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Thread: Light Chebacco

  1. #1
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    Oct 2012
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Default Light Chebacco

    I want to build a boat for family adventures. Our plastic kayaks and my SOF pram have served us well while the kids were very young, I’d love expand our sailing boundaries and explore the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Albermarle Sound.
    I started building a Bolger Chebacco and hope to be finished by next Spring. I chose it for the following reasons:

    • It looks cool.
    • It’s big enough for 2 adults and 4 little kids, with a 7.5’ beam for stability.
    • The cat yawl rig should be simple to handle, heave to, and reef.
    • My garage is the right size for the build.
    • It has lots of storage and a small cuddy cabin for the littles to get out of the weather when needed.


    Jamie Orr's famous Wayward Lass:

    chebacco mountains wee lass
    Here are my questions moving forward:

    1. Do I have to sheath the whole thing in fiberglass and epoxy? It’s hard for me to tell whether or not the design requires it. I would prefer to avoid the weight and labor and expense of it, if possible. I realize the butt joints and panel seams need to be glued and fiberglass taped. I have the plans from Dynamite Payson’s Instant Boat series, and there is a lot of sheathing and layering going on there, but it seems to be a choice he made. Can I make the choice to only glass the joints and maybe the bottom/keel/stem? What would be the likely consequences?
    2. Can it be reasonably used without a motor? I would love, love, love to be able to depend on sails, with oars and maybe a sculling oar as auxiliary. If I can avoid all the extra fiberglass and epoxy, we might be able to keep it light for the given shape and size. Our biggest adventures will be taking place during the summer while the kids are out of school and we don’t have rigid schedules, hopefully giving us flexibility to wait for tides and winds.
    Chris Smead

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    51

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Here are the boom and yard, in various stages of construction. The boom is cypress, oblong in cross-section.
    http://

    Here is the mizzen mast, construction fir, four-sided at this stage. I'm trying to knock out the spars before laying out the strongback and taking up most of the garage real estate!

    http://
    Last edited by csmead; 05-14-2019 at 10:50 AM.
    Chris Smead

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Victoria BC, Canada
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    497

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by csmead View Post
    I want to build a boat for family adventures. Our plastic kayaks and my SOF pram have served us well while the kids were very young, I’d love expand our sailing boundaries and explore the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Albermarle Sound.
    I started building a Bolger Chebacco and hope to be finished by next Spring. I chose it for the following reasons:

    • It looks cool.
    • It’s big enough for 2 adults and 4 little kids, with a 7.5’ beam for stability.
    • The cat yawl rig should be simple to handle, heave to, and reef.
    • My garage is the right size for the build.
    • It has lots of storage and a small cuddy cabin for the littles to get out of the weather when needed.


    Jamie Orr's famous Wayward Lass:


    Here are my questions moving forward:

    1. Do I have to sheath the whole thing in fiberglass and epoxy? It’s hard for me to tell whether or not the design requires it. I would prefer to avoid the weight and labor and expense of it, if possible. I realize the butt joints and panel seams need to be glued and fiberglass taped. I have the plans from Dynamite Payson’s Instant Boat series, and there is a lot of sheathing and layering going on there, but it seems to be a choice he made. Can I make the choice to only glass the joints and maybe the bottom/keel/stem? What would be the likely consequences?
    2. Can it be reasonably used without a motor? I would love, love, love to be able to depend on sails, with oars and maybe a sculling oar as auxiliary. If I can avoid all the extra fiberglass and epoxy, we might be able to keep it light for the given shape and size. Our biggest adventures will be taking place during the summer while the kids are out of school and we don’t have rigid schedules, hopefully giving us flexibility to wait for tides and winds.
    Hi,

    That's not Wayward Lass, it's Yaviza, built and owned by Cal Cran. An easy mistake, I had to look twice myself. Cal sailed with me on Wayward Lass before he built Yaviza and I guess he liked the colour combo, however I don't have a bowsprit plus a couple of other small differences. I'm pretty sure that's Howe Sound he's sailing in, just north of Vancouver BC - I may even have taken that picture!

    Yaviza is for sale, that may or may not be of interest to you since you've started building already but it could get you on the water a lot sooner. If you want I can put you in touch.

    In regards to your questions:

    1. I sheathed Wayward Lass wherever sun or sea could reach her, it's worked out very well. The paint was two part epoxy, although I'd use a one part, not-so-toxic paint now. The combination has stood up for almost 20 years, the only deterioration is where I've scraped her a little too close to a barnacle covered piling. BTW, I asked Bolger the same question, he replied that sheathing was not necessary although I think he said it was a good thing. I still have that letter somewhere, I'll see if I can find it. But if I did it again I'd still sheath.

    2. No problem sailing without a motor, but she's a b*tch to row any distance. I took Wayward Lass in the first Shipyard Raid, we sailed and rowed almost 100 miles, and due to lack of wind we rowed most every day, sometimes all day. 12 foot oars mounted on the coaming, with a box seat 8 or ten inches on a floorboard mounted level with the cockpit seats made for a very ergonomic postion. Nothing to be done about the weight though. Best I could do was three knots for about ten seconds - did it both ways with GPS to be sure. Keeping up two knots is more realistic but it's still hard work - I prefer a 5 hp Honda motor, short shaft. A 3 gallon remote tank sits nicely in the motor well and it's a very neat and clean set-up. All the potential smelly stuff is out of the cockpit all the time.

    Cheers,

    Jamie

  4. #4
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    3,571

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    If your budget will run to it one of the new electrics might be helpful. One of the problems with the Chesapeake is that it can get real light for extended periods. Definitely pricier than gas. Sculling could be good with dedicated yuloh/ scullmatix type big blade oars, but even in a calm you end up with air drag which is more than you might think as well as the boat rolling in the old seas. I think you'd still be in two knots.

    In the bays I suspect that you are going to want to go ashore and ground the boat on various beaches, so I'd certainly have some glass on the beaching bits, tip of the centerboard etc.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Narragansett Bay and Approaches
    Posts
    199

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Glass v No Glass doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.
    You can glass parts of the boat, without glassing all of the boat.
    Structurally the boat is fine without, but glass does make the surfaces far more durable and as such limit ancillary damage.
    So where you think there is a chance of damage, it can make sense, under the water for example.
    Lets say you run over a log with all sorts of nasty metal sticking out of it.
    The glassed bottom might get scratched up, but the glass may prevent the actual plywood grain from being exposed.
    This prevents water from getting into the grain and possibly starting all the mischief that could follow.
    Second concern is which plywood you use. Fir plywood always checks. That is to say cracks develop in the surface veneer. The only cure for this is GRP.
    Okoume is light, but fairly soft and dents and dings easily, which breaks up the surface finish and waterproofing. I would glass in both cases.
    Other plywood veneers like Sapelle or other mahoganies are very durable and stable and can be used with epoxy sealer or even just paint. The price per square foot looks hideous, but if you consider the cost of glassing the less expensive material, it falls back into line.
    SHC

  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    Bainbridge Island WA
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    2,790

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I gather you are building the sheet-ply version as opposed to the glued-lapstrake one? I started 'glassing a glued-lap hull once and quickly abandoned the project, too many corners. In the end I've settled for laying down a few good coats of neat epoxy to act as a base for the primer coat, it is easier to get a nice consistent finish to the paint and (I think) is a bit of insurance against water penetration into the endgrain all those laps potentially leave exposed, though I do put a nice thick fillet in each of them so I suppose what I really get is a nice watertight base to paint on.

    Quality marine paint is pretty tough stuff, and in general we (royally speaking)don't treat these boats like workboats and run them up hard onto the beach all the time. If that kind of treatment is in your plans something other than a layer of fiberglass will hold up better in the long run.

    On the "pro" side for some level of sheathing...I have had a few issues with the marine plywood (okume and meranti) checking over time. I've been fighting a growing number of areas that are varnished on Marianita's cabinsides. Same sheet of plywood for both sides so it might be that particular piece. But there a couple of spots along her forest green sheerstrake (on the sunny side) that have checked this year. The main part of the hull is white and just fine so far after 4 years living in the water. The cabintop and decks are painted dynel and as expected are just fine too. Fiberglass will suck up a lot of epoxy getting the weave filled and require a lot of sanding to get back down to smooth.
    Steve

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    My view is that it's way less work to glass it as you build it, and if you don't do it now and keep the boat for years, you'll sooner or later find yourself removing all the hardware, sanding and scraping off the paint, and glassing, all the while wondering why you didn't just do it in the first place.

    The caution about fir ply checking is to be taken seriously. I've even seen it check with enough force to tear open fiberglass sheathing. That's uncommon, but a sealer coat of epoxy and paint can't be counted on to hold it together.
    -Dave

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
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    3,779

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    I built a Glen-L Topper (11' sailing dink) of fir ply in '89. I glassed the seams and bottom, just rolled resin onto the sides. It checked inside under paint, not outside.
    My last two keelboats had no motor for several years. They were a 20' sloop and 26' yawl, about 2000 and 7500 pounds. I rowed each with a single long oar, but not very far nor very often. I found that with practice I could usually use wind or current to get where I wanted. Each boat did have a motor when I bought them, which gave me backup while I learned to sail on and off of docks and moorings.
    Good luck, keep us posted.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Orr View Post
    Hi,
    That's not Wayward Lass, it's Yaviza, built and owned by Cal Cran. An easy mistake, I had to look twice myself. Cal sailed with me on Wayward Lass before he built Yaviza and I guess he liked the colour combo, however I don't have a bowsprit plus a couple of other small differences. I'm pretty sure that's Howe Sound he's sailing in, just north of Vancouver BC - I may even have taken that picture!
    Oops! Sorry, I should've known that was Wayward Lass's twin. I spent a lovely rainy Saturday this winter reading everything at Chebacco.com and saw many reports of your adventures! You can see the progression of the internet by seeing those low-quality pictures from the '90s. It's inspiring to see how Wayward Lass has stood the test of time! I even saw your (long) oars plans - they got me thinking about the possibility of motorless cruising.
    Chris Smead

  10. #10
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    Oct 2012
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    Glass v No Glass doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.
    You can glass parts of the boat, without glassing all of the boat.
    Hmmm... Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. Thanks for the encouragement.
    Chris Smead

  11. #11
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    Aug 2005
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    SF Bay Area- Richmond
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    As usual we need more specific info to give specific answers. If using doug fir marine ply you'll want to glass it inside and out -- just paint won't keep it from checking as mentioned above. If Meranti or Occume you can glass the seams, the bottom and garboard strake at a minimum, and just paint the rest. If it will be stored outside uncovered, you'll want to glass the topsides, deck and cabin also.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I gather you are building the sheet-ply version as opposed to the glued-lapstrake one?
    Yes, sheet-ply version.

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    On the "pro" side for some level of sheathing...I have had a few issues with the marine plywood (okume and meranti) checking over time. I've been fighting a growing number of areas that are varnished on Marianita's cabinsides. Same sheet of plywood for both sides so it might be that particular piece. But there a couple of spots along her forest green sheerstrake (on the sunny side) that have checked this year. .
    Oh man, you mean this beautiful creature?

    eun

    What a joy. Amazing work! Your boat might be my favorite. I remember following your build thread a few years ago when our youngest was just an infant. I had many sleepless nights and Samantha and I had many conversations about your boat while everyone else was in bed. Sorry about your bad panel. I hope that's the cause!

    In any case, my boat will live on a trailer and hopefully avoid much of the long-term exposure of her cousins who are on moorings or slips.

    Samantha is 4 now. Here's a picture of the whole crew from a few months back. You can tell they need a sailboat.




    Chris Smead

  13. #13
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    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    As usual we need more specific info to give specific answers. If using doug fir marine ply you'll want to glass it inside and out -- just paint won't keep it from checking as mentioned above. If Meranti or Occume you can glass the seams, the bottom and garboard strake at a minimum, and just paint the rest. If it will be stored outside uncovered, you'll want to glass the topsides, deck and cabin also.
    I haven't committed yet. I have 2 sheets of doug fir ply meant for a previous project.

    Boats

    A few years ago, I had a mind to build a sailing umiak as a kind of "transition boat" to see if the whole family would enjoy cruising together. I had the plans drawn (after reading Skip Snaith's wonderful book) and the material sourced. Then I thought to myself, "You know what? Once you build this umiak, it will take up the whole garage, and it will actually delay you getting the boat you really want." I made a Gentry River Pram instead (barely seen on the ceiling in the picture above) and we love using that!

    I plan to use the existing 2 sheets of doug fir ply for the flat bottom and certainly glass that inside and out. The rest I'm still mulling over. I need to protect the underwater bits as best I can, without adding too much weight and unpleasantness. We destroyed the daggerboard on the pram last summer on something unseen beneath the water's surface. Around here, most of the bottom is sandy, but you never know what you'll find!Boats
    Last edited by csmead; 05-15-2019 at 11:31 AM.
    Chris Smead

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Quote Originally Posted by csmead View Post
    Yes, sheet-ply version.



    Oh man, you mean this beautiful creature?



    What a joy. Amazing work! Your boat might be my favorite. I remember following your build thread a few years ago when our youngest was just an infant. I had many sleepless nights and Samantha and I had many conversations about your boat while everyone else was in bed. Sorry about your bad panel. I hope that's the cause!

    In any case, my boat will live on a trailer and hopefully avoid much of the long-term exposure of her cousins who are on moorings or slips.

    Samantha is 4 now. Here's a picture of the whole crew from a few months back. You can tell they need a sailboat.




    Yes, that is Marianita (she now sports a dyneema peak halyard so the sail stays set much better than in that picture) thank you for the kind words.

    Chebacco is a fine looking craft with a cockpit much better suited to holding your family than Eun Mara. I do think you will need to build a couple of small tenders for the kids though.
    Steve

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

  15. #15
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    Oct 2005
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    The Netherlands
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    875

    Default Re: Light Chebacco

    Most of the plywood for a Chebacco is 12mm thick, and I am sure she could be built in thinner ply. It would also save you to build the bilge panel in 2 layers of 6 mm because that panel would be less stiff. And ocoume is much lighter then the other kinds.

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