Chebacco News 74 – Dennis Gamble’s photos

Hi Andrew,

I launched my Chebacco “Moonshine” for the first time last year.  Here are some pictures from last year’s sailing for the website if interested.

I sail mostly in Wisconsin, with Lake Dubay being my home lake.

-Dennis Gamble

Thanks Dennis

An Appeal For Support

By mid 2022 I will have been hosting this site for Chebacco owners for 8 Years. There have been lots of interesting posts but I rely on the community out there to send me photos and stories to include. It is a challenging world out there at the moment – but I am sure you are still thinking and working and sailing Chebacco’s, so keep the information coming. Email me at <my given name>

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29th March 2022

Chebacco News 58 – Cruise Lake Eildon

Cruising Eildon Lake in late Autumn

I am the local scout leader.  It is a role that means I can help young kids learn skills they would never learn on an iPad and can be great fun at the same time.  By one of those happy coincidences, we have 6 leaders in our troop and 4 of us are sailors.

So when it comes to having fun ourselves, without the scouts, we chose to go sailing of course.

Lake Eildon is about 2 hours away from us in central Victoria, Australia.

eildon The lake level goes up and down, and there is a bit of a drought in Victoria at the moment so the level is down to 30%.  But there is enough water to sail on, and the exposed banks are good for camping on.  Mid May is getting a bit cold up there, with overnight temperatures around freezing, so that means we won’t be disturbed by too many tourists and we have an excuse for a big campfire.  Very scout leader like.

11 cub and scout leaders turned up at Eildon Pub on the agreed Friday night.  The cook had conniptions when he realised  11 hungry sailors had just turned up and his usual 3 or 4 diners had just quadrupled in number for the evening.  We camped near the shore under a cloudless sky and woke to a frost.  A fire was soon started and a hot egg and bacon breakfast delayed our arrival at the ramp to a civilised hour.

My Chebacco 25 and Leo’s 26′ Seaway 787 were launched in a light Northerly breeze and hardly a ripple on the water.  Coats stayed on as the clouds got darker and the breeze freshened to maybe 8 or 10 knots.  But at least we picked up a little speed on the beat to our intended campsite.  Scout Leader Chewy, our self appointed camp cook, was very keen to get a fire going but personally I didn’t see the need to rush.  The lightly forested hills to the West hid all sorts of interesting houses, from holiday shacks to mountaintop mansions with windows on every side.  But the densely timber covered mountains to the East showed no sign of human habitation.  That is where we were headed.

Where there are two sail boats there is a race.  Beating in the cool breeze kept me concentrating on keeping up with the Seaway.  The Chebacco wouldn’t point as well as this 1/4 ton racer.  Initially this did concern me, the skipper. (I suspect I need to rake the mast back a bit to improve the helm balance.)  But soon my crew convinced me the reason for the trip had more to do with fun and comradeship than speed. The rum was brought out and I handed the tiller to Scout Leader Suzanna who quickly learned the basics of sail boat handling.

The Chebacco 25 is well suited to this role of cruising comradarie.  We had a 12′ cockpit with spaces for 6 adults.






After a couple of hours in light conditions it was clear we were being left behind.  The iron topsail (a 15hp Johnson) soon solved that.  The Chebacco makes 6 knots easily with half throttle, but full throttle gives you hardly any more speed, she won’t plane, at least not with that many on board.


Camping for the night


The gangplank


We found a secluded bay with flat ground to pitch our tents on and light our fire.  The gangplank was a handy idea – no wet feet.


Argentinian BBQ




A magnificent sunset


We ate well, we figure we make good examples for our scouts – we came prepared with a BBQ rack and a small chainsaw for an ample fire.

Some of us slept aboard, others preferred to set up their swags (Australian for 1 person canvas tent/beds)

After another hearty breakfast we cleaned up, including some litter we found from a previous, less conscientious camper, and sailed back to the ramp.  This day I was much happier, the Chebacco runs well and we kept up with and passed the Seaway.


That is all 11 of us in the cockpit


It wasn’t my most serious sailing trip – but serious fun, with a group of guys and girls who are serious about teaching kids about the magical experiences you can have outdoors.



Chebacco News 54


Altus Trip – Richard Spelling

So I’m pulling Schroedinger to Altus; traveling on 40 west of OKC. Around mile marker 70 I start to see big huge windmills in the distance. As I get closer there are more and more, then a whole farm of them – maybe a hundred. I start thinking, “Hey, these weren’t here the last time I was through this way.” Then I get to trying to figure when the last time I actually WAS through here was – on 40 west of OKC. Seems it was while I was in the Marines going to El Toro, driving a friends Volkswagen van, with four bald tires, in the middle of a huge winter ice storm. Back in…. 1984. Time flies when you are having fun. I think I need to get out more..So I’m pulling Schroedinger to Altus; traveling on 40 west of OKC. Around mile marker 70 I start to see big huge windmills in the distance. As I get closer there are more and more, then a whole farm of them – maybe a hundred. I start thinking, “Hey, these weren’t here the last time I was through this way.” Then I get to trying to figure when the last time I actually WAS through here was – on 40 west of OKC. Seems it was while I was in the Marines going to El Toro, driving a friends Volkswagen van, with four bald tires, in the middle of a huge winter ice storm. Back in…. 1984. Time flies when you are having fun. I think I need to get out more… <grin>


With the “mountain” in site, on a two lane road, I have a blowout. With only a couple thousand miles on these tires and with the weight of the trailer well within the weight rating. Last time I buy tires at Pep Boys. Second blowout, actually, but the first one was caused by a roto-tiller hidden in the grass, so I can’t hold that against them.


Go to jack up trailer and scissors jack won’t fit under axle. Pull forward to a more level spot and it will then fit under axle but it won’t even begin to lift up the trailer. Break out truck jack and use it on frame of trailer to take some of the weight, then use scissors jack to lift axle up enough to get wheel off. Need to weld me up one of those funny looking “stick under axle and pull forward” trailer jacks.

Go to put on my spare (which is brand new, from previous blowout) and guess what. It doesn’t fit on the hub. The center of the hub (which I replaced years ago because the bearing races were loose in the hub) is just slightly too large for the rim.

And I’m in the middle of BFE so, of course, my cell phone doesn’t work. With fortuitous foresight I had tossed a 3lb hammer and 1-1/8″ thick piece of round stock in the bed of the truck instead of putting them up properly before I left. I bent over the new wheel and pounded on the hub center in a circular motion for about 10 minutes till I “persuaded” it to be a little bigger.

Nice wind for sailing when I get there but I just came off a night shift and a long drive, so I sleep

Next day the wind is real light but we go out anyway. Decent sail.


I pack up and head back, trip is uneventful.


Chebacco Lily Catchpole – Howard Sharp


It was a beautiful day and we managed to navigate without damage to boat or egos.

Some construction photos. Turning day; easily done by two and the slight slope outside the garage.


The cockpit construction, with bridge deck. I built in two battery boxes for the not too far off day when we will all be using electric motors (at the moment she’s propelled adequately at 5kts by a 5hp Nissan). Lily has navigation lights, and one of the battery boxes is taken up by a 1/2 size 12v battery recharged by a solar panel.

I’m keeping the boat on a trailer, launching it every time I sail, and motoring away from a crowded dock. I chose to lock off the motor dead center and use a remote throttle from the cockpit rather than reach back over the motor well. Rapid last minute changes of direction are not possible, but in my view the convenience of having throttle control right under my hand (or foot) is a worthwhile trade off. I’ve also found that I need to keep the centerboard down for better directional control, especially when in reverse.


Two weeks after launch, I took the boat to the boat to the WoodenBoat show at Mystic, CT, as part of the Phil Bolger tribute. Chebaccos were well represented,as you can see. From the left, Ben Ho’s raised deck version, with a lot of useable space in an enlarged cabin, and a self-draining cockpit, “Lily Catchpole”, and David? Robichaux’s “Grey Cat”.

We got to meet PB himself – Ben Ho with PB:

Here he is asking me to conduct experiments to see what effect raising the centerboard has on weather helm:


And on Saturday “Lily C.” and I were delighted with an honorable mention in the Concourse D’elegance owner-built category:

I’ve sailed bigger yawls in the past, but the Chebacco has reminded me just how useful the mizzen can be for a single-handed sailor. Even under motor, the sail can be used to reliably steer the boat for minutes on end, while I go about clearing things up for docking, navigating, or preparing for night. “Lily Catchpole” will easily sail at 5kts, and with 15kts of wind has reached 6.5kts under one reef – pretty good for a boat of this size. We’re planning a circumnavigation of Manhattan, and hope to bring you a report.



That Trip – Nick Hughes

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Dear Richard here is an account of our first journey in Sylvester the Chebacco we bought from Richard Elkan in London in May. My girl friend Sally and I left Greenwich , London at 5:10 a lovely calm morn with the promise of force 5/6 gusting 7 later in the day.

We decided to motor with our trusty lil’ Honda BF5 as we wanted to complete the trip of about 25 miles in one day as quick as possible. We passed quickly through the Thames Barrier, the old Docks , and wharfs and kept a weather eye open. We had decided that if the weather had taken a turn for the worse by the time we reached Gravesend we would overnight there but as it happened there was a N.Easterly blowing making for a nasty chop but nothing terrible, so we decided to press on.

However once we were in the mouth of the Thames Estuary the awful combination of a N.easterly now picking up in strength on an ebb tide made for a rough passage. The area is notorious for being rough in a North Easterly but we reckoned we had just enough of a window to get through. We then followed the Isle of Grain coastline at a very healthy distance as it dries out for about a mile and we watched as surf formed on the far shore. and so we headed for to the River Medway Estuary about 4 miles away.

And so it went… the wind now reaching the promised 5/6 and gusting more at times, not the most pleasant of journeys. the next two hours were bloody rough, the waves up to 7- 8 feet high. Sylvester’s bow rose up and up then we slide down or rather pounded down before the next one rose before us. After an hour we had not come to any grief and were impressed by Sylvester’s strength and ability in such a sea and motored on. We took on only little water as we were head on to the wind .. again most impressive.

Keeping well clear of the dreaded lee shore on the Grain shallows we literally ploughed on!! then as we approached the mouth of the River Medway we saw a small yacht run aground on the Grain shore, surf was breaking over her and it was frightening to watch. No one could get near because of the lack of water/ surf etc and she sent out a Mayday. Soon enough the police rib came out followed by the Sheerness lifeboat. In the meantime she had somehow found enough water to get free… a lucky man!

We then had the pleasure of entering the Medway with the N.E wind building up huge waves astern which were actually breaking .It was hard work to keep from broaching … surf down the waves …. yaw.. get ready and off we went again!! … even some big modern motor cruisers were struggling as they ran for shelter. Finally after about half an hour we were in more sheltered waters and could relax for the next two hours until we reached home.

We finally got back to our barge at 13.30, cold wet but very very confident in Sylvester’s abilities. We live on a 1926 Dutch barge and spent 26 hours bringing her back from North Holland to England but that was nothing compared to our first journey in Sylvester.. Thanks Phil Bolger to designing such a stunning little boat and credit to Bill Sampson who built her..Hopefully we shall be able to go for a sail soon.. but thats another story yet untold.
regards Nick & Sally


Inspector Clouseau a cold moulded Chebacco – John TumaRichard,

I am sending along some pictures of my modified Chebacco, “Inspector Clouseau.” Two weeks before the launch date, I discovered the boat was covered with pink overspray. It’s a mystery where it came from, hence the reference to the Pink Panther.

My boat is a combination of cedar strip and cold molded construction to the lines of the lap-plank Chebacco 20. However, I adapted the full keel from the glass house Chebacco for this boat. By eliminating the centerboard trunk, I was able to open up both the cockpit and the cabin. The boat carries 200 pounds of scrap steel and concrete ballast.

Inspector Clouseau sails to weather remarkably well, though how is a bit of a mystery, but off the wind this boat really shines.

The pictures show me out sailing in the Oakland-Alameda Estuary, and also out on San Francisco Bay.

If anyone is interested in knowing more, they can reach me at j_tuma (at sign) comcast (period) net.

John Tuma


PS: Thanks for putting the Chebacco News together. I really enjoy

seeing what other Chebacco enthusiasts are up to.


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Chebacco News 53


Rend Lake 2007 – Richard Spelling

For this messabout I get to try out my new (well, new to me) truck.

I have been in need of a bigger truck for a long time, the Toyota Tacoma, while a nice little pickup, is way too little to tow my boat on a regular basis. And there is no way four people can fit comfortably in it.

Bought a replacement, on eBay of course. Paid 2/3 of Blue Book for it. It’s a 1999 Dodge Ram 3/4 ton with the turbo diesel. BIG truck, big engine. It tows my 3500lb boat and trailer like there is nothing connected to the back of the truck. Even up the hills that call themselves mountains in Missouri, I can fly past the semi trucks in the “slow” lane doing 70mph uphill into a head wind.

And it’s big enough to haul everybody in the cab. I like it. It suits me.

This year my wife Pat decided to rent a room in the Lodge at Gun Creek, so she wouldn’t have to do the tent thing, and so she would have a place close to take a shower.


Sometimes at a messabout you get rained out. Sometime it’s to hot, sometimes it’s rainy and cold. Sometimes the wind blows so hard you can’t get on the water. Other times it doesn’t blow at all. I have to say, out of all of messabouts I’ve been to; the weather at this one was absolutely perfect. It was so nice, in fact, that Pat canceled her second night at the Lodge and spent the night on the boat with me.Of course, when we arrive, we discover that the park service has put in a nice new bathroom with many showers.

Friday, the first day of the messabout, there was perfect wind for sailing. Got out some, but as I pointed out several times to people who said “you are missing all the good sailing wind”, I can go sailing anytime, I come here to visit with other boat builders. Which is an interesting thing, as, generally speaking, homemade boat builders are an introverted lot, and not the most sociable people around. So a messabout is, in essence, a social event for anti-social people. Not an unfair assessment of a bunch of people who make their own boats, and spend more than a good used “production” boat would cost doing so.

There were lots of boats there this year, as you can see from the pictures below. Lots of good photos this year too, I’ve already updated my slide show screen saver at work. Even without photo shop, some of the pictures below turned out really nice.

I have done my best to match up boats and builders, but if anyone sees one I have misidentified let me know and I’ll fix it.

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Several shots of the two beaches where we pulled our boats up. Max taking a picture of Larry Appelbaum’s Swamp Yankee Canoe.

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David “Polytarp Sails” Gray (PD Racer with “biplane” rig)

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Some green catboat or something anchored next a schooner.

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Mike Zenker (Campanoe)

tn_daveboat_P1010013 tn_daveboat_P1010014 tn_daveboat_P1010015 tn_daveboat_P1010024Windigo 11, an original design by Dave Seaberg. Lot’s of interesting features on this boat. On the left note the scratch built roller reefing system. Next is the dagger board, complete with dumpster scrounged steel plate for anti-floatation weight. Middle right is a nice shot of the sheeting arrangement. Far right is a shot of the boat sailing; if you click on the image you will be able to see the anti-turtle ball on the top of the mast.

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Mounting procedures. This is Tom Hamernik in his Michalak Mixer design

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Max Wawrzyniak and his interpretation of a CLC kayak. Note the serious look on his face in the far right photo.

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Jim Tucker, cat-yawl Normsboat with sprit-boom sails. Complete with painters poles for sprits

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.Damn, he has more sail up than I have on my Chebacco. This is Philip Frohne in an Uncle Johns Skiff.

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My daughter looking bored, couple shots of me, and the cook organizing the potluck.

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Paul Ellifrit’s Oughtred Acorn lapstake. This one is so well built and so pretty I would be afraid to take it sailing, for fear of marring the spotless finish!

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Several shots of Jim Michalak’s Roar II rowboat.

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The intrepid Skiff America built by Kilburn Adams.


Bishop Curran sailing canoe. PVC pipes for amas.

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Initiate passing manoeuvres.

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Rob Rohde-Szudy’s Light Schooner manoeuvring for a landing.

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Steve Lewis’ Scout Canoe. Kewl toy. I especially like the choice of floatation material for the amas. Floaties, no less.

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Steve Lansdowne’s Wee Rob sailing canoe, Larry Appelbaum’s Swamp Yankee Canoe, and Mike & Linda Walsh (Cartopper & Wee lassie stripper canoe)

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Lonely Toto on the beach. Belonging to Phillip Reed I believe.

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Sometimes the most interesting thing about these events is not even the boats, it’s how other folks have solved common problems.

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Sunset and a pole punt.


Wayward Lass’ First Sail of 2007! – Jamie Orr

I’d been waiting since the beginning of October to get away for a few days in Wayward Lass, but a series of events kept me home. But I had enough unused holiday time for a good break over Christmas so I decided to go as soon as the holiday celebrations were over.

Wednesday, January 3rd, found Wayward Lass and I launching at Tulista Park in Sidney (on Vancouver Island). My plans were to sail across Haro Strait to the San Juan Islands if things looked good, otherwise to poke around the Canadian gulf islands until it was time to come home on Saturday. The light wind was just enough to carry us away from the dock so we moved very slowly at first, but the breeze steadily picked up and soon carried us to the end of Sidney Spit, about three nautical miles away. From there, it was seven miles of more or less exposed water to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. The forecast said I could expect moderate southwest winds, (15 to 20 knots) which meant I would have them on my starboard quarter – too good to pass up!

Once we were in the open, the wind rose to better than 15 knots (estimated) and with Spieden Channel (just outside Roche Harbor) lined up over the bow, Wayward Lass was soon making 6.5 knots on a broad reach. We might have picked up a knot from the tide, but otherwise it was all wind power. I could see one sail far to the north, but except for that I had the whole ocean to myself. The wind kept its promise, and a little over an hour later I was in Spieden Channel, preparing to beat through the northwest entrance to Roche Harbor. I was delayed, however, by a big aluminum, RIB-like boat that came speeding up behind, flashing a pair of blue lights to demand my attention.

I slowed Wayward Lass by letting the mainsail run free as the coxswain on the other boat throttled back, leaving our two very different boats bobbing side by side. The young fellow on the bow (why do they all look so young these days?) asked if I’d ever been boarded by the Coast Guard. I said no, but that he was welcome to come aboard. He said he would, but offered to wait until I was in more sheltered water. The wind was dropping though, and getting in was going to take a while, so we agreed we might as well get it done. There was more room to drift around out there anyway. I parked Wayward Lass by centering the mizzen while leaving the mainsheet loose, so she rode head to wind while drifting slowly backwards, a couple of the Coast Guard crew stepped across.

They were very professional and the inspection/interview took less than three minutes, but completing the paperwork took a lot longer! It didn’t help that Wayward Lass is unregistered, unlicensed and has no hull ID number — Canadian law doesn’t require any documentation for a boat (and motor) this size. I’ve never even painted her name on the transom. I’ve never had any problems because of having no documentation — the first time I sailed into a US port (Port Townsend in Washington), US Customs made up a number based on my name and birth date and that has been accepted by US and Canadian Customs ever since. It doesn’t appear anywhere on the boat, though.

I thought the Coasties might have been looking for marijuana, as I understand quite a bit of that enters the US by the San Juans, but they said they were just keeping an eye on who was entering the country. It must have been a pretty slow day for them, as we were the only two boats in sight.

After seven years Wayward Lass is pretty well equipped and we had no problem passing the inspection. I now have a nice yellow boarding form to wave the next time I’m stopped, although I was warned it didn’t guarantee that I wouldn’t be inspected again anyway. I got a kick out of seeing that one of the potential violations was a “manifestly unsafe voyage”. I wonder how they define that one!

Wayward Lass and I eventually entered Roche Harbor around 3:00 pm and found the Customs shack after a short search – they’d moved it, and the docks all looked different in any case. I couldn’t decide if they’d expanded or if the outside docks were just empty for the winter. I phoned Friday Harbor to clear customs since no one was in the shack, then I left again, planning to sail to Jones Island, another 3 miles or so. The wind was very light again, though, and it was getting dark. I realized that I was going to run out of daylight long before I reached Jones, even if I used the motor. I didn’t relish finding the bay and anchoring in the pitch dark, not to mention setting up the boom tent and all, so I turned back for Roche. The trip between Sidney and Roche Harbor had been entirely under sail, but now I furled these and started the motor. Just as well, since a heavy squall caught us on the way back to Roche, if I’d been sailing it would have been all hands to reef. As it was, it gave my new rain gear a thorough workout.

Once back at the dock, I put up the boom tent and prepared a good hot meal. The temperature wasn’t quite freezing, as I recall, but it was pretty cold. I got into my sleeping bag to keep warm as I wrote up the log and read for a while before turnign out the light. Before I went to sleep I listened to the weather forecast for the next two days and decided that I’d better go back to Vancouver Island before the next front arrived, otherwise I could be weather-bound on San Juan Island for several days.

I had arranged to meet a friend in the marina café the next morning, so I didn’t get away until after a leisurely breakfast. When I did set sail, I was still hoping to return to Sidney more or less the same way I’d come – this would have meant travelling slightly north of west. The forecast was for southwest winds, to change northwest later in the morning, so I thought I could sail northwest until the wind changed, then turn southwest for Sidney. At worst I thought I could reach Bedwell Harbour, on South Pender Island, where I could clear Canadian customs.

Expecting brisk winds, I’d put one reef in the mainsail before leaving, but as we were going out the northeast entrance the wind was light so I optimistically shook out the reef. Of course, once I was out in Spieden Channel it started to blow hard, harder than I would have liked even if I’d still been reefed, so I about-turned and shot back into the relative shelter of the harbor. Again I “parked” the boat under the mizzen while I tied in both reefs, watching to make sure we didn’t drift into the docks before I finished. The wind was strong even inside the harbour now, and was blowing from the west rather than the southwest – not good for going to Sidney. Even getting to Bedwell Harbour looked doubtful, and it would certainly have been a hard, wet and uncomfortable sail. Since I was sailing for fun, I decided to go with plan B (or was it C by now?) – to leave Roche Harbor by Mosquito Pass to the south, then carry on southwest to Oak Bay in Victoria. This would be about twelve and a half miles altogether, putting me about 15 miles south of Sidney. The wind would be fair and I would be back on Vancouver Island long before the front arrived.

I found a sheltered spot in Mosquito Pass and anchored while I tidied up the reefs, furled the main (still double-reefed) and put up the jib. The jib doesn’t work well with the main, as I don’t have a bowsprit and there isn’t enough space between the sails, but I thought the jib and mizzen alone would be well suited to the strong wind I’d experienced earlier. When I raised the anchor and started sailing again, however, I got a surprise. The wind was no longer even enough to take us out of Mosquito Pass against a weak tide, and I had to raise the main again, and shake out both reefs. Once we were out, the wind stayed light and Wayward Lass was only moving at about 2 knots. I hugged the shore until a big freighter went past, then turned towards Cadboro Point, at the north end of Oak Bay, just visible in the distance.

As we left the land behind, the wind picked up again, now from the northwest but not as strong as before. I estimated it at about fifteen knots and perfect for a reach to Cadboro Point. I did think briefly of trying to beat back to Sidney, but we were even farther south now, and dead downwind, so I decided that would be a mug’s game. Instead, I enjoyed a fast return trip across Haro Strait, touching 7 knots when the tide turned and with the mainsail pulling like a train. It didn’t take long at that rate, but once behind Cadboro Point we were out of the main force of the wind and had no trouble sailing right in to the gas dock where the Customs phone is located. With that, Wayward Lass and I had completed another voyage, dock-to-dock, under sail. That and $2 will get you a cup of coffee, but so what –I do this for fun and I get a charge out of not using the motor. I paid for a night’s moorage, buttoned up Wayward Lass and called Maureen to come and pick me up. It’s a pretty nice cruise that lets you sleep in your own bed!

I had decided to cut my sailing holiday short, but I still had to get the boat back to Sidney, some 15 miles north. Friday’s forecast was for southeast winds, 15 to 20 knots, rising to 30 knots – the expected front was arriving. I could have brought the trailer to Oak Bay instead, but the public ramp has no real dock, only a sloping concrete pier disappearing into the water. The ramp is also wide open to the southeast so I felt that it would be a poor choice. Once I’d decided to go to Sidney, I had another decision to make. I could leave early and put up with the waves caused by the wind blowing against the tide, or I could wait for the tide to change but might then have to deal with 30 knot winds. I chose the first option leaving early.

Although I expected it to be fairly strong, the wind would be behind me. I used the motor to get clear of the marina, then raised the sails with a single reef. Getting around Cadboro Point was a close reach, and I took some spray before I was clear. The tide tables said the tide was running at 3 knots against me, but I stayed out of the worst of it by avoiding the roughest water, and got through the entrance okay. As I turned north, the GPS was showing 3.5 to 4 knots — the wind was about 15 knots, I think, and one reef was just about right.

Outside Oak Bay, there was a constant parade of big waves, or swells, coming with the wind on my starboard quarter. These had built up over 30 odd miles of open sea, and now were piling up as they came into shallower water. As well, the tide was pushing in the opposite direction, making the waves even steeper. I was more than a little nervous sailing over these, the motion felt like a roller coaster going out of control. Wayward Lass did a wonderful job, however, although her head swung around as the waves picked her up and played with her, that stubby winged rudder never lost its bite. Luckily our course meant the waves passed under us at an angle, otherwise we would have had to tack downwind to avoid ramming the bow into the wave ahead.

I had the centreboard down to help with the steering, but as we surfed down the waves, it was making a loud thrumming noise, and I was worried about the strain it was creating as we dashed along. Rather than risk breaking anything, I pulled it up and found it didn’t make a lot of difference to the steering – it might even have been easier with the board up. One thing was certain, though – it was a whole lot quieter and less stressful for both Wayward Lass and her skipper!

Looking at the chart now, I see this lasted for close to five miles, or about an hour – it seemed a lot longer. Holding a steady course was further complicated by the unusual number of logs and chunks floating around. The tides had been high (the full moon was just past) so a lot of wood must have floated off the beaches – this is the main hazard on the BC coast and requires a good lookout.

We had been doing over 5 knots over the ground since Cadboro Point, more or less due north, and I wanted to pass just west of the Zero Rock beacon. I thought I could see it, but wanted to be sure it wasn’t Little Zero Rock instead, which is further west and is surrounded by other, less visible rocks. One of the meridians on the chart ran right through Little Zero, giving me its longitude, and the GPS confirmed that I was well east of it. Quick and dirty navigation, but very useful when you don’t have a hand to spare.

Although the swells were gradually lessening in size and frequency, every so often a set of three big ones would roll through, just to keep the adrenalin flowing. (Adrenalin is not much use when you’re sailing. It acts as a super fuel for fight or flight, but the sailor can’t do either, he (or she) has to stay put and steer. Intravenous Valium would be far more use!) As D’Arcy Island came abeam, however, roughly half way to Sidney, both the sea and I were calm enough that I could pour a mug of tea to restore my sagging morale.

James and Sidney Islands were still between Wayward Lass and Sidney. Since the southeast wind picks up speed as it funnels between these islands, I decided I would go between James Island and Vancouver Island instead. As I neared the channel, I saw the only other boat I saw that day, a big skiff close to the Vancouver Island shore, going into the wind through clouds of spray. Whether by accident or design, they had timed it nicely, the tide had just turned and the sea was flattening out now that wind and water were moving together.

Going inside James as we were heading would have meant sailing by the lee, with the boom on the same side as the wind. This is never a good idea as an unintentional gybe can result. I didn’t want to gybe intentionally either, so I went the long way round, turning into the wind, tacking through it then turning downwind again. This put the wind on the other, safer, side of the sail. As we passed James Island the wind was strong but steady and the sea fairly flat, giving us the fastest sailing we had, about 7.5 knots and touching 8 once with a little help from the young flood. It had also been raining hard for some time now, but as we were running before it and my new foul weather gear is so much better than the old stuff, I was still warm and dry. Money well spent!

Once through the narrow bit I tacked the long way round again to reach in behind James, where I planned to heave to and drift while I ate my sandwiches. Unfortunately the bigger winds suddenly arrived, so I carried on instead for the Tulista Park ramp, now only a couple of miles away. When there was only about a mile left I turned into the wind again, centred the mizzen and rudder, dropped the centerboard and let the mainsheet loose. Although the wind was really starting to howl, Wayward lass stayed head to wind very nicely. I released the tension on the reef lines (to take the strain off the fabric), furled the main first, then the mizzen before starting Honda.

The breakwater only partially protects the dock from a southeaster and I didn’t want to try landing under sail then unless forced to. Even with the motor I didn’t want to make a downwind landing. As we came in I turned mostly into the wind but kept it on the port side of the bow so it pushed us sideways towards the dock while the motor kept us from blowing backwards on to the shore. It was sort of like ferrying a canoe across a river, but using wind instead of current to move sideways. The idea was sound, but on the first attempt I straightened out too early and the wind caught the starboard bow, pushing us away from the dock. On the second try I got it right and was able to step off with the mooring lines. I had to let the stern one go, though, because of the wind pushing on Wayward Lass and a very slippery dock (the sections were bucking in the waves too). I made the bow fast then went back on board to use the motor to bring in the stern. A fisheries officer came down and took my stern line but it was still raining hard and he left before I could recruit him to help get the boat on her trailer! It was good of him to come down in the rain at all.

The recovery was easier than I expected. A long line from the bow, led outside around the stern to the dock then to the after cleat, let me turn Wayward Lass around (actually the wind turned her but the line let me control her). Then, with the trailer backed in just far enough for the keel to land on the rear roller without floating over it, I walked the boat onto the trailer as if I was lining a canoe on the river. Some quick work on the winch and the excitement was all over. (What’s all that canoe stuff – I thought this was a sailing story!)

By the time everything was packed up and ready to travel, I guessed that the wind was doing all of the 30 knots that were forecast, but I no longer cared — I was feeling pretty cocky about how it had all turned out.

I didn’t spend any time relaxing at anchor in quiet coves, the way I’d pictured it, but except for that hour or so in the big waves, I’d had a great time. Even the waves were of value, letting Wayward Lass remind me how well she takes care or herself and her skipper.

Chebaccos rule!


Launch of “Three Rivers” – Ben Ho

The Chebcaao Three Rivers was launched on a cool but sunny Sunday with much
fanfare, under a beautiful sky with a light breeze. The local newspaper even sent a crew out to report on the story (building a 20 footer in one’s garage, in landlocked Waterloo is newsworthy!).


Lots of spectators providing guidance for backing the trailer…

Everything went quite well. I was relieved that the trailer launching & recovery was fairly straight forward, as the boat ramp at our sailing club has a very shallow gradient limited by the shore line. Prior to the launch I had taken the boat and trailer through a weight station at the local dump. The total weight comes to 2200 lb. The heavy-duty weighs 700 lbs including the spare tire, so the boat weighs at 1500 lb, about right, I think, given the 250 lb of marine batteries I installed for running the electric motor.


There she goes, floating off the trailer.


Now moving the boat to the leeward side of the dock to make it easier to set sails. She wants to take off! With a cross wind of about 5 knots, the boat takes a surprising amount of effort to hold on to with the bow/stern lines. My reference is my 17 ft Marsh Hen, which has a fairly high side for its length, and the Hen takes much less effort. Maybe I do need a crew…


Safely tied down….


The V-berth has a comfortable foam mattress. The ‘skylight’ hatch makes the cabin bright and cozy. One can rest down here after a hard day of sailing, read a book, take a nap…


The wind died (that was when the following sailing photo was taken), and we puttered around with the electric motor, sometimes with a full load of spectators. I like the motor! Nice and quiet, just turn the handle and it goes. The rudder is pleasantly responsive with a very tight turning radius. After a while the wind picked back up to 10 kts. She sailed well in this wind, and is extremely stable (again with my 17 ft Hen as reference). Response is slower than the Hen, which can be expected given two times the weight. Very sure-footed, comes about with no hesitation. At this wind there’s a slight weather helm, just about right. The mizzen doesn’t seem to do much, but I think I have much to learn yet about trimming the mizzen. I remember that someone commented on the webzine that the Chebacco can keep pace with performance dingies such as Wayfarers. Well, not quite. In light to moderate wind, Wayfarers can literally run circles around Three Rivers. So from that perspective I am somewhat disappointed. The raising/lower of the gaff takes more effort than I thought. Also, the gaff jaw rubs hard against the mast such that several spots were stripped bare of varnish, even though the jaw is covered with leather. I think I need to sheath the mast section with a piece of SS sheet. Does anyone else have this problem??

There are still a hundred other small things that need to be worked on, such as where to hang the fenders so they don’t destroy the rub rail….but overall I am quite happy so far, and am looking forward to taking the boat to some faraway lakes and do some serious gungholing…



May 2007



A new sheet ply Chebacco – Marston Clough, Vineyard Haven MA,

To: Richard Spelling

Date: June 20, 2007

Re: new issue

Hi Richard

My Chebacco, first launched briefly Sept 05 was used last season here on Martha’s Vineyard. Have not yet bought motor so haven’t ventured out of protected harbor, due to strong tides which require planning. I went out only once and was not able to buck the tide in light winds.

When building I moved the mast forward as much as I could, which was maybe a foot; the base of the mast is right where the stem is faired into the keel. I sent you some ugly pictures of the modification of this last year at some point.

The finish of my boat is “workboat”, at best, but I did make everything including the mast and spars (with some help) and sail (Sailrite) and looks good from a distance.

There is still weather helm, eased by letting the mizzen off the wind. In fact the mizzen is very important in steering- if too tight in light winds, the boat has difficulty coming about. Steering upwind is likewise controlled by sheeting the mizzen more tightly.

A friend took a couple photos when I was not looking.

article_html_7b2d0da4 article_html_m1edc782


Off topic: Admiral Dingy Attacked by Vampires – Admiral Dingy


The first time it happened was really a bad experience but nothing compared to the second time. They came upon me in Biblical proportions, the Creatures from Hell. I had just dropped anchor and was readying the Cruise Ship Dinghy and myself for a desired rest after our day of rowing. The surroundings were perfect, dusk would be coming soon, there were birds all around and Mullets were jumping. How pleasant to reflect back on the day’s events and the joys of the cruising life! Ah, the cruising sailor and his dream! The thunder and the threatening black clouds are rolling in. Now the extreme downpour of heavy rain and wind is over 50 knots. I sit inside of my coffin size ship realizing what a lucky sailor I truly am. Life is good and I love the experience of the storm at a safe anchorage.

Enter the Creatures from Hell and the nightmare begins! As I come out of the hatch to smell the roses and the gentleness of Mother Nature after her violent storm, reality hits me. I take a deep breath and something flies up my nose and all Hell breaks loose. I didn’t even see em coming! Let’s just say that I’m not overly dressed at this instant and while I’m wondering what is in my nose I start to feel something on my body stinging me. Then my brain kicks in and I discover that I’m in deep trouble. Something is attacking me with thousands of painful little bites and the bite sources are all over me. I start slapping them in self-defense and I’m killing ‘em by the hundreds. But killing thousands by the hundreds is not good or fast enough! I take my hand and place it on top of the intruders and rake them over in a killing stroke down the length of my body, removing and killing the attacking monsters. By this time I’m completely out on top of the boat and I dive into the water in an attempt to rid myself of the thousand-fold parasites. I stay under the water for long periods at a time coming up only to breathe; I find the brackish water somewhat soothing from all the bites. The fight is over as long as I’m in the water. Yet I know I cannot not stay in the soothing brackish water all night with the possibility of hypothermia setting in being ever-present.

My plan is to quickly go back aboard ship, climb inside, and close the hatch as fast as possible. After gaining the inside of the boat and slamming the hatch to keep those mean, biting bugs out, I grab a towel for double duty: to dry myself and to kill the enemy. Peace at last! Well, not yet! There are still a threatening amount of mosquitoes left inside. Oh! I happen to have some material (fabric) aboard that happens to be mosquito cloth. I’ll cover up with that and it should keep ‘em off of me.. Good in theory and it works. Well—almost. You see, if it’s draped over me, the mosquitoes can’t bite me unless the cloth is laying on me, directly on my skin. If that’s the case they just drill in and start pumping my blood. Well, I decide to give that a try; I’m desperate and will do anything to rid myself of those ruthless (but obviously not toothless) bugs. Not all the Vampires are on the outside of the cloth, some have manag ed to get inside the cloth and position themselves right next to my skin, and are poised to bite!

WHOOPS! The battle is not over! In fact, I can tell that this is going to be an all-night ordeal. The exposure from the sun and now the attack of the Vampires has left my skin in a burning, inflamed state. It has been hours now and I’m still fighting these blood-sucking Vamps. Sleep has not come my way, fatigue has fallen upon me and cruising is no longer fun. I never experienced this kind of action in the Hollywood jungles. I have now resolved that I will not continue cruising until I’m better outfitted to fight those unwanted visitors of the night. After all, there have been reported cases of West Nile Virus in this part of the world, and with the thousands of blood-sucking Vampires feeding on me; it’s quite possible that I have contracted that dreaded Virus.

So now I cannot help but wonder what symptoms I should be looking for and hope that they don’t surface within me. One thing that I fear most has now come to past. It’s not the monsters of the deep that scare me; nor the mighty beast from the forest. It’s the mosquitoes (or as I call them “vampires”)– that frighten me! If these little and I mean little mosquitoes are so bad, I’d hate to be exposed to what their big counterparts in Southeast Texas can do.. If the little ones bother and plague me so much, imagine what the bugs in the Amazon Rain Forest are capable of doing. I got off easy in this case. They could have been Killer Bees, or even Marabunta Ants that would have eaten my entire body in a matter of minutes. Not to mention those parasites (that I would rather not mention by name or species, and that I am sure that you have heard about) that get inside your body and feed off of your flesh until you die. I wonder how many deaths have been bug-related?

Enough of these tales of woe! Let’s go back to the beginning of the adventure and look at the really great side of the cruising life. The date is 15 August, 2006, and it’s 04:27 hours. This is the first day of cruising around the world in the smallest ship to ever do so. This is also the first cruise for the Cruise Ship Dinghy I will no longer think of her as a working sculpture but a ship of the Oceans and of the world. I will think of her as my safe passage to adventure, education, and the unknown. I have to admit that I have been talking to this Dinghy for more than 32 years now.. It will be a new kind of dialogue as we find our adventure together, circumnavigating Lake Sabine, which amounts to a round-trip distance of 66.5 miles with Toups Marina serving as starting and ending point.

As I cast off from the side of my beloved Neptune’s Castle, my 62-foot sailing ship I come to the realization that I’m leaving my home of more then 20 years. I will be passing on my position as her Captain to Darrelle– Daughter of Dingy– the little girl who once lived aboard her hull and deck. The little girl who played with her ship’s wheel and stood on her salon table and vied for attention at age two.

I’m sincerely wishing that Neptune’s Castle and Darrelle–Daughter of Dingy will have a long and adventuresome marriage together. They are both in their 20’s and have a life of discovery to find. As for me, I’m bound for the Intercoastal Waterways AKA The Ditch to find my adventure. About two miles down stream on Cow Bayou, the little ship cruises by Burton’s Shipyard and I am able to spot its proprietor, Fred getting his crew of yard birds ready to do their duty on repairing the ships in the Yard. I hope that he isn’t looking at the Dinghy too hard, because I just had one my first Dumb Dingy moves: I have managed to run aground on the little point at the shipyard! No big, I’m off and running and I don’t think that he even noticed my Dumb Dinginess.

The bridge is coming up as I thread the needle and row under the bridge. The Dinghy is now in open water with no more overhead obstructions. Now I can rig the mast and sail. After a very good show with my balancing act, it is done and the ship is rigged for running. Not really, just a few probs.with the sail that can’t be fixed at sea. That means no sailing! No prob. I have two 24-volt continuous-run motors. Not really, one is frozen and the other doesn’t have a shear pin, which can be fixed at sea. So I elect to:


, Row, row, row my boat, gently down Sabine—article_html_m53b1c5f1


–Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, living out my dream!

Rowing is something that I’ve hardly done with the Cruise Ship Dinghy. After I cut her deck and cabin off, I used to row her and found her to be a slow row. But she ran straight and true with her full keel. She is what she is: a cargo boat designed to carry a load, and now with her high freeboard, she is weighing in at about 2000 pounds and that’s with me in her! Take into consideration that she has her superstructure now and that means more wind obstruction with her higher center of gravity because of the mast, the wind generator and VHF and computer signal antennas. These have contributed to changing her motion on the ocean.

I’m starting to perfect my rowing with this craft, and rowing is something I’ve always loved doing. I started out this morning with a forward push type rowing. Although I do enjoy this rowing style, it is not the fastest. I do find it the most logical, though– and I also find it to be the safest style because I’m facing forward and pushing my one-ton boat forward with 10 foot oars. In short, I can see where I’m going without turning my head. The next style of rowing is standing with my back to where I’m going and pulling the boat forward. Oh, and in all of these rowing styles I will be standing. That’s just the way the Dinghy is set up and I don’t foresee the possibility of me changing it. Besides– I’m looking for a full-body workout. One more style is sculling with one oar at the center of the stern of the Dinghy. Also–I’m using the muscles in quite a different way by simply turning around and rowing backwar ds. So I’m man I’m getting my balance, my form, my rhythm, and style. One thing that’s not included in that workout “package” there yet is my deep, diaphragm-based breathing.

On down Cow Bayou I row, until I float onto a sand bar at the end of the bayou where she meets the ICW. That’s because about 35 or 40 black buzzards gathering in the trees and on the beach are glairing at me. They have my attention and I have theirs. As I look through my bino’s and see the intense, focused look on their faces, I can’t help but wonder what they’re bound to be thinking. Are those birds thinking that I’m carry-on for an afternoon snack? If so I’m dead meat! After all, there a lot more of them than there are of me–! So can you imagine these birds turning into hunters? Shades of The Birds by Alford Hitchcock!


Enough of the birds! I have to move on and the ship is hard aground. WHOOPS! I’m off rowing once more! Now the Dinghy is on the Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW) about another five miles to row and I’ll be settled in for the night. Anchor is set and I’m kicked back! Cool!

Then along the ICW come two of the wild bunch– Will and Willey Toups in one of the strangest boats I’ve ever seen–delivering beer and conversation from Toups Marina. Now this is really too cool! So we enjoy the beer and the converse and then the storm is upon us.



Six months after the attack of the vampires (mosquitoes), it’s time for Admiral Dingy to finish the circumnavigation of Lake Sabine. (Go to ADMIRALDINGHY.COM–the Ship’s Log Page and read Admiral Dingy Attacked by Vampires in order to familiarize you with what happened during the first part of this Voyage. (Some rather large problem that I had with those blood-sucking mosquitoes)!

I vowed that I would not go back to sea without protection from those merciless bugs. So simple enough, I thought: “I’ll call for the land yacht to pick up the Cruise Ship Dinghy! I’ll rig up a proper mosquito net, and put some bug spray onboard and I’ll be safe from those pesky critters. I’ll be back in the water in two days!”

I can see the Dinghy’s land yacht onshore. I think that this will be an easy out. All I have to do is back the trailer into the water, (I am getting better at that). So easy up, I’m learning. Well, I put the trailer into the water without too much problem. (OK–so there’s room for improvement, but I’m getting more gooder (Admiral Dingy term for better) at it. Defiantly better then the first time I tried to load the Dinghy. (To familiarize yourself with what I allude to here, go to the Ship’s Log Page at ADMIRALINGHY.COM and read the article titled Admiral Dingy Hanging in a Tree). Well– I manage to get the Dinghy on to the trailer without many problems. I tied her down to the trailer and took down the wind generator which sits high when the Dinghy is on her trailer.

Great! We’re on our way! Headed back to the mother ship by land with no problems! WHOOPS! Prior to departure, when Dumb Dingy did his walk around the land yacht and Dinghy to check that everything was secure, he forgot to look up! And you guessed it! About a mile down the road, it’s WHAM! BANG! Dumb Dingy has demasted duh Dinghy! I get out of the land yacht and there’s the Dinghy’s mast. It has been crashed upon, bent, slammed down and rendered useless. Only one thing to do now–and that is to build a better mast.

Now–five months later, I’m back and loaded for mosquitoes. I’ve got my mosquito repellent spray; I’ve got my net, and as added insurance, I have got my stainless steel sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun with nine (9) shots loaded. In this case, I’m not loaded for pirates but rather

for those pesky flying vampires. I get “mosquito shot”.

But enough about mosquitoes! I’ve made other advancements on the Cruise Ship Dinghy and still have much to do. One problem that I have not solved yet is the head, meaning the toilet. Yes doing “#1” is easy because I got me one of those male urinary receptacle things that even has a cap for safekeeping deposits. It works fine! I’ve cleaned it with bleach, and it’s ready to go. But ARRRR! What about dealing with “# two”? I do not wish to live with a bucket inside my coffin-sized Dinghy where there is barely enough room for a throne. Don’t wish to live with that either.

In reference to space, as I write this, I’m aboard Neptune’s Castle–the last boat that I will ever build or buy. This is my home for the rest of my life–until I get old and die.( That is if Davey Jones doesn’t get me first while I’m aboard the Cruise Ship Dinghy!) As I look around Neptune’s Castle, while I am in her wheelhouse, I think about her vast amount of space and compare it to the small amount of space aboard the Cruise Ship Dinghy. Neptune’s Castle’s wheelhouse alone has about 10 (ten) times more cubic feet then the inside of the Dinghy, and that’s not counting the engine room with that really kool diesel below the deck boards.

ARRRR—Neptune’s Castle’s got a diesel, and I really love diesels and the aroma generated by one is divine for this sailor!

Why do people call me Dingy? Answer: Just because I want to sail around the world in Neptune Castle’s dinghy? Actually I have had the Dinghy for 32 years and Neptune’s Castle for about 21, but The Cruise Ship Dinghy is still Neptune’s Castle’s dinghy.

Ahoy there Mattie perhaps I’ll see you on Lake Sabine in Southeast Texas tomorrow as I row, row; row my Dinghy on the second half of my circumnavigation of the Lake. AYE! ‘TIS THE CRUISING LIFE FOR ME!

We have been on station at the Pleasure Island Pier Landing for two days now, readying the Dinghy and watching the weather. The wind is coming from the southeast at about 20 to 25 knots–the exact course that I need to row into, to finish an about 66.5-mile row around Lake Sabine and make it back to Cow Bayou and the mother ship, Neptune’s Castleat Toups Marine. Needless to say, I can’t row into the wind with a 2,000 lb. Dinghy with about 30 inches of freeboard, (that’s the superstructure that is above the water line to the top of the cabin). That would truly be a Herculean task, one that I’m not up for.

What to do? Simple! Simply wait for the weather gauge to change with the wind coming from the west or southwest! Also–I wish to catch the incoming tide! With this strategy in mind, I splash The Cruise Ship Dinghy into the water at anchor to see what the weather will bring upon Dingy and Dinghy.

At 06:30 hours Sunday morning I awakened to a beautiful sunrise with just a zephyr of wind coming from the west. What could be greater than this? My next move was to ready the Dinghy for sea. The prep work had already been done; I just had to execute and get underway. I wayed anchor ready, my 10-foot oars, and started the long, grueling task of probably a two- day row, weather permitting. I quickly positioned the Dinghy for an exit out of the harbor with the wind right up my fantail. Who could ask for anything more? Aye! ‘Tis the cruising life for me!

I’m gone for the second half of the adventure on Lake Sabine (circumnavigating the second

half of it—I circumnavigated the first half last August) — and heading for the Louisiana side of the lake. It’s time to get the muscles to working; I used to do this on the dance floor. Just keep on dancing until going beyond the pain, I call this a burn in and then you can dance the night away. For me it’s the same on the Dinghy–just keep on rowing until I work through the burn and settle into a slow and steady rowing style that resembles a machine. I fall into my style and my rhythm; I have executed my mind set for the proper breathing. It’s the breathing that I lose, and then I have to come back and re-program it once more. I do this throughout the day; keep losing my correct breathing.

The wind is superb as I make my way down Lake Sabine. Some time ago the wind did a change in direction coming more from the south–which fit into my course so much nicer. Again I have the wind straight up my fantail gently helping the Dinghy achieve her destination. The scene is beautiful. The sun is burning down and bringing the temperature up beyond the comfort zone, I’m into a relaxed atmo enjoying being a cruiser.

The Dinghy is heading for the ditch–meaning the Inter Coastal Waterways. Everything is so relaxed, when off the starboard bow an alligator appears looking very primeval and stealthy. Not a large beast–only about 6 (six) feet long! The day has been good for me and Dinghy! Now I have this wonderful creature to ponder over. I wonder what he is thinking. Could it be that he also is having a wonderful day and is reflecting over same? OK–so he’s enjoying me and I’m enjoying him. So I’ll just take a break from rowing and we can look at each other. Well–I have been rowing diligently for hours and I’m feeling some exhaustion. I ship ores move my hands loosening up the fingers! This creature (the alligator) has been around since the dinosaur period without much evolution. I know that the females are excellent mothers—but the fathers are less than excellent–they have a tendency to eat their young. Just the same– the alligator has been able to adapt, with the exception of man’s influence. It’s peaceful sharing the moments at sea with the creatures, and with that thought in mind, I reach for my male urinal. Got to whiz! I’ve been putting this off for a long time since I have and am still contemplating the alligator, finding relief, and the simple joys of life! Something strange is going on as I begin to whiz. First, I feel something tingling, not painful just different, fuzzy, tickling! And I’m still contemplating the gator! I feel bobbles, crawly things engulfing my hand! Then panic sets in I’m looking at a major eruption, it’s as if Mount Saint Helen’s has blow her top! There is a bubble lava flow spuming out of my male urinal. By this time it’s all over my dink, the inside of the Dinghy, my hands, my jeans, and the bed which I’m standing on! I realize that there is only one thing to do, and that is to empty the urinal over the side!

I look at the gator while the thing is overflowing with long lines of what appear to be never-ending bubbles which seem to say to me, what’s the matter haven’t you ever seen a volcano erupt before?

Have to do clean-up after that fiasco! Coming back out of the hatch, I see the gator is still on station looking up at me, I’m suspecting the gator wants more entertainment from that goofy solo sailor. When I return to the mother ship, Darrelle–Daughter of Dingy explains that it was the chemical reaction between my urine and the bleach that caused the problem. I normally wash out my urinal with soap and water and leave the soap and water in to keep working until its next use. In this case I had used bleach instead of soap and water for the first time—and the non-stop bubble/lava-like flow was what resulted!

Coming up on the ICW rounding the corner, I’m watching the clouds—and they look threatening! I row about two hundred yards and Wham–! It’s happening all at once the: wind shifting to dead ahead in very quick fashion and I realize that I’m in trouble! The wind is now at about 35 knots–not a big wind– but something to be reckoned with! True! And over the side goes the anchor. Its set and holding, darkness is coming. This is almost the exact same spot the mosquitoes got me on the first half of the adventure of circumnavigating Lake Sabine.

But I will not let it happen this time. I have the Dinghy secured and then it’s back down below for me to stretch out my legs with a book in my face.

The next morning I’m off splashing and pulling with the oars. Around noon, I round the corner into Cow Bayou. It’s all an uphill pull with the wind in my teeth. I realize that only serious rowing will get me back to Neptune’s Castle! As I’m coming up the bayou, there is an ominous black cloud coming down, I see no rain, but I still don’t like the looks of this monster. Then wham! It hits, and over the side goes the anchor! The Dinghy is fastened; the Dinghy is ship-shape and I’m inside in record time! The storm passes quickly. I don’t. I take on the role of a wimp–just laying there relaxing, gathering strength. An hour and a half goes by before I man the oars again.

The adventure is over and no harm has come to Dingy or Dinghy–with the exception of the erupting volcano. Aye! ’tis the cruising life for me!



ARRR! Now that was fun, Matties! It all started when an e-mail arrived at ADMIRALDINGHY.COM from the infamous Shorty Penn.

ARRR!” says I. I remember that sailor from Lake Charles, Louisiana!

Twas a thing called a Mess-About that showed up at the Yacht Club that I belonged to at the time. What’s a MESS-ABOUT?

Well anyway, the message in Shorty’s electronic mail instructed the reader to:

Be at Port Lavaca this next weekend, unless you are dying or are in jail or suffer under the pain of death!”! Of death?!?

Attention on deck! When Shorty Penn talks, I listen, says I!

This chap looks as if he just walked out of the folksel on a clipper or a wind-jammer with a boatswain pipe around his neck in foul weather while rounding the Horn with sail changes on his mind! Save the ship! One hand for yourself and one hand for the ship!

Stand up and do your duty!

Misnomer. Short(y) Penn is not short; he is built as wide & as tall as a rudder on a coaler’s barge running the canals of Europe! With a pundit’s demeanor on his commanding face!

With that being said, (I’ll cancel the Buccaneer Parade in Corpus Christi to head to Port Lavaca for the Mess-About, just as Shorty ordered!)

After all, I have conducted the interviews and I have shot the photos for the articles that I intend to write about the Ships of Christopher Columbus:the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Niña.

I reason and plan: I’ll go aboard the Lady Lexington tomorrow (Friday, May 4th) and interview the crew for my future article on Corpus Christi. Yosa! Yosa! Yosa! I loved Corpus Christi– that Sparkling City by the Sea! Oh and I won’t ship Dumb Dingy aboard! (We have to leave for the Mess-About for fear of being put under the pain of death!

After dark on Friday, May 4th, the land yacht arrives at Magnolia Beach with the Cruise Ship Dinghy in tow setting low to the ground on her new trailer. Whoops! We hit a major bump! At that point, she needs a new one!

Dumb Dingy done did damage to the other one! (Read about it at on the Ship’s Log Page—in the article titled, “Admiral Dingy Hanging in a Tree”). Oh no what a comedy of mess-ups that was!

Aye”, say’s I! I’m finally going to see a real Mess-About! I’m not really sure what this is all about.

Suddenly, my thoughts are racing…Wow! Look at that Gulf of Mexico!

The wind is up perhaps 20 to 25 knots and Dumb Dingy got us lost on one of those country roads with lack of pavement. Guess he got aboard after all! Can we talk dust? It is everywhere; the entire land yacht is covered in and out. Tomorrow is another day. But for now, it’s into the sea for me to enjoy a bath in salt water. AYE, ’TIS THE CRUISING LIFE FOR ME!

Once out of the water, I hit the hay and fade into the sleep of night…


Late! It was mid-morning before I stuck my head out of the hatch! Some mess-abouters had arrived; and more were on the way. By mid-day, they were all there!

All the mess-abouters—and their boats! Some transported them on trailers. Some on the tops of their cars! Some carried them in pick-em-up trucks! So there they were–boats of many descriptions!

ARRR! Now that got my attention span. Got to go check these boats out! There are a myriad amount of boats of many descriptions! Rowing boats, sailing boats, sailing boards! But I don’t recall seeing any power boats.

While discovering the boats, I also discovered the guys who built them! Indeed they were into design and craftsmanship!

What I found even more important and interesting, is that they are collectively a group of sailor-boatbuilders. I profoundly wish that I would have had knowledge about a group such as this when I was building the Cruise Ship Dinghy.

Having been a dancer, actor and moviemaker did not train me for the job of being a craftsmen in boat building.

But anyway, while at the Mess-About, I learned much about the intricacies of boatbuilding…of various parts and things to do.

Probably the most important knowledge I gleaned from the Event was how to tabernacle the mast. Now I have applied that useful piece of information to practice by actually having done it! It was easy and it works! Simple! I just didn’t know how to prior to the Mess-About.

Now another question pops into my mind: When at sea in a storm, should I leave the stayless mast up with the junk rig sail down and tied? Or should I bring the mast down and lay it into its cradle? Experience will tell!

In closing, I wish to thank all of the sailors at the Mess-About!

There were great boats! Great sailors! Great conversation! And I learned! SO THANKS!

If you’re a boat builder or sailor, I strongly advise you to find a MESS-A-BOUT in your area and go! You’ll enjoy the experience!

I wish I had learned about them sooner!

Admiral Dingy


Stealing Horses launched – Dick Burnham

Here’s a photo of gaff peaked with self made blocks working — this taken when test “sailing” in our driveway last season.


Stealing Horses finally floated off the trailer, twice, but she was at last at home. Not that that pivot pin covers didn’t leak or that the forgotten tape and epoxy at bulkhead limber holes didn’t ooze water. But all that is hopefully just part of the learning experience. We have her on a lake, at least for this season, in southern Vermont where we hope to learn the ropes, and to get into the sailing of this wonderful design. Later we’ll plan our escapades on the coast.


A photo with a view of Stealing Horses from the transom with the British Seagull (a noise generator but a trusty outboard) hanging out. Sails a mess, but what did we know?

Our 2nd (and last) launch was in flooding conditions. We learned to disconnect trailer from truck, to rope trailer to truck and … let that trailer roll! Actually we had to push it a bit to get into water deep enough to float boat off the trailer. It went well if with hearts in throats.

Astute viewers will note that the blocks are self built, that the masts are hollow “bird’s mouth” spars. Here’s a rundown on materials:

Raka epoxy, fillers, f’glass tape, etc.(Larry is a good helper) BS6566 Meranti marine grade plywood from Noah’s Screws,bolts,rods from Merton’s Fiberglass in Massachusetts (Joe is a great help) Sails sewn by Ulla from Sailrite kits (Jeff will hold your hand until you’ve finished sewing…) Kirby paint for topsides and Salty Dog tar finish for rubrail (George or Bill know what it is that they make for you) Hamilton Marine for line, fittings, fenders, varnish (Captain’s) and such


Dick and Ulla in western Massachusetts and now constant visitors to a lake somewhere in southern Vermont!

Chebacco News 52

Russellville 2006 – Richard Spelling

It was a dark and stormy night (well, a gray and drizzly afternoon, anyway) when I took off for Arkansas. I’d been anticipating this messabout for quite some time, as due to scheduling conflicts I had missed the annual Rend lake messabout.

I work the weekends, four ten hour days on and three days off. For this trip I had taken four days off straight, so I had a nice break from work. Mini-summer vacation you might call it.

A couple days before the messabout I cleaned the boat out, scrubbed it down, and loaded up with provisions and bedding for one person. I left the cold box stuff in the house, but other than that I was ready to go that Wednesday. I had earlier decided to go up a day early get in some alone time with the boat, and take a break from things.

It was a four hour drive to Russellville pulling the boat. My little Toyota Tacoma with four banger would do fine if the speed limit was still 55, or if the ground was level, but it kind of bogs down on the hills. Not too surprising, the last trip I weighed the boat, and it came in at just about 3500lb. This is precisely the towing limit on the Tacoma, coincidentally. I got to the lake after dark and put the boat in with the mast still folded and the sail cover still on. Motored to the little cove where we’d had the messabout last year. It was kind of hard to find in the dark, but between the flashlight and the GPS, I found it.

Temperature was nice, lots of wind, but the little cove sheltered me from the wind and waves, with just the occasional boat wake to bounce the boat around.

Set anchor and slept to the sound of rain hitting the cabin. I have learned from previous trips that I sleep much better in dry clothing, so I changed into PJ’s and set the fan up. Temp was nice outside, but the fan is a lifesaver inside the cabin when you are trying to sleep. Need to get me one that turns slow and quietly, and runs off of 12v. The one I use is a cheap 115v fan from WalMart. I run it off the inverter, which works fine, but adds inefficiency and some extra noise to the cooling equation.
The Arkansas state park authority had saw fit fill in the nice sandy beach with a six inch layer of red clay. This was the type of red clay that sticks to your feet in huge globs and won’t wash off in the water. I swear they dug it out from the ground at my house. I decided everyone at the messabout should write them a nice thank you letter for this.
Picked up a block of ice from the marina, and poked around a bit. Decided if I wasn’t here for the messabout, the marina would be a nice place to stick the boat. Might also make a decent hideaway in a storm. Any port in a storm, and all that.

Windy and rainy all day Friday. People started to arrive in the afternoon, mostly old hands from the last Russellville messabout.

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Ate dinner at Phil’s house, checked out his boat projects. Took the camera, but forgot to take pictures!

Re-anchored the boat next to the riprap. I was fine where I was, but my anchor line was blocking access to the little cove, didn’t want it chewed up by a propeller.
In the evening, the wind shifts to blow directly into the cove, boat starts bouncing around, but anchor seems to be holding. I don’t worry about it to much, and go back to sleep.

A little after 9am on Saturday I wake to the sound of the wind howling outside the boat.

Suddenly, the wind is blowing hard enough to pull the windward anchor out. The boat is pulled around by the limb/tree line and starts bouncing up against the rocks.

I quickly change out of my PJ’s into some jeans and go for a swim (well, a wade, anyway) to reseat the anchor. While I’m in the water, I hear what I think is either the wind whistling through the power lines, or some kind of warning siren. Turns out it was the latter, and there were tornadoes just a couple of miles away. Fun. I go swimming during a tornado warning.

After a couple tries at reseating the anchor with no success, I move to plan B. I unhook the shoreline, pull in the anchor rope, start the engine from the water, and hop onto the boat. A few hundred feet down the shore from the messabout is the marina where I got the ice yesterday.

I head there. I’m bouncing around quite a bit, with the wind and the waves coming from directly abeam, but Schrödinger just shrugs it off and keeps on trucking. I beach the boat on the grass in the shelter of the marina’s breakwater, make breakfast, put the bedding away, and tidy up.

When the wind calms down I head back to the cove. Engine quits on the way, but restarts with a couple pulls. This is a Nissan I bought brand new. It started stuttering after I had had it about six months, like it has a fuel problem or something. I have a $30 marine water filter on the gas line, and use gas stabilizer religiously. I’ve taken the carb apart and cleaned it, to no avail. I’ve even had Max the outboard guru look at it. Some kind of fuel problem is his diagnosis, but we aren’t sure what it is.

A few more people arrive, we visit some, it’s basically raining all day.

Several of the folks call it for rain, and head home. I decide this is a good idea, and follow suit.

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Sailing Sylvester – Richard Elkan

This weekend provided the best sailing I have ever had on board Sylvester. I left the decision to go for the weekend until the last minute, so I was on my own.

The forecast was easterlies both days F4-5 on Saturday F3-4 on Sunday. Solid sun both days with temps in the high 20’s (C that is Jamie!) I got off to a bad start. Held up for an hour on the A12 because of a vehicle fire, then in my haste to get away, realized I had left the boat cover on the mooring pontoon, so had to go back for that. Loosing more time.

The idea was to sail up the Blackwater to stay the night at Maldon, alongside friends on their 25′ Hunter Horizon. Well the delayed start meant I missed the last of the flood up the river and was now punching the tide all the way. The wind was dead behind me and with one reef in I was making good progress. Really choppy with the wind over tide, with Sylvester doing her best to pound the chop into submission. I’d been going for a over two hours, when it dawned on me, even if there was enough water to get up to Maldon, it would be tricky to avoid running aground without a crew to help with the pilotage. I didn’t fancy spending the night on the mud in the middle of the Blackwater.

So I decided to turn back and use the ebb to get me back to Brightlingsea. Only when I went about did I realize how strong the wind was. Beating into this was really uncomfortable (OK scary). I was faced with reefing again or putting into Bradwell Marina that was right abeam of me. I choose the latter.
Not the prettiest of places, but the local pub was excellent and the views over the river were lovely in the evening light. I chatted with a couple who were camping on their Drascombe and pointed out to them the amazing 1908 Crosby Catboat that was in the boat park (22′ long and displaces 5.5 tons!!!!!)


As the tide fell and the light faded, the Marina took on a somewhat Lunar or maybe WWI Landscape appearance, what is Essex mud all about?


As I was having breakfast, this Guy waved to me and came down the pontoon and introduced himself as John Sheldrake, who apparently had tried to buy Sylvester from you Bill at some point. I had met him before on the water, but had a good chat to him this time, Boy does he regret not buying Sylvester! He seems to buy and sell a boat about once a year from what I could make out. He told me that the wind yesterday had risen to F6 on the river, so my decision to get into Bradwell was one of my better ones!

As the forecast was F3-4 for the Sunday. I decided to let the flood build up to mid tide, to get the strongest assist with the beat back. It was glorious as I left at 7am and found myself beating straight into the suns reflection as it rose in the sky, bloody perfect!!!!! After and hour or more I shook out the reef as the wind eased and got back to Brightlingsea in good time. Bought a few bits and bobs in the chandlery including a small collapsible anchor for holding onto a beach. Then I motored across the Colne to Colne Point and beached Sylvester on the rising tide and made lunch. It was hot!!! Here’s the star of the show.


So there I was having lunch when this amazing looking craft beached along side. It looked fabulous, So I went over to admire her and on explaining that Sylvester was mine the other owner asked if my boat was a Chebacco, the second person I have met who knew what he was looking at. Anyway this 26′ Canoe Yawl turns out to be rather interesting. he explained that it was designed by one (Englishman) Albert Strange in the 1890’s, as a commissioned design, it was never built. The outlines were discovered quite recently and published in Wooden Boat Magazine (I think) Anyway the interest was such that the magazine asked one Phil Bolger to draw up building plans for the craft, which he did. As far as the proud owner knew his was the only boat to have been actually built from these plans. By the way the craft was only launched on Saturday, after a 3 year build. It is of totally traditional build and is magnificent. I couldn’t bring myself to ask how much it might have cost. It was built by a local builder at Rowhedge on the Colne, once a very famous boat-building centre, right up to 1964.


Later in the day


So after this interesting diversion I headed up the river Colne to moor up at Rowhedge for an afternoon pint. A very gentle sail after the rigors of Saturday, although I was getting fried! Whilst up at Rowhedge I took a side trip up the very grand sounding Roman River. This is actually just a creek about a mile long and only navigable at high water and then with only shallow draught craft. It terminates in a superb water mill. It was like traveling through a Constable painting. You can just see the Mill in the distance here.


So then back to Brightlingsea for the end of the trip. I had noticed that my Yamaha outboard was not pumping it’s usual vigorous stream of cooling water, more like a trickle. Sure enough, just as I cleared the narrow section of water through Wivenhoe (it was a dead beat and a very narrow channel) the motor gave out. I am not good with motors!
Still from here on I could beat back, as I had the ebb with me. Lovely sail back to Brightlingsea. But on arriving there my worst fears were realized. The ebb was now pouring out of Brightlingsea creek and the easterly meant the wind was right on the nose. I tried everything I could to get back up the creek, but I just couldn’t make any ground against the mid tide. All I could do is beat back and forth across the creek entrance, much to the incredulity of the huge number of boats coming back for the night and wondering just what this fool was doing! I was also in danger of being pushed back onto the mud all around the ever narrowing navigable channel as the water dropped. However the busy traffic meant the Harbour Master was still around, so a call to him on the VHF meant after about another 30 mins of standing off and on (as I believe is the correct naval term) he came and towed me to my mooring. I was VERY grateful! I was also totally knackered, It was gone 7pm by now and I had been solo sailing for 12 hours, albeit with 2 stops.
On the pontoon I managed to extract the tiny amount of weed that was blocking the cooling system and the engine ran as sweetly as ever. Then just a two hour drive home. Barbara hardly recognized me as I was several shade darker than when I left, My body was still on deck but my eyes told me I was home, Wonderful!

Cheers for now



Montague Harbour Small Boat Rendezvous – Randy Wheating

The Fleet Sallies Forth!

The first annual Montague Harbour Small Boat Rendezvous was held on Galliano Island, one of the British Columbia Gulf Islands, May 27-29, 2006.

Boys and Boats Getting Together….
Mainlanders came via ferry while those from Vancouver Island traveled under their own steam (or wind). Throughout Saturday folks arrived at the beautiful Montague Harbour Marine Park. One of the last participants to arrive was Jamie Orr and his father Les aboard Wayward Lass. The gathered fleet was sailing around the harbour when we picked up Wayward Lass on the VHF and sallied forth to escort her in. This was a good opportunity for Jamie to show off his stylish orange and white striped jib.


Wayward Lass Shows Her Jazzy Jib

Buster was also testing a few new additions that included extension to engine shifter, pull start extension cord (shortens reach required) and boom gallows.

Bluster Mods

The group pretty much took over the park dock and those not sleeping aboard set up tents at the campsites on the bluff overlooking the dock. Saturday evening was spent eating, drinking and sharing stories around the campfire.

The Fleet at Rest

We were honored to have Cal Cran and his friend Mike join us from Alberta with Cal’s Bolger Bobcat. They included the rendezvous in their weeklong road trip (as well as several rounds of golf) to view and sail some real life Chebaccos as Cal is planning to build his own in the near future.

Gatito Leads Her Big Sisters
Next morning Curtis and Ben departed early as they had a full day of travel ahead. After a leisurely start the rest of the fleet headed north into Trincomali Channel where we saw off Ratty, Quill’s dory and Kirk’s Davidson 17 as they headed for home. Those remaining spent another pleasant night in the campground before departing via ferry or sail home.


List of Attendees:

Wayward Lass Chebacco Jamie and Les
Bluster Chebacco Lisa, Randy, Jacob and Sam
Gatito Bobcat Cal and Mike
Paper Nautilus Siren 17 Curtis and Ben
Unnamed Davidson 17 Kirk and Mike
Ratty Lugger Tad and son
Unnamed Mower dory Quill and crew


“Three Rivers” is Ready – Almost – Ben Ho September 2006

One year after the hull was done and turned over, hopelessly over-budget, and more or less on schedule, Three Rivers is finished except for her spars. She’s based on a modified design by Phil Bolger and has a slightly longer and higher cabin, with a cockpit with a raised, self-draining floor.



This picture shows the cockpit framing and the seats. Structural frames are made of white oak or Doug fir. The sides, seat cover, and floor are made of ¾” Crezon boards (the type used for outdoor signs).


Cockpit completed and painted. The floor is glassed such that the fabric pattern is left to form a non-skid surface. Each side has three storage compartments that are isolated and water-tight. I used a high quality weather strip around the perimeter of each hatch as a seal. Much cheaper than neoprene strips but not as strong, but I don’t think I need to turn this into a submarine. A Bomar floor hatch provides access to additional storage area underneath, hopefully it’s also water-tight.


The forward bulkhead is left in place to form a water tight compartment which divided into upper and lower halves. The upper area is the chain and anchor locker. The lower area is stuffed with floatation foam. Both are accessed through a screw-hatch. The structural framing is made of Doug fir, and maple is used for ceiling beams. The fir is painted over; the maple is varnished.


The cabin bunk/floor is in. This is a V-berth that can comfortably sleep two. The floor can be easily lifted up by taking out a few screws and has good storage space underneath, but I decided that I already have plenty of storage and I put floatation foam in there instead. The total volume of foam should just about offset the 250 lb of battery so that the boat is unsinkable.


On the starboard side in the cabin is the electrical panel, workspace (chart table?), with a Potti hidden. The steps are also the battery compartments, with 2 banks on either side of the center board trunk. The electrical panel controls the motor, battery charger, nav lights, cabin light, and has a cig. lighter plug for powering other sources (such as a DVD player). The four marine deep cycle batteries provide a total of about 300 Amp-hours of juice for a 65 lb thrust Minkota electric outboard. When fully charged the batteries should be able to run over 20 hours at 50% power. I want to avoid using smelly gas motors if I can help it! The battery weighs 250 lb and is also the ballast. I read that adding ballast won’t improve the initial stability of the Chebacco, but it should help to right the boat from a knock down.


The table top lifts up, and the Pottti slides out, for a relatively comfortable position….


The port side has a small galley, with a storage unit and stove top for putting a small propane stove.


I installed two portholes to bring in more light through the main bulkhead. They are made of Lexan with a plywood frame. There’s also a compass mounted. The bulkhead is inclined at a forward angle for aesthetics. The incline (instead of simple right-angle) added a staggering amount of complexity that was not foreseen….Won’t do that again!


I added a bowsprit so that I can have a jib. Holding a jib sheet can be a bit of work in a blow, so I also added this snubbing winch.

One of my proud creations – a forward hatch built of Lexan and cedar. The cedar frame curves to fit the exact curvature of the cabin roof.


Here she is – almost ready to leave the garage where she’s been evolving for two years. I need to move her out of the garage to make room for the spars, which should keep me busy this winter. How to lift her up from the strong-back and put her onto the trailer? I am still figuring that out…


Wayward Lass at Sucia 2006 – Jamie Orr

It was that time of year again – July, time to pack up Wayward Lass and head for Sucia State Park in the San Juan Islands. Due to some trailer problems, we made our departure this year from Oak Bay Marina in Victoria, as close as you can get to the very bottom of Vancouver Island. Surprisingly, this only added 3 nautical miles to our usual 25, as measured on the chart.

My dad, who usually joins me on these trips, was off on one of his periodic trips to Scotland, so Chris Bennett filled his berth. Chris is an experienced Chebacco sailor, having initially partnered Fraser Howell in building and sailing Itchy and Scratchy in Halifax. Alan Woodbury came up from Port Townsend to be a third hand – he’s temporarily boatless but had a yen to see Sucia again.

We cast off at 8:00 am with a light following wind. This summer I’ve been learning to use the asymmetrical spinnaker I made last year. I set this on a ten-foot pole — it can point over the bows like a very long bowsprit or off to the side to catch a following wind. It’s a pain to rig, and the “shroud” angle when used as a bowsprit is too small for more than light winds, but pays off in the right conditions. As soon as the sail was up we could feel it pull us along.

Even flying the spinnaker it was a leisurely trip up Haro Strait. We stayed away from the American side as the big ships use that side and we were happy to keep our distance until we had to cross their path to enter Roche Harbor. Coming from the south, we took Mosquito Passage, a reasonably well marked but twisty entrance – Chris had traversed it before and confirmed that yes, the marks were in the right places and the channel really does do that.

Once through Customs, the wind and current took us out of the harbour, but once out in Spieden Channel the wind left us to spin slowly along on the flooding tide where Kirk Coleman, also bound for Sucia, motored up from behind in his Davidson 17 to say hello. A breath of air tempted both crews to try sailing again, but the wind was only fooling around so we woke up Honda and motored the rest of the way. Once at Fossil Bay we stopped on the beach to unload – there was already a good crowd of small boats there.

Here’s the beach at Fossil Bay, withWayward Lass in the foreground. The twin sails behind are on Joe Nelson’s Core Sound 20, Blew-by-You

Here’s the beach at Fossil Bay, withWayward Lass in the foreground. The twin sails behind are on Joe Nelson’s Core Sound 20, Blew-by-You

Afterwards we anchored out and rowed ashore in my new and tiny tender, Tartlet, to cook our dinner. We had to cook up the spaghetti with canned ham for meat as I appeared to have forgotten the sausage, but it tasted fine anyway. We opened a bottle of wine, which further improved it.

In the evening a sizable group gathered around the campfire, sampling Chuck Gottfried’s homebrewed ale. But we still managed to take Tartlet out to Wayward Lass without tipping – no small feat for two grown men in a less-than-six foot dinghy! Alan had brought his tent in order to sleep ashore so we were spared the problems of ferrying three.

This is Trot, tender to Full Gallop and sister-ship to Tartlet. Chuck believes that anything that floats should sail too!

This is Trot, tender to Full Gallop and sister-ship to Tartlet. Chuck believes that anything that floats should sail too!

Next morning we were supposed to hold the Sucia Challenge, supposed to be a round the island race – but you can’t sail without wind. By 11:00, however, there was enough wind to tempt some of us out of the bay. Full Gallop and Wayward Lass (with Frank Mabrey and Alan Woodbury for crew) headed out, along with Bryan in his Benford catboat. Full Gallop immediately took the lead thanks to her big jib, but once Wayward Lass started flying her spinnaker the tables turned – although it was still a close contest. FG had the advantage to windward, but WL could put up more sail area on a reach or a run. We really need to hold that race we keep talking about!


Bryan’s Jay Benford catboat. She’s strip built, I believe she was the model for a fibreglass mould used to produce a series of these boats.

About then James McMullen came out in Rowan, so we sailed over to say hello. We discovered that Rowan, a stretched Oughtred JII, is one fast boat – for the most part she had no trouble keeping up with the Chebaccos, both of which spread more sail than she does.

The wind was light and only present in patches – it was easy to sail out of it, then it took a lot of effort to get back to it, so we didn’t try to go far. However, three other crews were more determined. Aurors, Windisfree and Barquita came out and let the current waft them off to the east. Hours later they returned from the west, having successfully circumnavigated the island with only a little help from the infernal combustion motor.

Coming back in, we passed the Calkin Wherry and the Nimble out sailing too.


The Nimble


The Wherry


James, sailing Rowan

James, sailing Rowan

James let me beg my way onto Rowan to see how she went. Once I learned to use the push-pull tiller stick, I found her very easy to sail. James says he has used that type of steering on three double-enders now and wouldn’t have anything else. It allows him to steer from almost anywhere on board, making for better weight distribution. I took a try with the oars too, and found that for a twenty-footer she rows very easily, one man could row her all day without straining. A great boat, and fast – if I didn’t already have a Chebacco, I would be seriously tempted!

Saturday night was our first-ever organized happening, a wine and cheese event. We spent the whole evening around the table and campfire enjoying good food, good drink and good company. We even had a couple of speeches, including the presentation of a six pack of Chuck’s home brew to the round-the-island sailors. Lynn Watson picked up his guitar and gave us an eclectic mix of tunes and songs. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately!) no one could remember all the words to Barrett’s Privateers – there’s your homework for next year, ladies and gents.

Sunday was another day of light wind. A few crews had to leave in order to be at work on Monday morning. Bluster and Java went north, Josh and Anika Colvin’s Montgomery 15 and the Nicolaisen family’s Nimble went south, for Anacortes. Rowan, the Benford catboat and the Calkins wherry also turned southwards for Bellingham, although Bill and Sandy in the wherry planned to stop overnight at Matia Island, just a couple of miles to the southeast. Kirk Coleman also left on Sunday, heading back to Vancouver Island.

A few folk took advantage of the trails to go hiking. Three of us went out to the clifftop on the southernmost point on the southwest side of Fossil Bay. As we took in the view, we engaged in much deep philosophical discussion but were unable to come up with a good reason why so many power cruisers appear to be modeled on hi-tech running shoes.

Looking for a simpler view of life, we returned to the beach and went sailing. Terry and Patricia Lesh joined Alan and I in Wayward Lass, and sailed out in company with Joe Nelson’s Core Sound sharpie, Blew-By-You. At some point, I don’t remember just when, the expedition developed into a race around Matia Island, with Blew-By-You andWayward Lass setting off first, with Full Gallop, who had come out earlier, chasing us from windward.

I don’t have a picture of Blew-by-You sailing, but here she is at the beach, beside Lynn Watson’s modified Drascombe Peterboat,Katie Mae.

I don’t have a picture of Blew-by-You sailing, but here she is at the beach, beside Lynn Watson’s modified Drascombe Peterboat,Katie Mae.

A potentially awkward situation, but we were saved from any embarrassment by the competition losing interest. Chuck, in Full Gallop, went off to the east and appeared to be caught by the north-flowing tide. Joe, in Blew-By-You, landed at the nearer (the northwest) end of Matia instead of going around. In Wayward Lass we fired up the engine and motored slowly down the southeast shore. At the other end we found a long narrow bay with a shingle beach, where we beached ourselves to go ashore and stretch our legs. This would make a good anchorage for two or three small boats as long as the wind didn’t blow from the southeast.At first, Wayward Lass’ chances looked good. With the spinnaker, we had the edge on the Core Sound in the light wind, and Chuck was still well behind although closing fast. However, Wayward Lass’ skipper made a major tactical error, sailing into the lee of Matia, losing the wind and any hope of finishing, never mind winning.


Here’s my favourite view of Full Gallop. Unfortunately, I’m seeing more and more of her stern these days. That big jib is very effective….

After our run ashore, we continued around the island, turning into the bay at the northwest end for a closer look at a small power cruiser that Terry lusted after. We saw Bill and Sandy’s wherry anchored in this bay, but didn’t see them. Then it was back to Sucia for dinner and another evening around the campsite, although with a now much-reduced company.

Next morning was going-home time. We packed up and loaded Wayward Lass, then motored out of Fossil Bay until next year. We waved goodbye to the guys going south then pointed our own bows west, shutting down the motor shortly after. We had 5 to 8 knots of wind, going against the tide at about 45 degrees. The 2 miles or so to the tip of Orcas Island, where the south-bound tide split south-east and south-west, was slow going, but once past that we had the southwest-going current with us. The wind was also improving, so we were soon moving well. Chuck and Dean in Full Gallop and Darrell Pepper in Barquita were in sight to the north, heading for Pender Island and a few days’ cruising in Canadian waters. They were close-hauled and having a tougher time of it than we were. We hailed Full Gallop on the VHF to say good-bye, but it was a short call as they had to sign off and concentrate on some big waves just about then.

Once past the tip of Orcas, we were following the same path as the tide which was ebbing strongly. As we passed through Spieden Channel, the wind was blocked entirely by the land and our speed through the water dropped to zero, but over the ground we were still making 5 knots! This highlighted the importance of using the tides in these waters, and not trying to fight them. As soon as we were through Spieden, the wind came back, now from the south. This put us close hauled on the starboard tack, pointing about southwest, but a new current was coming down a different route, from the north west, combining with our course through the water to make our GPS track due south, right down the middle of Haro Strait.

This lasted until the tide changed, but by then we were close to the Vancouver Island shore, where a stray current continued south (this was according to the current atlas, a very detailed, hour by hour tidal prediction). This eddy helped us along the shore as we short-tacked to stay out of the main current of what was now a north-bound flood tide. The last obstacle was getting through Baynes Channel, the north entrance to Oak Bay and one where the tide flows very strongly. Wayward Lass punched through the eddy line off the point like a whitewater kayak, immediately turning away from the wind to let out the sheets. We crept along close to the rocks until we were out of the current, then sailed on home. When we docked, we had sailed 28 miles in 7 hours.

And that was the end of our part in another great Sucia rendezvous.

PS: During that last evening around the fire, the annual Shipyard Raid, from Silva Bay to Port Townsend, (see came up for discussion. Before we knew it, we were talking about holding our own version of a raid – a cruise in company where each crew would be responsible for its own safety and supplies, and with less emphasis on racing. We’ll post some details, once we figure them out, on the Small Boat Rendezvous website at

PPS: I don’t always carry my camera, and I didn’t take pictures of every boat at the rendezvous. More pics can be found on the website above. Follow the Sucia link and click on Who’s Coming.


Tartlet, a Chebacco-sized tender – Jamie Orr

At the Sucia small boat rendezvous this year I gave Tartlet, my new tender, her first real test. Here’s my description of her and how she performed.

Tartlet was conceived shortly after designer and friend Chuck Merrell put up free plans for Apple Pie, an eight foot dinghy, on his website. I asked him if chopping off two feet would result in a workable boat, as I wanted a tender that would fit crosswise inside Wayward Lass’ cockpit for travelling. He promptly replied with a six foot design that we called Apple Tart – being a smaller Apple Pie. (And Tartlet is even smaller, hence the name.)

I should have done my measuring first, before I emailed Chuck. When I did measure the space available, I found that a slightly shorter dinghy might be easier to lift in and out of the cockpit without marking up my paint, so when I cut out the pieces I chopped 3 inches off the bow. (I put back an inch or two by raising the transoms, for appearance sake). I did the chopping by drawing the sides and bottom as designed, then measured back three inches along chine and sheer for the finished shape. The forward transom was redrawn using the actual measurements of the chopped pieces. So Tartlet’s lines are true to the design, they just end three inches sooner than planned.

To keep her a light as possible, the hull was made from 1/8th inch ply. Instead of the “normal” thwarts shown on the plans, she has a single seat running lengthwise. No frames were used, instead I laminated the gunwales to provide just enough stiffness. She finished out at 30 pounds exactly.



How she performs:

Towing: She tows very nicely. The towing ring is right at the bottom of the forward transom, bolted through the seat support. She has a lot of rocker and when towed behind the outboard at 5 knots the bow comes up and she skims along on the after part of her bottom. She didn’t take in any spray, and also stayed dry when towed while we were sailing close-hauled with a reef tied in, over a steep chop.

Rowing: She goes extremely well for such a tiny beast, she has no skeg but rows nicely without it. Her small size is a bit of a problem to me as I’m six feet tall with arthritic knees, so I sit sort of side-saddle on the fore and aft thwart. My friend Chris, three or four inches shorter, can sit in the usual position. With two, she works really well. For this, the oarsman sits aft against the stern transom, rowing her backwards, and the passenger sits forward, facing him. With a transom at either end, rowing backwards doesn’t look or feel odd at all. A heavy passenger can sit closer to the centre to keep the boat trimmed.

Here’s my favourite view of Full Gallop. Unfortunately, I’m seeing more and more of her stern these days. That big jib is very effective….image006 image010image010
Stowing: She’s intended to fit across the cockpit, and she fits very nicely, taking up about half the space. I may add a very small skeg, just deep enough so I can cut out a hole to use in lashing her down. With that, and the towing ring at the other end, she’d be well secured. I raised the transoms slightly and left the tops of the straight so they sit firmly when she’s upside down. Despite all this planning, though, I’ve found that she fits inside my van so I have just been carrying her there.

And sailing (!): I didn’t build a sailing rig, but I shared the Apple Tart plans with Chuck Gottfried, which I shouldn’t really have done (Chuck Merrell is a nice guy and didn’t ream me out as he was entitled to). Anyway, Chuck G. built his Apple Tart (called Trot) to the plans, then went on to add a small lugsail and leeboard. He uses an oar for a rudder.Trot sails surprisingly well, I’ve tried her myself and she even sailed to windward for me. If you are a bit more limber than I, you could have some fun with this and perhaps give Chuck G. a little competition!

Conclusions: The Apple Tart design may not be for everyone – there’s not a lot of room and any six foot dinghy is going to be on the tender side. However, it’s a great little boat for a six footer. My Tartlet does everything she was intended to do and does it well, including carrying 400+ pounds of skipper and crew ashore and back at Sucia, numerous times, which I thought was pretty good going.

Anyone interested in building their own Apple Tart should email Chuck Merrell at If asked nicely, he might even customize it for you. Or you could ask about the original Apple Pie, or the ten foot version he designed for Bill Samson they called Peach Pie.

Chebacco News 51

News, questions, and boats for sale.


Lots of good contributions this issue. Been awhile since the last one, been busy, very busy. Franticaly putting in a shop and making room in house for what a friend of mine calls my re-wife.

No burning questions pending, and no boats for sale that I know of.

Enjoy the issue, and happy holidays

Chebacco Richard


Chebacco’s for sale:


Some Pictures – David Nedder

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I have plenty of coaches.


Due to our drought conditions, the lake level is about 12″ below normal. The anchor holder looks a bit off, but when I let go of the anchor rode,down it goes down immediately. The anchor can remain installed while trailering.


Normally the boat floats off of the trailer at this launch site.


Now ready to swing around to the pier.


Pier Side.jpg


My iron wind is somewhat recalcitrant.


The Pewaukee Lack Yacht was holding a regatta that day. Mid August my brother and I took our families out to Pewaukee Lake for a cruise. The winds were moderate 5-10 MPH with an occasional gust to 12. Since my wife is not an enthusiastic sailor, I keep the pucker factor as low as possible. In moderate wind I can seat my guests so that the only ballast I shift is myself. This makes for an enjoyable cruise.

Pewaukee lake is about 5-6 miles long and about 1.5 miles at its widest. It has small islands and the winds tend to swirl and take a somewhat circular path. I can set the main and mizzen for neutral helm and “Mary-Beth, too” will sail in a large arc for about 30-40 minutes before changing tack.

Attached are some pictures taken of the “Mary Beth too” sailing.

<palign=”left”>It was light air on Pewaukee Lake at the end of August. The photographer is Lloyd Schultz of Madison, WI. He can take beautiful pictures on an overcast day.

Happy New Year.



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Photos – Bill Jones

Hello Richard,

Here are a few photos for the next edition of the Chebacco News. The Carol Leigh was started in September 2003 and launched June 2005. I have not had her out much due to weather and schedule conflicts, but the little time on the water we have had has been quite enjoyable. Some quick GPS readings indicated a maximum speed of 7 knots once the wind kicked up a little.

There are lots of construction photos and notes at


Construction is of ½ inch marine fir ply and mainly douglas fir dimensional lumber. The hatch covers and CB trunk brightwork is white oak.


Preparing to pull out of the fine facilities at the Grey’s Point Campground in Topping, Va.


Here we are approaching the mouth of the Rappahannock River as it enters the Chesapeake Bay. We chose this point for the naming ceremony as it was too busy at the dock. Visible in the foreground is one of the wooden blocks I made for the Carol Leigh.


A nice shot of the fleet admiral relaxing on her namesake flagship.


Lapstrake Raised Deck Build update – Ben Ho

Hello Richard,

Almost 18 months after I ordered the Chebacco plan from PCB, and one year after I cut the first piece of marine plywood, my lapstrake hull is finally finished and turned over. The hull was completed in June, and then sanding, fairing, epoxying, painting…took the whole summer. The unusual tropical heat we had this summer in Ontario didn’t help. Here are some pictures.


Hull is done, waterline struck with a laser pointer, working on the bottom finish with epoxy mixed with graphite and green pigment. As it turned out, the black from the graphite pretty well overrides the green, so the resulting color is very-dark green. It took a few tries before I got the hang of rolling on epoxy with a smooth finish.


Here’s what the hull looks like after 5 coats of epoxy, 2 coats of primer, and 2 coats of Interlux paint. I use System Three for epoxy and primer. The primer is wonderful stuff – it hides small imperfection well and sands easily. The sheer strake is left unpainted.


The big moment! The turn-over crew is preparing to get the hull out from the garage. The widest part is about 1” wider than the garage, so the whole setup needs to be tilted first.


The hull is built on a strong-back with casters, so it rolls around easily.


With six guys it was surprisingly easy to lift it up by 90 degrees. The safety rope prevents it from accidentally rolled all the way. The frame and temporary molds are still solidly attached to the hull to provide rigidity.


Roll-over complete, the hull is sitting on nice soft grass. Now the frame is taken off….


And the hull lifted up and put back on the frame, right side up!


And pushed back into the garage.


And ready for the interior work. Now the fun begins!!


Super Sail – Charles Gottfried

While there is no question that Bolger’s Chebaccos are among the finest sailing, most beautiful and most versatile boats in the (known) world, that’s not to say improvements can’t be made. I was recently persuaded to enter my boat in the Shipyard Raid, a staged race from Gabriola Island, BC, to Pt. Townsend, WA., and decided that I’d attempt to optimize a few things to squeeze that last bit of speed out of Full Gallop, my sheet ply chebacco. The first thing that came to mind was: More Sail!


Figure 1 – Full Gallop at Sucia Island

An optional jib is shown on the plans, approximately 25 square feet in area, and recommended to be set flying from the stemhead. Since I had a perfectly lovely 2’ bowsprit fitted, primarily to carry an anchor, I decided that the standard jib would probably not set right, being carried too far forward. Additionally, others have reported that their jibs didn’t seem to enhance performance very much, if at all, and were a pain to set up. Some head scratching followed…

I didn’t have precise angles or sizes figured, but I did have the dimensions of the standard jib. Through calculations of center of resistance, center of effort, prismatic coefficient, and righting moment, along with making magic signs and uttering the sacred incantations, I expertly re-sized the stock jib sailplan.

Actually, I guessed.

I kept the leech and luff the same length, and increased the foot dimension, from 4’ to 8’. This increased the size of the sail to about 50 square feet, and helped move the center of effort (CE) for the sail back, to counter the effect of the bowsprit moving it forward. My intent was to keep the CE about the same, and since the sprit moved the CE forward 2’, the increase in the foot, to 8’ should move it back to about the same place, more or less. I hoped.

I spoke with the good folks at Sailrite, the sail kit manufacturers, with whom I have done business before. They’re experts on sails, kits, materials, and making things work well. Jeff Grant advised me that the standard jib arrangement on the standard boat probably didn’t work well because the ‘slot’ between the sail luff and the mast was so small that it probably channeled little wind to the mainsail, and may have even hindered the effectiveness. He further pointed out that, flown from the bowsprit, that problem would lessen, at least somewhat. The further forward from the mast the jib would set, the better for efficiency. It made sense.

Chebaccos’ front deck is tiny, especially if its pitching and rolling in a seaway. Since I didn’t want to have to try to stretch out to the end of the bowsprit to attach the sail to a forestay, I decided to set the sail ‘flying’. This involves incorporating the wire stay into the sail luff, instead of fastening it between the masthead and bowsprit. This wire-reinforced sail is then attached to halyards that hoist not only the top of the sail, but can pull in the tack as well, from a block on the end of the bowsprit. This let me lead halyards back to the cockpit, attach the sail tack and head, and haul it out to set on the sprit. Both top and bottom halyards can be tightened, and the sail is drawn as tight as possible. The sheets are rigged in the conventional manner, thru blocks lashed to eyes on the coachroof, and then to cleats. Now, with a little practice, I can set and strike the sail while standing in the opened hatchway, safe from spray and a potential swim from the foredeck.


I initially set the sail on a June afternoon with 8 mph sustained winds, with some gusts. It set perfectly the first time, and after messing about with temporary blocks to carry the sheets, I headed across the lake. It had been a while since my last sail, but I immediately felt the improvement in speed. Shortly, I was joined by a lazer sailor, who admired the boat, and, sailing next to me, coached me in fine-tuning the sail. The tweaks made some improvements, and were easily accommodated with the moveable blocks I’d put together (they were on loops of line that could be attached to coachroof or beam-mounted cleats). Eventually, I found that I could outsail the lazer on some points of sail, which surprised both of us “Hey, I’ve raced at the Lazer Nationals, and this is a fast boat. And you’re pulling away!”.

In hindsight, the sail could be made even larger, by as much as an additional 12”-16” on both the leech and luff. The 8’ foot seems about right, tho. I’m not certain how wise that much additional sail would be, except in very light winds. In the end, I’m pleased with the sail as it is, and even without the extra area, the improvements are noticeable. I can’t speak highly enough about the Sailrite folks – the kit was great, done quickly, and at just over $200, the price was right. Now, I’m just waiting to hear how good it looks from behind, as told to me by the other Shipyard raiders.


Sucia 2005, and a cruise through the San Juan Islands – Jamie Orr

It was a dark and stormy night….

And noon the day after wasn’t looking too hot either, as Dad and I stowed our gear in Wayward Lass, our faithful Chebacco, and backed her down into the waters of Sidney Channel. It was Friday, July 8th, and we were off to the 2005 Small Boat Rendezvous in the San Juan Islands. The weather forecast said we might get winds up to 25 knots, so we put in one reef just for luck.

But when we left the wind was still about 15 knots and was perfect for a beam reach to the northern tip of Sidney Spit, three miles away. We used this relatively sheltered stretch to get organized, and get into our foul weather suits as we expected some spray while crossing Haro Strait, between Sidney Island and the San Juans.

Sure enough, once we rounded the end of the spit, we started to feel the effect of the wind blowing unchecked up the Strait, and before long we had the second reef tied in. It was slow going for a while, sailing to windward over a bumpy sea. However, it didn’t last and by 1:45 we shook out both reefs and started to make better time. The log shows that our top speed was over 6 knots, but by the time we reached the entrance to Roche Harbor the wind was gone and we had to motor in to the customs dock, then out again for the second leg of our trip. (It’s about 10 miles from Sidney to Roche, and another 15 to Sucia. There is a rough map of the islands at the very end of this tale.)

The wind came back then, although not as strongly, and the tide was under us, so it didn’t take long to sail down Spieden Channel to President Channel, running northeast between Waldron and Orcas islands with Sucia visible right ahead. We still had the tide, as well as a southerly wind that was just right for the whole (unreefed) sail. The clouds rolled away and I crawled out of my damp foulies, but I had jumped the gun, and was putting them back on half an hour later. Still, it was nice to have a chance to air out, even briefly.

The rain came and went, but the wind stayed fairly steady, and we arrived at Sucia in the early evening. This year we were rendezvous-ing (is that a word?) in Fox Cove, but as we came through the entrance we saw only one boat on the beach, Jim Ballou’s Mill Creek kayak, with Jim standing on the grass above it, waving vigorously. He’d crossed from Orcas the morning before, and it had been so rough since then that he was wondering if anyone else was going to show up!


Jim Ballou’s Mill Creek kayak

We didn’t realize it then, but others had already shown up. There were two or three keelboats moored in the bay that were part of our group, but as I recall, we didn’t meet their crews until the following day. These were, I think: Doug and Will from Olympia in their Ranger 23; Thea and Mike Schifsky in their “overgrown H-28”, Raven. And I believe Ryan Shellborn, with his children Thompson and Emily, was already there too, in his 37 foot steel ketch Makoolis.

And there were more coming – before nightfall, Greg and Shelley Stoll arrived in their MacGregor 21, Windisfree, accompanied by Andrew Linn in his Newport 16, Aurors. The final arrivals for the day were Jay Kammerzell and his son in their homebuilt Bolger Micro.


A view to the west, showing Greg and Shelley relaxing in their campsite, with Andrew Linn standing.

My memory is hazy about who arrived when, but I think everyone else arrived on Saturday afternoon. In no particular order, they were:

Chuck Gottfried and Dean Bishop in Chuck’s Chebacco Full Gallop;

John Kohnen in his Footloose skiff, Pickle;

Frank Mabrey in his MFG runabout;

Randy Wheating in his Chebacco Bluster, with his wife Lisa and sons Jacob and Samuel;

Peter Binley and family in their newly-acquired San Juan 23, Java;

Ron Mueller in his 20 foot Jarcat; and

Bill and Sandy Childs in their 19 foot Bartender.

(I wasn’t thinking ahead, so I don’t have pictures of all of the15 boats in attendance. I’ve posted some at the end, just before the map – my thanks to John Kohnen for letting me use so many of his photos.)


And here we all are – isn’t that a happy looking bunch? (John Kohnen photo)

Before everyone else arrived, some of us went out for a sail. Jim came along with Dad and I on Wayward Lass, and Windisfree and Aurors were also out. We patrolled between Sucia and Orcas, hoping to meet some of the Saturday arrivals, but were too early and were back in the cove for lunch before they came. The trip over was enough time on the water for most folks, and the rest of the afternoon and evening were spent socializing and admiring each others’ boats. The weather co-operated and we all had a fine time. Greg and Shelley Stoll’s campfire was a gathering point in the evening – I think about half the crews were camped ashore.

Here’s some of the crowd sitting around the campfire as the day ends.


Sunday dawned clear, with nearly everyone looking forward to a lazy day. However, Andrew had to leave that morning, to be back at work on Monday. Things were looking good as he left but a powerful headwind came up shortly after, causing him to have a very long day. His description of it is posted on the Western Oregon Messabout list, the URL appears at the end of this account. Meanwhile, the three Chebaccos, Bluster, Wayward Lass and Full Gallop, plus Jay in his Micro were out sailing together, a real Bolger crowd. We didn’t do any racing, though, we settled for just messing about.



Here’s Randy and family in Bluster, and Jay and his son in their Micro.

The wind, while we were outside the cove, was from the north. This, combined with a strong current running southeast kept us from sailing north around the island. It also discouraged us from going very far to the south as we would have had a tough time getting back the cove again, so there was no expedition to another island this year. No one seemed to miss it, though, perhaps because the trip over had been more demanding.

Monday morning, it was time for everyone to leave. One by one they said their goodbyes, pulled up their anchors or pushed off the beach and headed out of the cove. Jim Ballou was the first, we watched him as he paddled the two and a half miles to Orcas Island. Conditions were good for the crossing, but that Mill Creek looked awfully small out there! Most boats were headed southeast to the Lummi ramp or Bellingham, but Wayward Lass, Full Gallop and Makoolis were bound the other way, southwest down President Channel to start a few days cruise in the San Juans.

Pulling up our own anchor, we sailed out of the cove, then paused to watch the remainder of the group leaving. John Kohnen in Pickle, and Frank Mabrey in his MFG runabout, were the very last to go. They didn’t know it yet, but the same wind that made Andrew’s trip a tough slog was going to do the same for Monday’s sailors. See more URLs at the end for details.

With a final wave to John and Frank, our mini-fleet turned southwest and spread its wings. We had a moderate breeze from the south, but sailing close-hauled we were soon separated as each boat and helmsman followed their own path. Wayward Lass was to windward, while Full Gallop was slightly off the wind, presumably to keep her big jib drawing. Makoolis was in the rear – can’t remember why, but Ryan was more or less sailing single handed as his kids aren’t very big, and he had some big sails to handle.

I don’t know if you could call it a race between Wayward Lass and Full Gallop, but we were two similar boats going the same direction, so draw your own conclusions. I know that we in Wayward Lass were keeping a sharp eye on Full Gallop. Both Chebaccos were sailing well and as the wind strengthened, we started to wonder if we could take the time for a reef, or if it would put us irretrievably behind. Wayward Lass had a slight lead but as we drew closer to Waldron Island, it became apparent that the time for reefing was now, not later, so we pointed Wayward Lass into the wind to heave to and we reefed as quickly as we could.

With its cat-yawl rig, a Chebacco doesn’t heave to in the normal way. What I do, and I think most Chebacco sailors do, is point straight into the wind, and sheet the mizzen on the centreline, while letting the mainsheet run loose – it also helps to have the centreboard down. This will keep usually keep her pointing upwind, but allows her to sail backwards. I’ve clocked Wayward Lass at 3 knots, going dead astern, so it’s not a method you should use for riding out a storm. However, it’s more than adequate for reefing or for finding that hidden thermos for a hot drink. One other thing, the rudder should be centred as well, or the boat will veer off to one side or the other. I do this in Wayward Lass by dropping the tiller into a slot cut in the floor boards for the purpose.

Back to President Channel — Full Gallop had stopped to take in a reef too, so our relative positions were unchanged. Wayward Lass was now sailing more easily although there was still some spray flying at times. Looking back at Makoolis, we could see she had heaved to as well, presumably also to reef. Ryan confirmed this later, saying his crew preferred not to sail at too great an angle. Working on his own in that big ketch made reefing a longer job, so Makoolis fell behind before she started sailing again.

Meanwhile, we were now well into the channel between Waldron and Orcas, with Waldron Island to leeward. We could soon see that Wayward Lass was going to get through without tacking, but Full Gallop, being to leeward, had to tack out towards the centre of the channel, putting her well behind. (However, Full Gallop exacted a terrible revenge later in the summer, during the Shipyard Raid….)

From the eastern end of Waldron, we could see the passage between Jones and Orcas Islands directly south of us. We continued on to the southwest a little longer, until we thought we could point at the passage, then tacked. We found we hadn’t gone quite far enough, but the ebbing tide was pushing us still further southwest, so we hoped that would compensate for our early turn.

Makoolis had finished reefing some time before, and was now sailing down the channel towards us. I was amazed at how close to the wind she was sailing – I’d always understood that ketches were not close-winded at all. She was also making excellent speed through the water.


Here’s Makoolis storming along, with Full Gallop hot on her tail.

As we approached the passage between Jones and Orcas (and yes, the tide had given us a nice boost to windward) and started tacking through it, Makoolis continued to gain at a great rate, tacking through unbelievably small angles. And I shouldn’t have believed it – Ryan had had the engine going ever since he stopped to reef. Just idling along, but it had let him sail much closer to the wind than he could have without it, and it boosted his speed as well. A great demonstration of effective motor-sailing, and he certainly had me fooled.

Passing Steep Point on Orcas, we came into sight of Deer Harbor and into more sheltered water. The wind dropped to about five knots, bringing an end to one of the truly great sails, one of the best we’ve had in Wayward Lass.

I wanted to go right into the dock to refill the gas and water tanks. We hadn’t used the engine much, but I had given away a gallon of gas at Sucia, and had spilled almost as much in the transfer (a siphon hose would be a useful (and green) thing to carry in future). The landward side of the fuel dock looked empty, so we slipped past another wharf sticking out from the shore and prepared to make a wide turn and come alongside.

As we turned, though, we saw the reason for all the space — a line of “wet paint” signs stood along the dock, so we aborted and headed back outside.

However, all was not lost. I’d seen a Chebacco-sized space at the very far end of the dock, the windward end. This would be a little harder to get into since the land not only turned the wind, but blocked most of it, leaving us only a light air from the north, dead on Wayward Lass’ nose as she edged in again. This meant we had to tack several times in the narrow space between the dock and the shore. As we got nearer our goal, we gained less and less on each tack, until we didn’t seem to make any progress. I think there must also have been a very slight current coming from further up the harbour that confounded our efforts.

In frustration, on the next tack towards the dock I let out several feet of mainsheet. Perhaps we had a gust of wind at the same time, I don’t know, but Wayward Lass surged forward towards the line of parked boats. I could feel weather helm and didn’t think we could turn downwind in time to clear the boats, so I went with the flow and put the helm down. Wayward Lass turned neatly into the wind and although the sails lost their drive, the speed we’d picked up carried us nicely up towards our berth. The burst of speed had also caught the eye of one of the dock attendants, who came a-running to stop us T-boning someone’s runabout, but no fending off was necessary and he only took our line as we squeezed past the last boat and up to the dock.

It’s all in the attitude – I just behaved as if I’d meant to do that. We even got a couple of compliments on our boat-handling. (Har!)

Once we were fueled and watered, we cast off again, still under sail (well, we had to keep up appearances, didn’t we?). Makoolis had anchored by then, just south of the marina, and Full Gallop was rafted alongside. We did the same on the other side.

Like a Mama Duck and a pair of fat ducklings.

On the green Chebacco, Jamie Orr standing, Les Orr sitting; in the middle, Thompson, Emily and Ryan Shellborn; and Chuck Gottfried on the right. Dean Bishop is behind the camera.

Fine job there, Dean!


The next day was calm, so we motored south and east from Deer Harbour. Shortly after we passed the village of Orcas, a gentle breeze came up, lasting long enough to carry us north around Shaw Island and down between Canoe Island and Flat Point on Lopez. The wind died away then, and since the tide was turning against us, we started engines again and motored the last mile or two into Fisherman Bay


Here’s a shot of Full Gallop with her new jib. It didn’t seem to make a huge difference on this trip, but was very effective later in the Shipyard Raid – I guess Chuck got her all figured out in the interim!

It’s “set flying”, instead of being hanked to a headstay, so it’s harder to get a tight luff, necessary for effective windward work.

Here I suffered a major disappointment. I’d heard great things about Holly B’s Bakery, and her cinnamon buns – imagine my shock when we learned that the bakery was closed on Tuesdays! We consoled ourselves with cinnamon treats at a restaurant instead, but it wasn’t the same. There’s definitely another trip to Fisherman Bay in my future!

On Wednesday morning, Ryan and his young crew turned Makoolis south towards Cattle Point, at the bottom of San Juan Island, to sail up the west shore looking for Orcas (the killer whales, not the village or the island.) Full Gallop and Wayward Lass went north instead, around the top of Lopez, then out into Rosario Strait to James Island. Both Chuck and I wanted to see James as it was one of the scheduled stops for the Shipyard Raid in September, and both Chebaccos were signed up. We anchored for a short time there, but it’s a poor anchorage, so we motored into the nearby sandy bay on Decatur Island. There we celebrated the sunset with margaritas and other tequila-based rituals. (The Raid didn’t use James either, in the end, but went south to Watmough Bight, a much better anchorage and a jumping off spot for the crossing to Port Townsend.)


Margaritaland!! aka Full Gallop with your hosts, Chuck and Dean

We were nearing the end of our time. In the morning, we said goodbye to Full Gallop’s crew who were bound north and east to Bellingham Channel. It being calm, Wayward Lass motored north up the west side of Rosario Strait to Obstruction Pass then west through the islands again. As we neared the passage between Shaw and Orcas once more, a northerly wind came up and we finished the day with a good sail back to Deer Harbor.

The next morning, our last, was also calm and we started off under power again. We had a look in at Jones Island, another planned Raid stop and an attractive anchorage. A light wind came up from behind (the east) and we sailed slowly along the south side of Spieden Channel. Halfway through the channel, the wind grew confused, but eventually settled in the northwest and we were able to clear the channel before the tide turned. Then we had another slow sail across Haro Strait to just south of Forrest Island, near Sidney Island, where the wind finally left us and we started the motor again. A short time later we were officially back in Canada, ready to go home.

There was one small hiccup that I mention as a warning to others. I must have backed in too far when we launched the week before, and the salt water caused enough corrosion in that short time that the left rear wheel on my van wouldn’t turn.. I tried driving to force it loose, but it just scraped along so I called a tow truck to haul the van to Sidney Tire. The guys there took the wheel off, then whaled away on the brake drum (?) with a big mallet. My kind of mechanics! This freed things up in no time, and there was no damage to be found. They said it wasn’t worth charging for, so three cheers for Sidney Tire! We soon had Wayward Lass on the trailer, and that was the end of our San Juan adventure.

As it was last year, the Small Boat Rendezvous is well documented:

· Andrew Linn’s journey home is at

· John Kohnen also described his trip

· Randy Wheating’s account is in the July 16 Chebacco page ( if you’re not reading this on the Chebacco page)

· Greg Stoll is publishing his story in Duckworks, the URL for the third part is and this has links to the first two parts.

· While it’s not part of this story, I’ve mentioned the Shipyard Raid. You can read about it, and what is planned for 2006, at, which has links to published articles about it.

And here’s a few more photographs of some of the rendezvous boats:

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Bill’s Bartender (John Kohnen photo)

Bluster and Fib (John Kohnen photo)

Frank’s MGF Runabout (John Kohnen photo)

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Mike and Thea’s Raven (John Kohnen photo)

Jay’s Micro (John Kohnen photo)

Ryan’s Makoolis (John Kohnen photo)


This is a map of the San Juan Islands I stole from, so go visit their site sometime. It shows the islands very nicely – Sidney, on Vancouver Island, is off to the west as shown. Lummi Island and Bellingham are southwest of Sucia. The red lines show Wayward Lass’ track, you’ll have to read the text to tell which way we’re going, and when, since we doubled back now and then.


Messabouts, Buildings, and Boat storage – Richard Spelling

Here are some pictures from the Arkansas messabout this summer, and a few others. It went over much better than my attempts to have Oklahoma Messabouts. Probably because, on the face of it, I’m not a very sociable person. I like specific people just fine, but not strangers, and certainly not crowds of them. When I go to messabouts I have to force myself to talk to other boat builders, which is the whole reason for going to messabouts! Not a great formula for an event host. Phil Lea doesn’t have this problem. He even married a politician, or a “political advisor”. But then again, I married a preacher, so that probably doesn’t say a whole lot. There were more boats here than I have pictures of, and I only remember a few names. (I am absolutely HORRIBLE with names). So I apologize if I don’t name your boat in the picture. Feel free to send me an email and I will identify you and your boat. Anyway, to pictures.

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Some pictures of the local abandoned park. You can sort of get to it by road, but the road leading down to the park has been closed off, so you can only get to within a mile or so of it. The best way is to go by water. It used to be tradition in our family to take the boat here on the 4th of July and watch the fireworks on the lake.

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Phil Lea in his Junebug, in the hot dead calm on lake Dardanelle.


JM in his traditional double paddle boat pose


I was convinced this was a production boat. It’s not, it’s a homebuilt, custom, fiberglass job. Neat


cooling tower. LEXX in the for-ground


Max’s AF4. Took it for a spin, nice boat. Totally different than a sailboat. You can actually go places.

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extreme carbon fiber double paddle canoe. Phil about to try it.

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Phil tries it.

What does it say about the modern world when the most successful advertising for something on ebay is “not the cheap stuff you get at Wal-Mart”? My gray plastic “super tarp” bought on ebay, specifically “not cheap Wal-Mart tarp”, is actually holding up nicely. Better than the expensive nylon/Cordova one, even. Should get another year or two out of it.

By then I will have the overhang on the side of the shop built for the boat. Yes. I spent the last few months in a frantic effort (needed to get the machine shop out of the spare bedroom) to build a shop, something I’ve been planning for years. Collecting parts for, drawing layouts of, etc. It’s 18ft x 35ft with 10ft tall walls. Even put in insulation (which, oddly enough, you put on BEFORE you put the sheet metal on). It could have been bigger, but it’s “cozy”, and easy to heat and cool. The upside is that I now have a 10 foot tall wall that’s 35 feet long to build a shed roof onto, and enclose a nice spot to park the boat. I even have plans for the building’s first paint job, it’s going to get a camo finish, to match the winter woods. In the summer you can’t see the building from the road because of the leaves on the trees, but in the winter you can, sort of. Hence the paint job. Even have a camo key for the building!

And I’m stretching my metal storage shed out as well.

Why the need for all the additional space? Well, the wife is taking a sabbatical from the preaching business, and moving in with me. So we will then only have two homes to maintain! Then she is going to start looking for a position elsewhere. She calls is “sending her papers worldwide”.

My job is going fine, even if it’s 100 miles from my house. (and new shop!) I sometimes get frustrated with the red tape from working for Uncle, but other than that it’s going ok. (we have a saying at work. “They give you a spoon, and tell you to build a castle. Then they hide the spoon). I’m getting pretty disgusted with the prospects for a job in Tulsa, so if the wife finds something “worldwide”, I would be open to relocating.

As I told her when I re-married her, my only requirements are a place to park the boat, and a shop. A man must have priorities, after all!

Chebacco News 50

News, questions, and boats for sale.


Been a busy summer for me, and apparently for everyone else as well.  The last couple of months it’s just been too hot to go sailing, though I may make it out today.

Not a whole lot of contributions this issue, but the few we have are very good. Enjoy.

Chebacco Richard


Chebacco’s for sale:


A Summer of Boating – Richard Spelling

In preparation for the much anticipated messabout in Port Lavaca, I decided it would not necessarily be a bad idea to check the boat and trailer out, before I towed them 1200 miles.

Matagorda Bay is a huge body of water, at least when compared to most inlandlakes, with about a 10 mile fetch for the prevailing wind to push up waves.

Anticipating larger waves on the trip than I was used to, I decided to give the boat a workout at the only local lake that even approaches the conditions in Matagorda Bay. Oolagah, north of Tulsa, has about a 10 mile fetch running north-south, and is famous in the area for good sailing. On the morning of the Oolagah trip, the weather man was predicting light winds, but I decided I would ignore him and go anyway.

When I got there the wind was absolutely perfect for the trial, a steady 14 knots directly from the north, right down the length of the lake. I have a hard time judging wave size, but it was rough enough for the flat bottom of the boat to drop off about every third wave. I sailed to windward for about 4 hours, going the 10 miles or so to the hiway bridge on the other end of Oolagah, slamming and pounding and splashing the whole way. Much fun.

While doing this, I experimented with sheet to tiller self steering systems for the Chebacco. I have reservations about using them on an unballasted boat, but I tried anyway. Not much success, the sheet didn’t want to move the tiller, even though I’d spent hours making sure it turned freely. Finally connected a bungee to both sides (see pic), and that worked, after a fashion. When the boat fell off, the hydrodynamic pressure on the rudder would push the tiller over, and the boat would head up. When it headed up too much, the bungees would pull the tiller over the other way, and the boat would head down. This setup maintained 4-4.5 knots for hours on end. While I could have sailed a bit faster by hand, I enjoyed sitting there and watching the tiller move on its own, relaxing, and drinking Budweiser.

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The run back to the ramp was quite fun, and the boat got bounced around by the 2ft or so of chop. Enough chop that I got used to it, and built up more confidence in the boat– Which was kind of the whole reason for going out…

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The GPS came in pretty handy, too, as I wasn’t familiar with this lake at all, and would have taken a couple wrong turns without it.

Pulling the boat out, the winch post on the trailer snapped at my weld… one of these days I’m going to learn how to do that right. Anyway, was able to get the boat back on by bracing the winch with some wood, and rewelded it when I got back to the house. Another good reason to take the boat and trailer on a “trial” sail, I guess.

Part of the trip prep was to see how well the wife’s mini van pulled the boat, to make sure we wouldn’t have any problems taking the van to Texas. I pulled it to Pryor with the F350, and then we swapped tow vehicles and towed it to Grand Lake, to meet a friend of the family.

The van towed and launched the boat just fine. We sailed around a bit in light air, and got a couple of admiring comments from people in quarter million dollar boats, then headed back to the ramp.

The van pulled the boat out just fine, but after I got out to make sure the boat was sitting right on the trailer, I couldn’t get back into the van! I must have hit the lock button or something when I got out. So, the van is sitting there blocking the ramp, with the trailer half in and half out of the water, engine running, and all doors locked. How annoying.

Mique, my wife’s friend, drove her back to the house to get the spare key, and I had to sit there and explain to everyone who wanted to use the ramp that they couldn’t, and why… The most generous comment I got was “It happens to the best of us!”

The trip to Lavaca was uneventful, with the exception of the three or so times I had to pull out the GPS to verify where we were. Some of the road signs in Texas are problematic…

At the last gas stop, in Port Lavaca itself, there was a smaller production sailboat and a guy with a British accent there. (Cortez 16, Noel Nicholls, ed) The wife was curious, so I sent her over to ask directions. Not because I couldn’t find the place (we had the GPS), but so she could talk to the guy. ( Note from Pat –He neglects to mention I warned him that he had to be nice to people with plastic boat because not everyone is privileged enough to have a wooden boat!)

Noel and another fella were there setting up their boats when we got to the ramp. I pulled in behind them, setup Schoedinger, and pulled around them to the ramp… while they stood there with open mouths…

As I sail up to the van and our chosen pagoda, some guy on a huge production boat says “Hi, Richard”. Hey, I recognize that voice! It’s Tom Cole, down from Texoma, with his Shearwater 28, the replacement for his Micro 19.

While Tom is setting up to take me for a ride in his new boat, a container ship comes into port. I grab the camera and start taking pictures, pretty neat, it passes really close to the beach…

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Hey, is that a wake coming?

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Well, shit.

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No damage, but Pat says “After what I have just seen, I think my laptop will be safer in the van”

About the time for the Patagonia raid, Tom, George and I sailed over to Keller Bay to recon the area. Didn’t find a perfect spot, but the ocean side of the bay seemed to be doable. A very organic spot, with mussel clusters in the water, reeds in the salt marsh, etc. Very pretty, very nice. Then the sun set.

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One thing I didn’t consider, of course, was that “organic”, and “marsh”, mean mosquitoes. While not any bigger than the variety in Oklahoma, they certainly were more numerous… And they thought that the inside of the windows in Schroedinger was a perfect place to spend the night.

Having been warned, we had netting to sleep under. However, they seemed to be getting through it. While this was probably just a combination of my imagination, the itch from the salt from the water, etc, it was enough to keep Alana and I up, which kept everyone else up. Finally, Pat says “Take me to a hotel”.(Note from Pat— Richard gave in FIRST. This was his trip and I was bound and determine to tough it out. I went outside and wrapped myself in mosquito netting, folded myself up and laid with my face over the side of the boat where it was cool. It really wasn’t all that bad for me, but there were some hot and itchy people complaining all night. I laid there thinking things like.. “I wonder how much he values his marriage” and “I wonder how Richard could get home if I just get in the van and leave.” Fortunately, he is a man that is smart enough to know that if he was miserable, I was even more miserable. He did suggest that we sleep on the beach but I vetoed that and paid for the hotel and then refused to camp the rest of the weekend. He was secretly relieved to come back at night to a shower and a dry, comfortable bed.)

Here, of course, is where the GPS really came in handy. Pitch black and an unfamiliar shoreline, there was basically no way we could have headed back without the GPS. We motored back to the beach, packed the boat up, and rented a hotel room.

Seeing as one of the things this trip was to do is see if I could take everyone on the boat on a trip, I would have to consider it a failure in that respect.

The next day was the messabout, which was quite fun. I even enjoyed being sociable, and seeing all the boats. I got to sail Tom’s Shearwater, and Chuck’s Ladybug, the latter bringing back all kinds of memories. (Note from Pat –Richard did seem to enjoy himself and the shrimp Mary cooked and the boudin that Tom brought made the meal memorable for me. The boxed wine helped with the whole trip as well, LOL)

Later in the afternoon I made the perfect anchoring maneuver– Almost. I sailed up to the beach, raised the board, and let the sheet out. Then I threw the bow anchor over the stern when the boat was about 150 feet from shore. It spooled out, dragged a bit, and set at a perfect distance to spin the boat around. When the stern of the boat was spun around it was only 10 feet from shore, so I threw the stern anchor onto the beach and headed up front to take in the slack on the bow anchor. Perfect. Except I forgot to cleat off the stern anchor, so the rope spooled out and went in the drink!

During the messabout, someone commented on the name of my boat, and that only about 20% of the people out there would get the joke. I told him that his figures were way off, that more like 2% got it…

That afternoon, I had another chance to ride a big wake. Here comes that same ship, dragging another wake behind it! I hop in my boat, and turn it into the wave, pulling on the well set anchor for five minutes as NOTHING happens. No wave. No wake. Not even a ripple. Go figure.

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The trip back was relatively uneventful, we stopped and for lunch at a rest area, and met Mom for dinner when we passed her place.

The Midwest Messabout was only three weeks after Port Lavaca. Having learned my lesson from Lavaca, I took only one person with me to Rend lake. I had originally planned on driving there Thursday, but the transmission on my Tacoma went out and I spent Thursday putting a new one mostly in. Friday, Alana and I drove down in the spare truck.

It was almost dark when we launched, and the sun had set by the time we got to the messabout area. I visit for a bit, then proceed to set the anchors so we could get some sleep, so we could get up early in the morning.

Then, this guy comes over and says “Will you help me go find my bird?” Thinking I had misheard him, I reply “Excuse me?” “My pet parrot got loose, and it flew over the lake. Can we take your boat out and look for it?”

Well, how could I turn that down? So we headed out into the failing light, with this guy and his daughter standing in the forward hatch saying “Sweet Pea. Here Sweet Pea.”…

I would run the motor for a bit to build up some speed, then we would drift and they would call for their bird. Eventually, it was pitch dark, and we had found no bird, so we headed back. All this time I’m thinking that Sweet Pea is probably over the horizon singing “I’m Free! I’m Free!” …

After we got the anchors set and went to bed, it started to rain and the wind picked up. The wind was coming almost directly from across the lake, and pulling on the bow anchor. I worried about it pulling out, as the boat was bouncing around quite a bit, and the anchor was holding us only about 20 feet from a bunch of very nice wooden boats on the beach.

Finally, I realized: 1) I had set it going about 3 knots and it had stopped the boat dead. 2) I had about 100 feet of rode out, and the water was only about 10 feet deep, if that 3) And finally, if it did break free I would probably ground out before I got close enough to the other boats to damage them.

So I finally got to sleep. (after I changed into dry clothes. Amazing how being dry, snug, and comfortable helps you sleep, no?) Where I dreamed I was awake and worried about the anchor pulling out… Don’t you hate recursive dreams? So, if you spend all night asleep, dreaming you are awake, does that count as sleep?

The next day was quite fun, I got to meet lots of interesting people, then immediately forget their names…

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There was even a Light Schooner there! Which I later rescued… Rob Rohde-Szudy launched his light Schooner on it’s maiden voyage. With his wife, two SMALL kids, and one BIG dog. We saw them paddling it out of the launch cove.. Then we saw the storm coming… I helped Steve Lewis get the motor on his power skiff, and he headed out to give them a tow. Then I got to looking at the angle his boat was pulling, and I thought about the people who died on Keystone in a storm, in a boat bigger than Steve’s… So I headed to mine and started pulling the anchors. Alana decided that she had to go with me, and came running. I told her to stay on shore, but she pretended not to hear me. I wasn’t worried for myself, so there was no reason to not let her go, so I threw her a life jacket and we headed out.

The wind was blowing 15-20 knots, and the waves had kicked up to about 18 inches. Not bad at all, 2 of the last 4 times I had been out had been in worse water, though not in pouring rain.

By the time I got out there, Steve was already pulling them back, but the nose of his little skiff was up in the air about three feet, and the transom was below some of the waves, so he had no issues with handing off to me.

I cleated the tow rope to the stern anchor cleat, and we headed back in. I had to signal to Rob to straiten out, as his boat was crabbing sideways in the water and I was worried about us digging one of those hard chines into a wave and capsizing his boat.

After it calmed down a bit, I snapped a picture of him under tow.

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When we got them close to the shore, the dog decided that he had had enough and abandoned ship. Alana was quite impressed with the whole operation, and I have to say I had a blast doing it.

Checked out a bunch of other boats, and enjoyed chatting with everyone. Was especially impressed by Dave Seaburg’s D4, which even had a homemade roller furling system.. Almost made me want to put a bowsprit on the Chebacco, so I could build my own roller furling system!

On the long drive back, I decided I’m going to sell the F350. I got passed one to many times by F150’s towing 30ft travel trailers, going uphill at 80 mph! I’m thinking a diesel 4×4 with an extended cab.

Had a chance to weigh the truck and trailer on some 18 wheeler scales at one of the gas stops. Truck weighs 6750 lbs, and the trailer weighed in at 3220 lbs. With 300 pounds of the trailer on the tongue, I figure the trailer and boat weighs in right at 3500lb. Say 700lb for the trailer, and 2800lb for the boat. About 1000lb heavier than I had figured, but still within the towing capacity of my vehicles (Note from Pat – which means that the boat is still small enough to be towed by the Volvo convertible I am drooling for.)

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Laters.


City Centre Sailing 2004 – Richard Elkan

Hello Richard

Jamie Orr dropped me an email saying you were looking for Chebacco material and suggested I got of my a**e and wrote something. So here it is, sent to two email addresses as Jamie wasn’t sure which one I could get though to!  Thanks for all your efforts in keeping us Chebacconists
in touch.  Richard Elkan

I live in London and I’d like to take you on a Chebacco trip down the London River, if Richard will permit me. Perhaps you are wondering what the London River is? Well most people would call it the River Thames but the traditional name for the Tidal Reaches of the Thames is the London River and that’s where we are going. We are voyaging on Sylvester a wonderful Chebacco, built by Bill Samson and purchased from him, by myself in 2003. We will travel from Sylvester’s mooring at
Shadwell, which is about a mile downstream from Tower Bridge to Gravesend about 25 miles further downstream, a five hour journey, with the ebb tide.


So it’s a twenty five minute drive from my house near Highgate to Shadwell. Sylvester is waiting patiently on her mooring, but to get her out there was quite an event and presents a view of a Chebacco that most owners will never have seen and yes my heart was in my mouth as one thing you learn very quickly on the London River, is that you if you want to go anywhere, and more importantly get back, you sail with the tide. A third hour Spring tide will run at 6 knots and my 3hp Yamaha just doesn’t cut it against this, if the wind drops! So Gravesend it is!  I have done this trip there and back in a single day, I have also done it single handed . But I must confess this trip is a
compilation of many individual trips, so if the sky changes from blue to black, the reason is the pictures might have been taken 6 months apart and if Sylvester changes from an all White to Cream Hull and Fawn Cockpit, it’s for the same reason. So professional continuity artists,
look away now!

700 kilos of Chebacco was craned from the Quayside to the water. ( If your wondering how much this cost, the answer is nothing, as the crane was booked for a morning and only had to lift a workboat and Drascombe longboat in, Sylvester just kind of slipped in alongside.)

What goes up………

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Must come down.      Nice to have helpful friends!!!!!!!

So here we are at the mooring below (photo courtesy of Jamie Orr) rigging up and getting ready for the off. In the background is Canary Wharf, the new East End of London, situated on the Isle of Dogs, so called as this was where King Henry VIII kept his hunting dogs. The dock entrance (shown above) is to the old Shadwell basin, famous in our family as being the place where my late father in law moored up in his Submarine on the occassion of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth (the 2nd that is)  See we’re almost related to royalty.


So we rig up and cast off and head down river with the tide. As you can see the river is only about 400 yards wide here. It can be a very busy river. Most frequent are pleasure boats taking site-seers down to Greenwich or the Thames Barrier or the Hydrofoil river buses travelling at 30+ knots and completely silently at that, can be scary!!!! There are working boats too, such as tugs with waste barges in tow or the sand carriers which are small freighters. Weirdest of all is when the very big Cruise Liners come up to moor along side the Belfast or even Aircraft Carriers that come up as far as Greenwich. It is not without it’s risks. A friend of mine had his Wayfarer Dinghy moored about twenty yards from Sylvester. A tug was turning a French Warship at Shadwell and “got it wrong”. He took out my friends mast, turned him turtle and snapped the mooring chain. The harbour master saw fit to moor what was left of the dinghy to Sylvester’s transom, still up side down!!!! I was none too pleased and asked  him to remove it before the mooring dragged. One thing I have learned on the London River is that manoeuvrability is of great importance. To this end I always keep the mizzen set, even in winds up to force 6. Often on the river you may only have one chance to tack, before you run out of water and hit the embankments. So hauling in the mizzen really powers the boat through the wind and you never get caught in irons or find your tack has failed. From Shadwell to Greenwich is just under an hour and rather than any kind of chart, you just need a good street map to indicate the river side pubs, many of which we visit from the water if the river bed is exposed and the tide is flooding. Try it on the ebb and it could be six to seven hours before you can float off again. You have been warned!


Here we are moored up at North Greenwich, on the north bank of the river. Opposite is Sir Christopher Wren”s beautiful Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich proper. I once saw a Dolphin in this reach of the river and have seen a Seal playing around the moorings as far up as Shadwell.  Most common in the river are the eels. These are still fished by commercial fishermen, albeit on a very small scale. Delicious when smoked, disgusting when “jellied”, which I am afraid to say is the traditional East End of London delicacy. Just out of picture is the Trafalgar Tavern, a great pub to visit by boat. We leave Greenwich and carry on past the Millenium Dome and down to the Greenwich Yacht Club of which I am a rather new member. It has a great club house built on stilts out in the river. The government built this great new structure for the club when they were forced to leave their old site so that the Dome could be built. Many people will tell you that this is the only good thing to come out of the Dome fiasco. It is still unoccupied since 2001. GYC arrange for cruiser racing and it appears that Sylvester has got herself involved in a race. Here we are trying to outrun some club member’s yacht, he hasn’t a chance!!!!!!


Having acquitted ourselves reasonably well in the race (by NOT coming last!!!!!) we head back to the club house for long drinks and tall stories.

Greenwich Yacht Club is very close to the impressive Thames Barrier, that is designed to keep London safe from flooding.(photo below) It is necessary to call up the barrier control on the VHF radio and ask permission to pass through the barrier. One interesting thing I have discovered about Chebaccos is that they are invisible to radar! Stealth boats, no less!  Despite the fact that I always wait until I am within sight  of the barrier, the barrier control (call sign London VTS) always ask me where I am (they could see us if they looked out of their window), but they are glued to their radar screens. So never assume your all wooden Chebacco will be seen by other boats’ radar. They like us to motor through the barrier and I do if sailing upwind. On a run it is ok to sail through but try and beat through and you can get into a real pickle as the winds do all sorts of strange things between those weird shape pilings.

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Once through the barrier and safely past the Woolwich Ferry, which is a free car ferry that carries around 50 cars at a time across the river the river begins to widen gently. Here I have experienced great fun with wind over tide conditions. This part of the river can kick up a real chop, especially toward the south bank. I don’t know why here particularly but you sure get a lively switch back of a ride with a spring tide against a force 4 wind. Sylvester’s flat bottom does tend to pound into the chop, causing much spray and laughter, as long as you are not the foremost crew member, who takes the brunt of the spray and keeps the rest of us dry!!!

Here is a picture of the author of this tale. The building right behind the mizzen is the Woolwich Ferry South Terminal with a ferry in dock. Level with my eyes is the Thames Barrier, we have just passed throughand the tall buildings are Canary Wharf, in the distance. Traffic from here on is limited to commercial vessels and private craft. Gone are the pleasure boats and river taxis. Still there are plenty of moored barges and other oddities to be on the watch for. We pass Fords of Dagenham, where Ford cars used to be built. It is now being transformed into a research centre for the automotive industry. The ebb sweeps us down past the moorings of Erith Yacht Club where a very Bolgeresque mini schooner is moored. (below) You can see how the nature of the river has changed. This south bank is now salt marshes and home to many birds. I always like this reach, as it is a view of the river unspoilt by the twentieth century and you can imagine the tall ships of yesteryear sailing up and down this great river.

Sometimes you don’t even have to use your imagination. Sometimes they just appear, just like this one……….


The Endeavour……… you can tell by the surroundings that Captain Cook is not on board, in this incarnation. I can tell you I got an immense shock when I turned round, whilst helming Sylvester and saw this coming up silently behind me. Still on we go and underneath the most recent of the London River Bridges, the elegant Queen Elizabeth 2nd bridge, carrying the M25 motorway over the river.

There is still a lot of industry round here and we have lost the salt marshes under petro-chemical installations. Still Greenhithe is still an interesting  village and there is plenty of maritime history, if you know where to look. Not long to go until we reach Gravesend. First we come to Tilbury a very interesting Passenger Ferry Terminal for London. Once incredibly busy but now much reduced in importance. It also the site of a seventeenth century fort, still totally intact and quite fascinating to visit. From Sylvester we view a huge Japanese cruise ship and get a cheery wave from one of her crew standing by the terminal building.

And so on to Gravesend our destination. I could show you pictures of the old town, the sailing club, the trots of pilot tugs that tow the large shipping up to the Pool of London or even Princess Pocahontas’ grave (for she is buried here) but I won’t as I haven’ got any pictures, but what I have got is a record of what actually was awaiting us on this trip………………something to appeal to our American brethren and what all good Englishmen get up to on a sunny summer weekend………..

Re-enacting the American Civil War…….what else!


Happy sailing to all,  Richard Elkan, London.Strange what you see from a Chebacco on the London River!  and I’m really not making this up.


P.S. Having just discovered Google Maps, I realise you can follow the course of this trip from Shadwell to Fords of Dagenham, in high resolution satellite imagery. Shadwell is easily identified by the the seven moored boats in the river. At the time of this photograph Sylvester was not one of them! You should be able to identify the Isle of dogs (big U bend in the river) Greenwich, Greenwich Yacht Club (on the south bank), the Millenium Dome (big white circular blob) the Thames Barrier (obvious), the Woolwich Ferry (terminal on both banks) and Fords (on the north bank, just before the hi-res imagery runs out. From here we are in lo-res but you can easily make out the QE2 Bridge, Old Tilbury Docks ( a weird L shape of blue on the north bank) and finally the built up area is Gravesend.


Richard Elkan




Chebacco Building – Marston Clough


I had already built a Bolger Bobcat (Tiny Cat) to be used with a Beetle Cat mast and sail that my brother owned. That boat has served me well but some time passed and I guess I got itchy to build again. I had long admired the Chebacco, having seen the article in Wooden Boat some years ago.

So I ordered the plans and in August 2001 I bought my first pieces of plywood and started laying out some of the molds at the end of my summer vacation. I planned to build this boat mainly during summer when I wasn’t doing other things.

In the fall I bought wood for the mizzen mast and spars. With the help of a friend at the school where I taught, and with his good tools and skills, a hollow mizzen mast was built using the “birds- mouth” method as described in Wooden Boat. We both enjoyed this process, especially in January when there is little boating to be done in New England.

I ordered a set of sails from Sailrite and started sewing the mizzen during my Christmas vacation from teaching school. I used a twenty-five year old portable sewing machine from Sears and worked primarily on the kitchen and living room floor. I found the instructions and kits to be very easy to follow. It was not especially easy, however, to roll up the cloth and sew the longs seams on this small machine. Overall it was a satisfying challenge and good use of winter.


In the summer of 2002 I continued laying out pieces such as the stem, transom and centerboard case and gluing them up. This was inside work and I like to be outside so I fished and played with my other boats. I did a little more work on the sail before school started again and then more sewing when winter set in.


This year I was ready to take the frame pieces out of the cellar- my goal was to have a boat-shaped skeleton set up before the ground froze.

In June I cleared space in the yard, moving some earth around to make a place large enough to fit the ladder.

My schedule for boatbuilding took a back seat when I contracted to sail as cook and seaman on a small freighter from Massachusetts to Suriname (returning with wood for real boat builders). That’s another story but it removed six weeks from my building plans.

Before I left was able to mark and cut bottom and side panels.

When I got back from my sea trip I worked hard to get boat-shaped sculpture made.

I made my ladder frame stand off the ground somewhat- partly because the ground was uneven and partly because I wanted to be able to get under reasonable easily. I ended up making sort of a bulkhead next to the frame on one side.


To be honest, I found it a good challenge just to get the spacing of the frames correct from the plans. Setting up the frames on the ladder took some tinkering to get things plumb and level and fair to a batten. It was satisfying however to see the outline of the boat.

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It took some time just to get the proper heights translated from the plans to the real thing.

I continued by adding the stem, transom, side panels and bottom panel.

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The bilge panels were an enormous job and even though I had been as careful as I could at each stage there were gaps that would need to be filled with generous amounts of epoxy.


I fitted the centerboard soon after this shot was taken, before the bilge panels were finally fitted.

As November (2003) began I covered the boat and moved inside for the winter. The panels were epoxy tacked at this point, except for the outer layer of the bilge panel forward which was done in two layers. During the winter I finished up the mainsail, hand sewing the grommets which was a pleasant way to spend a winter evening.


Actually the epoxy didn’t stop in 2004 but as I look at my log, from May to November, the constant word is epoxy. Cover the seams with epoxy. Fill the seams with epoxy. Epoxy this. Epoxy that. Fill, fair and sand and sand and sand.


This picture shows that I glassed the hull before adding the keel pieces. In the forward section I ended up making the keel solid, laminated from construction fir. Aft of the centerboard there is a hollow plenum as shown in the plans. The ladder turned out to be useful since my frame is fairly high off the ground.

The big event of the summer was turning her over- a job made quite easy by my friend Jerry who owns boats (he’s a very good sailor) and a boom truck (from his construction business).

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Now I had a large wooden bathtub and I worked through the fall both to begin the interior and decks, making sure I covered her carefully each night.


Many of the pieces in this photo have not been fastened yet.

In November I closed her up completely with layers of tarps laid over a homemade frame. Despite one of the snowiest winters ever the frames and tarp worked well.

Marston Clough

Notes on making blocks for my boat:

It was (is!) winter here in New England and I had time to work indoors on boat related projects, so I decided to try my hand at making some blocks for rigging as well as making the mast.

Some time back I had looked on the web and finally found that Dave Goodchild had fooled around with making his own blocks using plywood. I found this information page 37 (and even then it was hard to find). It is worth searching for.

The Goodchild method uses two outside pieces of plywood for cheeks and two smaller pieces as spacers for the sheave. See my crude model.


With that as a model I looked for a source of sheaves and found the Duckworks site and ordered a few of their affordable nylon sheaves. The Duckworks people were (are!) great.

My brother also found an article in Wooden Boat #41 that showed how to make a wooden block from a solid piece of wood. This is a good article. Brian Toss made a beautiful piece and I wanted to try my hand at that method even though I’m not a craftsman.

I took a chunk of 2×4 and made a crude mock-up.


This mock-up is about four inches long and roughly half as wide.

Thus encouraged I bought a chunk of maple and tried to make a few blocks. I should have been a little more careful drilling out the cores because I didn’t always get the holes lined up. You need to clamp the piece to keep it from moving around.

I drilled the core first, then cut grooves into the sides for the line to go around the block, then cut the corners and started smoothing. I first tried using a bolt for the pin but opted to try some bronze rod instead. I was going to try cotter pins to hold the bronze in place but had trouble drilling it, which was just as well because a closer look at the WoodenBoat article revealed that Mr. Toss relied on the line around the block to keep the pin in place.

I bought some line and reviewed how to splice two lines together. I’ve still got five more splices to make, but I’m encouraged by the result of the first one.

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2005 Small Boat Rendezvous – Sucia Island – Randy Wheating


Bluster, Wayward Lass and Full Gallop at Fox Bay, Sucia Island

The 2005 Small Boat Rendezvous was held on Sucia Island, San Juan Islands July 8th to 11th, 2005. This second annual event attracted an assorted collection of 14 small boats from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Included in the group were three Chebaccos – Wayward Lass, Full Gallop and Bluster.

Jamie Orr and his father Les sailed over from Vancouver Island on Friday. I towed Bluster from our home in Port Moody (near Vancouver) to Bellingham, Washington on Saturday morning. Joining me this year was my wife, Lisa Rae Devries, and boys Jacob and Sam. At the excellent Squalicum Harbour in Bellingham we met up with Chuck Gottfried and Dean Bishop launching Full Gallop. Bluster and Full Gallop motored in tandem across Bellingham Bay to the point where we set sail for the run up Hale Passage. We eventually lost our wind and motored the remaining distance to Sucia Island. Bluster detoured slightly to check out the pretty Rolfe Cove marine park on the west end of Matia Island. Made landfall at Fox Bay around 3:00 pm. and joined the small boaters already gathered there.


Jacob takes Bluster’s helm while Sam rides in the dingy, Fib

The remainder of this day and the next were spent socializing, relaxing, exploring and taking short boat trips. On Sunday the three Chebaccos practiced a synchronized routine and photo-op.


Wayward Lass and Full Gallop

By noon on Monday everyone had dispersed to various take out points or in the case of Wayward Lass and Full Gallop to continue a week of exploration in the beautiful San Juan Islands.

The weather turned nasty on our return trip to Bellingham with winds gusting to 25 knots and one meter waves with whitecaps on the nose. The three and a half hour outbound trip turned into a six hour return voyage. Crew and boat performed brilliantly.


Pilot House

As with the 2004 Small Boat Rendezvous this was great fun and we all look forward to this or similar events in the future. Many thanks to Jamie Orr for all his work making this happen.

Note: is the web site for e interested in more information and photos.

Randy Wheating

Port Moody, BC

Chebacco News 49

News, questions, and boats for sale.


Well, the long anticipated calendar is a bust. My preferred publisher was having health and technology issues. I may still do one using cafe press, but since I only received one order for the one that didn’t work, a calendar really isn’t hight on the priority list of things to do. Been kind of quite, only took the boat out once since the last issue. You would think that being unemployed would give me plenty of time to do that, but for some reason it didn’t work out that way. I plan on going to a couple of messabouts this summer, I’ll take pictures and write something up about them.

Let’s see, we had vandals posting all kinds of php based scripts in the registry, taking advantage of the facility that was there to allow you to post pictures. I’ve locked down the registry, so if you want to edit your entries, or add a new one, just send me an email with the relevant details. You can also send a picture, if you want, and I’ll include it.

Speaking of email, I was getting 300+ spams, and at least 20 trojans, a day, do I’m bouncing all email sent to my old email address. I posted the new email address on this site, but it wasn’t a couple of days before I started getting spam and worms again. I believe they scan the web and dig email addresses out of webpages. Working on that theory, I have implemented a script based form to send me email. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you are wanting to send in an article for publication, just send me an email with the form and I’ll tell you my direct email address.

We have ten articles this issue, if you include this news sheet. One if even a contribution about writing contribution, (a meta article, an article about articles! hehe), by Chuck Leinweber of Duckworks fame.

Thanks for all the contributions for this issue, and I hope you enjoy it.

Chebacco Richard


Noted a mizzen comment by Donna D’Agostino and Vincenzo Ciminale in Italy.  Pass on to them the notation a windsurfing boom for their mizzen ashes snap on in a minute, can be extended to multiple lengths and can be hyper lengthened with 1″ thin wall aluminum tubing.  It would get them out of the business of “walking the boom” as they tack.
Dave Godsey

Chebacco’s for sale:


Free time and boat cruising – Richard Spelling

Well, my 9-month sojourn into the ranks of the unemployed is finally over.

I’m working night shift, on an Air Force base, 100 miles from the house, but it beats the alternative.

You know, I always thought that if I ever became unemployed, I’d just fall back on my non-IS skills, or take some low paying IS job. I found out the hard way that the companies with the lower paying IT jobs are all bargain shopping, and think you are over qualified if you have more than one certification. If the first thing they ask you when you send them your resume is “what are your salary requirements?”, this is a bad sign. Or they want you to have a BS in computer science, 10 years of experience, and then want to pay you $10 an hour…

As for working non-is type stuff, I tried that. Still have a going concern manufacturing variable output forge blowers and DC motor kits. Of all the things I tried in an attempt to rustle up money during my “vacation”, building those was the most enjoyable, and made a decent profit. And I tried a bunch of things, from mowing lawns, to doing handyman work, to doing computer consulting, to putting in concrete slabs. All doable, but not enjoyable, partly do to the physical labor involved, but also do to the fact that they involved starting over, and wasting all the time and money I’d spent getting my degree and certifications.

The kicker was calling the “work force investment” people for retraining, and being told I couldn’t go to any CDL or welding classes because I had a BS degree. (!)

Let’s see. Still don’t have a car/boat port to put the chebacco under,   I’m currently using a “super tarp” I picked up on ebay. Basically a gray tarp, but not the cheap crap you get at Wal-Mart. Speaking of Wal-Mart, anybody remember when shoes lasted more than a month before the sides came apart? Sandals lasted almost as long? Remember back in the day, before Sam died, when you could return stuff to Wal-Mart if it broke? Ah, those were the days.

Anyway. Invitation to my wedding: “Oh, by the way, I’m getting married. Jan 1st, 2005, First Christian Church, Pryor, Ok. I’m marrying the preacher. Elvis will be there. You are invited.”

Yes. I got married. Again. To my ex-wife. Hey, there are no rules; I can do what I want. Besides, you really don’t know how important things are to you till you almost loose them… which is another story. And yes, Elvis was there.

So, I’m living in OKC, and in Mannford, and in Pryor. I stay in my apartment in the city during the week (horror of horrors, I hate it), go to the cabin in the woods on the weekends to work on blowers and controllers, and go visit the wife and kids in Pryor once a week. Well, shit, life sure was less complicated when I was unemployed and single. As my wife/ex-wife/wife used to say: “This damned job sure interferes with my free time!”

Incidentally, one of the options I was considering, if I didn’t find a job, and the money ran completely out, etc, was to go sailing and just not come back. Extended cruise. Got bored at work last night and got to wondering how far I could have gotten in my 20ft semi-open boat. Some reading on ocean cruises leads me to think I need to stay away from open water… <nervous laugh>

Then I got to trying to figure out how big a boat I would need… I think I like the idea of sailing into the sunset much more then I like the reality of it. I’m definitely a fair weather sailor, any waves over a foot or two just slow the boat down and annoy me. And big movements of the boat are only fun on occasion.

Maybe I do have the perfect boat. Keep this job long enough to pay everything off, then maybe instead of sailing into the sunset, I should hook the Chebacco up to the back of a nice tow vehicle, and head off to non-open water! hehe Wonder how big the waves get on Baja?

Anyway. I’ll write a more boat-oriented article for the next issue. If you don’t think I should be writing non-chebacco related articles for this webzine, feel free to write the editor… 🙂

Or, even better, send in your own boat/chebacco related stories, and I’ll publish them instead of boring you with the editor’s life!

Laters, fair weather, and stay employed.


Bluster, San Juan Islands – Randy Wheating


Hi Richard

Thanks for all the work on the Chebacco News.

I have attached a photo of Bluster motor sailing into Hale Passage, San Juan Islands.

This was taken by Gary Powell while under tow.  Gary and his daughter Kate were sailing his engineless dory as we were all returning to launch ramp from our very enjoyable Small Boat Rendezvous on Sucia Island this past July.  The wind had died off so we just tossed them a line for the final leg.

Fair winds,

Randy Wheating

Port Moody, BC



Chebacco Progress – Howard Sharp

Dear Richard,

Daytime temperatures of 10ºF, not friendly to epoxy work, have brought my building progress to a halt.  I’ve tried electric blankets, a small
electric heater under the boat running 24 hours a day, but it’s still below freezing in my uninsulated garage.

I started in April of 1993, as I see from the letter Phil Bolger sent with the plans. I decided on lapstrake construction, which I was already used to.   Building has been slow, as work and family obligations take precedent, but I am close to flipping the hull at last.

I lofted the boat full size, simultaneously working out the planking layout, using the method Iain Oughtred describes in his lapstrake building manual.  I was able to loft the permanent bulkheads with the plank lands, so I could build them into the boat.   I’m using meranti ply from Noah for all the lower strakes and the bulkheads – anything which may end up being submerged in water.  The rest will be occuome. The meranti is a little splintery, but I believe it has more natural rot resistance than occuome, and I’ve actually found fewer voids in the meranti than the occuome.

The stem and the transom are locust.  I happened to have some lying around, otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it – it’s very hard to work with, and of course very heavy.  However I’m  confident that the stem on this Chebacco will never rot and will demolish just about everything that it meets.    The transom runs straight across to include the motor mount, like Brad Storey’s boat.  I didn’t understand the implications of this until I found out that the 10º angle on the original design accommodates the default mount on most outboards!    For me that’s still not a dealbreaker, as it’ll be stronger, and I think it looks better.  The boat will have an 18″ bridge deck.    I’m toying with idea
of an electric propulsion system, and I’m still wondering whether or not to build a small bowsprit, partly for use with a jib, but mainly as
a cathead for carrying an anchor.

As soon as the weather warms up I’ll be putting dynel on the bottom and garboard, and I’ll paint the whole using Kirby’s enamel.

The name I’m not sure of yet.  Loosey Goosey springs to mind (along the lines of Itchy Scratchy).

Love the website.

All the best,

Howard Sharp.

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The last boat I built – 10 years ago!  It’s an Iain Oughtred design, Ptarmigan, 11′ OAL.  The Chebacco fits into the garage with 2″ to spare,  My dream has always been to build something bigger – say about 4 tons.  The sheer size of the Chebacco has been a lesson in what I can expect if I go ahead with something bigger.


A Blustery Weekend on the Sunshine Coast – Randy Wheating

Lisa, Jacob, Sam and I spent a windy and wet at times extended weekend, August 20-22, with our Chebacco Bluster on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada. This well known boating area is northwest of Vancouver and for us involves a one hour drive on either side of the Howe sound ferry crossing.

A heavily loaded Bluster was launched at the Halfmoon Bay public ramp and we were under way by 12:30 Friday. We motored a northwest along the coast via Welcome Passage to Smuggler’s Cove Marine Park. With its narrow entrance and various rocky arms this park is described in our guide as resembling an alpine lake. The boys went for a swim while we anchored for lunch. The new rope style boarding ladder was tested and works fine.

Next we motored a short distance to Secret Cove, a large three arm cove containing an assortment of marinas, private homes, and such. Tempting to stop at the ‘boat-in’ pub for a quick pint…

A quick trip across Welcome Passage lead to Buccaneer Bay Marine Park, situated on a narrow strip of land connecting North and South Thormanby Island. We landed at low tide and portaged our gear and provisions across the beach to a sandy and but fairly exposed campsite. Bluster was anchored just off the beach where she swung merrily at anchor in the 15 to 20 knot winds. The kids explored the beaches while Lisa and I set up camp before kicking back.


Lisa in the galley, Buccaneer Bay Marine Park

Saturday dawned gusty and wet – not great family sailing weather. Fortunately for us my friend Ryan with his kids aboard their 37 foot steel ketch ‘Makoolis’ joined us and we were able to seek comfortable shelter with them. Unfortunately for Ryan, he anchored a little close in and became good and grounded on a sand bar with the falling tide. We tried all the exciting stuff like rowing his 65 lb CQR anchor to deeper waters and winching away but alas, lost race with the tides. The remainder of the day was spent drinking wine, playing cards and preparing dinner (those gimbaled stoves really work) up to a 30 degrees angle until the tides released us. No damage done. Of course if we were in a Chebacco we would have just jumped in the water and pushed her off, but I didn’t rub it in.

For the second night at anchor I set the mizzen and this did wonders at calming Bluster’s swinging in the winds. Having no experience in exposed anchoring I was very pleased with holding and reset abilities of my 5 kg Claw (Bruce copy) anchor when the wind shifted through 180 degrees overnight.

With a stiff onshore breeze we executed a near perfect (if I do say so) team beach extraction on Sunday morning:

  1. Broke camp and assembled the gear just above tide line.
  2. Rowed Fib (dingy) to Bluster, furled mizzen and warmed up engine.
  3. Raised anchor and motored to position where winds would blow Bluster onto beach near gear pile.
  4. At the point where there was still sufficient motoring depth dropped anchor then moved to windward stern cleat.
  5. Paid out anchor line until bow hits sandy beach then made her fast from the stern cleat which would held Bluster’s bow onto the beach and prevented a wind from turning her beam on.
  6. Lisa and the boys smartly relayed the gear to boat where I stowed it below.
  7. Team scrambled aboard and I hauled us off the beach with the anchor and spun the bow to the wind.
  8. Hauled Bluster to deeper waters where Lisa fired up the engine and powered us away.

Moderate westerly winds and swells from the Straight of Georgia met us as we exited Buccaneer Bay. Bluster had a great run down Welcome Passage under mizzen and jib after which we finished off the day exploring Halfmoon Bay and checking out the Merry Island lighthouse.

I was very pleased with the performance and balance of the jib/mizzen sail combination. Considering the gusty conditions and the fact that we had the kids aboard this reduced sail area gave us a comfort level that allowed us to just enjoy the ride. Our close reach speed (GPS) averaged three knots. The addition of the reefed main would have likely improved the performance but we were in no great hurry. Jacob and Sam split their time between snacking in the cockpit and below where they played cards, read and wrestled. Lisa manned (womanned?) the helm the entire homeward leg while I fiddled with the lines, charts, cameras and such.


Jacob, Randy, Sam

Hauled the boat out at the public ramp, prepared and ate a late lunch, kids went for a final swim and we were able to catch the 4:00 pm ferry and be home for the evening news.

A terrific family weekend adventure.

Randy Wheating

Port Moody, BC, Canada


MASCF St. Michaels MD – Ed Heins

This was my first trip to the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival In St. Michaels.  In fact it was my first small boat gathering (messabout, gawkabout, BSabout) of any kind, and I was planning to present my long suffering project Chebacco  “Boudicea”, to the boatbuilding world.   I’m sure this was painfully obvious to many of my on line contacts, who diligently waded through ubiquitous questions and pre launch drivel.  I, by the way, suffer from all the common boatbuilder maladies; procrastination disorder (PD), designer second guessing syndrome (DSGS), complete confusion complex (CCC), and ham fisted knuckle busting wood butcher disease (HFKBWBD) sometimes known as ($%$&#@!!).   In addition to those common ailments however, this past September I was also suffering from a significant case of butterflies about dragging this project four plus hours around the infamous DC beltway, and an irrational fear that assuming we negotiated the trip without problem, that surely the Chebacco would reward my seven years of labor by, if not sinking outright, at least exhibiting some indication of my complete lack of skills, acumen and abilities.   Thankfully, none of that happened.


Departing New Market Virginia at about 3PM Friday Oct1, we cruised sedately along I-81 and I-66,  spent two hours creeping the 30 odd miles around DC on the 495, sat in the predictable Friday evening bay bridge traffic and arrived St. Michaels at about 9:30 PM.  We had reservations at the Best Western in town, and that seemed like a great place to park.  I’d made contact with Dick Burnham previously to give me a hand with the launching, and the next morning as we drove through the Maritime Museum parking lot, his red pickup fell in behind.  We launched at the town ramp next to the St. Michaels inn & marina, just around the point from the museum.  Seeing the festival for the first time and approaching from the liquid side is pretty spectacular.  The Museum has about three piers and they’d added a floating extension at the end of the tee on the largest to accept more boats.   We found a space to squeeze in at the very end of the tee and rigged a couple fenders to try to keep from sharing paint with the museum.


We were in good company.  A Bolger Lilli, a folding schooner,  a Jesse Cooper, and some of Jim Michalak’s designs.  (Maybe next year I’ll cartop my “Tween”, one of Jim’s sailing dink designs, which was my first project).  Chesapeake Light Craft were there in force.  I was surprised that my wife, Debs, having existed with her things being squeezed into half our garage for so many years, seemed to think we should take on a CLC sweetwater 16 canoe. Like I need encouragement…..


Saturday afternoon we had the opportunity to take Dick & Ula Burnham out for a spin. .   I’m very interested in seeing how Dick attacks some of the Chebacco’s rather quirky bits as he finishes “Stealing Horses”.  It would be great to see a couple of these cat yawls sailing together someday.  Although we didn’t have much air to play with, I was completely satisfied with the way the Chebacco handled.   We were able to tack, jibe, I guess we found virtually every point of sail and I’m pleased at how close winded she is.   Later that afternoon, Richard Elkan of London & “Sylvester” dropped by the end of the pier and we again made a cruise around the area, this time with the rest of the Heins family aboard..  Whereas Dick and I have no idea what a Chebacco should perform like, I was pleased that Richard didn’t seem surprised as we sailed sedately through the moored boats.  Then again, I managed not to get him wet, or hit him with the boom, so his expectations may have been low.   At the end of the day though, it’s great to talk face to face with the  owners and builders we’ve exchanged emails with.


So many other things at the show; John Welsford was great as expected,  the Redwing that’s in the current WoodenBoat magazine was there, my son enjoyed the kids activities.  I’ve got nothing but Kudos to the folks that organized and made the show happen.   Only thing that could have been better, maybe a couple more Chebaccos?  Maybe next year.


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Chebacco Update – Ben Ho

Hello Richard,

I am making slow but steady progress with my Chebacco, mainly building the major components first before I start on the hull which will take up most of the available work space. The following are a few photos on items that I’ve done differently.

Center Board: Instead of using lead, I’ve sandwiched the CB with 4 long pieces of ¼” mild steel. It should make the CB much stronger and hopefully will better withstand a lateral grounding. The total weight is about 60 lbs, a bit heavier than the standard construction.

The glued up and shaped plywood CB:


Center channels routed in for the two steel bars to lay flush. One side of the bars is threaded to accept the through-bolts. Sitting at the corner is the hinge assemly that will go on the CB trunk.


The CB sheet will go through this U-bracket. Since the bracket is gripping the thin edge of the CB, I made it 6” long with 4 through-bolts in order to spread out the load. I specified a small eyelet to tie the line, but the welding shop decided that it should be a larger hand-hold instead. Oh well.


The CB glassed, dry fitting in the CB trunk.


These S.S. T-nuts are ideal for holding the mounting plate on the trunk:


Gluing up the CB trunk; the white piece lining the inside surface is counter-top laminate. This stuff is incredibly resistant to abrasion – I run my sander with 60 grit paper on it for 2 minutes, with no visible wear at all!


The completed CB with a couple of coats of Interlux paint. To protect againt wear & tear, I build up a ¼” finger of epoxy along the bottom edge. A half-oval bronze strip will be further added on, once I figure out where to get them.


Chebacco Raised Deck


Sometime ago I commissioned PB&F to modify the Chebacco, mainly to enlarge the cabin by lengthening and raising it, and to move the after-deck back by the same amount in order to keep the cockpit length. The Chebacco Raised Deck is the resulting design. I subsequently decided to stay with the existing plan, because I’ve already started on it and also I prefer the old look. However some design changes are excellent ideas which I’ve gone ahead and implemented on mine. I will cover some of them here.

One of the biggest changes is the whole area near the transom. The rudder is now a balanced rudder with a tab forward of the rudder shaft, increasing the overall rudder area by about 25%. Due to the larger rudder and also the last bulkhead having moved aft, the keel skeg is no longer directly supporting the last bulkhead as in the original design. Hence there’s a fairly complex ‘backbone’ added to strengthen up the whole section:


The transom backbone is a solid piece 2.5” thick, supporting the mizzen mast, rudder stock, and the slop well. The design calls for this to be one continuous piece as part of the keel. The rudder runs through the center of this piece. The small hole to the right of the ‘backbone’ is the drain. The cockpit is now a raised, self-draining cockpit.

I find it too cumbersome to have such a huge, complex keel, so I broke it down and built the transom backbone as a separate component, with a large part that goes below the bottom panel and will be solidly glued to the keel later:


Bushings for the rudder, made from high density polyurothene (i.e. kitchen cutting board), and a stopper ring cut from 1/16” SS tube that fits the outer diameter of the rudder stock.


Another deviation from the original design: I am concerned about mounting the rudder on a plate that protrudes a fairly long distance from the keel. What if some 300 lb gorilla sits onto the rudder while the boat is on a trailer? Instead of mounting the rudder off the keel, the transom backbone is a much better alternative. It provides a strong, balanced position to hold the stock with simply a stopper ring. The ring is glued to a PVC cap to provide a larger surface area, which rides on a nylon bushing. The bottom bushing shown in the picture is to be half-recessed and screwed onto the bottom panel, to protect the rudder from going up and grinding onto that area.

image024 image026

That’s it for now. Time to get back to work!




Chebaccos Three! – Jamie Orr


That’s Bluster in front, Wayward Lass on the left and Full Gallop on the right.

(Randy Wheating photo)

Last July, a fleet of small boats rendezvoused at Sucia State Park in the San Juan Islands. It was a great weekend, and you’ll find various accounts of it on the web, my own was posted on Duckworks in September. But what is of immediate interest is that there three Chebaccos in the fleet. These were Bluster, built by Randy Wheating of Port Moody, BC,Full Gallop, built by Chuck Gottfried of Springfield, Oregon and Wayward Lass, built by me Jamie Orr, (that’s me) of Victoria, BC.

Wayward Lass and Bluster have both been seen in these pages before. Chuck’s Full Gallop, however, is brand spanking new, being completed and launched only one week before landing on Sucia! How well she looked and sailed shows the massive effort made by Chuck to finish in time for the gathering.

All three boats are the sheet plywood version, but they aren’t identical. Wayward Lass is built as designed, but both Chuck and Randy made changes here and there. The most noticeable being that both made the cabin bigger and added a bowsprit. Randy also built a tabernacle/step for the mast, with standing rigging, while Chuck made his cockpit self-draining by raising the cockpit sole (floor). A benefit of the self-draining cockpit, besides the obvious one, is a lot of storage space. When cruising in Wayward Lass I’ve found storage is tight – we have to move all our stores to the cockpit when we want to sleep in the cabin.

Here’s Wayward Lass (green) and Bluster (white) on the beach at Sucia, among some of the other boats. Chebaccos are a little heavy to pull up and down the beach, but they have no problem nosing in to load and unload. A stern anchor can be helpful getting off again. (John Kohnen photo)

Here’s Wayward Lass (green) and Bluster (white) on the beach at Sucia, among some of the other boats. Chebaccos are a little heavy to pull up and down the beach, but they have no problem nosing in to load and unload. A stern anchor can be helpful getting off again.
(John Kohnen photo)

But Chuck and Randy can speak for themselves and describe the changes they made.

Here’s Chuck, about Full Gallop

Full Gallop incorporated several modifications, including a raised cockpit sole, raised and widened cabin, a bridge deck, curved seats and footwell sides, and a bowsprit. The raised sole was inspired by the need to keep the boat at a dock, and so be self-bailing thru Oregon’s rain. The added plus was a huge storage space under the floor, accessed by a watertight plastic hatch.


Full Gallop’s cockpit,…

…her sloping cockpit sides and her stern.

…her sloping cockpit sides and her stern.

Here’s the bowsprit rigging.

Here’s the bowsprit rigging.

This shows the height of the cockpit sole.

This shows the height of the cockpit sole. (John Kohnen photos)


The cockpit floor is an extension of the rear ‘slosh pit’ floor at the stern. I didn’t want thru-hulls, so extended the floor such that it would drain thru large limber holes and out the stern. The floor extends forward to a bridge deck that’s set even with the centerboard trunk, with the bridge deck ending about 4” above the cockpit floor level. The floor is pitched about 1” overall, to drain to the rear.

The bridge deck extends 2’ back from the rear cabin bulkhead, and is designed with access on one side of the C/B trunk from outside thru a weatherstripped lid, and the other side accessed from inside the cabin. Part of the cabin bulkhead was removed to provide the inside access, and the area reinforced.

The result is vastly increased storage under the cockpit sole accessed thru the watertight hatch, and additional storage inside the bridge deck, accessed on one side from the cockpit, and the other from inside the cabin. The storage areas are quite deep, averaging over 14” deep in most places, and low in the hull. The shallower footwell doesn’t seem to be a problem, as the coamings are generous and the seats relatively wide.

I set a full-length carlin to support the deck, cabin sides, and seat backs and coamings, with decks approximately 9” wide at the cabin. This let me slope the seat backs outward and cabin sides inward, primarily for aesthetics. A mahogany block is set at the transition between seat backs and cabin sides, which align only at the deck level. The cabin is 2 ½” higher in the back and 2” higher forward, and probably 6” wider throughout. I installed heavy breasthooks to support oak mooring bitts and a bowsprit that butts to the front of the cabin, with that area and the area of the mast slot heavily reinforced with ply and oak gusseting. No gorgeous Jonesport cleat, like on Wayward Lass!

I flew a jib from the bowsprit until I pulled the luff wire out of it. I’ll experiment with setting the jib flying, tho I use a rope stay to steady the free-standing mast. In all, the modifications are not readily apparent unless you’re familiar with the design, but all made good sense for my needs and work passably well. I value the storage, and yes, Jamie, you can sleep below without moving everything!

Now, from Randy, about Bluster

Starting from the bow and working aft are some of the personal modifications I have worked into the construction of Bluster


Bluster’s cabin roof has been raised two inches from the drawings and the sides extended out flush with the coamings. These changes add to the interior space at the expense of side deck width, reduced to about eight inches, which with the toe rail has not been a problem move forward.

A small bridge deck straddles the centerboard trunk with cut away in the bulkhead to allow access to this storage area from the cabin.


This is a plank style bowsprit (overall 1.25”x9”x26”) that is contoured on the inboard end to match the curve of the forward cabin top face. A galvanized steel, two part bracket is bolted to the forward end as an attachment point for the forestay. The 5 kg Claw anchor resides on a roller in the center of the plank, aft of which is the main mooring cleat. The 15 ft chain and 150’ x 3/8” anchor rode pass through the side deck via a deck pipe and are stored in a bucket within the forepeak.

Here’s the bowsprit…

Here’s the bowsprit…

... and here it is again.

… and here it is again.

(Randy Wheating photos)


Tabernacle and Rigging

The tabernacle was welded up from ½” aluminum that is through bolted astride a double thick (one inch) bulkhead. The mast pivots on the upper bolt and the lower bolt is inserted and fastened once the mast is standing. The 1/8” ss shrouds are attached to galvanized chain plates with turnbuckles and are left in place when the mast is lowered. The forestay attached easily to the bowsprit bracket via a pelican hook. The gaff bridle is also made of 1/8” ss wire rope. Setting up is fairly simple – the mast is manually hinged into place, the lower tabernacle bolt inserted (temporary hold). The forestay in fastened via the pelican hook. Boom and gaff jaws and two sail luff ties fastened to mast and hoist away. In the lowered position the mast, boom and gaff with sail attached, and mizzen rest in holding fixture on the cabin top and a crutch in the cockpit.

The tabernacle was welded up from ½” aluminum that is through bolted astride a double thick (one inch) bulkhead. The mast pivots on the upper bolt and the lower bolt is inserted and fastened once the mast is standing. The 1/8” ss shrouds are attached to galvanized chain plates with turnbuckles and are left in place when the mast is lowered. The forestay attached easily to the bowsprit bracket via a pelican hook. The gaff bridle is also made of 1/8” ss wire rope. Setting up is fairly simple – the mast is manually hinged into place, the lower tabernacle bolt inserted (temporary hold). The forestay in fastened via the pelican hook. Boom and gaff jaws and two sail luff ties fastened to mast and hoist away. In the lowered position the mast, boom and gaff with sail attached, and mizzen rest in holding fixture on the cabin top and a crutch in the cockpit.

(Randy Wheating photo)

Transom and Motor Well

The motor well is slightly smaller than show in the drawings to just fit two Honda gas tanks, one forward and one aft of the mizzen/rudder post. The transom is constructed from one piece with a simple cut out for the 5 hp Honda. Holes in the transom facilitate motor well drainage. The stern deck is also a single piece with cutouts for the mizzen and rudderpost. There is no cut away between the cockpit and the motor well as shown in the drawings.

 (Randy Wheating photo)

(Randy Wheating photo)


Other Modifications
  • Blocks on gaff halyard and centerboard pendant to ease lifting.
  • Wooden strips on seat fronts to fit cross boards that can then hold floorboards flush with seat tops creating a huge cockpit sleeping platform. Boom tent to follow.
  • Watertight inspection hatches on cockpit bulkheads (accessible from cabin and lazarets) to create a usable yet watertight compartment.
  • Tiller extension for comfy steering.

Now it’s me again – Jamie speaking, I mean.

I haven’t given a lot of details about Wayward Lass, since there are several articles about building and sailing her already. But if you want to compare Randy and Chuck’s modified boats to what you’ll get by following the plans, look back through some previous newsletters. There’s a good picture in the last issue.

I like the bridge deck idea, I considered this myself, but decided against it. Don’t remember why, now. The wide cabin is a popular idea – other builders I’ve corresponded with or met have spoken of making the cabin as wide as the cockpit. The raised cabin would be welcome when you’re inside it, but I think it would have to be very carefully done or it would spoil the beauty of the design. That said, however, I have to admit that both Full Gallop and Bluster look pretty good!

The hulls on all three boats here are built as designed, at least below the waterline. Apart from weight and how it’s distributed, the only things left to make a difference in performance are the sails.

Bluster and Full Gallop have jibs set on bowsprits – I think jibs on Chebaccos need the bowsprit to work properly. I also have a jib, built according to the sail plan and set with the tack at the bow, (no bowsprit) but I rarely use it as it doesn’t work very well. Going to windward, it luffs when it is not sheeted in and upsets the flow of air to the main when it is. It does work when boomed out for running, but it’s too small to be very effective. It showed some potential when used in stronger winds with the mizzen, and no mainsail, but I haven’t explored that fully. I think it might be useful if you’re caught out in bad weather and have room to run. I think you could reach all right too, but would make a lot of leeway.

I don’t plan to add a bowsprit, but I am considering a reaching (asymmetrical) spinnaker for light winds, as shown on page 131 of Bolger’s 100 Small Boat Rigs. This would be set on a spinnaker pole that would serve as a very long bowsprit. I’m still working out the details, but stay tuned.

Wayward Lass’ main sail is different from the others, having eight inches of roach – all other things being equal, the roach adds a little speed. The downside is that battens are necessary to support the roach, and the batten pockets chafe. I’ve replaced these once already because I made them too light and two of the three battens wore right through the forward ends.

Both Chuck and Randy built their sails from Sailrite kits, and are very pleased with them. I can confirm that they look great, and seem to set well. Quiet a few builders have used Sailrite kits for main and mizzen now, and all the comments I’ve heard have been positive. So if you can’t borrow the school gym to lay out your sail, or don’t want the design headaches, Sailrite looks like the way to go.

At Sucia we didn’t do any controlled tests or scientific comparisons (also called races), but one day everyone sailed over to neighboring Patos Island. Wayward Lass was almost the last to get away from the anchorage, so I was out of the action and didn’t even see Full Gallop and Bluster sail together. However, I heard they performed about level with each other, and both skippers came away pleased with their boats.

The next day we were a little more organized, getting all three Chebaccos out together so John Kohnen could take some pictures for us. Outside of the WoodenBoat article comparing cold-moulded, plywood and lapstrake versions, this is the only time I know of that three Chebaccos have sailed in company.

Three Chebaccos, with Sucia Island in the background. Bluster is in the lead, Full Gallop is in the middle and Wayward Lass is coming up behind. (John Kohnen photo)

Three Chebaccos, with Sucia Island in the background. Bluster is in the lead, Full Gallop is in the middle and Wayward Lass is coming up behind.
(John Kohnen photo)

We can’t say yet which boat will be faster. On this occasion, Wayward Lass had an edge, since Chuck was still getting to know Full Gallop, and Bluster was towing a dinghy – very small, but still a handicap. However, the rendezvous was enjoyed by everyone who attended and we plan to hold another in 2005. We’ll be sure to organize some real match (grudge) racing then, so stay tuned!


Racing Micros and Floating Sheep Bridges – David Lewis

Never have editors for friends.  “Write an article for me,” they whine.
“Where’s my article I bullied you into agreeing to?”  I swear, it never ends.

As if I didn’t have enough to do, what with keeping my sheep wormed and happy, getting my steers to the butcher, finding customers, building the  infrastructure for a farm while working full-time planning new telecom and  network systems for an entire company move.

Here comes Richard, “You live five minutes from a lake, and you have a  Bolger Micro that you haven’t sailed in two years.  Surely there’s a  sailing story in there somewhere.”

Uh huh.

Ok, let’s see.  Well, something rather amazing did happen the other day.
Not so much sailing as “rafting” but…

My farm is split down the middle by a creek which, with all the rain we’ve  been having, is not a small one these days.  There’s only one spot that is  passable by man or truck and you don’t do it without getting wet.

Now that’s just fine for my cattle, they’ll plod through anywhere that’s  below their chests.  But my sheep are a bit more finicky.  And shorter.

So I decided it was time to build a bridge.  Now shoestring budget that I  have, I wanted to do this for next to nothing.  In fact, free was a good  target.  I could have gone and bought a culvert, buried it to 40%, put  fill and cement around it, and had a decent bridge for, oh, I don’t know,  $2000, $5000, something like that.  Or I could use my muscles, my  ingenuity, and materials I already had and keep the cost below a hundred.

I have about two hundred railroad ties sitting around collecting sheep  poop.  Some of them are light (well, relatively light) and some of them  are so heavy I can barely get them into the truck.  Heavier than water in  other words.  Being a bit lazy, I used whatever weights happened to be on  the top of the pile.  Some were heavy, some were light.

I hauled fourteen of them out to the crossing and laid two parallel to the  flow and ten across those two.  I tied them together with three poly-ropes  and laid the remaining two ties crosswise on the lower and the upper end –  to make a two-sided “bowl” that I could then fill in with a layer of rocks  and dirt on top of that.  Then I began filling in either side with rocks,  the plan being to build up ramps that would be level with the top of the

I went and bought some threaded rod and some of those aluminum tent  stakes.  I would put two rows of threaded rod through the top two ties,  parallel to the creek flow.  I would drive four stakes down through the  top of the two ties.  This would help prevent those ties from pushing out  as weight was added between them.

Then there was about a week where I didn’t get a chance to work on my  bridge.  Then it rained.  Not heavy but it kept up for most of the day.

Then yesterday I went to put in my threaded rod.

I’m sure you’ve all figured out what happened.  Bridge gone.  Just not  there.

I started tramping down creek to find it.  I passed numerous spots where I  was sure it could NOT have passed, it being so shallow there.  I finally  found it about a mile downstream, hung up on a fence across the creek and  still tied together with the poly rope.

Knowing how heavy those dang things are, it still amazes me that it made  it that far.  Now I get to figure out how to pull the timbers out of  there.  Could a culvert and cement be in my future?


On Contributing – Chuck Leinweber


If you are reading this article, you probably had a few minutes to kill and happened here by accident.  Perhaps you have this site bookmarked and check it regularly for new material.   Maybe you’re sitting at your desk taking a coffee break, or using your laptop at the beach in front of a five star hotel with WIFI.  If you are here, you probably like reading about boats and boatbuilding.  Where do these articles come from?


There are literally thousands of people writing blogs.  Who needs more blather on some website?  How much is there that can possible be of interest to some boatbuilder? Admittedly, Duckworks does post something new each day, and the Chebacco News posts great articles, but we’d be willing to bet you would like to see more about the subject you are particularly interested in.


Which begs the question.  Do you have an obligation or better yet a desire to add your opinion or experience? As an editor, I can categorically tell you that if you take the time to put your thoughts down, they will be appreciated.  Not just by frustrated editors like Richard and me, but also by all the other folks out there who are waiting to read what you have to say.


Whether you want to write about a Chebacco or some other boat design, you may be unsure how to proceed.  Rule one.  Just get the words down.  Type one word and then the next, and keep right on going. What are some guidelines?  I thought you’d never ask.


Your readers want to know how you did everything, especially if you came up with a novel way of accomplishing some of the more tedious parts of boat building.  The process is always of interest.  Just this afternoon, I puzzled over the assembly sequence of the boat I am building.  The instructions given in the plans are not always minute, and can sometimes be called obscure, so the voice of experience (yours) is always appreciated.  And if you’d like to wax poetic, rant and rave, or better yet, insert some humor, please feel free.  Your voice is what makes what you write special.


If possible, include photos.  This implies that you thought you might want to write something before you started building or before you took that cruise.  We always carry a camera, except the one time we didn’t even know it was still in the truck until we were ten miles from out launch point.  A digital camera is especially nice for web articles, and also nice because you can take about a million photos and never need to load new film.  Let the editor know where you would like each photo to be placed in the article by numbering them and indicating where each should be.  Digital photos are easy to enhance, easy to crop, easy to save in a compressed format that web editors like.   Most of us have scanners and can also use regular photos as well.


When you are done, ask a friend, your significant other, or the guy sitting next to you to read it through.  It is always hard to critique your own work.  Have them check for clarity first.  Does it make sense; does it read smoothly.  If they have grammar skills, take advantage of them.  If you intended to be humorous, it is good sign if they laugh out loud.  If they ask you where they can go to start boat building, you know you are on the right track.  If no friendly readers are available, at the very least, RUN YOUR SPELLCHECK and read the piece out loud to yourself.


I will throw in a bit of grammar advice.  Don’t use the word ‘then’.  (And then we did this, and then we did that, and then she…..)  Don’t start a sentence with the word ‘and’ or ‘so’.  Get rid of words that don’t need to be there, especially if they repeat what you just said.  The words ‘very’ and ‘really’ can almost always be omitted.  .


Last but not least, a little abstract speculation about what makes one article stand out from all the rest.  The very best are like the ones you hear when sitting around a fire at a messabout.  The fish tales, the shark tales, the alligator tales.  The time you fell in and the boat sailed off without you.  Tell what really happened—don’t pretty it up.  We want to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Let your personality, your opinions, your unique point of view loose in what you write.  Your public is out there waiting.

This website lives by submissions.  Richard depends almost totally on readers for content.  I happen to think that this makes for honest and real reading – the experiences of amateurs who get no pay for their writing and no commissions for any products that they promote.

Editors are pretty flexible, but we do have some druthers. We like to have articles in some form of text format. You can copy and paste the article into the body of an e-mail, or you can attach just about any kind of word processor file to an e-mail instead. A file on a floppy disk or CD mailed by regular snail mail will work. I have even typed up hand written material, though that is a bit of trouble. Pictures can be sent for scanning, and will be returned promptly. If you have digital versions of the photos, they can be e-mailed or sent on a disk. The best format is .jpg without too much compression. Send as many as you need to illustrate the article. We may cull a few.

If you have certain places you want pictures to go, simply make an insertion note at the appropriate place in the text <**insert boat01.jpg**> or let us do the picture placement. We’re pretty careful.

Thanks for taking the time to write up the details of your project. I assure you it will be of great interest to boat builders and wannabees.

Chuck Leinweber
608 Gammenthaler
Harper, TX  78631

Chebacco News 48

News, questions, and boats for sale.


Chebacco calendars are here! I’ve worked out a “print to order” deal with a retired printer friend, so delivery will take a couple days beyond the mailing delay. Price is $20. Standard offer extended, if I use your picture in the calendar, you get one at my cost.


For those of you waiting for the next installment of “Samantha”, Paul says he can’t make the deadline for this issue, but will try for the next one.



Thanks for the great work on the new issue.  Honest, I WILL get you an article on my boat, I will, I will.  I read the request from Ben regarding the larger cabin.  This seems to be a popular option, including on mine (tentatively ‘Tabby II’).  Since there’s no address, I thought I’d forward to you. I decided to modify mine once it was turned over.  With the molds out of the cabin, I decided that the head space was just too small for comfort. Unfortunately, the molds were already cut, so I had to ‘dummy up’ the expansion.  I spliced in plywood on the bulkheads expanding the width out to the coaming, which allowed the framing to run continuously from the bow to stern, and raised the roof line 3″ in the back and 2″ at the front of the cabin.  All the plywood was simply fitted and ‘patched’ with an overlapping layer, epoxied in place.

These changes required a bit of scratching about to arrive at the lines for the cabin sides (no interior molds anymore, remember?).  Lots of string, straightedges, and bent plywood resulted in the desired taller and ‘canted’ cabin sides (15 degrees).  Roof was laminated from two 1/4″ layers, a bit complicated but minimizing the stress and deflection of the somewhat light roof framing.  Because the raised roof could potentially stress the mast partners a bit over the initial design, I added liberal reinforcing to that area, which should be bomb-proof by now.

Some of the other mods I added include a raised cockpit floor to facilitate draining thru the motor well area (no thru-hulls) and a plastic, pre-fab hatch to access the area under the cockpit floor.  I also added a bridgedeck extending to the rear of the centerboard trunk, with one side accessible from the cockpit, and the other from below (I cut away part of the bulkhead and reinforced the area.  The seats are curved to pick up the curve of the seat backs, and I cut out panels for accessing the under seat area.  These (along with the bridgedeck access) will be secured and rubber-stripped for watertightness, as well as having little rain gutters built in, draining into the cockpit and out the back.  The result of these mods is a huge increase in secure storage areas: under floor, under seat, and in the bridge deck (both
inside and outside access).

Few other mods worth mentioning, or that haven’t been done better by others.

I added two nice oak mooring bitts, which will support a bowsprit for a jib I’ll experiment with later.  Sailrite did the sails in tanbark, and Honda will provide the power.  I intend to rig ‘cost effectively’ with sand-cast bronze blocks secured with marline wraps – strong, cheap, and good looking.  Plus, you can fix it with your pocket knife, anywhere.

I used lots of recycled lumber, including a load of mahogany pallet lumber I found years ago and have had laying around.  I drill and plug the nail holes with bungs, and it looks OK, and, always remember, free is a very good price. Spars will come out of some gorgeous 20′ long clear fir 2×10’s that came off a church demolition as fascia boards.  This stuff was seasoned and dry before I was born.

Must run.  Thanks again for the great work.  I’ll get some pix and words to ya soon, including some info on our (along with Jamie Orr) planned ‘Sucia Island Sail-In’ in the San Juans July 10 of this year.  We hope to have at LEAST 3 Chebaccos – Orr, Wheating, and hopefully mine.

Chuck Gottfried
Fall Creek, Oregon

Chebacco’s for sale:

Hi Richard,    My Chebacco Motorsailer is for sale -It was shown in
Chebacco news # 17 and 25   , built in 1997  and has had very little use so it looks
like new and is available with or without motor and trailer. Price for boat
alone is 7500.00
Thanks, Bob Cushing      315-687-6776   located in
Cazenovia, n.y.
How’s it going?  I wanted to let folks know about my decision to sell my Chebacco.  I really love this Catboat but I love my girlfriend more and want to pursue that a while.  The boat is built exactly to Phil’s Specs.  The trailer was purchased new for $1,300 a couple of years ago and the 1997 Force five hp. Outboard was purchased new for $800 as well (it sat on the showroom a long time I guess).  The sails were purchased as a kit from sail-rite, the mainsail being sewn by a professional, and the mizzen sewn by me since it was small and manageable.  I launched this boat for the first time in April of this year and have taken one two week trip and several small day trips so far.  There are a few normal scratches on the hull and the spars but nothing out of the ordinary.  The hull is planked in Douglas Fir Marine plywood and the floors and roof framing are Douglas Fir.  There are a couple of floors made of Southern Yellow Pine and the trim is all White and Red Oak.  The sliding hatch was cold molded and then veneered on the inside and out with White Oak as were the drop boards – no sign of wear on any of these components.  All trim and spar varnish was Epifanes WoodFinish Gloss and it shows.

Bill Samson listed his for 4,500 lbs. Sterling which is approximately $6,500 I think.  I would like to ask $6,500 to start and see what happens.

Thanks Richard.

Pete Respess
Hopewell, VA


Strait of Juan de Fuca – Jamie Orr

Hi Richard

I was about to email you to see when your deadline was, and bingo!  Found a brand new Chebacco page on the web.  Good to see activity from other builders.  Sorry to hear about your job problems, but I’m sure a new opportunity will appear soon, I can’t see you sitting still for long.

Always nice to see a picture of Wayward Lass front and centre, but I wonder if you could make a small fix.  Chris probably didn’t know, and I missed it, but we should have given John Kohnen photo credit for the picture of WL arriving in Port Townsend.  John is the man behind the “Mother of All Maritime Links”, and provides pictures for many of us at local events.  He lets us use his pictures freely, so it’s only right to recognize him when we go public.  Can you add something like “photo by John Kohnen” to the page?

Come to think of it, John would make the subject for a good small boat article — have to give that more thought.  Meanwhile, going back to my opening remark, I have a write-up of sailing in Sylvester, Bill Samson’s old Chebacco, on the Thames River at the end of January.  I dawdled in writing it, and I’ve missed this issue, but I’ll send it along shortly — might as well polish it a bit more, now.

And just for the hell of it, here’s the latest picture of Wayward Lass, taken in the Strait of Juan de Fuca looking south to the Olympic mountains in Washington State.  Don’t expect you to publish this one, I’m just showing off our local scenery.  Got it from a stranger who was photographing a kite-surfing event — saw him pointing his camera our way so when I saw him later at the ramp I asked if he had any good ones of WL.  He emailed several, I like this one the best.

Cheers, and I’ll get that article in soon.




Sylvester goes to London – Jamie Orr

January 31st, London, England.  I’m standing outside my hotel, about to be picked up by someone I’ve never met who will take me to a boat that would have been laid up by now, except that its hauling-out has been delayed just so that I can go sailing!

Sound a little unusual?  Not at all, not to a Chebacco sailor!  Richard Elkan is the new owner of Sylvester, built by Bill Samson up in Dundee, Scotland.  When I emailed Richard to say I’d be in London and could we meet, he immediately offered a days sailing, even though he had planned to have Sylvester out of the water for the winter by then.  Another example of a friendly and hospitable Chebacco sailor!  (This was to be my second time in Sylvester – I first saw her (him?) in Dundee in 1999 when owned by Bill.)

Richard was right on time, and off we went to the Shadwell Docks, one of the oldest docks in London.  It’s no longer used for commercial shipping, but is home to a large and active sailing/kayaking group (see their website at  There is good size basin for small boats and training, and since the river is tidal at Shadwell, it is protected by a set of locks, like a canal.

While we waited for Graham, the third member of the crew, Richard tested an elderly Seagull outboard motor – it hadn’t run for a while, and took a few pulls, but nonetheless rasped into life.  Must be true, what Seagull folks say about their engines!  Graham arrived about then, so off we went.

Sylvester lives on a mooring in the river itself.


Since the wind was howling down the river and kicking up a good chop, Richard thought it best if he and Graham went out to the boat in the dinghy, then picked me up from the beach – a gravely strip along the edge of the river.

It didn’t take them long to strip off the cover, raise the sails (with both reefs firmly tied in) and cast off the mooring.  Sylvester fell off on the starboard tack, flew away to the other side of the river then back towards me and the beach.


Richard stopped her, head to wind in about a foot of water, I jumped in and she shot away again.

As I said before, the wind was coming down the river, about 20 knots worth, at least.  As well, the tide was ebbing, adding its strength to the river’s current.  Richard had planned to take the ebb tide down towards Gravesend then come back on the flood, but given the strength of the wind, we decided to start off upriver/upwind to be sure of getting back again.  And what a sail it was.  Even with both reefs, we had to pay strict attention, luffing through the gusts.  Soon after we set out Richard handed me the tiller and I started a new chapter in my sailing career.  Not only did I have to keep us upright, but also make what progress I could up the river, tacking every minute or two and keeping a sharp eye out for other river traffic – including cruising restaurants!


I didn’t have to worry about the mizzen, which was a big help, as Graham handled that throughout.


The banks of the river are lined with wharves, pilings and moored boats, and the tourist boats go up and down in a never ending stream.  This was on the last day of January — I dread to think what it must be like in summer!  I don’t think I disgraced myself, but after each tack to the other side and back, my progress could be measured in inches.  So I took the easy way out and gave the helm back to Richard, saying I wanted to capture the experience on my new digital camera.  He showed me how it ought to be done, routinely leaning Sylvester over farther than I’ve ever had my own Wayward Lass – well, maybe I was that far once, but I thought I was going over that time!

I was quite impressed with how Richard and Graham worked as a team to gradually bring us up to the bend in the river where I could finally see Tower Bridge.


However, that was our limit for the day, and it had taken two hours to come perhaps half a mile up the river!  We turned around and zig-zagged back down, so we could reach instead of run.  In a very few minutes we were turning into the wind with sails flogging so I could step off onto my beach again.  Sylvester was off on the instant, and was halfway across the river before I had waded ashore.


When Sylvester was moored again and the guys had joined me ashore, Graham said goodbye – it was his birthday and his family were waiting for him to come home so they could start the party!  Richard showed me a few of the sights along the Thames, we even drove under the river (which is new since when I last drove in London.)  We stopped at a boatyard where someone is finishing a Nigel Irens Romilly, but unfortunately the yard was closed and we couldn’t see the boat.  It’ll be interesting to see how Romilly compares to the Chebacco – roughly the same size, accommodation and even a similar rig, at least superficially.  Big difference in cost, though.

After a while, Richard noticed that the river hadn’t risen since we came ashore, so he phoned the local authority that measures these things.  They told him it hadn’t risen for three hours, although it should have.  The wind was strong enough to hold back the tide!  Good thing we didn’t go downstream, we’d still have been there!

We were just in time to see a bit of the Maritime Museum at Greenwich, this was a treat for me as Shackleton’s lifeboat, the James Caird, is on display there.  I snapped a picture before I saw the sign saying “no photographs”, but I’d probably have broken the rules anyway, Shackleton is one of my heroes.


Standing with my hand on the Caird’s gunwale, I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for the men who sailed her from Antarctica to South Georgia.  And how did they find their way?  I have trouble getting a decent sextant reading when I’m standing on dry land, never mind bouncing around in a 20 foot boat.  Giants indeed.

Closing time arrived far too soon, and we had to leave.  Our next stop was the nearby Greenwich Observatory, where we took pictures of each other astride the Prime Meridian. (It’s painted on the sidewalk!)  However, the pictures didn’t turn out very well, probably because of my lack of experience with the camera, so I can’t show them to you.  You’ll have to visit and see it for yourself.  When we went back to the car, we found we were locked in, but someone arriving for the night shift kindly let us out!  We finished the evening at Richard’s where his wife served us up an excellent dinner.  I stayed later than I probably should have, but was enjoying myself too much to leave.

When I finally pulled myself away, Richard walked me down to the local station, and I caught the Underground back to my hotel – amazingly good train system, every city should have one just like it.  And that was the end of a truly wonderful day.  My heartfelt thanks to Richard, and Graham, for it.

Richard hauled Sylvester the following week, for painting and other work.  He sent this picture of her when she went back in the water, he’s done a really nice job.



Chebacco scale model – Ben Ho


Hello Richard,

I have completed my 16:1 scale model for the lapstrake Chebacco I am planning to build. It’s a very useful exercise for me and well worth the time spent. Attached are a couple of pictures:

1. The strong-back and the molds have been set up, bottom in place. To help level up the molds and to hold them in alignment, I over-lay all the molds
on the body plan, align them longitudinally, drill two holes through them, and used bamboo skewers as the alignment rod.

2. The laps were glued on one by one, held in place with a combination of elastics, masking tape, and clothes pin. The laps and decks are made of 1/16
maple veneer which is very easy to work with. Wish the real thing will be as easy!


3. The completed model. I’ve enlarged the cabin slightly. The model has served the purpose of validating the offsets, molds, and construction steps. I think I will leave out the spars.




Some photos – Dave Neder

Good Afternoon Richard
Attached are some photos I took while getting ready for sailing this year.


I installed the wedge shaped removable bunks to support the stern. Because of the shape of the rudder, the stern overhangs the trailer.  It seems to ride OK without any strain on the boat.  Barrel bolts prevent the wedges from sliding out while travelling.



The Motor detail shows the chain/turnbuckle system to keep the motor centered when using the motor.  The eye bolts holding the turnbuckles
are offset so that the chain/turnbuckles relax when the motor is tipped up for sailing. The remote control cable run thru a water tight fitting in the motor
well wall. The motor controls are mounted on the starboard cockpit wall.

Getting ready for the road shows the 5HP Nissan. The mizzen is set ready to tip the mast.


The truck (work horse) has carrier bars attached to the truck cap.  If I  am going to use Mary Beth,too as a motorboat, I store the unneeded spars on the carrier bars.  For traveling on the highway the spars are stored on the white saddles and covered with a boat cover.


I am thinking about adding a jib.  I would like to contact Fraser Howell  for locations of sheet block and other dimensions and any help he might offer.
Dave Neder


The Building of Johanna, A Chebacco on Steroids – Michael Johannessen


Thanks for keeping the Chebacco news alive.

I hope you like the story and feel free to use as you wish.

Would it be OK to register it on your site?

I also hope you gain employment soon.

Michael Johannessen


Having harbored a desire to build a proper boat for some time, I satisfied the itch by reading home built articles for a number of years.

However the itch got worse and had to be cured.  I have built lightweight racing dinghies in the past and I just had to build another but bigger and
more comfortable boat as I get older.

I wanted a boat capable of good seaworthiness in sheltered and coastal waters, reasonable sailing and motoring performance with accommodation for
my wife and I for up to a week.  As we plan to cruise rivers and lakes, A shallow draft design was mandatory.

I was seeking a design that had modern features but with strong links to the past, particularly the North East USA Catboat, the traditional English
sailing craft as well as the local Couta boats here in Australia.

The Phil Bolger designed “Chebacco” was selected as a prime candidate and after discovering on the internet “The Chebacco Newsletters” edited by Bill
Sampson, I was provided with the necessary inspiration and confidence.  A visit was made to Duck Flat Wooden Boats in Adelaide where the plans for the
sheet ply version of Chebacco were ordered.

The Chebacco is a very pretty boat but the 19’6″ length was a little shorter than I wanted, the accommodation limited and I liked the look of the lapstrake hull.

Mr Bolger’s sweet lines were keyed into the Vacanti Prolines Hull Shape and Stability Software package and the hull expanded till the beam was at the maximum towing road width of 2.4Metres. The overall length turned out to be 6.3Metres.

To develop the planked lapstrake hull shape, the second chine was removed in the software and the underwater shape adjusted until the original waterline was met.  The total displacement increased by approximately 100kg to 900kg when fully laden. No specific inclusion for ballast was made.

A generic CAD package was used to convert the Prolines offsets to a set of construction plans.

Other modifications to the design included a solid keel, sealed cockpit and cabin floors and increasing the cabin size.

The boat was built from plywood with all external areas sheathed in either glass of dynal.  Polyurethane paint was used over an epoxy undercoat to minimize ongoing maintenance needs.

The boat was built the right way up using the 16mm plywood bottom of the boat is a solid foundation for attaching the bulkheads, molds, transom and stem.  The hull bottom jig consisted of 15 stations set at the fairbody height to firmly support the bottom of the hull during the planking phase.

The hull was constructed in three stages, firstly right way up, then upside down and finally right way up again.  Lifting the boat out of the shed twice made working on the boat easier but has twice as much stress as a single turnover.

In general, the following construction sequence was followed, keel built and installed in the Hull Jig, hull bottom fitted to the keel, centreboard case fitted to hull bottom, transom installed, female molds installed, hull planked and bulkheads/inwhales installed.

Half a dozen of my Yacht Club mates helped turned over the hull. A low key first turnover party held.

The next phase of fairing, sheathing and painting of the outside hull was a most boring, messy and demanding.  Building a lapstrake boat is a once in a lifetime experience. Turnover party two was a major milestone as the next time the boat emerged from the shed it would be for the launch.

The final phase of the work took the longest and included completing the hull interior, the cockpit/decking, cabin, rudder, motor and the electrical
and plumbing work.

Launching was successful and as expected the boat floats above the designed waterline until the masts and rigging are installed.  In the meantime 70Kg
of lead in the bow is being used to trim the boat. With the 20HP Honda 4 Stroke on full throttle, the maximum hull speed is almost 8 knots and at 25%
throttle, the speed is 5knots.

As I will using it as both a power and sail boat, I have fitted a steering wheel to control the outboard engine when not under sail.

Like all home built boats, the estimated construction time was very optimistic. As I could only work on the boat at weekend, the one year estimate stretched to five years. Visits to your website helped during the construction.

The next project is to build the spars and turn the power boat into a sail boat – maybe in six months time.

DCP_0014 DCP_0018 DSC01270


Wayward Lass in the Canadian Gulf Islands – Jamie Orr

Our 2004 Cruise

This year our annual cruise was in home waters instead of driving to the north end of the island.  This meant I had only a 35 minute journey to Dad’s place then another 5 minutes to Tulista Park in Sidney, saving us two days on the road.  We left the dock at 11:20 on Saturday morning, motoring out onto a flat calm sea.  We steered slightly north of east, passing to the west of Forrest Island.

Setting out

Setting out

At 11:45 a touch of wind came up from the south, so we raised the sails and motor-sailed past Domville Island, finally stopping the engine just north of Brethour Island at 12:15. It took us until 1:30 to cover the next mile, sailing slowly against the ebbing tide until we neared Fairfax Point on Moresby Island.  The Current Atlas showed a weak counter-current in our favour, close in to the shore, that would give us a lift around the point and over to Pender Island, our goal for the night.

The Current Atlas lied.  At 5:30 we were still trying to round Fairfax Point.  We’d tried it close in to the land and we’d tried going well out from the point, but either way the little wind we had could not overcome the adverse current.  At one point we crept up the shore, not tacking until our bows were practically on the beach, but although we reached the point, we could not get around it.  Eventually, at 6:15, the tide weakened and we passed the point.  However, it was a hollow triumph, because the wind also died away completely, leaving us drifting down Haro Strait, away from Pender.

So Honda came to the rescue, and we finished the day by motoring into Bedwell Harbour on the south side of Pender Island, and anchoring in the marine park there.  The mooring buoys were all occupied, and the area around them was crowded with anchored boats, but we left them all behind, tucking ourselves into the shallows behind Skull Islet at 7:30, only a few yards from shore.

Here’s Bedwell Harbour, taken from behind Skull Islet

Here’s Bedwell Harbour, taken from behind Skull Islet

We first visited Skull Islet about eight years ago, when chartering in company with another family.  On that occasion we took up a couple of the mooring buoys, but with small children along, we just had to row over to Skull Islet to look for buried treasure!  No golden treasure, but we took away some good memories.

On this trip, we were just thankful that the rocks around the islet ensured our privacy.  This was just the first of several times that we appreciated the shallow draft of a Chebacco. We put up the shelter and cooked up our supper, and by the time we’d cleaned up after it was quite dark.  I pulled the inflatable out of the after locker where it lives and put it on the cabin top to pump it up, there not being enough room in the now-covered cockpit.  There wasn’t really enough room up there either, but the inflatable has two main chambers, both of which go all the way around.  I was able to get the first one tight enough to let me row ashore to finish the job.  I did a little exploring by flashlight, then rowed back to Wayward Lass where we turned in for the night.

In the morning we had a good breakfast, fortifying ourselves for whatever the day would bring.  By 9:00 there was sufficient wind coming into the harbour from the southeast that we were able to recover the anchor and sail out of our corner without using the motor.  However, I have to confess that with all the rocks showing around us (it was low tide) we did start the motor and let it run in neutral while we did this.  Just a bit of insurance.

Bedwell Harbour is connected to Port Browning on the other side of Pender Island by a narrow channel, crossed by a road bridge.  Both Bedwell and Browning are bays that cut deeply into the island (it’s two islands actually, North and South Pender) so the channel is relatively short, but winding.  Since both the wind and the tide were going our way, we thought we’d see if we could get through the passage under sail alone.  We’d turned off the engine by now, and were confident enough that we left it sleeping.


The entrance, between the buoys

The entrance, between the buoys

The channel was sheltered, and little wind followed us in.  At one point we thought the wind was going to turn against us, but after one or two flaps of the mainsail, everything went back as it was and we carried on, the tip of the gaff clearing the bridge with a healthy margin.


The bridge

The bridge

As we neared the end of the passage, the wind grew steadier again, until we had a good sailing breeze from the mouth of Port Browning, which faces east.  Once clear, we turned and ran to the head of the bay to have a look around.  The most interesting sight was what appeared to be a Viking ship.  However, when we sailed closer, we could see that it was a large clinker built (lapstrake) boat with a false stem and stern added.  It looked very authentic from out in the bay, I guess that’s a lesson not to examine things too closely or they’ll spoil your illusions!

Vikings in the Gulf Islands!

Vikings in the Gulf Islands!

We turned and tacked between the boats anchored off the shore, working our way towards the entrance to Port Browning.  We had a notion to sail to Saturna Island, since we were so close.  However, the closer we got to the mouth of the bay, the stronger the wind blew, and before we reached the open water we stopped and tied a reef in the mainsail.  As we passed into Plumper Sound between Pender and Saturna, the reefed mainsail was quite enough to keep us moving along at hull speed.  To reach the southern point of Saturna was going to mean a long, wet, uncomfortable beat, and while we had no doubts about Wayward Lass’ ability to get there, we weren’t convinced that we wanted to go to all that trouble.  So it was up with the helm and let her run northeast with the wind, leaving Saturna astern.

The tide was still flooding north, but the Current Atlas showed a contrary current coming southeast down Plumper Sound.  With the weight of wind in our sails, though, the current was academic.  We carried on at hull speed, occasionally exceeding that when we caught a wave and surfed down its face.  Another small sailboat was motoring along behind us and we were easily drawing away from him until he exchanged motor for sail.  Even so, we still pulled ahead, but more slowly.

As Plumper Sound narrowed into Navy Channel between Pender and Mayne Islands, we held to the port, or southwest, side, thinking we would turn down Swanson Channel and south around Prevost Island.  This turned out to be a mistake.  While our speed dropped, the other boat drew level then ahead, gaining half a mile in a matter of minutes.  To make matters worse, the wind off the point was fluky while the current against us became stronger.  So for the second time, we took the easy way out, and followed the other boat, now just a dot in the distance, up Trincomali Channel to the north side of Prevost island.

This was a successful strategy, although we never did catch up to the other boat before our paths separated for good.  In no time we were past Prevost, turning southwest into Captain’s Passage towards the town of Ganges on Saltspring Island.  We were able to get through without tacking, then ran downwind again until it was time to take in the sails and use the motor to negotiate the entrance to the government wharf.

Saltspring is the biggest of the Gulf Islands, and Ganges is the biggest town on Saltspring – which is not to say it’s big compared to other places!  But it has a number of docks, I think there are two public docks and at least one marina, although I’m not very familiar with them and could be wrong here.  We tied up at the Centennial (public)Dock at 1:30, and as it was still early, we had no trouble finding an open space.  Rafting up is normal procedure at the public docks, but I don’t want to be on the inside of a raft-up because Wayward Lass is only 20 feet long with a lot of shape.  It would be hard to avoid rubbing somewhere.  However, it never came up as we were on an inside dock and none of the folks who came in later came our way.

We bought some items I’d forgotten, like a pancake flipper and a thermos, and renewed the ice in the cooler.  Then we rigged the boom tent as an awning against the hot sun – we had great weather, never a drop of rain, but it did get very warm at times!


The boom tent worked well as an awning

The boom tent worked well as an awning

There was an interesting selection of boats moored around us.  Several fishing type boats were undergoing renovations, and there looked to be a community of live-aboards, or at least very regular visitors, on the docks.  One of the visiting boats was the Mary Adair, owned by Robin – I didn’t get his last name, but he recognized our boat from last summer. It was he and his crew that Randy Wheating and I met at Sidney Island, when they came to take the old dock out of the lagoon.

The Mary Adair is a big William Garden ketch, and Robin has been rebuilding her for five years.  I forget the numbers, but he’s replaced numerous frames, a lot of planking, and I think the whole deck.  The new frames are in two pieces, steamed separately then glued together in place, the planking is red cedar.  What struck me most, though, was the lovely smell of yellow cedar below decks.  The interior is all done in that wood and looks as great as it smells.

Robin hadn’t sailed her a lot yet.  He’d got the mainmast and sail from a schooner, and he’d left off the mizzen until he could try out the main alone.  He’d also got a lot of ballast to put back, she was riding very high so a cautious approach was a good thing!

After breakfast next morning, we motored clear of the docks and set sail right away.  The wind had swung round a hundred and eighty degrees, coming now from the northwest. However, this meant we could run back out of the harbour, so we had an easy start.

My parents used to have a house overlooking Ganges Harbour, behind the chain of islands (called the Chain Islands!) on the northeast side, and it wasn’t unusual to see a boat lose its propeller on the shallows between the islands.  After a good look at the chart, I decided we could safely cross behind the line of islands so we picked out a gap and sailed up to it close hauled, raised the centre board for a moment as we crossed, and we were over.  However, I got a surprise when I looked at the chart again and realized I had missed an entire island, and crossed somewhere else entirely!  Again, I was glad to have a shallow draft boat.

We reefed again before we reached back through Captain’s Passage to Trincomali Channel, so were ready for the full force of the northwest wind – an estimated fifteen knots, with gusts to twenty, at most.  However, whitecaps stretched away as far as we could see, so we prepared for some wet sailing.  With one reef, Wayward Lass handled things easily and we settled down to enjoy a fast journey.

The wind was actually more from the west than the north, so we were able to make long and short tacks, almost making our desired course on the long ones.  Again we found ourselves overhauling a motoring sailboat, (not the same one) and again it raised its sails and started moving faster.  This time, going to windward, the sloop rig with its big genoa gave him the advantage and we started to drop behind.

The wind was great while it lasted, but as we approached Wallace Island it started to die away.  By the time we had shaken out the reef it was almost gone.  We kept moving, but very slowly.  Our friend with the genoa was having even worse problems, he was close in to shore and going nowhere, and we gradually caught him up until he restarted his motor and moved off.  A few minutes later we followed his example, and motored into Conover Cove on Wallace Island, a popular anchorage.

Our draft again allowed us to anchor away from the crowd, in the shallows at the south end of this long and narrow cove.  It’s not long and narrow the way you’d expect, but instead has a narrow entrance at right angles to the island (also long and narrow) and to the long axis of the cove itself.  We chose the southern end.

We’d had a short day again, so I had time for a good walk on the island.  I looked at some old cabins, the last resident moved away in the 1980’s I think, and the whole island is now a park.  I also walked across the island (a very short walk) and looked out over a now calm Trincomali.


Trincomali from Wallace Island

Trincomali from Wallace Island

We finally got an earlyish start the next morning, leaving at 8:40.  Our tide calculations worked out, we still had three inches under our keel at low tide, just before we left.  We motored out and put up the sails again as soon as we cleared the entrance.  The wind was from the same direction as the previous morning, but not as strong, so we didn’t reef. We were in Houston Passage now, and wouldn’t rejoin Trincomali until we passed Wallace and its neighbors to the northwest.

We had planned to stop at Clam Bay the previous day until the wind failed.  This bay is made by Thetis and Kuper Islands, which are like one bigger island with a muddy strip between them.  This muddy strip has, I believe, been dredged in the past.  In any case, the chart says “boat passage at high water” and we’d looked forward to trying it.  However, we wanted to make the most of our wind, so we tacked on past Clam Bay, promising ourselves we’d stop on the way back.

As we sailed along, a de Havilland Twin Otter, (a twin-engined seaplane) came flying along at only about a hundred feet.  As we watched, it lost more height then landed in the middle of the channel.  It idled along for a while, then put on the power again.  However it didn’t take off, but raced over the water for a mile or two, making a long curve as it went.  After a further time of doing nothing much, it powered up again, taking off this time.  We couldn’t decide why it was doing this, but when it came back later and landed a second time, we decided it had to be some kind of training exercise.

Our destination for today was Pirate’s Cove, a marine park on De Courcy Island, one of another chain at the north end of Trincomali.  Once we could point past the north end of Thetis, we made a long tack, all the way over to Yellow Point on Vancouver Island, setting ourselves up to make Ruxton Passage, a small pass immediately south of De Courcy, on the next tack.  We had to pass through the chain in order to reach the entrance to Pirate’s Cove, on the east side of the islands.

Dad had the helm, and we made excellent progress towards Ruxton.  However, just short of the passage, a power boat passed in front of us, and it was as if he just took all the wind with him.  We were left bobbing around in a chop with only the slightest breath of wind.  However, Dad persevered, and just barely got us through Ruxton before the current started running against us.

It was 4:00 in the afternoon by now, so we said we’d give it another hour before starting Honda.  We mostly drifted for the next fifty minutes, moving slowly southeast, the wrong direction.  Then, with ten minutes to the deadline, the breeze came back from the northwest and we started sailing again.  We took a long tack out into the main channel, then aimed for the entrance to the cove.  Some care is wanted with this entrance, the cove runs northwest/southeast, as does the island, and reefs run northwest from the point guarding the entrance, even beyond the marker.  And if that’s not enough, there are more rocks on the island side, narrowing the entrance further.  However, these are well marked, so as long as one doesn’t cut any corners and stays between the marks, all is well.

We passed the reef on a close reach, gybed and ran down between the marks.  There were a number of yachts already anchored, but there was a good looking space for us in the middle of them. We were being followed by a big sailboat under power, so we didn’t fool about looking for a better place in case we lost this one.  As soon as we reached the right place, I rounded up and dropped the Danforth from the cockpit, the rode already being in place over the bow.  Wayward Lass surprised me, carrying more way than I expected, and for a minute the anchor rode streamed out behind us.  She soon stopped and drifted back but I kind of wished I’d held on to the anchor a few seconds longer, because by the time I let out the right amount of rode for the depth, we were closer to the next row of boats than I had planned.  But not close enough to make it worth moving.


Sunset from Pirate’s Cove, showing the entrance markers

Sunset from Pirate’s Cove, showing the entrance markers

The wind that had brought us into Pirate’s Cove was now blowing at fifteen knots or better.  Pirate’s Cove is somewhat exposed to the northwest, the same direction as the wind, so we went to bed expecting some rolling and noise from the waves.  That didn’t keep us awake, though, after a second day of windward work.  Our anchor also gave us no concerns.  The Danforth has held the light Chebacco in worse conditions, despite weighing only eight pounds.  Others weren’t so lucky, though, and I was woken at 2:30 by bright lights reflecting off the white boom tent.  We could see a sailboat moving around downwind from us, they must have been dragging.  Once they re-anchored, it quieted down again, but in the morning it was apparent that they weren’t the only ones to have trouble.  Several boats had moved, and others had disappeared, presumably looking for better protection.  The big boat that entered behind us was one of the ones that had gone.  Wayward Lass hadn’t moved an inch, nor had the Cal 20 directly downwind from us.  Let’s hear it for little boats!


Inside Pirate’s Cove

Inside Pirate’s Cove

It was time to be thinking of going south again.  I had entertained hopes of reaching Nanaimo and logging some time at the Dinghy Dock, a harbour pub there, but it wasn’t to be. Too much windward work.  Oddly enough, if we’d had the usual summer winds, or rather lack of them, we’d probably have made it, but by motoring.

In any case, we motored out of Pirate’s Cove at 8:00 with the wind still blowing a good fifteen knots.  When we put up the sails, we put a reef in the mainsail, expecting the wind to be stronger out in the channel.  We were surprised to find it weaker instead, so we took out the reef and turned downwind.  We had a very pleasant run back to Clam Bay, arriving at 9:50 – much less time than it took us going the other way!  Since low water had only been an hour and a half earlier, we anchored off the cut and watched the water rise.


Watching the tide rise

Watching the tide rise

At 10:30 I got impatient and pulled up the anchor.  We motored slowly along until we grounded on the mud, then I pulled up the motor.  As you know, a short shaft motor only extends exactly as far as a Chebacco’s skeg, but there was a chance we might drift sideways and bend something expensive.

Two views of the cut:


Looking back

Looking back

Looking ahead

Looking ahead

In fact, we had a slight current with us, so as the water level rose, we would unstick and drift forward.  We used paddle and boat hook to keep her aligned when we grounded, so we weren’t pushed broadside across the channel, but it was easy work.  We eventually made it through at 11:30, the shallowest part being right the western end.  We started the motor just long enough to push us into Thetis Island Marina, where we hoped to get showers.

Unfortunately, only those boaters who paid for moorage overnight could have showers, due to a scarcity of water.  We were welcome to fill up our five gallon container, though, and we also hit the café for two big pieces of pie and a couple of large mugs of coffee.  In less than an hour we cast off again, drifting away under sail.

The wind was disappointing on this side of the island.  We managed to sail out of the harbour into Stuart Channel, but made very little progress after that.  We wanted to go down the east side of Saltspring Island this time, through Sansum Narrows to Genoa Bay.  It eventually became apparent, even to us, that it wasn’t going to happen under sail, not that day anyway, so we fired up Honda and furled the sails.

Honda gave us a pleasant journey, making nothing of the fact that the tide had turned against us at the narrows, and we tied up at Genoa Bay, tucked into larger Cowichan Bay, at 7:15.  The office had closed, but the shower building was open, so we were much cleaner and felt a whole lot better when we presented ourselves at the restaurant.  This was our treat, the only meal we ate “out” on the trip.  However, neither of us were really hungry, so we concentrated on the appetizers and desserts, leaving the entrees for another time. The beer was good, too.

The office was still closed when we left the next morning – unusual for a marina to be keeping banker’s hours at that time of year.  (I called a few days later and ‘fessed up, and paid by credit card.)  We motored out of Cowichan Bay, hoping to find some wind, but this was to be our big motoring day.  We did sail for a while from Cape Keppel to Isabella Island, along the south shore of Saltspring.  However, with a strong feeling of déjà vu, we couldn’t overcome the current flowing against us around Isabella – it’s right against the land, more like a point than an island when seen from the sea.

So we called on Honda again, and motored off northeast, towards Prevost Island again.  We could have been back at our starting point in Sidney in under an hour, but we weren’t ready to go home just yet.  By mid-afternoon we closed our circle around Saltspring Island (and a few others) and were nearing Active Pass, between Galiano and Mayne Islands. When people come to Victoria via BC Ferries, Active Pass is what they remember from the trip.  It’s two miles long but only three or four hundred feet wide at times, and it feels like the big ferries are going to graze the sides as they negotiate the two ninety degree turns in the pass.

So naturally, we wanted to sail through this marine freeway.

It’s not as dumb an idea as it sounds as first.  The ferries stick to their specified routes, and despite appearances, there’s a lot of water left for the rest of us.  As well, they sound their horns before coming around those corners, so there’s lots of notice given.  There’s also the schedule, but with the number of vehicles to load in summer, sailing times can be delayed so we didn’t count on that.  In any case, we arrived at the pass with a light north wind, which, if it had kept true, would have taken us through on a broad reach.  But inside the pass the winds were fluky and unreliable, and the current, which was just barely still with us, swirled around in circles as it moved eastward.

We were about half a mile into the pass when I heard a ship’s siren.  I wasn’t sure which end it came from, as it bounced off the islands, but that didn’t matter.  We started the motor and moved to the south side, away from the ferry track.  A minute later, the Queen of Saanich came into sight from the west, doing about 20 knots.  She passed us on the other side of the channel, then before she was out of sight a smaller ferry appeared from the east.  We thought this must be the ferry that services Galiano Island, stopping at a dock in Sturdies Bay, just inside the eastern end of Active Pass.  As it went by we could see a third ferry approaching, so held our position until the big Spirit of Vancouver Islandhad also passed us, heading west.

The Spirit of Vancouver – don’t mess with this one!

The Spirit of Vancouver – don’t mess with this one!

That was it for ferries.  It would probably be an hour before the next one came through, but we didn’t try to sail any more because the wind wasn’t reaching us in there.  I furled the sails and we completed our transit under power, turning south once we reached Georgia Strait.

We travelled southeast along the “outside” of Mayne Island to Edith Point, where we turned south and negotiated some small channels that eventually led us to Winter Cove, between Saturna and smaller Samuel Island.  On the north side of this cove is Boat Passage, a narrow opening to Georgia Strait.  The current was flowing into the Cove, so we felt safe in having a look – a strong current in the other direction could have left us stuck in Georgia Strait, and having to go the long way around to get back again – a matter of several miles.  As it happened, we had enough power to get out, and of course coming back was no problem.

As we motored over to our chosen anchorage, we altered course slightly to avoid a short pole sticking out of the water.  This was nailed to a deadhead, a water soaked, partly sunken log.  Next time we’ll give it a wider berth, though, because not far from it was another one, unmarked.  We were too late to go wider, we only had time to change course enough to go between the deadheads – not the preferred action, in case of yet another one!

This area has diurnal tides, two highs and two lows each day, and the highs and lows ususally vary in height.  The tide table showed a rising tide for most of the afternoon, then a drop of less than a foot, followed by another rise until after midnight.  Only then did the level really start to drop, and it wouldn’t be really low until mid-morning the next day. This was important to us because we wanted to anchor off the old log dump, where the park is now.  No one else was anchored this close because of the drying rocks and mud shown on the chart.  We did the math, and decided that as long as we were out of there by 9:00 in the morning, we’d be all right.


At anchor in Winter Cove, with the boom tent up

At anchor in Winter Cove, with the boom tent up

After a sound sleep, we were up at 6:00 and glad to see our calculations were sound.  We thought we’d better not waste time, but there’s a lot to do each morning to get under way, particularly as we were sleeping in the cockpit.  We stowed the air mattresses and rolled up the sleeping bags so we could put the floorboards back where they belonged, took down and folded away the boom tent, cooked breakfast and cleaned up after, then finally deflated the dinghy and stowed that away.  So it wasn’t until 8:00 that we were ready to pull up the anchor.  By then the bottom was coming up fast, if we’d waited until our 9:00 deadline, we might have been hard aground.

We left Honda alone, raising the sails instead.  Dad took the helm and I pulled in the anchor, everything went according to plan and we sailed clear, enjoying a good sneer at another boat that was motoring out.  (Yes, I can be a jerk at times.)  We were able to clear all the reefs and rocks on a broad reach, then turned towards the wind as our course became clear.  We planned to cross Plumper Sound and retrace our path through the channel between North and South Pender.  The wind was from the southeast, and at first we thought we’d have to tack our way up to the entrance to Port Browning.  However, as we left Saturna, the wind backed around to the south and let us point almost directly at the entrance.  We had a fine sail over, only needing one short tack to let us weather the point and run down the harbour.

No sightseeing this time.  We went directly to the channel, starting the motor as we neared it.  We left the sails up but we were completely sheltered from any breezes.  We were through in a minute and had the engine stopped and out of the water again.  As we worked our way up Bedwell Harbour, against the wind, we wondered whether to stop for fuel. However, the wind was doing a great job, so we thought we could count on it to take us at least half way home and we’d definitely have enough fuel then.  So although our next tack took us within yards of the fuel dock, we turned away again and carried on.

Once out of the harbour, we could easily make our course, passing south of Fairfax Point on Moresby Island, where we spent so much time the first day.

Nearing Moresby Island, going home

Nearing Moresby Island, going home

Although the wind kept blowing, it wasn’t as strong as it had been, so we thought it best to go as far south as the wind would let us.  This way, we hoped to use the tide, which was about to change to flood, to our advantage.  This meant we would ideally pass upwind of Forrest Island.  Dad held the helm steady as we crept up to the island.  He didn’t quite make it without tacking, but only a very short tack was needed.  From there we could easily round Sidney Spit and carry on across Sidney Channel to the boat ramp.  We passed the spit about noon, docked at 12:45, and had Wayward Lass on the trailer, ready to roll, by 1:30.

Another cruise was over.  This one was a huge success, we had expected light and variable winds, and a lot of motoring, but instead we had more sailing than on any other cruise, and good sailing at that.  And no rain!


Launching Day – Ed Heins

After 6 years 2 states and 4 places of residence, I managed to launch Boudicea, the Chebacco that  has doubled as a garage ornament for far too long.

We approached launching day with appropriate plans for celebration including a  christening bottle of some not-for-consumption concoction all neatly enclosed in netting, blue blazers, and Deb, my British Lady wife, well rehearsed in her best QE2 accent .

All great ideas, however they didn’t get used today.  In fact we launched into probably the most inappropriate venue I’ve ever seen.  (Unfortunately, while  the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is resplendant in natural wonders, it exhibits a complete lack of sailing venues)  Nevertheless, we dunked the boat and celebrations may follow at a later date and location.

The good news.  1) The trailer rig travelled without a hitch. It’s apparent I need a tongue extension for shallow ramps, but more on that later.  2) we didn’t take on any water we didn’t understand. Yes, the centerboard pivot leaks a bit, but that is a project yet to come.  3) I didn’t fall off the boat, do a bad “Caber Tossing” impression with the main mast, or otherwise.  and 4) I arrived at the launch site with everything I needed for a normal set up and launch.

Now the bad news.  1) Lake Shenandoah ( a pond to anyone other than a realtor), is small, narrow, shallow (something the locals are either unaware of, or unwilling to share).  Hence we had to push the boat off the trailer, and reloading it was an experience.  2) I’ve got a problem in the gaff rigging that will be resolved before the next attempt at a sail. Please ignore the  poor sail set in the attached pics.  3) Probably the worst occurance however was a jammed centerboard in the down position.  I placed a block on the  board to give better purchase which worked well in dry tests, but apparently after numerous groundings ( refer to item 1, !@###$%^ shallow pond)  the block has managed to twist in the trunk.  We managed to get the board back up, but damage assessment is on hold till the morrow.  Oh well, the great thing about building a boat, is that the repairs are just a continuance of the project.

Next on the agenda is the Atlantic small craft festival in St. Michaels MD.  I’m confident that my trailer rig will allow me to get it there.  Beyond that it’s anybody’s guess.   If anyone should see a statuesque British woman smacking a blue hulled Chebacco with a netted bottle, be advised that things are probably going better the second time around.

“Let the chips fall where they will.  I’ve got boats to build.”

Cheers y’all.

Ed Heins

New Market VA

Boudicea_1st_sail Launching_day launching_day_2


Blow-by-blow – Dick Burnham

“Stealing Horses” waits to bolt from her stall, but first…

The construction of the sheet plywood Chebacco, “Stealing Horses,” continues in spurts and stops.  I’m learning boatbuilding as I trip merrily along.  Last summer we were only able to flip the hull.  This summer we’d hoped to wrap up the building and start the sailing, but that didn’t happen.  Nevertheless, for what it might be worth, here’s a report.

Since most articles today are on cruising (those lucky ones, huh?), and previous reports were focused on hull construction, I’d like to report a bit on the building of those things above the topsides and inside, just to inspire would-be builders that it is all doable, and pleasurably so.  While some have suggested that this work equals, in time, the work of hull building, let me say: Not so!  This second phase, what Robb White in MAIB called “furniture building”, is more time consuming.  There’s lots more pieces and figuring and head scratching for a novice like me.


Here, from the cockpit looking forward, can be seen the various stringers and carlins for the seats, the deck, and the cuddy roof with mast slot.


The photos show “Stealing Horses” with the cuddy, deck, and cockpit seats about ready for covering.  The cuddy walls are solid ½” thick rosewood, saved from previous travels. The cuddy roof carlins are the same wood, but the deck and other framing members are spruce which is encapsulated in epoxy.  Building the cuddy walls was a matter of repeated fittings so that the bottom hit right and there was extra height on top.  As others have suggested, I cut the elliptical windows while the trunk was flat on sawhorses.  With the trunks in place, the bottom carlins were then added, with ring nails and epoxy.  Then the top carlins of the walls were added after using bendy battens to get it right.  Next, the other roof-framing members were sized and put in, with recessed silicon bronze screws that were bunged.  Epoxy is always used to butter the joints.

The rounded nosepiece of the cuddy was made up of several 1” thick wood pieces, fitted through trial and error, and put in with epoxy. It was shaped in place with a handsaw, a rasp, and sandpaper on a board.  (I’ve since bored a hole in its prow and inserted a coin from the South Pacific, setting it in epoxy that will be UV filtered with varnish.)

The tops of the carlins and the cuddy wall were shaped to final form with a handheld power planer and a belt sander (36 and 50 grit!).  I did this portion “wrong” as, according to Phil Bolger, he’d premised his detailing based on a sequence that had the the deck down before the cuddy trunks.  Nevermind!  I had it done before I wrote to him!


The cuddy roof went down easily with two layers of ¼” plywood.  The curve was fun to do and was easily accomplished with ring nails and epoxy.  I prepainted the cuddy ceiling but it was accidentally smeared with thickened epoxy and now I think that prepainting was a waste of time.  The sliding hatch runners went on as did the framing for the mast slot hatch—screws and epoxy.  The hatch was a head-scratcher, but I’ve worked it out, adding extra hand-holds and/or places for lines to be tied.


Xynole fabric in epoxy covered the deck and cuddy roof.  The process I’m using, taken from Reuel Parker’s book, “The New Cold-Molded Boatbuilding”, is this: roll regular epoxy on the plywood (it is, by the way, Meranti marine grade – I think grade BS6566 – from Noahsmarine in Toronto).  Then, the next day, tape the xynole down and squeegee into it one coat of epoxy (my epoxy guy, Larry at Raka Epoxy, suggested adding some fumed silica to this and the next step for some thickening—I did this).  The day after, roll on one more coat of epoxy.  The cloth is now hard and “rough” and was then sanded down just a bit for a finished ‘roughened’ surface good for footing but not too rough for those who will slip!  This will now receive 2 coats of semi-gloss paint (I use Kirby’s and have selected a color that won’t have too much glare).

The curved returns of the coaming were built up and installed, and I’ve added a veneer of about 3/16” thick wood to the forward bulkhead of the cockpit as well as to the outside of the coaming.  A continuous band of natural wood runs from the cuddy prow all the way aft along the coaming to the transom. This will be varnished and hopefully look nice against the white topsides.

The rubrails have been put together from pieces, shaped, epoxied on the backs and I plan to paint them with repeated applications of Kirby’s “Salty Dog Deck Oil” – a pine tar based mixture for these pieces of wood that will be subjected to abrasion.

That’s where I am in September.  Before frost and winter arrive, the hopes are to paint the deck and roof, install the rubrails and the trim at the cuddy roof edge, varnish the wood, and start mast building.  Working up steam to have a go at the masts and gaff, I’ve built a sample section using the hollow ‘birdsmouth’ design idea that was featured in WoodBoat magazine (July/August 1999).  At the same time, however, I’ve put the sicklebar onto the tractor and am belatedly out in the field mowing, so who knows what will get done!



Kitty Hawk in the Po Delta – Vincenzo Ciminale

Dear Richard,

Attached is a photo of Kitty Hawk with all of her sails up, gliding along in the Po Delta with barely any wind. In August 2001, Kitty was launched with standard Chebacco main and mizzen sails. From the start it was clear that she would need additional sail area for the very light winds that prevail in the Venice lagoon during the summer months. We first rigged up a jib on a retractable bowsprit, with a jib roller. The jib, which  is about 5.5 square meters (about 60 sq ft), adds at least one knot of speed and corrects Kitty’s weather helm. When the situation really gets desperate, we rig up the mizzen staysail. This sail is about 4 square meters and is a recycled jib from a traditional lugsailer. The mizzen staysail works well on long tacks, from close-hauled to broad reach. To tack, we have to detach the tack of sail sail and walk it around the boom and reattach it.
We would like to launch an idea – a Chebacco foreign exchange program. For example, we would welcome other Chebacco sailers to visit and use our boat for a weekend in the Venice lagoon, and would appreciate the possibility of sailing other boats and meeting other Chebacco sailers.
Buon Vento
Donna D’Agostino
Vincenzo Ciminale
 IMG_0977 IMG_0978 IMG_0980

Chebacco News 47

News, questions, and boats for sale.


Last issue started out with “There will be a calendar!” This was perhaps overly optimistic… 🙂 Life, as life so often does, has interferred. With any luck I’ll have one ready for 2005.


Hello Richard,
After watching the Chebacco web site for almost 2 years, and having read the Archive files several times over, I’ve decided to build the 20 ft Lapstrake Chebacco. I’ve made the crucial first step – ordering the plans from PB&F. I will probably build a scale model first. But before I do any serious work, I will need to extend my garage (a standard 19′ by 18′ double garage) by 6 ft. Hopefully that will happen as soon as snow melts!
I am interested in making the cabin wider and longer to make it more accommodating. Can you send a request out to the webzine – to those who have made similar modification, I would much appreciate any input, ideas, photos, etc.!

Ben Ho

Waterloo, Ontario

Chebacco’s for sale:

SOLD! (ed)

—– Original Message —–
From: “Paul Thober” <>
To: “Richard Spelling” <>
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 2004 8:39 AM
Subject: Selling Samnatha

> Richard, I am attempting to sell Samantha. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please inform them. I owe the city of Rockland a little in excess of $700 and would be happy to sell her for that amount.
> Paul Thober


Life is Change – Richard Spelling

Well, a lot has happened since the last issue. Articles have been slow in coming, and I’ve been too busy to write anything. Apparently, everyone else has been too!

Finally got the new place set up, and was working on the shop and the car/boat port. Then, I must have driven over one of those surprise generators they bury right after those “dangerous intersection” signs.

There was a systems crash at work, and the newest backup for that system was two weeks old. They started going after the girl in charge of the system, and I spoke up and said, basically, “I was in charge of backups, here is what happened, it wasn’t her fault.”

So, they fired me instead.

I am now in the ranks of the unemployed. I’m sending out resumes, and trying to start up my budding business. However, I was caught flat-footed, as I had grown comfortable at this place. Out of some, perhaps misguided, sense of loyalty, I had stopped my usual practice of looking through the paper and sending out resumes to interesting jobs.


If any of you folks have been holding back contributions to the webzine, now would be a good time…


hollow keel comments – Marty Clough

Hello Richard

Phil Bolger was kind enough to respond to questions I asked about the hollow keel on Chebacco.  I thought you might wish to include portions of these two attachments in the next newsletter.  My own Chebacco is covered for the winter ( cheap plastic tarps) with much work to be done before I get to the keel. Marston Clough (use my hotmail address which you already have- “”


November 23, 2003

Dear Mr. Bolger,

I purchased my Chebacco plans from Dynamite Payson rather than directly from you (an option I wasn’t aware of somehow) so I understand you may choose not to comment, but I have a question about the hollow keel.  Some of the builders seem to build to plans but many opt for a solid keel, built up various ways.

I would be pleased to build to the plans (especially after reading your comments about the Reiver) but I am concerned about marine growth on the inside of the box (the boat will sit on a mooring in Tashmoo on the Vineyard, where water temperatures and nutrients allow fast growth of unwanted stuff).

  • Won’t barnacles and sponges and all sorts of growth occur on the inside of the box, possible creating

o      Deterioration of the box

o      A horrible smell when I store the boat in my backyard

  • Other than building simplification, are there strong structural drawbacks to making a laminated solid keel?

My Chebacco still has a ways to go, but I am finding it an entertaining and challenging project.  If you can comment, I would like to share your comments with the website which has been a good source of continuing inspiration and support.

My brother Brad got me started as a Bolger-phile by purchasing a Gloucester Gull from Dynamite many years ago and car-topping it from Maine to the Vineyard ( he still has the boat more than 30 years later).  I’ve built the Teal (my wife’s favorite) and Bobcat (“tiny cat” -with a Beetle Cat mast and sail) and look forward to your honesty in boats, books and Messing About.

Sincerely yours,

Marston Clough

Vineyard Haven, MA


Phil Bolger responds:

“The first boat I did with a hollow, free-flooding keel was launched in 1972.  I had the same concern, but in fact it did not happen.  We took one side off after several years and found the plenum perfectly clean.  We’ve done quite a few since and not trouble has been reported”

“The object was to avoid the shrinking and swelling of the components of a solid deadwood…”

“A solid keel or a skeg built up wholly of plywood would not have this problem; it would be that much heavier on the trailer.”


A Visit to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival

From Chris Bennett with comments from Jamie Orr

Lass-1I’m still not clear on just why we chose to spend a night at anchor when we could have been in our warm beds, but have to admit it allowed an early start on Friday.  The anchorage is a beautiful little cove, with good shelter, and I plan to visit it again sometime soon, this time with the family.We began our voyage on the evening of Thursday Sept 4, planning to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Victoria to Port Townsend that evening.  However the marine forecast advised of a small craft warning.  Being in no mood for an uncomfortable wet trip, we retired to a nearby Chinese restaurant before sailing to nearby Chatham Island.  We dropped the hook in 2 fathoms, set up the boom tent, and turned in for an early night.  John Ewing took the cabin and Jamie Orr and I slept under the boom tent.  Jamie’s boat, a Chebacco 20, named ‘Wayward Lass’ has cockpit floorboards that can be raised to create a comfortable sleeping platform and we spent the night under the stars listening to the wind blowing off the strait.

The next morning we sailed for Port Townsend.  Fog, strong currents, and occasional tidal rips kept things interesting and we were glad to have a hand-held GPS to assist with navigation.  The main hazard in a fog-bound strait crossing is ship traffic so we flew a radar deflector from the main flag halyard and kept a close watch for ‘rivets in the fog’.

This was the foggiest trip out of the four I’ve made to Port Townsend.  Going over, at least it was clear when we started, but coming back we found ourselves in fog almost immediately.  We carried on, which highlights the dangers of deadlines and steady jobs.  This wasn’t a very good decision – there was no danger of getting lost, but there are several big ship lanes in the strait, not to mention tug and barge traffic, which I like even less.

After a few hours, the sun appeared and the wind died away so we motored until just off the entrance to Puget Sound where the wind began to pick up.  We hoisted sail and turned the corner to Port Townsend.  In the distance gaff rigged cutters, tall ships and graceful sloops criss-crossed the entrance to the port and we had a glorious sail amongst this fleet of classic wooden boats.  We landed at the town marina fuel jetty and after clearing customs relaxed with a beer in the cockpit. Jamie’s friend John Kohnen joined us after securing his Jordan skiff Pickle (you may have run across John’s amazing nautical web site – ‘The Mother of All Maritime Links’).  The evening was spent sampling local brew and blues music at the Port Townsend Brewery and enjoying fish and chips at a nearby “classic” eatery, before turning in for the night at our marina berth.

I don’t know how I’d survive Port Townsend without fish and chips at Sea-J’s.  They’re right by the Boat Haven, and always seem to be open when I’m hungry.

Saturday dawned cloudy and threatening rain, but we soon forgot the weather in the excitement of attending one of North America’s best wooden boat shows.  (Second only to the Depoe Bay Wooden Boat Show and Crab Feed!)

While Jamie and John met with some of their friends from Oregon and Washington, I visited the boats and listened to some of the speakers at the show.  There were more than a hundred boats on display ranging from strip built kayaks and sailing cruising canoes through stout cutters such as the Pardey’s Taleisin to substantial sail training vessels.  I admit to a bias toward the smaller boats, but despite this, there was much to keep me occupied. Sam Devlin (a boat designer and builder in nearby Olympia) had a number of boats on display including a newly designed 19 foot stitch and glue catboat – The Wompus Cat.  I chatted with one of Devlin’s boat builders who has built the Devlin Egret for his personal use.  This is a 15 foot rowing/sailing skiff that looks like a slightly beamy dory.  It was the first boat that I built and I found it interesting to compare notes on the conversions he had made to improve her sailing and cruising capabilities.  John Guzzwell’s Dolly was there, although her new owners, a Japanese couple, seemed a little embarrassed by all the attention.  Dolly is based on Guzzwell’s Trekka, a 21 foot Laurent Giles design that Guzzwell sailed alone around the world in the 1950’s.  Other boats of note included a beautiful Fox Island 22 designed by Joel white, two Lyle Hess cutters (sister ships to Lin and Larry Pardey’s famous Seraffyn), Carol Hasse’s beautifully maintained Nordic folkboat, and a gold-plater version of Ian Oughtred’s MacGregor sailing canoe.

The show’s speakers were equally interesting and I attended talks on cruising in small open boats, sail making, and rigging.  Carol Hasse, based out of Port Townsend, was one of the founders of the festival more than 25 years ago and has built a reputation for crafting the world’s finest cruising sails.  After listening to her detailed explanation of the differences between typical sails and those built for extended cruising, I came away with an increased appreciation of the art of the sail maker.  From the presentation by rigger Brion Toss, I learned that you should not increase the size of your standing rigging in order to make your boat ‘stronger’.  Doing so simply increases the strain on the boat because you need to use higher tension to correctly tune the thicker wire.  From the small boat cruising talk, I learned that one should pay attention to the contour lines on a chart.  In areas subject to tidal currents (such as the strait we had just crossed), closely-spaced contours indicate steep underwater slopes that can cause lumpy seas and tidal rips.  On our return trip, we were to see this in practice as we crossed several of these areas, nearing Victoria.  In the afternoon Jamie and the two Johns went for a sail in Wayward Lass to get a close up view of the schooner races.  We met for supper and then wandered back to the festival where we took another turn around the displayed yachts before turning in.

It’s always fun to sail at Port Townsend, but the high point of my (and Wayward Lass’) day was passing Bryony, a 45 foot cutter – I must admit though, that she had a reef in her main, and as soon as she shook that out, she was gone!  Watching the schooner race we stayed out of the way of the racers, but saw some (I think) non-competing schooners from very close as they overtook us — the Lynx, a replica 1812 Privateer (a topsail schooner of maybe 100 feet) went by to windward only a few feet away.  Barlovento won the schooner race by so much, that I think they should offer another first prize for the “First Finisher after Barlovento”!

That night, Jamie’s new tarp was put to the test as rain and wind battered our shelter.  The weather forecasts were misleading on the eve of our final day, predicting much stronger winds than actually occurred.  We put off our planned 4 am departure based on these forecasts, but decided around 8 am that it would make sense to catch the remainder of a favorable tide.  We departed under motor and the return crossing was uneventful, with conditions mild enough to permit a brew-up in the cockpit.  We enjoyed a cup of tea as we motored with favorable currents for the first couple of hours.  The remainder of the crossing was against a 1-2 knot current and the wind rose enough after lunch to give us a gentle sail into Oak Bay Marina. Jamie cleared us through customs and retrieved the tow vehicle.  We were home by supper, tired, but content after a weekend fully immersed in sailing and wooden boats.

Juan de Fuca Strait is a big place, and the forecasts are usually pretty accurate, but they missed by a mile on Saturday night.  However, we did get some rain squalls in the marina that wet the bottom of our sleeping bags.  The rear of the shelter is wide open, which is fine at anchor, but in the marina, we can’t swing to face the wind.  Luckily, most of the rain came in on Chris’ side!


Overall, it was another thoroughly enjoyable weekend at another Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival.  See you next year!  (If the weather gods smile!)


Samantha – Paul Throber

In January of 2002 I moved to Portland, ME where I anticipated starting a new chapter in my life. A new job opportunity turned sour just weeks after I arrived. The same day I was fired I was offered another job that I accepted with a starting date in about ten days. I went skiing, relaxed and regrouped; thanking my lucky stars that fate had smiled on me once again. A couple of days later I came home and found a message on my phone from my new employer saying that he had decided not to hire me after all – lucky stars, my ass.


The author

So there I was: unemployed, more than a little bit in shock and not in any state of mind to go out looking for another job. What to do? Driving north up the coast one day with my friend Susan, I talked about my long-held dream of building a boat, the Gypsy plans that I had bought many years earlier and had always found some excuse not to build. Now is the time, Susan suggested, I had the time and a bit of money that cried to be spent. It was like a revelation. The decision was made.

Within a few days I had rented some “indoor” space at a local boatyard and had started building myself a Gypsy. Little more than a month later I was out sailing on Casco Bay. Then I started thinking about another boat – something a bit larger that I could actually cruise in with a modicum of comfort.

The Bolger Gypsy, Helen P. Foster, nears completion

The Bolger Gypsy, Helen P. Foster, nears completion

I wanted a boat that was small, handy, affordable, and reasonably easy to build, A catboat was what seemed best to me – the most room for a short boat, shallow draft, simple rig and seaworthy. I bought plans for one of Witholtz’s catboats from Woodenboat, but was intimidated by the complexity of the construction and returned them. My next choice was Bolger’s Chebacco – which I felt confident I could build, as it is the same type of construction as the Gypsy. I ordered the plans and sails from H. H. Payson.

The Chebacco did not exactly fit my concept of what I needed – particularly I thought the cabin far too small for cruising comfort. In my opinion the standard Chebacco is really a day sailor that can be used for camp cruising. My solution was to lengthen and widen the cabin and to raise the cabin roof. I also raised the sheer by 4”. I eliminated the centerboard in favor of the keel shown on the cruising version of the Chebacco in “Boats With an Open Mind”.

Samantha is built entirely of common building materials: ACX plywood, spruce and fir. All of the wood and plywood were selected after much shuffling through the stacks – I would estimate that I rejected over 90% of what I looked at. For the plywood I looked for a good C side and for the least amount and smallest voids. For the solid wood I looked for good straight grain and minimum knots. I mostly bought 2 X12’s and 2 X 10’s and then ripped them to the desired dimension. This is quite easily done with a circular saw with a ripping guide. The result can be clear, quarter sawn lumber.

Where fasteners are used, they are sheet rock screws and ring-shank nails. The fasteners were almost entirely used to hold things in place until the epoxy cured. I used MAS epoxy for all gluing, filleting, fiberglassing and fairing.

All the outside surfaces of the hull, cabin and cockpit are sheathed in at least one layer of 6 oz.cloth. All joints have at least two layers of cloth on the outside and a layer of cloth or a 1 x 2 stringer on the inside. The stem and keel have four layers of cloth on the outside.

I left all the frames/molds/bulkheads in the hull and they are all filleted and glassed in place. There is a 2 x 4 floor screwed and epoxied to each frame and to the bottom panel.

The keel is solid and is made from 2 x 12 stock with ½” plywood cheeks. There is 150 lbs. of lead in the keel. The keel is epoxied in place, has 3″ screws down through the bottom panel on 3″ centers, is generously filleted to the bottom and the fillets are glassed with three layers of 6 oz. cloth.

I used Harken blocks, fairleads and cam cleats throughout. All the running rigging is ½” Dacron 3-strand. All cleats, pad eyes, etc. are stainless. Auxiliary power is provided by a 6 hp Tohatsu 4-stroke outboard that also charges the 80-amp hour lead-acid deep cycle battery.

Electrical equipment includes a VHF radio, navigation lights, a cabin light, a Garmin Etrex GPS, a Ritchie Navigator compass, a Sony Walkman CD player, and a cell phone.

Samantha at anchor near Galesville, MD

Samantha at anchor near Galesville, MD

The first construction I did was to build a strongback. I used two 20’ 2 x 6’s spaced 3’ apart with the ladder “steps” at the frame positions. I temporarily set this up on legs to use as a surface to build the spars and to scarf the hull panels.

The main mast I made of three layers of 1½” scarfed spruce with the scarfs staggered along its length. The mizzenmast, gaff and main boom I made of two layers of spruce. I shaped them with a circular saw, power plane and a belt sander.

I cut the scarfs for the plywood with the power plane and belt sander. I glued the scarfs in the following way: first a 4’ 2 x 6, then a piece of plastic sheeting, then the plywood sheets, another sheet of plastic, then a 4’ x 6” piece of ½” plywood. I then clamped this all together with two rows of sheetrock screws on four inch centers. The scarfs are reinforced on both sides with a 1’ wide piece of 6 oz. Fiberglass.

I laminated the stem pieces of ½” plywood and shaped them with the power plane and belt sander. I cut out the frames making numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 taller than they needed to be because I was still not quite sure how high to make the cabin roof – I wanted to get the hull turned over, mock up the seats and actually see where the top of my head would be. I set up the frames and inner stem on the ladder, cut the hull panels and assembled the hull – all quite straightforward except the forward section of the bilge panels. These I laminated of two layers of ¼” plywood as is recommended. This is good advice as its still a formidable challenge to coax these into the correct shape. This was the most difficult part of the construction of the boat. I glued the two layers together with epoxy thickened with wood flour and pulled the panels together with sheetrock screws on 3” centers. After the glue cured, I removed the screws and filled the holes. I backed the joint where the laminated section meets the ½” bilge panel with a 6” wide piece of ½” plywood.

I faired the hull, struck the waterline using a T-square, and applied the bottom paint. Ten friends helped me turn it over which made the job quick and simple.

I framed in the settees between frames 4 and 5. They are 14” high and there is a 28” wide foot well between them. Forward of and level with the seats is a V-berth. All the volume beneath the seats and berth is storage bins accessible through hatches cut from the top surfaces.

To provide clearance for my head while sitting I made the cabin roof 39” above the aft end of the settees. (I’m 6’ 5” tall.) The forward end of the cabin roof is 4” above the deck.

The cabin roof has the designed curvature and is ½” plywood. Frames 2, 3, and 4 are left in place with a depth of 3 inches at the sides and roof. These frames are solid beneath the seats and berth. The companionway hatch is 36” wide and extends from frame 4 to frame 5 – the sides of the opening are above the 90-degree waterline. I also put a small hatch, 1’ foot square, in the cabin roof between frames 1 and 2 for ventilation. Both hatches have double coamings.

The interior showing frames 3 and 4

The interior showing frames 3 and 4

The cockpit seats are deck level and the foot well of the cockpit is 14” deep. The cockpit coaming is 9” high.

I made the cabin windows from ¼” polycarbonate – two 6” x 12” elliptical windows between frames 2 and 3 and two 10” x 30” rectangular windows between frames 4 and 5, behind the seats. These are bedded in silicone on the outside surface of the cabin sides and screwed on 4-inch centers.

I installed the rudder, glassed and painted the boat and then it was time to launch – and none to soon as it was two days before I had to out of my apartment. So down the ramp and into the water she went. And as one of the men at the yard said, “She floats like a duck.”

It was the end of August, I was planning to sail south and I still had much to do – I worked feverishly wiring the boat, stepping the masts, rigging the boat, bending on sails, going on trial sails, fixing things that didn’t work right, building a dinghy (a Nymph) and then finally on the morning of September 10, 2002 I set sail and reached out of Portland harbor and onto the swells of the Atlantic. It was a fine sunny day with a moderate breeze.

Samantha with a nice following breeze

Samantha with a nice following breeze

Next: Sailing south


Boudicea gets ready to launch – Ed Heins

It sometimes seems like the final stages of my large projects go on forever………  Boudicea, the Chebacco that may yet be built, as you can perhaps tell by the poor accompanying photograph is getting very close to becoming a functioning sailboat.  A sailboat, that is, as opposed to the garage ornament that she’s been for a majority of the past decade.   Still, the closer launching comes, the more that seems to need doing.   This past weekend, I managed to get the sails bent on for the first time, and after playing tag with the thunderstorms rolling through the Shenandoah valley, I finally got a calm spell lasting long enough to hoist, and do some adjustments to the rig.  Aside from the feeling of accomplishment to see her dressed out in sailcloth, it was an opportunity to appreciate the work of the folks at Bhondell.   I think the leech planking on the main sail for instance, adds quite a traditional look and hopefully will be as functional as it is pretty.   Since I’m a couple hours from any sailing water, I’m now deep in the minutia of details that are as frustrating as they are important to have done.  There’s the stand up block for the mizzen rigging that was lost in shipping, the reefing system that sure as God made little green apples I’ll need because I can count on it blowing up a gale on launch day, and a method to secure the spars for transport.  I should make a better set of main hatch boards but she’ll float without em.   Seems as though the tasks just keep on coming.  Nevertheless I can see the end of an era looming nearer.

Current plans are to launch her late this month probably at a very small lake here in the local area just to be sure she keeps the water on the outside.  At the same time I can tweak any launching issues that might arise without having to drive several hours to discover launch problems.  Then, I think the Chesapeake or the James River beckons.

Any Virginia Chebacco sailors who fancy a spring messabout please let me know.



New Chebacco goes down the ways – Mike Haskell

On a rainy, nasty May day, Carruss went into the waters of Merrymeeting Bay. The planning and discussion for her construction had begun in the summer of 2002 when Russ Dyer and Mike Haskell combined their sets of Chebacco plans to construct a strip-built soft chine Chebacco. With Russ taking the lead, providing the money, materials and most importantly the heated garage, construction began in the winter of 2002. Mike took care of the lifting, tunking, heavy looking on and photojournalism.

Construction slowed during the summer of 2003. The hull was turned during the fall of 2003. Then back into the shop for final detailing through the winter of 2003 and spring of 2004. In April of 2004, she came back out of the shop for rigging and preparation for launch.

Construction notes—Carruss is fiberglass over pine strip Chebacco. Russ lofted her lines from a set of plans for the lapstrake version. Other construction details were modifications and combinations of the sheet-ply and lapstrake plans. Russ sewed her sails from the Sailrite Kits for the main and the mizzen. Her power will be supplied by a 6h.p. Evinrude Yachtwin.

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Some of the detail work that Russ fabricated. The chocks and line guides are hand-made rosewood—they are absolutely beautiful.


Rigged and backing into the Cathance River one of five tributaries of Merrymeeting Bay


On the water for the first time!!!


Her first cruise—across the river to the docks on the far side. There Russ will finish her outfitting.