2017 – Fortunately, no unpleasant surprises on building my yawl anyway. Warm winter, lots to do with Kardinal and Beer Run, but still time to make some progress on the rigging, to start with. To hold the mast shrouds, the chainplates were installed.

Main chainplate 1/4 in 318 Stainless

On the inside, in the V-berth area is a half inch plywood reinforcement and a 1/4 inch backing plate.

Main chainplate backing

The rear chainplate position happens to be exactly where a deck beam connects with the sheer plank, so I made a cross-shaped chainplate to hold bolts on either side of the deck beam. There are backing plates on the inside, both quarter inch ply and 3/8 inch stainless.

Rear chainplate

Then, the mast partner hole needed a way to connect the mast boot and keep water from going down below. The goo on the right is butyl being squeezed out. (www.pbase.com)

Ring for mast boot connection

The mast boot will fit over this ring so as to form a dam to keep water from running inside. Toward the top of the main mast, I put three thumb cleats to hold the Colligo Dux loops in place for the shrouds and forestay.

Thumb cleat detail

Thumb cleat in position

On the main mast itself, I put a shelf to support the boom jaws. Two layers of 1/2 inch marine ply cut into half-rounds and epoxied in place. The blue things in the background are the rub rails.

Gluing boom jaws shelf

Looks pretty crude. Once the support cleats are in, I’ll clean it up and repaint the entire mast with Awlgrip. I’m not too happy with the one-part polyurethane I have been using for the spars. I thought it would be simpler to use one-part poly paint, but if you use it you also need the special primer for it and once you open the cans, both the primer and the paint begin to harden, and after a short time, you have to throw them away. I tried filling the cans with propane, but that didn’t help. So, I’m sticking with Awlgrip 545 primer (2 part, doesn’t go bad) and Awlgrip paint (same).

Now I’ve been working on the main sheet horse and the mounting for that. Reuel suggested making it of 1/2 inch stainless rod, but I opted for 3/4 inch and have set up the entire assembly. Here is an image of one from some book on the internet. The source for this image is The Project Gutenberg EBook of Yachting Vol. 1, by Edward Sullivan, Lord Brassey, C.E. Seth-Smith, G. L. Watson and R. T. Pritchett

Drawing of horse for main sheet

Here is mine. It is a bit crude. I couldn’t get thick enough rod to lay a nice fat bead, so it looks a little rough, but it is plenty strong. Two identically-sized 4 inch x 1/4 in plates are underneath these plates on the roof of the cabin. The plates and bolts are bedded with butyl. (www.pbase.com)

Horse for main sheet

The bolts go through the cabin roof beams at each end of the plates, and I put an epoxy core for one each of the middle two on each side.

Hole for epoxy core. The hole to the left doesn’t need an epoxy core as it passes through a very heavy carlin next to the sliding hatch

The hole is through the cabin roof where there is no roof beam, only styrofoam insulation. So, I filled these holes (two of them) with epoxy and drilled it out so the bolts would squeeze against something hard. The cabin roof has a 1/4 inch ply top and 1/8 inch bottom with 1.5 inch Dow blueboard in between. The cross beams are 1.5 inch square and about 20 inches on center.

As I said, the world’s most boring website.

Next to install are the rub rails. I’m going with screwing them in place with epoxy bonding them to the wale planks, then removing the screws, drilling the holes out and epoxying oak dowels in the holes and painting over those. I fear using Sikaflex 291 and screws will invite water into the screw holes. If I have to replace then, they are epoxy-xynole coated Douglas fir, I’ll just plane them off. No screws to hit. Here is the starboard rail just installed.

First rub rail in place

Have to remove the screws, drill out the screw holes, put dowels in the holes, sand and paint.


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2016 January and February were pretty dismal and cold in Virginia, especially for epoxy and working “outdoors.” We went to Peru and Bolivia for almost a month. What an amazing change! Fortunately, I happened to have 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann on my Kindle as this explained what we were seeing regarding the history and culture of ancient Peru and Bolivia and, of course the people and the present. A great deal about pre-Columbus America has been discovered since I was graduated from Penn in 1967. I used to live in Colombia, so am familiar with South America and speak Spanish. Even if you aren’t going to visit South America, I recommend this book as it reveals to the reader what was pre-Columbian America;  including North America where the United States are. Here is a link to a review of the book by Kevin Baker in the New York Times Book Review. It is interesting to know more about the 100 million people living in the Americas in 1491. And to find out about organized Peruvian cultures which date back almost ten thousand years.

Well, back to the boat. The sliding hatch is installed, and looks good.

What is left to do is building out the interior of the cabin; the galley, settees, cabinets, water tanks, and electrical things such as lights and navigation. Plus the rigging! Not to mention installing the centerboard and rudder. Plenty to look forward to.

The framework and actual cabinets, water storage, ice box, and head all add a great deal of strength to the entire boat.

Port settee and shelf/backrest frame

The cabinets and settees go in. Beneath the seats are water storage tanks painted with BrewCoat epoxy paint. Neat stuff!! (http://sscoatings.net/brewcoat.htm)

Water tank/settee base painted with BrewCoat

The tank tops and settee seat bases are also painted with BrewCoat, then epoxied on. Two Beckson plate holes for access to clean and maintain plumbing are installed first.

Water tank top and also the settee seat base

Just aft of the port settee goes the ice box, to be isolated in almost four inches of foam. First, I made the box shaped to fit the space and suspended it in place..

Ice box suspended in place

The, I put the front and top of the surrounding cabinet and filled it with foam.

Ice bin ready for foam

There is a lot more work here than shown, as the entire ice bin was lined with xynole cloth impregnated with epoxy then painted with two coats of BrewCoat, then the top glued to the main bin. The exterior corner seams were fiberglass taped and epoxy coated. Foam was poured in almost to the countertop level, then the countertop base was put on which has two holes to top off the foam through.

The head and cabinet above it are in. The head can be pulled out to use, then stored beneath the cabinet. There isn’t room to dedicate a separate room for the head.

Head, cabinet..

Here is what it looks like after the settees and ice box are finished out. Below is a photo of the port side settee, note the Wiley ports and fiddles are installed in this photo.

Settee finished out along with ice box on left

Then the galley goes together. First the shelves and framework are put in then the face is attached.

Faces of the cabinets being painted

Below, the galley cabinet face, including the doors, is being epoxied on.

Galley cabinet face going on

I had made the drawers a year or so ago. They don’t really match, so I’ll probably trim them down and make them white also. Later. Interior paint is Sherwin Williams Tile Clad two-part epoxy.

Galley drawers

On the exterior, I painted the entire boat, three coats of Sherwin Williams linear polyurethane. I saved about $400 using this rather than Awlgrip, but not sure it was worth it, although it looks good.

White paint – at least  three or four coats – sprayed on

Sherwin Williams Hi-solids Polyurethane and Hardener

After getting the paint on, I could proceed with the bowsprit, boomkin, chainplates, install the Wiley ports and so on.

I could write much about making the Wiley ports. Stanley Woodward suggested I use them rather than purchasing port holes or portlights. More authentic, Herreshoff designed them perhaps, cheaper, you can leave them open when it is raining and still have good ventilation, and they are pretty. I made a number of trial efforts in September and October 2016.

Mock up of Wiley Port

This mock up is too heavy. I fooled around with the design until I came up with this final version, below.

Wiley Port – final version

They were installed using butyl under the edges of the frames and also under the small bolts with washers as shown below. Butyl is from www.pbase.com.

Wiley ports going to be put on with butyl under the washers and countersunk holes

I got auto window glass cut for these. It is safety glass, like what is in most cars for the windows you roll up and down. Then, I made some storm covers for these wiley ports. They are covered with xynole and epoxy, then Awlgrip 545 primer and three coats of Awlgrip paint. They can be bolted from the inside.

Wiley port torm cover

This photo above is showing the cover before being painted. Just to have a look. Below is an image showing the wiley ports installed.

Starboard side Wiley ports installed

In the cabin, I shaped the entrance opening in the bulkhead leading to the V-berth and laminated the exposed edge with mahogany strips.

Laminating V-berth bulkhead entrance


Bowsprit – Butyl under bolt heads, holes countersunk

There is an ash hand-rail on either side of the cabin roof.  Below is a detail of the prep for the butyl to be used when the handrail is installed.

Detail of hand rail

The rails were made round using a large router bit on twelve foot one inch square pieces of ash, four times. I left them a bit rough or rustic so as to make for a better grip. It is held away from the roof with white oak risers.

White oak risers

Below is a detail of how the handrails attach, bolted through cabin top and support beams

Riser and hand-rail

These were painted and installed. I sprinkled sand on the underside of these handrails when I painted them. The carriage bolts go through the cabin roof where the roof beams are and a nut and washer hold them on the inside.

Hand-rail – You can see the butyl squeezing out of the joints, this can be peeled off later

I devised a way to step the main mast by myself, using the mizzen mast as a gin pole, placed on the ground in front of the bow with it resting in the anchor roller.

Stepping the main mast

It is hard to get a good photo, but it does work well. The main mast is almost 30 feet long and weighs about 120 pounds.

I also made the gaff jaws and boom jaws; both from laminated white oak.

Laminating curved gaff jaws

Boom jaws, about eight laminations

Anchor rollers, I made from stainless 3 in wide x 1/4 inch thick.

Bow Anchor Rollers

There is one on each side of the bowsprit. All three bolts go completely through.

Bow anchor rollers, from port side

There is an identical anchor roller on the boomkin, at the stern. I put a cleat on each end, bolted through the bowsprit and boomkin and deck with a two inch stainless backing plate underneath.


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April and May 2015 – With the nice weather, I’m getting started on the new projects. Next is to build the sliding hatch, then the spars and on to the interior. I have just finished making the companionway entrance smaller, putting the cabin roof to fit up to the sides of the new entranceway and so on. A good deal of work getting it all faired out and smooth, both the roof and the hatchway.  Then I put the runners for the sliding hatch on and sanded and painted the entire boat with Awlgrip 545 primer. I don’t have any photos of the details, but the companionway entrance ended up looking like this, after it was painted with two coats of Awlgrip 545.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Primed- May 2015 – I’ll paint it when I’m almost finished

I still wanted to use Fred Bingham’s fantastic double-coaming sliding hatch idea, so I built that.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Double-coaming sliding hatch

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Double-coaming sliding hatch

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

The double coamings with scuppers between each coaming which the sliding hatch sits over when it is closed, as it is now.

I’ll put an image of it as finished next time I take some photos.

On to the spars. I did much agonizing and read many opinions on the best method for the masts. Hollow birdsmouth, hollow square or rectangular, solid… I ended up making the mizzen mast hollow square, using Douglas fir. I made the main boom 15’ 9” long, the gaff 7’ 8” long, the mizzen sprit boom 10’ 5” long,  the bowsprit 68″ long and the boomkin 54″ long. All of these, I made using Douglas fir. I also made the boom jaws, laminating white oak for these, about ten layers of oak, each about an eighth in thickness with a layer of Xynole in between each piece. I’ll put a photo of this.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Feb 15, 2015 photo of mizen being glued up

The nice thing about this mast is that I could make it by myself. It is about 20 feet long, tapered and will set a sprit sail.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Mizzen mast

Unfortunately, I used wood a bit too thick, and it isn’t very hollow. This is the small end, so I should be just able to get wires through the middle.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Milwaukee saw

The details are a bit boring, but here is what I did to make the 30 foot main mast using the birdsmouth method.

It is methodical, but not difficult. Reuel gives the diameter of the mast at different points, step, deck, half way, gaff, and top. I used the Duckworks calculator to find the stave width (L) at each of these points. Reuel gives the thickness of the staves, (H), as 1.25 inches. However, at the top of the mast this thickness of 1.25 inches is too great, as Reuel specifies a diameter at the tip of a 2.5 inchs, so it won’t happen.  I reduced the calc to H = 1.0 inch thick staves there, and that came out to almost an inch width (L) at the top end still leaving a small hole in the center.

I set up 6 saw horses in a row and set them so as to have the tops in a straight line, exactly. I used left-over wedges from scarfing process to adjust the heights.

First, I ran all 16 of the Douglas fir 2×4’s through my thickness planer, reducing the thickness to 1.25 inches from 1.5 inches. Then I ripped all of them down to 2.25 inches wide, a little larger than the maximum calculated width (L), deck level. Then ran them through the table saw twice each along one edge putting, a vee along that edge. I made this vee a tad too deep on purpose, ensuring complete removal at the inside notch or corner, perhaps 1/32 of an inch overlap.

Next I scarfed the sixteen pieces together, two each, to make eight pieces, after ripping to width. This was done with a cut-off saw, my old Milwaukee, using two boards set as guides set for a 1/12 cut on saw horses. This gave 8 staves of about 31.5 feet, and I’ll stagger then so as to not have all scarfs at the same point on the final mast of 29 feet eight inches.

Next, I marked and cut one stave and shaped it with a block plane and my 8 inch Makita disk sander, 40 grit, till it looked good, with the width (L) gradually changing, corresponding to the calculated results and giving a nice-looking parabolic taper.

So far so good. I used this one as a template to mark each of the rest and cut them one by one with the cut-off saw.

This is getting tiresome, but next, I lined them up with vee’s facing down, clamped together tightly, and sanded them with the Makita, where they weren’t identical, to a uniform decreasing width. That thing will gobble up some wood in a hurry.

Alright, to reduce the thickness at the top end of the mast, I needed to plane each one on the two “flat” sides (not the “vee” side and its opposite side) to a nice taper from near where the gaff will sit to the top end. The total to remove at the top was about 1/4 inch in thickness. From (H) = 1.25 to (H) = 1.0. This meant 1/4 inch total thickness reduction at the top, but starting from almost no reduction near the gaff point. So, I set the electric plane to 1/16 inch depth, and planed each stave on both sides; one pass from just above the gaff point to the tip, and two passes from the midpoint of the first pass to the tip or top. 4 x 1/16 = 1/4 total reduction.

Then, I lined them up, vee’s facing to one side, and had a look. When I clamped them lightly, the decreasing curve of the combined taper of the width, (L), looked off, too abrupt at one point, about a foot above the gaff. So, I clamped them all together, vee down, and reduced this “hump” causing this ugly curve with the 8 inch Makita sander again, 40 grit. It’s really like a sculpting tool.

Next, I put some 8 in wide ply stations vertically on each saw horse with U-shaped holes cut near the top, each U-shaped “hole” smaller toward the top end of the “mast”. Chalk line to get them straight side to side. Screwed to the saw horses.

Got some help from Floyd Hill, down the road, and dry fitted the staves. Raised and lowered the stations on each horse till middle stave in one side was straight, within 1/32 of an inch measured from the top of each saw horse. It looks good and straight.

I cut a piece of 5 mil plastic about a foot wide and 30 feet long, from the edge of my 60 foot greenhouse/workshop; extra lying on the ground. Will put this between the four bottom and four top staves when we glue it up, so I can separate the two halves and put in blocking, wires… and later glue two halves together.

Around September 15th, with the help of three “volunteers,” we glued the mast together. We actually had plenty of time to get it done before the epoxy started to harden.

I am much obliged to Chris Halstead, Robert Foster, and my brother Piers for making this happen. As it turned out, we had plenty of time to get everything painted up and glued together before the epoxy even began to set up. We used rope and Spanish windlass and also steel hose clamps to tighten the staves together. The hose clamps worked very well, you need one about every foot or two.


Staves being shaped – double taper

I’m not sure why the images are sideways, but I’ll fix them later

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Dry fitted main mast

At this point, February 2016, I’m working on the cabinets, ice box and head in the cabin. It is mostly done, but it has been cold and we went to Peru and Bolivia for three weeks in January. I made the interior compartment of the ice box on Saturday.

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Finishing up the Deck, Cabin, Cockpit, Ballast, Spars

We, my wife Mary Ann Parr and I, sold our home in the country and moved into Charlottesville in December of 2013. So I had to get the boat building project a new home. In November of 2013 we moved Nichiko to my brother Piers’ place in Somerset, VA where she would be safe and remain until finished.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Lifting Nichiko for hauling on trailer. Hi tech!

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Arriving at Santolina, Somerset, Virginia. This is the home where we grew up and our mother, Nichiko, lived for thirty years..

Gil Roberts, who has Fairview Dairy Farm in Somerset (home of the famous annual Somerset Steam and Gas Show), was nice enough to bring Nichiko from Charlottesville to Somerset on his equipment trailer. I made a cradle for her to sit on while being hauled. Carlos and I lifted her up four feet or so on this cradle and Gil backed his trailer under her. At this point, the framework for the deck and cockpit had been done and her cabin was mostly built.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Rebuilding the hoop house

The first thing was to get her under cover, so I rebuilt the hoop house there making it 60 feet long so as to have space to work in. Once I had the posts in and the frame screwed on about two feet above the ground, Carlos helped me put up the roof.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Warm, dry, bright work space

We set up the saws and tools and ended up with a nice work space. The frame is 60 x 12 feet, set two feet above the ground to give more clearance. We put a three-foot entry door at one end and two box fans at the other. When the temperature is 40 degrees outdoors, if is is sunny, it will be almost 70 inside. Quite cosy. And, the light!! Lots of sunlight so one can see to work.

The next sequence of photos show the preparation for putting down the deck. I painted as much as possible while there was still easy access.

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Port side half beams

Port side deck beams painted; reinforcing rim of cabin top filleted so Xynole cloth will stick more easily. With a sharp edge, especially on the underside, is difficult to get the cloth to stick properly, so this is filleted in. It doesn’t look as nice as a straight line, but it won’t give trouble in the future by having voids under the cloth along the bottom edge of the rim of reinforcement along the top edge of the cabin. The band around the top edge of the cabin is 1 & 1/2 inches thick, half an inch on the exterior, half an inch of the cabin sides, and half an inch inside between each of the cross beams.

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Port side deck half beams

Port side progress – same as above

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Rear corner of cockpit at deck – kind of a large crack  here, thank G for epoxy

Above, the 3/4 inch plywood reinforcing triangle between deck beam and back of cockpit. Hole on the right is for the tiller.

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Reinforcement triangle at front corner of cabin. This is on the port side. Notice the  triangular gussets under the cross beam and against and under the sheer plank on the right, plus the extra half inch of the wale plank. 

Previously, I had cut the deck pieces to fit, and painted them on the underside except where the epoxy would bond to the deck beams.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Deck pieces being dry fitted

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Deck dry fitted.  – It looks like the Monitor! The cabin is kind of ugly, not angled  inward enough toward the top, this is for a couple of reasons, but, there is is – too late to change.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Painting the undersides of the deck pieces

All of the deck pieces were painted underneath before being epoxied in place. I used Sherwin Williams Tile Clad, 2-part epoxy and put on about four coats.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

More filling in below the reinforcing rim of the cabin top

John Ahlgren, Portsmouth, NH attorney

John Ahlgren, U of Pa 1967 – Terrific helper! He makes anything he is doing fascinating and fun. 

Finally, gluing and screwing the deck with some expert help all the way from New Hampshire! We got it done in an afternoon. Now for —

The Cockpit

I had studied many cockpit articles with a multitude of opinions on what makes a good cockpit. Very helpful, thinking it through. Reuel just says “make the cockpit,” so you are on your own as to just how it will end up. The coaming is already there, made according to the plan, so the rest is completely up to the builder. I wanted a small area for the feet and a larger area for lazarettes, storage and seating. The two 2×4’s going from front to back defined how it was divided up.

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Frame for inner cockpit and lazarette sides being glued

The cockpit well ended up being 20 inches across at the aft end and 24 across the front, 63 inches long. I used 3/4 inch ply for the sides and bottom, as it could possibly completely fill with water. The No 5 bulkhead forms the rear of the cockpit and gives another watertight compartment between the cockpit and the aft-end compartment. Including the two lazarettes, there are seven isolated compartments in the boat. (not counting the two water tanks under the settees in the cabin) Putting this “box” inside the cockpit added a lot of rigidity to the entire boat. Every joint is taped with 3 inch fiberglass tape along all of the seams, as are all of the bulkheads. Then the seams are filleted and sanded and all of the surface areas are painted first with a thinned epoxy primer and then with Tile Clad epoxy paint. This takes a lot of time, and work, sanding and sanding and … finally, painting.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Frame for bridge deck and cleats inside the well for the cockpit bottom

I added a bridge deck for strength and convenience entering the companionway. You can see I have been making the companionway entrance progressively smaller. The light-colored piece of plywood in the photo above, and below, raised the bottom of the companionway entrance about five inches. It is still too wide for my liking, so later I made the entranceway quite a bit smaller. I couldn’t get the memories of heavy seas out of my mind when I look at the cockpit entranceway and the sliding hatch top in this photo, it looks like an invitation for a huge wave to pounce right in!

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Framework of cockpit

The cockpit is framed in, with lazarettes, and a 2×4 for a bridge deck is added to the front. The locker doors have to be framed along with the gutters to keep water from entering the lazarettes in the crack between the doors and the surface of the seating area. I got working on these with the help of my son, Hans who was visiting from Colorado.

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Hans was a big help!

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Storage or flotation chamber at the aft end of the cockpit; taped, filleted, sanded and then painted with Tile Clad two-part epoxy

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Drilling holes through the bottom for the cockpit drains. Bridge deck being put.

This shows the fore end of storage or flotation chamber below the cockpit well having been taped, filleted and painted; and also the holes through the hull where the 1.5 in PVC drain pipes will go.

Building the cockpit required many decisions. How large, angle of seats above lazarettes, bridge deck or not, how deep, how to drain it, what to use storage area below it for… I opted for following the deck angle for the “seats” above the lazarettes. Yes for the bridge deck as it makes entry below easier, adds out of the way but easily accessed storage for little things under the bridge deck, provides another seat  (facing aft) in the cockpit. There is no outboard well, so the area for that is storage underneath and above is flat continuing the “seats” around the aft end.

A battery box was added to the front end of the chamber underneath the cockpit floor.

 This battery box, for two T-105’s, puts their weight as low as possible and close to the center of the boat being just behind the centerboard. Later, I’ll cut an access door from inside the cabin. The drain tubes are protected by half inch plywood gussets.



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Tube for the tiller

I picked up the tiller tube from Quality Welding in Charlottesville and installed that, drilling another hole in the bottom of the boat. I had to dig a hole in the ground under the boat almost two feet deep to get this up into the hole, but this was easier and safer than jacking the boat up a couple of feet.  I let in the square flange at the bottom so it was flush with the bottom and used plenty of epoxy seating this in place.

Now that the deck was in place, I was constantly filling in all of the screw holes and getting it quite smooth before putting the Xynole cloth to cover it. And, of course, I needed to install frames for the hatches and make the hatch covers.

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Rear hatch frame detail – Douglas fir

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Rear hatch frame dry fitted

I used 2×6 Douglas fir for these and put simple miters in the corners. The front and rear hatches are not square, but trapezoidal, so a bit more complicated figuring the angles.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Main hatch. Mistake on this one, I should have used a 2×8, as the bottom edges didn’t come down far enough to be proud of the cabin ceiling inside. I later added pieces underneath to correct the problem, but 2×8’s would have been better

Hatch frames were cut and fitted for the three access hatches, one forward just behind the bit as an anchor locker, one 20 x 20 inch main cabin hatch over the vee berth, and one aft just behind the mizzen mast.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

I used clamps to hold the pieces together on the smallest one, and a Spanish windlass for the larger ones which worked well. Gently held the four pieces in place without distorting them while the epoxy set.

Around the cabin-deck joint, you can barely see above, there is a grey fillet in preparation for putting three-inch fiberglass tape joining the cabin and deck,  all the way around the cabin. This is covered with another filet or two to smooth out this joint. We don’t want water coming in between the cabin and the deck.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Front hatch – Anchor locker. Bitt is to the left in the photo

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Main hatch epoxied in and filleted. This one has a lower profile as the boom will be above it. Ready to put 2-inch fiberglass tape over the fillets, as was done on all three hatch frames

Reuel suggested that she needs about 1,500 pounds of lead ballast. I found this online priced at over $4,000, so then tried scrapyards, but “regulations” prohibited them from selling me scrap lead. So, on to tire stores. I found four tire stores within twenty miles which were willing to sell or give me used wheel weights. I managed to accumulate a couple of dozen five gallon buckets of these weights over a few months. Then, in July my son Hans was visiting and he melted down most of the lead and poured it into fifty pound ingots, using 11 x 14 cake pans. If you let them rust up first, the cooled ingot falls right out. We used an outdoor propane pot boiler from Lowes to heat the lead, and an Asian wire screen-spoon to filter out the impurities. Nuts, bolts and the metal clips float right to the top so it is easy to skim them off. Hans made about 35 of these, weighing 50 pounds each.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Cooking up some lead! Making ballast from wheel weights

I placed the ingots directly against the hull on both sides of the centerboard trunk and epoxied stringers between them to screw the plywood cabin sole to while epoxying that in place. I had to trim a couple of the lead ingots to fit properly, but the lead cut easily using an old skilsaw blade. .Once I had thirty of these ingots fitted, I mucked them in well against the hull and to the little spacers. Later, I “leveled” them out using the spacers as a guide. They covered the entire cabin sole of the boat.

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Ballast being epoxied in place

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Epoxy in large container gives longer pot life

29 Sep 2013. Next item was to impregnate the dynel cloth to the deck and cabin exterior. First, I cut and laid out all of the pieces, using a few monel staples to hold them in place.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Preparing the xynole cloth

You can see that the cloth overlaps the edge of the deck onto the wale planks are. I’ll do the hatch frames and hatch covers later.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Oscar and Carlos – looking very professional

For this job, I got Carlos and Oscar to help, as I wouldn’t be able to do this by myself in one day.  They had helped with the hull, so understood the work to be done. Mostly, I mixed the epoxy while they impregnated it into the cloth and hull.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Beginning the skim coat

The Xynole has been impregnated to the plywood and now the skimming process begins. After the initial coat of epoxy on the exterior, I skimmed it with a couple of coats of thickened mix using talc as the thixogen. I will sand and paint this later, but want to get the cockpit and interior of the cabin caught up first.
December 2014 was warm until Christmas, so I was able to coat the entire exterior topsides and cabin with the epoxy thickened with talc. Then I finished the cockpit floor and covered the cockpit well with 3 inch fiberglass tape in the corners and then dynel cloth on the floor and sides.
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The gigantic companionway entrance

The front part of the cockpit well has the cockpit drains, inch and a half PVC, they are protected by 1/2 inch ply corners in this small compartment made for two T-105 6-volt golf cart batteries, accessed from inside the cabin. At some point, I may put a waterproof hatch in the main floor of the cockpit which is directly aft the battery compartment, but for now, it is flotation. ($600 for a decent hatch.)
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A more narrow companionway. I had to add to the coach roof also, of course. 

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Fitting and covering the smaller companionway entrance. It still looks too large, but once the framework for the hatch boards is put in, it will be smaller still.

 I made the gigantic, huge companionway entrance smaller; it was way too large for me as described in the instructions as I cut it originally. I had been agonizing about the companionway hatch for months; actually since my trip in 2010 from Stuart, Florida to Cartagena, Colombia in my previous sailboat, a Ranger 33.  My son, Chapman, and I got pretty well completely soaked on that trip from water coming into the boat, sometimes gallons at a time, when waves, or at least what was left of them, swept over the deck and cabin while beating into the wind in the Old Bahama Channel for almost a week, day and night. Reuel sent me a nice drawing for the details for the companionway hatch which is a great help. I will use his drawing combined with an idea for the front end of the hatch runners, coamings, and slides suggested by Fred P. Bingham in his book Boat Joinery & Cabinet Making Simplified. Here is an image below.
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Fred Bingham’s fantastic double-coaming hatch slides. Forget sliced bread!

The theory is that the water entering at the front, below the stop piece, will be slowed by the second coaming and drain out the scupper between the two coamings.

Well, back to the construction details. Some work on the cabin sole, I epoxied the 1/4 inch plywood over the lead ballast layer.

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Cabin sole installation over lead ballast layer

I got the cabin sole very fair and smooth with the Makita 8 inch rotary sander and 40 grit paper and epoxied 1/4 inch plywood over that, so it is completely sealed.
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First layer of lamination of toe rail. Here you see I am using a digging iron and loading strap to pull in the toe rail into place

January 2015, it has turned cold, so I am focusing on sanding and carpentry items until it is warm enough to epoxy. If it is 50 degrees F outdoors, it is almost 70 inside, so the greenhouse effect is helpful, but nights can be very cold. I’ve started with the first layer of the toe rail, there will be four to make it 3 inches high. Also, am working on the bowsprit and boomkin.

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Gauge for toe rail installation

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Stern view, first layer of toe rail dry-fitted. Scuppers midship on port side visible

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Four layers of toe rail installed

The toe rail has to be coordinated with the bowsprit and boomkin, so I’m getting those done now.
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Bowsprit sitting in place to measure cut of toe rail

 The bowsprit is clamped on in place. Getting it centered took some doing, but with string and long pieces of fir I could see that it “looked” right, that is in a straight line from boomkin to bowsprit through the center of the cabin top. That’s the best I can do. The boomkin turned out better than the bowsprit. I used the table saw to make the initial rough cuts this time. The Milwaukee “Skilsaw” didn’t work to well making the initial cuts for the bowsprit and the tip ended up a bit too thin. It’s not the saw’s fault, of course. It works really well, considering I bought it in 1974. Once these are placed, I’ll drill holes to hold them down and for the bow anchor roller axle.
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Completed rub rail being protected with xynole and epoxy

The rub rail is done now, being covered with xynole cloth. As is usual, this project took longer than I had imagined.
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June 2013 – Lots of work with the good weather, but not too many photos. With the hull completed and right side up, she is ready to come together. This means the deck, cabin, centerboard, cockpit and coach roof, tiller, masts….

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Inside of hull with bulkheads cut for cabin interior and added height to cabin roof level. The next step is to get the centerboard trunk in.

First, I cut, scarfed and installed an additional bulkhead 18 inches behind where the cockpit was originally going to begin.  This bulkhead now divides the slightly larger cabin from the slightly smaller cockpit. Next I cut the interior bulkheads where the interior of the cabin is to be to leave it open except for where the cabinets will go.  Then I added the upper part of three bulkheads which will reach to the cabin roof. I had to guess on this, as the coach roof is yet to be built. Once these things were done, I sanded the hull interior smooth, then filleted and glass-taped the bulkheads to the hull bottom and sides. This is time-consuming, the first pass is filleting (over wet pure epoxy coating put on with a brush) using a pretty thick mix of epoxy and talc applied with a “Glad” pastry bag, smoothed to shape with a piece of one-inch PVC pipe. Then cover this fillet with 3 inch fiberglass tape, smooth this over with a coat or two of epoxy and talc using a piece of one and a half inch PVC pipe. Then sand all smooth by hand. This reinforces the joints between the plywood bulkheads and plywood hull and topsides. I also filled in the pockets of the bottom between the plank keel and the chine logs with 2 by pine or fir so there were no crevices for water to sit in the two anchor compartments, one fore and the other aft.

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Mizzen mast step over the smooth floor of aft anchor locker. Smaller hole is for the tiller.

Once this filleting step was done, I painted the entire interior with a diluted epoxy sealer two or three times, to the point of rejection. The product I used was especially designed for this, E Bond 106 Polyamide Epoxy Coating from E Bond Epoxies in Ft Lauderdale. It has an extended pot life which you can extend longer by keeping left-over mixed product in the freezer. So, now if water gets into the bottom of the boat, it just sits there on top of this coating and doesn’t moisten the plywood. The entire interior will also be painted with Sherwin Williams two-part Tile Clad epoxy paint once each section is completed.

Centerboard Trunk  & Centerboard

The centerboard trunk was pretty quick to make and install. I made the two halves one with the end posts in place, coated them with Dynel cloth and epoxy, then two coats of Awlgrip 545, then two coats of Blue Water Marine Copper Shield 35, a hard modified epoxy bottom paint, then joined them and made one last fillet at this joint and painted that joint. Next, I cut the hole in the floor of the cabin again. It had to be wider than I had thought as the trunk extends through the floor to the very bottom of the boat.

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Cloth on one inner half of centerboard trunk

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Trunk half, covered with Dynel cloth and primed with Awlgrip 545

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Trunk half, painted with bottom paint

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Centerboard trunk, dry fitted

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Scribing the centerboard trunk bottom to fit flush with bottom of the hull

The trunk was made longer on the bottom than needed, then scribed, taken out and and cut and then epoxied to the floor of the hull. This joint will be finished on the bottom when the boat is lifted to install the centerboard. Once this was scribed, I removed it, cut it along the scribe lines and then epoxied the trunk in place.

The centerboard is next. The basic frame is 2×6’s glued on edge. Then a hole is cut for the lead ballast and the first layer of plywood is put on one side, three 50-lb weights inserted and epoxied in place. Then a layer if 3/8 in ply over the side the weights went in on, then one more layer of ply on both sides. Shaping to a foil profile as you go. Don’t try to bend this crappy plywood.

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Detail of weights installed

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Another view of centerboard

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Gluing the outside layer of plywood

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Roseburg Plywood problem

I’ll take a moment here to whine about the marine plywood I’ve been getting. It is manufactured by Roseburg in Oregon, and I buy it at Better Living in Charlottesville, which is a terrific place. The batch I had bought recently from a local building supply company had two pieces which seemed to be delaminating. See the photo above of a piece I had just run through the table saw.  It looks like the glue was allowed to dry before the two pieces were pressed together. One of the pieces I had cut for the centerboard had this problem along one edge. See below where I have stuck some sticks of wood into the crack.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Roseburg lywood problem – addressed with epoxy – the cure-all

I ended up opening the crack where it was delaminated and pouring epoxy into it and then pressing it back together and letting it set up. I complained to the salesman at the building supply store who then showed the small defective piece shown in the image above to the factory rep, and was told that the sales rep told him that it was a “user problem,” that is, that I had caused the delamination from improper use. Total BS. Anyway, I think this batch was made on a Friday afternoon after a two-beer lunch.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Putting Dynel cloth on the centerboard

I have a photo somewhere of the finished centerboard, and will post it soon. It’s still lying covered with a Chinese tarp on a pair of sawhorses at Piers’ house, next to the hoop house. I won’t install it until I lift the boat four feet in the air, just before putting it on a trailer.

Deck and Cabin Structure

The deck beams and half beams were made mostly of ash and the compound cuts where they connect with the sheer clamps and trunk carlins I could not have done without my Japanese hand saw I purchased at Lowes.

Sawing Beam

This basic Japanese saw is awesome. Here I’m cutting an ash deck beam

Trunk Carlin

The starboard cabin trunk carlin.

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Bow stiffener & mast partner along with the screws to be used

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Bow deck stiffener up against the breasthook

Cabin and Coach Roof

These cabin sides and coach roof beams took forever. Making the beams was pretty straightforward, just laminating three layers in a curve for the roof. Because I didn’t know what I was doing, I thought this through and experimented many times before cutting the sides of the cabin where they will meet the roof. Here is the beginning of this process. Once the trunk carlins and deck beams were in, I proceeded with the cabin trunk and cockpit coaming. This worked out sort of OK, but I will definitely be able to do this better next time. The carlin wasn’t angled or inclined toward the inside of the boat enough to put the trunk cabin sides leaning in at the proper angle. They ended up being too vertical.  The other mistake is that I laid the 4×8 sheets lengthwise and scarfed only once along each of the cabin sides. This didn’t give enough opportunity to have a more compound curve along the sides. It would have worked better to scarf a new piece every three feet so as to create a nice curve along the length of the cabin sides.
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Setting up cabin trunk sides

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Trunk carlin, cabin trunk sides and deck half beams. Laminated coachroof beams on floor in background.

Below, a photo of laminating the after part of the cockpit coaming. I used some cheap ~3/16ths ply from Lowe’s for this as Better Living, where I have bought all of my marine plywood, wasn’t able to get any 1/4 inch marine plywood.

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Laminations – after end of cockpit coaming

 Below is the same, but more finished. These laminations were scarfed into the main part of the coaming, 12:1 scarf; twice; as the main coaming is two layers, one layer of half inch plywood which continues from the cabin sides plus an additional layer of 3/8″ plywood from the cabin back to this joint.
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More completed cockpit coaming

In the photo above you can see the rear mast partner (no hole made for the mast yet, the tiller post will also go through this) the deck beams, carlins for the rear hatch and the after deck stiffener.

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Cabin trunk sides attached to the carlins, ready to install the cabin trunk front

In the photo above, you can see on the right, the 12:1 vertical scarf in the half inch plywood where the curved front portion will be attached. You can also see the main mast partner where it is fitted into the main deck beam.

The bulkheads toward the rear of the cabin were only four feet high, so I extended them higher using a sine wave cut rather than just a straight joint. You can see this in this photo of the cockpit and cabin with the coach roof beams in place. The hole for the companionway hatch entry is quite large. One reason is that the ceiling of the cabin is low, about five feet, so, when cooking or working in the galley, if you leave the sliding hatch open, you can stand up – and also have a nice view… of that gigantic wave crashing down on you from behind. Later, I made this opening smaller.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Setting up the coach roof beams

Notice the darker color the E Bond 106 gives the plywood interior. This photo shows the setting up of the position of the roof beams and the beginning of the process of attaching them to the sides of the cabin. First the beams were attached to the 1/2 inch thick cabin sides, then I put 1/2 inch plywood strips between each two beams, then put a half inch plywood strip all the way around the outside to reinforce the connection between the sides and the top. It ended up being quite stiff; especially after the roof went on.
It is pretty boring reading about this boat building, so here are a couple of bridges to look at.
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Here’s a 25 foot bridge I built across our little creek which is just behind the hoop house


And another, for the lawn mower

Below is the coach roof with the interior ceiling of 3/16 inch plywood from Lowe’s having been installed center to center, piece by piece, on the underside of the 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch square laminated roof beams beams and then 1 1/2 inch Dow board insulation epoxied between the beams and the interior ceiling and being flush with the top of the laminated coachroof beams. I reinforced the joint where the cabin side meets the coachroof by putting a 1 1/2 wide piece of 1/2 inch plywood between each two beams and another strip of 1/2 plywood about two inches wide, tapered at the bottom, around the sides even with the top edge.
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Coach roof with insulation. A layer of quarter inch ply goes over this.

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Insulated roof

Next will be the quarter inch plywood roof epoxied to complete this “sandwich” of a roof.  Below is a detail of the centerboard-lifting compression post. There will be a sheave at the top for lifting the centerboard.
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Compression post for lifting the centerboard

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Mortice holds the compression post in place and is removable

While the coach roof and sides were being worked on, I also made and painted the pieces for the v berth, and got it all installed and painted with the same Tile Clad from Sherwin Williams. A few images below.
image (4)650
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Mast step and v berth storage

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Ziggy, the number one helper!

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Modification in Design – Nichiko becomes a Yawl – May 2013

I am going to modify the design of this sharpie somewhat. The cockpit is quite large, and without an outboard well, too big for my use. I hate being thrown about the cockpit. After modifying, the seats in the cockpit are seven feet long, and that’s enough, for me anyway. Ideal to sleep on, and I’ve made a board to insert between the cockpit seats or lazarettes which make the entire area a flat bed. So, we’ll extend the cabin back a sixteen inches, making the cabin larger, of course. This makes the galley larger on the starboard side and on the port side, a hanging locker. The mizzen mast in the original design is just aft of the cabin which would put it in the companionway so that is a problem.

I asked my friend Stanley Woodward what he thought about this.  Stanley built among other boats (perhaps 50), Moccasin, designed by Phil Bolger, which is a shallow-draft yawl.

Here is a short note about Stanley and his Moccasin taken from Phil Bolger’s book, The Folding Schooner:  “Stanley demanded headsails (he’s a demonic sail-carrier; I vividly recall beating out of a narrow inlet in his old Belasarius with a huge mizzen staysail taken in and reset every tack.) I suggested the log canoe topsail as more appropriate to the unstayed mast and more effective as well. He liked that, but in addition to the jib and later, the masthead reaching jib-cum-spinnaker as well. I never knew him to carry anything away and expect that he’ll always take in that balloner just before the top of the mast would otherwise break off. She (Moccasin) set over twelve hundred square feet of sail and should be a great spectacle reaching in light airs.

mocassin2 (1)


So, Stanley took out a pencil and drew up what he felt might work right then and there on the trunk of our car. Lots more sail area and a much more flexible sail plan here.



Stanley Woodward’s sketch

Above is Stanley’s sketch of the yawl configuration. Notice the mizzen is very large, almost as large as the main – Stanley likes plenty of sail. Stanley also threw in an additional portlight. Reuel Parker drew up this plan as a yawl for me with a sprit boom mizzen. Note that the mizzen is quite a bit smaller than Stanley’s version. It is below.

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Egret Yawl Sail Plan – Reuel Parker

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Egret Yawl Plan Design – Reuel Parker

There is a boomkin similar to the bowsprit with a bobstay for reinforcement. The sail plan has the mizzen with a sprit boom leg-o-mutton sail. It could also be Bermudan but, according to Reuel, the sprit boom leg-o-mutton sail should allow a flatter sail shape (no lift), when reaching or running. This yawl version has more sail area than the original ketch version, is a somewhat more flexible sail plan than the ketch, has a slightly smaller cockpit yet a larger cabin interior making room for a wet locker. Here is a quote from Reuel about the rig which he had originally thought would have a Bermudan mizzen:  “I also drew a second Yawl sail plan with a sprit boom mizzen option (best for single-sheet point, and eliminating the need for a vang).”

A Bermuden mizzen has the advantage of being easy to reef, whereas with the sprit boom rig, this seems more difficult. Reuel doesn’t believe there will be need to reef, but I’m in favor of it, although don’t have any experience compared to him.

I asked Reuel about making this version with a flush deck, and his response was “I don’t think there would be a great advantage to a raised deck on EGRET, although it has been done. My boatbuilding partner Bill Smith put a raised deck on LAHOMA (28’er), and it certainly made the interior larger. But that was a very moderate modification (low). With the high cabin height on your EGRET, a raised flush deck would be quite high, and you would lose your side decks for going forward. You would have to crawl over it carefully in any kind of seaway. It would also change the cockpit coaming arrangement (not much of a problem), and the round cabin front would be eliminated in lieu of a flat front, with the cabin sides extended forward slightly (like my Sea Bright 33 and 36). But the weight consideration is a problem also, again because EGRET is somewhat tender and sensitive to weight above LWL.”

A note about the high cabin on this particular boat, it has its pros and cons. It is unattractive being so high, and it gives the boat more wind area to slow it down. However, it does give a little more headroom inside, and especially with the foam insulated roof, it gives a good bit buoyancy in case of a knockdown.

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September 2012 – Who knows how long this will take. In any case, you have to begin, so the first thing is a solid strongback or frame to hold the boat pieces while they are being bonded together. I built the strongback and also the framework around it which will support the hoop house to protect the boat while it is being made using treated 4×4’s. The 2×12 rails of the strongback are attached to 4×4’s buried 18″ in cement. This strongback will support the entire hull of the boat eventually, and must be absolutely rigid.

Greenhouse layout

Outer frame is for hoop house, inner structure is the strongback

The outside frame is for the hoops which will support the “roof.”

Putting hoops

Roof supports are 3/4 inch PVC 20 foot long spaced 2 feet apart

Hoops and ends go on attached to the 2×6 frame with conduit hangers. It is really very fast and easy once the holes and posts are in.

Hoop or greenhouse

Funky, but cheap, also free heat if the sun is out. And, during the day, plenty of light!

Completed hoop house. 60 feet long, 12 feet wide. Cost about $600 as I had the 4×4 posts from an old pole building and the plywood lying around. In winter, if the sun is out, it is about 15 degrees F warmer than outside, so 40 outside = 55 – 60 inside. In summer, I roll up the poly on the sides and run box fans inside.

Scarfed sheerclamps 32 ft

Scarfing the Douglas fir longitudinals

This photo above shows not only the longitudinals being scarfed, but the framework of the hull going into place. There is the strongback with posts cemented into the ground and 26 feet of 2×12’s on either side screwed to these posts. They are also cross braced. Attached to these two rails of the strongback are 2×4’s screwed on vertically at precise distances, the measurements given in Reuel’s instructions. These 2×4’s hold the bulkheads, all with the waterlines drawn in pencil on them and level, and adjusted to the exact same height above the strongback from end to end. You can see the vertical center lines drawn on each bulkhead, which are also lined up exactly.

There are seven bulkheads. (Later there will be an eighth) These were lofted full size, half inch plywood, from Reuel’s spec sheet, and notches cut in each of them for the chine logs to fit in. The six bulkheads along with the chine logs, the plank keel and the sheer clamps form the basis of the boats structure. Here are Reuel’s instructions, just so you understand:   “After lofting the bulkheads full size on ½” plywood, subtract the planking thicknesses (¾” bottom; ½” sides; ½” deck; 5/16” coachroof) and draw in the location of the plank keel (keelson), chine logs and sheer clamps (all referred to as longitudinals). (When lofting, make the bottom slightly convex giving more strength, not straight, by lowering the center where plank keel goes about half an inch below where a straight line would be) Locate the sheer clamps right at the sheer. Mark centerlines and waterlines on both sides of all bulkheads. Bulkheads #1, #2, #6 and #7 are cut out in one piece; bulkheads #3, #4 and #5 are made in halves.

The photo shows the scarfing of the “longitudinals” which are to be attached to the upright bulkheads mounted on the strongback. These longitudinals are what the sides – “topsides” – are attached to, and the bottom of the hull also.

Scarf completed

Scarf joints of the chine logs below, unfortunately, the sheer clamp joints, above, aren’t showing

Scarfing jig

Scarfing jig for longitudinals, the 2×10 plank keel is being scarfed

Using this scarfing jig is a very precise way to scarf. The longitudinals are 2 x 4’s (chine logs) or 1 x 4’s (sheer clamps) or 2 x 10’s (plank keel), 12-16 feet long joined lengthwise with epoxy to make single-piece boards about 33 feet long. These pieces are then attached from stem to stern along the bulkheads and to the inner stem and stern. This forms the framework for the boat.

Longitudinals prep

Preparing to join plank keel, chine logs and inner stem

Longitudinal chines and plank keel are clamped to the upright bulkheads in this photo above. Somehow, these must all be cut to fit and joined to the inner stem and stern posts at each end which are just pieces of treated wood which look like fence posts. It takes some figuring.

Longitudinals at stern

Completed connection of keel plank, ,chine logs and inner stem

Here above, the log chines are screwed and epoxied to the plank keel and the inner stem (treated pine, 6 x 6). It took some doing. I practiced about four times with spare 2 x 4’s on each end to get the jist of it before I tried it on the 32 foot long piece of scarfed Douglas fir actually clamped to the bulkheads. The screws into the inner stem are special deck screws, 5 inches long.


Preparing the breasthook

Preparing the breasthook

The breasthook and inner stem connection will be at the bow-deck connection, it’s upside down presently, as it is being built with the hull bottom-up.

All glued and screwed!

All glued and screwed, waxed paper underneath.

Bow, sheer clamp, and breast hook connection fitted and joined. Lots of epoxy and a few screws.


Longitudinals at stern

Basic skeleton of the boat

Here you see the basic framework of boat. Looking at inner stem, the bow end. Some details follow.

Stern knee 2650

Stern knee, pointed as is the bow, double ender

Stern knee again

Stern knee again

Details of the stern knee above. More epoxy and long screws, six, if I remember correctly.

Scarf plywood for sides

Scarfing two half inch ply pieces for topsides

October 2012, been working on this for a month. Part time. Once the framework of bulkheads, longitudinals and inner stem and stern are all joined, the topsides can be attached to this framework. The topsides are half inch plywood, screwed and epoxied to the chine logs and sheer clamps, and scarfed one to the next, eight foot pieces, one after the other. Above is a photo of  two scarfed half-inch marine plywood 4 x 8 sheets, ready to glue to the frame, from sheer clamps to chines. Many ways to skin a cat, I used a Makita 8 inch sander with 36 or 40 grit to finish this after getting it tapered roughly planing with a power plane. The joint lines of the layers of plywood are a great help in judging how much to take off so as to have an even taper.

Each sheet had to be fitted, marked and then scarfed to fit in place so the scarf joint is a good fit; one after the next. Once each piece was ready at both ends with the scarfs fitting well, it had to be epoxied in place; that is held tightly in place while the epoxy set up. The top and bottom could be screwed easily into the chine logs and sheer clamps to be held in place while hardening. To get the vertical joint where the scarfs overlap, I used two 2 x 4’s, one on each side (waxed paper underneath) clamped at top and bottom and screwed together through the plywood where the clamps wouldn’t reach.

 I’ll digress here about screws. I have tried a few types, star drive stainless deck construction, coated deck screws, silicon bronze screws, drywall screws, and a few others. To screw together the 2×4’s on the two sides of the panels, I found that 4 inch deck screws worked OK, but you have to be careful the near side 2×4 doesn’t rise away from the panel it is up against. It helps to drill it out first so it doesn’t “hold” away from the plywood you are “clamping.”.

GripRite – Lowes, Home Depot…

Generally I found these construction stainless to be useful, and almost always removed them after the epoxy hardened. I used these gluing the two layers of the bottom together, on the sides attaching sides to the chine logs and sheer clamps, and on the deck attaching it to the deck beams, and so on.

Bronze Screw

I tried the silicon bronze screws for various applications, but found that the drive didn’t drive them very well unless the hole was almost completely pre-drilled. Also, they have less pulling strength than the star drive stainless screws. They are very beautiful and don’t oxidize, so if you have or want to leave them in, they are a good choice.

Screw Products Silver Star Screw

The screws I found the be the most useful by far are some sold by Screw Products. You can see from the image above that they have a long un-threaded portion near the head which keeps them from holding the piece you are attaching away from the beam or chine log or other piece of plywood you are attaching to. This is very helpful! Also, they enter into the wood you are attaching very smoothly, and don’t tend to ride up initially as the other screws do, often misaligning the piece you are attempting to attach somewhat.
Sides going on

Attaching the topside pieces

Above you can see the outside 2×4 “clamp” which is screwed (with 4 inch deck screws) to an interior one, pulling the two scarfed pieces of plywood together very tightly.
Last side panel to go

The last topside piece is about to be to be attached next

Above is the last space where last piece of topsides will be put. Once these are all attache, the hull is noticeably more rigid. I overlapped all of the pieces along the edges, then trimmed them off later.
Yawl topsides

Last topside piece is attached. Note plenty of screw holes.

Above, the last piece of topsides have been attached. Now for the bottom!

The bottom is two layers of 3/8 inch ply, placed diagonally joined with plenty of epoxy.

Double layer bottom is slightly bowed, per Reuel’s instructions, so as to give it extra strength.


Sharpie sailboat bottom

Last piece of bottom going on, at the stern end

13 Jan 2013 – On goes the last piece of the bottom. Note black looking epoxy, fast hardening for the cool weather in January. Actually, inside the greenhouse on a sunny day it can get into the 60’s when it is in the 40’s outside. Free heat!

Front - 21Jan2013

Topsides and bottom installed

Topsides & bottom on, the outer stem will cover topside edges & inner stem where you can see the green of the treated inner stem. The outer stem is Douglas fir.

Wale Plank On

Wale plank, 1/2 inch plywood, being epoxied to the “top” edge of the topsides.

In this photo, you can see that the outer stem has been placed over inner stem and now the port side wale plank is being glued. I could have used 1×6 Douglas fir for the wale plank, but the half inch plywood was cheaper and lighter.


Xynole polyester cloth Dennis Woodriff, Realtor Charlottesville

Xynole cloth being applied

Wale planks are attached and filleted here, and the Xynole or Dynel polyester cloth is being laid on.  I used a few monel staples to hold the cloth in place. The bottom ended up with two layers of cloth overlapping the chines about 4 inches with the topsides having one layer overlapping the chines about 4 inches. So the chines, and the stem have three layers of cloth. It takes a lot of epoxy to soak the cloth on properly.


Hull with cloth applied

April 2013 – The entire hull is covered with cloth, two layers on the bottom and three layers at the chines.  I put a few monel staples at each end to hold the cloth in place. Concave curves  in the surface are a problem as the cloth doesn’t stick to the wood well. Then it was coated with clear (no thixogens) epoxy. It took fifteen gallons for the first coat. You have to really press it hard to saturate into the wood.  A few places where there were concave curves had to be ground out and re-clothed and re-coated. No big deal, there were only about four places, and most were the size of a grape or an apple. Two were the size of a banana.

 After the first coat of clear epoxy, it is mostly like auto body work or drywall work, put on epoxy mixed with thixogens with a ten-inch drywall knife, fair it and sand it and put on more and do it again until it looks pretty good. I found talc to be the most economical “thixogen” and ended up using about 30 pounds of it mixed in with the epoxy. Sanding, re-coating and more sanding… Three or four coats of thickened epoxy were put over the first clear coat with the drywall knife, sanding and fairing each time. Until it looked like this above. Next, primer.



Primed hull

Two coats of Algrip 545 primer covered it well, an hour or so apart. Then, more sanding with a 6 inch air sander and 150 grit paper to smooth it out, then getting the area where the topsides and boot stripe will be really smooth with 220 – 320 grit. The 6 inch air palm sander was very good at this.


Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Water level for taping boot stripe

I used a bucket and a twenty-five foot clear hose to draw the water line and boot top on the hull. Reuel suggests putting the painted water line three inches above the actual water line, so I did that. Here it is ready for the boot top to be sprayed on.


Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Taped for spraying the boot stripe on

The basic hull is completed, and the next phase is to build the rest of the boat. To do this, it needs to be right side up, so I built a frame to roll it over.

Meanwhile, we seem to always get a big snowstorm in March here in Virginia, and I learned how to prepare a hoop house for snow when the snow came.


March 7, 2013 snow storm

After digging out the boat and putting the hoop house back together, I went to Lowes and bought a good shop heater so next time, I could melt the snow as it came down.

Just need a dry day during the week for the crane to get in and out. It has been raining all the time, so, we are still waiting.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Ready for the crane

Ready to roll! After a week of rain, on the 28th of May 2013, we take a chance on scheduling the crane to help with the roll-over. The worry is that the crane may not be able to get back out, up the steep hill after completing the job. Here follow a few photos of the rolling over process. We used two small 12 volt winches attached to a couple of trees to pull and belay the hull as it is rolled over. We had dug a hole for the bow so it wouldn’t touch the ground.


Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Crane arrives

Humberto Carlos Herrera

Carlos, hooking on the boat

Carlos, who works at out restaurant, Beer Run, is seen here hooking up the first frame to the spreader bar held by the crane.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Attaching straps to roll boat. Note hole in ground for bow.

Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville



Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Half way, the crux

Half way there, the most scary part as we have to keep it from flopping over and breaking itself.


Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Right side up

We let it down gently. And the crane operator put it back up on the strongback where it will be under the greenhouse again.


Dennis Woodriff Realtor Charlottesville

Crane leaving

Crane, almost made it up the hill on the first try. He backed down, we put about six inches of wood chips on the tracks and then out he went on the next try!


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