Ship’s Boats

I have been giving a lot of thought to building another tender for our friendship sloop. The fiberglass dinghy has certainly earned it’s keep over the last nine seasons, and we won’t be getting rid of it, but at the same time, it would be great to have a tender that was larger and could be sailed. To that end, I have been pouring over small boat designs. Books like Fifty Wooden Boats, or How to build a Glued Lap-strake Boat, and issues of the Small Boat Journal, litter the cottage where the ship’s wolf and I share winter space with the two tortoiseshell cats that own the place.

I could now launch in to the pros and cons of various different designs and building methods, in fact whole web logs and forums are dedicated to this kind of merit assessment. The real problem, however, and the reason that, until now, I have not decided what to build is that I want to build all of them.

This sorting and comparing of designs has been going on quite literally for years. But I think we are getting close to a final decision. There are four things that I have decided as of now, they are; that first the boat must have classic lines and look traditional, and second that it not add significant amounts of yearly maintenance to my already long list, third it must be larger than our current dinghy, and fourth that it be sail powered as well as oar powered. Add to these prerequisites the requirement that whatever I build must be able to manage landings on the “beaches” in Maine, New Hampshire, and New Brunswick, and we are leaning further and further towards glued-lap-stake-plywood construction.

I continue to read books and forums and just about every design review that comes out, but as I say I think we are getting close and I may be clearing the floor of the shop soon…


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