June, 1995 Another couple of months have come and gone and progress continues on the Chebacco-building front around the World. Here, in the Northern hemisphere, temperatures are getting into the epoxy setting range. Scotland has been particularly lucky, with temperatures getting into the 80s during the first week in May (though they did fall back into the high 40s later in the month).
Can you help?
I had a letter from Mark Raymer of South Bend, Indiana, who has been considering building a Chebacco-25. He wants to be sure that a Chebacco will point high and tack through no more than 90 degrees, as windward performance is important to him. Unfortunately, having had no first hand experience of sailing a Chebacco, I was unable to help him. If anyone has had such experience, or knows anyone who has, it would be great to hear from them. As I explained to Mark, most of us are amateurs who are building, or contemplating building a Chebacco. As far as I am aware, none of us amateurs has actually completed one yet, and, so far, I’ve been unable to establish contact with Chebacco owners with a lot of sailing experience under their belts.
Bill Parkes from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, who is just plucking up the courage to start on his own lapstrake Chebacco hull, tells me he got together with Gil Fitzhugh so he could see the techniques used, at first hand. Gil tells me that within a couple of years he has gone from the stage of ‘floundering’ to that of having his experience sought out. Plank shapes Once again, thanks to those of you who have made financial donations to help this newsletter to continue and also to those who have written or eMailed me with Chebacco-oriented chat or gossip. Anselmo Lastra was particularly interested in Gil Fitzhugh’s use of a mylar spiling ‘batten’ to determine the shapes of planks. He wonders if it would be possible to predetermine these shapes so that the fitting of individual planks could be avoided. Does anyone know if this is possible? He also suggested that the newsletter should appear on the World-Wide-Web in order to extend its readership. I’m going to try that soon! Stripper Chebacco gets underway You’ll recall that Fraser Howell, of Nova Scotia, was planning to build a round bilged Chebacco-20 using 1/2″ pine strip planking overlaid with 1/8″ ash. Fraser emailed me the other day: : I’m finally underway. All of my ash and pine have arrived. I commenced cutting the keel pieces out of 1 1/2″ ash. They are dry-fit together in my driveway. They put a real perspective to this project. Alas I am differing from the plan already; I extended the cheek pieces 18″ aft to increase the overlap. I can’t foresee that this will cause any problem, can you? The next step is to shape the cheeks then tie all four pieces together, bedded in Sikaflex and through-bolted. . . . Lapstrake Chebacco-20 News continues to come in from readers. Once again, there’s lots of progress reported by Gil Fitzhugh, of Morristown New Jersey. As far as I can tell, Gil is the furthest advanced amateur builder of a lapstrake Chebacco. You’ll recall that Gil is using the method described by Tom Hill in his book ‘Ultralight Boatbuilding’. This involves setting up temporary moulds (UK spelling!) with battens defining the shape of the plank lands. As you can see from the photos below, this method has resulted in beautifully fair curves. We are fortunate, indeed, that Gil has agreed to make available the table of offsets he obtained from a full size lofting of the lapstrake Chebacco lines. You’ll notice that these differ hardly at all from the offsets provided by Phil Bolger, but include, in addition, offsets for the plank lands as well as a couple of diagonals (for those who understand these things!). The table is appended at the end of the Newsletter. Gil writes: . . . I also erected two diagonals. D1 goes from waterline 48″ at the certerline, to the intersection of waterline 12″ with buttock 24″. D2 goes from waterline 42″ at the centerline, to the intersection of waterline 24″ and buttock 36″. These diagonals cross the stations at sharper angles than the buttocks and waterlines, and will give an easier time drawing station molds. I’m also enclosing the offsets for where my planks cross the stations. this seems to be a great black hole. The plans never show you how to do it. . . .[ Gil then goes on to point out the following caveats:] 1. I kept to Phil’s 6 planks to a side, but I don’t think that number is inscribed in gold tablets. It could be 5 or 7 planks. . . . 2. I did not try to duplicate the plank lines in Phil’s drawing . . . [here we have some philosophy of the aesthetics of plank seams. In short, Gil’s plank line ‘sheers’ tend to get more pronounced as you move up from the keel to the sheerline, whereas Phil’s tend to get less pronounced] A builder who prefers to have his boat look like that [Phil’s drawing] should not use these offsets. 3. My sheerstrake will come out too wide. I did it that way on purpose because I intend to put rubbing strakes both at the top and at the bottom of the sheerstrake, possibly in contrasting wood. That will make the sheerstrake appear narrower, I hope by an eye-pleasing amount. . . . If someone wanted to use these offsets for a boat with no rubbing strakes, I’d suggest narrowing the sheerstrake by about one and a half inches for starters, adding 1″ to the strake below and a half inch to the one below that. 4. This is all a convoluted way of saying these offsets represent the personal thoughts of someone who has never done it before and has no assurance it will work. You’re free to follow me into the swamp, but don’t assume I’ve cleaned out all the alligators. I’ve lettered the planks A through F, where A is the garboard plank and F is the sheerstrake. The offsets locate the intersection of two planks on the station, as follows: Of course, to get from the offsets to the molds, you have to subtract plank thickness, plus ribbands if you’re using temporary ones à la Tom Hill, as I am. Gil Fitzhugh’s lapstrake Chebacco hull has been assembled dry, with screws. He will take it apart and coat the strakes with epoxy prior to final assembly. Another view of Gil’s hull. A view of Gil’s hull from the transom end. -ooOoo- Sheet ply Chebacco-20 I’ve had a mixed winter with my Chebacco project. In February we had a storm that shredded the (admittedly old) polyethylene tent that I’m building under. Tarpaulins had to be pressed into service until I could locate a supply of sufficiently wide polyethylene. I’m happy to say that all’s well again, and as I write the hull has now received: 3 coats of WEST epoxy (over 6 ounce glass) 2 coats of white Veneziani Plastolite epoxy paint 3 coats of white Veneziani Gel Gloss (a 2-pack linear polyurethane paint) I’ve experimented with roller and paintbrush and found that the epoxies go on best with a roller, and the gloss with a brush. This painting has taken far longer than I anticipated, what with sanding, filling, painting, more sanding, more filling, more painting, . . . Anyway, she’s beginning to look pretty good (from 5 or more feet away, at any rate). I’ve made the mast from reclaimed pine floor joists – two of them, 2 1/2″ thick, epoxied together. I didn’t have very many big cramps, so I filled the spaces between them with cable straps; tightened with pliers. Bill Samson’s sheet ply Chebacco hull after the February storm that shredded his tent. The deck and cuddy have now been painted, too. The mooring cleat (Jonesport style) on Bill’s boat. Detail of the hatch of Bill’s Boat. . . . and finally Please send me your news, thoughts, dreams, problems, . . . Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, West Ferry, Dundee, DD5 1LB, Scotland. e-mail: email@example.com Phone: +44 1382 776744 (The ‘+’ should be replaced with your code for UK) The following pages contain Gil Fitzhugh’s offsets for his lapstrake Chebacco, and the names and addresses on the Chebacco News mailing list (note that not all of these people are actually building Chebaccos). Bill Samson