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Thread: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

  1. #1
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    Default Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Usually I present new boats here as fait accompli, but this time I'm going to have a dedicated building thread as I go along during the actual construction.
    Chautauqua is a project that's been on my mind for a few years, but just now am getting around to. She's going to be a decked sailing canoe in the old style, similar to any number of sailing canoes from the late 1800's. Of course, mine will be a little different in that she'll be skin-on-frame.

    A few details for now, more to come:
    This iteration will be yawl rigged, with old school standing lugsails - but I'll probably make at least one other style rig for her, just for fun.
    15' and a few inches long, 37" beam (4.7m x 94cm). I'm hoping she'll weigh less than 50lbs (23kg).

    I mean for there to be two different versions - one dedicated to fun sailing (sit on), and one more appropriate for less mobile folks and/or camp cruising (sit in). The canoe I'm building now will be the former.

    And away we go:
    Step one is research. Blah blah lots of books, internet, etc. If you want to do some, too, these are my favorite two books on the subject.

    Todd, of course, is a very helpful contributor to this forum, and his book is a must have. The Stephens book is an invaluable resource, as well, and is actually available online, here: http://www.dragonflycanoe.com/stephens/index.html

    Next comes the drafting, then lofting the frames and such. Then the fun begins with a pile of lumber, plywood and various saws.
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I'm using cypress for the gunwales, and western red cedar for the rest of the stringers. Hard to get 16' cedar boards around here, so I scarfed them all to get the right length. The frames are cut from 12mm Okoume marine plywood.

    The epoxy in the scarfs needed to cure. I spent the interim cutting out the rudder and yoke, as well as gluing up one of the masts.
    Rudder from some marine fir I had sitting around, yoke from Okoume.

    Wow, that's a big pic. Likely not its final shape, in any case.

    Yoke:

    Mainmast:
    It can be fairly dainty, considering the small sail area. Just two pieces from a 1x board, ripped, flipped and glued back together. I'll round off the corners, and taper it, but I'll leave it square. I'll do the same with the mizzen and other spars.

    More to come. Questions and comments welcome.
    Dave
    Last edited by DGentry; 11-19-2016 at 05:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Great start. Will follow with interest.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Keep it coming Dave.....

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    I'm sitting here sipping on my morning coffee waiting for the next installment......

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    This is a really unfair tease for an impatient guy. Oh, I'm excited, as these are my two favorite things combined. Sailing canoes and sof, that is.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Fantastic! Been hoping for this one for a while.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Subscribed!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default

    I'm in, Dave.

    Kevin


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Good morning, everyone. It was likely the last warm day of the season here, so I took yesterday off of boat building to go paddling with my daughter. She's two, and it was her first ride along with just me. We poked about a local pond, sneaking up on turtles and herons, examining beaver lodges and narrowly avoiding death when a large tree randomly fell over onto a stretch of water we had just vacated. All in all, a success.

    Back to boat building - I've got more pics from a couple of days ago, never fear.
    Day one involved perhaps 3 hours of effort. Day two starts assembly of the frame. First was making the strongback, which involved picking out a straight, flat 2x4 and clamping it to a couple of saw horses.

    This is really all that's needed, for most all of my boats. Bonus - one can often saw it up into floorboards, if needed. I'll likely use ash, however.

    Next, mark out the frame positions, which takes a lot of consideration to determine, but not much time to mark.

    Since I'll be adding the keel after completing the first half of the frame, I don't have to use special mounting brackets. I simply screwed a piece of scrap ply to the end of the strongback, and clamped frame 1 to it. Care is taken to get the frame plumb, level and at its correct height above the strongback, which acts as the de facto baseline.


    Frame 6 - the final frame - is also clamped to the strongback, at its respective position. A few old tie-down straps are needed for the next part, though any scrap pieces of line will also work. I usually recommend the straps to my builders, because they can, of course, later be used to tie their new boat down on top of the car.

    As an aside, all tie-down straps are not the same. If you are going out on the highway, definitely spend a little extra for high quality straps. NRS and REI are good suppliers in North America.

    Anyway, grab the gunwales and strap them to the frames. With this boat, the sheer is very pronounced - and keeping sheerlines this way has always been an issue with SOF construction. To solve that, I simply laminate the gunwales in place on the frame, which will lock in their shape. So, this part only involves the lower half of each gunwale. The other half will be glued on later, after the frame has taken shape.

    I know how far the bow will be from Frame 1, so I marked this distance on the gunwales to use as an initial guide to how far they stick out in front of the frame.
    I rarely know, or care, exactly how long the stringers should be, btw - as long as they are initially cut a little long, I can just trim them off as appropriate when I get to the stern.
    I do have to put measurements in my building guides, however, as this throws a lot of folks off . . . .

    Then add couple of the larger frames over their frame locations marked on the strongback. This is my favorite part - where it seems to go from sticks to "boat" in just a few minutes.


    More later. Dave

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Dave,
    Curious about your choice of name. My parents lived at Chautauqua, NY, for nearly 30 years, and we try to spend a week there every summer. Looking forward to following your progress.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Subscribed!
    I thought you may be Peter ......

    Me too !

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    How could I resist!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    So looking forward to following this build. Thanks Dave for writing up and letting us follow the development of this new sailing canoe.

    Brian

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    I'm hooked too.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Thanks for the encouraging words everyone - I appreciate it.
    Dave - the name is definitely related to Chautauqua lake in NY and the tradition of canoeing there. But I lived for many years in Boulder, Colorado (which does not have a tradition of canoeing, btw) and one of the last remnants of the Chautauqua movement still exists there, in one of the most spectacular settings in the country. It's a special place.
    Also, I noticed my typo in the title of this thread. Nice.

    Moving on: The gunwales won't automatically follow the desired sheer, so straps are used to pull them, along with the frames, down to their correct position. Amidships, the frame is pulled right down to the strongback. Another strap pulls down on frame 2, though not all the way.


    Next I attached the stem to the face of frame 1, with a single screw. I'll add another later, and there will be many other attachment points to come, soon.
    A screw into plywood endgrain is not very reliable, so every joint will get its share of thickened epoxy, as well, often with a little fillet. Optionally, the joints could all be lashed, and many builders do this with my other boats, but I find it tedious, and perhaps not stiff enough for a sailing vessel.


    The ends of the gunwales will be attached to the stem, but must be beveled to fit, first. Just a moment or two with a handsaw is all it takes, and they certainly do not have to fit perfectly. Quick and easy is the name of the game here, and epoxy will fill any little gaps. It will all be covered with the skin, so no one will ever see it.

    One must remember to fasten the gunwales down from the top of the stem, as these are only the first halves.

    -Note that I'm going to fasten the frame together with screws, first, then go back and add epoxy to the joints later. That order is not necessary, but with a prototype build I might want to be able to adjust things as the build progresses.

    Next, making sure the stem was centered, I ran a screw through the gunwales and stem. Then - again making sure that the frame is plumb and square - the gunwales are screwed into their notches in frame 1.

    I added the rest of the frames, and used a tape to ensure that they were all square, measuring from the bow to either side of each frame . . . the distances should be the same. I eyeballed the frame for twist, also, but it still looked OK.

    Then it's a matter of screwing the gunwales to each of the frames, making sure they remain square and plumb as you go. You have to pre-drill pilot holes into the plywood endgrain, and countersink the holes through the gunwales. Again, epoxy will be added later. I've left the aft stem off for now, as well.
    Once the gunwales are fastened, the straps are loosened, the chines are slid in and are held in place with the straps again. Bevel their forward ends, and fasten as you did with the gunwales. It goes pretty fast.


    Turns out pulling down on frame 2 is key to getting the correct rocker and sheer on this boat, so I used a bar clamp to hold it at the correct height above the strongback.
    Note that the stem, and the top of frame 1, stick up quite a bit more than they used to. I left a little extra on them to see if I liked the sheer profile up an inch higher at the bow. I didn't, so lowered the gunwales and I will chop off the extra when needed.

    Once all the stringers were fastened to the frames, I added frame 3. Frame 3 is actually in two halves, as it is bisected by the daggerboard trunk. The two halves are hardly rigid as you attach them, so a little extra care is taken to make sure they are symmetrical.


    End of day two, about 4 more hours of puttering around. I have built a lot of skinboats, so I can do it faster than a novice, but building a prototype (for me) involves a lot of pondering as I go, so I think it all evens out.
    7 hours, so far, with about 70% of the frame completed.
    Last edited by DGentry; 11-21-2016 at 12:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Thanks for sharing.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    * I have built a lot of skinboats, so I can do it faster than a novice, but building a prototype (for me) involves a lot of pondering as I go, so I think it all evens out.*
    This made me LOL! As a novice currently building one of Dave's SOF kayaks, I've spent a LOT of time pondering this build! Its coming together nicely but I've spent months on it (certainly not full time!). That said, I'm pretty sure the next one will be put together faster as the build is fun and (after ponder time) relatively easy to do! Keep the photos and tutorial coming, Dave! I can already see where I could have saved time as I went.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Dartguy: This made me LOL! As a novice currently building one of Dave's SOF kayaks, I've spent a LOT of time pondering this build!
    Everyone builds at his or her own pace - hope you're not frustrated. Email me if you have any questions!

    Back in the shop for a few hours -
    Cut and fit the carlins. These support the seats and delineate the shape of the cockpit. They fit into notches cut in the frames, but are simply butted into the aft frame, where they are fastened with screws. That's not very strong at all, so I'll eventually glue some little blocks under them - even though no one is supposed to be using these for support.
    The carlins will be glued and screwed in place.

    Here the carlin is held to frame 4 before being screwed in place. We're looking aft.

    6mm okoume plywood is cut and fitted for the thwarts. Just set them atop the carlins and gunwales and trace the shape out from underneath.
    Seating will be inside the cockpit on the floorboards, facing forward, or seated up on the thwarts along the side of the cockpit. There's room for two that way, but only room for one if seated inside.


    The camp cruising version will have a much longer, and little bit wider, cockpit, so it can take two people inside - or sleep one. Also, that version will feature a leeboard, rather than a daggerboard, to give it more room for inside seating. I'm also contemplating a sort of flip-up canopy for shelter. We'll see.

    The kingplank is next, which doubles as the main mast partner and supports the top of the daggerboard trunk. It will also support the skipper if he needs to reach something up front. The forward part of the kingplank also acts as a big breasthook.
    I want the kingplank to follow the sheer, so I'm making it of two pieces of 6mm ply, which will be glued together, instead of a single piece of 12mm which would not easily bend that much.
    The trunk extends aft of frame 3, so the kingplank will, too. Except for this bit, the plank will be covered by the skin of the deck.


    Aft of the cockpit is a similar feature, which acts as the mast partners for the mizzen and base for rigging hardware. Just a piece of 12mm ply, here.


    This version of the Chautuaqua will incorporate a "slave tiller" forward of the mizzen, along with a tiller extension, so steering her will be pretty standard. The cruising version will either use a long steering stick/tiller hooked to one side of the yoke, or foot pedals - builder's choice.


    Here's the current top view. I did fasten the stern, and yes, that is the best dog ever. The main mast will be located just aft of frame 1, a little forward of the widest point of the kingplank.

    Tough to get a good profile in the shop, but this looks OK.


    It is supposed to warm up quite a bit tomorrow, so I'll do a lot of gluing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    This is looking to be a very slick, useable boat, man. I like the seating options, and the huge breastplank. She looks like she'll be plenty stiff for some lively sailing.

    Thanks, again.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Watching with interest. Thanks for posting.

    Travis.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    That double-edged sword thing that is the WBF!! A bloke almost certain about a craft he wants to build and then just as he has the plans in hand, another good option comes along......

    Looking good Dave!

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Lookin' good Dave! Will the sails be unique to this boat or something off the shelf from RSS or Sailrite? Woody

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Here's a drawing of what I hope she'll look like, more or less to scale.



    Woody, as you can see, this rig version is not likely to be stock, though RSS might offer them if there's interest. They also offer sails for my Annabelle Skiff and Melonseed.
    In any case, I'll have a different double rig for her, as well, plus an option to use the RSS canoe sail (a 40 sq ft balanced lug) alone, for quicker set up and less to deal with while sailing.

    Hoping to start skinning tomorrow - I'd already be on that, but temps aren't favorable for epoxy, so I'm giving it more time to cure.
    Dave

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Dave,
    I find your drawing beautiful. I love sailing canoes.
    I am quite anxious to see this unfold.
    I'm assuming polyester cloth? What weight are you using? Curious, is all.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    With a slightly larger gunter rig:

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Dave, there is some boom and batten hardware you might find interesting for inspiration in this album. It's from an original Willits canoe, all made from sheet brass stock and very nicely done. The sail has one more batten than those you are looking at, but the rest of the design is pretty similar to what you might need. I had the original rig in to repair the sail and built a couple cotton replicas and a couple of fancy Dacron ones. I also had a chance to photograph the hardware.

    http://s1303.photobucket.com/user/To...?sort=9&page=1


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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Todd, that is super cool. What are the rod shapes holding the upper batten in place? The ones that connect the plate to the other spars. They look like eye bolts or some such.

    I checked out the whole little picture file, but couldn't discern myself.

    Gosh, I admire your work, so much.


    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Yes, they're eye bolts. Did you notice the centerboard in the profile view of Peter's canoe. It's kind of a big skeg-like thing and it was designed to clip onto the boat's keel line - theoretically even while out on the water by reaching overboard and around the bottom, though I'd like to see somebody do it.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    I wasn't sure that bit was even connected to the bottom of the canoe.

    Thanks for the info and pictures.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    I'm also contemplating a sort of flip-up canopy for shelter. We'll see.
    I hope you do. That would be super-classy!
    Chris Smead

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Todd, thanks for that! Beautiful work, though I think I'll shy away from chain for a parrel . . . .
    I was wondering about that keel, too.

    Chris, the canopy thing just seems natural, since I already work with fabric over frames. Incorporating mosquito netting might be a good idea, too.

    Rob, I will be skinning her with polyester, yes. I think I have a piece of 10oz that should be long enough. 8oz for the deck, no doubt.

    And onwards -
    Temps were colder here than forecast, so I didn't do a lot of work. Also there was a holiday. I did glue up the frame, though, and I think it has cured enough to get on with it. Here's what she looks like now, which is not much different than before.


    For this sort of work, I almost exclusively use a product like West Six-10 or Jamestown's Thixo. It's thickened epoxy dispensed with a caulking gun. Relatively expensive, but a frame will typically only use a single tube of it, and the fact you don't have to measure and mix anything - and that it just squirts out where you want it - makes that single tube (about $21US) well, well worth it to me.
    So, loosen a screw, shoot in some epoxy, tighten the screw and move on.


    I also glued up a few more spars. For the spars I am just using Titebond 3, which needs very good matching surfaces and lots of clamping pressure - which is easy to get with the spars. Also for the spars, I am mostly using (tulip) poplar.
    Yes, I can hear snorts of derision from many of you. But . . . this isn't my first time. My spars aren't going to be left out in the damp to rot. Also, poplar is very close to sitka spruce in both weight and elastic modulus (check it out yourself: http://www.wood-database.com/#p), and most importantly, it is actually available here. Anyway, it was Dudley Dix's idea, and he uses poplar (along with WRC) for the mast of his high performance Paper Jet skiff. Dudley also happens to live in Virginia, and has the same issues getting various woods as I do.


    While waiting on the frame, I built the daggerboard, too. It's 18mm thick, made by gluing together a piece of 12mm and a piece of 6mm okoume ply. Plywood is not ideal for foils, but works just fine and is easy. For best strength, one should cut at least one of the sides with the grain running diagonally across the length of the board.

    Once glued up, a plane and sander are used to shape the foils. Let the layers of the ply be your guide - more or less even lines is the goal.

    Mik Storer has shown us (or me, at least) that a full-on NACA section isn't necessary to achieve good results, so just round over the leading edge and taper the trailing 5" (12.5cm) on either side.
    This is a much lower aspect ratio board than I usually use: Less sticking up to interfere with the boom, less sticking down in shallow water, and I'm hoping it will hold on a bit better at lower speeds. We'll see - it's an easy thing to change if necessary.

    A note - SOF construction is far faster, easier and less expensive to build than all but the crudest of plywood hulls. BUT, building a sailing rig takes just as much time as it does for any other boat.

    Lastly, I cut out some rigid foam insulation, which I will be installing forward and aft, for fire and forget floatation. Two or three inches (7.5cm) of foam works out OK with these wider pieces, though it will be minimal. I always recommend supplemental floatation, like air bags, if one is doing anything at all adventurous.

    This stuff is easily glued with epoxy and some other adhesives. Use a razor knife to score the foam, then it will easily snap along the line. Don't use a saw!
    "PUP" = Port + Up, btw. I label all sorts of things - but often manage to install things wrong, anyway.

    I plan to take her off the strongback tonight and attach the keel. After that it's only the daggerboard trunk, mast steps and floorboards left for the frame.

    Dave
    Last edited by DGentry; 11-29-2016 at 12:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Look'n good, Dave! I like the look of your lug rigged sketch an awful lot.

    Trevor

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    Thanks, Trevor. I prefer the lug rig, too, and that's the one I'm building for now.
    BTW, Ruth still likes her pirate pig ("Bacon") an awful lot, too.

    Pretty busy week, and cold, but I managed to get in a few sessions in the shop.
    The frame is finished, except for some final sanding before the skin goes on. Finishing her was mostly a matter of adding the keel, daggerboard, mast steps, floorboards and a few other things.

    The keel is two layers - the base is a 19mm WRC board, to which a layer of 6mm plywood is glued. The lamination is strong, lightweight and rigid. I tend to refer to the plywood layer as the keelson.
    Flip the boat, add thickened epoxy to the keel joints, set the plywood keelson in place, then glue and screw the cedar keel down on top of it.


    At the stems, the keel is fitted to the keel notches, and also notched around the stem. It's a little time consuming, but adds some rigidity, and allows a smooth transition to the keel's full width. It will all get planed down when the epoxy cures.


    At frame 3, the gap still exists for the daggerboard trunk.

    The gap is not capped by the keel in this pic. And, the keel will only sit in top part of those upper notches - it won't immediately be fastened to frame 3.

    I built the daggerboard trunk separately, using a stronger wood than cedar for the logs, etc and fastened with glue and bronze ring-shank nails.

    There's plenty of dry fitting to make sure it will all fit as it's supposed to.

    Then butter up the trunk with thickened epoxy, and pull up on the keel at frame 3. Since it is not fastened there, yet, one can still get a little play there, giving enough room to slide in the trunk without too much problem. Fasten with some screws through the kingplank and keel, and clamp until the epoxy cures.

    Add some fillets between the trunk and frame, cut out the slots for the daggerboard, and Bob's your uncle.


    Next I built the mast steps out of a few layers of 12mm plywood, glued them in place, and cut the mast holes at the partners. I added a breasthook aft, floorboards, and spent an hour or so putting thickened epoxy fillets at strategic joints. All that is needed now is a little more sanding, and installing the floatation.

    No floorboards in this pic, obviously.

    Hope to do some skinning soon.
    Last edited by DGentry; 12-05-2016 at 08:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe



    Great photo Dave .

    Looks really good.

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    Default Re: Building Chautaqua - a decked sailing canoe

    One of these years I'll have to get around to trying my luck at SOF. It looks like a very enjoyable way to build a boat.
    There is no rational, logical, or physical description of how free will could exist. It therefore makes no sense to praise or condemn anyone on the grounds they are a free willed self that made one choice but could have chosen something else. There is no evidence that such a situation is possible in our Universe. Demonstrate otherwise and I will be thrilled.

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