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Thread: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Providence, Rhode Island, USA
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    8

    Post Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Hey all,

    Lovely forum you have here. The dogs and I just moved from Seattle to Rhode Island and I'm excited to get going with sailing and building over here. I've got full-on wooden boat fever, which has come and gone since I was a kid. Volunteering at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle scratched the itch a bit, but it's hard to build a boat in a third floor apartment. Now I've got a house under contract with a two car detached "shipyard" so, fingers crossed, it might finally happen. Glued lapstrake has caught my eye and I think I'm going to start with Oughtred's Skerrieskiff, though Joel White's Nutshell is appealing too. No trailer needed, that one can go on top of my car. Oughtred's MacGregor and Ness Yawl are the real attractions, but since I'm very much a beginner I figured I'd start with something easy that I won't mind messing up or looking a bit ugly. I'm also keeping an eye on classes at the Wooden Boat School and down at Mystic.

    I've done some rowing (scull and sweep) and the idea of camp cruising in my own wooden boat is real appealing. I've also long since learned that if you want to use something, don't build it yourself unless you really know what you're doing. So, to get out on the water I'm going to poke some of the local yacht clubs about folks looking for crew. I'll get set up with Providence's Community Boating Center and Sail Newport. I'm not really an experienced sailor - got my ASA 101, went out a few times on an FJ, a few times on J boats, and I've crewed for friends. Had a blast helping my buddy move his Morgan 38 from Bellingham to Seattle after Christmas last year. If anyone is looking for crew in the RI/MA/CT area, or wants to take a fledgling builder under their wing, give me a holler!

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Tom
    Last edited by lookfar; 11-25-2021 at 09:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Palo Alto, California
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    508

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Good luck to you. Currently I am writing this reply from Mystic but I’m just here for the holidays. I live in the SF Bay Area and cannot provide you with any real support. However, I would suggest that you might start with a simpler hull than any of the elegant designs you listed. Building a simple flat iron skiff would provide plenty of boat building experience and is more likely to be a successful first build.

    F1F578BE-71A3-4A08-841A-8414B0CE6176.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Providence, Rhode Island, USA
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    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Hey Mike, I appreciate the suggestion. What makes the flat-iron simple, and these others more complicated?

    The Skerrieskiff is the real play at an easy boat. Oughtred designed it to be built by a bunch of kids in a two week summer school, so I figured I could probably do it. Only having two strakes seems like it would make things easy. My only reservation there is that I want to sail more than row and the Skerrieskiff is more row than sail.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Palo Alto, California
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    508

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    The Skeerie Skiffs are good examples of the handsome hulls Oughtred has designed. I also expect it would be a fun sailboat. However, a simple flatiron would be a much easier hull to build. If built as stitch-and-glue hull, I believe the two side panels, bottom, and transom that comprise a flatiron skiff could be cutout and assembled in a few weeks by a first-time builder. That boat would not be as elegant as Oughtred’s designs. However, that build would require you to learn a lot about boat building. You also would have something that would get you out on the water while you built your next boat. If you chose the proper design, the first project could be a nice looking boat.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
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    4,738

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Hi Tom, welcome aboard!
    I'm not quite an easy drive from you, or I would invite you to see the fleet (9 boats 8'-39') Of course it's off season in the NE. I agree that flatiron skiffs are easy to build. I once built one in just a few days. But I think with patience and study, you can build any design. I'm sure everyone will suggest his favorite, I'll refrain. I will suggest that you try to see and try one in person before building. Good luck, keep us posted.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Providence, Rhode Island, USA
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    8

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Thanks for the thoughts, John and Mike. I picked up Gardner's Building Classic Small Craft and Rossel's Building Small Boats today so I'll give them a look and see what I find.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    N.E. Connecticut.
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    7,160

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Welcome! I'm just over the boarder in eastern CT. (about 35 minutes away). I don't build from scratch, but do a lot of rebuilding. New Jersey built traditional cedar on oak lapstrake is sort of my thing. I have five of them here now along with a bunch of other stuff. Glad to have you stop by if you ever want to see how traditional lapstrake boats are put together.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2021
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    Providence, Rhode Island, USA
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    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    nedL (Ned?) - I would love that. Glued ply lap seems like a great technique while I learn more boatbuilding and general carpentry skills, but it would be great to try trad lapstrake someday. I'm happy to lend a hand too if you've got work fit for a greenhorn. I'll send you a PM.

    I've been poking around plans, I think I'm actually going to build David Beede's Summer Breeze. Super simple, it'll give me a chance to flush out my setup and give me a little more carpentry experience. It's a flatiron, I think, though maybe simpler than John intended when he originally suggested the type! Nonetheless, fits what I want and from reading the accounts of other people it's a surprisingly capable little boat.

    Tom

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    northwestern Wisconsin
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    11,200

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Careful with those cheap simple "temporary" boats you build as a time-filler before taking on the "real" boat--they can end up being a lot less temporary than intended!

    Here's mine about halfway through a 20-day sailing trip in Lake Huron's North Channel:

    DSCF0903.jpg

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    Palo Alto, California
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    508

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Quote Originally Posted by lookfar View Post
    nedL (Ned?) - I would love that. Glued ply lap seems like a great technique while I learn more boatbuilding and general carpentry skills, but it would be great to try trad lapstrake someday. I'm happy to lend a hand too if you've got work fit for a greenhorn. I'll send you a PM.

    I've been poking around plans, I think I'm actually going to build David Beede's Summer Breeze. Super simple, it'll give me a chance to flush out my setup and give me a little more carpentry experience. It's a flatiron, I think, though maybe simpler than John intended when he originally suggested the type! Nonetheless, fits what I want and from reading the accounts of other people it's a surprisingly capable little boat.

    Tom
    To me, Beede's Summer Breeze looks like a perfect first boat.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    northwestern Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    There are also very simple boats that might be better suited to camp cruising, especially sleeping aboard, and flotation. Plans for the boat in post #9 (though with a lateen rig not suitable for cruising) are available HERE for $45. I switched that out for a 68 sq ft balance lugsail from Jim Michalak's Mixer design.

    Many of Jim Michalak's designs would also suit, particularly the Mayfly series (12', 14' and 16' versions), plans $35 for the 14' version.

    If your interests run toward camp cruising, a boat with decks and flotation might suit better than Summer Breeze. It wouldn't be much harder to build, either. I built mine in less than a month of weekend work.

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

    www.tompamperin.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Providence, Rhode Island, USA
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    8

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Thanks for your thoughts Tom! I saw your thread on your adventure with the Jagular - quite inspirational. I keep hearing Jim Michalak's name so given your advice I decided to order his book from Duckworks. I was already considering turning that breasthook on Summer Breeze into a deck (foredeck?) and sealing it off with a bulkhead of some sort. Alternatively, dry bags and some foam along the hull. Not sure yet. The Goat Island Skiff seems to be another popular one in this category, though it might be too big for one-man camp cruising. I may also have to pick up another Payson book; I've got Go Build Your Own Boat already. Another note - my brother is moving to northern WI this upcoming summer. I'll keep a weathered eye out for Jagular or your Alaska when I go visit!

    -Tom

    (things are always better when the Tom density increases)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    East Quogue,NY
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    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    I own and built a Summerbreeze. Great little boat. But I use it for a quick row or sail in protected tidal creek across the street. Go set a crab trap; the kids go mess with it for a bit, etc. It is small and while it rows, it does not row great. I would not want to row it for more than maybe 30 minues. That frame amdiships makes lying down in the boat uncomfortable, so I would think you would want to plan to sleep ashore were you to camp cruise.

    Good luck!

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

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
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    Providence, Rhode Island, USA
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    Default

    Hmm. That's not encouraging, but then again it's a first boat. At this stage it's more important to start and finish than to find the perfect design, methinks. Thanks Kevin.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hartford, CT
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    1,023

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Howdy lookfar and welcome to New England. Now that you're in Rhode Island, you're in a special corner of the region. Rhode Island clam chowder has no cream and no tomato. "Rhode Island System Hotdogs" are fun to watch being prepared (if they still do it with Covid around). The cook lines the buns up his arm and then fills them with the sausages, etc all the way up. And you may well find that Rhode Islanders are very content in their 1000 sq miles and can hardly think of leaving. That said.....I heartily recommend you consider joining these two organizations: the Traditional Small Craft Association (TSCA, national), and the John Gardner Chapter of the TSCA. I belong to both myself. The JGTSCA has its own boatshop at the Avery Point campus of the University of Connecticut, a little east of Mystic. We have outings, work parties, and sometimes get involved with rehabbing old small craft that have been donated. And it doesn't matter much if you don't have your own boat yet, because the chapter has a few dories of its own for members to use. I won't bore you with history, but suffice it to say the TSCA was born over 50 years ago out of the concern that owners and builders and fans of traditional small craft had regarding proposed USCG regs that would have put the ki-bosh on the whole scene. You can find both the chapter and the national organization on your favorite search engine. They are great folks all around who welcome all who share an interest in small boats.

    Oh, and while you are whiling away the winter months, get over to Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA, the world's largest collection of WW2 naval vessels. The battleship Massachusetts is there, along with a sub, a destroyer, and a Soviet missile corvette! Also a couple of PT boats. You have to walk around the Massachusetts to get a real understanding of the incredibly complex machine that it is. As I recall, a main turret crew was 500 men.

    As for simple boats, when you get into BCSC don't overlook the early chapter on simple boats. The punts Gardner describes are about the simplest things you can build, and out of lumberyard wood, nails, screws, and paint. You can have a lot of fun in one nosing around a harbor or on a small river. Need oars? Mystic sells Pete Culler's sheet of oar plans, cheap. Or you can buy his book, "Boats, Oars, and Rowing" and learn more tricks of oarmaking plus a whole lot about Culler's small craft designs. I think Pat Atkins continues to sell the plans drawn by William and John Atkin, one of which is a fairly simple, cat-rigged, flat-bottomed skiff of 17 feet that could carry six to eight adults in comfort. Searh for Atkin & Co and you ought to turn them up. And if you ever just need to disappear down a nautical rabbit hole, just search out "The Mother of All Nautical Links" to find page after page after page of designs, designers, tools, gear, etc etc and on and on. Last time I looked I think there were over 30 pages of single-spaced links!

    Get some RI clams and make yourself some clam chowder this cold, snowy weekend! Cheers!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    West Boothbay Harbor, Maine
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    24,709

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Contact The Herreshoff Museum in Bristol to see if they have boat building, sailing and restoration opportunities you can participate in or steer you to. https://herreshoff.org/
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Providence,RI USA
    Posts
    329

    Default Re: Introduction: new in New England, getting going with building and sailing.

    Hi Lookfar,

    I'm in Providence and have built two glued-lap boats. My first was an Oughtred Whilly Boat, which was a great rower and good, but tender sailboat. Only for strakes per side and with his plans and book not too difficult, even for a first-timer.

    I then spent a few years ! building a Vivier-designed Ilur. You're welcome to come take a look sometime.

    The Herreshoff Museum is very cool, and the street it's on has a few working boatshops.

    It sounds like you have plenty of experience to me!

    Mike

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