: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

  1. #1
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    Default Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    First, Hello to the group members, this is my first question for the forum: I am in need of some info I think; I am getting pretty serious about starting a Devlin Nancy’s China. I have narrowed my search from many, many designs in this category, to this boat. My question is along the lines of the available support for this design and maybe some additional images for ideas? Based on my research, there seems to be a general “feeling” that this is an older and well established design (is “well healed” the right term?)

    That being the case, I would think that there would be at least a few videos of a Nancy’s china under-sail? Maybe some pics of dozens of builds and images of many finished boats on-line to drool over? This, however, does not seem to be the case; I can’t find even one video, and although there are perhaps a hundred pics on line, they are of maybe 8 to 10 boats. Most of the pics are not even of the Nancy’s china, the are incorrectly categorized versions of Devlin’s Eider, or Winter Wren. Where are all the Nancy’s china’s? Any ideas, hints or tips that could be passed on would be excellent. Are there things that, if modified on this design, would work better, or is the design quite solids as presented?
    Thanks,
    I am starting to get pretty excited about getting started!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    There was a Nancy's China at Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend, WA, last September and October. She may be permanently berthed there. Where are you located? If you add your location to your profile, you may get other local suggestions.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I think Nancy's China was probably a break-through design in the pre-YouTube age; that may be why it's less well-documented than many more recent designs. Seems like it's a solid design; Devlin has credibility and is a nice guy from what I hear.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat. Book release November 2014.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Yes, Nancy's China was an early-ish design for Devlin.

    Sam is fairly approachable, and I get the impression that he is justifiably proud of that design. I suggest you contact him directly for more info.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    If I may ask, how do you intend to sail it and how did you narrow your search when there are so many similar sized plywood boats out there?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Nancy's China is a good boat of its type. I've sailed on one. A good small pocket cruiser, easy to build, pleasant characteristics.
    If this post did not meet all of your needs, please consult this thread for more options.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Nancy's China was written up in Small Boats 2008, page 40, and the one photographed there was a very fine one.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Thanks for the tip about the article, I will look it up!

    Good question about the selection process. This has been a BIG job, there are lots of boats out there in this size range. Although I am whittling the list down to these last couple, I am not locked in by any means. I have been reading a lot, following the forum, swapping emails with Michael B from Slaugh Boatworks. Michael has recently completed a Devlin Eider and has been most helpful. One of the more important elements of my selection is that I must build in a standard two car garage and I don’t think the boss will be too excited about parking outside in the rain or nasty Michigan winters. That being said, I get one stall to build in and my work shop (another separate, but attached stall) to make boat parts in. A 17 foot boat will just fit, and a 15 will be a walk in the park. The extra couple of feet (Eider) may be nice, but I am not convinced I will actually need it.

    I have kind of settled on these two boats because I really like the lines and style of Sams designs. They (Devlin) have been very helpful as well. They have answered every question I have asked. They seem like a great company to work with. I have ordered the study plans for the Eider and Nancy’s china and I like what I see there. The Hartley TS16 is probably a close second. I think I could change the cabin layout (appearance) enough to make it look like a more classic boat than it does as designed. The hull shape of the TS16 looks like a lot of fun.
    I have been pre-reading threads long enough to understand that my intended usage will be the main contributing factor to my overall satisfaction with the boat, so here is “The plan”: I am a 50 something with almost no kids left at home. They are away at college, starting new jobs, and/or in the Air Force. This leaves enough free time for me to get into trouble making up things to do around the house. A boat build should be quite effective at eliminating these wayward tendencies. I am not new to boating; I have had many boats, canoes and kayaks, but never a real sail boat. I live in West Michigan, a mile from some of the best fresh water sailing in the world. Now, anyone who knows the great lakes also knows that they are not to be taken lightly. They can whip up a batch of rough seas to rival the big boys. That being said, I am a pretty conservative boater, I am way too old to feel the need for that kind of excitement. If the weather is iffy, there are many nice lakes to spend a safe afternoon on.

    I’m not completely new to boat building either, I have built a Glen L Squirt, a sea kayak, and a little hydroplane for a warm up. I am, however, new to sailing. I have never sailed anything but an old and tattery sunfish I owned 25 years ago. I really enjoyed that boat, but only had it for a summer. I would certainly consider myself a very novice sailor. I just can’t get the idea of a sail boat out of my head.
    I really would like a trailer sailor of some sort, so set up time of the Nancy’s china is another question that comes to mind. A mooring is not out of the question, but I really don’t like the idea of my baby left out in the lake. The main reason for this dislike is boat chop. Local lakes, with Lake Michigan access are a mad house on the weekends. Lots of chop. Another factor in the design considerations.
    The passenger and crew loads will primarily be my dearest and I, with the occasional additional couple for a short tour around the inland lakes, no big water with more than two aboard. I have no intentions of over-nighting on it. Our standard outing is a slow morning cruise around the lake, sipping coffee and watching the boats, houses, and wildlife pass by. Once we have made the end of the lake (about 7 miles), we may head out into the big water if things look calm enough for a little run down the lake. Maybe lunch and a ride back. Makes a nice day of things.
    I don’t know why, but a small cabin to keep gear in so it stays dry, or maybe a portable head for the boss seems like a nice thing to have.
    I am Looking forward to starting a new build, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I love reading and learning from you guys. Very informative forum.
    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Welcome Happy Camper... I'm a big Devlin fan and have built a few of his designs, the crew at Devlin are first rate and will keep you on the strait and narrow if need be. Their plans are very good and the Nancy China is a very nice boat, would make an awesome trailer sailer. I would recommend you get his book if you haven't already, it is an excellent read and will be a good reference for years to come, it is the best explanation of the stitch and glue method hands down.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    As an admirer of the humble TS16, i have to say im partial to it for any sailboat upto 16ft with minimal cabin accomodation. It does come with gaff sail plan too! NC is a fine design too, carries more ballast but that hull will never plane should you be in the mood. The ply on stringer construction of the Hartley is a little different and depending on the builder,can come out lighter and less expensive to build than a "bog-seam" construction. The Hartley has been around for more than 40 years and is still being built, so no need for me to tell you the design works. Both are classics in their own way. I dont see any difference in launching either from a trailer apart from the TS will be a little lighter. Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I didn't know the Hartley came with a Gaff rig sail plan as well. That makes a differences. I really like the idea of a planing hull and that wide beam of the Hartley, but the Gaff rig is a big part of the allure of the Nancy's China. More research to come. I think its time to do a little "garage floor sailing" If I get a chance this weekend, I will layout the two boats on the garage floor and see if I can get a better feel for the sizes. Man, if this build turns out to be even half as much fun as the decision process, it's going to be great! The last boats I built were 20 years ago, Im kinda gettin the itch!
    Is it safe to assume the mast location on the Hartley will be the same if it's a Bermuda rig, or a Gaffer? The reason I ask is that I could convert it someday if I ever desired, if that location is standard. You know, if I ever get in the "race" mood I guess. By watching some videos and looking at pics, I am guessing the Hartley is quite capable in rough seas, correct?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I dont have my plans on hand right now, but i cant believe there will be much movement on the step. Hartleys seemed to be raced hard in all kinds of weather, but they do sometimes capsize if pushed too hard,and you really have to be pushing to do so from what i have been told. Able in rough weather is relative to what kind of pounding both boat and crew are able to stand up to, but i would be happy sailing anywhere in the Baltic Sea on one.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I ordered my TS16 plans from Hartley and Brookes in Australia and waited months for them to arrive. I bought the plans for the 12-14 and 21 from Clarkcraft.com, and they turned up within 10 days from US to Europe. Plans are cheap and interesting to study,even if you dont build it. Being in the US you would probably get your plans in a few days.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    A self bailing cockpit is nice, too. And a dagger board can be a bit of a problem in shallow water so I prefer a centerboard. But mostly there is so much talk about small day boats and pocket cruisers that we forget just how small they are. I have a Glen-L Minuet 15, comparable to NC, and I can't count how many times I wished I'd gone for the bigger 18 foot version, Tango. So I encourage you to think bigger. Even a TS 16 at a foot longer and a foot wider would be a considerable improvement. The 18 even better.
    Last edited by JimD; 04-03-2013 at 10:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    The TS16 is 400lbs lighter than the 18, and the advice is to add another 330lbs of ballast in the 18, which makes it a much heavier boat in comparison. Also, the 18 as far as i understand, will not plane. Part of me has been reluctant to downsize because i have a 25ft berth, but there is much to be said for going small and light if building especially for trailing. The compromises made in every aspect need to be taken into account for the boats actual intended use. I will agree with Jim that the larger boat will be more able and comfortable, but its relative and will come at an increased cost.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    See this is the dilemma, isn't it? Should I build the 15 footer and take the chance that I might say in two years "I sure wish I would have build the 17", or spend the next two years dancing around a boat that is too big for my garage while brushing snow off my car, all the while learning to dislike that big wooden box in the garage. Knowing my genetic disposition to take on new projects every few years, I am leaning toward the 15 footer, knowing all the while that I would probably want to build another sometime down the road anyway. Hmmm. At least then I would know how to sail and if I really like the sailing idea, I could move the boss into the third stall, move the shop into the main garage and build in there. I could build a 20 in there on a diagonal, no problem.

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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Are you thinking about sleeping aboard? Camp cruising for several days at a time? That would make me choose a larger craft with better accommodations.

    I sailed a Hartley 14 on Lyttelton Harbour, NZ and grew fond of the design, but for overnights it was like camping in a wee tent. With a strong tideflow and opposing winds, the Harbour can set up a short, steep chop and the Hartley did pound at times enough to be annoying.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
    See this is the dilemma, isn't it? Should I build the 15 footer and take the chance that I might say in two years "I sure wish I would have build the 17", or spend the next two years dancing around a boat that is too big for my garage while brushing snow off my car, all the while learning to dislike that big wooden box in the garage. Knowing my genetic disposition to take on new projects every few years, I am leaning toward the 15 footer, knowing all the while that I would probably want to build another sometime down the road anyway. Hmmm. At least then I would know how to sail and if I really like the sailing idea, I could move the boss into the third stall, move the shop into the main garage and build in there. I could build a 20 in there on a diagonal, no problem.
    And it often happens that our choice of boats is driven by concerns that have little to do with the boat we want to or ought to build, but by the boat we have the practical means to build. I eventually got so tired of having half the usable space of our 15 footer taken up by a cabin that I chopped it off. Have you considered the open version of NC? Here's a pic of my bro and I sitting comfortably where the cabin used to be in the Glen-L Minuet. Having had this boat for over ten years I now think I would only want a cabin for solo sailing, and would not want to sail the Great Lakes in any of these little boats, cabin or not.

    Last edited by JimD; 04-04-2013 at 05:18 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Having had this boat for over ten years I now think I would only want a cabin for solo sailing, and would not want to sail the Great Lakes in any of these little boats, cabin or not.
    On the other hand, I've cruised the Great Lakes pretty comfortably in small (14-15' boats) with no cabin at all; depends what you want, I guess. It can be done safely--comfort, of course, is a personal decision. I'd rather be in an open boat these days.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat. Book release November 2014.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Coquina, with a lug mainsail.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I grew up on the Great Lakes, small boats in the big water, no problem. You just need to use your head. Your brain is the best equipment there is when the weather starts getting iffy. Any more, I just stay put when it's threatening.
    Coquina is a beautiful boat, no doubt about that, but I can still imagine an amount of utility with the small cabin. I also like that look. It's not the cabin size I am too concerned about, As I mentioned, I have no intention of overnighting in her.
    Your Minuet looks great without the lid. I have not seen that boat in the water, it looks really good, that is a deep hull, but she sits nice. Garage floor sailing this weekend. Can't wait. Thank you guys for all the tips, I really appreciate it. You have given me lots more things to consider than I came up with on my own! Soon it will be time to just make the call.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I agree totally with Jim D.

    I built a Nancy's China years ago and found the cabin too small to be practical. If you are dreaming of cruising and sleeping aboard, the additional length, comfort, performance would make Eider well worth the added effort. It wouldn't be that much more work. And your wife will be happy knowing you are not going to replace the boat in a year or two because you're just not feeling the love for Nancy.

    If I had kept my NC I would have ditched the sprit sail. It simply did not perform cruising around Puget Sound. I would have also removed the cabin and made it an open boat. Much more versatile. Plan on getting a little stinker 'cause rowing either one isn't that great. All said, I do like Sam's boats. The Winter Wren has always looked good to me.

    For me, my Ness Yawl was much more fun to build, sails way better, and seems so capable. I wish I had built it first and not spent all that time building something I was going to replace. The pre-forum learning curve can really suck a lot of time. I could have been sailing.

    Good luck Happy Camper.

    ---Dan

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Forum time can suck a lot of time thats true, but without asking the questions its quite possible that the boat you thought was your perfect ideal could end up being wasted build time and money when someone post details of a boat that you never knew exsisted and is absolutely perfect. I find time spent researching is seldom time wasted.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Perhaps I have misunderstood what some of us mean when talking about sailing a particular body of water. And I don't mean to sound snippy and snarky with my good friends here (and perhaps I am a minority of one and therefore just plain wrong) but for me that means being safe and comfortable out in the middle of that water in a range of conditions one might reasonalbly expect to find there, given the time of year. Scooting around the edges in fair weather windows renders the particular water in question moot so I'll assume that's not quite what you have in mind. I admit I don't know what its like to be in the middle of lake Michigan when the weather forecast was inaccurate, but something tells me I would rather not do it in a NC or G-LM. However, I will defer to those of you who say you have successfully sailed the Lakes for many years in small boats. If you think NC is up to it then I can't disagree.
    Last edited by JimD; 04-05-2013 at 06:02 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    This beamy 16er from Selway Fisher looks like this with a cabin. Its probably about the smallest cabin I personally would find comfortable and it looks huge and in the way on this rather big 16 foot pocket cruiser:



    The same design looks like this without the cabin. Makes me breath a sigh of relief just looking at it:

    Last edited by JimD; 04-05-2013 at 02:54 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Yes, Nancy's China was an early-ish design for Devlin.
    The time-frame for the Nancy's China design can be found from the story of its name: It could supposedly be built for the cost of one place-setting of Nancy Reagan's White House china.
    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Heres a diagram of the TS16 gaff rig set up.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Well, I have learned a lot from my garage floor sailing this weekend. I started out by marking out the hull shape of the Devlin Nancy’s China (15 foot) first. I laid out the center line and marked out the transom position and faired a pretty curve on the floor with thin lines (rope type lines, not drawing on the floor type lines) The boat has a very nice shape to it. I marked out the cabin, seats, mast position and dagger board location. I set up a couple of small benches that were pretty close to the correct seat height and went for a little ride around the lake (in my head!). She was doing fine until we hit some big water and she seemed a bit small for the more open big lake.

    Next I laid out the Devlin Eider (17 foot) This boat size seemed much more capable. I am sure it would perform well in virtually any conditions I would ask of her. However, although it may be possible to build the Eider in that garage, it certainly looks big in there. I would have about a foot of clearance from the pointy end to the shelving system against the garage back wall.
    I am pretty much convinced I could build 16 feet in there, but no more. I just don’t think I would like to dance around the larger boat for the entire build. Too much hassle for the builder and I am pretty sure it would get that way for the builders wife as well!
    So if I were at the point I was a couple of weeks back, I would simply make the decision to build the Nancy’s China and get on with it, however, the wisdom of the forum has chimed in and filled my head with new a interesting thoughts like, maybe I don’t need a cabin? The additional seating would be nice. There are designs out there that have a water tight storage area under a small deck I am sure. Hmmm. There are hundreds of additional boats out there that fall into this category.

    Maybe a nice little skiff would be fun.
    You guys are helping me crazy!

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    That was my thought when I first read your post last week -- that if you won't be camping/sleeping in the cabin, and the wife is not demanding an enclosed space for a porta-potty, you'll get much more boat for the length without a cabin. Something by Oughtred, Gartside or Welsford, perhaps?

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    No cabin and maximum 16ft? Vivier Ebihen



    Or the slightly smaller but no less wonderfull Beg Meil



    Welsford Navigator is a peach



    Way too many boats in this catorgary. The Hartley boats could be built without cabins and have been used purely as motor boats with outboards, as the hulls are stable and good load carriers. You could spend the next 6 months researching!

    EDIT: do you have a prefered build method? Glued lap or stitch and goo or ply on frame or traditional????
    Last edited by skaraborgcraft; 04-09-2013 at 03:11 PM.

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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    If you wan to keep the hull form a simple vee bottom there is the Chincoteague skiff from Paul Fisher. The low aspect rig and club footed jib ought to make it very handy for soloing.



    Also, a cabin boat without the cabin can be very convenient for separating a self bailing cockpit from a potential sleeping area where the cabin might have gone. That's what mine now looks like. Here's another pic of the Selway Fisher Grey Swan posted earlier. You could easily get a sleeping bag on either side of the centerboard trunk and a tent over top:


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Alright, I am starting to form some sort of opinion about the direction forward from here. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I really don’t have much experience sailing, I also don’t have any experience with trailer sailing. Another good question to answer will be cabin, or open boat. So, with these unknowns, I think I am going to proceed as follows:
    Step 1, I am going to buy a plastic sailboat of some sort that needs a bit of work. They seem to be plentiful and quite inexpensive compared to building.
    Step 2, spend a few weeks fixing it up. This should help with its resale.
    Step 3, spend the summer sailing this boat to get smarter.
    Step 4, start building in the fall. This is the time of year I will be really searching for a project anyway. Having a nice wood boat build going this winter will be excellent. This plan should end up costing me very little. If I play it right, I might even make a dollar or two. This will also teach me a lot about sailing and boat size. I think I will be much better prepared to choose a boat design this fall than I am now. And finally,
    Step 5, sell the plastic boat in the spring, or when the wood boat is ready for the water. That way I will have a sailboat to play with until I finish the build.
    Is this reasonable?
    PS, I really like the looks of the Selway Fisher without the cabin! Very nice.
    Last edited by Happy Camper; 04-10-2013 at 12:39 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Sounds very reasonable.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    HappyCamper: How did that all work out?
    I had Nancy's China #1, bought used and a bit worn. Fixed it up, sailed it, liked it. Miss it, actually. That was my WoodenBoat story in the '08 Small Boats issue. You can camp on it and tow it behind a four-banger. I'd be tempted to buy back my old boat if I could.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    There was a website of a guy building an arctic tern little larger but same designer . properly the most elaborate build i have ever seen. every was perfect and if it wasn't he just did it again! Must be finished by now heading for post townsend if i reminder right.
    Must see if site is still up.
    yours James

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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Nancy's China built as a day-sailer by Charlie Stiernberg

    http://store.devlinboat.com/nancysch...tiernberg.aspx

    Winter Wren (also by Devlin) built by Larry Cheek:

    http://lawrencewcheek.com/news/

    Cheers!

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    wow I was working with this thred's headline: something left over in the White House? Dinnerware patterns often seen at same sex wedding dinners? The mind reeled.

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    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post
    Alright, I am starting to form some sort of opinion about the direction forward from here. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I really don’t have much experience sailing, I also don’t have any experience with trailer sailing. Another good question to answer will be cabin, or open boat. So, with these unknowns, I think I am going to proceed as follows:
    Step 1, I am going to buy a plastic sailboat of some sort that needs a bit of work. They seem to be plentiful and quite inexpensive compared to building.
    Step 2, spend a few weeks fixing it up. This should help with its resale.
    Step 3, spend the summer sailing this boat to get smarter.
    Step 4, start building in the fall. This is the time of year I will be really searching for a project anyway. Having a nice wood boat build going this winter will be excellent. This plan should end up costing me very little. If I play it right, I might even make a dollar or two. This will also teach me a lot about sailing and boat size. I think I will be much better prepared to choose a boat design this fall than I am now. And finally,
    Step 5, sell the plastic boat in the spring, or when the wood boat is ready for the water. That way I will have a sailboat to play with until I finish the build.
    Is this reasonable?
    PS, I really like the looks of the Selway Fisher without the cabin! Very nice.
    This is a VERY smart idea.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  40. #40

    Default Re: Where are all the Nancy's Chinas?

    I am presently building a Nancy's China, 14 months into it, the project can be viewed at erniebrown.zenfolio.com

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