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Thread: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Portland, Maine
    Posts
    1

    Default Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Hi all,

    I'm thinking seriously about building a boat and I'm getting a little confused about what to expect if I order plans. For example, it seems that some designers supply detailed assembly instructions for a specific boat (instruction book + plans) and I'm not sure if this is commonly the case when one orders plans or if I will just get a thick roll of blueprints and I will be left to somehow come up with a materials list and steps by drawing on my not-so-vast experience. If anyone can specifically tell me what to expect from Navigator plans, that would be even better.

    I do have what appears to be a good book on lapstrake boat construction, though I'm not sure if all of the techniques described will be required. I have lots of tools and I am reasonably handy, though the book dives into some territory that might be easier to digest if it was directly related to the boat I will have plans for.

    If anyone has any advice to offer me at this stage, I am all ears. I am in South Portland, Maine, and I desire a boat that could potentially hold my family of 4, which includes me. I did some sailing when I was in my early teens, but none since then. Also, if anyone could comment on this boat being good or bad to learn to sail on it might help me settle on the design. The sail rig is attractive, but is it difficult for a novice like me? Any other boats of this size I should be considering that would be good to sail around Casco Bay and maybe further afield on the Maine Island Trail if I get the urge someday?

    Thanks,

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Bainbridge Island WA
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions



    Navigator with 4 crew.

    Nice looking boat design and I don't recall anybody complaining about the quality of JW's plans but do not have any personal experience with them.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    East Quogue,NY
    Posts
    16,561

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Call Welsford and ask him. ( he is a member of the forum so he may peek in here)

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Pacific Palisades, Ca USA
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    John and others answer questions on his jwbulders web site. John is generally prompt and quite helpful in my experience. There are a number of blogs by Navigator builders some of which are quite detailed. Some are listed on John's website and others can be found through Duckworks magazine. The jwbuilders website includes at least one detailed materials list for a Navigator.

    As for the rig, the Navigator has lots of options. If you go with a lug mainsail, there is a learning curve but is more a matter of getting the last tenth of knot than not being able to sail it. In my experience, you will have more difficulty relearning what you have forgotten about sailing.

    I built a Houdini so I cannot comment from personal experience, but I think the Navigator is a terrific boat.
    Bill
    Welsford Houdini cat yawl Mary T

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    1,061

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    I'm building a Pathfinder, the "big sister" of a Navigator. Along with the plans, you'll get a set of semi-detailed build instructions. The instructions are more of a, in-what-order-do-I-build? versus a "how exactly do I cut/assemble this." It doesn't have any photos or illustrations (at least my P-Finder plans didn't); just text. He offers some best practices tips and such--enough to put you on the right path. The plan sheets have all the details you need--dimensions, fastener recommendations, proper materials, etc. Also know that this design is very forgiving of mistakes (within reason).

    You can do this, and you'll have plenty of company from other current builders as well as numerous well-documented previous builders. Do a quick google search for Welsford Navigator build and Welsford pathfinder build. There are several active threads on Woodenboat Forum and others who documented their builds on personal blogs. Reach out to them and say hello; you never know when one of them may be visiting your area (just happened to me last week!).

    Also have a look at the Welsford Builders Yahoo group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/jwbuilders/info
    John is pretty active there as are several other knowledgeable folks.

    If (or should I say "when") you have a question about your build, take some pics of the situation and post them here or on the Yahoo Group. You will likely get multiple responses. And smart, experienced people can help steer you away from making disastrous changes.

    So order the plans from DuckWorks, assemble your build jig, start your build thread here and get to work already!

    --Mike
    “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go -- so long as you do not stop.”
    -Confucius

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Fairfield, CA
    Posts
    1,353

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    I built Walkabout - MoMan has it right. You get 80% of what you need as a first time builder, the rest can come from common sense or better to ask. Building a Welsford, you start by making the easy stuff, gain some confidence, and work into the trickier bits. By the time you're done you know everything you need to know, don't worry that you don't know it at the start.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Brisbane QLD,Australia
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Matt,
    I am building the Sundowner, but I have previously built a Tender Behind both from Mr Welsford. I found the plans for both easy to read and detailed, Moman is on the money re the building guide. It is not a "cut piece A and slot it into piece B using cutout C as shown on plan 3" but more of an order of building thing.

    That said, read it while you look at the plans. Look at the plans some more, have another read, open up Suzy's build Elena (for example, Hi Suzy!) and it will help you. Having the plan and a photo of what it looks like helped me get my head around what I was trying to build.

    If in doubt, ask here. There are plenty of people making or who have made them.



    Mal
    Quest

    Moving slowly towards a Welsford Sundowner.

    Hobart Wooden Boat Festival 2017, or maybe 2019ish??

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...undowner-build
    http://sundownerbuild.blogspot.com.au/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    On the river, Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Hi Matt, thanks for the interest in Navigator.
    You've replies here, and some on the jwbuilders yahoo group which I think cover all of the points you raise. I'd go further to say that around half of the Navigators built to date ( around 300 so far, there are over 700 sets of plans out there and the completion rate is gratifyingly high) have been built by first timers.
    Some very nice boats among them too.

    I try to be available to builders, but am only one person so sometimes I am not near the computer, but forums like this one have several builders at any given time and as you can see below they're very supportive ( thanks all).

    All the best with the build and lets see the pics as you go.

    John Welsford

    Quote Originally Posted by mattdavi View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm thinking seriously about building a boat and I'm getting a little confused about what to expect if I order plans. For example, it seems that some designers supply detailed assembly instructions for a specific boat (instruction book + plans) and I'm not sure if this is commonly the case when one orders plans or if I will just get a thick roll of blueprints and I will be left to somehow come up with a materials list and steps by drawing on my not-so-vast experience. If anyone can specifically tell me what to expect from Navigator plans, that would be even better.

    I do have what appears to be a good book on lapstrake boat construction, though I'm not sure if all of the techniques described will be required. I have lots of tools and I am reasonably handy, though the book dives into some territory that might be easier to digest if it was directly related to the boat I will have plans for.

    If anyone has any advice to offer me at this stage, I am all ears. I am in South Portland, Maine, and I desire a boat that could potentially hold my family of 4, which includes me. I did some sailing when I was in my early teens, but none since then. Also, if anyone could comment on this boat being good or bad to learn to sail on it might help me settle on the design. The sail rig is attractive, but is it difficult for a novice like me? Any other boats of this size I should be considering that would be good to sail around Casco Bay and maybe further afield on the Maine Island Trail if I get the urge someday?

    Thanks,

    Matt
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    On the river, Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    I built Walkabout - MoMan has it right. You get 80% of what you need as a first time builder, the rest can come from common sense or better to ask. Building a Welsford, you start by making the easy stuff, gain some confidence, and work into the trickier bits. By the time you're done you know everything you need to know, don't worry that you don't know it at the start.

    Two mottoes I like to quote.
    1/ An expert is but a beginner with experience.
    2/ By the time you have finished building your boat you'll have all the skills you wished you had when you began!

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Waikato. NewZealand
    Posts
    2,674

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Hi......Non Woodworker and 1st time Navigator builder.
    I found the plans plenty detailed for me to follow and really also once started just flowed logically so was ok.
    I took a long time for my build BUT that was just my way of coping with Life/Family/Work etc.
    I still haven't finished the sailing rig but have been using " Lady Eliana" as a very stable and successful fishing platform using an old 6 horse Johnson outboard to get me around.
    Thanks John.............you helped me achieve a lifelong wish to go fishing in a boat I BUILT MYSELF.
    I once thought I was wrong, but I was wrong, I wasn't wrong.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Geraldton, Western Australia
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Echo what others have said. Navigator is an awesome boat, and perfectly amenable to a first time builder. If I can do it, you can too.

    I've found it really helps to have a cat supervising building.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Matt,
    Great boat, nice design, available designer, very build-able, so a Welsford designed Navigator (or any of his designs) is as good as it get for a beginner boat-builder. Just remember... dream about the days you will be on the water with her, alone or with family. Just start building. each day a little bit. before you know it your dream will be reality.
    Rik

    PS, of course there are are other designers with awesome and build-able boats. I just have a little experience with building a JW boat so that is what I can share about.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Lexington, MA
    Posts
    260

    Default Re: Welsford Navigator - First Build Questions

    Hi Matt

    I'm 6 months into my Navigator build. I would say that the plans are very detailed, but they don't come with step-by-step instructions. The plans come with an 8 page "Building Sequence" which has a lot of info, but to give advice on everything you need would require a manual the size of a phone book. I haven't seen other designer's plans, so I have no comparison. However, between some really detailed build blogs and JW's input you can figure it all out. Part of the satisfaction is figuring out how you want to do it, and figuring out the best way to proceed.

    I chose the Navigator for the same reasons as you. I'm not an experienced sailor and I wanted a boat that could handle the Boston Harbor Islands, New England coast and the Maine Island Trail.

    I am a very novice builder and I'm having a great time. I'm not far from you - I'm in Lexington just outside of Boston. I haven't blogged my build yet (maybe this winter) but if you're interested you should come down for a visit and I can show you what the plans look like and you can see what I've done.

    Kenny

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