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Thread: Building a Welsford SEI

  1. #1
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    Default Building a Welsford SEI

    I have finally settled on a SEI as my first build after considering a lot of different options. This design meets some of the criteria I am looking for and I thought it could be good for a first project. I am completely new to boat building so I need to learn to crawl before I can walk.
    As John Welsford describes it on his webpage:
    Built from plywood with only a little solid wood here and there, shes an easy build suitable for a first timer with modest tool skills, I'd expect her to take perhaps 150 hours to complete to a "tidy workboat" standard. There is nothing complicated here.

    My initial thoughts was to build from a kit, but as I am based in Europe I can't order the kit of SEI that is offered in the US. I got feedback on Welsfords facebook group that cut fiels for SEI and some other designs is in progress, but it will most likely take some months have them ready.

    While I wait for my plans to arrive I am researching where to source materials for the build. Since I am currently based in Estonia it is very hard to source anything boat related locally, even more so when you don't speak the language.

    The only plywood I can source locally is high quality exterior grade Baltic birch WPD with phenol-formaldehyde glue. I have seen on this forum that WI-Tom has commented on using this for his own and his brothers builds with no issues. Would appreciate some more feedback on this or alternative places to source okoume from?

    When it comes to Epoxy I have not found any sources locally for this so still on the search or open to other suggestions of where this can be sourced.

    Sail I plan to order from RSS sails and the hardware I will mostlikely source from Duckworks and get a friend to bring over in the spring if the Covid 19 situation is under control.

    I have found Fyne boatkits in the UK that can supply both, but would like to find more options.

    I would also appreciate any tips on good books on building a plywood boat like this as I am starting from scratch. Would instant boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson and Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding by Iain Oughtred be a good place to start?
    I am also planning to sign up to OffCenterHarbour.com as I have read that they have some good videos on building.

    I am waiting for the plans and looking forward to some input. I will continue this thread as soon as I start building.

    My intended use for this boat is to cruise around the Baltic coast and to participate in RAID Finland.

    @WI-Tom I read your article about SEI in Small Boats Monthly and would be curious to hear more of your input on this design.

    Here are a few pictures and videos of Welsfords own SEI:












    Last edited by Chris Narum; 08-09-2020 at 06:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Chris,

    I'd say you picked a winner of a boat. I love John's SEI design. As you know, it's a small boat--best suited for a solo sailor in my estimation. You'll be sitting in the bottom of the boat to sail it, which is perfectly comfortable to do (but people new to small boats might not get that). Rowing--dreamy in flat water, really dreamy. It's a pretty light boat so might not carry much momentum through a chop, but that might be the only drawback as far as rowing goes.

    Sailing--very nice! My one quibble is that I normally like a pivoting centerboard, but with SEI you definitely need the seating room cleared up by using the shorter daggerboard case. And it's probably simpler to build, too--not a bad thing for your first build.

    Not much more to add, but if you have any specific questions, I can try to answer them. John himself is often on the Forum, too, and he will give you better answers!

    As far as Baltic birch, I'd say go for that. The stuff I used isn't even rated "exterior" as far as I know, and it has held up for 9+ years so far. My conclusion is that it's fine for a trailer-sailed boat. Other people will, of course, have other opinions.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Tom,

    Thanks for your quick reply. I also hope I am on to a winner here. Sitting in the bottom of the boat is no problem for me. I grew up with boats and was messing about in small boats from an early age back home in Norway.

    I am mostly looking to sail and row only if the wind dies down and I need to make home.
    I agree about the pivoting centerboard, but I am dreaming of building a Pathfinder, Pilgrim or a Salmo 18T further down the line. Now I want to try to build a boat on my own and get out on the water next summer hopefully. So the simpler the better, but I still like some seaworthiness and the feedback I got from John on facebook suggest it should be capable enough. The coastline in here in Estonia is fairly open that is why I am planning to move onto something a bit bigger and more seaworthy for my next build.

    The only concern question I have is as you mentioned here as well that it is best suited for a solo sailor. I would like to bring my wife or a kid along every now and then. Do you reckon that would be doable, we are both very fit and in our 30's? But I understand that it can be a bit crowded.

    I have read through some other threads on the forum from some years back regarding the Baltic birch and understand the opinions on this is very divided, but I though I might give it a go. It has been assuring to hear you have had a good experience with it so far.

    One more question about the sailing. How would you rate the sailing performance, do you reckon it will keep it with other a little bit bigger boats in a RAID without too much problems?

    Do you have any suggestions for books or websites for covering some basic boat building skills. I am eager to get started and read up on some info before I receive my plans.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Looking forward to seeing your progress.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Narum View Post
    The only concern question I have is as you mentioned here as well that it is best suited for a solo sailor. I would like to bring my wife or a kid along every now and then. Do you reckon that would be doable, we are both very fit and in our 30's? But I understand that it can be a bit crowded.
    Well, keep in mind I only had 2 days to get to know the boat when I reviewed it, so this is a limited persepctive.

    But honestly, I think that would be quite a handful for this boat. Not only is space limited, but the rig (and boom) is low as well. Then again, I'm 6' 2" and rarely find things too roomy. Years ago I did a fair bit of sailing with 2 large adults, and a bit with 4 (4!) adults in a Bolger Cartopper, which is a similar size to SEI. I just think that cramming that many people into a tight space might have a de-motivating effect on them wanting to do much sailing with you. When things are calm, you might get away with it. In any kind of real breeze, it would feel really hectic to me, I think.

    I don't think 3 people, or even 2, would be pleasant sailing for me aboard a SEI. One--fantastic!

    For rowing, passengers would be far less of a problem--but it sounds like you are more sailing-oriented.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  6. #6
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    Default

    I was thinking maybe 2 sailing as a maximum, I am 6'3" so I will take up a fair bit of space. Most of the time I will go on my own so it shouldn't be a problem.

    The main thing is to get out sailing and also to build a boat in the process.

    SEI seems to be the best fit of simplicity and looks after all my research. If I like the building process I can move onto something bigger in the future.

    Reading this forum it seems like most of you never settle with building one boat 🙂





    Sent from my ONEPLUS A6013 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Chris Narum; 08-09-2020 at 11:01 AM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Yes, get Iain Oughtred's book.

    Two adults is probably ok, on my small boats I found the more the "crew" knows about sailing the happier everyone is in tight quarters. My otherwise lovely wife hasn't really grasped the whole weight distribution aspect of sailing. I'm using it as a good excuse to build a bigger boat one of the these days.

    I learned to sail in Sabots and Lasers, launching off the beach. I think a lot of the concerns about dagger-vs-centerboard are over blown.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Birch ply does reasonably well as long as you keep it dry.Paint or varnish it carefully and don't let water gather in the boat for any amount of time-an hour or two is no problem but a puddle sitting there for weeks is a bad thing.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Narum View Post


    Would appreciate some more feedback on this

    Most likely will be fine if the boat is dry sailed and properly stored. I'd also get a sample of the intended ply and give it the dishwasher test. A few cycles through the dishwasher and maybe throw it in the freezer between cycles will tell you a great deal about the durability.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Hi Chris, a few comments/ideas if I may:
    1) Yes, build a boat - will be great fun and you will learn heaps.
    2) If you are serious about glued clinker (I'm 90% finished my 2nd) then subscribe to Off Center Harbor (it's American) and look at the videos about building a caledonia Yawl - I learnt a lot just by watching these incl aesthetic ideas to 'thin' thwarts & so on................
    3) Greg Rossel's book on boat building is one of my reference books, as is Iain's book.
    4) Suggest you have a look at the designs by Paul Gartside and Iain Oughtred - I am biased towards Iain's...........
    5) If you can try to find a locl group of boat building people - they almost always want to help you and can really help when things don't seem to be going so well.
    6) Can you buy Brunyzeel plywood? I buy mine through Sydney Australia which is imported from Joubert in France, so round the world is not a problem. I use it because I wanted an outer layer that I could easily plane when it comes to planing the bevels and gains.
    7) Learn how to sharpen your tools really, really well - it will make a huge difference to teh ease of cutting/planing/shaping.
    8) I'll stop.

    Good Luck with the build - look forward to seeing the photographs - you can see mine on this forum under "a Gannet build downunder" Regards Neil

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    Yes, get Iain Oughtred's book.

    Two adults is probably ok, on my small boats I found the more the "crew" knows about sailing the happier everyone is in tight quarters. My otherwise lovely wife hasn't really grasped the whole weight distribution aspect of sailing. I'm using it as a good excuse to build a bigger boat one of the these days.

    I learned to sail in Sabots and Lasers, launching off the beach. I think a lot of the concerns about dagger-vs-centerboard are over blown.
    Thanks for your input.

    Yes, I am sure it will be ok as well if we know what we are in for. We are both adventurous and I took my wife sailing on Michalak Raider https://www.duckworks.com/product-p/jm-raider.htm in Raid Finland last year and she is a quick learner so I sure we will work it out.
    I have only sailed dagger boards as well growing up so I am sure won't be a concern, but most people mention that centerboard is more convenient .

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Quote Originally Posted by neil.henderson View Post
    Hi Chris, a few comments/ideas if I may:
    1) Yes, build a boat - will be great fun and you will learn heaps.
    2) If you are serious about glued clinker (I'm 90% finished my 2nd) then subscribe to Off Center Harbor (it's American) and look at the videos about building a caledonia Yawl - I learnt a lot just by watching these incl aesthetic ideas to 'thin' thwarts & so on................
    3) Greg Rossel's book on boat building is one of my reference books, as is Iain's book.
    4) Suggest you have a look at the designs by Paul Gartside and Iain Oughtred - I am biased towards Iain's...........
    5) If you can try to find a locl group of boat building people - they almost always want to help you and can really help when things don't seem to be going so well.
    6) Can you buy Brunyzeel plywood? I buy mine through Sydney Australia which is imported from Joubert in France, so round the world is not a problem. I use it because I wanted an outer layer that I could easily plane when it comes to planing the bevels and gains.
    7) Learn how to sharpen your tools really, really well - it will make a huge difference to teh ease of cutting/planing/shaping.
    8) I'll stop.

    Good Luck with the build - look forward to seeing the photographs - you can see mine on this forum under "a Gannet build downunder" Regards Neil
    Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your input, it is much appreciated.

    1) I will definitely subscribe to Off Center Harbour. You are one of many that has mentioned the value of the videos building the Caledonia Yawl.
    2) I actually ordered both of these books earlier today.
    3) I have looked at designs from both of these designers and I agree they have a lot of nice designs especially Paul Gartside. Iain's are very nice looking, but have not found any that meet what I am looking for.
    4) It is a bit tricky to find as I don’t speak the local language and the boat scene is very limited here in Estonia. I know there are one official partner for Vivier boats here now so maybe it is on the up.
    5) I am sure it should be possible somehow, but I would have to find a supplier in another country most likely. I will check with the shop that supplies Vivier kits, maybe they have some more knowledge on the local market. I googled for Joubert plywood on the weekend, but they don't have any representatives in my area. Baltic birch ply is the king here in the Baltic's.

    I will check in on your building thread for sure. I am reading this forum to soak up as much info as possible before I get started.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Planning and looking forward to the build is half the fun...well, maybe not half. But when you actually get the plans in your hands, it starts to become real. I am also building one of Iain Oughtred's boats, the Tammie Norrie. (Tammie Norrie comes to coos bay on this forum.) I have tried to share my mistakes as well as progress, because I tend to learn by seeing what not to do, as well as what to do! I also try to follow as many builds on this forum as possible. Neil, Steve Price, as well as others have helped me see where I need to go next, as well as serving as a great inspiration. I will pile on about OCH site as well, great resource with lots of information. Looking forward to seeing what you choose, and following along! Good luck!

    Ken
    When the desire to learn is greater than the desire to win, the journey becomes the prize.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Chris, since you live now in the EU, and a Schengenzone, it will be easier and cheaper to shop within the continent. You will find anything at www.bootbouwer.nl, from paint, epoxies to oarlocks, bronze or galvanised. Also distributor of Watercraft, and incidentally the editor built his Chebacco with birch plywood. It would be pleasant to visiy him but I checked that Tallinn is 22 hours by car. When I looked up transport for a 15kg packet I found it was 40 euro. Don't know about freightrates from other continents but if you work with Bert I could help you with the sail too. Frank
    www.oarandsail.nl

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Quote Originally Posted by KenStocker View Post
    Planning and looking forward to the build is half the fun...well, maybe not half. But when you actually get the plans in your hands, it starts to become real. I am also building one of Iain Oughtred's boats, the Tammie Norrie. (Tammie Norrie comes to coos bay on this forum.) I have tried to share my mistakes as well as progress, because I tend to learn by seeing what not to do, as well as what to do! I also try to follow as many builds on this forum as possible. Neil, Steve Price, as well as others have helped me see where I need to go next, as well as serving as a great inspiration. I will pile on about OCH site as well, great resource with lots of information. Looking forward to seeing what you choose, and following along! Good luck!

    Ken
    Ken, Thanks for your input. I have been reading a lot of threads on this forum the last 2 years and I think there is a lot of value and great lessons that comes out of it, probably even more so when you actually start your own project.

    Chris

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    Chris, since you live now in the EU, and a Schengenzone, it will be easier and cheaper to shop within the continent. You will find anything at www.bootbouwer.nl, from paint, epoxies to oarlocks, bronze or galvanised. Also distributor of Watercraft, and incidentally the editor built his Chebacco with birch plywood. It would be pleasant to visiy him but I checked that Tallinn is 22 hours by car. When I looked up transport for a 15kg packet I found it was 40 euro. Don't know about freightrates from other continents but if you work with Bert I could help you with the sail too. Frank
    www.oarandsail.nl
    Frank, thanks for the heads up regarding bootbouwer.nl. I am also sure it will be cheaper and easier to shop within the continent and it would be good to have a one stop shop as there is not much on offer here locally.
    My initial plan was to order the stock sail from Michael Storer's Real Simple Sails (https://www.duckworks.com/product-p/rss-ozr.htm) as the stock OZGoose sail is a good fit and also the sail John Welsford use for his SEI. I can also have you in mind when it comes to the sail. What would your biggest sales points be on a custom sail for a boat like this over the the stock RSS sail?

    I think I have seen some pictures of the Chebacco you mentioned on some other threads. It would be good to hear about his experience building his boat with birch plywood.

    Chris

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Building a Welsford SEI

    Chris, I have now 20 years of experience with lugsails, which does not mean a lot, but I have learned a few things from 5 or 6 mainly professional customers who helped me to improve the construction and design. I also have the input from the sailmaker who designs and cuts my sails. Yesterday we cut the panels for a balanced lugsail for Joost Engelens new canoe, a Michel Storer design. Because of Corona he decided to let me build his sail, otherwise he would have Michels sail.
    I thinks his sails are good and what I like about them/him is that they continually seem to improve the sails and Michel did a great job in describing how to trim and set a lugsail. The only thing I am not so fond of is their price, but thusfar I have enough customers who like to see their sailmaker.
    My USP is one stop shopping.
    For information on the Chebacco that Pete Greenfield is building try find somenone who subscribes to Watercraft. Pete is the editor.
    Frank

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