Chebacco News 49

News, questions, and boats for sale.


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

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

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

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

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

Chebacco Richard


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

Chebacco’s for sale:


Free time and boat cruising – Richard Spelling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laters, fair weather, and stay employed.


Bluster, San Juan Islands – Randy Wheating


Hi Richard

Thanks for all the work on the Chebacco News.

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

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

Fair winds,

Randy Wheating

Port Moody, BC



Chebacco Progress – Howard Sharp

Dear Richard,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love the website.

All the best,

Howard Sharp.

tn_IMG_0457 tn_IMG_0460 tn_IMG_0514 tn_IMG_0536 tn_IMG_0541

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


A Blustery Weekend on the Sunshine Coast – Randy Wheating

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

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

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

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


Lisa in the galley, Buccaneer Bay Marine Park

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jacob, Randy, Sam

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

A terrific family weekend adventure.

Randy Wheating

Port Moody, BC, Canada


MASCF St. Michaels MD – Ed Heins

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


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


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


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


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


tn_Dick_Ula tn_MASCF_Chebacco tn_MASCF_Chebaccoside tn_MASCF_Richard tn_MASCF1 tn_Pier_1


Chebacco Update – Ben Ho

Hello Richard,

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

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

The glued up and shaped plywood CB:


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


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


The CB glassed, dry fitting in the CB trunk.


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


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


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


Chebacco Raised Deck


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

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


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

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


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


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

image024 image026

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




Chebaccos Three! – Jamie Orr


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

(Randy Wheating photo)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s Chuck, about Full Gallop

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


Full Gallop’s cockpit,…

…her sloping cockpit sides and her stern.

…her sloping cockpit sides and her stern.

Here’s the bowsprit rigging.

Here’s the bowsprit rigging.

This shows the height of the cockpit sole.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Now, from Randy, about Bluster

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


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

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


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

Here’s the bowsprit…

Here’s the bowsprit…

... and here it is again.

… and here it is again.

(Randy Wheating photos)


Tabernacle and Rigging

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

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

(Randy Wheating photo)

Transom and Motor Well

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

 (Randy Wheating photo)

(Randy Wheating photo)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Racing Micros and Floating Sheep Bridges – David Lewis

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

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

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

Uh huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then yesterday I went to put in my threaded rod.

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

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

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


On Contributing – Chuck Leinweber


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Chuck Leinweber
608 Gammenthaler
Harper, TX  78631

Chebacco News 41

Trailering (trailing?) the CLC – Richard Spelling

Lots of contributions this issue, thanks everyone.

AF2 Entropy was stolen! It was waiting in the parking lot for the new owner to take it for a sail, and someone decided if it was left in the parking lot for over a month, it must be abandoned, and took it home! And, it was sitting with seven other boats! Can I build them good or what? The guy who took it tried to register it, and the Colorado DMV said “emm, wait a second here”. Turns out he is a boat builder, and couldn’t stand to see the boat sitting in a parking lot not being used! He’s contacted the rightful ower and is trying to buy the boat.

Well, I’ve been working on the CLC for over a year. It’s done. I really don’t know how someone spends 5 years or so working on a boat project. Not to say I can’t see how one could take that long, but I can’t see how anyone could stand to work on one that long, and not feel that they had to get DONE, NOW, ERRR.. Probably just my impatience.

Made up a trailer, an interesting exercise. Solicited advice from all of the registered Chebacco owners, then went ahead and did it my way anyway! Like any good project, I had a list of requirements, things I’d learned from previous trailers, or from other people.

1) I wanted road wheels. Large, car sized tires are supposed to travel better, they turn slower and span bumps that smaller tires drop into. Important on the good roads where I live.

2) I wanted a low slung trailer. Drop axle, frame bent in the middle for a keel. I wanted the boat to sit as low as possible on the trailer and still clear the wheel wells.

3) I didn’t want a trailer 7.5 or 8 feet wide. The boat would fit on this trailer better, but there are a lot of turns you can make without hitting things with a narrower trailer. I don’t mind if the boat is a bit wider than the trailer, it’s up in the air and will clear most things a wider trailer would run into.

4) I wanted a ramp on the front for the keel to sit on. I’ve had issues with having to lift the front of the boat up to get it onto cross bunks when retrieving. I wanted to be able to just winch the boat onto the trailer.

I had an old power boat trailer sitting in the back that fit all of the these criteria, a little modification and I was in business.


We launched on a Saturday morning, hot and sticky, winds 10-15. Wonderful day for sailing. Took a long time friend of mine, David, the two smallest kids Paul and Alana, and my son Brian.

It’s really quite amazing how quick this thing is to setup. Without hurrying, and never having done it before, I had the boat in the water 10 minutes after arriving at the ramp. Remove boat tie down, remove light bar, unstrap masts, step and unfurl mizzen, hoist mast, back into water. That simple.

I need to come up with a solution for getting into the boat when it’s on the trailer, even if it’s just a couple of well placed handholds. However, the boat is suprisingly easy to get into with the nose on the beach. I was pleasantly surprised, you can put the nose on the beach, and step on shoes dry. Side walking around the pilot house to the cockpit, the boat tilts till the chine digs in, then stops dead.

Motored away from shore with the brand new Nissan 6hp. Very sweet, idling it moved us as fast as the trolling motor would move the AF2 flat out. The trim is off, I made the motor mounting board flat to the transom, so the rear of the boat digs in about 4 inches when the motor is pushing, even at the max down setting on the motor. Will make an 11 degree wedge and fix that right up. We motored out to the center of the lake at half throttle (still breaking motor in), then hoisted the main.

We had a nice breeze from the south by southwest, perfect for heading to the hiway 64 bridge. Set on a beat to the east. Boat was pointing good, it would tack through 90 degrees with no problems at all, but I didn’t push it. After we rounded the point across from the local sailing club, I started experimenting with self steering.There was a trivial amount of weather helm, 5 degrees or so. This was easily trimmed out by hoisting the centerboard a bit. Look Mom, no hands!

It was hot and sticky, but there was lots of breeze off the bottom of the main, coming through the hatches. The kids lounged about in the cabin while David and I played sailor. The boat is rock steady, and at no time was I concerned about capsizing. Which was kind of the point of building this one. You change sides when sailing, buy only so you can see what the sail is doing, your crew and passengers can stay where they want. In the puffs it heels over and kind of squirts forward.

I made the stove and john with semi flush lids, so people could sit on them. I made the cabin doors open inwards, and put catches on them. This had the effect of making the whole boat feel like one big cockpit, you could easily talk to the people in the cabin, and they had a comfortable place to sit with an unobstructed view.

We sailed up to the bridge, then turned around and started running back. The water is up quite a bit right now and I don’t think I could have made it under the bridge without dropping the mast, which I wasn’t in the mood to do on the first outing. The main doesn’t twist any more than the AF2 main did when running, even though there is no vang on the CLC.

We reached and ran all the way back to the boat ramp on the failing afternoon breeze. The boat didn’t even seem to notice the two unintentionally flying jibes. The wind is quite shifty around here, and has a tendency to shift 90 degrees without warning, especially coming back into the cove I launch from.

Sailed the boat up onto the beach, reaching with the centerboard up. A wonderful first sail, and I’m very happy with the boat!


Now, to the pictures.

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On the left, we are putting on the motor mount board and the partner for the mizzen. You can see the trim masked off to recieve stain and varnish. Center I am vacuum bagging the tiller. I asked on the Bolger group if you could vacuum back Titebond II glue. I got a lot of replies arguing over the creep tendencies, and the relative strength of Titebond II vs epoxy, etc. Nobody bothered to mention that you can’t cure an air dry glue in a plastic bag…! Had to take it out and clamp it without the bag. On the right is my vacuum pump. I’m slowly learning, instead of spending $100 on the parts to fix up some old compressor, I bought this vacuum pump/compressor on ebay for $30. It pulls about 15 inches of mercury (about 7 psi) of vacuum. The manufactures website says it has a rating for continuous use at a pressure of 30 psi, so I should be able to just leave the thing on during the entire bagging process.

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Left is a picture of the fancy mast locking gate. Similar to the gate that held the mast in on the AF2, simply a piece of 1/4″ stainless steel and a couple of 3/8″ bolts. On of the holes is slotted, and there is a wing nut on that side. Center is a picture of the floorboards going in. Have since added hinges to the outermost 4 boards, so I can access the bilges for cleanup.

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Left is a shot of the UHMW poly bearing plate for the rudder. Holds it down and keeps it from rubbing against the boat. Right is a picture of the Lexan going on. Ya, I know, I said I was using plexiglass. Well, it cracks if you look at it wrong, or drill to fast, and the tint looked HORRIBLE. The Lexan is almost impossible to break, and I should have used it to start with.

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Left is a picture of the forward sliding hatch. Right two are the raw material for the boat trailer. Note the fancy $15 welding cart.

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How do you figure out the clearances for your bunks? emmm. Ah HAH. Template!

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Another $15 welding cart, little helper, and temporary winch post. Note that the bilge boards, the ones that hold the boat upright, are just clamped on (with GOOD clamps) at this point. The will have to be tweaked with the boat on, and the carpet on them. Also note the nice roller arrays. Destroyed EVERY ONE of these rollers putting the boat on… Sigh, wired some carpet covered plywood over the roller axles and am trying to forget about it…

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Getting ready to load boat. Not the high tech pulling attachment. Actually, this is high tech. I’ve learned though hard experience that there is this little thing called “leverage”, and that winch posts need to be short and stubby, and pull on the bottom of the boat. This is pulling on 4 turns of 5mm spectra line, going through a 5/8″ hole drilled in the solid wood of the stem. The line is almost as strong as steel, and would rip the front of the boat off before breaking. The 1/2″ stainless U bolt is for if I ever need a tow, and makes a nice solid attachment for an anchor line.

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On the right we are backing the trailer up to the boat. To the left of the right hand picture is my pair tree which condescended to give us a single pair last year. For it’s generosity, I didn’t cut it down to get the boat out.

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Didn’t feel like spending the time or money to rig something up to lift the boat up for rolling the trailer under it, so we winched the boat onto the trailer. On the left we are moving the front of the boat over to line up with the trailer, right two we are just starting to winch it on. We took our time, took lots of breaks, and checked clearances often. Took about 4 hours for the entire operation.

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Crank, crank. Remember what I said about leverage? We almost pulled the heads off of two 3/8″ carriage bolts, and started to pull two welds apart. Of course, if our rollers hadn’t disintegrated on us, and we hadn’t been dragging the keel over a bunch of steel axles… Center, we are about to remove the forward half of the building cradle. Jack is under to lift boat for adjusting the set on the trailer.

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Front cradle removed, aft bilge support posts on trailer keeping the boat from tipping over now.

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Cradle gone. Temporary aft bilge support boards screwed in place. Center Brian is unscrewing the board that was holding the centerboard up. Right, on the trailer and ready for tweaking.

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Final, stubby, winch post. Right is a picture of the forward keel ramp and support.

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More pictures of the keel ramp. Pictures of the bilge supports in the back. No way the boat can slide off backwards now, has to float up and over the aft bilge support boards first.


Idea! Teach teenager to weld, so he can crawl under the boat trailer and weld braces on. Am I smart or what?

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Mast going on, right is the fancy, high tech, attachment system for my center window.

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Light board. Technically, I probably could have just put reflectors on the back of the boat, and left the lights attached to the trailer. However, the smokeys around here have a tendency to give you tickets if they even THINK you are outside the law. I could quote statutes at them, but…. Center, light board is attached. Payed extra, bought LED, submersible, trailer lights. If they save me a ticket for a burned out light bulb, they will pay for themselves. Right is the parts for the gaff saddle. The geometry says it needs to turn 90 degrees on a 4 inch radius to fit under the mast when folded, fit against it when hoisted, and fit perpendicular when down.

Of course, I made my tabernacle to short, so the gaff won’t fit under the mast when folded… not sure what happened there. Not a big deal to pull it off and tie it to the side, though.

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Decided on ply laminations for the saddle, instead of spending the time and effort to do one up of steamed oak or whatnot. I’m toying with redoing the gaff hollow and extremely light, which will require a new saddle anyway. Next to the saddle on the tablesaw are the castings for the gooseneck for the boom. It’ll be stainless turing in aluminum, but I’ll keep it oiled and hope corrosion doesn’t screw it up two bad.

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Castings after machining, jaws with sides attached. Vacuum bagging the thing.

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Nice thing about vacuum bagging is it pulls all the glass down to the odd corners. Right, David and Alana inspecting the boat on launching day.

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Stepping the mizzen. Hoisting the mast. I have to pull and close the gate at the same time because the lazy jacks are lifting the boom and gaff up.

It didn’t sink! To the right, native swimming and playing with a canoe. On the boat ramp. Next to the sign saying “Don’t swim in boat ramp area.”

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Me at the helm, motoring out. Passengers in the cabin. Note the reefing and halyard lines.

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Reaching back to the ramp. Note the passengers napping in the cabin. Lots of room, cool in the heat. Also note the two access ports to the anchor bay. Thrifty Marine finally came through with the deck plate there were sending me to “make up for” the $18 order I had to threaten them to get shipped.

All in all, I’m very happy with the boat, and I think the trailer turned out wonderful. I have since hooked up the solar panel and the lights, and we are taking the boat out on the 4th to watch the fireworks at the lake.

– Chebacco Richard.


The cruising season is OPEN! – Jamie Orr

Hi Richard

Wayward Lass kicked off her 2002 cruising last weekend with a short trip to Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, part of Washington State.  If you go to, enter Friday Harbor, WA, in the search box, then click on “big map”, you should get a good view of the area.  In fact, if you draw a line from the bottom left corner of Vancouver Island, to the pass between the islands below Friday Harbor, draw another line from that pass north, then west to Friday Harbor, you will have our route over, exactly.


Three of us were travelling over to an afternoon of Scottish country dancing in Friday Harbor — my wife Maureen, our friend Anita and myself. The forecast for Haro Strait to the east was good, with light to moderate winds, the one for Juan de Fuca to the south was not so good, strong winds were forecast, a small craft warning for later in the day.  (Our track took us right along the line where the two Straits touch.)  Since we would be there by noon, I decided we could go ahead, but I had some reservations about the trip back on Sunday, as the Juan de Fuca outlook was for stronger winds.

We got away from Oak Bay Marina at 7:15 am, pushed along by our 5 hp Honda. There was quite a tide moving around the end of Vancouver Island, and it was kicking up a few waves.  However, once past Discovery Island, visible on Mapquest just under the “a” in “Victoria”, it quieted down and we turned into the wind to put up the mainsail.  Unfortunately, the wind wasn’t strong enough to fill the sail with the motor running, and we needed the motor to meet our deadline, so after a few minutes we took it down again.

The south end of San Juan was hidden in fog.  I had a course plotted on the chart, with allowance for the tide pushing us south, but also had waypoints entered on the GPS — I went with the GPS, keeping the chartwork for backup. Traditionalists will be pretty disgusted so far, what with using both engine and GPS.  That’s a shame, because that’s pretty well what the trip over consisted of.  I will say that our planning was sound, in that we avoided the small craft warning, but we hit some big waves south of San Juan, resulting in some pounding.  Maureen was napping in the cabin, and got some air time off some of the waves.  Luckily, what little wind there was threw the spray the other way, so we stayed dry and enjoyed the mini-rainbows. After the turn north through the pass, we got a good boost from the tide, making good speed to Friday Harbor.

Once there, we landed at the customs dock and phoned the office.  Since Wayward Lass and I are in the system already, we were able to clear over the phone, so were free to go and arrange a berth for the night.  The we all went off to the dance and a barbecue after.  Later, Maureen and I slept aboard while Anita was billeted with a local dancer.  The marina is big, and was noisy in the evening, but quieted down after dark and we had a good night’s rest.  I recommend it as a well run place, but it’s kind of like living in a floating city.

Next morning, there was a small craft warning for the eastern end (our end) of Juan de Fuca, but Haro was still just fine.  Being on the cusp, as it were, I didn’t know what to expect once through the pass at the bottom of the islands, but thought we’d better go and see.  If it was too rough, I could always come back and put my passengers on the ferry.  We set off at 8:45 so as to arrive at the pass at 10:00.  We needed to go through before the tide turned, but didn’t want to catch the strongest part of the ebb because we’d be fighting it once we turned west.  As we approached the pass, we were all dressed for the worst, but as we came out into Juan de Fuca, we found ourselves enjoying a sunny summer day.

There was a nice south east breeze, so we put up the sails, and stripped off all the foul weather gear.  I guess Juan de Fuca is a big piece of water, and our little corner was well away from any stormy weather.  We planned to hug the shore to work our way north before crossing Haro Strait,so that the ebb would not carry us to the south, and  this worked very well, we found an eddy that helped us on our way for about 6 miles along the San Juan shore.
(We went north about level with the printed “Gordon Head” on the Vancouver Island shore before we crossed.)  When we finally struck out into the Strait, the ebb came from slightly behind us, and we made an excellent crossing.  We motor-sailed until I was sure of making the northern entrance to Oak Bay, then shut down the motor and enjoyed the quiet.

The northern entrance, Baynes Channel, and I don’t get along very well — again I found I was fighting the tide there.  I’d misjudged the turn so we had to start the motor again to get in, but after such a good crossing, I could live with it.  Once at the marina, we called the Canadian customs, who also cleared us by phone.

A good start to the season — sunshine and only a few waves.  I know from personal experience that that stretch of water can be very uncomfortable, so I was relieved not to have to fight our way home.  The plan is for Maureen to keep enjoying these little trips, and only be exposed to rougher weather once she is at home on the water — wish us luck!

PS  I hope the reference to Mapquest helps — let me know if it did or not.


Chebacco Sailrite – Fraser Howell

Here is a picture of Itchy & Scratchy wearing her new Sailrite main.
This sail differs slightly from the stock sail. It is loose footed, with
an extra 6 in. round in the foot, the draft is slightly less, and the
maximum draft is slightly further forward. The sail sets well. The boat
tacks through 90 degrees, beats faster with less weather helm. The
sailrite kit was well assembled, and the directions were clear. The
thing went together in about 30 hours, almost all with a standard home
type sewing machine.


The deepest draught is 8%, 30% aft. The previous sail had 6 hard seasons. It was rarely reefed. max draft was increased quite a bit. Windward ability was severely reduced. The weather helm is now greatly reduced. I go upwind with the board fully down. The old sail needed about 10 degrees of weather helm, the new one, 5 or less. Hit 9 mph on a broad reach by Garnin E trex. maintained 7-7.5 in winds just shy of whitecaps.
Glad you are keeping up the newsletter, it is still a good read.
Fraser Howell


I get my kicks from Champlain – Phil Mead

I had planned Father’s day weekend with my son, Adam. We were going to sail
his boat, a Capri 14.2 I purchased used and refinished for him, but the
weather washed out our plans. Since I was dying for a sail, it seemed like
a good time to go solo aboard Legacy. Naturally, it decided to keep raining
like mad, but I was determined to go fair weather or foul, so I headed
north from Concord along I-89 to Mallet’s Bay on Lake Champlain. I have a
Shore-Land’r trailer with the widest allowable wheelbase and it tows and
launches the boat beautifully. Since I wasn’t fully rigged-up, I spent the
first two hours under my stepped mast bending on the main to the gaff and
attending to various details. It continued to pour until evening then
stopped like someone shut off a faucet. I decided to chance a quick evening
sail because I’d not been on the water with Legacy since last fall.

Legacy was wonderful in the very light evening airs, she ghosted along with
such a nice little gurgle under her hull, she had me singing.(I think the
gurgle sounded better!).

Mallet’s Bay is really two bays. A small inner bay and a much larger outer
bay. The bay is formed by a motor causeway to the north and an abandoned
train causeway to the south. Father’s Day dawned with heavy clouds but only
very light rain. The wind piped up nicely from the south, so I decided to
sail (without mizzen) the outer bay area. When I set out, I was the only
sail on the horizon. despite the relatively moderate conditions. Later a
couple of larger boats, 30-35 footers joined me.

I took a long, broad reach north past beautiful sandstone and limestone
cliffs that dropped straight into the harbor. I think the Chebacco’s are at
their finest on these points of sail. With only half the center board down,
there was very little tendency to yaw. I was really boiling along and past
a number of trolling fisherman, so I estimate I was making about five
knots. As I neared the northern causeway, white-caps were appearing so I
decided it was time to turn about and beat my way back. Champlain kicks up
a lot of short and choppy waves but the full keelson breaks them up nicely
and really reduces the slamming on the flat bottom. I had little trouble
going to windward despite the absence of the mizzen although I’m sure it
would have driven her better. There was a slight tendency to stall if I
tried to point too high so I let her back off on her own then “cheated”
upwind when it gusted. A couple of the gusts caught me when I was sitting
on the lee side, but once that chine hits the water she really doesn’t want
to go over any farther. At no time did I fear a capsize.

The launch ramp ( the Vermont Fish and Game maintain wonderful ramps and
they are free!) was on the south shore so I beat my way in as far as it was
safe to, then found a small cove to drop the main. Here’s where I found out
I wasn’t as spry as I use to be. Running up to the foredeck made me glad I
didn’t do any cabin modifications, but I think I’ll bring all the running
rigging back to the cockpit before I set out alone again. I managed to
avoid any collisions with the cliffs or any the the many, many boats at
anchor and got safely back to the slip. I actually love the part where I
take Legacy out of the water and I think I’ve found a nifty way to do this
without assistance. I simply tie on a long mooring line to the Jonesport
cleat and the aft cleat and walk it on the the trailer standing off to one
side. She’s so light she floats to within a foot or so of her resting
position on the trailer.The rest is easy.

I hope to make Lake Michigan Legacy’s next big lake adventure. I’m trying
to talk Frank (my father the builder) into a longer cruise. He doesn’t
think he’ll get his 22′ double-ender, Song of Ruth (a strip built design)
in the water this year and wants to sail with me. Frank is busy building a
small pulling boat for my sister, so I may have trouble getting him out of
the shop and onto the boat, but I don’t think he’ll really be able to
resist. Good sailing to you all, Phil


Take one homemade boat – Pat Spelling


Take one homemade boat, a little wind, 2 adults, one teen and two children, pop and junk food and you get one relaxing Saturday evening—even if you DON’T like to sail.


It was my first voyage out on Schrödinger’s Cat, Hubby’s new Chebacco boat.  It was the second sail for the boat itself.  We attracted the usual admirers as we put the boat in the water.  I have noticed that homemade boats never fail to attract favorable attention, no matter what they look like.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a fan of sailing.  I never could figure out how to sail and fish.  Those ropes get in the way every time and periods without wind make me want to climb the walls, or the very least jump overboard and swim to shore.  But tonight we were blessed with a nice steady breeze.


I like the design of the Chebacco in many ways. They say that people choose pets that look like themselves. Well, I think that the Chebacco looks like Richard in many ways.  It has a sort of scowl to it.  Hubby has a square face and his eyebrows meet and that is the effect of the front windows.  The Cat is wide, yet low and sleek, something his last boat, Entropy was not.  Entropy was not a bad boat, though at times it reminded me of a floating casket.


I do have to admit that sailing in this vessel was a pleasure. For one thing, the passengers are no longer ballast!!  I can now enjoy a book while I ride.  The seats are comfortable and the cabin enjoyed natural ventilation. When we launched the temperature was 90 degrees and yet we stayed cool.   The last boat had a flat bottom and the continual pounding made conversation all but impossible.  This design has a flat bottom too but the pounding was minimal.  I also appreciated the spaciousness, even with five of us, we were never crowded.


Now, being married to a absolute boat nut, I hear about boats in every sentence except when this man is sleeping.  I have seen more than my fair share of boat designs.  I have been asked to give my opinion on many designs.  My hubby is an optimist. Hoping that I might be bitten by the “boat bug”.  I haven’t,but I am not blind and I do appreciate good design.  I am grateful that Susanne Altenburger has added some style to the otherwise bland box designs that are out there.  While I probably won’t be the first to suggest that we go sailing, I probably will enjoy the times that we do all go sailing now, thanks to this new cool cat,Schrödinger’s Cat that is!!


-Pat Spelling


For Sale – Sheet ply Chebacco

How’s it going?  I wanted to let folks know about my decision to sell my Chebacco.  I really love this Catboat but I love my girlfriend more and want to pursue that a while.  The boat is built exactly to Phil’s Specs.  The trailer was purchased new for $1,300 a couple of years ago and the 1997 Force five hp. Outboard was purchased new for $800 as well (it sat on the showroom a long time I guess).  The sails were purchased as a kit from sail-rite, the mainsail being sewn by a professional, and the mizzen sewn by me since it was small and manageable.  I launched this boat for the first time in April of this year and have taken one two week trip and several small day trips so far.  There are a few normal scratches on the hull and the spars but nothing out of the ordinary.  The hull is planked in Douglas Fir Marine plywood and the floors and roof framing are Douglas Fir.  There are a couple of floors made of Southern Yellow Pine and the trim is all White and Red Oak.  The sliding hatch was cold molded and then veneered on the inside and out with White Oak as were the drop boards – no sign of wear on any of these components.  All trim and spar varnish was Epifanes WoodFinish Gloss and it shows.

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

Thanks Richard.

Pete Respess
Hopewell, VA



For Sale Lapstrake Chebacco 20

LOD: 19′ 6″
Beam: 7′ 10″
Draft: 1′ 0″
Sail Area: 176 sq. ft.

(Lots of wonderful pictures here -Ed)

Built by an experienced amateur. Over four thousand hours building time. The best of materials used. Finished with two-part polyurethane. Sprayed by a professional. Bright work finished with Norwegian varnishing oil (between six and eight coats).Hull is built of 7 ply half-inch marine mahogany plywood; keel is built of same material, laminated to proper thickness.The keel is covered with double thickness of 11 oz. fibreglass cloth saturated with epoxy. 1/16 inch stainless steel was then attached to the bottom of the keel and up the stem as far as 22 inches above the waterline. Outside of boat is covered with 11 or 6 oz. fiberglass cloth which was then saturated with epoxy, then an additional four to five coats to allow for sanding to a mirror finish before painting. Inside has four coats of epoxy.Spars are solid sitka spruce. Fittings are all top quality such as Harken or custom made of bronze or stainless steel.Three sails (main, jib, and mizzen.) All lines, sheets and halyards ready to go. None of them ever used.Custom made trailer with extendable tongue for easy launching. Elaborate supports that fit to cabin and aft cockpit bulkhead to hold spars for long distance trailering.No O.B. motor. (4 to 5 HP would be suitable.)The boat was completed Sept.2000 but ill health precluded launching and am selling the boat now for the same reason.Price $12,500 USD(See article in Wooden Boat – #107, Pg. 80)Address:
George Cobb,
186 Gallagher St.,
Shediac, N.B.,
Canada, E4P-1T1
Email: gcobb@nbnet.nb.caPhone: 506-532-0007

Chebacco News 40

Intro and more building the CLC

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

Looking very much like a boat.

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

Windows, what to do.

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

Battery adventures

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

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

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

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

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

mast, titebond

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

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

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

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

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

Camper Works

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

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

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

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

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


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

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



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


Some pictures of the tabernacle.

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

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

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

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

tn_hDSC00001_14 tn_hDSC00003_11 tn_hDSC00003_12More pictures of the pilot house.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

-Chebacco Richard


LED lights, take two:

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

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

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

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

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

Funny the people you meet online.

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

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

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

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

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

<sigh>, story of my life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Chebacco Richard


Hi Richard

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

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

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



Hi Richard

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

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

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

Gotta run,


BruceHector1 BruceHector2 LesOrrandBruceHector1 LesOrrandBruceHector2


Around James Island

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chebacco News 35




(computer drawings of Chebacco sails courtesy Sailrite)
Been doing some research on sails for the Chebacco I’ll be building.
(wife says “I would have started it different…” So, Hi, I’m your editor. My name is Richard Spelling, I make boats. Among other things. I’m making a machine shop from scratch right now. I’ll post an article about me later. I have the plans for the Chebacco light cruiser (the one with the pilot house that kind of makes it look like a car) and will be building it. I’ve been doing some research on Chebacco sails…)
As I understand it, there are basically two options if you want good dacron sails for your Chebacco. Well, there are actual three options, but I did say “good sails”.
The first option, the one I have concerns with, it to have your local sail maker make you some sails for your new Chebacco.
I have two minor issues with going this route for my boat. The first is price, which from what I’ve heard, would put this option on the high side. Never actually asked for a quote from one, though. I’m a guessing it would be high. This would be a custom, one of a kind, never made this type of sail before job for your local sail maker. 99.9%ish of the sails made around here are the familiar triangle, high aspect, sloop rig sails. Which brings me to the second issue I have with going this route. It appears that cutting gaff sails, and mizzen sails as well, is something of a lost art. The cut of the sails is nothing like the cut of the main or the jib on a sloop. I find it unlikely the sail makers here in Tulsa, Oklahoma know the proper way to cut a gaff and a mizzen sail. Actually, at the local lake, I had one person comment that my AF2 Entropy was the only boat on the lake with a gaff rig.
Also, I’ve seen Micros, the venerable Bolger cat-yawl, with to much draft in the mizzen. The higher entry angel on the mizzen causing the boat to self-steer about 15 degrees lower than the Micro can go.
So, if the local sail makers are out, where does that leave one? There is one firm I’m aware of (there may be others) that make a lot of the sails for Bolger boats. Bohndell.
To see if they were up to speed, I sent them an email asking for the specs on their Chebacco sails. Here is what they wrote back:
The Chebacco is not a stock sail. Price for the gaff sail plan is $978 and $850 for the sprit plan. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. Please call or write if you have any questions. Sue Chace
Can you send me the specs on the Chebacco sails, the gaff version?
What weight sailcloth?
How much hollow in the leach?
How much round in the foot, luff, and head?
Where is maximum draft located?
Same for the mizzen.
What kind of provisions are on the sail for connections to the mast hoops?
What kind of grommets?
Available in any colors other than white? If so, what price?
What kind of warranty comes with them?
Dear Mr. Spelling, Here are the specs you requested. Please understand that gaff sails cannot be designed on a computer, they must be done by floor layout, so these figures are approximate. Main: 3/4″ head round, 3″ foot round, and 2″ on the luff. Leech hollow about 4″. Maximum draft will be about 40% aft of the luff. Mizzen: 2″ leech hollow, 1″ luff round and 2.5″ on the foot. That sail will be fairly flat. We would be installing #l brass spur grommets on the luff for lashing on the hoops. We do not provide hoops. We would not recommend colored Dacron for these sails. The gaff main will be leech planked, the best fabric for this purpose is warp oriented, and is not available in colors. Furthermore, it would be difficult to match colors in two different weights, the main is quoted in 5.1 oz. and the mizzen in 3.9 oz. As for the warranty: We guarantee that if you have built the spars to plan, the sails will fit. After that, owner use and abuse will have the most effect on the longevity of the sails. Sail covers, or removing the sails will greatly increase the life of any sail. At this point, our earliest delivery date is August 15th. Thank you for your inquiry, Sue Chace
So, it appears, to my admittedly limited experience, that Bohndell knows what they are doing. Ignoring the part about “gaff sails cannot be designed on a computer”. I assume that means “gaff sails cannot be designed on a computer on the software we have”.
The next option I’m thinking of is a Sailrite kit. I went that route for the main on my AF2 Although, next time I won’t do it on the floor. OUCH!. I bothered Jeff at Sailrite for a couple of months with emails, finding out EXACTLY how he would design the sail for Entropy. Actually, I got enough information out of him to cut the sail myself if I had wanted to. The kit price was reasonable, not a whole lot more than the price of the raw dacron.
So I bought the kit, for about twice the amount I had already thrown away on poly tarp sails. It went together easily with the seam stick tape, and I sewed it on my cheap Wal-Mart sewing machine. At one point I was punching through 11 layers of dacron, with no problem.
I have to say that I am happy with it, and with the experience of making it., so, a Sailrite kit for the new boat was definitely a consideration. I wrote Sailrite, and asked them basically the same questions I asked Bohndell. Here is their reply:
Thanks for your questions, Richard. If you have not found our web pages on the Chebacco, check out the following:

The fabric is 4 oz Dacron from Challenge. The shape of the sail can be anything you desire, i.e., leech hollow, edge round, draft location. But these are not matters that can be easily described without the 15 or so pages that the computer prints out on each sail we do (output that you receive when you order a kit). I hope you will just tell us for this first sail that you want the sail a bit fuller or flatter than normal or the draft a bit further forward or aft of normal or the leech hollow a little more or less than normal.

We provide #2 spur grommets in the kit for use in securing the sail to its spars. These sails are normally laced in place but you can use hoops if you desire.
Dr. Richard Burnham of Cummington, MA, just finished a set of Chebacco kits. You can reach him at
Jim Grant at Sailrite

So, basically he says “we can make it any way you want, buy it and we will tell you how it’s made, see our web page”. Kind of a disappointment, especially as how their web page says “Gaff mainsail made from 5 oz. white Dacron© using the designer’s plans”, and I was wanting to get info on the “designer’s plans” for these sails.
Also, Sailrite has the sail kits available in various colors. Perhaps they aren’t aware of “We would not recommend colored Dacron for these sails. The gaff main will be leech planked, the best fabric for this purpose is warp oriented, and is not available in colors” Actually, I think the leech on the Sailrite kit either uses tape, or is folded down a bunch of times like on the sail for my AF2. Maybe that is what ”leech planked” means? Have to ask.
Leech planked: The panels are parallel to the leech of the sail rather than the foot (cross cut), eliminating the need for battens. Let us know if you have any other questions. Sue Chace
So, it appears the Sailrite kit is “cross cut”. Wouldn’t’t “Leech hollow about 4″ eliminate the need for battens?…
Still, I had such a good experience with them doing the sail for my AF2, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. I contacted Dr. Burnham and picked his brain.
He even volunteered to write a couple of paragraphs for the new Chebacco!
Here goes on putting the sails together:
Sailrite kits were suggested to us by Phil Bolger who said that the Chebacco needed a full main and that he had information that Sailrite did it right. My wife, Ulla, and I got the three sail kits in the dead of winter and were looking things over when we called Jeff at Sailrite who suggested an order of making: mizzen, jib, main. The mizzen is flat and easy to make, the jib has a steel cable and some draft, and the main is the most challenging.
I must mention the “why” of the jib. My wife and I like to sail together but she is not about to be a knitter at sea — she too wants to be part of the sailing. In years past tending the jib on a racing sailboat was her part as I handled the main and the tiller. We hope to carry on this good working relationship aboard our Chebacco-to-be.
We used our venerable home sewing machine which handled every single job that Sailrite suggested for it — patches, edging, seaming, hemming of boltrope and cable, reef points. The machine is a Husqvarna some 23 years old and when we had it serviced as we started the sewing adventure there were some broken gears but the machine had a 25 year warranty! The after-sail servicing showed that the machine did the job without stress. The material for main and mizzen was 4.9 oz. dacron and the jib was 4.0 oz. Sometimes we sewed through 7 or more layers of cloth — clunk-clunk-clunk went the Husqy.
The way we built the sails was this: I used the sticky-tape to stick the seams together. Patches were given to Ulla who ran them through the machine. The sail panels were sewn using a Sailrite genius-stroke: we got a 10′ long 4″ diameter cardboard tube from a local carpet supplier (free), cut it longitudinally so we could slip a rolled up sail inside it. I would hold the tube on the port side of the machine while Ulla guided the taped seam through the machine (she rolled up a small amount of sail by hand and ran it under the machine’s arm. She didn’t care for sewing on the floor so mostly she stood up at the table feeding the sail through while I slow-walked the tube along.
Whenever we had questions, Jeff at Sailrite’s 800-number was there with more than enough information to keep us on the right path. All ingredients were supplied for the sails although we bought a small die set and rented the large #6 set for a week. Now the sails are in the loft, Ulla is looking after her weaving and sheep, and I’m building the boat.

Well, that’s about it. I think both Bohndell and Sailrite will give you a good set of sails. If you have more money than time/skill, the Bohndell sails are a good deal. For me, though, I’m thinking the Sailrite kit for the new boat. The deciding factors over going the Bohndell route being the much lower price, and the availability of the colored versions, and the fact I think they do the best design work on gaff sails.

A letter from Gil:

Joan and I spent June 25-29 at the New England Brass and Gas Meet, a biennial gathering of pre-1916 cars. Our 1912 Buick was one of 120 brass-bound beauties, and we drove it about 350 miles with a lot of shaking and rattling but no major convulsions.

The first day’s tour was to the Massachusetts coast, specifically to Gloucester with an ongoing spur to Rockport and back. Rather than go to Rockport through heavy shore traffic with our two-wheel brakes, leather cone clutch, square-cut gears and no stop lights or turn signals, we decided to try to find Philip C. Bolger and Friends. This is easier than it used to be. Most people in Gloucester, even in boat-related places, had never heard of Phil. But his concession to modernity, to the extent of getting a telephone (hooked only to a FAX line, and not used for speech), resulted in PCB&F being listed, complete with street address, in the directory. After we had chugged a few miles down a side road, we came to Resolution, Phil’s old liveaboard boat, moored in the front yard of a house. We parked in the street, went to the house, and walked all around it looking for the most likely door to knock on. Eventually, Suzanne appeared on an upstairs deck. After I told her we were the Fitzhughs who were building a Chebacco, that we were in town and wanted to meet her and Phil (who by then had also appeared), we were very cordially welcomed and invited in for tea and conversation.

And what wide-ranging conversation! The car, of course, was an ice-breaker. Suzanne is very knowledgeable about cars, having rebuilt a favorite station wagon and having worked extensively in auto mechanics in her native Germany (I hadn’t realized she was born abroad). She said there just weren’t many really old cars in Germany, since they didn’t survive the war; I said many of ours had been melted down in scrap drives during the war and used to make the bomb casings that helped ruin the ones in Germany. Phil had fond memories of growing up with Model Ts, but had owned two Crosleys in his youth. The Crosley was an American car almost as big as an English Morris Minor, and not at all related to the British Crossley (two esses) that was older and much more substantial. What mostly impressed Phil about the Crosley was how roomy it was; was this the beginning of his nonconformity?

Maybe the origin of the name Philip C. Bolger and Friends (plural, when most of the world knows the company as only Phil and Suzanne) is his comment: “I married six cats.” Indeed, there was always something furry in view, and one of Phil’s ongoing concerns is keeping the inside cats inside and the outside ones outside.

The current flap about licensing naval architects, recently discussed with various degrees of vituperation in both WoodenBoat and Messing About In Boats, has Phil and Suzanne well and truly exercised, and for good reason. A lot of well-known and highly regarded boat designers don’t have the technical academic background to design big ships, and so couldn’t pass the proposed licensing tests. If I want a custom-made aircraft carrier, I’ll go to a naval architect. If I want a sailboat, or something to catch fish from, I’ll go to PCB&F and damn the licenses.

In politics, Phil votes Libertarian. (Why am I not surprised?) We agreed he was the Libertarian equivalent of a Yellow Dog Democrat (for those overseas, that’s someone who’ll even vote for a yellow dog as long as it runs as a Democrat). Phil has no particular regard for Ralph Nader and “that guy with the ears” (Ross Perot); he thinks they just wanted an ego trip. The Libertarians are trying to build a party that believes in smaller and less intrusive government, oxymoronic as that may sound.

Phil said he owed Bill Samson a letter. He was very complimentary about Bill’s efforts with CN and hoped someone would be found to take it over. This was before either of us knew of Richard’s succession.

We ended the visit by taking P&S for a ride in the Buick. It was altogether a delightful interlude, and no doubt much more pleasant than the drive to Rockport and back would have been.

Our tour on the last day took us to Newburyport, where I visited a small maritime museum. The price of my ticket entitled me also to visit Lowell’s Boat Shop, the oldest in the country, founded in 1793. We had a good tour, and I said I was building a Chebacco. One of the boatbuilders said a friend of his, Brad Story, had built several. But, he said, Brad has gone back to his roots – being an artist, which he was before he got into boats – because of health problems. He has serious back trouble and has also had both ankles fused. This, folks, is a real shame. Remember, Brad commissioned the design in the first place, so he’s the cause of what many of us are building as well as the builder of what not a few of us are sailing.

Best regards to both. Richard, welcome aboard.


A letter from Jamie:

Hi Richard

I’ve fixed up my cockpit so I can raise the floorboards to seat level, for sleeping.  I sent a note to Bill Samson about a recent cruise, and he thought this idea might be of use to other Chebacconists, so I’m sending it to you for the new Chebacco page, if you want it.  I’ve attached pictures of Wayward Lass showing these, and a couple of other additions.  Feel free to edit as needed.  These modifications have all been tested in use and worked just fine.


My floorboards are 1/2 inch plywood, all cut to the same length, including
the two that run up along the centerboard case.  (The small gaps this leaves
at the end of these two are filled with spacers of the same material).


I used a jig made of the floorboard material to mark where the upper edge of
the supporting cleat, or rail, should come to.  The rails themselves are
made of leftover trim, an African mahogany of some description, finishing
about 5/8 square.  I screwed these to the seat fronts, bedding them in
polysulphide so they can be removed if need be.


To span the cockpit safely, the 1/2 inch ply has to be reinforced underneath
— I used fir, 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch, on edge.  This can cause complications, as
the reinforcing pieces have to be positioned to clear the centerboard case
and mainsheet block while the floorboards are raised, as well as the bottom
of the boat and anything stored in it while the floorboards are in their
usual position.  A 3/4 inch ply might work without reinforcement, but better
test it first.


Note that the mainsheet has to be out of the way for sleeping.  I loop it
over the end of the boom and let it run from there under the platform.  The
boom is held steady by the two short lines to the quarters.  (I also use
these when anchored or motoring as the mainsheet alone lets the boom wag
back and forth a bit.)


I’m thinking of adding extra boards for use as seats at either end of the
cockpit, or as a table.  These would be narrower, and could be stored under
the seats (reached through the cabin) when not in use.

While I had the boards out, I thought I might as well take a picture showing
how I use the space below for storing my anchors (8# danforth and 25#
fisherman).  With the rope flaked (piled) as shown, it pays out without
kinking.  Beer is stored under the next board aft where it will stay cool
(but not icy) – a very useful space all round!

anchor locker

Mast collar

Since my mast is square at the bottom, when the halyards were slacked off
the jaws used to jam and the boom couldn’t swing.  To make it easier reefing
and furling, I added the collar shown on the mast.  The collar lets the boom
roam around without damaging the jaws.  It also keeps the boom up when
anchored with the tarp set up for a tent.  The vertical strips above the
collar are for the chafing when sailing — my mast was starting to get a bit
chewed up by the jaws — I also leathered the jaws.  The rope at the bow is
for the danforth, it’s left like this so that the anchor can be dropped
quickly from the cockpit.  (The Jonesport cleat on the bow is made as drawn
on the plans, works very well too, holds the anchor rope right on the
centerline, is worth the time and effort.)

mast collar

Finally, I’ve shown the slots in the gunwales, designed to hold 1″ webbing
for tying down a boom tent.  I’ve got a slot every 2 feet or so, from just
behind the cockpit to just ahead of it — these need to be cut before the
rubbing strip is fastened on.  I haven’t made a real tent yet, but the slots
work fine with the polytarp tent!

tie down straps

That’s the lot.  Good luck with the newsletter, looking forward to your
first issue.



Chebacco News 29

Chebacco News 29 – January 2000


“Masts and sails not included”


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

Jamie Orr (Victoria, BC) writes:

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

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


‘Wayward Lass’ in webbing slings

Jamie writes:

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

Comfortable sleeping arrangements

Bob Branch writes:


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

Bob Branch

Reassurance from Phil Bolger & Friends regarding Chebacco anxieties

Dick Burnham writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best, Dick Burnham


‘Itchy and Scratchy’ goes from strength to strength



‘Itchy and Scratchy’ flying along on a close reach

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

Old-style Chebacco Boats

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

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

And finally

Bill Samson can be contacted on :

Chebacco News is at

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

Chebacco News 25

Chebacco News

Number 25, March 1999


Another glorious shot of Tim Smith’s LARK strutting her stuff off the New England coast. [Incidentally, these stunning monochrome shots of LARK have been just the lever needed by some of our readers to persude their better halves that the Chebacco is the perfect boat from them!]

Change to Web address:

Note that the World Wide Web address (URL) for Chebacco News is now

A Get-together for Chebacchisti?

I have been discussiong the possibility of a get-together for Chebacco-type people with various members of our elite [ahem!] circle, and it looks like the greatest concentration of Chebaccos is in the British Columbia area. I therefore asked one of the local guys, Jamie Orr, what he thought of the idea. This was his response:

Subject: Chebacco Gathering

Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 16:15:22 -0800

From: “Orr, Jamie” <>

To: “‘Samson, Bill'” <>


I spoke to Jim Slakov and Randy Wheating last night. Both thought the

idea of a gathering was a great one. I expect something will happen

here anyway, and if we can bring in some other Chebacco and Bolger fans

from other areas, that would be perfect.

I didn’t take notes, but here’s what I think I heard. Jim’s boat is

finished and ready to launch come Spring. Gary Foxall, according to

Jim, has his boat turned and is working on the seams, the centreboard

case and so on. Randy’s boat is still upside down, but he’s moving

ahead too. Randy also corresponded a while back with someone in the

interior who was thinking of building — so there may be another boat

somewhere in the hinterland. He (Randy) thought that he could probably

be done by September of 2000 (see below), said it would certainly give

him a goal.

So it looks like there will be at least 3, probably 4 Chebaccos in the

water by then. Do you think its worth putting out feelers in Chebacco

News this early? As I said, there’s a strong chance a gathering of some

sort will happen anyway, and it would be good to meet some of people

from the Bolgerlist and the News.

Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival is the first weekend after Labour

Day (the first Monday in September — does that hold true in Scotland?)

I don’t know if that would be a problem for potential attendees with

children, as school goes in the day after Labour Day.

Of course, having the Festival as a venue means that if only a few

people turn out, there’s still lots to do and see.


PS Jim and Gary made their own sails. (All three of us bought the

materials at UK Sails in Sidney — 20 miles from Victoria on the way to

the mainland ferry — helpful folks.) Guess I’d better get a hustle on.

So there you are. If you’re interested, why not contact me or Jamie with your views?


I received the following email from Dr Dick Burnham, currently in Papua New Guinea:

Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 16:26:11 -0500

From: “Burnham” <>

To: “Bill Samson” <>

.My son is sending here xeroxes of the Payson-purchased sheet-Chebacco plans. I’ll study them and build a model. 1/16th inch ply–per your suggestions–if there is any here, otherwise I’ll just have to have some 1/16th rosewood or something equally exotic bandsawed for me to splinter and shove and glue up.

I was surprised by your suggestion to epoxy the interior side of the ply with 3 coats. The plywood is truly weather proofed; it is the baloney in a sandwich. No wonder some consider using non-marine grade ply. BTW, would you consider asking your newsletter folk to respond on what kind(s) of ply (and approx. cost/sheet) they used for the sheet-Chebacco? [OK guys – Fess up!] And how they arrived at their choice? It would be curious to see if you could construct a little chart on what, why, how much…even post-building analysis (such as: are they happy with it, does it have problems).

Now I see that the ply is so protected: glass cloth+3(?)coats epoxy outside, 3 coats inside. It still does more than merely make a form for glass, though. Or so it seems to me. It is structural and of course is in charge of resisting the log jammed into it on the water. Still wondering here about Parker’s use of “form-ply” which has US southern yellow pine exterior plys and has “waterproof” glues — after all it is a ply that must resist the sludge-like characteristics of wet concrete and must have sufficient

rigidity (better inner cores?) than other plys….

Regarding fiberglass. Has anyone tried Dynel, Xynole (I think?)? It is a highly abrasive resistant cloth that is knows to take kindly to curving forms…. Good for bottoms….

In your #23 you speak of Gray Feather as “having a bone in her mouth.” Just found in the delapidated library on this so tropical campus a copy of Slocum’s writings. Indeed he uses the very same phrase to characterize Spray as she turns from S. America and scoots westward with tradewinds to hold her leash onward toward Polynesia.

From deep in Melanesia,

Yours truly,

Dick Burnham

So – Write to me about your ideas on plywood. I’ll fess up first – I used pretty cheap Far-Eastern ply labelled 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 luanching). Let’s hear your stories!


The following email came from Jamie Orr:

Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 16:05:00 -0800

From: “Orr, Jamie” <>

To: “Samson, Bill” <>

Lovely work, Bill

I was amazed at the quality of the print I sent in — are you sure you aren’t enhancing these things? My first thought was that we really have to get the cedar siding on the house refinished this year!

I hope to be able to send in some news on sailmaking soon. I’ve started with the mizzen, that being the simplest. I cut it out with straight lines all round and seamed it absolutely flat — as flat as my basement floor, anyway.

I’m using the two-sided tape to hold the cloths for sewing — I can’t imagine doing without it at this stage in my relationship with my sewing machine. It’s an old Pfaff 138 with a motor that never stops (or even slows!) and a hair trigger clutch. Even after using up two bobbins in practice, my first seams were still “interesting”. However, it’s gradually getting tamer, and the power is wonderful — the toughest

thing I’ve done so far is five layers of 4 ounce dacron in the clew patch, but the machine never noticed.

For holding the corner patches in place, I used a few strokes of one of the kids’ gluesticks. These are like lipstick tubes with soft quickdrying glue. It seems to stay flexible and doesn’t print through the cloth. To be on the safe side, I stuck each patch in the stack to the next, stuck the whole stack to the sail, then left some heavy books

on top for half an hour before running it through the machine. Of course, the books had to be the right sort — I found Chappelle’s “Boatbuilding”, Howard-Williams “Sails” and PCB’s “Different Boats” did a fine job. The last isn’t very heavy, but is definitely the right sort.

Again, great work on the News. Are you going to “bind” the last six as you did the first two lots? If so, put me down again for a copy.


I replied:

Subject: Sails

Date: Thu, 15 Jan 1998 12:01:15 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)

From: Bill Samson <>

To: “Orr, Jamie” <>


Dear Jamie,

Some great ideas there! I used the double sided tape, too, on the main seams, and did all the edges, patching etc by hand.

I don’t know if you’ve tried some of the long seams in the mainsail yet, but here’s how I tamed the vast amounts of cloth –

1. Tape the next cloth on with double sided tape.

2. Roll up that cloth widthways, and the rest of the sail in the other direction, so you’ve got two long rolls (use tape to stop them unrolling) with a narrow strip of cloth

between where the seam is to be sewn.

3 Feed this long object through the sewing machine. The trick here is to get your sewing machine into the middle of the room with space fore and aft for the double roll as it passes through.

I hope that makes sense – anyway you’ve probably figured it out for yourself. I saw it happening in a photo I saw of a sail loft, where the machinist was working in a hole in the centre of a huge table which supported the double roll as it was fed through.

I like the idea of using the glue stick for patches. I used short lengths of double sided tape.

I haven’t done anything yet about a bound version of numbers 13 to 18. I only shifted about 3 copies of the first two, and it’s horrendous getting Word for Windows to

deal with documents that size, without falling over.

I’ve been working on an essay on how to build a Chebacco, for PCB&F. Phil’s planning to get essays from builders of various of his designs, and hopefully put them together into a book. I hope it works out.

Keep in touch!



Me (Bill Samson) working on my Chebacco Mainsail – Very therapeutic!

For anyone planning to make their own sails, I’d like to recommend a couple of publications that I’ve found very useful:

“Sail Making for the Home Boatbuilder (Including: altering second hand sails)” by Paul Fisher – cost £12 +£1 p&p (UK) from Selway Fisher Design, 15 King Street, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 6HB, UK,, email:

“The Sailmaker’s Apprentice” by Emilano Marino, International Marine (McGraw Hill). $39.95

Ed Heins makes progress:

Had a photo and email from Ed Heins, who is completing a Chebacco starting with a part-built hull from Burton Blaise:


Ed Heins’ Chebacco hull nears completion

Subject: Winter’s waning

Date: Sat, 20 Feb 1999 22:16:50 -0500

From: “Ed Heins” <>

To: <>


Haven’t messaged you for a while and thought I’d give you an update on the project. The boat still resides beneath 2 tarps and lowered A frame in the back garden, but I do have posession of spar lumber as of today. The local sawmill was cutting some spruce, so I commissioned a half dozen 2 x 6 ” 20 footers and another dozen 14 ft 1 x 4’s. He wanted to cut me a 4 x 4 blank, but I think laminating will help stop warp. Corkscrew masts being just so unprofessional looking.

Lamination starts on Monday, and then will be working on turning the square blanks into round masts. Oh well a first time for everything.

. . .



And finally:

A slightly thinner Chebacco News than usual, and later than usual, too! Don’t complain – It’s up to you guys to keep me informed of developments. No news = no Chebacco news!

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

Chebacco News 23

Chebacco News

Number 23, October 1998


Peter Gray’s GRAY FEATHER with a bone in her teeth

Peter Gray, of Queensland Australia, sent me this wonderful photo of his sheet-ply Chebacco-20 GRAY FEATHER. Peter writes:

I have been sailing GRAY FEATHER a lot and the more I sail her the more I realise what a great design she is – so user friendly.

I entered a wooden boat regatta at Tincan Bay. There were about 25 boats in it. GRAY FEATHER won the prize for ‘Prettiest Boat of the Fleet’ (1 bottle of rum!).

Regarding your previous letter about topping lifts, this diagram shows how I did mine. The topping lift in this case also forms a lazy jack, making sail handling very easy. Floorboards – I completely sealed my cockpit, making it into a cockpit well. I use a small bilge pump to take the water out to the outboard well. This keeps the hull completely dry,

I have put a small headsail on the boat and have found that this helps her to windward very nicely – Not because of more leading edge, but because the headsail creates draft between it and the mainsail.

I am experimenting at the moment with a small bowsprit and putting a lightweight genoa on this, mainly for reaching and running. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Gil and Joan Fitzhugh visit Scotland

Gil Fitzhugh writes:

In eary July, Joan and I savored the opportunity to sail on Bill Samson’s Chebacco in Scotland. Unless Phil Bolger is a big name in Alaska, this is about as far north as his sphere of influence has yet reached. Scotland’s at the latitude of Hudson Bay; if you’re in a little unballasted sailboat in Hudson Bay, you’re not at the top of the food chain. Be reassured, however, that polar bears are not a threat in Scottish waters.

Bill Lives in Dundee, a small city pleasantly situated on the north shore of the Firth of Tay. Translated into North American, that means the estuary of the Tay River. It’s helpful to learn a few words of Scots: ‘firth’ means estuary, ‘strath’ means valley, ‘dun’ means fortress, ‘Islay single malt’ means ambrosia, ‘Damn! I missed the mooring’ means come about and start the engine before we go aground. See how easy it is?

Summer in New Jersey often means hot, sticky, sultry, stagnant air with 2 miles visibility in sunshine. Summer in Scotland seems to be cool, mostly overcast, breezy, with 20 miles visibility sometimes lowering to 4 miles in light rain. Always be prepared for rain. If you’re lucky, you won’t get it. We were lucky both days we sailed. And the sailing is grand. Both days we needed to take in a reef – a tremendous improvement over listening to limp sails slatting in almost no wind. Forget shorts and a T-shirt – you sail in jeans and a sweatshirt. And sunblock, because there’s a lot of UV coming through that cool overcast.

Our longer sail came on a Saturday. Had we been underway by 9:30, we could have beat upriver on a flowing tide to a beach about 7 miles away, had lunch, and then run home on the ebb tide. To these two American slug-a-beds, 9:30 still felt like 4:30 am, not an hour at which we’re prepared to sail (although, in July, 4:30 am local time in Scotland is full daylight). So we got a late start, and had a fun time beating up-river through the first of the two great bridges over the Tay (the road bridge). By the time we got to the second (railroad) bridge, there was no help to be had from the tide. We were still beating and the bridge was playing hob with the wind. So we turned around.

Going upwind, the Chebacco tacked through a precise 90 degrees on Bill’s compass, and made very little leeway with the board down. (Our only prior Chebacco sail had been in Sister Krista’s TOULOUMA TOO, whose board was stuck in the up position – she made considerable leeway.) Bill can tie off reefs in the middle of his boom, so reefing was a relaxed operation. On a dead downwind run, the Chebacco was very easy to steer. It could be a popular boat for hijacking by polar bears in Hudson Bay, since the cockpit will comfortably hold Papa Bear, Mama Bear and a whole passel of cubs.

There were dolphins in the Firth of Tay. This surprised Bill, who hadn’t seen them before. Since we were there, they’ve apparently taken up permanent residence. But remember, guys, we saw ’em first.

If you get to Dundee, ask Bill to take you sailing. You won’t have to ask him twice – his family aren’t sailors, and Bill likes company. You’ll have a blast!

Fraser Howell experiments with Jibs:

Fraser writes:


Fraser <>

Hello Bill,

Itchy & Scratchy has been having a busy summer. Everything is holding up well. I’ve been trying out different jibs in an attempt to reduce the weather helm when beating. I have a short bowsprit, so I have the ability to fly something bigger than the optional 30 sf jib shown on the plans.

Yesterday we rigged up a Laser M sail, which has a shorter luff than a regular Laser, and is 65 sf. The winds were < 10 km, so not a real good test. The boat balanced well on an almost neutral helm, and was faster. The laser sail sets nicely and gives good overlap. I can’t say for sure that she points higher. The best sheeting point is about 1 ft forward of the cabin bulkhead, 4″ in from the gunwhale. This is quite a bit busier rig , a handfull for the solo sailer, and draws some attention.

We will continue evaluations, but so far I am convinced that the Chebacco is a more capable sailer with a bigger jib. I’ll update you later.

I hope that this doesn’t spawn any gaff-rigged lasers.

Fraser Howell

I was concerned at Fraser’s report of weather helm, which has never been a problem with SYLVESTER, so I sent this reply:

Dear Fraser,

Readers of Chebacco News will be interested to read about your weather helm and your experiments to cure it.

Funnily enough, I’ve never had serious weather helm – nothing that’d make my tiller-arm ache anyway. I’ve helmed a Wayfarer in a good blow and that’s much worse. The worst I’ve ever encountered was an 90-year-old 50 foot yawl, where I had to take the main sheet end around the tiller to give enough purchase to hold it. It was a plank-on-edge boat which belonged to ‘Titus’ Oates of the Scott expedition and that type is seldom guilty of severe weather helm. It had been re-rigged from gaff to bermudian at one stage, so maybe that was the reason, though I can’t think why.

I find with the Chebacco that if the heel is kept to 12 degrees or less (reefing if necessary) then weather helm is slight. My mainsail has its maximum depth well for’ard – at about 30% of the way back from the luff. I’m sure that must be significant. Modern sails usually carry their max depth at about 40% back.

The trim is also significant. Weather helm is reduced by keeping the weight well back. Mine trims down by the bows a wee bit (I think my mast’s a bit heavy) but I keep the anchor amidships – nothing heavy up in the bows and the crew (if any) sits well aft.

I’m not sure about mast rake. Mine is almost exactly vertical.

The other thing is how tight you sheet the mizzen. My mizzen is cut dead flat and I harden up the snotter to keep it as flat as possible. I find that fine control of weather helm (on some points of sail) is possible by adjusting the mizzen sheets. Close hauled in a force 2-3 it’s possible to lash the helm and let her take care of herself for quite long periods. For example, I’ve done that and gone below to tidy up and she’s maintained her course for 20 minutes or more.


Fraser elaborated:


Thanks for the detailed reply. I’ve been keeping the weight as far forward as possible. My mast weighs exactly 40 lb. and the outboard plus gas is close to 100 lb. I can’t tell without making it come true, but I keep thinking that I’m submerging the bottom of the stern, and slowing things down.

I now never hestitate to reef. I reef before whitecaps. The weather helm is terrible when you are overpowered. I’ve been caught in the “death roll” running before a freshening breeze, quite out of control until I got her around into the wind. Normally the weather helm isn’t too bad, and its easily handled by the tiller comb. Just about the time when I am thinking of putting in a reef, I have often had 8-10 deg of weather helm, and that causes cavitation off the rudder. I am hoping to be able to carry more sail longer with the bigger jib.

I also find the mizzen to be critical to the helm. I haven’t experimented much with the main shape by tinkering with the peak halyard and the outhaul. I also adjust the centerboard, from all the way down beating to almost all the way up running.

Lots of other things to try yet, but so far I am suprised that PB was not more encouraging of a larger jib.

As far as going out to sea, I have to get into open water to go anywhere but Halifax. The most interesting sailing areas are one or two days sail in either direction along the coast. I haven’t yet gone out of sight of land though.

The further one goes out the more big marine life there is. We’ve seen several kinds of whales and porpoises, sun fish, leatherbacks, and swordfish or tuna(not sure which).



So there we have it. Phil Bolger was the first to notice that a Chebacco could be prone to more weather helm than he would prefer, and suggested to makers that it would do no harm to move the mast forward 3 or 4 inches. If you sail a Chebacco, what’s your experience?

Ed’s hull

You’ll remember Ed’s amusing account of buying a Chebacco hull from Burton Blaise in Canada, then importing it to the USA [Chebacco News #21]. Here’s a photo of Ed strapping the hull onto his borrowed trailer at the start of the journey:


Ed makes all secure. Note the boy and the dog – both mentioned in the story!

Ed writes:

I’ve attached a couple pics of the Chebacco hull when we were loading it at Burton Blais’. I’ll hope to get some in process shots soon. Thanks for your earlier reply. I’ve decided to go with the Brad Story cockpit sole. I was thinking of doing a teak grating anyway so the pine boards will probably be a cheaper alternative. Now I’ve started on the cabin. The 1×2 lower supports for the sides are in, and I’m going to start fitting the sides tonight. The drawing is a bit sketchy here though, are the tops of the sides cut straight? or is there a concave cut in them? The drawing shows a concave, but I was assuming the natural bend might do that anyway. What did you discover on yours?

I sent Ed this reply:

RE the cabin sides – They are indeed concave along the top (and convex along the bottom, too, where they follow the sheerline).

My procedure was to cut them oversize, then fit the bottoms first, to the framing you’re putting in. Once you’ve got this line, then you can measure the height of the sides at intervals, from the plan, above this bottom line (allowing for the thickness of the deck) and then cut them to their final shape. I’d cut out the windows at this stage, too – Much easier than when the sides have been fitted.

Ed emailed later:

Just an update and some observations. First, the cabin top is on as well as the decks and in fact we’re just about to be ready to apply some exterior glass and epoxy.

As well, the centerboard is glassed and covered with a second layer of thick epoxy and will be test hung this week. Pictures of both are in the camera at this time so God knows when they’ll get processed.

Some observations,

You mentioned I think about getting a slight dip in the cabin top when you put on the ply. If this is in the fore / aft plane, I got the same even with extensive supports. I think IMHO that it is due to the flex of the ply over the designed cabin top “sheer” for lack of a better term. It appears to me to be unaviodable, but I wonder if making the rise of the cabin top a bit higher would make it better. Anyway it doesn’t look to be

an insurmountable problem.

I’ve cut in the storage under the seats and am preparing to install the shelves/ lockers whatever they are. (holes from the cabin back under the port and starboard benches.)

I’m planning on epoxying the bilge area up about 12 – 14″ from the bench front up the side rather than epoxying all of the interior wood surfaces. I have heard that if water intrusion does occur in plywood epoxy’d both sides that there is no way for it to dry. (similar to the osmosis problem in GRP. But, if the interior is left un epoxied the wood can dry from that side. Anyway that’s my theory.

Not much other news from the frozen north. I figure I’ve got about 5 weeks till the first snow flurries so I’ve got to get her watertight before then.

I replied that most makers epoxy both sides of the ply and that a good layer of epoxy is needed in the bilges, where water is likely to collect, even if you have a cover over the boat.

Jamie Orr makes progress:

From: “Orr, Jamie” <>


The pictures of the big turning over are going in today’s mail.

We’ve had a great August, the weather’s been perfect for boatbuilding. I wanted to spend the full month at it, but the rest of the family had some ideas for the holiday as well. As a result I only spent about two weeks building, more or less full time. However, for change, I’m fairly happy with the results. I fitted both the cockpit and the cabin dry, and now I’ve pulled them out for final sanding, sealing and inside

painting. Finished up the sanding last night and I’ll be putting in the seat fronts and starting to seal tonight. The motor well and after quarters are in place as well, and all decks are ready.

After reading about how difficult it was to bend your cabin roof, I laminated mine out of two layers of ¼ inch. I spread a sheet of plastic over the cabin area, and laminated the roof in place. The first layer was split down the center, and the second was done by centering the plywood on the roof, with two little pieces added at the sides. I used the same technique as I did laminating the bilge panels – holes on 8

inch centres in the top layer, with screw driven through these to squeeze out air and excess epoxy. I also tacked the edges to the cabin sides through full length ½ inch ply pads, first folding the plastic up over the work. I finished by putting small clamps on the overhanging edges. This was probably totally unnecessary by after all the rest, but the neither the clamps nor I had anything better to do. It worked fine, and now the roof is sitting all ready to drop into place.

I’ve decided against the mast slot for now, although I might put in the framing under the roof for later, if wanted. I am going to put in the hatches in the after quarters, and will borrow ideas from the sea kayakers to secure them. I expect I’ll use nylon webbing across the hatch covers with a rubber seal under – there are some effective looking cams available to snug up the straps if needed. I’ve also bought two of

the Beckson circular access hatches for the rear half of the seats, so I can use that area for storage as well.

How did you install your portlights? I’m thinking of routing out the ply by the thickness of the lexan, and using silicon sealer with an oval “ring” covering the edge. The available bronze ovals were the wrong size, so I think I’ll try cutting my own out of 1/8 sheet brass, (but that’s for another month.)

I’m also working out where to put mooring cleats, fairleads and so on, as the deck will need reinforcement underneath, and it’ll be easier to fit before the deck’s glued down -any suggestions on placing these fittings, now that you’ve had a couple of seasons sailing?

Looking forward to the next newsletter – hope you’re having a good summer and getting in lots of sailing.

P.S. A point for the newsletter about taping the seams. I started out using fibreglass tape, with finished edges. This is very convenient for handling and doesn’t fray, but doesn’t always lie down easily because of those edges. I didn’t buy enough at once for the whole job, and when I ran out I started cutting tape sized pieces out of scrap 6 oz cloth. I found these were much easier to put in place, and needed less sanding to

smooth the edges later. I never did go back for the rest of the tape, and I’ve managed to use up a lot of scrap.

A couple of points of interest. I did SYLVESTER’s portlights simply by cutting oval holes in the sides of the cabin and screwing1/8″ acrylic sheet on the inside, with some clear silicone sealant between. Jamie’s method sounds much nicer! As for cleats and fairleads – Jamie’s right in that they MUST be through-bolted. Woodscrews eventually give out (as Gil and Joan will testify – the air was blue when a mizzen fairlead on SYLVESTER let go in July!). My suggestions are:

  • cleats on the cabin top for hallyards and topping lift
  • turning blocks near the mast foot to take the halyards and topping lift back to their cleats
  • fairleads at the quarters for the mizzen sheets
  • cam cleats for the mizzen sheets, after they’ve passed through the fairleads
  • cleats on the side-decks near the rear of the boat for tying up alongside, and for hooking on a tender’s painter
  • If you have the Jonesport cleat at the stem, as shown in the plans, then that’s your for’ard mooring cleat – otherwise a hefty cleat is needed in the foredeck.
  • Apart from these, I have a block and camcleat on the aft end of the CB case for the mainsheet, and a couple of cleats on the coaming for lashing the tiller amidships when I’m on the mooring.

And finally

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

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

Broughty Ferry,

Dundee DD5 1LB,


email –

Gil Fitzhugh,

44 Primrose Trail,

Mt Kemble Lake,




Chebacco News 22

Chebacco News

Number 22, August 1998


SYLVESTER heels under an ominous sky


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

Two-part Paint

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

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

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

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

Two things to watch for.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Jamie Orr

Reefing tips

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

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

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

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

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

sail instead.

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


Sail-making, rigging etc.

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

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

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

You also have some questions on rigging. Here goes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. How is the peak halyard attached?

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

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

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

4. What about the forward end of the boom?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. What is the sequence for setting sail?

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

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

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

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

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

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

(g) sheet in, and you’re sailing!

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



Scuppered hatches?

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


Wanted – a Chebacco

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

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

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

used Chebaccos?

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

Floorboards – to seal or not to seal?

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

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

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

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

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

And finally

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

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

Broughty Ferry,

Dundee DD5 1LB,


Chebacco News 21

Chebacco News

Number 21, June 1998


SYLVESTER scoots along in a sea breeze

Why so late?

You’ve probably noticed that this issue is about a month later than usual. The explanation is that there wasn’t enough material from our readers to fill an issue until now. Anyway, there’s some good stuff now, so I hope you’ll find it’s been worth waiting for.

Reefing (again!)

I’ve made some very simple modifications to the reefing system on SYLVESTER that make reefing under-way a much more managable process. In essence, all I did was to move the horn cleats for the pendants to a point about mid-way along the boom; making them easier to reach without leaving the cockpit. The pendants at tack and clew are left in place at all times, and just hauled in (tack first) as the occasion demands, just as Brad Story described a few issues ago.

I had a chance to try it out in anger last weekend; I took in a reef when things got blustery, and shook it out again when things quietened down a little. It worked very nicely.

Building the Coach-roof

Builders tell me that one part of the plan that takes a lot of thought is the construction of the coach roof. Here’s how I did it.

First of all I put on the cabin sides – just cutting and trying until they fit, not forgetting to cut the elliptical holes for the windows before finally gluing them in.

Next job is the framing for the roof – not too difficult joinerywise, but it takes a bit of study of the drawings to figure out what’s needed, allowing for the right clearances for the mast slot and hatch hole.

This is all faired up in preparation for the top going on.

I made the top from 1/2″ ply – it takes a LOT of bending – Two layers of 1/4″ might be easier. The top is made in two halves – port and starboard. I glued and screwed it to the centeline first – LOTS of screws to make sure it stays down.

I found, when bending the curve into the top the framing started to sag, so I placed some temporary props between the framing and the bottom of the hull to try to minimise this sagging.

I then applied glue to the rest of the framing and applied my full 180+ pounds around the edge as I put in the screws. This is the hardest bit, because if you stop half way through, with not enough screws in, it’ll just pull out and spring up. I’d recommend a screw every 4 inches or so.

Finally I removed the props and there was a little sag in the roof. No big problem, but it does mean the hatch sides need to be convex along the bottom and require a bit of fitting. Once the hatch sides are on, and the framing of the mast slot, the whole thing is as stiff as you could wish for.

I hope this is helpful.


Cabin sides in place and framing for the coach-roof completed

Jamie Orr Pours Lead in his Centreboard

Jamie writes:

Here are the lead pouring pictures.

First, some reminders:

  • Pick a dry day or work under cover. Molten lead will splatter if it contacts moisture.
  • Clean up your work area. It’s obvious from the photos I could have done a lot more in this regard. (Also, I think we could have had the stove in a less vulnerable position, so it couldn’t be easily knocked over. On the other hand, it didn’t get knocked over, and was at a convenient height. Take your pick.)
  • Lead stays hot for a long time, watch your fingers.
  • Wear protective clothing, and don’t breath the fumes.

Now, what we did.

We drove four big nails into the edges of the hole in the centreboard to anchor the lead. This was only just barely enough, and the lead was a bit loose after it cooled and shrank. Some epoxy around the edges fixed that.

A piece of steel plate was clamped to the underside of the board. I wire brushed the plate as it was a bit rusty, but didn’t do anything else. The books favour some blacking or soot, as well as preheating the steel, to prevent the lead from sticking, but we had no trouble with it. The board was carefully levelled on sawhorses.

The lead had been previously used to seal the removable top on a 45 gallon drum, so it came as a thick strip about an inch thick. Dad bandsawed it into chunks while I set up the board. We fired up the backpacking stove, put the pot and lead on, and put a 3 lb coffee can over the whole thing (both ends cut out of the can!) with an air space at the bottom. The can acted as a heat reflector, wind shield, and chimney for the stove, greatly increasing the heat to the lead.

It took about six minutes to melt 2/3 of a pot of lead, or about 6 lbs. Beeswax is supposed to help impurities float to the top of the lead, but they seemed to float up quite well without help, so I didn’t bother with the wax after the first lot. A tongue depressor removed the dross nicely. I found the easiest way to hold the pot was with vise grips, ignoring the bail, at least for this pot. (The pot was bought originally for bullet making, from a sporting goods store.)

I didn’t pour the lead all at once because I only had a small stove and pot. Because the first (learning) pour was on the small side, we had to do a very small fourth pour. Also, this last pour was delayed, so the lead already poured may have cooled a bit. In any case, this last, fairly thin pour didn’t bond as well to the already poured lead. When I started to level the excess, the edges tried to come up like the edges of a pancake whose middle is stuck to the pan. After I had the excess levelled, I drilled two corners and put one inch wood screws in them. Along with the epoxy already mentioned, this fixed the problem.

As an aside, I found the best tool for levelling the lead was the electric plane. I did a final finish later with the belt sander when I was fairing the edges of the board. The lead didn’t seem to hurt the plane – if in doubt, rent. Note that lead shrinks as it cools, so it should finish about 1/8 inch above the surface when poured.

Altogether, this made a nice change from epoxy, and was a whole lot easier than I thought it would be.


Melting, and pouring the lead.

George Cobb’s hull nears completion

George Cobb, of New Brunswick, Canada, sent me a bunch of photos of his beautifully crafted lapstrake Chebacco-20 hull. George writes:

I enclose photos going back to March ’97. I started Aug ’96 but spent most of that winter on spars, CB & trunk, rudder etc. working in the basement. As you can see from the photos, my shed doesn’t have enough room to build a boat of this size. Most of the construction went smoothly. Some trouble lining off the lap lines becuase I didn’t have room enough to stand back and look at them.

In the latest photos I am in the process of applying epoxy & the fiberglass to the deck. I have just started on the cabin. I laminated a rounded front as I did not care for the pointed look in the plans. I made very few other changes to the plans. Still have cockpit coaming, cockpit sole, toerails and rubrails and various trim pieces. All hatch covers are made except for the one for the companionway. When finishing and trailer are included I doubt if I will be launching this year.


Starting planking – note the ‘lining off’ battens.


The turnover ceremony.


Starting to fit out the hull


The cockpit nears completion

Ed Heins buys Burton Blaise’s hull

So I was pondering the next project, either a Light Scooner, a Chebacco, or one of the sets of Jim Michalak’s plans that are residing in my “projects pending” file, when lo and behold, Burton Blais posted an unbelievable deal for his Chebacco hull which made up my mind all at once and made me the newest builder on the Chebacco news list. The deal was even more attractive, as Burton, up in Ontario, is only a few hours northwest of us here in Frostbite Vermont. Burton, by the way has done a magnificent job thus far. That about covers the upside of the situation.

The downside? Well, convincing my wife Deb, was the next step. Of course it seems Deb, beautiful flower of English womanhood that she is, was somewhat less than overwhelmed at the marvelous opportunity of having yet another “bloody ship” in her back garden. Fortunately, the age old solution of providing a “quid pro quo” of greater value than the object in question, (this time in the form of a tennis bracelet) worked to perfection and the necessary political groundwork had been laid. Which then left only the logistic issues to be solved.

Downside #2, we had no trailer to transport this beast. After a caucus with Bill Samson about trailer requirements, however, I petitioned a friend to loan me the trailer from his 15′ plastic puffin which theoretically just got me enough snubber to axle length to balance the Chebacco. One small problem it seemed however was that like most Vermonters, maintenance on said trailer had been sadly neglected, so before embarking I had already rewired the lights, changed out one wheel bearing and being a Vermonter myself felt that I could get by with just repacking the other 3. Mind you I had never seen a Chebacco up close and personal, so I’m envisioning at this stage, how this is going to fit.

The morning of May 16 broke sunny and warm, a lovely day for the drive. We headed west across Vermont, caught the lake Champlain ferry just north of Burlington VT and landed safely in Plattsburg, New York. From there we headed northwest up route 190 and transitioned to US 11 at Ellenburg Depot. We left US 11 at Malone NY ( a rather niceish town with a hellatiously big Kmart, best described as a Tescoish thing for our British readers). Anyway the significance of the Kmart is that there are none in our small locale so it was planned to stop on the way back

to satisfy her majesty’s shopping fix. US 37 leaves Malone and runs west along the Canadian border to where we planned to make the border crossing. All was well here until we discovered 25 miles of roadworks with no feasible means of avoidance. Hence, 25 miles of dust and gravel later we were back on rt 37 heading towards Massena New York.

Now, Cornwall Ontario is a small city. At least on the map it looks substantial enough to warrant a signpost on the freeway. However… as with our US mapmakers who show Canada as a big beige empty block above the US border, I suppose the powers-that-be assume that just a reference to “Canada” should be sufficient for the average ignorant yank motorist. Therefore, the only signpost along the road reads “Industrial Plants Bridge to Canada”. Now it seemed absolutely logical to me to think this meant “THE Industrial Plant’s bridge to Canada”. There was an enormous factory there, and it’s not unheard of to have a factory in these parts span the border. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it) Anyway, needless to say, 6 miles farther down the road we came to the realization that in fact this was the ONLY bridge to Canada. A clandestine U turn with a trailer across one of those “Emergency Vehicles Only”

median crossings and we were headed to Ontario.

Border crossing south to north was no big deal. The Canadian folks were friendly courteous and checked Molly the Bassett Hound’s rabies papers, and passed us right through. Burton God bless him had given excellent directions so the remaining miles were insignificant.

Until we arrived at the Blais’ estate and I got a look at the Chebacco, upside down on it’s building frame, and was appraised of the size of a completed Chebacco Hull. I would have sworn that it would never fit on the dinky trailer hitched to my minivan. Not wanting to admit defeat however, we pressed on and horsed the hull out of the temporary shed. With the help of a willing neighbor turned it was over for the first time. I have the feeling that if Burton had turned this over prior to my arrival, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance at the boat.

This was one pretty hull all trued up with the bulkheads and temp frames still inside. But onward….

Downside #3, Back to the Vermonters lack of trailer maintenance. It seems the trip had broken loose a couple of ancient weld patches and there was no way the trailer would have survived an overload condition in that condition. Thankfully another of Burton’s neighbors came to the rescue with a grinder and welding rig, and an hour later we were back in business.

Back to Burton’s, to load up the hull. Cripes it overhangs. Well at least the bunks fit more or less on the flat bottom although they’re somewhat short for the job. A bit of gerryrigging got her sorted and tied down & we were off back south.

Actually it trailed not too bad. There was a minor skirmish with the US customs who first after inquiring about my 2 children in back, (one boy, one dog, OK that put me off) then their obvious struggle with how they were going to get a Coast Guard safety registration certificate on an unfinished hull. (I’d love to see the exam for customs agent) Finally they acquiesced to the fact that this was really lumber at this stage so there wouldn’t be duty.

We made the obligatory stop at Kmart as promised, spent the night in Ellenburg Depot and returned uneventfully with only a few scratches in the paint to show for the ordeal.

This weekend, marks the building of a proper cradle and 8 strongbacks to horse the hull off the trailer and hopefully embarcation of further boat building exploits. Stay tuned. I’m a little overwhelmed at where to begin.


Ed Heins

For Sale

I want you fellow Bolgerphiles to be the first to know that Catfish Lounge [a Catfish Beachcruiser] is going to be offered for sail, er, sale, to make way for a Martha Jane. Price of the Lounge is $4,500, and includes an excellent Pacific galvanized trailer and a year-old Honda 2HP motor. If you have an interest, or are interested in learning more about the boat, send me e-mail. (Both the boat and I are in the San Francisco Bay area.)

John Tuma <>

What about an aluminium rudder?

Fraser Howell sent me this photo of his aluminium rudder. He is very pleased with the way it works. It’s very strong, too. It’s worth noticing that the rudder is in a particularly vulnerable position when a Chebacco is being launched from a trailer. Careless launching can mean the rudder hits the slip when the boat slides off the trailer. It is comforting to have a really strong rudder!


Fraser Howell’s aluminium rudder

And finally:

That just about wraps it up for this time. Please, please, please keep your news and photos coming. They are the stuff that Chebacco News is made of!

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

West Ferry,

Dundee, DD5 1LB,



Chebacco News 20

Chebacco News

Number 20, March 1998


SYLVESTER makes an overnight trip

We don’t get much news about trips in Chebaccos, so here’s an account of one I did on 5th August 1997. It’s based on notes from SYLVESTER’s log (Yes! I keep a log of all my trips – Is that sad or what?). Low water was due at 11 am, so I got down to the shore at 10, rowed TWEETIE-PIE (my June Bug) out to SYLVESTER and got her ready.


SYLVESTER at her (his?) mooring

I was underway, single-handed, in a force 3 Easterly, at slack water at 10-30 am.

The Tay is a rather shallow estuary, with loads of sandbanks and very few buoys to show you where they are, upriver of Dundee.


Heading upriver, towards the Tay Road Bridge.

It was my intention to get upriver to the Earn – which enters the Tay from the South, just West of Newburgh – and to motor up there to Bridge-of Earn. But . . .


The route taken by SYLVESTER (The total extent of this map is about 25 miles E-W)

You’ll just be able to see, on the map above, that there are two bridges across the Tay. The Easternmost is a road bridge, and the other is a rail bridge. I had a pleasant run upriver until I passed under the rail bridge. Just beyond the bridge I ran aground on a sandbank, but the flooding tide soon lifted me off again.


Just about to pass under the Tay Rail Bridge

From then on, I paid close attention to my charts, and avoided the sandbanks, most of which are on the North side of the river. The banks are complicated around Newburgh, but there are some pint-sized buoys to allow boats to thread their way among them. The locals amuse themselves on a nice afternoon by watching yachtsmen come to grief – often having to spend the night on a bank!


TWEETY-PIE (a June Bug) towing astern – Tay Rail Bridge in the background.

The mouth of the Earn is not far beyond Newburgh, and I headed for it. Unfortuately, no-one had warned me that you need to keep well out in mid-stream before turning up the Earn, so, once again, I ran aground. By this time, the wind was gusting force 4 or 5 and things got a bit fraught. Even though the tide was flooding, I kept getting blown higher up the bank. I dropped the sails and started the outboard, hoping to motor off the bank. Unfortunately, the propellor had an argument with some rocks and the shear-pin broke.

My only option, now, was to continue sailing – The Earn is too twisty and narrow to sail up, so I decided to continue up the Tay. I eventually managed to pole myself off the bank and made my way under main alone up to Inchyra, where there are some moorings on the North side of the river, belonging to the Civil Service Sailing Club.


At anchor – Inchyra.

I dropped my hook (a 15 pound Danforth), replaced the broken shear-pin and rowed ashore. I had brought the June Bug with me, under tow. Two of the Civil Service guys were there and made me very welcome with a mug of coffee. They also pointed out a spare, permanent mooring that I could tie up to for the night, and save me the trouble of anchor-watching when the tide turned.

Having moved to the mooring, I rowed ashore again, tied TWEETY-PIE to the jetty and walked the mile and a half to the nearest pub, the Glencarse Hotel, for a pint and a sandwich. I got back to the jetty a couple of hours later, about 9pm, and found TWEETY-PIE dangling by her painter down the side of the jetty – It was approaching low water again! A hot drink, contemplate the sunset, then off to bed.


Sunset at Inchyra

Next morning, I got up at 5am, had breakfast, and set out at high water – 6am. There was no wind, so I motored back all the way, dodging the sandbanks, and got home at 9.30.

Verdict? I don’t think I could have been happier with any boat, than I was with SYLVESTER (and, of course, TWEETY-PIE).

More about Reefing systems – a two-way conversation

Following Brad Story’s account of the reefing system he uses on his Chebacco, Bob Branch got back to me with some suggestions of his own. This led to a two-way discussion of possibilities that may be of interest to Chebacco-riggers.

Bob wrote:

Thanks for issue #19. Another good job as always.

That was a nice pic of the “c” under construction under the lean too. [Jamie Orr’s hull]

A suggestion on the reefing system Brad demonstrated. Works nice but those

cleats on the boom can be a problem when reefing… trying to find them on a

flailing boom, stuck under the sail cloth, and you head having to be in such

close proximity to the boom (a bad idea in heavy weather in any boat from my

experience.) The reefing system I have used on a number of offshore boats is

just a mod of the one Brad sent. It brings the topping lift and the clew reef

lines to the mast and then turns them to the cabin top to cleats on the aft

end of the cabin. I know it adds the cost of a few blocks and sounds like a

bit of spigetti. But I have routinely used 3 reefs, topping lift, boom vang,

and in sloops all the jib and spinnaker halyards (though I reversed my

thoughts on those if much single handing is done without roller furling {never

roller reefing} on the headsail. It gets the crew out of the cockpit (where

its weight ought not to be) and puts the jib halyard at a more convenient

location for a controled sail takedown for the solo sailor). Anyway, it can

all be done very neatly. When you are reefing with this arrangement you are

not AT ALL dependent on control of the boom. In fact I get it the heck out of

the boat completely. I take up tension on the topping lift first so the boom

will not drop AT ALL during the reef. I ease the main sheet way off till the

boom is out of the cockpit completely (and away from my precious skull). Then

I lower the halyard and secure the tack (take in the tack reef line) tightly.

The main halyard is tensioned… very tight so the draft in the sail winds up

in the forward part of the sail when the sail is set. This is critical for

pointing upwind in a cat rig. The clew reef is then taken in and tensioned to

the max. You need this tight to really get a flat sail which is what you are

looking for just as much as sail area reduction. Now I haul the mainsheet and

away we go. Note, I didn’t do anything about the excess sail cloth. Right. If

the outhaul was tight to start with (which it should have been because you

were already at upper wind range prior to the reef) and the reef outhaul is

tight (which it should be) The excess cloth will be in a fold or two very

tightly against the boom. Even with a second deep reef in a high aspect main I

have NEVER found it necisary to tie the excess cloth. If the boom doesn’t have

adequate cockpit clearance or cabin top clearance to keep the sail cloth clear

you might have to but now the boat is back under control, the boom is under

control and not swinging around, and it is a simple matter of two ties at most

for the entire sail. The boat isn’t pitching anymore either! And ya never left

the cockpit. One little detail. When you make your sail or order it from the

sailmaker, be sure the reef clews are a little higer than just a perpendicular

from the mast. You want more angle upwards for the boom when you reef… so

the cloth has the room it needs, and so your precious skull is further from it


I now it won’t happen in a Chebacco, but true luxury in sailing is NOT to be

found below decks. It is a boat whose boom is always above your head, during

normal sailing, tacking, jibing, and when reefed. Ahhhhhh. Peace of mind.

Keep the scratched side down, (your shallow draft Chebacco does have a scratch

I hope… otherwise you aren’t in the water it was designed for.),


I replied:

Dear Bob,

Many thanks for your sensible suggestions re: reefing. It wouldn’t be practical in my Chebacco as it stands, because there is no gooseneck to hold the inboard end of the boom at a fixed height – something that I think’d be essential when a line comes off the inboard end of the boom to a block at the mast-foot. Otherwise the halyard tension would be working against the reefing line tension with potential mixups if one or other is slackened off. My Chebacco boom has jaws at the mast end and no tack downhaul – the weight of the boom is enough to flatten the sail. The trick is to balance the tensions in the throat and peak halyards.

Having this setup, I can raise or lower the entire sail/spars. I normally keep the boom above head-height. The only discomfort that can befall the crew is being throttled by the mainsheet in a gybe!

Yes, I do have a few honourable scratches on the bottom of SYLVESTER. Fewer than I’d expected given the horrible grinding noises when I ran aground last season. I have a galvanised steel strip around the keel which bears the brunt of such navigational misjudgements!

I’ll put your thoughts into CN#20 – some of the guys do use goosenecks and could benefit directly by adopting the system you suggest.


Rudder Issues

Burton Blaise emailed me regarding some concerns he has about the Chebacco’s rudder. My reply is printed below. His words are in italics –

Hi Bill:

Hope things are well with you. I am back at my workbench trying to do whatever I can on my Chebacco project in my small heated workshop. I am contemplating building the rudder so that it is ready to be attached to the hull in Spring. Looking at the plans, it strikes me how small the rudder appears – not much more than 1.5 square ft total area – and I wonder how such a small rudder can effectively steer such a (relatively) large boat. After all, the rudder blade for my Gypsy (which is a much smaller & lighter boat than Chebacco) is significantly larger. In your experience, how well does Chebacco respond to her helm? I worry that the rudder as shown might make for poor steering ability!! I realize that this design does have a bottom plate for extra “bite” when heeled, but I still worry that the rudder surface is much too small for a boat of this size.

I worried about the same thing when I was building, but Brad Story reassured me that it wasn’t a problem. He was right. The only anxious moments I’ve had were immediately after letting go of my mooring, before SYLVESTER had gathered much way, trying to steer the boat before being swept against the other moored boats by the tide. Mind you, the sail and CB have as much to do with steering as the rudder, and I haven’t had any problems since I got used to that aspect. I suppose that if the boat heeled a great deal, the rudder might come clear of the water – again something I’ve never experienced. I understand that some boats with much larger rudders are tricky to steer – Peter Bevan tells me that the Light Schooner won’t respond to the rudder unless the sails and CB are set just right.

You need to pay close attention to the steering when surfing downwind, but that’s the case with any boat. I’ve never felt in danger of losing control.

I also have a question concerning the pintle and support structure for the entire rudder and its post. From what I gather from the plans, the entire weight of the rudder assembly is borne on the pintle, with main support for the rudder post where it comes through the mizzen mast partner (which is strengthened with a small steel plate where the post comes through) – is this correct? If so, what stops the rudder from riding up and down, and possibly scraping against the bottom of the hull (especially in wave action?)? Should there be some kind of stop on the rudder post to prevent this action, or does this simply not happen at all?

Yes, it does ride up and down. Mine has about 1/2″ of vertical play. There’s no sign of significant wear, though it is a little looser now where it passes through the mizzen partner. I’m sure that this is as much to do with side-to-side movement as up and down, when sitting on her mooring. As a matter of interest, I’ve put a thick nylon washer around the pintle to take the wear and reduce friction.

Also, the plans appear to show a free flooding rudder, but I really wonder if this is necessary. Surely weight cannot be an issue here, since the space between the two plywood rudder cheeks has such a small volume as to be almost negligible.

Sure. But the main idea is to let water out. There’s always a danger of water getting trapped in any hollow structure, no matter how well sealed it is. I regard these as drain holes.

Also, if I use steel for the rudder post assembly, what is the best way to keep the lot from rusting? I had considered aluminum or stainless steel for the job, but I simply do not have access to the proper welding equipment, etc.. How did you handle this?

I got mine welded up from mild steel, then sent it off for hot dip galvanizing. I got a blacksmith to do the fabrication of the rudder stock and pintle and it cost me 25 pounds. The galvanising was another ten. So far, it’s held up well. When it rusts significantly I’ll take it all apart and send it off for re-galvanizing.


More on Rudders

Jamie Orr writes:

I’ve found a “retired” machinist to make up the rudder fittings in stainless steel. I wanted to use bronze where I could, but was told by at least two outfits that bronze was best cast, not welded/brazed. Also the flat stock is hard to obtain. So, since casting a single set of fittings is a bit expensive, I’ve yielded to the experts and plumped for the stainless. The lower rudder fitting is made out of 1/8th stock,

bent up around the skeg, with lower sides at the back part as well to add strength, making a 3/4 “cup” around the bearing. This fitting is already bent and welded to shape, but hasn’t got its pin or any holes drilled yet. The rudder post will be 1+ 5/16 stailess tubing, a bit thinner than called for, so I’ll have to fair in the rudder to the post. I’m having the straps welded on as if the rudder is only 1+ 5/16 as well, to get a longer weld — that is, a full 180 degrees on the post. I’ll cut down the rudder to fit in way of the straps — should be strong enough with the framing backing it up.

My machinist is also making nylon bearing/bushings for the bottom and at the tiller. The lower one will be wider at the bottom for the post to sit on, with the upper part fitting inside the rudder stock, and the pin hole drilled up through the nylon. The top one will be a bearing as well as pad out the width of the rudder stock to match the tiller width – stainless again for the rudder straps.

I’m trying to decide how high tech to go in paint, and whether to bother with bottom paint on a mostly trailered boat (probably not). I don’t want to go the length of a two part polyurethane, despite the finish, but I am considering the one part “Brightsides” mentioned in the Bolgerlist from time to time. I’m also very tempted just to go with a

good quality enamel, on the grounds that I won’t have to learn any new painting techniques or take up chemistry.


And finally . . .

That’s all we’ve space for this time. I hope you enjoyed it. Keep your letters and emails coming!

Bill Samson,

88 Grove Road,

West Ferry,

Dundee, DD5 1LB,