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Thread: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

  1. #1
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    Default Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    This thread is a follow on from a thread I raised in Designs/Plans last year...see extract below...
    "I have just come across photographs/information on this boat (miscellaneous threads) in my search for anything on the 'Lorelei' catboat (c.1915) because it has enthralled my mind as did 'Melonseed' a few years ago. Readers might remember that I did a build thread on the 16' Melonseed (Mallard) with lots of photographs (around 2007). Anyway, I was wondering if anyone can supply additional detailed information, dimensions, etc. I have the table of offsets but they are difficult to read due to pixilation. I really do fancy building one of these beautiful boats but it may end up more as a tribute to Gil Smith rather than a dedicated replica. For instance, I only have an 18' shed to build in so straight away I would reduce this catboat length to 2/3 (16'6") of the original (c. 25').

    Now that I have cleared my 'boat shed' (by selling my MGRV8 sports car), I have been able to make a start on a replica of the Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei" at a scale of 2/3 the size of the original (now housed in the Long Island Maritime Museum, Saysville, New York State). I was very fortunate to be noticed by a gentleman (Tom) who is a voluntary worker in that very museum. He has been instrumental in my being able to get this far because he has supplied many photographs/measurements and information about the original (1915) craft. If you wish to catch up on the detail then go to the thread mentioned above.

    Anyone who considers themselves knowledgeable/expert should look away now and find some better reading because I do not profess to be anywhere near the mark when it comes to knowledge in the art of boat building and rely heavily on my gift of being able to 'eyeball' problems. Those with similar gifts will know what I am talking about. Others may become appalled at some of my methods which border on the art of the 'bodger' because I tend to stray from the plan from time to time and occasionally ignore the existence of measuring instruments. However, the fact is that for this build I have no actual plan or useful drawings other than the linedrawings I found on the internet. I failed miserably in trying to properly loft this boat, for a number of reasons, and have ended up with the idea of lofting in a three dimensional way as I progress with the build which in turn has lead to some trauma. Let's just say that no one should try this method at home!

    Having said all that, you will see that I have made a start and when I am finished I hope to have a craft that will at least look like the Gil Smith catboat named ''Lorelei". For those of you who might be tempted to repeat the exercise, I'm afraid that I will not be able to supply plans to help you because there are none and this is going to be very much a one off exercise. If you're all happy with that then please be my guest...and don't be too shocked at any of my way out methods or lack of boating vocabulary. I may often refer to the odd 'thingy' or 'what's it' in my ramblings but don't hesitate to put me on an even keel when this happens. All I can say is...Jim Ledger...eat your heart out. Seriously though, that man enthrals me and I have to say that he is surely our 21st century Gil Smith, and then some. If you don't believe me, go wallow in the thread entitled 'Lofting the Brewer Catboat'. Don't let it put you off having a go at boatbuilding though, he is a master craftsman and only a fewpeople could follow in his footsteps. Now then Jim, after that tirade on your awesome craft skills, you'll be wondering just what to buy me for my next birthday present!!!


    Let'sget back to the plot : The 'boat shed' you see in the pictures below is the one I used to build Mark Barto's gaff rigged 16' Melonseed
    Skiff way back in 2007 and you can still see the marks on the floor where her hardback stood. The working area is very tight (18'x10' overall) but I will manage. Lastly, for anyone who gets hung up on this build...you will have to bear with me as I pursue various other activities. So, there might be some fair gaps between posts but I will try and cover most of the activity with photographs as we progress. Once again I have to say that this is not master class boatbuilding but proof, maybe, that anyone can have a go and perhaps end up with a boat that sails well and safely. What more could you ask than to sail in a wooden boat that you have built from scratch?


    I took the bull by the horns recently and drove down to a small lumberyard in Essex where I bought 113 metres of Western Red Cedar. I was allowed to choose my own pieces from a large number of planks and got some very nice pieces at a good price. The planks range from 9 to 12 feet in length and are 70mm wide x 20mm thick, so I can convert each one to 9 quarter inch strips. I have ordered a couple of sets of 1/4 inch cove and bead router cutters...from your side of the pond as they are less than half the price for them over here. Yes, I hear you say that I am cutting things a bit thin with regard to hull thickness but I am determined to give it a go. The idea is to use modern methods and materials to build a fairly light but strong boat. The main thing is for the finished boat to look, unmistakeably, like the
    Gil Smith catboat 'Lorelei'... and I will be well enough pleased with that.

    Just starting with one 'tester' photo... to be sure I am using the correct method then I will add more as the build progresses!



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    I don't think these two additional photos require any explanation but fire away if you want to know more.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    This should be a very interesting build. I was just at the Long Island Maritime museum a couple of weeks ago. My son's marriage ceremony was held on the grounds and I was able to sneak into the Small Craft building to ogle the Gil Smith catboats.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Hello Rich,

    The museum is too far away to visit but I have been right up the gates on Google Earth and studied the aerial views. Better still, as mentioned above, I have been in contact with Tom during the building of the 4' model when he supplied me with dimensions and various photographs. I am hoping that he spots this thread and gives permission to use some of his photographs of the original to show alongside the build. In the meantime, here is one photo of the model to give some idea of the shape of 'Lorelei'. There are many more on the Design/Plans section under the same heading i.e. The Gil Smith catboat 'Lorelei'.



    Last edited by Don Scott; 06-19-2017 at 05:06 AM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"


    This is the line drawing I came across on the internet that sparked my interest in the first place. Very sleek and simple lines...'TO DIE FOR' as we say over here... but not yet!
    Apologies for not acknowledging the source... can't remember where it came from but someone will hopefully fill that gap.
    Looking forward to 'Tom' spotting this thread and allowing use of his photographs or placing them on the thread himself to illustrate the build as it progresses.
    Just as important, I hope that this thread gives useful publicity to The Long Island Maritime Museum, West Sayville, New York State, where the original 'LORELEI' is on display with a number of
    other GIL SMITH catboats.
    Last edited by Don Scott; 06-19-2017 at 03:43 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    That's a sweet model, Don! This is the first time I've seen the lines and offsets for a Gil Smith boat, that's classified information over at the Museum. There must be a leak, someone in the Penny Baotshop, maybe.

    I think this might be Lorelei, but I'm not sure. I'll have a look around and see what else I've got.


    Watching with interest!


    Jim


    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 06-19-2017 at 06:55 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    How did Tom notice you if you haven't been to the museum?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Steven,

    I originally started the thread with the intension of building a reduced size replica. The original
    is 25 feet long and I only have an 18 feet shed! Tom posted to my thread in the Design/Plans section
    and said he might be able to help. He followed up with a few photographs/dimensions without which
    I could never have got started.



    Jim,

    This is an honour indeed. If you cast your mind back, it was you who suggested that I should have a crack
    at building a model in the absence of any available plans for this catboat. It worked out reasonably well and I
    have now got to the stage of having a crack at the 2/3 scale replica. I use the term 'replica' very loosely but
    hope to produce something near the mark. The build is using ordinary builders ply stock in some cases and
    will certainly not follow in Gil Smith's footsteps as far as build method/materials are concerned. I intend to
    bury the boat in epoxy resin to protect the inferior wood types. No one else would approve of this but I am happy
    in my work. I am putting this build up on the Forum so as to fulfil a promise I made to Tom some time back.

    There will be an added bonus if this boat ever hits the water.

    Lorelei is to the left of the boat in your photo... it has a 'shark fin' top to the centreboard.
    Last edited by Don Scott; 06-19-2017 at 12:06 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Jim,

    I have just found the official? site where the lines/offsets can be found. They were placed on my 2016 thread
    by Peerie Marr

    http://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.ny2039.sheet

    I also noticed that you had difficulty in downloading a 'thesis' on Gil Smith during the run of that same thread.
    I will place the web address in the post below. I hope you manage to raise it.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Jim,,, you will see that it is a PDF file, address below...

    http://nautarch.tamu.edu/pdf-files/Merwin-MA2000.pdf

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Having constructed the jig for that beautiful bow shape, the piece was constructed using 1/8" slivers of Oak epoxied, bent and clamped over it. I have designed it so that it could easily penetrate (I love that word) the hull of an ancient Greek trireme but we may not have to resort to that



  13. #13
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    As I stated before, I was at the museum a few weeks ago for my son's wedding and snuck into the small craft building in between courses at the reception. I snapped off a rapid bunch of shots before being dragged out by my wife. I was interested in a power launch and there was a big Gil Smith catboat on either side. Here they are, but not sure if either is your boat.



    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    I am really looking forward to seeing this come together.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Rich,

    The top photograph, taken from above, is definitely 'Lorelei'. I have a photograph taken from almost the same position and the colouration of decking strips match up perfectly. It is enough of a coincidence that you should spot this thread only a couple of weeks after your son's wedding, but to have slipped away from the party and taken a photograph of that very craft is stretching coincidence a bit far. I am very pleased that it happened though.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    I was standing on a raised platform photographing the launch (the bow is seen just to the right). I spotted the catboat and just snapped off the shot. My Palmer launch build is based on little more then you have going into your build. I've nothing but a set of lines plans and offsets. No construction plans, scantlings or detail plans. Old photos are providing me with the only hints of the little details. You're in much better shape, having a real boat to research. Little things like the vertical support posts under the foredeck and the shape and number of floorboards; things you can't get off the lines plans. Perhaps you can enlist Jim Ledger into take a lot of detail photos.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Rich, I already have a good collection of detail photographs, some of which were posted by Jim on my model building thread over on the Design/Plans section. However, most of them were provided by a gentleman called Tom (still don't know his surname) but a volunteer in the LIMM. I hope he will give permission for their use as the build progresses. They will help to compare my build with the original and show what my efforts SHOULD have looked like.

    I have just spent the last couple of hours ploughing through your 'fan tail' build. All I can say is that I am very impressed with your craftsmanship! I am also intrigued by the power plant you use because I had not heard of it before but, I am well acquainted with the type of R/C prop you are using. I build and fly electric powered model aircraft. I have been pondering the use of an old Yamaha 3.5HP outboard motor which has just come into my possession but not much use in either your boat or mine.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Gil Smith catboat "Lorelei"

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Scott View Post
    Rich, I already have a good collection of detail photographs, some of which were posted by Jim on my model building thread over on the Design/Plans section. However, most of them were provided by a gentleman called Tom (still don't know his surname) but a volunteer in the LIMM. I hope he will give permission for their use as the build progresses. They will help to compare my build with the original and show what my efforts SHOULD have looked like.

    I have just spent the last couple of hours ploughing through your 'fan tail' build. All I can say is that I am very impressed with your craftsmanship! I am also intrigued by the power plant you use because I had not heard of it before but, I am well acquainted with the type of R/C prop you are using. I build and fly electric powered model aircraft. I have been pondering the use of an old Yamaha 3.5HP outboard motor which has just come into my possession but not much use in either your boat or mine.
    Thanks for the compliment. The R/C airplane prop gives good results but I'll have to carry a few spares. One whack into a bunch of weeds will probably snap the thing off. Experience will tell me whether to stick with them or find something different. An electric R/C model airplane is on my bucket list of things to do.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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