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>

Also, I am up for some web hosting costs this August ’22 (about US$100 per year x another 8 years), this amazing site is too big for a free host. Thanks to everyone who has made a donation in the past – but if you haven’t or you wish to make another donation I would appreciate your help. There is a donate button on the front page at the bottom.


29th March 2022

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 36

How to get the Best out of your Chebacco-20


Fraser Howell

Jamie Orr

Tim Smith

Bill Samson


These days, probably over 95% of 20 foot sailboats are rigged as Bermudan sloops, with a tall mast, supported by shrouds and spreaders, a triangular mainsail and a jib or genoa foresail, with, possibly, a spinnaker for downwind work.

In contrast, Phil Bolger’s Chebacco-20 is a cat-yawl, with a short, unstayed mast, a high-peaked gaff mainsail with a relatively long boom, and a jibheaded mizzen sail with sprit boom.

There are loads of experienced sloop sailors around, but very few experienced cat-yawl sailors to advise Chebacco owners how to get the best performance out of their boat under a variety of conditions.

The authors have pooled their experience of sailing their Chebacco-20s to produce this little document. We don’t necessarily agree on everything – Chebaccos tend to vary a little, depending on how they were built, how the sails are cut, and so on. Anyway, here goes!

First of all, a table of the rig arrangement that works best for various wind speeds:

Beaufort Number Wind speed (knots) Mainsail Mizzen
1, 2 and 3 1 – 10 no reefs set
4 11-16 One reef set
5 17-21 One reef furled
6 22-27 Two reefs furled
7 and up >28 Furled furled (use OB)


1. You may want to reef earlier (by one Beaufort number) if sailing single handed. The body weight of a crew can make a great difference to how the boat handles.

2. You might be surprised to read that the mizzen should be furled when the main is reefed. You might think that this would lead to lee helm, but in fact we have found that the tendency for the heeled hull to round up into the wind counteracts this and even gives some weather helm.

3. Leaving the mizzen set in strong winds makes the boat heel a lot, adds little to forward drive, and generally makes her harder to handle.

4. Under most circumstances it is perfectly OK to leave the mizzen furled, but you then lose the possibility of heaving to using the mizzen.

Heaving to

The mizzen sail helps you to heave to. All that needs to be done is to release the main sheet and centre up the mizzen so that the boat weathercocks. She won’t lie with her head directly into the wind, but will still lie pretty close, which is helpful if you want to drop the main to take in a reef. If you want to make sure she heaves to on starboard tack, shove the tiller to port – The boat wants to sail backwards when hove to, and this makes sure she settles down on the tack where you have ‘right of way’ – handy when reefing!


It’s much better to reef before setting out, than doing it on the water – especially single-handed. In other words, look at the weather forecast before setting out and reef according to the worst weather you’re likely to encounter on the trip. If you’re caught out, reefing is most easily done by heaving to, using the mizzen to hold the boat head to windward or, if you’ve got a crew, putting on the OB and heading to windward while one of you ties the reef in.

Furling the mizzen

The mizzen is very easy to furl and unfurl. Most people simply slacken off the snotter (the sprit tensioning line), line the sprit up along the leach of the sail (leaving it attached to the clew), then twirl the sprit so that the sail wraps itself around it. The end of the snotter can then be used to tie a half hitch or two around the mast and sail to keep it tidy. Unfurling is even easier; undo the half hitches holding the mizzen furled, and let it unwind (- the wind will help you). Be careful that the sprit doesn’t whack you on the head when eventually it comes out! The final step is to tension the snotter.

The Centerboard

The Chebacco-20 behaves just like a large dinghy. You’ll get the best out of her by lowering the centerboard for beating and reaching, and raising it for running before the wind. With the Chebacco being shallow hulled, though, a little bit of board left down, off the wind, can improve handling.

Partially raising the centreboard can help, too, when heavy weather helm develops.

Of course the Chebacco has a shallow salient keel, and is well mannered even when beating with the board up. She does make a lot of leeway in these circumstances, though.

Sailing Backwards!

If you live among crowded moorings, you might want to master the trick of sailing backwards from your mooring to get into clear water. This is achieved by letting the mainsail fly, and backing the mizzen. You can steer using the tiller – tiller to port to move the back-end of the boat to starboard, and vice versa. Once you’re in the clear, you can harden in the mainsheet and you’re sailing!

Sail trim

The Chebacco is capable of pointing pretty high, and should tack through 90 or 100 degrees in reasonable sailing conditions. It is fatal for performance, though, to strap the mainsail in tight. Remember that the boom is very long and that the main should lie at an angle rather like that of, say, a genoa on a conventional sloop. So the end of the boom should never come inboard of the corner of the transom or all you’ll get is a heeling effect with little forward drive.

The mizzen should be trimmed to give just a little weather helm. When the weather blows up you’ll find that the mizzen needs to be let out to such an extent that it’s flapping. That’s the time to furl it. Some of Phil Bolger’s designs have used fully battened mizzens, on the theory that they can be feathered without slatting. He has had varying reports on how effective this is. This would call for a halyard and other expenses and handling complications.

Using a jib?

It is possible to fit a jib to a Chebacco. Fraser Howell has added a short bowsprit and flies a 60 sq. ft jib which counteracts weather helm nicely, as well as giving extra drive. It is hard to manage the jib without a crew though.

Under Power

Maximum speed under power (4.5 hp) is 5.5 mph. Efficient speed under power is 4.5 mph, at which you’ll get approximately 9 mpg with a 4.5hp motor. The point being made is that a 5hp motor is perfectly adequate for reaching hull speed.

Short shaft motors are OK, but if you are sailing single handed and go forward to adjust things at the mast end, the prop will lift clear of the water. The same will happen in steep seas. If you’ve no worries about the OB grounding, then a long shaft motor may be preferable.


The above notes were prepared by a group of sailors with actual experience of sailing their Chebacco-20s in a variety of conditions. Anybody else with actual experience in a Chebacco is very welcome to add their two cents worth to this document.


Dear Richard,

First of all thank you very much for taking up Bill Samson’s newsletter and setting up such a wonderful new chebacco website. I found the new articles very interesting and looking forward to the next one.

Maybe a nice addition to the site would be some kind of Chebacco registry. It could have basic information (and maybe a picture) of the boat and contact info of the owner.

After a long gestation, KITTY HAWK our lapstrake chebacco, finally hit the water of the Venice lagoon.
She has been built as specifed in the plans except for the mast tabernacle (as designed in the “cruising version”) and a bridge deck (a-la-Story). Hull is painted black with cream deck, stained cabin sides and coamings, teak rub-, toe-rails and trims.

I am in the process of learning to sail her (playing around with halyards, outhauls, etc.) to get the most out of the sail). It seems to me that she could use a little more sail area-around here it is mostly light winds (or too  much wind) and  KITTY HAWK has a little trouble keeping up with the local fleet of flat bottomed traditional luggers. One of these boats of size comparable to a chebacco spreads about 300 sf of canvas! So far I have not been able to break the “5 knots wall” even in 15-20 knot winds”. She does have a bit too much weather helm in stronger breezes, so I think I’ll experiment with a jib (around 50-60 sf) on a bowsprit.

Nevertheless, I’m really impressed by the stability and maneuverability of the boat under sail. She is also great for camping, except for the gloop-gloop-gloop chortle on the laps that resonates in the cabin and takes some getting used to! She is a real beauty and is receiving a lot of attention from the other members of the sailing club where I keep her, which, aside from some handsome trad luggers is mainly populated by ugly duckling fiberglass boats. The tabernacle set up is essential for passing under bridges in and around Venice. It was made according to Bolger’s plans, but the whole thing is awkward to set in place single-handed and might have to be modified. On Sunday Kitty Hawk posed for a photo session under sail and will send you photos as soon as they’re developed.

keep in touch,


Chebacco News 31

Chebacco News 31 – October 2000


The Big Trip!


Bill Samson, Jamie Orr and Les Orr

Jamie Orr writes:

Hello Bill

The big adventure is over now, we’re all back home, and life is settling back into the normal routines. I thought I’d try and record our (Wayward Lass and crew’s) trip for Chebacco News, with my impressions of how the boatperformed.

This was a watershed event, the first trip in Wayward Lass. This was her fourth time in the water, and the second time the sails were up. It’s about 35 miles from the most Southeastern point of Victoria to Point Wilson, near Port Townsend. Adding another 3 miles to the Boat Haven in Port Townsend, and a bit more to Fleming Beach where we launched, and we probably covered some 85 miles in total, crossing and recrossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Vancouver Island and Washington State.

We got away from the launching ramp at 9 am on the 7th. When we left, the weather was overcast, with light to moderate westerly winds. There was a small craft warning at the (western) entrance to the Strait, but conditionswere okay at the eastern end. The forecast was for stronger wind from the south by late afternoon. I hoped we could sail southeast at first, then east along the Washington coast when the wind shifted. We started out on a direct course for Point Wilson, along the Victoria shore until we felt confident that everything was working properly, then changed to a more southerly course to cross the strait, and be able to take advantage of the expected wind change. However, the wind dropped fairly soon, and when it came back it was right on our nose. The sails came down and we got down to some serious motoring.

Visibility wasn’t too great, maybe 3 or 4 miles at this time, but we felt we could find our way with chart and compass – we also had a Garmin II GPS that a friend insisted on lending us, although neither Dad nor I felt comfortable relying completely on that as we hadn’t done much with it. We had 1 to 2 foot waves most of the time. With the fog and overcast sky, it felt chilly until we opened the thermos and had something to eat. (I’m a believer in keeping the furnace fuelled.)

After an hour or two we could see the land well enough to identify Dungeness Spit, which sticks out into the strait from the US side, and turned onto an easterly course for Point Wilson, or at least where the chart and compass said it ought to be. After a while more we identified Protection Island at the mouths of Sequim and Discovery Bays. It took a long time to bring it nearer, but eventually we were level with it, and had definitely identified Point Wilson ahead. About here we tried sailing again, but the wind was just too much from the east to make our course. Since the forecast was for strong southerly winds, and we wanted to get in early enough to find a berth and have a quiet night, we went back to motoring again.

At Point Wilson the wind and tide were both against us, and the GPS, which had reported some 4.5 knots most of the way, dropped until it was only 1 knot right opposite the point. The wind by this time was getting close to the predicted 20 knots, I think. Once around the corner, we hugged the shore to Point Hudson, 2 miles on. Port Townsend is built on Point Hudson, so once there, we had more or less arrived. Around that corner and another mile and we were at the Port Townsend Boat Haven, a big marina well sheltered by a long breakwater. We called US Customs, who were extremely helpful and patient with the rookie skipper, and were assigned permanent vessel identification and PIN numbers, along with a clearance number for this visit. The trip over took 8 hours from dock to dock.

We got the tarp over the boom, and mopped up the cockpit – between the spray and the rain, things were pretty wet. With the tarp up we were quite comfortable, but I was glad we had the cuddy to keep our gear dry. It also provided some shelter under weigh, keeping spray in the cockpit to a minimum.


Wayward Lass at the dock in Port Townsend

I’ve included the pictures that Chuck Merrell took in Port Townsend and e-mailed to me. I haven’t got any others at this time. The blue tarp shows up nicely, and that’s me on the boat. There are a lot of strings hanging everywhere because I haven’t entirely worked out the best way to attach all the sails and blocks. I’m trying to keep it all low-tech, but things will be evolving as we learn. I’m pleased to say the sails, also made by yours truly, seem to have the right shape.

I’d asked previously around the web about VHF radios and navigation lights. Before we went off, I bought a handheld VHF that will accept either rechargeable nicad or throwaway alkaline batteries, and a set of lights that operate off a single D cell each. I’m not sure how far the lights can be seen, but the choice in battery powered lights is limited. The VHF was almost entirely used for weather reports. So far I’m happy with my choices.
Alan Woodbury met us at the marina and gave us some local knowledge about restaurants and Port Townsend in general. After some fish and chips, Dad and I crawled into the cuddy for the night. We are both 6 feet and close to 200 lbs each, but found we could both sleep comfortably in the cuddy, using air mattresses. At the bow end, the mattresses turn up at one corner, but we put our feet at that end so it didn’t matter.
We spent the 8th walking the floats at the Festival, saw dozens of beautiful boats from big schooners to tiny canoes. We said Hi to Craig O’Donnell, on hand with the CLC folks, and took in talks by Brion Toss, rigger, and Carol Hasse, sailmaker. Both excellent. Craig dropped by for a quick chat just before we turned in. Unfortunately Jim Slakov didn’t make it down as planned with Kelani Rose – I understand he injured his back. Hope you’re better now, Jim – looking forward to seeing you another time.
On the 9th, Dad thought he’d stay at the Boat Haven while I went back to the show to meet all the Bolgerphiles at 10 am. We had a good turnout, and after talking for a while we all went to the coffee shop and talked some more. Thanks to Alan for the cinnamon buns! After that the group split up to see the exhibits. Alan and I tried to hear Carol Hasse on sailmaking, but were at the back of a large crowd, so crept out after a short time. Alan wanted to see some more boats, but I’d seen them all the day before, so I thought I’d go back to the Boat Haven for a while. I mentioned this to James McMullen, who’d said he wanted a look at Wayward Lass, and he wangled a ride down there in Ginger, a beautiful electric cruiser created by her owner, whose name I can’t quite remember – I think it was Dan, but the last name is gone.
When we arrived, we stepped into a regular Bolger seminar. Between Ginger and Wayward Lass we had our own mini boat show. More talk, then things thinned out a bit and that was the end of the Festival for us. Dinner that night was Dad and I, with Bill Samson and Alan Woodbury – more fish and chips. Bill went off with Alan to sleep at his place, and Dad and I hit the cuddy again.
Next morning we were up before dawn to get an early start. Alan brought Bill down at 5:30 (did I mention Bill was to sail back to Victoria with us?) in a fairly heavy rain. Luckily it stopped again, and we got away at 6:15, motoring between all the boats anchored off the shore. The early start was partly to take advantage of lighter winds in the morning (expected to be on our nose again) and partly to let me try out my tiny navigation lights (they worked just fine.)
We got a considerable boost from the ebb flowing past Point Wilson, the GPS reported 7 knots over the ground, or about 2 ½ knots of tide. This stayed with us for quite a distance into the strait.
After an hour or so, we put up the sails. We couldn’t hold our course to Victoria, but the wind was great and we had a good sail, enough for everyone to take the tiller for a spell. But the wind strengthened to the point where I thought we’d try a reef, and there I had a problem. The sails are only lashed on, without proper provision for tying in reefs. My lashing didn’t give the foot enough tension, and I haven’t got reef points in the sail, only the cringles at luff and leech. I was told by a professional sailmaker that points were not necessary in a sail this size, but he must have been thinking of a sail with a really efficient outhaul for the leech cringle. The sail was like a big bag with the reef – no way would it sail properly close hauled, so it came down and we went back to motoring.
We could see the southern San Juan Islands, and had a lively discussion about what was where. We also saw a buoy in mid-strait, which triggered more discussion. (It was fairly poor visibility again) Based on the buoy, we felt we were just a bit north of our course, probably due to having to point north of it to use the sails. The GPS batteries had died on us, and I couldn’t find the spares (they weren’t on board) but it revived enough to confirm our position, which was nice. Just as well we weren’t relying on it, though.
Shortly after, visibility improved and Victoria appeared. Since it had been foggy going as well, we had no idea just when to expect to see it, and couldn’t believe at first that it was there already. However, when it took another 3 hours to actually reach it, we believed. We went into Victoria Harbour to clear Customs (by phone) and announce Bill’s arrival in Canada. Canada Customs were just as easy to deal with as their US counterparts, although they only gave us one number. A last short trip back to our launch ramp, and that was that. The return took only 6 ½ hours.
Wayward Lass behaved excellently. I am pleased as anything with her performance over the Strait. She handled the wind and waves with complete aplomb – the motion was smoother under sail, but even motoring I thought she did very well. Being as light as it is, the hull leaps around a bit, but always felt stable and safe, and wasn’t stopped by the 3 foot waves on the way home. Performance at the dock was equally good, although without a tarp it might be another story with more than one aboard. The motor is a 5 horse Honda short shaft with a 3 gallon remote tank – this combination is heavy, and I thought the stern was down a bit when the engine was running. When sailing, though, it wasn’t as low, so maybe I can adjust the motor angle and improve things. We didn’t know how much fuel we’d burn, so carried an extra 6 gallons. We found that we used under 2 gallons each way (imperial gallons – it was just about 2 US gallons.) The sail set quite well, as mentioned, but I’ve got to fiddle with the attachment to the spars. I’ve also got to put in those reef points.
We carried all the prescribed equipment, plus the GPS and VHF. I think I’ll buy my own Garmin GPS next year, for the extra security it gives. Even not knowing how to use all its features, we found it helpful – the most important information, your position, comes up on its own – all you do is turn it on.
The Bolgerphiles that I met in Port Townsend were Chuck Merrell, Bill Samson, Alan Woodbury, John Kohnen, Larry Barker, Jim Chamberlain, Gary Foxall, Craig O’ Donnell, Randy Wheating, Jerome MacIlvanie and James McMullen. Apologies to any missed or misspelled. I had a great weekend and plan to do it all again next year. (If I can swing it, I may go back in November for a sailmaking/repair seminar at Carol Hasse’s loft.)

I’d like to add my own thanks to Jamie for his kind invitation to accompany him and Les back to Victoria, and also to Alan Woodbury for his hospitality.


Some of the Bolgerphiles at Port Townsend – It was great to meet you all!

Hollow spars

Fraser Howell recently built a hollow (birds mouth) mast for his Chebacco “Itchy and Scratchy”. One day while he was out sailing, the mast failed just above the partners! He sent me this pic of the mast:


He reports that it seemed to flatten slightly, just before it broke. He says there were no solid parts inside the mast – so that the halyards could run inside. Maybe they might have prevented it? Anybody else out there using a hollow mast of this type? We’d love to hear from you. On the subject of masts, Gil Fitzhugh is building a birds-mouth-type hollow mast for his Chebacco. When I mentioned to him that Fraser had met with this trouble, he suggests:

The objectives are 1. Strengthen the mast in way of the pressure point generated by the mast partners; 2. don’t create a hard spot somewhere else that will break; 3. salvage the birdsmouth strips I made at vast cost in time and money; 4. don’t add more weight than necessary; 5. given that building this boat has pushed me to the brink of certifiable insanity, don’t come up with a solution so complex that it pushes me over the edge. Here’s what I’ve done.


Image42If I could add a strip of shaded cross-section to each birds mouth strip before I roll the whole shebang up into an octagon, I’d have a much thicker cross section. There’d still be a hole in the middle for halyards, wires for a masthead light or whatever.

So I made 8 strips that look like this:

Image43I basically made them on the bandsaw . A table saw would have worked, but not as easily I think. Hand tools would have worked, but would have violated Objective 5 above. The width of the strip at the top isn’t critical, but depends on the thickness of the stock from which you cut the strips. If the stock is so thick that the top becomes a razor edge, you no longer have a hollow mast at that point.

Cutting order: 1. Make strips 2 feet long by a wide by however thick the wood is.

2. Make the diagonal cuts, but don’t go all the way through. The still-attached tails are good guides, clamping surfaces etc.

  1. Bevel both sides.

Glue the strips in place. Then cut away the shaded areas in the above drawing and clean up the Image44

surface with a few swipes of a hand plane. When gluing, clean up as much squeezeout as possible. these are mating surfaces, and what you neglect to clean up sooner will be a bitch to clean up later.

All this assumes that you cut your birdsmouths with rocket-science precision. I didn’t. Some of mine are a tad thicker on one side than the other. If you use this idea to create eight auxiliary thickening strips all exactly the same, your mast won’t work. (Guess how I learned this fundamental truth?) Not to worry. Label (number) your birdsmouth strips, so you predetermine which one is going to mate with which. Then determine the width of each auxiliary strip so it will fit properly. Sounds hairy. Isn’t. I did the whole thing in a couple of hours and made my auxiliary strips in a couple more. After everything’s glued up and the excess epoxy cut away, you test fit each pair of strips before the final glue-up. If it’s tight, whack it with a chisel or rabbet plane a couple of times. It really will work.

When the mast is done and rounded I’ll do two special wraps with glass cloth, in opposite directions, in way of the partners. My son, the engineer, tells me this will add strength.

We won’t know whether this works until we’re out in a howling gale and the mast doesn’t break. I prefer to avoid the howling gale.

Speaking of howling gales . . .

Phil Bolger was interested in my report in Chebacco News #30 about being caught out in a blow. He suggests:

Next time you’re caught out in a breeze (not necessarily that strong!) it’d be interesting to see what she will do under mizzen alone. I haven’t tried this in a Chebacco, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she could make good at least a beam reach, under good control.

I haven’t had a chance to try this out, yet, and Sylvester is now tucked up in my drive for the winter. Nevertheless, I’ll try it out next season, and would be interested to hear how any of the rest of you fare under similar circumstances.

And finally

Many thanks to those of you who wrote to me and sent photos. No more room this time. Maybe next . . .?

Bill Samson can be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

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

Chebacco News 30

Chebacco News 30 – June 2000


Number One . . .


The first Chebacco

Peter Vanderwaart writes:

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

Peter Vanderwaart


And the latest . . .


The stocks are set up . . .

From Paul DiPasquale

Hi Bill,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best regards,

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



Chebacco Motorsailer for sale

Bob Cushing writes:

Hi Bill,

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

Bob Cushing     315-687-6776

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

Aussie sleeping arrangements

Tim Fatchen (AS29 owner) writes

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

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

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

Tim Fatchen

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

A Cautionary Tale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Samson

And finally

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

Bill Samson can be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

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

Chebacco News 28

cropped-image1.gifChebacco News 28 – October 1999

Kelani Rose is Launched!


Jim Slakov’s KELANI ROSE struts her stuff.

Jim Slakov, of Sechelt BC reports:

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

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

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


Itchy and Scratchy goes from strength to strength:


Itchy and Scratchy . . .

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

Hi Bill

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

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




Jerome McIlvanie makes progress:


Jerome’s Chebacco . . .

Jerome McIlvanie of Yakima WA reports:

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

Hopefully next year it will be in the water.


Another Epic Cruise in Lark


LARK heads north to Cape Cod . . .

Tim Smith of New York City reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Jamie Orr and Bill Samson talk boats

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


Cover closed . . .


and open.


New email address and URL for Chebacco News:

Bill Samson can now be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

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

Chebacco News 27

cropped-image1.gifChebacco News

Number 27, August 1999


Sylvester anchored in Balmerino bay, Scotland, May 1999

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

Sail Trim and Crew Balance on a Chebacco-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motorsailing a Chebacco

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

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

Reprints of classic boating books

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

News from Papua New Guinea

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


And finally . . .

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

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

Chebacco News 26

Chebacco News

Number 26, May 1999


GINA – on Kangaroo Island, Australia


Colin Hunt, of Victoria, Australia, sent me this picture of GINA – Clive Colenso’s lapstrake Chebacco. He reports a good, dry boat which has been surveyed for charter hire. The waters around Kangaroo Island can get pretty rough. GINA has the cockpit modified to be self-draining with approximately ½ cubic meter of underfloor stowage for outboard, anchor etc.

Colin asks if anyone has the offsets for any version of Chebacco on a computer file in .DXF format? This might lend itself to CNC routing, to allow mass production of Chebaccos!

Chebacco –25 . . .

Simon Jones (also in Australia) reports:

I’m building directly onto the bulkheads which I have moved to new stations , I am intending to rig her with a jib and a small bowsprit to accommodate anchors and larger foresails ( reachers etc, ) the interior has been enlarged to give full sitting headroom and quarter berths as well as a big double forard , taking out the centreboard has allowed me to cut the keel down to a flat keelson reducing draft and giving me a nice companionway to stand in with the hatch open , ( I’m just running thru all the alterations I can think of here ). I have closed in the cockpit at the stern to give me a large lazarette for storage, the cockpit is still 7′ long so plenty of day room … I have jumped up the deck height 6″ all round and instead of a flushdeck style cabin I have changed to the standard box cabin as in the 20 with a 5″ side deck (just enough for one foot, the other using the cabintop) while this is pretty thin its enough to go forard if necessary, however I hope to use

my forard hatch for most foredeck work . I’m keeping the mizzen as I have always found them to be worth every penny.

I’m currently epoxying everything as its obviously easier than doing it after construction, and I hope to have her in the water before the end of the year as I have the luxury of being able to work on her pretty much full time.

Your idea of having a Chebacco meet sound great! … I’d love to fly over to Canada and be in it…. That’s one fantastic cruising ground they have there and a chance to sail there should never be missed (falling in the water however is a one off!…. your firth would be warm by comparison) ok …I wont bash your ear about it all any more … I’ll be sure to get piccies to you when I have them.

Cheers Simon.

Well! This’ll be one interesting boat. As far as I know, it’ll be the very first Chebacco-25 to be launched. Watch this space!

Plywood – your views –

Tim Fatchen – yet another Australian, writes:

[WBS in Chebacco News #25
“So – Write to me about your ideas on plywood. I’ll fess up first – I
used pretty cheap Far-Eastern ply labeled BS1088, though it was
clearly nothing of the kind. It has frog-hair thin outer veneers, and
thickish inner ones. On the other hand the glue is certainly
waterproof and there are few if any voids in the inner veneers. My
theory is that glass/epoxy sheathing would make it acceptable, and
so far I’ve had no problems (3 years after launching). Let’s hear your

Bill, you clearly took the road favoured by the elite. From your
description of the plies, we fairly clearly used the same source for
Flying Tadpole in 1991, except ours was a grade down and didn’t try to
pretend to BS1088 (unless the BS stamp was added later to boost sales).

Nevertheless, still good waterproof glue and very few voids despite the
froghairthin outer plies. After seven years of abuse in Flying Tadpole,
the only problems which have arisen are two or three spots where
checking of the top ply has occurred (a series of slits about 1/2 inch
long, look like razor nicks) and we haven’t bothered doing more than
give them a lick of paint. Longevity was helped by through epoxy

Our Nymph, even older (1989), was made from the same ply. Even more
abuse, sits for months at a time under the oak tree, gets roughly hurled
onto decks of houseboats occasionally, always makes landfall on sharp
stones lurking in the mud…Various nicks, dings and scratches in the
bottom, brutally neglected, but still absolutely sound (and originally 3
coats of epoxy inside and out, but no fibreglass).

In both cases, the ply was very heavy, though – I suspect mangrove wood
as the inner plies. Only real objection to it is that it’s a dog to work
compared with gaboon – splinters. I’m reminded of this as we’re still
using odd leftovers of 1/2 inch (not as good as the 1/4 inch was for
voids) as backing plates for deck hardware, battery boxes etc.

So that’s seven and ten years respectively of both use and neglect, the
latter being harder on boats…

Tim & Flying Tadpole

A few notes on the Chebacco’s properties

By Giuseppe ‘Pippo’ Bianco

Like most of the CN readers, I’m particularly intrigued by Phil Bolger’s designs and I have purchased plans for the Micro, Long Micro and Chebacco. The latter is very close to what I need: the most boat which conjugates sheet plywood construction, easy transportation, launching and hauling with a trailer, comfort and safety. I’ve not been able to find any data like righting moments and seaworthiness index for the Chebacco, so I decided to try to compute them by myself. After all, I’m a scientist by profession, so, I said to myself, this shouldn’t be too difficult… Well, that is true only in part. A complete analytical description of the interaction between a sailboat, the wind and the sea waves is almost impossible, and probably the only way to get comprehensive and reliable results would be building the boat, stuff her with instrument (like inclinometers, accelerometers, strain meters), sail it in a variety of conditions while recording the data, analyze them and draw the proper conclusions. I’m pretty sure that nobody carries out such measurements except maybe large, well funded designing companies working on super racers involved in world class competitions. So, in the amateur’s world, one is forced to use a mixture of common sense and a few empirical formulas.

A few basic numbers are needed to make a first assessment. Carl Adler (early readers of the Common Sense Design’s Newsletter will recall him as the Micro prototype builder) runs a great interactive sail calculator on the WWW which allows direct comparisons between any pair of sailboats listed in his database, recently integrated by myself with the relevant data for the Micro, the Long Micro and the Chebacco. The URL of his page is

The parameters one needs to know for each boat are the length at water level (LWL), length out all (LOA), the beam, the displacement and the sail area. For the Chebacco those numbers read as follows (in metrics, yeah):

LOA=5.99 m; LWL=5.04 m; Beam=2.26 m; Displacement=789 kg; Sail area = 16.35m2.

The sail calculator crunches those numbers and rapidly comes out with the following sentences for our boat (compared hereafter with the corresponding data for the Micro and Long Micro):

Category: racer. Carl classifies the boats into four categories: racer, racer/cruiser, cruiser/racer and cruiser, in descending order of performance. Micro classifies as racer/cruiser, while Long Micro gets a cruiser score.

Capsize Ratio: 2.5. This number is an indicator of a boat’s ability to resist to the capsize: a value lesser than 2 is considered good; the higher the number, the more vulnerable is the boat. Micro gets 2.0, Long Micro 1.8, so both are stiffer than the Chebacco.

Hull speed: 5.5 knots . This figure depends only on the LWL. Micro 4.7, Long Micro 5.3.

Sail area displacement ratio: 19.5 . This is an indication of how powerful a sail plan is with respect to the vessel’s displacement. Values around 18 and higher indicate high performance boats. Micro gets 17.5, Long Micro 23.5.

Displacement length ratio: 170 (light). Micro sports a huge 411 (heavy), Long Micro an average 274 (moderate).

Length to beam ratio: 2.24. Micro gets 2.21, Long Micro 2.63. A value of 2.7 is considered average; 2.2 is low.

Motion comfort: 10.6. This numbers depends on a complex way from displacement, length and beam: the higher the number, the more comfortable is the boat. Micro gets 17.8, Long Micro boosts a 20.1.

Be warned that sometimes the ratios above are not plain ratios, but rather complex expressions involving odd powers of the parameters. A good description of the formulas used to compute the above parameters is given in

Well, the empirical formulas above confirm what the Chebacco sailors know already about her being spirited. Her capsize ratio is apparently not so good, such as the motion comfort index which is worse than the Micros’.

Not content yet with these numbers, my next step involved some more in-depth analysis. There are two ways to do that. The first is the old-fashioned one: grab a (modern) scientific calculator and a ruler, make measurements on the plans and compute the sought-for parameters, following algorithms commonly found in books on boat design. The second consists in modeling the boat in a dedicated computer program, which in turn will do all the number crunching. Commercial hull design programs are very expensive and barely worth the expense by an amateur: the free demo versions are, in my opinion, almost useless. Luckily enough, however, there are a few nice complete programs around, available free of charge on the WWW. The ones that I know better are Carene40 and Carene50 by Robert Lainé, Hulls by Gregg Carlson and Hullform 6S by Blue Peter Marine Systems. The Carene family is nice and robust, but it’s a bit lacking when one needs to compute the static properties of a boat. Hulls is great, with the only possible exception being the limited number of sections allowed to model a hull. Hullform 6S is probably the best and most complex, yet relatively easy to use, but unfortunately it doesn’t perform the plate development as the first two. On the other end, it’s not limited to hard chine hulls, and comes with a nice user’s manual.

I decided to use Hullform 6S to do my analyses. The first step has been to input all the sections as described in the table of offsets of the Chebacco’s plans. This is quite straightforward. I did that using the 42″ water level as baseline: the end elevation view of the resulting hull is shown in the figure below, where on the right half is the forward view and the left half is the aft view. The scale is in meters. This is very close to the drawings on the original plans, even if admittedly not perfectly fair. I didn’t consider the keel to keep things simple.

chebend (2)

Now, in order to perform the static analysis, one has first to balance the hull. I found that my synthetic hull balances very well (i.e. the pitch angle is very small) using the center of buoyancy positions given in the plans, with a few cm tolerance. Using a nominal displacement of 789 kg (1740 lbs.), the plans indicate a bottom draft of 0.193 m, while I find a bottom draft of 0.205 m. This is a difference of 12 mm. Alternatively, to sink the boat at the nominal draft, the displacement would have to be 710 kg (1565 lbs.). I don’t know which one is the correct number. Please note that this is the bottom draft (canoe body draft), not the keel draft.

The nice thing with Hullform is than one can compute the righting moment as well as other parameters for any heel angle. Let me warn you however that my analysis is oversimplified. It doesn’t take into account the combined effect of masts, sails, crew position, wave effects, and so on.

Another warning here: the righting moment computation requires knowledge of the position of the center of mass of a boat, around which the boat rotates when heeling. Longitudinally it has to be in the same position of the center of buoyancy, but the unknown here is its vertical position. This is tough to compute and actually, in the real world, it moves together with the crew and all the stuff on the boat. I first set the center of mass of the Chebacco on the waterline plane, but I’m not sure whether this is true or not. According to Bill Samson, this is a bit too optimistic, so, following his suggestions, I’ve performed the same calculations two more times, respectively lifting the center of mass by 0.1 and 0.2 meters.

Last warning: apparently Hullform treats any hull as if it was completely decked at the sheer level, even if there is no mention of this in the user’s manual. The Chebacco is not decked for a good part, so my results are optimistic.

Nevertheless, after 111 runs of the program, here are the plots of the computed righting moments with respect to the heel angle for three different vertical positions of the center of mass, referred to as VCG (vertical center of gravity).

Image6 (3)

My first (VCG=0.0 m) synthetic hull gets the sheer into the water at about 35 degrees of heel. It is apparently self righting up to about 115 degrees, but over that angle it goes all the way down to settle upside down. Looking at the numbers, there is no chance to right it back by pulling on the centerboard… Note also how the curves move downwards when VCG increases, indicating the well known effect of worsening stability. For VCG=0.1 m, the sheer at midships gets submerged at an heel angle of about 40 degrees, and the righting moment vanishes at about  degrees. Finally, for VCG=0.2 m, the sheer gets under water about 45 degrees and the boat is self righting up to about 95 degrees of heel.

An important number used to assess the stability of an hull is the ratio between the area under the curve with positive righting moments to the area over the curve where the moments are negative. In our first case (VCG=0.0 m), this ratio is about 2.7, reasonably good, but it goes down to 1.9 for VCG=0.1 m and to 1.3 for VCG = 0.2 m. After having computed these and several more parameters (actually Hullform does everything), one opens “Principles of yacht design” by L. Larsson and R. E. Eliasson at page 54, enters those numbers in the equations therein and computes a magic number, called the Dynamic Stability Factor (DSF). The Chebacco’s parameters for VCG=0.0 yield DSF=11, placing our beloved boat among the “inshore” vessels. This classification, endorsed by the International Standard Organization, classifies vessels into 4 categories following the water conditions they’re qualified for: sheltered (DSF<10), inshore (10<DSF<25), offshore (25<DSF<40) and ocean (DSF>40). The most penalizing for the Chebacco is the so-called Beam Displacement Factor, which apparently indicates that the beam of the Chebacco is too wide with respect to her typical displacement. However, increasing the displacement is not that effective in getting better figures for the DSF, and this apparently confirms that Phil Bolger and Brad Story are right (surprised?) when they say that additional ballast would be useless in the Chebacco. On the other hand, a slightly narrower beam (e.g. 2.0 m instead of 2.2 m) would have boosted the DSF to much more seaworthy values. The situation obviously worsens for VCG=0.1 (DSF=9), and for VCG=0.2 m (DSF=7). Hence, based on the above criteria, the 20′ sheet ply Chebacco is marginally qualified for inshore waters.

It needs to be said however that this flaming of the wide beamed boats came after the infamous Fastnet disaster in 1979, in particular because those boats are more easily capsized due to the action of big (b-i-g) and breaking waves and, when capsized, are more stable upside down. I don’t think that any Chebacco sailor would ever try to test his boat in really bad seas, so watch the weather forecasts… In any case, like Bill Samson said elsewhere in the CN, this reasoning is academic because there’s no notice yet of a Chebacco having been capsized.

Given the flared sections of the Chebacco’s hull, I tend to think that the computed DSF values are a bit underestimated, and I would conclude by saying that those boats “…are very good in rough water and forgiving in squalls and with prudent and skilled handling and not exceptionally bad luck would get over the North Sea, or the ocean for that matter; but by present day standards they are inshore and fair-weather boats”.

P.S.: for those who didn’t catch it yet, the last sentence is Phil Bolger’s opinion on his Chebaccos. I’m by no means an expert in boat design, and my speculation should only be considered as the result of a few pleasant hours of work of an amateur boat builder during a rainy week-end. Nevertheless, I would love to hear PCB’s opinion on this “paper”…


Lars Larsson and Rolf E. Eliasson 1994. Principles of Yacht Design. Camden, Maine: International Marine

Howard I. Chapelle 1936, 1994. Yacht Designing and Planning. 2nd Edition. New York, London: Norton

Philip C. Bolger 1994. Boats with an Open Mind. Camden, Maine: International Marine

Tabernacle and Bowsprit

David Neder writes

I am located in the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin. About 90 miles NNW of Chicago
or twenty miles due west of Milwaukee/Lake Michigan.
I am attaching photos of the “Anna C”.

Bow with tabernacle and short sprit.

Since the boat will be trailered and I am too long in the tooth to wrestle with a mast, I added the tabernacle. Its section modulus in both the x and y axis is twice that of the mast at the pivot

Materials: 1/2 Fir Marine Plywood, Ribbon strip mahogany plywood, mahogany, red oak, West Epoxy, Fiberglass. Two part poly-urethane paint on the exterior. Interior is paint with Acrylic paint with a fungicide. Construction is taped seam.

David J. Neder

And finally

David sent some other images, too, but there’s no more room in this issue. Neither is there room here for all the plywood-related comments, so they’ll have to be held over as well.

Please send your contributions to me, Bill Samson, 88 Grove Road, Broughty Ferry, Dundee, DD5 1LB, Scotland.

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