Chebacco News 40

Intro and more building the CLC

aDSC00008_2Well, I’ve sold my AF2. Entropy retired to a happy home in sunny Arizona. Pays for the outboard on the CLC. Interestingly enough the buyer, according to his friend (who we delivered the boat too), has an occupation of “rich kid”. I think it’s neat that he could afford any boat in the world, and wanted my homemade one!

Looking very much like a boat.

The standard thing that people said when I was building the AF2 was “how are you going to get it out the door?” The standard thing people say about the CLC is “It looks like a boat”. As you can see from the pictures below, it does look like a boat. Just not a sailboat!

Windows, what to do.

I finally decided to go with Plexiglas/acrylic instead of Lexan/polycarbonate. Decided to do my own tinting instead of paying the extra for the tinted acrylic, not sure I saved any money, and in the long run may need to redo all the windows. However, they would be easy to switch out, in that event.

Battery adventures

Well, the money I saved by going with the Sam’s Club golf cart batteries turned out to be not any money at all. I have this bad habit of doing that, I’ll do something to save money, and wind up spending more then if I had just gritted my teeth and did it right to start with. Have to work on that.

When I was installing the batteries I noticed acid leaking from on of them when I moved it to the boat on the hand truck. Not good for a sailboat (even one that looks like a power boat) that the batteries would leaks when tilted. Decided to get the West Marine version of the golf cart batteries, even though they cost twice as much as the Sam’s batteries, on the theory they wouldn’t leak. Two weeks after I placed the order, West Marine still didn’t have them. Canceled, and paid twice as much again, for MK gel sell batteries with the golf card form factor.

bDSC00004_9 bDSC00005_6The Westco Battery guy said “they probably double stacked them”. Right on the side of the box it said DO NOT DOUBLE STACK. (not really a box, more a cardboard half cover for the batteries)Then, when they came, one of them had a smashed in center cell. With some encouragement sent a replacement. When it arrived, it was three! I originally had complained because a couple of the bolts were missing. Apparently they sent two new batteries then. Then when I convinced them the cell was smashed too much, they sent a replacement for that. Swapped out the bad one and sent the three back. (on their dime)

Interestingly, the shipping guy was having a cow that I would claim the batteries were damaged. I told him it was between him and WestCo. He put the three batteries on the hand truck to haul them up the driveway, and guess what, only two would fit.  So, he stacks the third one on top. Is that “double stacking?”

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I remember a conversation with a guy who had built a very pretty wood and epoxy boat about the size of the Chebacco. He said he had used 10 gallons of epoxy and I remember asking “why so much?” I hope Larry at Raka likes me; I stopped counting at 30 gallons…boat epoxy, and more epoxy

mast, titebond

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Left hand picture here we are clamping the spacer boards on the mast, Made the mast hollow so the wires for the anchor light would have a place to run. Right show the sanding crew hard at work.Here are some pictures of the mast. On the left I’m using pallet wrap to pull some of the wrinkles out around the transition from square to round. Primitive vacuum bagging, without the vacuum or the bag.

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Decided I would laminate the other spars with TiteBond II instead of epoxy, save money, and it’s still stronger than the wood. Need lots of clamping pressure with TiteBond, every “C” clamp I have is in this picture. Someone on Yahoo suggested there might be “creep” problems using TiteBond. Don’t know about that, they aren’t under constant load. Just have to wait and see what happens.tn_mDSC00001_13 tn_mDSC00012_3

Nice picture of the scarphs for the mast. Bottom of the mast is doug fir, top is red cedar.

Going to redo the gaff hollow ala birds mouth, gaff to plan is a bit heavier than I like. Also, decided the other night to scarph up plywood scraps, so this should be an interesting stick. Then again, I may save that for a latter project, and just use the stick as is for now.
motor, mounting board

Motor is in, rather heavier than I thought it would be, though it’s probably right to spec. Will worry about installing the alternator kit later. Actually, could have waited to buy the motor, can’t put the motor mounting board on yet ‘cuz it would block easy access for getting into the boat. Made the mounting board out of sheathed plywood instead of oak, will put a 1/4″ aluminum plate for wear resistance. Also, I’m putting wedges under the mounting board on the back of the boat, instead of making mounting brackets ala plans inside the motor well.

Camper Works

Sad to say I had (and am still having) a bad experience buying something online. I bought a porta potti from a place called “Camper Works”. After 4 weeks it still hadn’t showed up. I started sending them emails, which were ignored. I started calling them, and they kept giving excuses. I finally got disgusted and canceled the order, and ordered from a place called “Camper World”. The Thetford 135 from Camper World showed up in a couple of days. Then, a couple of days later, the one from Camper Works showed up! It had been shipped THREE DAYS after I called and canceled the order. I shipped it back, and the guy said he would send a check….

Well, I haven’t gotten a check back. I guess I’m going to have to call Discover Card and do a charge back.

Had a similar experience with Thrifty Marine. They have such good prices on their Bomar hatches that I ordered some more deck plates from them. A trivial order, $18, but I paid promptly and expected the hatches to be shipped. 6 weeks later they hadn’t been, and emails were not being responded to. Had to call, and kept getting excuses. “I’ll ship them first thing in the morning”.

Finally had to send an email threatening to report them to Paypal for fraud. This got my hatches sent, for some reason. Owner said he would “make it up to me” on my next order. Needed another 10” round hatch for the front, asked how much. He said he would ship it gratis on Wednesday (neat, that would make up for the hassle!), but it’s been three weeks…

I’ve added a warning on the “resources” page, buy from them at your own risk.


Splurged on the trim for boat, figured if I spent this much time and money on the boat, I would like some trim that looked good. Bought about 12 board feet of Honduras mahogany. Expensive wood, almost as much as teak, could probably have got lots more red oak for the same price. As it is, I’m going to get some mahogany stain and put it on, make it look even redder.

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Here are some pictures of the berths. I made access holes in the berth tops instead of having the whole top pull out ala plans. Stronger structurally, and looks better I think.



Here are some picture of the seats going together. Note alcove and ventilation hole.


Some pictures of the tabernacle.

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Scraping paint runs, faster than sanding. Laying out cockpit coaming. Note that the only joints on the boat that are not stitch and glue are where I fastened something to a closed compartment and couldn’t access the bottom. This requires a LOT of tape, but I have NO end grain or plywood edges exposed for water to get in.

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The forward hatch will be sliding; the rest of the hatches will be hinged. Bought hatch hinges but they don’t work like I expected, and I think I’m going to sell them on Ebay and use treadmill belt and bungee cords for the hatch hinges.More pictures of the coaming going together, some pictures of the deck. To the right, picture of the sliding hatch on the forward deck. Also not to plans, plans showed a narrow hinging hatch.

tn_dDSC00005_2 tn_dDSC00005_3 tn_dDSC00006_2More sanding, and another picture of the forward hatch.

tn_dDSC00006_3 tn_dDSC00007 tn_dDSC00007_7Top hatch being “stich and glued” in with cleats and clamps. Note the profile of the deck on the right. Plans show a rounded curved deck. Decided that a stitch and glue hard chine deck would look better and go with the rest of the boat.

tn_dDSC00009_5 tn_hDSC00001_2 tn_hDSC00003_13Some pictures of the pilot house. Kind of looks like a tank or something, eh?

tn_hDSC00001_14 tn_hDSC00003_11 tn_hDSC00003_12More pictures of the pilot house.

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Note the rag tied to the rope. Only took me about half a dozen times running into the rope to put the rag there. I guess I’m a slow learner.

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Redhead says it feels “creepy” inside the pilothouse. No windows yet.

tn_hDSC00013_3 tn_iDSC00001_3 tn_iDSC00003_2Side decks give plenty of room for walking. Starting to work on the icebox. Laying out the panels for marking.

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Icebox going in. Offset top so cabin/cockpit bulkhead won’t span the lid. Right I’m foaming the extra spaces out.


More icebox work, center picture is the compartment for the potti.


Board holding down the styrofoam, expanding foam, well, expands, so it was trying push the rest of the styrofoam up. Stuck the pieces together with 3M spray adhesive.

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My experiments into vacuum bagging. Bagging the aft mast step to make sure the glass sticks down to the wood on all the odd corners. Without bagging I would have hat to do it in several stages, and do a lot of sanding. With bagging I can do it all at once, and only need to scrap off the creases left from the bag.

-Chebacco Richard


LED lights, take two:

The other day I received an email from Ken James about LED lights and regulators.

This is nothing strange, every time I write an article on how to do something, someone will pipe up, “you know, there is a better way”.

Which is as it is should to be, I suppose. Peer review and all, certainly makes for a better end product. For instance, talking to various people has convinced me that the best way to power LED’s is though current limiting, and not a fixed voltage regulator. Not to say that the fixed regulator won’t work, but there is an easier way. Or, maybe it isn’t even an easier way, in some circumstances, but it removes the complicated and expensive voltage regulator and replaces it with a cheap IC at the light locations.

Anyway, I had built the prototype (mark 3) LED anchor light the other day using current regulator IC’s from National Semiconductor, some resistors to set the current limit, and some bright white 5.6 candela LED’s from BG Micro.

Then I get this letter from Ken James. “Several years ago, over ten now, I had the idea of using leds for nav lights. Retired from the USN, went sailing a bit, then started building led lights. Been at it ever since. Solved all the problems you have encountered, including many you haven’t discovered yet, from what I read on your web site 😉 . So now I sell the lights,”

Funny the people you meet online.

It was actually the high price of the LED lights at Deep Creek that decided me to make my own!

And you know what, after exchanging 16 or so emails with Ken there, I’ve come to the conclusion I probably didn’t save a whole lot of money making my own lights. But, like homemade boat building, that is not really the point.

For instance, Ken pointed out that with the 20 degree spread of my BG Micro LED’s a boat would have to be hundreds of feet away to see the anchor light. Seems you need a 60 degree vertical spread to be “legal”. Not that I was too concerned with being legal, but I was kind of concerned with getting run into…

So, to make an anchor light with 20 degree 5.6 candela LED’s I would need:

360/20= 18 LED’s to make a circle of light. But, since they need 60 degrees of vertical spread TOO, I would need three rows of the 20 degree LED’s, so I would need 18*3 or FIFTY FOUR of those LED’s (which are showing up everywhere and Ebay for about $2.50 each for some reason). Since I really only need 4.2 candela for 2 mile visibility (Ken’s numbers) I would need (4.2/5.6)*54= 40 of the expensive little buggers. There is $100 in LED’s right there. Plus circuit boards, regulators, etc, I’m just about at what Ken charges for his light!

<sigh>, story of my life.

But wait, he doesn’t use 40 LED’s on his lights, now what is going on here?

Well, firstly Ken uses a “pulse regulated driver”. This means he uses a high efficiency switching regulator, and drives the LED’s with pulses of electricity. This gets more “visibility” with the same power output.

Also, Ken uses surface mount LED’s with an output of .66 candela. You are thinking that this is quite a bit smaller than the 5.6 candelas of the LED’s I was playing with. Well, you must understand that candelas is a measure of brightness, and not total light OUTPUT. His small surface mount LED’s only put out .66 candelas, but they put them out in a fan of light 140×60 degrees.

Let’s see, that is .66 candelas at 140×60, or 5544 candela degrees (is that even a measurement?)

And, 5.6 candelas at 20×20 is 2240 candela degrees.

So, he is using LED’s that are about 2.5 times as efficient as well.

Could I make one using his LED’s? Yes. Nichia sells to the public, but not cheaply. Bought a couple of dozen NSSW440 surface mount white 60×140 LED’s, and used 18 of them for my anchor light. Here is a picture.

Incidentally, if you want to use the surface mount LED’s, you will need a board. I’m considering selling a kit for these lights. If you are interested, email me.

Well, if I can’t save money making my own anchor light, at least I can save money by making my own LED bicolor light then!

Maybe, maybe not. Ken pointed out that if I’m not careful I would have “zone overlap”. That is where the beam from the colored LED’s overlap and from directly in front of the boat people would see a white light… not good. He was even kind enough to mention ways to get around this problem.

I could certainly build a cheap bicolor light. Would it be as good as the professionally hand made ones at Deep Creek? Probably not. Would it be safe to go sailing with? Probably.

Am I going to build my own lights? You are damn straight. Life, like sailing, is not about the destination, but is about the trip. Making my own LED anchor lights has turned out to be very good learning experience. In the process I have made new friends, learned quite a bit about electronics, and added the skill of etching circuit boards to my boat building skills.

If all you are wanting is efficient lights for your boat, you should buy them from Ken. His are well engineered and come with a warranty.

If you want the learning experience of making your own lights, or just want to tinker, you should make your own. Ask me questions, I’ll be happy to help you out.

-Chebacco Richard


Hi Richard

No earth shaking events to tell you about, but we had a visit from Bruce Hector on Saturday, and got out for a nice little sail with him.  We managed
some good speeds for a designed waterline of around 18 feet, which other builders might find encouraging — we exceeded the theoretical hull speed
for that waterline by about half a knot, by GPS.  We did that with and against any tide there was, so they were honest numbers.

We also tried out the optional jib, at least to windward, which folks might find of interest.  All the votes aren’t in yet, but it looks like anyone
thinking of sewing up a jib might also think of adding a bowsprit.  I like my Jonesport cleat too much to take it off just yet so I’m going to keep
playing with the jib on other points of sail.

I have a couple of pictures of Bruce on board — there are still a few shots on the roll to use up, but will do that and get them developed by the start
of next week.  No idea how they will turn out — I forgot the camera, so I bought a one-use Kodak.



Hi Richard

Finally got these developed.  Only snapshots, but much better than I hoped for with a disposable camera.  Pity the photographer isn’t more skilled.
I’m sending all I have of Bruce, you choose which you want to use.  None of them look too wild, or show any spray flying, because I waited until we were
on a nice stable reach before to using the camera.

So how’s S’s Cat coming along?  I’ve been cleaning up some old epoxy snots inside W.L.’s cabin — they’ve only been there for two and a half years!  I
didn’t attend to them at the time because I wanted to get launched, then there was always some other reason not to fix them.

Been giving some thought to storage for cruising gear, too.  Last year we mostly used the cabin for storage, not sleeping, but I’m trying to keep a
lot of stuff out of the living area by using the space under the seats and up by the mast.  I might add more storage type hammocks under the side decks
too — we have one each side right now, and they’re great for small stuff. I went to great lengths thinking up the perfect galley box for all the
kitchen stuff, but when I made a mock-up of corrugated cardboard, I decided that I preferred the current Rubbermaid bins.  I may still make up a
mini-version to keep thermos flasks and cups to hand but not underfoot.  I guess this (storage) may be one reason why two-footitis is such a common
boater’s disease?

Gotta run,


BruceHector1 BruceHector2 LesOrrandBruceHector1 LesOrrandBruceHector2


Around James Island

As Randy Wheating noted in the last “Chebacco”, it’s good to see visiting boatbuilders and/or boatnuts from other parts of the world.  This weekend I had a visit from another builder – not a Chebacco builder (yet) but a Micro fan.  I thought it was my duty to point out how he had strayed from the path of righteousness, and how better than to take him out in the One True Boat, a Chebacco?

Bruce Hector, of Kingston Ontario, was visiting family in Vancouver, and caught the early ferry over to Vancouver Island on Saturday, April 6, to say hello and see Wayward Lass.  This ferry lands at Schwartz Bay at the north end of the Saanich Peninsula, only 2 or 3 miles from Sidney, where we often launch.  I drove out with the boat and met him at the Safeway parking lot there, then we picked up my dad, Les, and headed over to the boat launch at Tulista Park.  We rigged up in about half an hour, and left the dock about 9:30 am  with a good south wind, something between 10 and 15 knots, I think.  A small craft warning was posted, but the highest winds forecast were 20 knots, sometime towards evening, so they just barely qualified for the warning.  Once clear of the dock, breakwater and other obstacles to navigation, we put up the sails and let out the sheets to reach eastwards towards Sidney Island at well over 5 knots (motoring, we top out about 5.5 knots).  Once near the island, we decided to turn upwind to make it easier to return, so we tacked and headed back over Sidney Channel.  However, between reaching earlier, and the wind veering round a bit to the west, we couldn’t do much better than go back the way we’d come, even when close-hauled.

Also, the wind had picked up a bit, maybe a steady 15 knots and a bit more in the gusts, so we stopped to put in a reef once we got a bit away from Sidney Island.  The mizzen did its usual job of keeping her head to wind while we tied in a single reef.  Bruce pointed out that the shore was getting pretty close by the time the sail was peaked up again, so we got under way before finishing the reef points – these are mostly to keep things tidy anyway, the tack and clew rings take the strain.

After getting well back to the west, nearly in line with the westward side of James Island, we tacked again and were able to free the sheets slightly as we went into the channel between Sidney and James Islands, on James Island’s eastern side.  Once well into the channel, James Island cut off some of the wind, but we kept moving, if a little slower.  As we approached the south end of James, the wind was maybe 15 knots again.  When we thought we could weather the south end of the island we tacked, but found the wind had gone even farther round to the west, and we couldn’t sail the course we wanted.  While we were discovering this, the wind blew us back onto the starboard tack, so we continued on with that, close-hauled this time.

In what seemed almost no time at all, we were far enough over to turn north again, this time easily aiming for the channel between James Island and the Saanich Peninsula (Vancouver Island).  As we sailed up the channel, the wind became freer, so our beat turned into a reach again, this time on the port tack.  The wind was lighter again, so we took out the reef in the main, and tried putting up the jib.

This is a new sail for Wayward Lass, it’s shown as an option on the sailplan, and this only was its second time out.  I can’t say it’s a great success – in fact, I would say it’s a waste of time trying to sail to windward with it.  Without a headstay, it’s hard to get the leech tight – but even when it’s reasonably tight, the sail is too close to the main.  If the sheet is pulled in enough to stop the sail flapping, the jib backwinds the main.  If the sheet is loosened to where the jib doesn’t spoil the wind for the main, then the jib flaps. Maybe there is a theoretical point where everything works, but we couldn’t find it.  Experiments will continue.

Once we stopped fooling with the jib, and had the full mainsail drawing properly, the GPS hit 6 knots several times, even though what little tide there was, was against us (it had shown just over 6 knots on the southern leg.)  The wind would not have been more than 15 knots (estimated.)

Sidney was coming up fast by now.  It was only around 1:00 pm, but we were all getting a bit cold, so decided to quit while we were still having fun.  The mizzen came into play again, keeping us head to wind while we furled the main – the GPS reported 1.8 knots in reverse at this time!  From the time we stepped off the boat until we were in the van, ready to go, only about 20 or 25 minutes passed.  We drove up to Robin’s Donuts, but couldn’t find parking for the van and trailer close by, so carried on to Dad’s place.

We finished off the last thermos of tea, along with some of Dad’s home-made oatcakes and jam while we talked and looked at Bruce’s boat photos – he owns a houseboat, has built a Nymph, Diablo, Pirogue and most of a Micro so far, not a bad variety at all!  He someday hopes to build a plywood aircraft carrier to accommodate an ultra-light STOL plane — that’ll be one for the album, not to mention the TV news and a few headlines!

What with the early start and very cooperative wind, Bruce was able to get away in time for the 3 o’clock ferry back to the mainland.  I hope he enjoyed his trip to Vancouver Island and around James Island.  That was probably the best sail we’ve had ourselves out of Sidney.  Good wind, (but not too much,) we all had good protection from the spray, lot’s of good food and drink (thanks for the beer and sausage, Bruce!) and the reef lines didn’t get tangled.  What more is there?

Chebacco News 39

Intro and flipping the CLC

A lot has happened since the last issue of Chebacco. I’ve finished the armor for the keel, flipped the boat, and am now working on the inside. Pictures and annotations below.

I had the bright idea (I thought) of offering Chebacco plans for sale on this website. I’ve had a couple of “where can I get these from” requests. I know that PCB&F have been burned by this in the past, so I was going to take my lead from Chuck Lienweber and Jim Michalak, and offer only the convenience of purchasing online, for a small fee and the credit card costs. I would take an order with Paypal, and fax something to PCB&F saying “send plans to so-and-so, check is in the mail). I faxed PCB&F with the idea.

Susanne called me and discussed, at length, this subject. “Why can’t they just send us a check?” seemed to be the gist of it. I did mention that JM’s plans sales have DOUBLED since Chuck started offering them online, but she didn’t seem interested.


There are now 20 boats in the registry. Wonder what the percentage is that aren’t registered? I think it’s traditional in statistics to use the SWAG method and just make up a number. Therefor, I degree that for every 1 boat registered we have 9 boats not registered, making the total number of Chebaccos something like 200…!

I’m hosting a messabout at the local lake here in the muddy waters of Oklahoma. Link to the left.

Jamie has two article in this issue, and I have two as well. Come on guys (and gals?), send in those articles. And pictures, lots of pictures! I understand that not every boat builder is a writer, but a few words and some pictures would be appreciated by all the readers. (Plus, pretty soon you will get tired of the pictures of me building the CLC!)

In this issue, I also have an article on the electronics for the CLC. I’m selling the LED regulator I made for the LED’s on my boat as a kit, so if you are wanting to play around with these super efficient and almost indestructible lights for you boat, you should buy one!

Also in this issue, I’m putting online an Adobe PDF file compiled by Mike Haskell. This is basically the entire Chebacco website, compiled and searchable! It is a 21mb download, so if you have a slow connection you might consider letting Google do your work for you and doing “ something to search for” at their website. Or, buying the CD from Chuck . No longer available for download from the site

Anyway, (again)

Here are the boat pictures

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Here is a friend of mine I enlisted to help with the metal work. I wanted the front half of the keel to be armored to take groundings. Mike here has a home forging setup, while I have a home casting setup. Here you see him prepping the 1/8″ stainless steel keel armor for forging.

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I could have just cut it off, but I wanted it to wrap up and around the cutwater, sort of like an icebreaker keel. Here Mike is forming the part that wraps around the cutwater. Note the forge made from a freon can, sitting on my sandbox.

1DSC00009 1DSC00010 1DSC00011Almost done, doing some trimming with Mikes heavy duty grinder, and doing the final fitting to the boat. On the right you see where I have attached the keel strip with a bunch of countersunk stainless screws and lots of epoxy.

2DSC00001_6 2DSC00003_5 2DSC00004_4Here is me working on the rudder, drilling the holes to attach the stainless to the rudder itself. I made the front of the rudder a bit wide, but some trimming with the flap wheel on the grinder and you can barley notice.

2DSC00005_3 2DSC00007_3 2DSC00009_3Here the rudder is in the middle of the sanding operations, and to the right it is attached to the boat. On the top of the right photo you can see the UHMW bushing that the rudder turns on. Under the top rudder support I’m going to put another bushing, with a flange fitting on the rudder post. I’m hoping the rudder will bear only on the UHMW poly and no on the wood and glass of the hull.

3DSC00004_6 3DSC00005_5 3DSC00006_5Lift, scoot, tip, lift, scoot, tip, etc. I learned from my mistake with turning (and dropping) the last boat. I built a frame around this one, lots of handholds, and with the frame it would sit on the side without being held. Made it into a two part operation.Here we are commencing the turning operation. We jacked up one side, and cut the “building legs” off, then let it down. One of the girls wanted to invite a bunch of friends over for barbecue, and I said it would be ok as long as they helped flip the boat. (We didn’t tell them till they got here. hehehehe) The designated camera person was late comming out with the rest of us, so I didn’t get any pictures of the canopy coming down.

3DSC00007_5 3DSC00008_5 3DSC00009_53DSC00010_33DSC00011_33DSC00012_2Over she goes! Didn’t drop this one. We are adjusting it to be centered on the canopy, and level (at least side to side, I made all the panels square with bulkheads, which are canted a bit. It’s not level front to rear, but that doesn’t affect anything) “NO! Don’t put a block under the rudder!”

Final tuning and adjusting.3DSC00013_2 3DSC00015_2 3DSC00016_2

Starting to move the canopy back in. Much to big for one person to carry, but doesn’t weigh much.Turning crew inspecting the boat. Yes, I know the power pole is slanted. It’s been that way as long as I’ve owned the property. Doesn’t seem to cause any problems.

3DSC00021_2 3DSC00023_2 3DSC00024_23DSC00025_23DSC00026_23DSC00027_2Six people hold the canopy, six more insert poles. Makes me glad the girls have so many friends!

3DSC00028_2 3DSC00030_2 3DSC00039Final tweaking, and tie the canopy back down.

4DSC00001 4DSC00003 4DSC00004The left two are pictures of the centerboard interior bracing. The CLC doesn’t have the bracing on the top of the centerboard case that the regular Chebaccos do. Notice the several layers of tape and generous use of epoxy putty. And, yes, I did cut the drain holes on the wrong side of the board. It will be under the floorboards, and the only issue will be small triangular area between the berths that won’t drain back. But, since the cabin is closed, doesn’t have a bilge pump anyway, and this will be covered by the floor boards, I’m just not worrying about it.

To the right you see the through hole for the rudder, and the aft well substructure. There would have been closed off spaces inside this structure for moisture to gather. The MDO and pressure treated is pretty good stuff, but I cut ventilation holes anyway. I’m putting two small deckplates on the bulkhead in the left of the picture. I know the plans call for this to be open, but I want the added floatation if the cockpit is ever flooded.

4DSC00005 4DSC00008 4DSC00001_2When I was building this section, I really noticed the lack of pictures of this particular construction detail on the web. Hence, you see lots of these pictures here! In the right two photos I have installed the walls to the aft floatation/storage boxes, and the framing for the motor well floor.

4DSC00003_2 4DSC00003_4 5DSC00006In the left photo I’m attaching the sides of the “seats” (which will also be the head ad galley). Attached them to cleats on one side, taped the other, pulled the cleats, and taped the remaining joint.s Center photo is my new power tool. He does a pretty good job, I can turn him loose on something and do something else myself. Very handy to have around, I would suggest you buy one. On the right you can see the framing for the top on the ground tackle compartment. I’m going to cover this over and put a Bomar hatch from Thrifty Marine (see resources) in. Rain and spray proof.

DSC00004 DSC00003 DSC00001Here you see pictures of the storage compartments I’m building. Not on the plans, but in a 20ft boat you can’t have to much storage. The compartment behind the seat will be accessed by opening the seat hatch, opening the deck plate covering the round hole, and reaching through the hole. Not the easiest access, but I’m thinking of storing light dried goods in there, maybe bread, that kind of thing.

The other storage area will be accessed through a hinged door over the galley and behind the head. For light dishes and toiletries, respectively.


You can see the layer of light glass on the bottom of the side of the seat, to protect against standing water in the cockpit.

***HEY, how did that picture get in here? This is the new bed I made the wife for the anniversary. It does show how boat work spills over into regular life. This was built in two halves, out of some of the spare 1/2″ MDO from the boat. Two halves so it would be easy to take into the bedroom. The lip around the top was filleted and glassed, so it would take the strain big people and little cats getting into bed.

Hi again, Richard

The weekend before last, Dad and I took a drive over to Bill McKibben’s place to say hello and see his modified glass-house Chebacco.  It’s going to
be BIG!  He’s going for comfort in the interior, raising the sides a foot over the already higher (I think) designed sides.  When the cabin goes on,
it’ll be big enough for full standing headroom!  There’s a vee berth going into the bows, with a galley along the port side, and a head compartment, I
think.  Also there will be quarter berths under the (shortened) cockpit seats.  Bill thinks more ballast will be needed to offset the added weight
up high, and is considering modifying the keel, and/or carrying inside ballast, maybe extra drinking water in portable containers.  There’s
certainly lots of room.


Bill’s braver than most.  The hull is from the Chebacco offsets, so the underwater shape is as designed, but for the topsides he’s working from the
model he made (Chebacco News #33, Feb 01), and the interior is in his head.  He says its all an experiment, but I think he’s pretty well
thought it out.  The model looks good and extra ballast should make it stable.  Beth said she prefers the fast motorsailor, since it will take them
home in a hurry if the weather turns sour, but Bill is quite keen on the new, slower boat.  It’s modelled after something he saw in Desolation Sound,
a power boat hull and cabin converted into a motor-sailor, with davits added for a substantial dinghy as well.  Bill says it combines everything he wants
into a tidy package.  The boat that inspired him was about 25 feet, and Chebacco is only 20, but I don’t think that’s going to stop him.  Including


Bill’s model looks good, so once the ballasting is worked out, the full size motor sailor should turn out well.  I’ve attached some pictures of the
progress to date — unfortunately I couldn’t get far enough away to show the whole boat at once, as it’s under shelter.  The frame at the stern may be
converted into support for the davits, or could be removed, Bill is still pondering that one.


Bill’s plans for moving the hull out of the shop may be helpful to someone  else — he is leaving the keel off, so he can put rollers under the hull and
just push it where he wants it.  Then he’ll add the keel once he’s got the boat clear of shop, yard, flowerbeds, and so on.

I hope I haven’t misrepresented anything here — if I’ve got it wrong, Bill, my apologies.



Hi Richard

I had a visit from fellow Chebacco builder Tom McIllwraith (from Halifax) on January 12.  He had occasion to visit Vancouver, and dropped in on a couple
of wet coast Chebacconists while he was in the area.  On the weekend before, he called on Randy Wheating to check on progress of Randy’s (as yet
un-named) sheet ply Chebacco, then last Saturday he caught the ferry over to see Wayward Lass.  Tom’s not a stranger to Chebacco sailing, having been out a few times with Fraser Howell in his strip built Itchy and Scratchy.

Tom’s done a lot of thinking about modifying his boat to make it slightly less Spartan in accommodation.  As well as angling the coamings for lounging
in the cockpit, he’s thinking about making the cabin wider – in line with the cockpit sides, I think, — and just a bit higher.  He and Randy had a
good discussion – here’s what Randy had to say:

“I spent a couple of pleasant hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon with Tom in the boat “shop”.

It never fails to give me a neat feeling to meet a kindred spirit, from across the Straight, country or world that has laid awake at night or
pretended to be attentive at a meeting while puzzling over some obscure Chebacco detail in his mind.  It is really a pretty small club when you
think of it.

Tom and I swapped many ideas and modifications until the moment of truth when we each confessed to our biggest “oops”.  That is, a mistake that
has passed the point of correction.”

(I’m not including any “oopses” here – I’m sure every boat’s got one or two, but when 99.9% of people look at a boat, they see only the big picture, not
the details.  Good thing, too. — Jamie)

I have to agree with Randy about the kindred spirit part.  Since I got involved in building and sailing Wayward Lass I’ve met a whole raft of
interesting people, and have learned a lot from them as well as enjoying the chat.  The internet and this newsletter are great tools for this, of course,
but the personal visit is still king.

Tom and I hoped to go for a sail, but when we took a look at the Strait of Juan de Fuca, just after he arrived at the bus depot, it was a mass of big
whitecaps – no way!  The marine forecast was still showing gale warnings, although things were supposed to ease later.

We headed to my place, and had a solid session of boat talk, climbing around Wayward Lass.  After that, and a bite of lunch, I phoned my dad up in
Sidney, about 15 miles north and around the corner from the Strait.  He obligingly went for a short walk, and phoned back saying that it didn’t look
too bad, the racers were out and he hadn’t seen any reefs in their sails. So we hooked on the trailer and drove to Tulista Park in Sidney, my
favourite launch ramp.  Dad came out to see us off, and for Tom’s benefit, I timed the rigging-up, from stepping out of the van to getting back in for
the launch.

Rigging up took 28 minutes on this occasion, a bit over the average, but not a whole lot.  I’ve only once come close to 15 minutes, when I’d put
everything away properly the time before.  This time, we started with a disorganized collection of ropes and sticks.  I’d only laced on the mizzen a
couple of nights before, not very well as we found, and all the ropes were just dropped in the after lockers.

Honda started on the second pull, and after an interesting 180 between the pilings, thanks to the wind, we headed out.  The wind was pretty well from
the west, straight off the shore, so we put up the sails right away and shut down the motor.  I’d put them away with a reef still tied in on Boxing Day,
and we left that in.  Because we would have to beat back to the ramp, we took a quick turn to windward, just to see how strong the wind really was –
no problem, the single reef was enough, maybe 20 knots of wind, but not much wave action because of the wind blowing away from the land.

We headed easterly, towards Sidney Island, with its mile long spit and friendly lagoon, on the other side of Sidney Channel.  The mizzen wasn’t
very helpful while running – with a strong wind it tends to push the stern around.  However, I kept it up because it helps us heave-to so nicely.

After a while, we became aware that the wind was picking up.  The way home was now patterned with white, and looked quite different.  We turned to
windward again — and gave up any thought of going all the way to the spit. We’d have had a very long beat home if we’d gone on.  Wayward Lass was
sailing well, but going against the waves threw up some heavy spray.  Tom got into the Cruiser suit, but not before he soaked up some of that spray.
Going to windward in these conditions, I was glad to have a second body for ballast – he kept the worst of the spray off me, too!

It was wet, but we made good progress.  However, after a long tack to that brought us near the shore, but still quite a ways north of the ramp, there
were a couple of very strong gusts.  These challenged our favourite designer’s assertion that nothing short of “hurricane force winds or heavily
breaking seas” will tip a Chebacco.  Rather than chance becoming the first Chebacco ever to capsize, I let the mainsheet run free, and we hove to for
the second reef.  The only other sailboat in sight at the time was a biggish one (40 feet?), and it was reefed down too.

Tom must have wondered if I really knew what I was doing.  The reef lines (pendants?) for the second reef were still in the cabin.  I got them out,
and tied the tack down quickly enough.  However, to get the foot tight enough it was necessary to rig the clew reef line properly, from boom to
reef ring back to boom then pull it tight to the cleat.  Meanwhile we were sailing merrily backwards at about 3 knots, away from our destination.  I’m
not entirely sure why, but every time I was about to tie off the end of the clew reef line, after all that leading here and there, the bows would swing
off the wind and the boom would fly out to the side.  I eventually got the reef tied, but it was a real circus there for a few minutes.  I think the
mizzen luff and snotter weren’t tight enough, as the wind was making bags in the sail – also I had to pull the boom inboard to run the clew line through
the ring, rather than letting the boom fly loose.  Bottom line is have your reefing lines rigged before you need them!

Wayward Lass was fine again with the two reefs in.  I estimated the wind at 25 to 30 knots at this point, no idea what the gusts reached.  Take this all
with a grain of salt if you want, it’s only a guess.  The waves were much less than they would have been if the wind hadn’t been off the land, since
they couldn’t build up on such a short fetch.  I poured Tom a cup of tea and put it down beside him (he was steering now) but it promptly went into the
bilge.  Tom very nicely said he was too occupied to drink it anyway.  I poured a cup for myself, but it was full of salt spray almost immediately,
so I gave it up too.  Not too long after, I suggested that we’d had all the fun we could take for the day, and since it would take quite a while to work
our way up to the ramp, we might start motoring.  Good old Honda started again without complaint, and it was down sails and home.

Tom assured me he’d enjoyed the afternoon (I hope you weren’t just being polite, Tom.)  I enjoyed it myself, despite feeling like an idiot at times –
out of practice and very disorganized.  Another time we’ll suit up completely at the start, and rig all the reefing lines too.  Oh, yes, and I
won’t leave cups of tea unattended!  Still, it’s got me all fired up again, and I’m planning some more sailing as soon as we stabilize a couple of new
projects at work.

I see I’ve got a bit carried away talking about the sailing (again! – call it a character flaw.)  I really meant to concentrate on Tom’s visit,
because, as Randy pointed out, it’s great to see Chebacconists from other parts of the country (world?).  It was fine meeting you, Tom, and I hope
anyone else coming out this way will call, and maybe we’ll get them out for a quick one too.

Tom, I also hope you’ll will write up your building experiences and tell us about what modifications you decide on, and let us see some pictures.  The
world can’t have too many Chebaccos!

Jamie Orr


There once was a man, who spent much more money than he should have, to have LED lights on his boat. This is the same man who decided he HAD TO HAVE a CNC router, built one from scratch, then used it twice.
Anyway, for no particular reasons, other than I thought it would be cool, and I wouldn’t have to worry about leaving the anchor light on all night, I decided I MUST HAVE lights on my boat that were based the new, ultra efficient, bright white LED’s.
I bought my LED’s mainly from, They run, according to the spec sheet from Nichia, at 3.6-4v and output 5600 mcd (mili candela, whatever that is) in a 20 degree fan.
I had originally planned to have eight of the lights, masthead, forward red, forward green, aft, two cabin lights, and two reading lights. Also, I had planed to run 12v to the lights, and do the voltage conversion there. Red and Green lights would be using red and green LED’s.
I read everything I could find on LED flashlights, and LED lights. There is a lot of information on the ‘Net on the subject. A lot of it worthless. One site recommends using a 7812 voltage regulator and three of the LED’s in series (so each gets 4v). Bought eight of these, the next day someone pointed out that the specs for this regulator require the input be about 3v over the output voltage. I.E., I couldn’t run it off a 12v batt and get a consistent 12v out of the regulator.
So, I had the bright idea of using the 7808, which puts out 8v, and having TWO of the LED’s in series. When the eight of these arrived I wired one up on the breadboard and presto, I had light! Wired eight of the LED’s up, and left them on. When they say “bright white” they mean it, had eight spots behind my eyes for hours before I decided I needed to wear shades to play with these things.
I left the 8 LED’s running and had supper. Afterwards, I discovered that THREE of the things had burned out!. What the BLEEP!?!
Some carefull checking determined that with the two in series, the voltage drop over one would be, say 3.9v, and the drop over the other would be, say, 4.1 v.
So, I figured I needed to drive the blasted things with EXACTLY 3.6v. There is a problem with this, this is apparently an odd voltage, there is no “78036” or whatever. So, I decided to make my own variable voltage supply, one for each light, and go to town. Bought, again, eight, LM317’s, and associated resistors and whatnot. Wrote a spreadsheet to calculate the values for the resistors so I could have the thing put out 3.6v. Wired it up. Plugged LED’s in and they were DIM! A little checking and it turned out that any kind of load on the thing and the voltage would drop…. Net research showed other people having the same issue, but couldn’t find a solution. Still a mystery there.
Time to step back and think about this. Maybe I should just have one voltage regulator, and wire 3.6 v to the switches, and out to the lights. I could do some kind of current regulator, but I wanted the simplicity of running the same voltage out to whatever light I wanted, and just hooking up as many LED there as I needed. Dug and dug and dug. Found a national semiconductor manufacturer who has a wonderful website with all kinds of information on it. They sell an IC that looked like, with a little work, it would make a wonderful regulator for the boat! (about this time I’m thanking someone for the VoTech electronics I took as a kid, back in the day)
A little soldering, a magnifying headset, some tweezers. Presto, one central, efficient, source of 3.6 volts for the LED’s lights on my boat!
BTW, I’m selling a kit to put these together. Kit price is $75, follow instructions at the “store” link to the left.
The kit uses a surface mount board the manufacture sells, with all the regulator components on it. The board comes from them fixed at 12v, and I use a magnifying headset, tweezers, and a pointy soldering iron to change it to work as a variable voltage source, to get 3.6v for the LED’s. The kit includes an etched board to mount the manufactures board on (as a daughter board) and all the hardware needed. I’ve removed the 2.7k itty bitty surface mount resistor and connected a wire to go to the variable resistor on the “mother” board.
DSC00005 DSC00006 DSC00007
As you can see in the pictures, I’m using a nice fancy, bulkhead mount enclosure. Got this, and lots of other neat stuff from Give them a look see, they have neat stuff!
After all this, I discovered that the bright red LED’s I was going to use for the red bow light wouldn’t work at 3.6v. They go dim and get hot.<sigh> I guess I’m putting white LED’s in the colored fixture.
tn_1DSC00006_2 tn_1DSC00007_2 tn_1DSC00008_2
Here are some pictures of the masthead light with and without the cover. I bought the Series 25 fixtures from Boaters World, the price was reasonable, and I wouldn’t have to make them.
PCB&F writes (what does it say when you start referring to people by their initials?). The designer of the Chebacco light cruiser, Susanne Altenburger’s (who just denied that the Chebacco was “her” boat, in a rather LONG phone call), writes that you should use “two 6V deep-cycle batteries capable of around 215 Ah at 12V”. Now, were am I going to find those things? Nothing in the marine stores, nor in the auto shops. Can’t buy them online, the shipping would kill me. Walking through Sam’s club one day, but what do I see on the way out but a 6V, deep-cycle, 215 Ah, GOLF CART battery! Yippee! And, the things only cost $45 each. Nonstandard size, though. Will have to make my own box for them.
A 32watt, flexible, solar panel will top off the batts, and keep them topped off when the boat is in storage mode. I could have saved quite a bit and went with a hard panel, especially as it is going to be mounted on to of the cabin and there is no danger of it being walked on. However, the hard panel were looking awful heavy. 33lbs for some of them! So, I decided I needed the flexible, light weight ones.
There is a story here, these things were going for around $300 on ebay, and everywhere I saw them. Caught one on ebay with a buy-it-now for $240. GOT IT. Hurrah! Saved money!
Then, I was discussing solar panels with my friend Chuck, and he said he got his from here:
Guess what, they had my panel too. FOR $187!!! AHHHG!
Then, when writing this article, I looked again and found the flexible panels at the above URL for $296. Huh? Read the description for the $187 panels. It appears that these are basically the flexible ones, in a frame. Same technology, but added weight of an aluminum frame and a galvanized steel backing! They weigh 10.6 lb, where the flexible one weights 4.7 lb. So, for an extra $53 I purchased a reduction of 5.9lb in the weight of the panel. Will it make a difference? Maybe, maybe not. But, any weight I can save above the CG counts!
Will put a clear window in the tarp that goes over the boat so the batts charge in when the boat is in storage, as soon as I figure out a cheap way to do this. May use the storm window sealing kits from the Home Despot or something.
Anyway, a 6.5 amp SunSaver charge controller will make sure I don’t overcharge the batteries, and I’ll get the 5amp alternator option when I get the motor.
2DSC00001 2DSC00003 2DSC00005_2
I had originally planned to run conduit for the electrics, but as you can see in the picture, I didn’t. I decided they would take up two much space, and instead ran the wires as shown. I was carefull to pre-run any wires that would be in closed compartments.
Here you can also see the plumbing for the bilge pumps and the drain for the built in icebox. I went from the pumps directly to 1/2 flexible tubing, to try to minimize the drain back when the pump is off. The bulkhead and there’ll fittings I made myself, from scratch!
Nice to have your own homemade foundry and machine shop!

(So, I guess only people in Australia can build 25ft Chebaccos… Looking good Simon! -Ed)

G’day Richard , a couple of pics of the boat .

Cheers Simon.

MuddyMay01 MuddyProfileMay01

Chebacco News 38

Hello Richard:


I want first to thank you for continuing Bill Samson’s work in editing the Chebacco News. I have learned a great deal from this newsletter and appreciate very much Bill’s work on behalf of Chebacco builders.


In his very helpful description of the building sequence for the sheet-ply Chebacco 20, Bill describes how he installed the two hull side panels by suspending them from the ceiling while he fitted them. Since I am building outdoors and do not have a ceiling, I had to find another solution.


My approach, therefore, was to cut out six small jigs out of scrap plywood (I actually used the cutouts from the bulkheads.). These were screwed temporarily to bulkheads # 1, # 4, and # 6 as shown in the diagram below. The side panels were then dropped into the slots, three on each side, and I was able to take my time in positioning the panels. When the epoxy fillets were complete on one side of the bulkhead and the panels were permanently fastened at bow and stern ends, I removed the jigs and made the fillets on the other side of each bulkhead.



Side Jig 2

I found this to have been very easy and I hope that it might be of use to others as well.


Regards, Tom McIllwraith

Halifax, Nova Scotia


Hi Richard,

Thanks for the nice job on the last issue of chebacco.
Here are the pictures of blocks and tabernacle fitting
that you requested.

block1.jpg 1 block2.jpg 1
Blocks are made out of locust with a brass sheave spinning
on a 5 mm brass pin (Fig. Block1.jpg).  They run nice and smooth
as long as the hole in the sheave is a bit larger (e.g. 5.25 mm)
than the pin. As I mentioned before, I made patterns
by magnifying the drawings in the “Riggers apprentice”
by Brion Toss. I also fitted the block on the centerboard
case with some kind of slotted tongue (Fig. Block2.jpg)
to jam the sheet, a home-made simple substitute for a camcleat.
taber1.jpg 1 taber2.jpg 1 taber3.jpg 1

The stainless steel fitting for the tabernacle was “invented” and made by
my friend Roberto Ginetto. There is a U-shaped part that goes around
the back and sides of the tabernacle. This part is screwed onto the tabernacle.
The front part is removable (Fig. taber1.jpg) and goes on the u-shaped part
like a “fence”. The U-shaped part also has “ears” (Fig. taber2.jpg) to attach
the double turning blocks for the throat and peak haliards (starboard side,
Fig. taber1.jpg) and topping lift + jib haliard (port side, Fig. taber3.jpg).
As you can see, things are still a bit scratched and unfinished around there
but the whole thing works well and is very easy get on and off single-handed.

Let me know if you need more explanation or other info.


Do you have any close up pictures of the hinge on your tabernacle?

Also, I notice you have the forward section closed off. What is the distance from the hing to you locking mechanism?

How do you raise the mast? You use the jib line as a forstay, do you use it to hoist the mast?

It appears your mast is rounded up top, but square on the bottom. It is square up to the double reef position of the gaff?

Have any closeups of your gaff saddle?

Hi Richard,

It is very easy to raise the mast, I just stand on the cabin roof and walk it up, it takes only a second then to block it with the metal fence. I do not use the jib haliard as a forestay or to raise the mast, although I guess that could be done.

The mast must be rounded all the way above the hinge point, otherwise the gaff jaws will not be free to swing around when hoisting or lowering sail (acting as a wrench around a bolt) and might bust at the first gust of wind! So, the mast is left square only in the part that goes into the tabernacle.

I will take close-ups and measures over the weekend.

Buon vento,


the distance from the pin of the hinge to the bottom of the locking mechanism is 67 cm.
The width of the steel plate of the locking mechanism is 6 cm.

I made the curved gaff jaws epoxying 2mm oak lamination to a final thickness of 24 mm
(see attached pictures)

gaff1 gaff2 gaff3


Did you use the 1 inch stainless steel rod described in Chebacco News 18 for the pivot pin?
I’m thinking of going a little thinner, to have less of a hole in the mast.
Did you do any kind of reinforcement for the hole in the mast?

The round plate with the three screws, this is the bearing plate for the pivot pin? Are all the mast forces taken by this plate, or is it a loose enough fit that the mast forces are taken by the box section of the tabernacle?

PCB&F says: “Since we know of no widely available source for them any more, we are proposing a ‘home-made’ gooseneck. It uses two stock ‘heavy duty’ SS gudgeons to accept a 1/2″ SS eyebolt which then connects via another ‘undersized’ bolt loosely to two SS tangs that are screwed to the forward sides of the boom; there should be enough freedom for the boom to move any which way, including twist from the sheet-pull. ”

I was never sure what exactly they were saying. It looks like you have a 10 inch or so long, 1/2″ thick  rod between the upper and lower brackets (gudgeons?) on the tabernacle face. I can’t see, but I’m assuming you then have an oversized eyebolt that slides up and down over this rod, is attached to the front of the boom, and acts as your gooseneck?

I used 1 inch bronze rod for the pivot pin.

To avoid having the pin bearing directly on wood, I screwed steel plates
(with a 1 inch hole for the pin), one screwed to the side of the mast, the
other to the side of the tabernacle, so the forces on the pin should mostly bear on the steel plates. The plates you see in the pics are just plywood plates that prevent the bronze pin from working its way out of the hole.

You are exactly right about my gooseneck. The pin is 12 X 30 mm stainless steel. I made it so long with the idea of rigging a downhaul to tension the luff. However the throat halyard is enough to give plenty of tension, and the sliding up and down of the boom is just a useless complication when hoisting or lowering the sail. I am going to cut that rod!
Pics of gooseneck details next weekend.



From: “Bill Samson” <>
To: <>
Subject: New Chebacco growing on Vancouver Island . . .
Date: Sunday, November 11, 2001 2:41 AM

Hi Richard,

Just had these pics from Bill McKibben via Chuck Merrell of his ‘glasshouse’
Chebacco Motorsailer that’s coming along well.

Bill has raised the topsides a little more than is shown on the plans, but
(I think) kept the overall height the same.  You remember the pic of his
model on one of my last Chebacco Newses?

Anyway, Bill would be delighted if you included one or two of his pics in
your next issue.


Bill Samson

>Speaking of pix, the attached just came in from B&B for the NW Chebacco.
>Will put them on his web page.  They were taken in Aug and September.  I
>have a hunch he’ll have it complete by sometime next summer.  BTW, that
>green foliage, higher than the cover in Picture #1 is Beth’s corn crop from
>last summer.  I had some they brought down.  Delicious!
>NWCheb01 NWCheb02 NWCheb03 NWCheb04 NWCheb05


Hello Richard!  A short note with 3 photos for your next Chebacco e-zine, the main purpose being to show how I’ve tried to build a Chebacco over the summer.  As cold weather now comes over the Massachusetts hills here, I’ll soon be forced to close down boatbuilding work although I’m hopeful that an Indian Summer will come about to allow the finishing of the hull and flipping.  Even in snow I’d flip her!

Stealing Horses Keel
Photo 1 shows the keel on top of the bottom panel.  It was my assumption that it would be much easier for me to work at placing the keel without the bilge panels in place.  A step ladder under the bilge panel space allowed closeup work, to see into the centerboard slot, to work on finishes such as they are.

 Stealing Horses Bilge Panel

Photo 2 shows Stealing Horses with her bilge panels in place.  The front 8 feet is composed of 2 layers of 1/4″ plywood with the first brought into shape with Spanish windlass action, and the second secured with a buttering of thickened epoxy and many sheetrock screws forcing the outer to the inner panel per Jamie Orr’s earlier description of how to do this.  The aft sections of the bilgepanel are 1/2″.  A brass half-oval strip extends over the inner stem, awaiting the outer stem for attachment.  The strip along the forward keel, along both centerboard cheeks, down the aft keel but shy of where the rudder post attachment will be placed.

Stealing Horses Xynole

Photo 3 shows the bilge and topside panels covered with xynole cloth prior to wetting out.  The keel and most of the bottom has, as the photo shows, been cloth-clad and coated with epoxy laden with graphite.

At this time — late October — the large xynole sheets have been wetted out and received 3 coats of fairing compound which cured just before the cool weather.  Now the job of sanding the hull is sporadically underway.  The outer stem–composed of built up planks of rosewood–has been lag-screwed and epoxied to the inner stem.  The lagscrews are recessed into the inner stem and set in bedding compound.  By the way, Jim Slakov (who built an exquisite lapstrake Chebacco) suggested to me one of his embellishments: that a small wood wedge be eventually epoxied to the inner stem to hold the mast at an intermediate stage when raised.  The idea is to stand in the cockpit and raise the mast to this point (contingent on one’s height and muscle power), and then to leave it semi-raised and secured by the rachet effect of the wedge while climbing to the cuddy roof to complete the job.

I’d like in what remains of this building season to get the hull sanded and the waterline scribed to the hull–I’d like of course to do more like paint and flip–but I’d settle for this.  Soon I’ll be forced to unscrew the ladder strongback of the boat forms from the ground stakes that level it.  The coming frost will of course heave these stakes and I’m concerned that the hull not be stressed so I’ll let it float atop frozen ground.  Then an accurate waterline will be impossible.

Semi-gloss marine enamel was bought for a 2-coat job above the waterline (to be placed about 2″ higher than the design waterline) with the graphite-laden epoxy coming up from the bottom.  Kirby Paints was kind to test their various paints and primer on a sample of my plywood/my epoxy to see how to proceed (no primer was deemed necessary).

For those considering a sheet plywood version of the Chebacco the following is a list of major materials and their sources that I’ve used:
1.  Meranti marine plywood (LS 6566 grade) from Noahsmarine.
2.  Locally grown spruce, encapsulated in epoxy.  Some island-grade rosewood brought back from the South Pacific some time ago.
3.  Xynole cloth from Defender instead of fiberglass cloth because of a concern for puncture and abrasion resistance.  Xynole, however, absorbs epoxy like a blotter.
4.  Epoxy, fillers, and fiberglass tape from Raka Epoxy.
5.  Fasteners from Jamestown Distributors and Hamilton Marine.  Hamilton sells a nice through-bow silicon bronze eye bolt for pulling the boat to the trailer. I went to Jamestown for silicon bronze ring nails and screws, bedding compound.
6.  Sails, sewn over last winter, from Sailrite kits.
7.  Kirby traditional marine paint for the topsides / bilgepanels that are above the waterline.

Cheers, keep warm,

Dick Burnham

Stealing Horses stem paint

Here is our Chebacco with 2 coats of oil-based Kirby semi-gloss white on her.  The outer stem is as yet unfinished but we plan to sand it down and to varnish it.

Dick Burnham


Hi Richard

New email address  – ‘’

Apologies for not thanking you sooner for your work on the Chebacco News.

I live in the same corner of the world as Jamie Orr.  He lives on Vancouver Island and me on the main land.  My Chebacco has been in the works since 1995 (!)  I was searching for just the right boat project (my first) when I read the Chebacco article in the Wooden Boat magazine.  However this would be a test of my dedication as my wife and I were just starting our family which I was to discover dramatically cuts into ones free time…
My boys are now seven and five and I am able to pick up the pace so to speak.  Just tonight I have done the final tidying up and dusting in preparation for spray painting my boat.  Mine is the standard sheet ply variety Chebacco with some modifications such as raising the cabin two inches and widening it out to the coamings.  I have also gone with a one piece ( a la Brad Story) transom with drain holes.  The forward bulkhead I doubled in thickness (to one inch) to allow me to mount the mast, using a tabernacle, directly onto the cabin roof.   I have some ideas for the tabernacle but would be very interested in other CB readers experiences with this.
Hope to launch this before January and then spend the spring on the trim  and spars.  Thanks for the sail info.  I will likely go with the Sailright kit.
I will send along some photos in the near future.
Thanks again,

Randy Wheating
Port Moody, BC


Sanding the CLC

Everyone has been saying that this will be a cold winter. To which I have invariably replied “NO, it will be a mild winter, so I can finish the boat!”. And you know what? With the exception of a couple of days of snow, it has hardly gotten below 50 degrees yet… spooky.

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These are pictures my homemade power long board. To the left, I have just disassembled the inline air sander I bought from Harbor Freight. Center is where I have made up some small mounting blocks, and countersunk some 1/4″ flat head screws in it. To the right, I am gluing the blocks to the sanding board with some 5 minute epoxy. Note that the blocks are attached to the sander during this operation, this is the only way to make sure they are glued exactly the right distance apart, so they fit on the slide of the air sander perfectly.

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After testing my setup on the boat, I realized the slide on the sander was some kind of plastic, and bent all out of shape when the board was forced to follow the curve of the hull. What you see in this picture is a 1/4″ x 1″ length of cold rolled steel, used to keep the slide stiff and reduce the wear. Still got some wear using the sander, and had to return it to the store. I’m not sure it was all related to my setup though, as I’ve had this exact type of sander before, and had the same problems with it. I’ve since ordered a Campbell Hausfeld air sander from HF. They had it in the catalog for $16.99, about $40 less than I could find it anywhere else. The card in the mail said it was back ordered, and I can’t find it online any more… Not sure if it was a typo or what, but it appears they are going to send it to me.

To the right, you see where I have taken the sanding pad and used glass tape to strengthen the attachment of the spacer blocks to the board. The sandpaper was attached to this board with contact cement, 3M Super 77 spay adhesive. Application of the heat gun on high while pulling the paper off made changing to a new sheet a breeze. I used 36 grit paper, the kind that worked with the inline sander. At about $7 for a box of 25 at the local HF. Went through two boxes.


On the left here I am squaring up the rudder assembly, and on the right it is set aside for the epoxy to set up. I used three layers of the 2″ tape I got I bought five 50 yard rolls of 2″, 6oz tape from him for $35, you might email him and see if he has any more. The tape is a satin weave and doesn’t wet out as easily as some of the more open weaves. You have to pre-wet your surface, then apply your tape, then wet the outside. Give capillary action a few minutes to work the epoxy in, then work any remaining bubbles out with your thumb. This tape is a bit more work than a more open weave would be, but well worth the saved money.

I make the rudder a bit thick for the post, so I trimmed it down some with a flap wheel on the angle grinder. Also, I flared the aft end on both the blade and the wing down to a finer point than on the plans, in an attempt to save a bit on drag.

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Here you see the centerboard case going in. In the picture on the left I have just dropped it in, I had to cut a notch out of the board you see to get it to drop all the way down. Center is a side view, and right is a view of one of the cleats used to hold it. If you look in the picture, you will see that the cleat only has one screw. This is to allow the case to be levelled from underneath, before tape and epoxy is added.

On the right you can see a one of the bilge panel spices, still covered with the remnants of the wax paper used to keep the clamp board from sticking. I later went back with a wire brush on a drill and got this off.

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On the left you see the crew applying glass and epoxy to the hull. This was a major operation, glassing the entire hull with 6oz cloth. Made more interesting by it being in the 60s, and by my being out of slow set epoxy. We only had one pot start to cook off on us, and I was able to dump and spread it before it had smoked too much.

Center you see a good shot of the cloth hanging off. In the future I may try to trim closer to the hull before applying the epoxy. I wasted quite a bit of glass here, as after it gets a few runs of epoxy on it, about the only thing you can do with this stuff is throw it away.

On the right, you will see where it looks like I spiced onto the back of the keel. This is caused by me splicing onto the back of the keel. Measure twice, cut once. Then cut again. Also note the brown under the glass. I used the last of my slow cure hardener to spread wood flour and epoxy over any sections that weren’t exactly smooth, so the glass would lay even. I learned on a previous boat not to use phenolic micro balloons under the glass. They aren’t very strong in tension, and I had a section de-laminate on me during sanding. This boat is being made as strong as I know how to make it, so the only putty under the glass is wood flour based.

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The left two shots show a good view of the cutout for the motor well. Also, note that the glass is folded over twice on the transom, and right under where the rudder will be. This required a bit more work faring the hull, but the added strength may come in handy some day.

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More shots of us desperately spreading epoxy and chasing bubbles, before the epoxy set up.

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The two pictures on the left are of the stem after it is attached. I agonized for days over whether to finish it “bright” or not. finally, looking at the pictures I have in the Chebacco News issues showed that most people were painting over it. In addition, I REALLY wanted to cover it with a layer of glass. So, it is made up of cutouts of plywood, laminated together. Notice the radial lines on the stem? This is where I broke the belt on the hand power planer, and had to use the chain saw to finish the carving… <grin>. The stem had a liberal coat of putty applied to the bottom and then was attached top and bottom with a couple of temporary screws. After the putty set, a little sanding was done, then more putty, and a couple of layers of glass cloth went over the whole assembly. This coming Saturday a friend is coming over to help me forge a piece of 1/8″ stainless steel to the shape of the cutwater, so the keel armor will extend from the bottom up and around the cutwater! Should be very cool.

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On the right we have applied a coat of glass bubbles and wheat flour as a faring compound. Notice the line starting halfway up the bilge panel next to the transom? This is where the bottom and the bilge layers of cloth overlap. I have two layers of glass over the bottom chine to add to the strength.On the left, I’m attaching the cheek plates over the centerboard case. I broke with tradition, and foil shaped them in the best bolger tradition, with the flare on the sides and bottom matching. Hopefully this will reduce some of the turbulence caused by this protrusion of the keel.

This notched trowel process took a LOT of epoxy. More than glassing the hull! Oh, well, it allows me to fill in the low spot, and will give a smoother hull. Helping to decrease resistance and turbulence.

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This is the boat after MUCH sanding. The girls decided they would volunteer to sand the boat instead of buying me a birthday present. Their mistake! <evil grin>. I only had them sanding for a couple of weeks… They did a wonderful job, though. The odd color scheme is my attempt to vary the color of each successive layer of filler. No reason, I had the pigment and though I’d experiment.

On the left we are just starting to apply the leftover Interlux barrier coat primer from another project. I put a little of the green pigment I had left into the white primer, and it turned the yucky blue you see. We turned the boat into a swimming pool! I didn’t have quite enough for the entire hull, but that’s ok. I experimented with the paint, and it stuck to unwashed, unsanded, smooth epoxy with no qualms. Even stayed on after a couple of days in the dishwasher, and hardened up nicely after a couple of weeks.

On the right, you see the hull with paint on it. We are putting it on in many thin layers, to avoid runs. In this picture we still need a couple of layers of paint. The green is a color I got from mixing three gallons of various shades of green deck paint purchased at the local close out store. At $2.88 a gallon, I bought 12 gallons, even before testing on the epoxy!

Anyway, that’s all for now, next issue I’ll have pictures of the forged armor for the keel, and pictures of the boat turning, currently planned for some time in January. Also, I’ll show how I figured out the welding of stainless steel on a cheap wire feed welder.

Richard Spelling

From the muddy waters of Oklahoma.

Chebacco News 34

Chebacco News 34-June 2001

So long – and thanks for all the news!

Well folks, this is to be the last issue of Chebacco News under my editorship. It started in September 1994, printed on a dot-matrix printer with my old Atari ST computer, and has evolved into the current Webzine.

My heartfelt thanks are due to all of you who, over the years, have shared your Chebacco experiences via Chebacco News – but most especially to Gil and Joan Fitzhugh, not only for their insightful articles, but as the North American distributors of the printed version of this newsletter.

There are two reasons for me giving up the editorship. The first is that my interests have moved on, primarily to kayaking, and I’m not using Sylvester as she should be used. The second is that NBCI is going to start charging for the use of its webspace and I’m, frankly, not prepared to pay for a service that brings me no income.


If anyone is keen to take over the editorship and set up Chebacco News with their own ISP, please contact me and I’ll be pleased to help them get going.

Sylvester is for sale:

I’m offering Sylvester for sale at £4500 to include a galvanised, braked Snipe road trailer and Mariner 4hp outboard. Please contact me if you are interested,


Cabin Windows – Jamie shows us how it’s done!

cabin windows

Brass-bound cabin window on Wayward Lass

Jamie Orr writes:

I just borrowed a digital camera, took some quick shots of the new windows.
They’ve turned out fairly nicely, I think, all things considered. I used
1/8 flat brass stock. The inside was the most trouble, I drilled a hole
then used a sabresaw (jigsaw) to cut to the line. The outside I cut with a
bandsaw — wonderful tool, just used the regular blade and some eye
protection for the flying filings (brassdust?). I didn’t cut as close to
the line as I should have because I was afraid to, so I had a lot of filing
to do afterward, but it was pretty straighforward stuff. They’re held in
place with one brass roundhead bolt at either end, the curve of the cabin
sides put enough pressure on the middle. Seated the whole works in Boatlife
sealer. The cabin side is routed for the lexan panes — that was done way
back before the sides went on. (That was the biggest problem — predicting
the placement and cutting the holes before anything was actually there.)


Wayward Lass struts her stuff at Depoe Bay

Jamie Orr trailered Wayward Lass to the boat show at Depoe Bay, Oregon. Here’s what he had to say about it:


Yup, we’re back, had a great time. Went over to Port Angeles, 45 miles west of Port Townsend on Thursday afternoon, and drove to Alan’s place [ Alan Woodward, that is]. Got a little lost, but were saved by a Chebacco silhouette stuck on a pole at his driveway. Left about 9:00 next morning after breakfast (eggs from Alan’s chickens, very fresh!) and drove and drove and drove.

We followed the Hood Canal, the big fjord that almost gets back to the sound at the other end, then turned west somewhere short of Olympia. Reached the coast at Longbeach (I think) and stopped for lunch shortly after. Then we crossed the Columbia river mouth on a very long bridge and entered Oregon at Astoria. From Astoria to Pacific City the road wound around a bit, going inland a lot. This was the hardest part of the trailering, as the trailer and boat go back 25 feet from my rear bumper, and the boat’s just under 8 feet wide, as you know. I did a lot of concentrating, caught only glimpses of scenery for about two hours. The last stretch was more relaxing again, and we got in around 6:30.

Launched Wayward Lass and tucked her in, then went for dinner at the Spouting Horn with Larry Barker and John Kohnen. (Our party was myself, Dad, Alan and John Ewing). Then back to the motel, where Alan and John cunningly managed to get the suite (the motel had overbooked the cheap rooms so upgraded one of ours) that Dad and I had had our eye on, and so to bed.

Spent all Saturday, which was good weather after the first couple of hours, looking at and talking about boats. Depoe Bay is a small boat show, mostly on dry land. The harbour entrance and the bar outside make going out difficult except under good conditions. I talked to the guys at the Coast Guard station, and learned that on that day there was a “26 foot limit” which left us out. And I’m sure that they meant 26 footers with big dependable diesels! We did put up the sails and go out for a sail up and down the harbour — about 150 feet each way, with light to non-existent wind, coming from almost any direction due to the eddies. That was just to satisfy some kids that begged a ride.

Lot of interesting small boats — a Chamberlain dory skiff, same as I have the frames sawn out for, a Joel White faering, a whitehall, an immaculate Wayfarer, lots of river dories, several nice skiffs, including John Kohnen’s Pickle, and a bunch more. Also saw Dan Pence’s electric powered Ginger again, plus a Microtrawler with a big tugboat superstructure on it — looked just like a small working tug, right down to the dogs on the stem (sawtooth edge to give a grip on logs so you can push them around). I spoke to one of the owners, who said that unfortunately they couldn’t get up on plane with all that weight, even with their 50 horse Honda! They’re going to try some trim tabs at the back, I think.

Of the Port Townsend Bolgerites, we saw John and Larry, plus Jim Chamberlin. I wanted to say hello to Pat Pateson from the current list, but didn’t meet him. I see from his Friday note that I did see him, or at least a guy with a neck brace beside the red elegant punt, but never spoke to him.

Sunday we woke to sheets of fine rain blowing by. The ocean and surf looked even more exciting than on Saturday. Went down to the show after a good breakfast, and saw that a lot of folks were packing up and leaving. So after a look around and quick chat with the organizer, we hauled Wayward Lass and did the same. The micro tug was already out, and I saw Dan headed towards the ramp too, so I think Ginger was right behind us, although I could be wrong. The lousy weather on Sunday was really a blessing for us. We’d done it all the day before, and had a long drive ahead. We took the freeway route to Olympia this time, and cut an hour off our time — got in to Port Townsend about 8:00. Back in the tent about 10:30. Up on Monday, breakfast again courtesy of Alan’s “girls”, then we followed him into town while he dropped off his wife’s car, whose starter didn’t. Had a quick look in at the wooden boat school, dropped Alan at home and headed for Port Angeles again. Got back to my own house about 5:00, just in time for dinner.

I don’t know what it cost, and I’m not going to work it out. Had a good time and that’s enough. Not sure we’ll ever do it again, but I’m glad we did it this time.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures — I guess I’m a dead loss that way, but Larry, and of course John, were both snapping away, and I expect we’ll see theirs on the web pretty quickly.

Very pleased with the trailering. We covered 1,356 kilometres from start to finish, of which 1,318 were on US soil. I didn’t track the gas mileage (kilometerage?) either, but we filled up 4 times, the last time in Port Townsend coming home.

Chuck [Merrell], sorry we couldn’t fit in a visit. Didn’t realize just how big a distance we had to cover and how long it would take. See you another time!



Jamie gives himself a fright!

Jamie (again – What’s happened to everybody else?) writes:

Hi Bill,

I went for a little trip on Friday night, which turned into a “learning
experience”. If I wrote it as a story, I could call it “Heavy Weather
Sailing and Stupidity, or Why You Should Listen to the Weatherman!”

I wanted to go over to the US side to drop in on a Traditional Small Craft
Association messabout at Bowman Bay, about 30 miles due east of Victoria.
To get there for Saturday, and catch the tide, I planned to leave right
after work on Friday, hopefully arriving about midnight. I figured that
with all the lights on the south side of the San Juan Islands, I should have
no trouble finding my way (true). I launched on Friday morning, and parked
Wayward Lass in Victoria’s Inner Harbour for the day, just a minute away
from my office. At lunch time I went down and did the smartest thing of the
whole trip, I tied in two reefs in preparation, then furled the sail away
again. The forecast was for winds of 15 to 25 knots from the southeast, so
I was thinking that I would probably cancel the trip.

I got away from the dock at 5 p.m. By then the weatherman said there should
have been winds of 5 to 15 knots, but it was dead calm, with no waves
outside the harbour. So I thought I would go east for a while and see how
it went, before I quit and went home. I fiddled around putting up my
battery operated nav lights, getting the anchor line ready and generally
straightening things up, then motored off, pulling Alan’s elegant punt,
Creamsicle. For a couple of hours it continued calm, with only scattered
cloud. As the light went, some waves appeared from the east, with a light
wind. Even once it was dark, there was still a lot of light from various
towns on the San Juans, and Whidbey Island, plus isolated house lights, in
addition to the lights shown on the chart.

Things started to get more lively. The waves built up very quickly, and I
had to throttle back so we wouldn’t pound. (I was still motoring because
the wind was right in my face.) Then the wind picked up quite a lot, so
that I was getting a lot of spray blowing back even when we weren’t
pounding, which we were starting to do every third wave, or so. I estimated
that I was about 1/2 way there or a little less, and since guesstimated
headway was almost nothing, I decided to turn for home — about 9 p.m. now.
I would say that was the second smartest thing I did, except there wasn’t
really any choice by now. I considered sheltering behind Lopez Island, but
I wasn’t sure I could even get that far, and I didn’t have a large scale
chart of the area if I did.

So, I put the motor out of gear, and let the mizzen hold us head to wind
while I raised the double reefed main. The dinghy nuzzled us while I did
this, to the detriment of my paint. Then I shut down the motor, and turned
downwind. The boat took a while to turn, it seemed quite happy to point
just a little upwind of broadside on, but once I got her moving, she turned
okay. Then talk about having a tiger by the tail! I had my hands full just
steering downwind. Every wave tried to push the stern around. Wind and
waves were mostly from astern, but just a little bit on the port quarter. I
let the mizzen weathercock so it wouldn’t help push us around so much. It
felt horribly out of control, but gradually I realized the boat was handling
it, at least.

I don’t know if a larger rudder would have helped, as it was mostly the
waves pushing the stern around, not the wind — although the wind was doing
its bit as well. Once or twice we broached completely, swinging 90 degrees
to our course, and taking the next wave broadside. I thought about raising
the centreboard to see if that helped, but the lanyard hadn’t been fastened,
and it had gone down the hole, so I don’t know yet if that would have made a
difference. Then I thought I’d try motoring, and see if I had more control,
so again the mizzen held us into the wind, more or less, while I furled the
main and the dinghy nuzzled us some more. The I undid the dinghy painter
and pulled it out of the motor’s bottom half. But when I went to start the
motor, the motor that never takes more than 2 pulls, it wouldn’t go! And
after half a dozen pulls, the recoil mechanism wouldn’t either. (It just
came out of the shop after having that fixed, too!) So now I was firmly in
the 19th century for my technology, whether I liked it or not. I got the
main up again, and got back to sailing. About the same time (I stopped
keeping notes some time before) I took down the mizzen, mast and all,
pushing it as far as it would go into the cabin. I also moved the dinghy
painter to the midships cleat on the lee side, as it had drifted downwind,
and I thought it as hindering me when I tried to turn downwind again. I
noticed there was some water in the dinghy, but it didn’t seem enough to
worry about, compared to the general state of the world. By this time the
wind was probably 20 knots anyway. The waves were huge, to me, and short
enough that they were very steep. Some of them were breaking at the tops.
I could hear them hissing and rushing up behind me, and was happier not
looking at them. Later, I estimated that they were probably no more than 5
feet from trough to crest, but from crest to crest was probably only 40 feet
or less — the wind was against the tide, which I should have considered.
At least it wasn’t raining.

I was able to control Wayward Lass a little better now. I was hoping my
troubles were over, but about then the dinghy painter snapped. I heard it
and felt it go, but by the time I’d picked up the spotlight and turned into
the wind, I couldn’t see it anywhere. I guess it picked up so much water
that it became too heavy for the rope. The painter broke right in the
middle, maybe it had a kink or knot from when I had to undo it to clear it.
Anyway, that simplified things even more, and the rest of the trip was
relatively uneventful, except that I succumbed thoroughly and completely to
the sea sickness that had been hovering at the edge of my consciousness —
try dealing with that at the same time as not broaching! Sometime after
midnight the wind dropped rapidly and the waves downsized to a well behaved
swell. I took both reefs out, but even then it was suddenly very slow
going. I let the sheet go and drifted around while I took off the engine
cover and wound on the “emergency” starter cord. I pumped the gas up
carefully, choked the engine, and it started first pull! So it was down
sails for the last time, and motored in — had to dodge a lot of wood in the
water, including one large log dead in my path. The storm probably washed
them off the beaches, they only seemed to be a problem near shore. I had to
motor about 5 miles along Victoria south shore, but there was enough light
reflecting off the water that the logs showed up well.

I got into Fleming Beach just after two a.m., never so glad to get ashore as
I was then. Took a while to pack up and recover the boat, I was literally
staggering with tiredness and feeling lousy. Stopped at a doughnut shop for
a snack, there were several police there on their break, and I wondered if
they would think I was drunk! (They didn’t, or at least left me alone.)

So I’m a little bit smarter now, I hope. I’ll pay attention to the weather
forecast, even if there’s nothing in sight to bear it out. I never, ever,
want another night like that one. On the plus side, I now have tremendous
confidence in the Chebacco. Even when we broached, she never threatened to
go over. When I was taking down the mizzen, we were “lying ahull” I guess,
and she moved about pretty briskly, but again she felt “safe”. Mind you,
after a while you get used to being terrified! We never took any green
water aboard, from any direction. I think that flared bilge panel deflects
most of a sideways wave under the hull, like a big wedge. And both ends
seemed to ride up and over anything. I got a fair amount of spray over the
bow when I was motoring into the wind, and a few good shots sideways, but
none to speak of when running or hove to. (I feel like a real sailor when I
use that!) The mizzen held us well up to the wind despite (or because of?)
it being quite strong.

And that was it for the night. There is a happy postscript to it all,
though. After I broke it to Alan that I’d lost his punt, I called the Coast
Guard to report it in case it should show up. After several transfers, I
spoke to a very helpful fellow in Rescue Coordination, who took all the
details. And then this morning (Sunday), in the middle of typing up a
“lost” notices to put up at marinas and boat launches, I got a call from the
same people to say that a dinghy of that description was being picked up by
the Victoria Clipper, the catamaran passenger ferry from Seattle. Ten
minutes later someone on the ferry called to say they had it, and I could
pick it up at their dock when they arrived, in about 4 more minutes! So I
went right down, and there she was, the paint a little dinged up on one
gunwale, but otherwise none the worse for it all.

So that’s my news today, guys. I feel moderately dumb for virtually
ignoring the forecast, and I’ll probably regret telling anyone about this,
but I probably learned more in the three hours between 9 and midnight than
in 10 years of normal sailing, so it wasn’t all for nothing!




A purpose-designed tender for a Chebacco:

Chuck Merrell has designed a tender for Chebacco, to Jamie Orr’s specifications. Jamie will be building the prototype of Apple Tart.

Apple Tart is designed to fit inside the cockpit of a Chebacco, for trailering, and can then be towed behind the boat when sailing, allowing the sailors to get ashore when the shoreline is unsuitable for running the Chebacco up onto the beach.


Apple Tart is the smallest of a series of three prams that Chuck has designed, the others being Apple Pie (7’6″) and Peach Pie (10’). Bill McKibben has prototyped Apple Pie and Bill Samson is building the prototype of Peach Pie, which will have a spritsail rig.

Contact Chuck at for further details of these pretty little boats.






Jim Slakov’s rigging sketches:

Dick Burnham was kind enough to pass on Jim Slakov’s sketches and specifications of the rigging he uses on his immaculate lapstrake Chebacco, Kelani Rose.




So there you have it!

Of course I hope you’ll all keep in touch and let me know how you are getting along with your projects.

I also want to thank you all for helping to keep Chebacco News going for 7 years.

Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 1LB, Scotland

Chebacco News 33

Chebacco News 33 – February 2001



A New Chebacco Motorsailer


Bill and Beth McKibben of Sidney BC, Canada – the prolific builders of many Bolger boats, including the Breakdown Schooner and the Fast Motorsailer, are turning their thoughts to a Chebacco Motorsailer, and have built this model as their starting point. The keen-eyed among you will notice that they’ve raised the topsides a smidgen, and have used the Solent Lug rig in preference to the more usual gaff rig. It looks wonderful, and will make a great addition to the growing fleet of British Columbian Chebaccos.


A Swedish Chebacco


Björn Edström writes:

I have built a Chebacco 20 in sheet ply coated with epoxy and fabric
both in and outside because I used only 9 mm plywood on the whole
construction. The boat was launched in September this year, so far it
has only been one weekend sailing this year, the interior is not

Built: 1999 – 2000
Launched: September 2000
Owner/builder: Björn Edström, email:
Location: Stockholm/Sweden

I will send more pictures from the launching when the film is developed


Mary-Beth, Too


Dave Neder has made a great ‘gold plater’ job of his sheet ply Chebacco, “Mary-Beth, Too”. He writes:

. . . The mast is hollow. It consists
of a marine ply box section sheathed with Sitka Spruce and Red Oak at the
gaff throat position.

The tiller is from a 26′ “Lancer” sail boat. It was contributed by a
friend of mine. The coaming is made of ribbon stripe mahogany ply and
mahogany lumber. I cap all exposed ply edges and I built narrow hand rails
all around into the coaming. The drawings show flush sides, but since I
need a better grip, I added the rail.

The hatches are water tight. The out board motor’s gas tank is under the
port hatch. The motor will be old 9.9 Johnson from the “Lancer”. The 12
Volt battery is under the starboard hatch. Their centers of gravity are
equidistant about the centerline.

The cabin hatch cover is shown closed portions of the cover, trim and pen
boards are made of red oak. It is common here and I like to work with it.
The two cleats are for the peak and throat halyard.

I am going to trailer the boat. I have a wide choice of sailing lakes
including Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is about twenty miles from my front
door. One comment about sailing on Lake Michigan; it is about 90% Ho Hum
and 10% sheer terror. Moorings in my area are filled up and expensive even
if you can find one for sale or rent.

I am presently building boom crutches to hold the masts and booms while
trailering the boat. I will send photos as things progress
Our goal is to sail this spring.
Regards Dave

Yet another Chebacco growing in BC!


Randy Wheating writes:

Hi Bill

It was my pleasure to have finally met you in person at the Port
Townsend Wooden Boat Festival last fall. I turned my hull over this
past June. I went the brute force method with the help of six friends.
Before the ‘flip’ I cut out a notch in the cross pieces of the strong
back. I added a little padding to the notches and when we turned the
hull we set the keel into these notches and there she stood – upright
for the first time! A little shoring up and leveling and the hull was
for me to climb aboard.

As you may be able to see from the attached photos, I have made some
minor alterations. I have increased the width of the cabin about six
inches per side – flush with the cockpit coamings. The cabin top was
raised two inches.

The forward bulkhead I made one inch thick (laminated two half inch
pieces of plywood) as this will be the main support for my mast
tabernacle. I cut a square hole, for no particular reason, rather than
the round one as shown in the drawings.

The space under the cockpit seats will be sealed with air tight
inspection hatches for dry storage and floatation.

I added an eight inch bridge deck and made some cut outs in the main
bulkhead, from the cabin, for extra storage.

Like Brad Story’s boats (I believe) the aft cockpit is not cut through
to the motor well. A one piece stern deck with port and starboard
hatches with cover this area. There will be a small access hatch in
this deck just forward of the rudder post that will just allow me to
drop a 3 gal fuel tank into this space. A second tank will sit just aft
of the mizzen.

The rudder and post are aluminum. I fabricated an epoxy/cloth/mat tube
just larger than the rudder post OD which was then bonded between the
hull and motor well floor. This should create a nice water tight
passage for the rudder post.

Since taking the photos I have temporarily reinstalled the original
forms into the cabin and have started on the cabin sides.

With luck I will get her into the water later this year.

As always I enjoy the CN and appreciate your fine work. You must come
back to the West Coast in a couple of years for a cruise when all four
BC Chebaccos are in the water!

Take care,
Randy Wheating
Port Moody, BC, Canada

Pete has flipped


You’ll remember Pete Respess’s ‘poor man’s laser level’ from the Chebacco News #32. Pete has now flipped his hull, and I must say that waterline looks fantastic!

Skip flips, too



Skip Pahl, in Southern CA, has flipped his handsome sheet-ply hull. In case you’re wondering, about half of his helpers are on the other side of the hull!

Skip writes:

So. Cal.’s apparent “one-and-only” Chebacco is not dead, however, progress
has been mighty slow.

A few weeks ago we had our annual neighborhood block party, an event that
provided me with lots of horsepower for turning the boat. We kicked-off the
party with the boat turning and everyone was delighted to be a part of the
effort. They have been watching the building for nearly three years now! By
scheduling the turning early in the picnic (before the beer), we accomplished
our task without a nick or scratch.

A note about striking the waterline: Last year I found the world’s cheapest
laser level for $39.95 in the Radio Shack Christmas catalog. It produces a
fine laser line as well as the standard spot! I mounted the level on a piece
of plywood attached to the top of a camera tripod and then leveled the
platform north, south, east and west) with a mark on the cutwater were I
wanted the waterline to start. After the first arc gave me a series of dots
from the cutwater to midships, I rotated the level on its leveled platform
and marked dots from miships to stern. I the stretched 3M fine line (1/4″)
tape along the pencil marks and arrived at a clean and satisfactory
waterline. This is a good system if you don’t have a great deal of work space
around the boat.

Best wishes to all!

Skip Pahl
Carlsbad, CA

That’s all for this issue

Not a terribly technical one this time – just a showcase of the fantastic efforts that are going on around the world. It seems to me that the number of Chebaccos is growing at an ever-increasing rate, as of course, a beautiful design like this deserves.


Keep in touch, everyone!

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

Broughty Ferry,

Dundee DD5 1LB,


Chebacco News 32

Chebacco News 32 – November 2000


Roll Call!

I don’t know about you guys, but while I know there are a fair few Chebaccos out there I have only the vaguest idea where most of them are.

If you own a Chebacco – whether on the water or at any stage of construction, why not drop me an email or a line telling me what type you’ve got (sheet-ply, lapstrake, long, ‘glasshouse’, cruising . . .), when it was launched (or is due to be launched), its name (if any), name of builder, and location. I’ll publish the list once you’ve been in touch, and it can be updated as and when new Chebaccos are launched. Of course, I’ll respect anyone’s privacy if they’d rather not be included.

Completed Chebaccos I know about are:







Apologies to folks I’ve forgotten. Anyway, complete details on all (including the above) will be most welcome!

Hollow Masts

John O’Neill writes:

Dear Bill,

Regarding ‘bird’s mouth’ masts. First, my understanding is that hollow spars should be about 10% fatter than the same spar that’s solid. Second, as I discovered, you can use more than 8 staves. If you do, you get a more even cross sectional thickness. That is, if you look at it on end, the hollow space won’t have the outline of a stop sign, but more of a true circle. I used 12 staves on the 16′ masts of my two Bolger Cartoppers, mostly as a way to more efficiently use the nearly pristine 3/4″ Dour Fir stock I had on hand, and that I didn’t want to search out and buy any more of. (Despite the added kirf waste, i.e. sawdust, I got better use of the wood). But I think the more even cross section using 12 staves provides a real strength/weight advantage, and might be worth it regardless. The width of the staves (given a perfect ‘bird’s mouth’ cut) solely determines the maximum thickness of the finished spar. To determine the width figure the circumference of the mast, and divide that by the number of staves you want. My 2 1/2″ mast worked out to 0.65″. Then divide 360 by the number of staves to get the angle for the bird’s mouth cut. For 12 staves it works out to 30 degrees. I’d recommend making a short section of test mast just to be sure of your numbers. I had my first crude one rubber-banded together in about an hour (altogether I made three!). Plus they’re fun to show off to friends of an engineering bent.I used a carbide wobble blade on a table saw for the bird’s mouth cut. It worked perfectly (with a lot of featherboards and support for the work piece, and a lot of test cuts. Make extra staves!). I used epoxy for glue-up, but instead of hose clamps I used waxed twine (epoxy won’t stick to wax) in a hand-tight spiral wrap down the length of the spar. It kept good, even pressure on the joints, with no risk of squeezing any joints dry, and as an added benefit it was easier to sight down to see if the spar was straight, without hose clamps in the way.
After a host of frustrating attempts at dry fitting my even dozen of staves (fitting the last one was always the kicker!) I finally hit on rolling them up around a core. It works like this. Arrange the staves in the order you want them, with the outside face down. Place a thick dowel a foot or more long, or a stiff cardboard roll, almost anything with the approximate diameter of the hollow interior, on top, and roll the staves up around it. It’s a ridiculously easy, one-person operation, even with a dozen slippery, slithery, epoxy coated staves. I felt like an idiot when I figured it out, that I hadn’t figured it out sooner! Just rubber band it up and pull out the roll (make sure you leave some of it protruding, I learned that too) and the base is assembled. The rest of the assembly almost falls into place. I used a plug from the base, up past the partner to where the fittings where screwed in. I drilled a fat hole clear through to avoid turning the mast’s interior into a moisture trap. Then I coated the hole walls with epoxy to minimize moisture induced dimensional changes, which I figured might sooner or later cause splits in the mast. To deal with the ‘hard spot’ at the top of the plug, I drilled down into it using two big Forstner bits. The first bit was barely smaller than the plug, and was drilled about 2 inches into the top. The second was a bit smaller than the first and drilled in as far as it would go. Not the best but I think it will do. It does add weight but it’s low where it doesn’t count.

Another plug option I’ve seen, much better for interior halyards, is to make what is essentially a tiny, hollow, second mast, to fit inside the first as a plug. The staves of this ‘second mast’–towards the top–are tapered, but not glued together, such that the plug is of constant thickness top to bottom, but ends at the top in stiff, individual, tapered fingers, almost like one side of a tall finger joint. I don’t know that I’d run interior halyards on a mast where any thickened epoxy was used during glue-up. There might be some protruding dried bits that could cause chafe.
Great newsletter by the way! You and your contributors almost have me talked into a Chebacco as my next project. Probably hard chine. But Bolger has so many great boats! I’m really torn . . .

John O’Neill, Fairfield,


Meanwhile, Gil Fitzhugh has completed his hollow spars:


I’ve built the masts, boom and gaff using the birdsmouth method, with the mast modified in way of the partners as described in Chebacco News #31. I wrapped the whole mast with a layer of 6oz glass, with the weave running straight up the mast. Then I spiral wrapped the lower 4.5 feet (enough to get above the boom jaws) with another layer, with diagonal weave. The overlaps, loose strands and whatnot were as ugly as sin. I sanded everything smooth with 40 grit and then progressively sanded it down to 22o grit. And it looks damn good! It’s roundish, straightish and strongish. I’m now epoxy coating and sanding off the mizzen, boom and gaff, which won’t be glassed. Then I’ll add the fittings. Next spring I’ll varnish them.


I’ve built almost everything on this boat myself, but Joan was invaluable putting the masts together. I’d mix up about 3 squirts of epoxy at a time, stir, put in Cab-o-Sil, stir some more and then give the can to Joan. She’d paint the birdsmouths while I mixed the next batch. It must have taken half an hour, working fast, using WEST with slow hardener. Then we rolled up the spar and got about 25 automotive hose clamps around it and tightened them up. Being careful, of course, to keep shoving everything back toward straightish as it tried to sag, until we had it really tight. The guy at the auto parts store looked at me pop-eyed when I bought 20 5-inch and 20 4-inch hose clamps. I cleaned out his whole supply.


Drawing a Waterline? Try Pete’s “Poor Man’s Laser Level”


Pete Respess’s beautiful Chebacco hull

Pete Respess writes:

Dear Bill,

I have been reading your newsletter for about a year now (have been building 11 months) and finally have something that may be of use to your readers. It has to do with striking the waterline – a nebulous, scary task which all boat building books seem to brush casually by. In one place in the newsletter I read that I was “on my own” when it came to doing this. That made me ask a friend who proposed, “Hey just launch it and get down there with a magic marker and draw it in”. My pride did not let me opt for that idea though. Instead I decided upon the “poor man’s laser level”. What I did was run two parallel strings (about ten inches apart) along the boat’s length close to whre the water line should be. The strings and the boat should both be level before beginning. Then at night fall, use a flashlight to cast the “two” string’s shadows against the hull, making sure they hit the correct place on the stem and near the stern according to the plans. When the shadows of the two strings coincide, there’s your line to be drawn.
Actually, you just mark tick marks every few inches at this point and wait for daylight to fill in the actual tape line with a batten. That’s it. Of course I have not launched the boat yet to prove this theory. You will have to judge whether or not to wait for that test before you decide to include this technique. I just liked how marvelously simple and “cheap” this
method was. No laser to buy or other complicated stuff. I got the idea from building my privacy fence around the back yard. When three sticks line up “by eye” along your property, then that is your “true”fence line.

I am including the most recent picture of my boat in it’s primer coat (Epoxy Barrier-Kote). It now has a coat of Interthane Plus on it which I have just finished wet sanding with 220 and 400 grit paper (second coat this weekend). I was fortunate to have met a guy a couple of miles from me who retores wooden runabouts professionally. The things he told me about his painting and finishing techniques are priceless. I coupled his ideas with a few things from your newsletter – the results are beautiful. I am told a slight orange peel is acceptable, at least it is with me. You only see that when you get real close anyway.

Pete Respess
Hopewell, VA

For the technical thinkers out there, I have thought of the following geometric stuff. The two lines act as a horizontal plane which slices the boat in the same way the water does. When that plane lines up with the two points, fore and aft on the hull according to the plans, you have a water line. And “figures don’t lie”. Plus it kind has the ring of common sense too.


The Poor Man’s Laser Level in action


“Wayward Lass” continues her adventures . . .

Jamie Orr writes:

I had a great sail on the weekend, drove to Nanaimo and went over to Sechelt to see Jim Slakov. This was the only weekend I could do it, but we’ve had a lot of gales and stormy winds over the last week or two, and prospects didn’t look good. The forecast said things would improve, but on Saturday it still predicting up to 40 knots of wind. I was getting antsy sitting around home, so I drove up in the afternoon to have a look — yup, lots of
wind. Spent a couple of hours rigging up and fiddling with the new reefing stuff I’ve added, then launched late in the day. The Nanaimo launch site is very well sheltered, behind Newcastle Island, so I thought I’d stick my nose out and see what it was like on the open water. Even with 2 reefs it was more than I liked, so I tacked and let the sail out to reach back. I was immediately startled by a loud Whoossh! and water frothing by at high speed — we were surfing — with 2 reefs! That’s the quickest acceleration I’ve ever had sailing — really got the heart started!

Spent a not very restful night at anchor at Newcastle Island marine park, lots of slapping and noise, but at least no sailing around the anchor with the mizzen up. After breakfast on Sunday I thought I’d go for a bit of a sail around Snake Island before I packed up and went home. However, once I got out there it wasn’t bad, things were much quieter — then the radio weather report predicted good conditions (only up to 15 knots) for the nest 48 hours, so I just kept on going. Sailed for 2 hours, then the wind backed until it was right in my face (sound familiar?) so down came the sail and Honda came to the rescue. Took another 3 hours to finish the 16 or 17 odd miles across Georgia Strait (Sechelt is on the mainland).

Spent the night at Jim Slakov’s. Unfortunately, when I didn’t arrive on Saturday, they ate the dinner I would have had (Greek, one of my favourites!) but I was very well looked after anyway by Jim and his wife, Rose. Had a good look at Jim’s boat — beautiful. He put up the mast to show me the system he has worked out for raising and stowing everything, very smooth and well thought out. I stole a few ideas for later
consideration, but I’ll never touch the quality of Jim’s work.

We called at Gary Foxall’s but missed him. Had a look at his boat though, looking good and could be ready for next September, with luck — maybe a fleet of Chebacco’s in Port Townsend yet!

Got a good start Monday morning, left the dock about 3 minutes before 8:00, with the sails already hoisted. Caught the wind as I passed between the breakwaters, killed the engine right then and didn’t use it again for the whole trip home! Felt like I’d found the grail! Had a fairly steady wind 3/4 of the way, before it started to fade. After 4 hours I was within maybe 2 miles of the dock, but it took another hour to cover those 2 miles. Got a bit of breeze that took me nicely through the ferry channel, then it went back to a whisper that let me sail right up to the dock and just step off with the mooring line.

So I had a good time. My dad couldn’t make this trip, as he had an old friend visiting, and the pair of them are gallivanting off in Prince Rupert. I had a few difficulties single handing, but have some better ideas now on how to manage. Upside was that I had his Cruiser suit, and stayed warm and comfortable.


P.S. Jim and Rose are great hosts, but take care when he offers you a hot
toddy — a generous man….

That’s all for this issue

. . . but if you have any news, questions or stories, please drop me a line:

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

Broughty Ferry,

Dundee DD5 1LB,


Chebacco News 30

Chebacco News 30 – June 2000


Number One . . .


The first Chebacco

Peter Vanderwaart writes:

This is Chebacco number one being introduced to the world by Brad Story at the Small Boat Show in Newport, Rhode Island. This is the original cold-molded boat. Visible in the picture are several features that have been changed in the later, more-refined designs: outboard rudder, bolt on outboard motor bracket, rope traveler across the cockpit. The workmanship on this boat was absolutely first class and museum quality. The hull was molded and the frames fitted afterward, and the fits were perfection. As was the varnish. As was the paint. I can not say who is in the boat in the picture, but went I got on the boat, the persons aboard were Brad Story and his wife, and Peter Duff. I’m still sorry that I did not climb right into the cabin to see what it was like when I had the chance.

Peter Vanderwaart


And the latest . . .


The stocks are set up . . .

From Paul DiPasquale

Hi Bill,

Well, I’ve taken the first steps toward construction of a new Chebacco.
The plans are in hand and the shed (see attached photos) is built.

I took two weeks to build the shed, which is approximately 30’x12′. It
will serve as a boat building shed when needed and a garage
extension/carport when not otherwise occupied. The backbone was part of
the construction project also…built with pressure treated 4×4’s, 12ft.
in length and “scarfed” together with steel construction brackets.
I might add, for anyone thinking of such a project, the cost of shed and
backbone was under $500.00 U.S.

I started laying out bulkheads and frames this week and hope to have
bottom and sides done in a few days. I am planning to use AC plywood and
Epoxy Resin throughout the boat. One thing worries me a bit and that is
the ambient temperature in this area. We are near Myrtle Beach, South
Carolina and in summer the temps, even at night are close to or above
70%F. I guess we will see what happens when I start mixing batches of
resin and hardener.

I have to admit my anxiety level is kind of high, but I keep asking
myself “what is the worst thing that can happen” (other than waste a
bunch of time and money)? This is balanced by pictures (in my head) of
me and my new Chebacco sailing happily around the beautiful islands and
clear blue water of the Florida Keys.

If there is a Chebacco owner anywhere in the southeast U.S who is
willing to let me have a look at his/her boat please let me know. My
time is my own and I am always ready to travel.

Anyway, enough rambling for today! I’ll keep you posted as things move
along and hopefully will be able to share some construction photos too.

Best regards,

Paul DiPasquale
Conway, South Carolina, U.S.A



Chebacco Motorsailer for sale

Bob Cushing writes:

Hi Bill,

Just a note to let you know my Chebacco Motorsailer is for sale  -I
want to keep building so I have to keep selling. We sold our Microtrawler to
a local jewelry store owner and he loves it. If you know of anyone who might
be interested please send them to us and we will be as flexible as possible
on pricing. It is essentially a new boat -very little use and professional
build quality w/new honda 9.9 w/remote controls and new galv trailer ,

Bob Cushing     315-687-6776

There’s a write-up on Bob’s superb motorsailer in Chebacco News #17 and #24. That should make your mouth water.

Aussie sleeping arrangements

Tim Fatchen (AS29 owner) writes

In discussions about sleeping arrangements, I haven’t seen the following
mentioned, yet it makes the smartest approach to sleeping accommodation
in an overnighter or yea, even within the floating luxury of an AS29. It

—the traditional Oz swag (as carried by suicidal kleptomaniac musical
swagmen) or its more recent incarnation. For those unfamiliar, the
traditional form is a large oblong of proofed heavy canvas (truck
tarpaulin standard) cunningly folded about blankets, pillows, thin
mattresses etc, suitable for rolling out on ground of any condition.
The more modern variants come with a pre-sewn semi-bag shape, zippers,
flyscreens, God-wot things.

Lurking within my own swag, which doubles as work bedding when in the
arid interior, are a continental quilt (doona), sheets, a backing
blanket, 4 inches of foam as mattress, a space blanket, two pillows. All
are weatherproofed by the canvas, and easily carted about, hurled into
sleeping cabins etc.  Looks neat, is very warm, won’t get wet with the
occasional watchkeeper  taking off wet oilskins in the galley, or for a
Chebacco, the canvas will shed the occasional splash.  Much more elegant
and effective than soggy sleeping bags and the hopeful wet blanket. Buy
one if buyable (NZ, Oz). Make one if not.

Tim Fatchen

Sounds interesting, and very practical! Now, if I could just get some of the junk moved out of Sylvester’s cuddy . . .

A Cautionary Tale

I went mad on Monday, and took out Sylvester in a blow of wind. A scary

When I rowed out it was an F4 and I decided, prudently, to put in two reefs.
Boy! Am I glad I did? The wind kept on rising, and even with the two reefs
in, she was soon on her ear, with the lee gun’l under, water lapping over
the coaming, and quite hard to steer – probably because the rudder was
mostly out of the water! She was very sensitive to the way the mizzen was
set – probably because the mizzen is getting nearly as big as the main, when
two reefs are in. Steering had as much to do with working the sails as the
rudder. I’ve heard Light Schooner folks saying this, too.

The nice bit was that she could be balanced to go to windward without any
weather helm, though a little weather helm is nice to have in these

I started getting seasick (getting up to F6 by now) and started the OB,
dropped the main, and motored back to the mooring. I approached the mooring
from downwind, but whenever I slowed down on my approach, the head fell off
and I had to start another circuit. BTW – one feature of the Chebacco I
don’t like is how far away the OB is from the cockpit; with boom,
boom-crutch, mizzen and what not in your way when you want to get at it to
throttle back, switch off, steer or whatever.

At the third attempt, I approached the mooring under full power, grabbed it
on the way past and hooked on. I was wrestling my way back to the OB to
turn it off when the prop snagged the mooring strop! I had to resort to a lot
of foul language to get it untangled.

I was thoroughly seasick by the time I had her all squared away, and rowed

It’s not an experience I’d care to repeat, at least not single handed, but
it is comforting to know that the boat behaved herself in these conditions –
even making decent headway to windward!

BTW – the wind strength increased further that night. Gusts of 80mph were
recorded on the Tay bridge!

Bill Samson

And finally

I did have another couple of contributions, but haven’t been able to clarify the images that came with them. Amybe next time . . .

Bill Samson can be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

Snail mail to Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 1LB, Scotland.

Chebacco News 29

Chebacco News 29 – January 2000


“Masts and sails not included”


Jamie Orr’s ‘Wayward Lass’ afloat for the first time

Jamie Orr (Victoria, BC) writes:

Big news day! Boxing Day, 1999, finally saw Wayward Lass launched, albeit as a motorboat. There’s a bit of trim to be added and/or finished yet, but I wanted to get into the water before the new year. For convenience, and to avoid having to flush the engine after, I thought we’d go in at Elk Lake, just outside Victoria. We had quite a bunch of spectators, with both my family and Maureen’s on hand for Christmas. We backed the boat down to the water’s edge, and my daughter Lindsay christened her, smacking the bow with a (plastic) bottle of Sprite, then spraying it thoroughly with the contents. After that, though, complications set in — the boat couldn’t be pushed off the trailer as the lakeshore shelves very gradually and I couldn’t back far enough in. After a quick discussion, we went to Plan B, and drove another few miles north to Sidney where the boat launch can handle much bigger boats than Chebacco. This time all went smoothly, and Wayward Lass floated off easily. The motor started on the first pull, and after a short warm up, six of us went out for the maiden voyage. She goes like a dream. The engine is a 5 h.p. Honda, and I think we must have reached hull speed at half throttle – at full throttle the stern wave just got a lot bigger, made me feel like a BC Ferry. At idle, the motor gradually turns itself to one side, but at anything higher, it stays centred and I can steer with the tiller. We confirmed that the hole for the centreboard pin is indeed at or below the waterline, and had to cut a quick plug to hold the inflow to an acceptable amount. We also found that the ocean squirts up through an empty centreboard case quite easily, at any decent speed. However, both of these were more or less expected, and didn’t spoil the fun. We didn’t go far as the crew found it pretty cold and we were by now behind schedule for the celebration lunch. The recovery was as easy as the (2nd) launch. The trailer was made locally by a welding shop, and they did a great job. I’ve only adjusted the side bunk heights very slightly, and I have make one more small adjustment to raise the roller where the keel starts to rise to the bow. Boat and trailer follow the van so well that I’ve no worries about going anywhere, now. (I’d only ever used a boat trailer once before, about 30 years ago.) She’s back under her shelter now, waiting for the finish work I mentioned, and her sailing gear. I’ll be going as hard as I can on those now, except for the good weather days when we go for a power cruise! Chebacco’s rule!

Jamie also has advice on raising the Chebacco to get the trailer under it:


‘Wayward Lass’ in webbing slings

Jamie writes:

We put the boat on its trailer last Sunday, December 19. My dad (85 years old) and I (an aging accountant) managed the job ourselves, much to my surprise, without jacks or other lifting gear. I’ll describe in case it might help someone else with the same job. The boat was supported by three crosswise 4 x 4’s, resting across two lengthwise 6 x 6’s, with the bow and stern firmed up by separate supports. We started by knocking away the bow and stern supports, then I was able to lift up the ends, while Dad repositioned two of the 4 x 4’s about 3 feet apart, either side of what we guessed was the balance point. (Which is, I think, about a foot behind the midships bulkhead.) Then, as I lifted up each end (now quite light) in turn, Dad built up a criss-cross tower under the boat until it was almost 2 feet off the ground. The wide keel was enough to keep her balanced, although we had a strap under the bow end for insurance. After all, if she tipped, I’d have lost the boat, and either my canoe (stored on one side), or my dad (crawling around on the other)! More about the strap in a second. Once we had the boat up high enough, we still couldn’t roll the trailer under her because of the supporting tower of 2 x 4’s and 4 x 4’s. So we built up a pile of blocks, bits of wood and wedges under the tail of the skeg, and supported the bow with the strap, which was hung from a gigantic saw horse sort of affair across the foredeck, about a foot and a half or two feet above it. This saw horse is a 2 x 12 plank with 2 Black and Decker metal brackets, designed to accept 2 x 4 legs, and easily adjusted for height, length, width of plank etc. Very useful brackets, but I’ve no idea what they’re called or if they’re still being sold. The strap itself was seat belt webbing, wrapped 3 times around the plank and tied with a couple of half hitches. We pried the bow up an extra inch with a lever to try to allow for the stretch of the webbing, when we tightened it for the last time. We were then supported front and back, so could take the tower out, and remove the remains of the cradle. The trailer now ran in under the keel quite nicely. Once we had it positioned, I untied one end of the strap, and let the bow down. I had to take off one wrap, the remaining two provided enough friction to control the bow on the way down. Then we lowered the tongue of the trailer until the support under the skeg could be removed. The boat was then completely on the trailer.

Comfortable sleeping arrangements

Bob Branch writes:


Hey, Merry Christmas from Michigan! I just read the comment in vol 28 about one owner buying an airmatress and pump. THERE IS A BETTER WAY!!! And it eliminates the pump (a special peeve of mine in semiwilderness camping). The solution is the self inflating air mattres. “Camprest” is the primary manufacturer and they are available in a variety of lengths and widths from backpacking and camping goods stores. And they are indeed self inflating. The “deluxe” versions are about 2 inches thick and lest anyone think that will not do the job, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t matter if you are sleeping on rocks or limbs, you will not feel the ground. They roll up into a roll that stores very easily. When they are inflated I adjust mine by adding a puff or two of air just so when I am rolled on my side my hip bones do not bottom out to ground. They have a layer of open cell foam in them as well as the air and besides being comfortable absolutely provide total temperature isolation from what is under you. In winter camping almost no heat loss occurs into the ground! We use them on the boat as sunpads. The 25 inch wide version is wonderful if you have the room for it because when you roll over you do not roll off. Owners should check the width of their floor space. A back saving addition is an overcover that forms the “Crazy Creek Chair”. This is a cover over the pad slides into with a few straps and a few battens that allow the pad to become the most comfortable rocking chair ever created. It can be adjusted to firmness, angle, and I don’t know how to explain how many more ways but it provides you with absolutely as much back support as your reclining rocker at home. It is wonderful after a day of no back rest on a wilderness canoe trip to lean back into one of these things and rock the evening away. On my canoe trips I have to be sure to have the tent up and camp totally made before sit into mine cause often I’ll doze off before dinner even gets made. These things will absolutely allow a wonderful night’s sleep on a rock hard surface…. and ply and epoxy sleeps that hard. Ain’t we all been there, done that, bought the tee shirt?

Bob Branch

Reassurance from Phil Bolger & Friends regarding Chebacco anxieties

Dick Burnham writes:

I wrote to Phil Bolger on some of my lingering concerns about the Chebacco and he swiftly put them to bed. I just received his letter today and rush to let you know about it. You must, though, if you’re inclined to publish some of the comments below, gain Bolger’s permission before doing so [Done that – No objections from Phil.]. For me they are comforting and offer me guidance on those things that have perplexed me some. For other, I have no way of knowing.

Maybe this is old hat for you guys. On my concern about flotation in the event of a capsize: “We’re not aware that any Chebacco has capsized. It would take a combination of very rash handling and bad luck to do it. The boat is unsinkable as designed. Any added buoyancy will float her higher if flooded.” (If you recall, Bill, I was wondering about sealed compartments and/or auto innertubes half blown up fore and aft….)

On my interest in possibly providing cross-planks to span the cockpit from seat to seat thus creating a nice sleeping platform outside: “Flush panel over the foot well is reasonable but its stowage needs study.” (My thought was to have 6 planks some 3′ long and a bit over 1′ wide so that the sum would cover from cuddy hatch aft to tiller. 3 would store under an openable seat on each side where the centerboard well is located — keeping weight low and in the center when sailing.)

On sailmaking and shaping of the sails: “We hear that the Sailrite Kits for homesewn sails are very satisfactory. Urge any sailmaker to build a deep draft into the mainsail. Too-flat sails are too common and degrade performance of gaff-rigged boats especially.” (Sailrite is “” on the internet and when I visited them some time back their graphics indicate cut, canvas weight, and price for mains’l, mizzen and an optional jib along with fixings such as thread that will be needed.)

He ends with a short note indicating that consultation on plans purchased from others (mine come from HH Payson) is “very limited.” I appreciate that as the price was most affordable. Yet it was a very nice consultation, indeed. [In his letter to me, Phil adds “Policy on consultation is to do the best we can to keep correspondence from biting too deeply into design time; that is the answers may be a bit abrupt at times.”]

Oh, found and instantly bought an 8′ long Papua New Guinean paddle. Wonderfully carved blade, and the whole length of the paddle from one piece of wood. The length will suffer a slice through it on a lengthy diagonal when we pack up to go home, but I’m thinking it will make a nice poling paddle when rejoined with epoxy, and with a boat or gaff hook on the upper end it might be a pretty useful memento.

Best, Dick Burnham


‘Itchy and Scratchy’ goes from strength to strength



‘Itchy and Scratchy’ flying along on a close reach

Fraser Howell, of Nova Scotia, continues to enjoy sailing his strip-built Chebacco and has had considerable success with a large jib attched to a longish bowsprit. He tells me that he’s currently making a replacement hollow mainmast, using the ‘birdsmouth’ type of construction that was written up in WoodenBoat magazine #149, 1999.

Old-style Chebacco Boats

Craig O’Donnell draws our attention to a picture of historical Chebacco boats at

Craig’s own pages are, incidentally a fantastic resource for all things boaty –

And finally

Bill Samson can be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

Snail mail to Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 1LB, Scotland.

Chebacco News 28

cropped-image1.gifChebacco News 28 – October 1999

Kelani Rose is Launched!


Jim Slakov’s KELANI ROSE struts her stuff.

Jim Slakov, of Sechelt BC reports:

Well we launched the Kelani Rose (daughters Kelly and Annie and wife Rose) near the end of May, and have sailed about a dozen times since then. The weather in June was abysmal and not what we call summery at all, but July and August so far have been great! As I’m just learning to sail, we pick our days, and miss the windiest ones, perhaps saving them for later. One day the wind blew about 15 knots and that was very exiting, the boat took it well and didn’t show any signs of stress. I didn’t know about lifting the centre board when running with the wind…of course we’re commiting some of the classic errors for beginners . .. like getting into irons after a failed coming about, and ending up sailing backwards for a spell ( I know now to sheet the mizzen to correct that)… the transom does drag a bit sometimes, there is a 6 horse, 60 lb. outboard on the bracket, I think I’ l l throw a little more weight up front and see what happens, it’s not serious in any case and doesn’t seem to affect the performance… the Kelani Rose will self steer when the conditions are right, and some very experienced sailors have been aboard and complimented her on her handling ability. All in all I can’t think of anything I would change were I to build another, except to put a better quality line on the centre board ( I used a cheap 2nd hand prawn line and saved maybe 50 cents), so that will have to be removed in the fall.

There is a wooden boat show in Vancouver at the end of August, in which Kelani Rose will strut her stuff and hopefully do the name Chebacco proud! Am going to get some pictures taken under sail , soon I hope, and send them off to you… signing off for now, Jim Slakov… my email address is

As it happens, Jim did do us proud and won first prize in the ‘Best New Construction’ category! Kelani Rose also got an excellent writeup in the ‘Coast Independent’ newspaper. Readers of Chebacco News will be interested to know that Jim made extensive use of cherry wood in her construction, and very beautiful it looks, too. The masts are of yellow cedar and the other spars of Douglas fir. He reports that the mast is up and the boat ready to go within 15 minutes of arriving at the slip.


Itchy and Scratchy goes from strength to strength:


Itchy and Scratchy . . .

Fraser Howell continues to experiment with the sails on his strip-built Chebacco Itchy and Scratchy:

Hi Bill

It is too windy to go out today. I’ll catch up on correspondence. Last time I wrote about the set of my mainsail, leech possibly too tight, too much depth for anything but light breezes. I tried a couple of things. I replaced the mast hoops with lashings that hold the luff closer to the mast, except at the tack. This pulled material out of the “pocket” and reduced the depth of the sail quite effectively. I also restrained the boom as if with a down haul to put more tension than the weight of the boom into the luff. That tension is set by the main hoist which has a 2:1 purchase.

These measures have flattened the sail, and reduced weather helm. I think it is faster, but I haven’t sailed in company, so cannot confirm it. I increasingly enjoy experimenting with the sail shape in different wind strengths and tacks. Varying tension on the foot, luff, the angle of the gaff, size and sheeting of the headsail. By the numbers Chebaccos should be fast, but I have not found that is always easy to achieve. Some days it is no fun at all, and my boat seems reluctant to do anything easily. Other times it is a joy to sail, balanced and fast.




Jerome McIlvanie makes progress:


Jerome’s Chebacco . . .

Jerome McIlvanie of Yakima WA reports:

. . .I put an extra 1/4″ ply on the bottom, glassed, sanded and painted for six months. Turned it over, fitted out the inside, moved the cabin aft six inches, put an extra bulkhead clear across between aft cockpit and seat bulkhead. I enclosed it and built in an insulated ice box as shown in WoodenBoat magazine. It doubles as a seat also. I raised the sides of the cabin 2″ and put on 1″ or so more crown in the top. I used 2 layers of 1/4″ ply glued and screwed to 4 laminated bows out of long, thin 1 3/4″ square. I cut eh hole out for the hatch and used it for the sliding hatch. I glassed the top. For the centreboard and used 1 1/4″ thick black polyethylene. It’s tough but machines nicely and is a little heavier than the leaded ply CB.

Hopefully next year it will be in the water.


Another Epic Cruise in Lark


LARK heads north to Cape Cod . . .

Tim Smith of New York City reports:

I suppose a literal-minded person would say that our Chebacco cruising season stopped for the winter, in the sense that the boat was hauled and wrapped, and the children had a school year, and there was Christmas, and snow. But all that was really an interlude between voyages, one that gave us barely enough time to work on our wish list. Item one on the list was good bedding, so we bought two Coleman air mattresses and a battery-operated pump. Next we located a pre-fab galley box, with compartments to hold pots and pans and drawers for cutlery. I had thought for a while that a rudimentary electrical system would be nice, and lo and behold, there in the West Marine catalog was a 12-volt battery, sealed in a plastic case, with two ports for cigarette-lighter-style connectors. Turns out that it fits in the well beside the mizzen step; with an extension cord run into the cockpit, it can power the GPS, lights, VHF, what have you.

Next we ordered a new mizzen. The old one had tried to commit suicide at the mooring in a gale, when the clew, which had a bronze fitment on it, came loose and beat itself to pieces.

Then we decided we needed a tender, and so built an Auray Punt during the cold months. I picked the design because it looked good for t owing and could carry four, and promised to be easy to build. It went together with no surprises, though I made the botttom out of 3/8 inch ply instead of the 1/4-inch specified. Of course the punt wasn’ t quite finished by the time the provisioning season was over.

Our Chebacco, called Lark,went back in the water toward the end of June. It’ s an easy job for one person, now that the mast-stepping slot is installed and the trailer has extra bunks. I rigged a brailing line through the beehole in the mizzen mast to help keep the new sail secure: furled it by grabbing the clew and rolling it up into a sausage against the mast, then belayed it, and lashed the brailing line in a descending spiral around the whole works. It seemed tight, though the very top of the sail was too stiff to lie down properly. Left Lark on the mooring feeling pleased.

That night a storm blew in, and it stayed for the morning. I drove down to the dyke with my son just to have a look. The mizzen had stayed furled all right, but Mother of God – the wind had lifted the whole works, mast and sail, up out of the step and halfway out of the partner, and the rig was swinging around drunkenly, wedges scattered like broken teeth. We got the mess under control, my boy learning some brand new words along the way. Evidently the small stiff spot at the head of the sail had caught enough of the gale to pull everything loose. There is one other yawl in our local waters that has a sprit-rigged mizzen, and more than once I’ ve seen the sail flapping forlornly at the mooring after a big blow. Does this mean simply that there is room in one small town for two morons? Or is there a lost art of spritsail furling that other readers may know about? We addressed the problem by winding the mizzen around an d around the mast and cleating a line to the clew, which seemed to do the trick. I’ d love to hear what others have done.

Howling wind was a theme of the early part of the summer, and we had lots of practice sailing the boat single and double-reefed – a boon , actually, because we learned a lot about her limits. One fine blustery afternoon I had three experienced dinghy racers aboard and one very game novice, and we decided to leave one reef in when we should have had two. We sailed out into Nantucket Soun d into the teeth of a 20-knot southwest wind kicking up 4-to-6 foot waves. The boat was stable and fast; the sail was exhilarating, wet, and not too alarming. Crawling forward to secure the anchor on its sprit, I got a good look upward along the mast, and couldn’ t quite believe the bend it was taking. Under those conditions the rudder seemed small, but we were pushing it. One nice thing about this kind of sailing in the Chebacco, as opposed to a conventional cat: I find this boat much easier to jibe in a big wind. We used to dread the maneuver in a Marshall 22, but now don’ t give it a second thought, and that ‘ s a handy thing in a crowded harbor.

The strong southwest wind prevailed, but we were bent on cruising and constrained by a schedule, so one Frid ay morning in July we loaded our new gear aboard and took off, intending to head for Nantucket Island, about 25 miles to the south. We decided to tow a dinghy. Big mistake. The Auray Punt wasn’ t yet launched, so the dinghy we took along was an old family warhorse, a relatively heavy design by F. Spaulding Dunbar with little rocker and a lot of wetted surface. It towed nicely as we left the harbor, then slowed our progress perceptibly as we nosed out into the sound. Then we stopped thinking about it for a while because a quite amazing wind blew up and stayed up, making a wicked short chop against the falling tide. We weren’ t traveling anywhere far in those conditions, so we turned tail and ducked into the lee of some local barrier islands for a daysail.

Near sunset we anchored by the beach, spotted couple of guys digging clams, bought some, cooked them up with garlic and white wine, and ate them as the sun went down. The new air mattresses were a great success. With the cooler on one side of the centerboard trunk and the galley box on the other they were amply supported, and we slept snugly under the boom tent, kids in the cuddy. The next morning it was still blowing like hell. With a double reef in, we headed back out into the sound to see what progress we could make.

Towing the dinghy it was tough going to windward, wet and slow. I don’t recall what the currrent was doing, but the GPS said we were making little more than 2 or 3 m.p.h., and that was up hill and down dale. When we gave up at last and reached back for the harbor, our speed didn’ t improve much: I’ d guess that the tow cut our speed in half on all points of sail. “Maybe next time we should leave the dinghy behind and take advantage of the boat’ s sailing ability,” my wife suggested. I thought of some suggestions in return, but stifled them.

Three weeks later we had another stretch of vacation and another shot at a Nantucket trip. We got provisions together and waited for fair weather, which wasn’ t long coming. On a Friday morning with a 10-15 knot breeze we tucked in a reef and headed south – a glorious sail with the wind on the port quarter, the boat happy as a mallard. With the dinghy left at home on the beach, we made the trip in about five hours. The children played blackjack in the cuddy, declining to tell us how they had learned the game.

Nantucket is an island choking on its own wealth, a Yankee playland for the gilded age. Which means, among other things, that its harbor is jammed full of fabulous boats. As we were going into the harbormouth, Endeavor, the J-boat, was coming out. And once we were well inside it was like a crowded parking lot. We picked our way easily through the fleet, sailed up to a beach at the foot of Main Street, found room enough to swing among the Boston Whalers in a couple feet of water, and waded ashore. We spent the night with friends who have a house there.

Morning came, and the weather report was discouraging. The day itself promised fair weather with a Northeast breeze, but the next couple of days were to be gray and wet. Rather than turn the children off to cruising, we decided to head for home. We wandered down to the beach – steps ahead of Bill and Hillary Clinton, in town for a fund-raiser – and found Lark aground. She wasn’ t hard aground, just stuck in the sand, bow afloat, a couple of extra inches of waterline showing at the stern. But the tide was falling, and would be for another four hours. My wife, my son and I stood backwards against the transom and heaved. Nothing. We got our hands under her, lifted, and heaved some more. She moved. Four more good grunts and she was afloat.

It was a long close reach home, a sail of about six hours in a 10-12 knot breeze and bright sunshine. The kids tried their hands at sailing. The boat hummed along; the trip was sublime. For the record, we did, finally, get the Auray Punt painted and launched. She’ s the fourth Bolger in our fleet: besides Lark there’ s a long Diablo and an Elegant Punt. The Auray Punt is a really nice rowboat, swift and steady. I’ d say she’ s a little bit less stylish in three dimensions than in two, although when she’ s coming at you head-on, showing her flare, she’ s got real panache. Towed behind the Diablo, she tracked nicely. She’ s light, so maybe next year we’ ll try towing her somewhere with the Chebacco. Or maybe not. Lark has a big heart, but she’ s no tugboat. Which means, I suppose, that my wife was right. Happily, she doesn’ t know how to find this URL, so she’ ll never know.


Tim Smith’s stretched Diablo and Auray Punt . . .


Jamie Orr and Bill Samson talk boats

Jamie Orr of Victoria BC was visiting Scotland in August and dropped by to see Bill Samson and to go for a sail in Sylvester. The ‘sail’ was more of a ‘motor’ due to lack of wind, but we O.D.’ed on boat talk and had a great time. Jamie’s sheet ply Chebacco is nearing completion and should be in the water next year. Jamie left these photos of his mast slot, which has a neat sliding cover:


Cover closed . . .


and open.


New email address and URL for Chebacco News:

Bill Samson can now be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

Snail mail to Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 1LB, Scotland.

Chebacco News 27

cropped-image1.gifChebacco News

Number 27, August 1999


Sylvester anchored in Balmerino bay, Scotland, May 1999

It’s some time since the last Chebacco News hit your postbox/computer. There’s not been a great deal of news from you, so there isn’t much to report. Remember, this is yournewsletter – so keep telling me about progress, voyages, ideas . . .

Sail Trim and Crew Balance on a Chebacco-20

Judging by the email correspondence I get about the Chebacco, there seems to be a nagging worry about sail trim and crew balance. This is entirely understandable, since most of us have cut out teeth on conventional Marconi-rigged sloops. There’s a wealth of knowledge out there about how to get the best out of a Marconi rig, but not a lot on cat yawls. I hope this will help to redress the balance to some extent.

It has been mentioned in Chebacco News before that the mizzen should be cut dead flat – no draft at all. Likewise, when it is set, the snotter should be hardened in to keep the sail flat. Any appreciable draft there will result in a tendency to imbalance. The mainsail, on the other hand, should have good draft, with maximum depth no more than 40% of the chord aft of the luff. You need this to give you the drive to get the best out of the boat.

One other detail about sailmaking – the reefing points should be set more or less in a straight line, to help give a flatter sail when reefed. A baggy reefed sail is unhelpful, to say the least!

Given this as a starting point, then, how do we get the best out of the boat?

Like all catboats, the Chebacco has a beamy hull – not as extreme as some, but still quite wide. This means that as she heels, the underwater part becomes increasingly asymmetrical, with a tendency to round up into the wind. I find that in light winds, I can lash the tiller and steer Sylvester simply by moving my weight around to give more or less heel – so it’s pretty sensitive! The effect of extreme heel is powerful weather helm, which gets to be too much to handle (for me anyway) when the lee gun’l is awash (probably around 20 degrees of heel). It is sometimes argued that a little weather helm is a good thing because the rudder tends to ‘lift’ the boat to windward. On the other hand, it also creates drag and slows the boat down. Certainly large amounts of weather helm are bad.

The trick, of course, is to move your weight, and that of your crew around to keep her sailing almost upright, so the underwater part of the hull is symmetrical. If the wind is still heeling the boat too much, you can help a little by raising the centreboard to about the half-way point, allowing the boat to make a little more leeway, but ultimately a reef (or two) must go in. So if you are sailing single handed, you need to reef sooner than if you have a hefty crew along. I find that a reef is necessary with force-4 winds, single handed, and force-5 with a couple of crew aboard.

I’ve never found the Chebacco to be very sensitive to fore-and-aft trim, though it’s not a good idea to weigh down the aft end so much that the transom drags. If the crew are distributed along the side benches, then you shouldn’t have to worry about it.

Sail trim is pretty conventional – I simply sheet in the sails until the luff is just full. Hardening them in too much is counterproductive and the Chebacco certainly doesn’t respond well to ‘pinching’. She’ll point within 45 degrees of the true wind direction, though taking leeway into account she’s really sailing about 50 or 55 degrees off the wind. Like all boats, the bigger the chop, the less well she does to windward – though she’s a lot better in this respect than most sharpies, for example.

The centreboard also needs a bit of thought. With no CB you make too much leeway – getting blown sideways across the surface of the water. On the other hand, the CB all the way down will resist leeway but add drag. As I’ve mentioned above, it’s sometimes not a bad idea to raise the centreboard a little to allow more leeway to absorb gusts. I find that the Chebacco will sail tolerably well on all points of sail with the board about half way down. For peak performance, though, it should be raised for running before the wind, and all the way down when getting to windward in a moderate wind.

It’s a wonderful experience to have everything set just right. You have a powerful feeling that the boat has settled into a ‘groove’ – She’s smoking along, and only minimal adjustments to the tiller and mainsheet are needed to keep her like that. That’s the kind of sailing that makes it all worthwhile.

Motorsailing a Chebacco

There are times when the weather doesn’t cooperate with your sailing plans – especially when there are very light winds and progress is slow. At such times I frequently ‘motorsail’ Sylvester. I keep the sails up and sheeted well in, start the outboard and set the throttle to a little faster than a tick-over. The hull is so easily driven, especially in flat conditions, that there’s little point in running the outboard flat-out – the tiny amount of extra speed just isn’t worth the extra noise and fuel consumption involved.

If you’ve never done this, it’s a revelation. The small amount of true wind, combined with the apparent wind generated by forward motion fills the sails and provides more drive than the outboard alone would generate; resulting in pointing higher and good progress to windward.

Reprints of classic boating books

David Goodchild is doing some great, excellent value reprints of classic, out-of-print boat books. Have a look at for further details at

News from Papua New Guinea

Dick Burnham, currently in Papua New Guinea, sent me his ideas on stopping water from entering the mast hole:

I’ve been whittlin’ away this late afternoon — making the little masts for
the model. This gets me thinking and I’ve also been going over the
CNewletters and studying the details of the mast penetration of the roof.
I’ve noticed that just about all who report on it say they are conditioned
to sponging up the leaks from this joint. I guess a rubberized boot
doesn’t work, especially if one is demounting and resetting with
regularity? Here is what might be a small improvement, I really don’t
know. I’d like your thoughts.

Build out a square collar of wood with epoxy and screws — possibly 2″ —
around the mast so that it covers a raised strip of wood that surrounds the
opening in the roof/removeable panel. This is a curb that will keep water
from the roof out of the hole. I’d think it would be 2″ high and the width
of the 4 individual curb pieces would be 3/4″ or so. (I’ve not looked yet
at the detailing of the curb at the roof/removeable panel joint, so be
cautious….) Water coming down the mast will be diverted outward by the
collar (which would have a slight bevel to the outside) and will drop to
the roof, as there would be a saw cut underneath the collar to stop water
from running back to the mast on the underside.

I looked at the possible problem of the collar being in the way during mast
raising — using a half-completed mast on a model without a cabin structure
— just the molds/bulkheads in place — and it seems that the mast heel
will rest and glide down the inner stem without a collar gouging into the
cuddy roof. Ideally the collar would have a closed-cell foam insulation
strip underneath which compresses against the curbs when the the mast is
set. Or there could be multiple grooves to inhibit water passing through.
This might inhibit driven water.

The collar doesn’t need to be square, but the curb does. The collar could
be circular if that pleases the eye.

The idea comes from the Parker book which I enjoy for its practical
construction suggestions.



Sorry for all the words. As Mark Twain (was it?) once said, I’d have
written a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.


And finally . . .

That’s all for this (slim) issue. PLEASE keep in touch and let me have news, views, hints, tips, stories, pictures, . . . There are a lot of people out there who deluge me with complaints when Chebacco News is late. I’d rather have stories, please.

Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, DD5 1LB, Scotland