Chebacco News 63 – Octagonal or round mast?

When I built the birdsmouth mast for Khaos, my Chebacco 25, I liked the look of the eight sided stick. So I rounded the corners and varnished the beautiful octagonal showpiece.

The Octagonal mast

But that turned out to be the wrong thing to do, The varnish didn’t like protecting the corners and after a time cracked and let in water. After some more time the water got into the timber (Queensland hoop pine) and the swelling caused cracks to form.

So, over the last few weeks I have removed the mast from the tabernacle and put it on saw horses outside my shed. Epoxy filled the cracks. Planing took 8 sided to 16 sided. More planing took 16 sided to 32 sided. At this point I made up a sanding contraption with an old drill, threaded rod and two plastic wheels.

This contraption is the third version I made, I discovered that the rubber tyre was important for grip and that the tyre must be a larger diameter than the mast. None of the websites I visited mentioned this fact, but it is critical, the friction on the driving tyres must be more than the friction on the mast itself, otherwise you end up sanding the driving tyres not the mast. For geometry reasons the larger diameter tyre has more contact area than the smaller diameter mast and this results in more friction between the tyre and the inside of the (inside out) sanding belt.

I started with 80 grit and ended with 220 grit.

I held the other end of the rod with a bit of steel with a hole in it. Simple.

This turned out to be the only way to practically sand this mast. 5″ x 20′ turns out to be a lot of sanding and completely impractical for hand sanding. Even then it took me two weeks of sanding sessions (limited by my stamina)

The round mast looks good too.


Chebacco News 45

News, questions, and boats for sale.


Good morning Richard,

How are things going down in Oklahoma? I have attached a URL that describes the building of “Two Grumpy Old Men”

All the best,

Mike Haskell, Founder/CEO
Adventure Quest-USA
8 River Road
Bowdoinham, ME  04008


I have a question that I have been pondering and was wondering if some of your readers could answer, specifically, what are the possibilities of coastal cruising the Chebacco or maybe island hopping in the Keys or Carib?
Hi Richard,

I’d love to have one or more Chebaccos sail into the Sept. Messabout in Kingston, perhaps yours.

Would you post the invitation in your Chebacco Newsletter for me? If so, please post the link to as the Messabout figures prominently on the home pages with links to three pages on the event, and multiple pages about the area, navigation, the campground, etc.

Do you know who bought Bob Cushing’s Chebacco Motorsailor? I saw that once, it’s a very nice arrangement. So is the new cruising conversion.

Hope to see you and lots of other Chebacco drivers there.

Bruce Hector

Chebacco’s for sale:

Samantha is for sale.


20 foot sheet plywood Chebacco. Built summer of 2002. Sailed from Portland, ME to Beaufort, NC and back since.

This boat is a modified Chebacco – it varies from the design in the following ways: It has a shallow draft keel rather than a centerboard, the cabin is longer, wider and taller allowing a full length double berth and facing settees with a fold-down table. The cockpit is shorter by the amount the cabin is longer. She is gaff-

The following equipment is included: Standard Horizon VHF radio, 80 AH deep-cycle battery, 6 hp Tohatsu 4-stroke outboard with alternator, navigation, anchor and cabin lights, 2 anchors with rodes, dock lines and fenders, Ritchey compass, 2 type III and 2 type V PFD,s, safety harness, ABC fire extinguisher, flare kit, and Nymph

She is located in Portland, ME at present and I could possibly deliver her – that would be negotiable.

This has been a very nice boat, but like many of us boatbuilding sailors I want to build another boat (probably some variation of Newfoundlander).

I am not sure what to ask for this boat. The bare boat may be worth $4000 and the equipment listed above is about $2500 new – plus the dinghy. How about $5500 for the whole package? Make an offer – nothing can offend me – the worst that can happen is I would say yes.

Paul Thober, 207 712 0381, leave a message and I will call you back.

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

Lapstrake Chebacco 20

LOD: 19′ 6″
Beam: 7′ 10″
Draft: 1′ 0″
Sail Area: 176 sq. ft.
(Lots of wonderful pictures here -Ed)

Built by an experienced amateur. Over four thousand hours building time. The best of materials used. Finished with two-part polyurethane. Sprayed by a professional. Bright work finished with Norwegian varnishing oil (between six and eight coats).

Hull is built of 7 ply half-inch marine mahogany plywood; keel is built of same material, laminated to proper thickness.The keel is covered with double thickness of 11 oz. fibreglass cloth saturated with epoxy. 1/16 inch stainless steel was then attached to the bottom of the keel and up the stem as far as 22 inches above the waterline. Outside of boat is covered with 11 or 6 oz. fiberglass cloth which was then saturated with epoxy, then an additional four to five coats to allow for sanding to a mirror finish before painting. Inside has four coats of epoxy.

Spars are solid sitka spruce. Fittings are all top quality such as Harken or custom made of bronze or stainless steel.

Three sails (main, jib, and mizzen.) All lines, sheets and halyards ready to go. None of them ever used.

Custom made trailer with extendable tongue for easy launching. Elaborate supports that fit to cabin and aft cockpit bulkhead to hold spars for long distance trailering.

No O.B. motor. (4 to 5 HP would be suitable.)

The boat was completed Sept.2000 but ill health precluded launching and am selling the boat now for the same reason.

Price $12,500 USD

(See article in Wooden Boat – #107, Pg. 80)

George Cobb,
186 Gallagher St.,
Shediac, N.B.,
Canada, E4P-1T1



Toothless gears and the Zen of boat building.

One day I took a transmission apart and fixed it.

That really doesn’t describe what happened, lets try that again.

One Saturday afternoon I decided to fix up the old riding lawn mower a friend had given me.


This was a freebee, kind of a long-term project, no chance I would get it fixed in time to use it for mowing this year. At the time I was still intimidated by the engine, so I decided to start on the transmission. I was intimidated by the transmission too, but not nearly as much.

The temperature was just on the high side of warm, but the porch I was using as a table was in the shade and there was a gentle breeze blowing.

I start taking the transaxle off, bagging each part in Ziploc, taking my time, using wrenches instead of a socket and ratchet. I’m in no hurry, I have all afternoon to do this, and have no other pending plans.

There’s a young woman in the house watching TV. All is right with the world.

I put the transaxle in an old washtub, and fill it about half full of gasoline through one of the drain holes. After a little sloshing around, I drain the oil and gas into the washtub, to go into the barrel for eventual recycling, or use with an oil burner on the foundry furnace, I haven’t decided yet.

As I carefully and methodically pull apart this device I know nothing about, cleaning each part off before bagging it, I notice the birds are singing in the trees.

As I get it apart, I discover the reason it isn’t working. Three of the gears in the thing are missing teeth. The main drive gear is completely toothless. Ah, that would cause it not to work.

I finish taking it apart, and bag all the pieces.

Later that evening, I have a flash of brilliance, (hey, it happens occasionally), I Google “lawn mower parts”, and send an email asking for help identifying the transaxle to the top twelve hits. This is a saturday, but I get an immediate response from two of the victims.
One of these respondents had rebuilt “hundreds” of this exact model transmission, tells me what to check, what the rules of thumb are, which parts need replacing, what I can get away with not fixing, how to check this, that, and the other thing. I buy all my parts from him.

A very enjoyable day. Almost like building a boat.


To misquote Zen, or Ben, or someone, or at least the Kung Fu master from an old western. “Revelation starts with the simple statement, ‘I don’t understand.'”So, that is the toothless gears part. Where does Zen, and boat building come in?

So, I find myself, now and again, working on something I have never worked on before, muttering the infamous words “I don’t understand.”

Then I poke at it and ponder over it till I *DO* understand. The light dawns. How simple!

What I like about building a boat is the problems. Not that I like all problems, mind you. For instance, the solution to the problem “How to get this pretty young woman to fall in love with me?” has always eluded me, and I suspect it always will. No, the problems I like are of the solvable, engineering kind. “How do I build a 20 foot tall mast out of 8 ft long boards?”, or “How do I sand this hull smooth without ending up in the hospital with back problems?”.

As with toothless gears and lawn mowers, the real joy of boat building comes from learning to do something you never thought you could do, that you have always been intimidated by.

I’ve built six boats, from disposable (which lasted 5 years before I gave them away) pirogue canoes, to 20 ft cabin cruisers. I’ve solved most of the engineering problems with building a boat. You know the ones, “How the hell am I going to get it out the door?”, and “How do you flip this huge thing over?”, as well as the construction problems, like “How do you make a round mast out of square
boards?”, etc.

I have moved on to machinery and small engines, which I have always had issues with.


Have I given up boat building, has it lost it’s challenge? No, not really. Lets just say I have graduated to the next level. I am having visions of Caspian Sea Monsters and Wings in Ground Effect…

And, now that I have overcome my engine anxiety…

Laters, Chebacco Richard


Depoe Bay 2003 – Jamie Orr

The 2003 Depoe Bay Crab Feed and Wooden Boat Show took place on the last weekend of April.  And a fine show it was!

Once again, Dad and I drove down to Oregon, pulling Wayward Lass behind us.  We started Thursday morning, catching the ferry from Vancouver Island then crossing the border at Blaine, Washington.  We stopped there at the Canadian customs office to have them stamp a picture of Wayward Lass, so we wouldn’t have any problems coming home.  Boats with motors under 10 horsepower don’t have to be licensed in Canada, so Wayward Lass has no numbers – this caused a delay in 2002 when the customs agent thought we were boat smugglers and we almost missed the last ferry home!

Our first stop was Seattle, to visit Chuck Merrell.  We met Chuck in 2000 at the informal Bolger boaters gathering at Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival, and have kept in touch since.  We pulled off the freeway near Boeing Field, and followed Chuck’s directions to South Park Marina on the Duwamish Waterway, where he lives and is building Ace, one of his own “barrel boat bachelor pad” designs.  If you’re not familiar with Chuck’s website, go to for his designs, his Bolger Micro page and other good stuff.

We caught up on the latest news over dinner, and inspected Ace, which is almost finished and looks like a snug home for Chuck, and Dumpster the cat.  Ace will be moored at South Park marina once she’s launched.  We considered spending the night in Seattle, so we could park the boat and trailer safely in the marina yard, but the thought of the morning rush-hour traffic changed our minds.  Instead, Dad and I drove for another hour, stopping just outside Olympia, the state capitol.

Next morning we reached the Columbia River at Portland just after 9:00.  Once across, we abandoned the interstate for the back roads, moving in a more or less south-westerly route through McMinnville to Lincoln City on the coast, just a few miles north of Depoe Bay.  This isn’t the fastest route with all its small towns and winding roads, but it made for an interesting morning.  We stopped for lunch in Lincoln City.  Dad had an excellent “Scottish soup with pieces of lamb”, (where I grew up it was called Scotch broth – is this the latest effect of political correctness?)  I had flatbread, with melted cheese and thinly sliced sausage that left my taste buds tingling.  The Blackfish Café — good place to stop, if you’re passing by!

We arrived at Depoe Bay about 1:30, and after a leisurely rigging-up, Wayward Lass slid into Oregon waters again ,and was left in the first empty berth while we took a look around.  We found that we were among the first exhibitors to arrive, but it didn’t take long before we saw a few familiar faces, and boats, including John Kohnen (Pickle), Terry Lesh (Toto) and John Ewing (Surf and Jon Junior).

By then we were thinking of our stomachs, so we arranged to meet at the Spouting Horn for dinner, and went along to our motel, the Troller’s Lodge, to check in before walking down to the ‘Horn for an evening of good food and better company.

I woke early the next morning, and couldn’t get back to sleep, so just after 6:00 I was down at the boat, pumping out the rainwater.  Between the trip down, and the rain overnight, the floorboards were floating.  Since it was still pretty wet outside, I wasn’t a fanatic about pumping, no mopping up the last drops!  The Coast Guard were awake, too, taking their 47 footer out into the bay.  I heard them come in again after a short time, so maybe it was just a training run.

Back to the Troller’s for a shower, then over to the Whale Watchers Café for breakfast.  Larry Barker joined us here, the three of us had plans to go “outside” for a sail after.  The Coast Guard was allowing boats over 16 feet to go in and out, the lowest restriction we’d seen, to date.

By the time we reached the harbour, the sea wall was alive with boats and boaters.  Depoe Bay is largely a dry land show, with most of the exhibits displayed on the sea wall overlooking the docks, but this year there were quite a few boats in the water as well.  Pat Patteson presented me with my Western Oregon Messabout Society burgee, with its coot emblem.  I’m not sure if the group chose that emblem deliberately, but it fits pretty well, so now Dad and I are officially “old coots”!  We took a few minutes to get the burgee hoisted, then and Dad, Larry and I fired up Honda and took Wayward Lass out of the harbour.

You have to remember that this is the third year we’ve been here, but the first opportunity we’ve had to get out on the ocean.  Depoe Bay doesn’t have a bad bar, as such, but the entrance to the harbour is a narrow dog-leg where the Pacific swell often makes getting in and out problematic, so we used the outboard generously to make sure the waves didn’t push us around.  Once out and clear, we put up the sails, and shut down the motor.

You should also know that there are some nasty reefs on either side of the bay, where the swell piles up and breaks.  We were fully aware of these, so didn’t stray from the safe line between the entrance and the bell buoy that marks the transition to open waters.  The swell was of a size I hadn’t experienced before, we were moving up and down some 10 feet every 13 seconds.  I have to say that I was somewhat intimidated by the combination of the swell and the lurking reefs (we didn’t have a chart).  This, on top of the horror stories we’d had fed to us over the last two shows made the old pulse run a bit faster than usual.  The boat, however, was perfectly at home!

We sailed out to the bell buoy on a close reach, the wind being pretty much from the southwest.  We noticed the swell was more regular and not so steep once we were past the bell buoy, which marks the end of the shallow area, more or less.  Once we tacked, the course back to the entrance was an easy reach, so we took advantage of that and headed in again – not very adventurous, I agree, but okay for a maiden voyage.  Being still very aware of the reefs, we turned into the wind to start the motor while still fairly far out.  Of course, the motor chose this opportunity to be awkward, taking half a dozen pulls to start.  I’ve noticed this before, that it’s slow to restart when it’s cooling down.  When fully warmed, or cool, it only takes one pull – maybe two on a bad day.

But it did start, so the sails came down and we motored back along that line between the bell buoy and the entrance.  Larry watched the back bearing while I watched the entrance – we didn’t always agree on the right heading, but the differences were small enough.  At the entrance it’s best to go in on the back of a wave, to avoid surfing, but with only five horses, it takes more practice than I’ve had.  There wasn’t any danger anyway – I don’t know where the swells went, but by the time they reached the entrance, the waves were small.  Honda pushed us easily through the dog-leg and we were back in the harbour.

Once we were tied up again, it was time to have a proper look at all the other boats, not to mention picking up our free coffee and doughnuts (just for bringing a boat along!) There were all kinds of good boats – a lot of great canoes and sea kayaks, in stitch and glue, cedar strip, and even some wood and canvas beauties.  The wood and canvas folks demonstrated how to steam bend white cedar ribs – made it look as easy as anything.  They also bent some oak stems later with less success, I saw the remains and it looked like they’d been defeated by bad grain in the oak.

Besides the paddling boats, some of my favourites were the Bolger light dories (of course), the 19 foot Bartender, Pat’s PK 20, a rebuilt 1948 Guernsey Falcon and a new dinghy, both lapstrake and built, or rebuilt, by the same exhibitor.  Dan Pence stole the show, though, with his just-finished Light Schooner.  He started by yuloh-ing over from the launch ramp, then dazzled us all sailing around the harbour.  The Light Schooner seemed to accelerate instantly with every puff of wind, and fairly flew along – spinning around on that big dagger board so Dan (ably assisted by his wife) never even hit the dock once!  An incredible boat indeed!

Chuck Gottfried was there with Tabby, his strip built catboat – 17 feet, if I remember rightly.  Chuck is currently building a Chebacco as well, so I must compliment him on his excellent taste in boats!  Unfortunately the Chebacco wasn’t far enough along to bring to Depoe Bay, but should be there next year.

Harvey Golden brought a couple of traditional kayaks, one of them without the skin so we could see how it was lashed together, and he also demonstrated his incredible Eskimo rolling techniques again.  Unfortunately I managed to miss most of this, but after the last time I ran out of superlatives anyway.  Harvey has a great website too, I don’t have the URL but a google search will turn it up for you.

There were other good boats there too, more than I can remember – I’ve been wishing I’d taken some pictures, but fortunately John Kohnen was there with his new digital camera, taking hundreds.  He’s posted a good selection at, so go there to see them.

The weather was a bit unsettled on Saturday — one minute it would be bright sunshine, the next, rain would be pouring down, only to stop as suddenly.  However, it didn’t seem to bother anyone much, and by early afternoon it had straightened itself out and stayed sunny the rest of the day.  Which was good, because we were able to sit down in Wayward Lass for a while, and drink some of Chuck Gottfried’s beer.  Chuck introduced his brother Roland, and a few others soon came by.  In the end there were seven or eight of us in the cockpit, enjoying the good life!

Once we were all rested and refreshed, there was just time to check out one or two more boats before going up to Gracie’s B&B for the exhibitors’ reception, where they fed us finger food and a variety of Oregon wines.  Actually, I only sampled the Cabernet, but it was excellent.  A few exhibitors addressed the group, but the star turn was our hostess Gracie, who gave a great talk about Depoe Bay, the boat show, how good the food was at the Sea Hag, and sundry other local subjects.  About 7:00, the B&B folks needed the room back for their paying guests, so the party moved to various restaurants, to consume more food and drink, and continue the Great Boat Debate.

Next morning was dry, and promised a fine, sunny day – not only that, but there were no restrictions in force for the harbour entrance!  At all!  This was a mixed blessing to us, because we had to be on the road before noon, and its always easier to leave when its raining.  However, we looked forward to making the most of the morning.

Things semi-officially kicked off for the day with a lone bagpiper making sure no one overslept, then Dad and I went for another sail.  Except for being sunny, I don’t think things were very much different, but we knew what to expect this time, and were able to enjoy.  The wind was from the southeast, which meant it blew straight from the harbour mouth towards the buoys, giving us a good run out to the second buoy, that marks the 100 foot or 16 fathom (deep) line.  There were several sea lions sunning themselves on this one, they pretty well ignored us as we sailed around them.

We had to beat back directly into the wind, which was fading fast (not the swell though, it carried on going up and down like an elevator).  With the sun right behind the harbour, it was hard to pick out the bell buoy, but binoculars helped.  After a couple of tacks we reached and passed it, but by then there the wind was so weak that it wasn’t worth trying to sail closer in, so we started the motor again – only one pull this time.  We were fairly blasé about the entrance this time, but were surprised by the strength of the current flowing out with the ebb, just like a river.

We went straight to the launch ramp, and got Wayward Lass hauled out and packed up before going around to the sea wall again to say “so long” to the folks.  It was hard to be leaving early on such a nice day, but needs must, and all that, so just after 11:30 we pulled out for home, arriving there some 492 miles and12 hours later.

A great weekend – many thanks to Jack Brown and all his fellow organizers!  See you again next year.


A Sunday at the lake.

We pulled into “Bear’s Glen”, small park next to hw 64 bridge. Bit more drive than my usual launching place, worse launching conditions, but it get’s you almost to the bridge so you can sail different parts of the lake. Main reason to have a trailer sailer is to sail in different waters, as we are doing today.

There was  a catamaran, probably a hobbie whatever, setting up in the only nice shaded spot, they had just got the mast up, two guys working on setting it up. “I’ll show them!”, me thinks. We pull up behind them, and with Brian and I working together we had the boat ready in 5 minutes, and pulled around them to launch. 30 minutes later we sail out of sight of the launch ramp, and they still hadn’t launched. Ah, the joys of a Bolger boat.

Tried teaching the boy to sail, and he did eventualy learn to keep the boat more or less going forward. Kind of like a snake goes forward. Though to tell the truth, it took me awhile to learn to hold a steady course in the puffy, unpredictable wind we have here in central Oklahoma, too.

Brian crashes below decks, and I set the boat up for self steering. The most memorable part doing 4 knots or so to windward, exactly parrallel to the shore, using both hands to put on sunscreen, watching the campers 100ft away on the shore. When trimmed right, the boat will adjust it’s coarse perfectly to the wind, head up in the puffs, fall off in the lulls. She sails OK in the light air we had, but Ze boat, Ze REALLY like’d ze wind.

Sailed up to the railroad bridge by Manford, probably about 10 miles, most of it beating to windward.

Ran back in force 3 winds. SWEET. Boat was trying to climb over the bow wave, was doing at least 7 mph. A 10 mile run back to the ramp, at least 20 other sailboats out by now. We are cooking along at just over hull speed, running wing and wing. Now, THIS is sailing!

Sailed up to the beach and had to answer the inevitable “What type of boat is that? Is is new, or old? You BUILT IT?”. At least this time it was a pretty girl asking the questions. I even tried to be friendly!

Yanked the boat out just as it was getting hot. Very nice day at the lake.


The Boat – David Lewis

So, this guy has a boat.  Well, he WILL have a boat. Right now he’s got a bunch of boards and screws and glue and stuff.

So, he’s gonna build himself a boat.  But instead he works on playing with the head of this strange female that’s living in his house.  She’s strange – did I mention that?  And he’s not sure how or why she came to be living in his house.  He just knows she’s there and she’s annoying.

So, he’d be building this boat if he weren’t fighting with her or playing with her or studying her or otherwise wishing he could do more to her but knowing that that would just be too strange.

So, when he finally gets tired of her and gets rid of her then he’ll build this boat.  And into it he will put all the strangeness he’s taken from her in his strange games.  And people will look at his boat and wonder.  Some will hate it, think it’s ugly, stupid and downright…bad maybe.  Others will say “cool” and go elsewhere or just shrug their shoulders and turn away.  Some few will stare at it for hours on end, wondering at the strangeness they feel oozing up out of this.  They will be drawn and repulsed at the same time. Depending on their character some will feel the need to possess and sail this boat and will offer large sums of money (which this guy will not accept) and maybe even consider stealing it (bad and dangerous idea).  Others will go home and lie awake at night shuddering at it’s strangeness, nightmares keeping them from rest.

So, someday this guy will build himself a boat.  And, to a very few, it will be known as, That Guy’s Boat.

So, The End.



Okie Sailor Thoughts – Captain Lee

The other night I was sitting under the stars sipping some wonderful ale along with a couple of salty sailor types just bsing about life in general and the topic of Oklahoma sailing came up.  “Yes, I’m an Okie”, I said with a bit of proudness to it probably…”I grew up in Oklahoma and that is where I learned to sail”.  My fellow sailors stopped their drink at mid face and stared at me wondering just want kind of sailor I could be then?  “No water in Oklahoma”, they both replied.  Funny they should mention that.  Oklahoma PR states that there is more shoreline in Oklahoma than the East and Gulf Coast combined.  Of course, I added this tidbit of information and again, their drinks stopped half way to their mouths but this time, a different look on their faces as they felt I have now exceeded the boundaries of BS, I have crossed the line so to speak.  “It’s true,” I stated. And I proceeded to qualify my statement telling them of our lakes and river systems, not to mention the fact that Oklahoma has one of the greatest natural resources known to man, and that is wind.  The entire state could maintain itself on solar and wind generated systems if it would.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t.  But, that’s another thought.  With that kind of wind, and lots of water, we have some of the best sailors, some of the best sailing facilities not to mention regional regattas, etc, that any inland state could possibly have.  Again, they were floored, speechless and after a moment or two, I was bombarded with comments, questions, you name it and I found myself defending my stand on the state being the sailing state it is.

Anyone that sails Oklahoma knows what I’m typing about.  Ever sail Lake Hefner on a weekend?  Bumper boats.  Ever sail Tenkiller?  Grand?  Eufaula?  What about Texhoma, Kaw Lake, the Spavinaws?  Kerr-McClellen?  What wonderful sailing opportunities we have in Oklahoma.  What about the 100-mile race on Grand Lake?  That’s one way if memory serves.  The opportunity to sail in Oklahoma is remarkable, the wind ever blowing and rarely light, one can sail most the year.  And yes, maybe it’s a secret that Oklahoma has the shoreline that she has, that natural born sailors flourish there and at any given weekend, no telling how many thousands are actually trimming sail on an Oklahoma lake.  What a place to set sail at.  I miss it.

What I’ve learned from Oklahoma winds will follow me all throughout my sailing career and I make use of the knowledge I gained having learned in Oklahoma.  The winds, the cloud formations, the weather patterns there, all made me a better sailor, a more competent one in that I know how to predict weather patterns now.  I learned that in Oklahoma.  I’m not an ol’ salt per say.  I’m an Oklahoma sailor now taking her knowledge to the Chesapeake where I hopefully one day sail my 41 using my Oklahoma sailor education.  I don’t argue the fact that inland sailors are just as true to sailing as offshore people.  I know better.  I know the differences in heaving to in a storm rather than finding a cove to tuck into.  I’ve done both on an Oklahoma lake.  I’ve ridden out some good swells in the Gulf of Mexico and I’ve also handled some pretty good wave action on an Oklahoma lake where people approached me later on telling me all they saw of me and the boat as they crossed the dam was the boats spreaders.  Now, that’s some big waves out there, right?

What is all this comparison stuff about?  Who cares?  Does it really matter where one learns to sail?  Does it make a person less of a sailor just because they learned inland rather than offshore or in some big estuary?  I mean, really…. Who cares?  The fact that we all sail, we have that common bond, that thread that sailors have, means we are part of a unique lifestyle, a culture all it’s own, be it inland or seaside, who cares?  We all spread the canvass, we all have the same feelings regarding sailing itself or we wouldn’t be sailors.  We aren’t like the rest of the water people that stick a key in and go, that’s all fine and good maybe and requires little thought, little brain power and lots of money to stoke the engines.  We have our own qualities.  We appreciate the finer things that sailing allows us and that’s a fine payoff for taking the time and learning how to sail a boat.  Maybe we are more intune to the weather, the gentle movement of treetops catches our eyes more and we pay more attention to cloud types.  Is it possible that our senses are sharpened and honed more each time we go out under sail in that we pay more attention to wind changes, wind speed?  Are we truly more visual in that we detect the change of water color before the storm, the change of sky color as well?  Where did we learn that from?  Did we learn it from other sailors?  Or did we pick it up naturally as we became sailors ourselves, paying close attention to the elements around us?

Sailing inland offers so many advantages that there are too many to relate but what I’ve noticed is this, without my Oklahoma sailing experiences, there is no way I’d be out here taking on the Chesapeake or the Atlantic eventually.  Without my Oklahoma sailing background I wouldn’t be able to do any offshore racing that I enjoy on the Gulf of Mexico in the fall.  Oklahoma provided me the education I needed in confronting storms and storm sailing and because of that, I don’t panic on the high seas because I’ve already been there, done that, on an Oklahoma lake.

I don’t need to defend my stand on inland as opposed to offshore sailing.  It’s obvious to anyone that can tell the difference, that there really is NO difference in abilities just because one learned inland.  If you’re a sailor, you’re a sailor.  Period.  If you’re the type that sits on the boat and watches everyone else go out and come in, then, you’re not a sailor but maybe a wannabe.  Just don’t enter into the conversation stating that you know this and you know that because you have a 40 footer sitting on the biggest estuary in the world.  Who cares?  I don’t.  What I do care about is the fact that my roots to sailing were formed in Oklahoma.  I have no regrets.  And because of this, I’ll always be an Oklahoma sailor whether I wind up in Fiji or Belize, no matter.  And I am proud that I learned in that state where the wind constantly blows, where the weather is always changeable, the water cool and fresh, no jellies there.  I appreciate an inland sailor fore’ they make better offshore sailors having already experienced heavy stuff, scary stuff and possible catastrophe.  Lakes are minute seas surrounded by boundaries.  What do boundaries do?  Teach us, right?  Then, go learn on a lake before you hit the sea.  It’s an advantage and a good one at that.

Anyone can hold a straight course at sea.  Not just anyone can sail a mean scurvy lake that wants to take you down.  As the saying goes,  “Whenever your preparations for the sea are poor, the sea worms it’s way in and finds the problems”.

Captain Lee Allred
Of the good ship, Mintaka


Buodicea’s coming out – Ed Heins

The continuing saga of Boudicea, the Chebacco that would eventually be finished.

Way back in the last century, I bought an upside down Chebacco hull from Burton Blaise up in the wilds of Ontario.  At the time my plan was to spend one, maybe two summers fitting her out in the green mountains of Vermont and trailer sail her during summers in New England.  How times change…..  Two homes, two states and a half decade later I’m proud to say that the old girl is getting close to being wet for the first time.   Instead of the Green Mountains, she’ll be finished in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and instead of New England lakes, she’ll in all probability see more of the Chesapeake bay and maybe even Gulf of Mexico, but all thing being equal I’m thinking that’ll be OK with her.  I know it will be OK with her majesty, my bride of 13 years, as she’ll get another half garage out of the deal.  I’ll get to put a check mark in the finished project box and maybe for a year or so get off the chandlery’s Christmas card list.  But enough of that.

I named her “Boudicea” after the Queen of the Celtic “Icene” tribe from what’s now northern England.  Having  suffered the murder of her husband and rape of her daughters by Roman legions in about 50AD, in a testament to future British womanhood, Boudicea promptly raised an army of some 150,000 and beat Nero’s army like a drum for the next few years.  (My kinda girl.)  When finally surrounded and overwhelmed, she committed suicide rather than suffer capture herself.  A rather tragic tale, but I thought a suitable heroine to name a ship after.

At any rate, Boudicea came out of the shed for the first time sporting most of her paint, some of her trim and spars in the finishing stages.  She’s made from A/C fir ply with a layer of 3 oz glass and epoxy over the topsides and a couple layers of 5 oz glass on the hull/  The trim is red oak and the brightwork is finished with Sikkens Cetol Marine while the deck and hull  is Interlux Brightside, Hatteras Off White and Sapphire Blue respectively.  Bohndell cut what looks to be a great set of sails and with the help of Ebay and a credit card

I’ve almost got the hardware end of the project complete.

Yet to accomplish is a short bowsprit, toe rails, trim along the cabin top, moulding around the mast slot, slot cover,  running rigging, rudder / tiller mounting, and fitting of the centerboard……… I’ll stop now before I depress myself.  Needless to say there’s plenty yet to do.   Nevertheless, I’m thinking I’ll sail her by the end of August.  I may not have electrics and a finished cabin by that time but I think she’ll keep the wet on the outside.  I’ve sent up some pictures of this most recent state of the lady.  Next to come hopefully will be the pictures of Gin & Tonics at the launching ceremony.

Cheers y’all.

Ed Heins

New Market VA

tn_bow tn_cockpit tn_front tn_port_window tn_portside tn_stern


Some Pictures – Dave Neder

Attached are some photos of the “Mary Beth, too” just prior to moving her out of the garage where she was built and onto a trailer.

The tiller and some of the hardware and rigging were salvaged from a “Lancer 27”.  The hull material is marine Fur Plywood,  Red oak, Ribbon Strip Mahogany plywood and Mahogany lumber were used through out the rest of the boat.

The keel is covered with 5 layers of fiberglass and West epoxy.  The bottom and bilges with three layers of glass and epoxy.  The mahogany
sides 1 layer of 3 oz glass.

The spars are Sitka Spruce.  The Masts and Gaff are hollow.  The mast was built using the “Birds mouth” method of forming eight sides.
Starting with eight sides makes it a lot easier to round the mast.  Also it is very easy to build in the taper for the mast head.

The main boom was made solid for the weight to help hold the main down. The main is loose footed and draws quite well in light air.

Dave Neder


The attached pictures show a few construction details of “Mary Beth,too” Ibuilt assemblies such as the transom, center board house, stem etc. in my basement during the winter months and moved them to the garage and constructed the boat. The guests are my son and his family.
Dave Neder


The photo of bulkhead Nr 1 shows the tabernacle posts which are epoxy bonded to the bulkhead and keel. The photos of the aft portion of the cabin show the location of the switch panel and the safety equipment just inside the hatch. The equipment is offset to prevent tripping. Notice the paint with the flat and glossy surface.  The bright paint is one part polyurethane on the floor for wear.  The flat paint is a twenty year alkyd exterior house paint with a fungicide.  I pre-printed all of the bilges, flooring bottoms and insides of the partitions and bulkheads prior to final assembly.

We sailed “Mary-Beth,too”  quite a bit last year. Our sailing has all been on Pewaukee Lake ( 6 miles long by 1 1/2 mile wide) She is very happy on a beam reach, and self-steers when I set the mizzen properly. Heaving to and reefing is easy.  Center the mizzen and she sits nose to the wind. I have run all of the reefing lines to a point at the cabin hatch.  I learned some years ago not to go forward of the cockpit to reef the main during a squall on lake Michigan.

However, I have not even moved the boat out of the garage this year.  I broke a knee cap and put a two month crimp in everything.  August is
still young.

We enjoy the Chebacco web site.  Thanks
Dave Neder


Chebacco News 44

Icebreaking – Richard Spelling


Well, woke up this morning, and there is six inches of snow on the ground. Guess that’s a sign I need to publish this issue!

Been kind of quite around here. Send pictures! Send stories! In particular, I know of one long cruise in the Chebacco “Samantha”… Send write up!Well, woke up this morning, and there is six inches of snow on the ground. Guess that’s a sign I need to publish this issue!

In this issue we have an update to “Chebacco Sailing 101, from the previous authors, some miscellaneous conversations, and some pictures of a Chebacco from Down South. Not “Down Under”, but South America! He even wrote me in spanish.

Coincidentally, I’m learning spanish, so I wrote him back in the same language. I’ll spare the regular readers the trails of automatic translation websites… (which translate “sailboat” to “boat of candles”…) I had originally planned on doing the whole issue in his native language, but I’ll do it in
english instead.

Ed Heins reports progress:

At long last it appears I’m able to report some progress on the chebacco garage ornament that’s been living about 25 ft away from this computer for the past 4 years.   Light at the end of the tunnel is looming larger as I should finish sheathing the topsides tomorrow and be done with the final fairing of the epoxy making ready for painting by the end of the month.  Boat name “Bodacea” has been selected and routed into an oak nameboard for transom mounting, and brightwork already started.  Electrics are in to the stern light and battery box, and should the mood strike tomorrow, I’ll get the flush mount running light mounts cut in.  Current plans are to paint it interlux dark blue on the bottom and hatteras off white on the deck to just below the rub rail.  Then a gold and red bootstripe should finish it off.  Opting for no waterline markings since the boat will live on a trailer for most of it’s life and the bottom will not be antifouled.
Just bought the power planer today, and plan on attempting a birdsmouth mast later this winter.

As does Mike Haskel:

Good morning Richard,

How are things going down in Oklahoma? I have attached a URL that describes
the building of “Two Grumpy Old Men”

All the best,

Mike Haskell, Founder/CEO
Adventure Quest-USA
8 River Road
Bowdoinham, ME  04008

Also had an interesting conversation on the origins of the name “Chebacco” with Edson White:

—– Original Message —–

Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: Where did the name “Chebacco” originate?
Actually, I think it is a type of boat from England:
—– Original Message —–
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 8:30 AM
Subject: Where did the name “Chebacco” originate?
Richard:  I am a little curious.  I have password “chebacco”, and my son has “Chebacco-2”  Our “clam shack” on the ocean was named “Chebacco” back in the 1800’s!
Thus, (1) “Chebacco” is an Indian name, given to a river before the advent of the white man – at least up here in the northeast.
Is this also an Indian name prevalent in Oklahoma, and if so, do you know the meaning of the name?
                                                                                                         Best regards,    Edson F. White

I’ve been able to sneak out a couple of times, weather permitting, and using nice tall rubber boots to retrieve the boat from the frigid water. Nothing really notable, except for the icebreaker session!

A friend of mine had come up to deliver half a boat, which is a whole other story. Part of the price was a sailing trip in Schroedinger. Luckily, the weather cooperated, and we had wind and temps in the 45 degree range.

We see some nice waves when we drive over the dam to launch the boat at the local state park, so I’m anticipating a nice brisk sail.

I setup the boat and we launch at the ramp, with only one other vehicle in the state park on this nippy January morning.


The new steps I cast for the boat work great! They make it very easy to get in when the bow is on the beach. (I’ve been doing machine work lately, when it’s to cold to sail.  )

I notice the water is calm in the bay where we are launching, I attribute this to the surrounding hills.

As I’m reversing away from the ramp, I idly wonder aloud what that filthy layer of scum is on top of the still water. “Oh, that’s ice” says my sailing

And I’m about five feet away, backing the transom and the expensive motor right towards it!

Can you say “quick turn”?

I take a good look, and guess what, there is NO WAY out from the launch ramp facility! There’s open, ice free water about 1/4 mile away, but there is no path to get to it!

Nothing for it but to put the 1/8″ stainless steel keel armor to the test. RAMMING SPEED! All hands brace for impact! Crunch!

About this time I’m wishing I had brought the camera!

At about half throttle, the keel rides up on top of the ice, and the weight of the boat breaks the ice, in true icebreaker fashion.

My greatest worry at this point is that I’m going to have to repaint the bottom!

We crunch through the 1/4″ mile of 1/2″ thick ice to open water, and have a nice sail. The only other homemade boat on the lake was out, so we sailed over to him and had a nice chat.

And guess what, when we retrieved the boat, we had to do the whole icebreaker thing again! Oh, my poor paint!

When I got off the boat at the ramp and looked at the hull, there was not a single scratch in the “deck paint” on the hull! Amazing, I was expecting at least bare fiberglass.

And interestingly enough, when I posted my tale on the Bolger egroup, two other people had ice stories, for the same day! We decided to officially dub that saturday “National Bolger Icebreaker and Porch Paint appreciation day”!

More when the weather warms up!

– Chebacco Richard

Sudamericano Chebacco – Gustavo Estévez F

Mr. Richard

Chebacco Sudamericano

A finales de Diciembre lancé mi bote (Chebacco con un toque de Goland
Gaffer) llamado Haka a las aguas en Valdivia, Chile (no es el fin del
mundo pero de aquí se puede ver). Hasta ahora no he tenido problemas.
Espero enviar pronto fotos navegando a toda Vela.


Gustavo Estévez F. (

Sudamerican Chebacco

At the end of December I launched my boat (a Chebacco with a touch of Goland
Gaffer), called Haka, in the waters of Valdivia, Chile (it is not the end
of the world, but you can see it from here). So far I have not had
any problems. I hope that soon I can send you photos of the boat sailing under full sail.


Gustavo Estévez F. (

P1000045 P1000047 P1000048 P1000053 P1000054 P1000056


Pre-Christmas Sail – Jamie Orr

‘twas the weekend before Christmas…

And after thinking about sailing all week, I decided to go and do it, so on Sunday morning I threw all the warm clothes I own into the boat and headed for the launch ramp.

I drove to Cattle Point, on Victoria’s east shore – Victoria is right on the southeast corner of Vancouver Island – where there are two ramps.  The older one is narrow, with rocky sides, and faces northeast, while the newer one faces southeast.  Neither has very good provision for mooring the boat while you park or retrieve your trailer, but the new ramp has more room.  Because I’d packed up in a hurry last time, I spent a leisurely 40 minutes untangling lines and rigging up.  Cattle Point gets a lot of walkers, so I had several conversations as people stopped to ask about the boat.

The launch went smoothly, and Honda fired on the second pull – not bad since he hadn’t been running for a month or so.  I motored out until I was clear of the rocks, and had some room to drift, then put up the sails.  There was a nice little breeze from the northeast, and Wayward Lass moved along well. I wanted to explore the Chatham and Discovery Islands group, so I tacked upwind, thinking to have the wind behind me to avoid having to tack in the narrow channels between the islands.  It took a while to reach the north end of the passage I had chosen, and I was getting hungry, so I picked an inviting bay off the chart, and headed for that.  As I worked my way to the head of the bay, a group of kayakers came by, adding some colour to an otherwise wintry scene.

I anchored in about five feet.  There was a smooth beach only a few yards away, but most of these islands are Indian Reserve land, and landing is only permitted on the south shore of the most southern, Discovery Island, where a marine park fills that side.  Just as well, really, or these islands would be fully developed as well as private, being so close to Victoria.  As it was, it was like being miles from civilization, as I watched an otter catching and eating his lunch while mine heated on the stove!

After I’d finished and tidied up, I pulled up the anchor and set the main again.  I made sure the anchor was ready if wanted, since I expected some current and the wind was very light by now.  I set off south through the passage between the two larger Chatham Islands, with the wind behind me and against the current.  The deep channel is close beside the eastern island, which may be why the wind became very light and fluky – the island sheltered the channel too well!  I found myself still sailing gently about half way through, but no longer moving in relation to the land.  I used the canoe paddle for an extra boost until a gust came along to help, but it was all undone in the end.  After another spell of motionless activity, what little wind I had reversed itself, and I had to follow suit.

The current carried me back almost to the north end, where the “real” wind was still coming from the northeast.  It seemed to be a little stronger than before, so I turned to try again.  This time I stayed further from the shore, despite the shallow areas, and did a little better.  I managed to sail past my previous turning point before I had to resort to the paddle.  After another 40 or 50 yards, the wind took pity on me and came back.

I thought I was clear then, but found I couldn’t quite sail the course I needed to stay out of the shoals.  The current was still running, and the wind was still too light to allow much manoeuvring, so I decided to trust to our shallow draft, and turned inside a pair of rocks that were just ahead.  I wondered if this was really a good idea, standing with the tiller in one hand and the centreboard line in the other, watching the bottom go by only a couple of feet below.  If I hit some really shallow water and went aground, it was quite possible that the current would hold us there until the tide dropped, leaving Wayward Lass and I on the mud for the night.

However, just before reaching the keel, the bottom receded again, and we reached deeper water, moving out of the shelter of the islands as we went.  Once out in the open, we had a straightforward, two mile run to the ramp.  The wind was still light, but steady, and the gentle run made a nice finish to the day.  I was able to tie off the tiller and let Wayward Lass steer herself long enough to take in the mizzen, then about a quarter mile from the ramp, we stopped and I furled the main.  When I started the motor, the starting mechanism made some funny noises, but the engine ran alright, so I just made a mental note to look at it later.

We made a soft landing at the ramp, despite the following wind, and the recovery went as smoothly as the launch.  I tidied up a little more carefully this time, so that my next outing wouldn’t require untangling all the lines.

After a sail, I always run the outboard in fresh water to flush the salt out.  When I pulled the starter cord this time, I got nothing but funny noises, and the motor didn’t turn over. When I took off the cover, I discovered that a big plastic gearwheel had broken into four pieces.  Two were still more or less in place, until I pulled on the cord again to see what would happen.  (They popped right out.)   I was able to start the motor by winding another cord on the thing on top of the flywheel, but I’ll have to go to the shop for a new recoil gear.  I suppose the plastic gets brittle with age, the engine is about 17 now.

No matter, it was still a good day!

A few days later…

Dad, Catherine and I drove to the launch ramp in Esquimalt Harbour.  A fairly decent ramp and dock, and sheltered from the prevailing southeast wind.  We rigged Wayward Lass, then I backed down the ramp.  Hadn’t paid enough attention to a tree growing beside and over the ramp, and we brushed through it, getting a cockpit full of twigs, needles and cones!  However, we launched without problem, and got underway.

We motored out carefully, as there are rocks near the ramp, then got the sails up and headed for the open sea.  We caught a nice breeze and made good time to the south with a southeast wind (maybe a touch more easterly) pushing us along.  For a while we were gaining on a big ketch on the same course, but he eventually found his groove and started to open up the distance between us.  We’d been out for an hour or so by then, so made our turn for home.  Had a nice reach going back to the harbour – saw a smallish (thirty-something feet?) schooner come out and turn west, making a picture postcard scene.

Once back inside the harbour, we turned into the wind to furl the sails.  Esquimalt is a naval harbour, and boats are required to stay at least 100 metres from all naval property, including the ships.  We were over the minimum distance from the ships, but pointing right at them.  It may have been a coincidence, but the patrol boat came out from behind them in a minute or so, coming our way.  However, by then we had the main down and were busy with the sail ties, so our peaceful intentions were evident.

The motor started on the first pull – still using the “emergency” rope – and we motored in to the ramp.  Everything went very well, until I pulled the boat and trailer up the slope. At this point we ran into the same tree, but the branches must angle down-ramp, because although the main mast still got through all right, the mizzen hung up and broke off just above the partners.  This put a bit of a damper on the day, but it looked like it might be repairable, so I was mostly only ticked off at making such a dumb mistake.  D’oh!!

The aftermath.

Although I’m no mechanic, the starting gear didn’t look like a tough job, so I went down to the Honda dealer and paid the outrageous amount of $38 for a four inch diameter plastic gear!  The remains of the old one came out after undoing the top bolt, so that was pretty simple, but the new gear wouldn’t go on without removing the assembly completely, because of the need to mesh with the teeth on the flywheel.  To take off the assembly only meant undoing three bolts, but it took a while to find a socket that could reach them – I finally bought a nutdriver to make it easier.  Once I had the right tool it was all done in minutes.

The mast was a longer job, but not much harder.  The mast is made of two halves, glued up the middle.  One side had split when it broke, and resembled a two foot scarf.  The other side was broken pretty well straight across the grain, but there were a lot of spikes sticking out from either piece.  I decided the spikes would serve as finger joints and provide some strength when glued up in conjunction with the “scarf” on the other side.  I cleaned up the loose chips and straightened up some bent spikes, then carefully matched up the ends.  I pushed them together as much as I could, then used a mallet on the butt of the mast, ramming the joint as tight as I could.  I had to do this a couple of times, taking it apart and removing more broken chips each time until the thing fit properly.

Then I smeared thickened epoxy over all the broken area, matched up the ends and got busy with the mallet again.  Once everything was as tight as it was going to get, I put in a temporary nail so the ends couldn’t slip apart, and clamped the scarf firmly.  I gave it three days to cure, after that it was just a matter of cleaning up the epoxy that squeezed out, and putting a couple of “dutchmen” in where some small pieces of wood were missing.  I considered putting a fibreglass band around the “finger-joint” area, but decided it was strong enough without it.  We’ll see next time out.

Chebacco News 24

Chebacco News

Number 24, December 1998


Tim Smith’s Chebacco LARK – with nine(!) people aboard.

LARK (and Tim Smith) show us how it’s done –

Tim Smith writes:

Dear Bill,

Sitting down to write you an account of our first family cruise in our Chebacco, my ears are ringing with cognitive dissonance. I’ve just returned from a trip to the Royal Huisman Shipyard in the Netherlands, where the zillionaire founder of Netscape is having a boat built: a 155-foot cutter with three staterooms, crew quarters for eight, a mast that will clear the Golden Gate Bridge by 30 feet, and 40 miles of copper wire to link the 24 on-board computers. I’m thinking, if I had all the money in the world, would I want a boat like that? Sure. But I’d never let go of the Chebacco.

Our boat was bought second-hand: it was built by Brad Story for Sister Krista Mote and featured in Chebacco News No. 7. I had been planning to build one, and had ordered plans and measured the garage door, when I saw a classified ad for Sister Krista’s boat (she was moving up to a bigger cruiser to accommodate nieces and nephews, and was quite sad about the sale.) I thought, why not cut out the middleman, go sailing right away, and get a boat built by Brad himself?

We took possession of the boat in the winter of ’97, and spent much of the next summer learning to sail her out of Chatham, Mass., on the elbow of Cape Cod.

One clear lesson: she had been built without the mast-stepping slot-she wasn’t configured for trailering-but after the drama of stepping the mast on the beach with three strong friends, I knew I wanted the slot. Another lesson: She’s so beautiful that things became practically embarrassing. People followed us around. The week we launched her the local paper splashed a big photo of her on the front page, just for the sake of atmospherics. One guy ogled us from the beach with his binoculars while his girlfriend lay by his side, topless and ignored.

Chatham is catboat country, with a big population of fiberglass models, mostly Marshalls and Herreshoffs. The Chebacco outsails just about all of them. She points higher, she’s generally faster, and she takes off across the flats to windward in a foot of water, which the others just can’t do. We had a lot to learn about sailing a divided rig, but by summer’s end we were pretty confident. Except for one thing: we never did get out into a big blow, to test her limits.

Last winter I had the mast slot installed by the estimable Pease Boat Works, a local yard. They also installed a bow-eye for trailering, and removed, planed and re-glassed the centerboard, which had swollen stuck.

Summer vacation arrived, and we were ready to go cruising: me, my wife, and the two kids, ages eight and four. We gave ourselves three days, figuring we wouldn’t push it. Loaded a cooler, a propane stove, sleeping bags, a cell phone and a GPS, and took off in a light rain, telling ourselves we’d just head west along the lower Cape and see how far we got in an afternoon, maybe just to the next harbor.

The tide was with us, and the wind picked up, and we flew along the coast on a broad reach-past Harwichport, past Hyannis, and all the way down to Osterville well before nightfall, a distance of twenty miles or so. We were averaging seven or eight m.p.h. as measured by the GPS. Tucked into Osterville harbor, anchored in a shallow spot away from the clustered moorings, and settled down for the night.

That’s when we realized we’d made two mistakes. One, we forgot the garlic. Two, I’d bought sleeping pads that were too thin. The kids slept fine in the cuddy, which has thick cushions covering the whole cabin sole, but my wife and I tossed and turned on the cockpit benches under the boom tent.

Morning dawned sunny, warm, and absolutely still. Where to go? Someplace with beds. We realized that we were just a few miles across Nantucket Sound from Martha’s Vineyard, a big island where old friends have a house. My wife, Priscilla, got on the phone. Sure, they could give us a shower and a bed, and we could even tie up at their dock. So we cranked up the 4-horsepower Yamaha and motored away from land. The Chebacco (which is rechristened Lark) handled big powerboat wakes with aplomb. She generates enough apparent wind under power to make the sails draw, so there is a pleasant steadying effect. We motorsailed along, shutting the engine down when breezes came up, starting it up again when the wind died.

We reached the Vineyard by midafternoon, called again for directions, and sailed around a sandy point to our friends’ house. Henry, our host, is a person of some ceremony (he was once the U.S. ambassador to Austria), and clearly had been waiting for years for the chance to greet a vessel at his dock. There he stood, waving. When we got within a hundred yards, my heart sank: This dock had been built for swimming, not for boats, and the sharp hood ends of four-by-fours poked out wickedly every few feet. But we couldn’t bear to disappoint Henry, so we put a lot of fenders and cushions over the side and tied up gingerly for a decent interval. I put the wife and kids ashore and skedaddled, anchoring off the stony beach within easy wading distance of shore. That night we had grilled tuna, good company and soft beds.

Day three dawned with a nice breeze, and we headed back for Chatham. We had two choices: head due north to the mainland and sail east along the shore, the way we had come, or angle straight across the sound–a much shorter trip of some 30 miles, but in open water. The sky was clear, the tide was with us, the forecast was fair, and what the hell, Bolger has written that you could sail one of these things safely across the North Sea if you handled it (ahem) competently, so we made sail and headed straight across.

Before long the Vineyard was out of sight behind us and the mainland a thin line on the horizon. The wind picked up, gusting to perhaps 20 knots, and the seas began running at 4 to 5 feet. Not dramatic, but the boat signalled firmly and politely that it wanted a reef. We hove to and reefed with ease, thanks to the wooden blocks my brother had carved and screwed to the boom, not unlike the ones in a previous issue of Chebacco News.

And then we flew home. At one point, as we surfed on a broad reach in the steep following sea, the GPS registered 9.9 m.p.h. The boat’s manners were fine; our four-year-old slept most of the way in the cuddy, and our eight-year-old danced around in the cockpit, thrilled. We took a little spray aboard, and briefly considered a second reef, but she is so stiff on that second chine that it wasn’t necessary. At this speed there seemed to be some weird harmonic effect at the stern, a groaning sort of noise that came from the rudder when I hauled on the tiller. (I looked, afterwards, and nothing was amiss). We learned two things about the tiller, actually: one, when spending the night aboard, you can get it out of the way by raising it vertical and lashing it loosely to the mizzen. And two, you need every inch of it to control the little rudder in a big wind and quartering sea. My brother had been after me to cut eight inches off the tiller for the sake of cockpit space, but now I won’t do it.

By the time we reached Chatham it was really blowing, and there were very few other boats around. My left arm got a little tired working the tiller, but I suspect that I’ve got a lot to learn about trimming the sails for balance. We scudded into Stage Harbor, our home port, sailed right up to the beach, dropped the mainsail, and unloaded in ankle-deep water.

That homecoming crystallized for me one of the many things that make this boat so loveable. Sometimes it behaves like a big boat, and sometimes like a small boat. Its great virtue is that it knows when to do which. It can blast across thirty miles of open water without making you fear for your children’s safety, and then nose up to the shore and be manhandled like a daysailer. Hats off, Phil Bolger.


LARK at anchor, off an unmistakable Cape Cod coastline.

Fraser Howell has an adventure, too –

Hi Bill;

Had a blistering sail yesterday. The wind was a steady 20 Kt, gusting to 25 or 30. Started out with main only, one reef. With the wind slightly aft we averaged 6.5 kt. We had a hand-held GPS and it showed up to 8.5 mph during the gusts!! We were not as fast on the return trip. For the first time I had to put in a second reef. A wet trip with spray accumulating to about 3 inches in the cockpit over a 3 hour sail. At one time the lee rail was well under. I’ve never even come close to burying a gunwhale on Itchy and Scratchybefore. With the second reef, the sail area is only about 75 sf, and it is

difficult to tack with such a small sail area, and no mizzen.

This was the windyest weather I’ve had her out in. I was glad to have a crew, because it was hard work. The boat and rig held up well.

Cheers; Fraser

A cautionary word from Bob Branch

Hey Bill, I was just rereading the Oct issue (looking to see if the next was posted yet…) and noticed that in some owners desire to experiment with jibs they are using mainsails from other boats (eg lasers). The shape of a main is all wrong for use as a jib. The draft is in the wrong spot (too far aft) and will thus create alot of heel (not conducive to good Chebaccoing upwind) and if you increase the halyard tension on the jib (also I believe not conducive to good Chebbacoing) the leading edge of the sail will become real round… not conducive to pointing. Just tell folks to go to a local sailmaker and hit on finding a used dinghy jib. Even when old it will give a better shape than using a main off something else. But don’t say it in a non political way. (Ahhh, the joys of being a newsletter editor… how well I remember…. hmm. Hey! I now forget! Wow, is that a load off my mind!)


Bob Cushing’s Chebacco Motorsailer –

Bob Cushing sent me some great photos of his motorsailer version of Chebacco:


Chebacco Motorsailer under sail


The Chebacco Motorsailer’s roomy cabin.

Bob Cushing writes:

The pictures are of the Chebacco Motorsailer on Cayuga Lake, one of the central NY Finger Lakes – about 35 miles long – one to two miles wide – in the rolling hills, wine-making area of NY state; also the home of Cornell University and a little remaining ’60s culture, i.e. organic farming, VW vans, Vegetarian restaurants etc. Quite a nice area. There was very little wind that day, so the Chebacco was just ghosting along with Mary taking pics from shore.

When there is a good wind it handles it great – rarely needs reefing and will see up to 7.4 mph on the GPS.

Plenty of room for two in the cockpit area – could actually seat four but would be quite tail-heavy then. As you can see from the pics I’ve added a steering wheel and remote motor-control assembly on the starboard sude of the entryway to the cabin. It looks kinda odd but works great. You just pin the tiller in center position with a U-bolt when you want to use the steering wheel under power. Docking – especially backing up, is much better this way – just like a very nimble powerboat. Of course you can also use the tiller/rudder under power if desired. Wheel and throttle-shift are quick-release. Unscrew a coupla knobs and both have a second mounting position inside for power operation in really inclement weather. There’s a vent cover/gas fill/pump out fitting in the cockpit. It’s hinged and swings up to reveal a 25 gal fuel tank. Also under here is a pump-out fitting for a Porta John which meets Canadian regs.

Halyards are pulled through a rope-clutch setup with cleat behind for backup – much easier than before when I had to alternately pull and cleat off each halyard as I worked the gaff up into position. I now have two blocks on each halyard instead of one and can actually pull both through the rope clutch with one or two hands without them backing down unless I release the clutch lever (cost $75.00) – not cheap but so much easier and safer to my mind.

The interior shot shows the dinette table, access to loads of storage under the cockpit, under all bunks, john and toolbox are under the step, stove, sink, watertank and cooler all go up front ahead of the bunks.

The main hatch was enlarged to twice normal size so you can open over half of the interior for full standing room. There’s also a small lift-out hatch over the galley area and the front window swings open. All windows are tinted lexan and curved as are the sides of the house – very strong – with 1″ perimeter with many screws. There’s lots of foam floatation in front, under the outer bunks and in back under th rearmost storage areas. A large hole in the bottom would probably result in only about one foot of water in the hull.

The mainsheet swivel assembly is mounted on 1″ thick plywood which is bolted to the mizzen tabernacle. The rope traveller is slightly behind this. I’m thinking about making a solid traveller and mounting it about 3″ farther back.

The mizzen sheet pulls through a curved pipe (Brad Story copy) and then to a cam cleat – works fine and one less line.

This boat might beFOR SALE if someone really wanted it as I have the building disease and would kinda like to build an AS-29 (AS-35?), but I also really like this boat so it wouldn’t be cheap – extremely nice finish with teak floors etc

Bob has also recently prototyped Phil Bolger’s sleek Cruising Kayak design – featured in the October 3rd 1997 issue of ‘Messing About in Boats’. It has a ‘trunk’ for storing a substantial amount of camping gear.


Bob Cushing paddles the prototype of Phil Bolger’s Cruising Kayak

Light Dory for sale –


Bill Parkes writes:

Gloucester Light Dory, 15 1/2 feet long, Douglas Fir Marine Ply on oak

frames, silicon bronze fastened, white oak seats, rubbing strake and

rail cap, spruce oars, all bronze fittings. $750. Trailer extra $300

Call Bill Parkes 731-1039 evenings or 787-7342 daytime; or

Painting tips from Jamie Orr

I’ve been continuing with the two part paint, and thought I’d send this follow up to my last experience, in case you can use it for the News.

A few months ago I used two part polyurethane paint on the outside of the hull, now I’ve been painting the inside and found it harder because of the corners, butt blocks, bulkheads and so on that break up the surface into small sections. Because of the smaller sections, I put on the primer and first coat using a brush only. However, I wasn’t happy with the job, as the brush marks were very visible. The paint tacks up very quickly and by the time a section was covered, the paint was starting to get sticky, and hard to brush smooth. The corners and other obstacles made this worse.

For the second coat, I went back to a 9″ foam roller (WEST brand), tipping it out with a synthetic bristle brush, and ignored the corners until I had done all the area accessible by roller. (I was surprised just how much I could reach with it.) After this was done, I went back to do the corners and tight spots with the brush and a small (3″) roller with about a 1 ¼” diameter (nameless cheapo brand). By this time, the previously rolled on paint had had time to set up and so I didn’t mark it up when I brushed over the edges. I’ve switched to bristle brushes because the foam brushes were getting too flabby too fast and had to be changed frequently. The bristle brushes will last a whole session, and I like them better for poking into the corners.

I also took extra care on the second coat to have the paint at the recommended temperature so the viscosity was right (i.e. smooth and not so sticky). With the lower daytime temperatures now, it helped to store the paint indoors the night before, and I watched the thermometer for the right time to start painting.

I’m pleased with the results. After the first (all brushed) coat I was pretty fed up, but the second coat has cheered me right up. Using a roller gets a much more even coat, and does it faster and more easily to boot. Even the little 3″ roller made the tight spots easier.

I didn’t have enough paint on hand to do both coats the same day, so I had to sand to take the shine off the first coat. If I were doing it over, I would arrange to do the second coat right after the first – this would save the sanding and (possibly) give a better bond between coats.

To keep the toxic paint off me, I used the same disposable overalls and organic filter mask, sleeve protectors and gloves as before. I’ve had trouble with safety glasses fogging up, so often don’t use them with resin or paint. However, this time I got a scare with the primer – as the brush came off the edge of a bulkhead, some paint splattered, and at least two tiny drops hit my face, one at the corner of my eye. Luckily, it didn’t do more than sting for a second, so I guess the tears washed it out almost before I realized what had happened. I’ve since found that with new and stronger elastic on the face mask, and with it tightened right up, I can wear the safety glasses longer – even got through the whole session last time without having to take them off.

Merry Xmas!

That’s all we’ve got space for this time, so some material will need to wait for the February issue. Nevertheless, keep your photos and stories coming in. Have a good festive season.

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

Chebacco News 22

Chebacco News

Number 22, August 1998


SYLVESTER heels under an ominous sky


You must be getting fed up of pictures of SYLVESTER under sail. How about you Chebacco sailors sending me some of yours? Of course, I appreciate that it isn’t the easiest thing to get photos of yourself underway. The above one was taken by a friendly powerboat driver, to whom I had thrown my camera and asked to shoot off the whole film. On a different occasion, I got my crew to sit at anchor in a tender with the camera while I sailed around him. It’s seldom possible to get good close photos of a boat under sail from the shore, unless a long lens is used.

Two-part Paint

Jamie Orr, whose Chebacco is nearing completion, sent the following email to the ‘Bolgerlist’ discussion group on the internet –

A few months ago I was asking for your experience with paint. I got a number of good responses, with recommendations ranging from latex to two part polyurethane. My concerns were that the finish have good resistance to abrasion, which favoured two part paint, and that the paint be reasonably user friendly, which didn’t. I viewed one part polyurethane as a possible compromise. Prices ranged from $15/litre for enamel to $29/litre for one part polyurethane to $40+/litre for two part.

I finally decided to go for two-part paint. Here’s what I learned using it, in case someone else is in the same boat (no pun intended). I found the paint to tack up quickly, but it wasn’t really that hard to use. I used a West system foam roller to apply it, followed quickly by a foam brush, brushing back into the already painted part. The hard chines of the Chebacco made for easy dividing lines — I painted the keel, then each bottom side, then each bilge side. (I’ve left the topsides for later, after

the deck joint is glassed.) This split the job into long narrow panels, making it easier to keep a wet edge on the paint.

Two things to watch for.

I found that an area about 2 ft by 2 ft was big enough to roll at once. If I did much more, the paint started to tack up before I could brush it all out — I used a three inch disposable foam brush, and didn’t brush any area more than once if I could avoid it. I estimate I had 20 seconds to get the area brushed. I also found that I did a better job if the brush stroke was backhand, not forehand. That meant I painted while moving from right to left, brushing back left to right (for a right-hander). I also changed to a new brush every so often. One roller cover did a full coat.

The other thing to avoid is to leave a roller edge mark across the end of the already painted part — its *very* hard to brush out. To cover the surface, I like to roll first one way, then go over it again at 90 degrees. To avoid leaving a mark, I rolled the paint first parallel to the wet edge, but not touching it — leaving an inch or two uncovered. Then when I rolled at 90 degrees, I rolled back into the wet edge, just as with brushing. The inch or two space only gets rolled one way, but it covered okay, and the join with the previous part was invisible after brushing.

Any flaws have to be covered within that estimated 20 seconds, or the fix will be as bad as the flaw. I put on one coat of primer, and two finish coats, so I had two “practices” before the final coat.

After the cost, the biggest drawback is the toxicity of the paint. An organic filter mask is a minimum requirement, and the paint should not be allowed to touch the skin either. I wear a beard, and so its hard to get a good seal around the mask. To help this out, I globbed vaseline into my beard and put the mask on/in this. If you try this, waterless hand cleaner will get the vaseline out again, eventually. Gloves, sleeve protectors and disposable coveralls completed the outfit. Safety glasses might be a good idea in case of splashes, but I can’t wear them with a mask as they fog up.

For cleanup, I just leave the roller cover and brushes until the paint cures, then throw them out. The solvent is about as toxic as the paint, so I haven’t used any yet. To clean up the mixing cups, I slosh the dregs of the paint in them to catalyse everything, then chuck them when cured. I also use disposable plastic liners in my paint tray, and found out that this paint will eat its way through eventually, so make sure the tray underneath is clean as well.

I used Endura paint, made in Edmonton, Alberta. For information go to:


They have a wide range of colours, or will match any sample. The literature mostly talks about spraying, but they have a special brushing component to replace the usual catalyst if you want to brush or roll it. Make sure the pigmented component is well mixed — preferably shaken on a paint store’s mixer. I found the paint did not change or start to gel while I worked. I mixed up a full litre of primer, but used smaller batches of finish coat —

I mixed about 300 mls (9 oz) each time, adding it to the old stuff in the paint tray. This was to avoid having a lot left at the end.

I had no problem with sagging, but found that if I dripped on an unpainted spot, I had to smooth it immediately, or the drip showed through. I guess the 20 second rule applies here too. After the primer coat, I masked the bottom and bilge surfaces separately, so I could leave them covered while I did the keel, then leave the bilges covered while I did the bottom. More preparation time, but it worked.

There it is. Required care, but wasn’t that hard to use after all.

Jamie Orr

Reefing tips

Craig O’Donnell sent me the following email, pointing to reefing systems described on the Internet:

Speaking of reefing, you kight want to consider the pointer to:

for the next issue. While it isn’t Chebacco-specific, it’s a good overview

of 3 reefing schemes. The originals were (are) for battened sailing canoe

sails, but of course modern lightweight battens could be used on a Chebacco

sail instead.

In any event it might spark a brainstorm among the Chebacco Riggers of the


Sail-making, rigging etc.

Jim Slakov is making his own sails at the moment, and sent me a number of questions. Here’s my reply:

First of all, grommets – I used the cheap brass ones that you’ll find anywhere – 1/2″ inside diameter for everything. I agree that they’re nothing like as good as the ones used by professional sailmakers, but they don’t need special equipment either. I’ve used them on sails for the past 10 years and they’ve lasted fine, apart from a bit of greenness!

The way I fit them is to sew the ring part into the sail, with strong thread, until you can’t see the brass – Then I put in the grommet and flatten it out with the punch and anvil you get with the grommets. It seems to be plenty strong enough. An alternative is to go to an awning maker and get him to press some in – Still it’s nicer to be independent! If I ever make more sails, I may treat myself to some professional kit, but it’s hardly worth it for one set.

You also have some questions on rigging. Here goes.

1. Is there a particular point on the boom to attach the topping lift? Is it just tied onto a cleat or an eye?

– If you look at the gaff sailplan sheet that is part of Phil’s set of drawings, you’ll see that the boom has eyes at various distances from the end of the boom These are, in order:

12″ in from end – The attachment point for the mainsheet block.

8 1/2″ in from previous eye – fairleads for clew reefing pendant (first reef).

19 3/4″ in from previous eye – fairleads for clew reefing pendant (second reef)

8″ in from previous eye – attachment point for topping lift.

17″ in from previous eye – attachment point for second mainsheet block

I have my topping lift tied onto the boom, and going through a block shackled to an eyebolt near the top of the mast, then down the mast, through a block on the deck, via a fairlead, to a cleat on the cabin top (port side). If I was doing it again, I’d probably go for the simpler solution of tying it at the top of the mast and simply cleating the other end on the boom, via an eye.

My only deviation from Phil’s drawing is that I have the reefing cleats much further aft, so that they are easily reached from the cockpit. I keep the pendants in place all the time – including two at the tack. There are four cleats in all – one for each pendant. The pendants are 1/4″ braided line. The pendants cleat on the starboard side of the mast so that you can reef down on starboard tack – giving you right of way over other sailing boats. Cunning, eh?

2. How is the peak halyard attached?

The gaff has a strop (1/4″ dia rope, in my case) going from the mid-point to the top. This should be tied as tight as possible – It looks loose on the sailplan, but you’ll find it falls away like this even if you tie it bar-tight. A shackle slides back and forwards along this strop and the peak halyard is attached to this shackle. This means that when you have the full sail up the shackle will be near the foot of the strop, but when you take in reefs it will be further up, so that the pull is still at right angles to the gaff, allowing you to peak up the sail nicely. Both halyards go through blocks shackled to eyebolts near the top of the mast, then down to turning blocks at deck level, via fairleads to 6″ cleats on the cabin top (starboard side).

3. How do you attach the throat halyard to the gaff jaws?

Interesting one this. I originally shackled it to a lashing on the gaff, but soon found that the shackle was wearing a nice groove in the mast when the sail was peaked up. The best thing to do is sew an eye in the halyard and lash this directly to the gaff jaws (- I have holes drilled in the jaws to accommodate this lashing, as well as the sail lashings).

4. What about the forward end of the boom?

The weight of the boom is enough to keep the luff tight when the sail is raised. No need for any downhaul or vang, in my experience.

5. How do you tie the jaws (boom and gaff) to the mast?

There are holes in the ends of the jaws and I have 1/4 lines thread through them with wooden beads (‘parrel’ beads) to help stop them binding and stopper knots (figure eight) at the ends. The correct tension in these lines is determined my trial and error when you first raise the sail. Some builders have used a conventional gooseneck fitting for the boom.

6. How is the forward end of the sprit boom attached?

There is a line (the ‘snotter’) tied in a hole at the for’ard end of the sprit boom which goes up through a block lashed about 1/2 way up the mast, then down to a 4″ cleat. This supports the sprit boom, and flattens the sail when it is tight. There is no other attachment point for the boom, except for the lashing to the clew. It is important to keep the mizzen flat. If it draws too much you will get weather helm. If you look at Phil’s sailplan drawing the arrangement should become clear.

7. Can you hang onto the tiller while adjusting the halyards underway? Do you use a tiller extension?

No – I normally heave to. This involves centring the mizzen to make the boat point into the wind. Then you can adjust everything at your leisure! I don’t use a tiller extension, but it could be useful at times.

8. What is the sequence for setting sail?

(a) set up the mizzen so you are head-to-wind.

(b) take up the slack in the topping lift and peak halyard so the boom gallows can be removed.

(c) keeping the gaff roughly horizontal, pull alternately on the peak halyard and the throat halyard until the boom jaws rise and the luff is tight.

(d) pull up the peak halyard until the creases run from peak to tack. This is critical for windward performance. A crease from throat to clew means the top part of the sail isn’t drawing properly and performance will suffer greatly. I occasionally need to peak up the gaff during an outing when the halyards settle down.

(e) drop the centreboard if you are heading out to windward.

(f) cast off, backing the mizzen to send you off on the desired tack.

(g) sheet in, and you’re sailing!

I look forward to seeing photos of your boat when she hits the water. The thought of 3 Chebaccos [Jim Slakov’s, Garry Foxall’s and Jamie Orr’s] sailing in company in B.C. waters is wonderful!



Scuppered hatches?

Gil Fitzhugh has decided to put hatches in his Chebacco – in the seats, and at either side of the outboard well. He wants them flush (for comfort, and appearance sake) and doesn’t want them to be a source of leaks. His solution is to provide self-draining ‘ledges’ for the hatches to rest on. These have a gutter and drain holes at the corners which lead water away to the ouboard well, where it will drain overboard. This sketch is pretty much self-explanatory


Wanted – a Chebacco

I had an email from Patten Williams, of Augusta, Maine: <>

I’m looking to buy a used Chebacco and haven’t seen any in the usual places

I look to find boats for sale. Can you direct me to a place I might find

used Chebaccos?

If you know of any, then you could contact Patten by email, or alternatively let me know, and I’ll pass on your message.

Floorboards – to seal or not to seal?

Ed Heins was asking whether the cockpit sole should be sealed, keeping a watertight volume under the floorboards. Here’s how I replied:

As far as I know, all Chebaccos (mine included) just have loose floorboards here, and pump out the underfloor area from time to time. That way, any stray water sloshes around below the bit you are standing on, and doesn’t make it slippery. I’ve used plywood for the loose floor, in three parts – one either side of the CB case and the other covering the aft section. Brad Story has used pine boards, with narrow gaps between. He screws them down but leaves room to poke the end of a hand pump for emptying the bilgewater.

Have you read Sam Devlin’s book on stitch and glue boatbuilding? He favours your method, as it adds strength, but he fills the void with foam and still leaves a drainage channel for getting stray water out.

Incidentally, I’ve had a little trouble with water lying in that free-flooding area

aft of the cockpit. A couple of little limber-holes that drain into the cockpit wouldn’t go amiss. I plan to drill some next maintenance season.

And finally

That’s all for this issue. Please keep your news, photos, stories, questions etc coming in.

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

Broughty Ferry,

Dundee DD5 1LB,