Chebacco News 57 – Tabernacle

 Mast Tabernacle 

Tabenacle 3

Chebacco designs all have relatively short unstayed masts.  They are easy to store, and quick to put up.  I really like Bolger’s thinking here – it always irks me that when I sail with friends in their trailer yachts, that you spend between one and two hours in the carpark setting up and packing away.  My Chebacco takes just a few minutes to get ready or to pack away.

There has been some discussion about the different ways to step the Chebacco Masts.  The original design had a short slot in the deck with an insert piece, the RD has a somewhat more sophisticated clamp at the partner with turnbuckles.  The cruiser introduced a tabernacle (hinge).

The Chebacco 25 has a 5″ x 20′ hollow timber mast and the design calls for an under/over retaining partner arrangement.  I was concerned that the mast may still be difficult for one person to step, so I decided on a tabernacle setup.  I further decided to counterweight the foot of the mast to make stepping and unstepping a one handed 10 second operation.

(I was inspired by descriptions of yachts and barges on the Norfolk Broads shooting bridges – getting the sail and mast down, getting under the bridge and then getting underway again in a few minutes.)

The mast is a birdsmouth hoop pine construction, 5″ at the step tapering to 3″ at the masthead.  The bottom 3′ is filled with lead shot (I think I managed to get 20kg in before sealing the filling hole with a wooden plug).  The hinge pin is set about 12″ above the deck so that the mast folds neatly on the cabin roof and is held by two stout Douglas fir partners.  These partners are bolted to a bulkhead which is further reinforced by a 6×2 crossmember extending from gunwale  to gunwale.  The hinge pin is 1″ solid stainless bar held with “R” clips on either end.  This size is not needed for strength but I am hoping the large diameter will reduce the wear in the bearing holes over time.  The bearing holes in the partners and the mast hinge block are lined with graphite filled epoxy.

All of the weight of the mast is supported by the hinge pin, the foot of the mast does not rest on a step.  The hinge pin does not go through the mast itself but through an offset hinge block that you can see in the photos.  This is partly for strength but also to make the mast stand while I am fitting the retaining pin.  When you lift the mast it gets to a point where the counterweight takes over and the mast stands itself up.  The retaining pin is a piece of rod that crosses in front of the foot of the mast through a couple of metal rings.  I jam a small wedge in between the retaining rod and the mast to stop any movement fore-aft.

It works!  My 10 year old son can step the mast in a minute.  I don’t need to store the mast for road transport because it is shorter than the hull, I just tie it down to it’s crutch.  I suspect my mates envy my extra hour and a half on the water while they are fiddling with shackle keys and gin poles.


P.S. you can also see the anchor/anchorman well in these photos, this is a feature of the Chebacco 25 only.  I have found this handy for standing in while raising the anchor or while working on the mast (as Bolger intended).  I have also found it VERY useful for storing children in …

P.P.S. dont forget to email me your Chebacco stories to publish <My Christian Name>


Tabenacle 4

Here you can see a hole in the bulkhead where I had intended to run a line from the base of the mast to a winch inside the cabin.  The counterweighting of the base of the mast instead made this redundant and much simpler.

Retaining pin holds the bottom of the mast in place

Retaining pin holds the bottom of the mast in place


Chebacco News 37

Building the CLC.

I’m building the Bolger Chebacco, Light Cruiser edition. Or, CLC. I have a Michalak designed AF2, but the wife doesn’t like going sailing in it. She has specific complaints; she doesn’t like changing sides during tacking, it’s too hot when I like to take it sailing, when the wind is calm and the water is smooth. She may have a point here, and the electric motor on Entropy, while it moves the boat around, is pretty slow. She likes to go sailing when the wind and waves are kicking up, but this is when I get anxious about the AF2 being capsized, and when we are pounding annoyingly into the waves.
So, AF2 “Entropy” is for sale and CLC “Schrödinger’s Cat” is born.
The CLC has a pilot house for shelter in the rain, permanent hard dodger for shelter from wind and sun. The boat is 7.5ft wide, and according to the designer it would take “hurricane force” winds to knock it over. The basic boat is self righting up to 90 degrees, and should be even better with the pilot house. The hull is well proven, and handles sweetly in rough water. Even the roughest lakes in OK should present no challenge. The CLC has two bunks, a head, and a small camping style galley, so we should be able to go camping in the boat for a weekend, assuming we can stand each other for that long.
She has a folding mast to make trailering simple and quick. I can setup Entropy in 15 minute, and take her down in 20. This includes tying the sail onto the mast. The folding mast on the CLC should knock at least 5 minute off both ends of that. Also, the CLC has a dedicated slop well on the centerline aft for a motor. Lots of money is designated to buying a NEW outboard, that will start on the first pull, and will push the boat at hull speed. So, even if there is no wind, I can leave the mast folded and we can go motoring!
I’ve decided to take my time on this one, though the wife swears I’ll be done by Thanksgiving, the the response from my sailing buddy when I told him I was taking my time was “ya, right”. Do I have a reputation or something?
I’m using 1/2″ MDO for the boat. It’s about as good as you can get without spending three times as much and getting marine plywood. It is even argueable that it is better than some marine plywood, as the paper face will prevent checking in the plys that would let water in. Here is a picture of a piece that spent three months in my dishwasher. It’s in absolutely perfect condition, and you can’t even tell it’s been soaked with hot water a couple of times a day for months. Quite amazing, actually.


Everyone asks, “do you need to take the paper off?”. No. The paper is stronger than the wood. Test joints made by myself and others, using the Payson/Carnell fiberglass butt joint technique, always break in the wood layer, by ripping the wood fibers apart. Never in the paper, in the epoxy, or in the glass. Here is a picture of a test joint tested destructively.


Here are a couple of pictures of the making of the 24X8 panels for cutting the topside out. There is a backing block of 1/2″ ply behind the joint, which the clamping block you see screws into. I’m using wax paper to keep the epoxy from sticking to the boards. This is problematic, it sometimes gets glued very good to the epoxy, and takes a wire brush on a drill to separate! Sometimes, though, it pulls right off. Go figure. Will be using polyethylene from now on, it doesn’t stick at all. My garden is in the background, where I grow cardboard boxes.

DSC00012 DSC00013

I put a layer of light glass cloth, 1.34oz, on the parts of the boat where rainwater might collect, before the boat was assembled. This is to seal the wood in that area and prevent rot. I also glassed the centerboard case inside and out, and coated the centerboard with graphite loaded epoxy for reduced friction and abrasion protection.  I’ll be glassing the insides of the stub keel, and the insides of the rudder post housing, as well as the slop well. The ground tackle compartment got a coating of limestone loaded epoxy as well as the light glass, but I may go over this will graphite loaded epoxy as well.
Here is a picture of the bushing I made out of UHMW poly for the centerboard to pivot on.This is 10 thou bigger than the pin, so there is a loose enough fit that the centerboard will bear on the case and not the pin when under side loads. It was turned on the lathe to be a press fit into the centerboard, and notches were cut out of the flat sides of the bushing with a hacksaw. It was hammered into the hole cut in the board, then the notches were filled epoxy and wood flour, and the whole assembly glassed over. The holes for the pin were cut later.


Here is a picture of the bearing plate for the centerboard pin. This is designed to take the load from the pin and distribute it to the wood in the centerboard case. There are extra layers of glass reinforcing the wood under this plate.


Also, the design modifications for the CLC remove the bracing from the top of the case provided by bulkhead 4. So, I will make sure that the 2x boards surrounding the case both outside on the keel and inside under the floorboards are securely fastened to the centerboard case, to transfer side loads to the hull.
Here are the watertight hatches for the boat. These are Bomar hatches, which I got for a WONDERFUL price from . From West Marine they would have cost $450. I got this whole box of hatches for $134. You should all buy something from this guy to help keep him in business! The hatches on centerline will be of the sliding type built by myself. They will be rain and spray tight, but would leak if immersed. But, they are on the centerline, so I can get away with them not being airtight.


Here I am adding reinforcement and biaxial cloth to the transom. I’m making this boat as strong as I know how. This reinforcement is in case I ever want to test with a 15 hp motor, and to be able to not worry about the motor bouncing off on the wonderful roads here in OK.


Here are the bulkheads, centerboard, and centerboard case, cut out and waiting to be assembled outside.
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Here I’m laminating up the stem out of 1/4″ plywood. Bill Samson recommended laminating out of scraps of 1/2″ ply. I tried that, but couldn’t get them to take the bend without cracking. As it was, I had to get the 1/4″ wet for it not to crack. Realized a couple of weeks later he meant to laminated it SIDEWAYS, with piece already cut to the shape, and not to bend the pieces. Duh.


I ‘m using a cheap shelter from Harbor Freight to keep the sun and rain off the boat. I’m hoping for a mild winter. I added rope bracing and tied the corners down. It seem to stand up the wind pretty good so far, we’ve had gust to 40mph, and it barely moves. I also drilled and pinned the assembly together, so there is more than just the tarp holding it together!
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Here are the bulkheads and forms setup outside under the shelter. I didn’t build a strongback for the boat, though I toyed with the idea. The topsides have alignment lines on them, and putting legs on one of the forms and one of the bulkheads allowed me to screw the topsides on and have a self supporting structure. The rest of the bulkheads were installed, then legs added to carry the load, and everything carefully leveled. The bottom was installed, next, and the stem trimmed to size.
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The bilge panels were laminated in place, using thick paper to take the shape off the assembly. There are a few gaps, and it needed a little trimming, but epoxy covers most screw ups, and makes craftsmen of us all. The forward fg butt joint clamping blocks were left in place while the bilge panels were twisted into shape, to prevent any possibility of the joint coming apart under the extreme stress of the twisting..
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This took a LOT of force, I wound up having to use three high tech ropes in the spanish windlass mode to get the thing bent. I was seriously supprised the ply didn’t snap!
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I plan on leaving the ropes in place till I have the chine jointed filleted and taped on the outside, and filleted and taped on the inside forward of bulkhead one. Also, I will fillet and tape the forward sections of bulkhead one that intersect with the bilge panels. Hopefully, then, when I pull the ropes, the panels won’t move much!
I could have done it the recommended way and laminated up two layers of 1/4″ ply, but I’m not sure it would have been any easier. I would have had to drill a couple to four hundred holes to clamp the boards together properly for lamination, and would have had to make a 1/2″ – 1/4″ fg butt joint. Plus, I wanted to see if the ply would break when I bent it!
Today I sanded off the excess epoxy putty form the “spot epoxy” phase, and glassed the chines, as well as the front of the bulkhead one/bilge panel joint.
I realized a couple of days ago that my back always complains when I do a lot of hand sanding. Harbor Freight had an inline air sander one sale for $29, and it is wonderful! I did have to make a couple of field modifications, the exhaust is wet (even though I have a dryer on the air line), and it was spraying water on the place where the paper clamps to the sander. This was causing the paper to get wet and tear off way before it was used up. A couple of deflectors solved that problem. I’ve even come up with a way to convert the thing into a power long board, for faring the hull! I’ll post pictures in the next issue of Chebacco.



Hi Richard

Just got back from the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend,
(where else?) Washington.  This year, for the first time, a Chebacco was in
the show.

Jerome McIlvanie has done an absolutely beautiful job on his lapstrake
version (see Chebacco News 28, October 1999.)  Both the boat and finish are
immaculate, and the varnished hatch and cabin doors (doors, not drop
boards!) are the icing on the cake.  I wish I could send you a picture, but
I didn’t think to take one – too dazzled, I guess!  John Kohnen was there,
though, with camera in hand, so maybe he would forward one for the Chebacco
page, if asked.  Maybe Jerome will send in a write-up on his building
experiences as well, it would be very worth-while.

Wayward Lass was in Port Townsend again, but she was down in the “other”
marina.  We’ve had a lot of small craft warnings, and Friday was no
exception, but the strong winds (up to 25 knots) weren’t expected until the
afternoon. When I left the dock at 6:05 am, there was no wind at all, and
there wasn’t enough to make sailing worthwhile until 7:30.  Once the sails
were up, I left the motor going in order to cross before the small craft
warning came to pass.  I’ve never motorsailed before, it’s always been one
or the other – but it worked well, with the speed over 6 knots most of the

My new Garmin 12 GPS keeps me on track as well as giving me the exact speed
over the bottom.  It told me the tide sweeping down between the San Juan and
Canadian Gulf Islands was pushing me over 20 degrees off course, and made
adjusting for this a breeze.  It also provided added peace of mind when the
early morning fog advanced to meet me in the middle of the Strait, dropping
visibility to a couple of hundred yards.  These handheld GPS units are great
little helpers — I had my compass course, and expected the fog to lift
shortly anyway (it did), but still….

I rounded Point Wilson, 2 miles north of Port Townsend, at 11:40, and shut
down the motor.  I had a great sail down to Point Hudson, where the town is,
pulling ahead of a bigger boat, who was still motoring (their main was up,
but sheeted right in, while the wind was behind us.)  Once around Point
Hudson, I sailed close past the entrance to the Festival at the Point Hudson
Marina, and on down the shore between all kinds of boats, both anchored and
sailing around.  Decided it was too good to stop, so I gybed and went back
to Point Hudson for another go round.

Saturday was the day the BolgerList guys were to meet.  We mostly got
together at the CLC booth (met John Harris of CLC there), then moved over to
the café for cinnamon buns – but they didn’t have any this year!  Tragedy!
Still, we managed.  Those present were John Kohnen, Derek Waters, John
Ewing, myself, and Miles, whose last name I didn’t get – sorry, Miles.
Afterwards, we went down to see Jerome’s boat, and found Alan Woodbury
there, with his father in law, Roger.

Did the docks then – my favourites were Jerome’s Chebacco (we need a name
there, Jerome) and a Lyle Hess Renegade, the design that Serrafyn was built
to, I believe.

We met up again at Wayward Lass about 1:30, and went for a sail – John,
John, Alan, Roger and myself.  (Derek had his family, and Miles was off to
hike the Olympic Mountains with his wife.)  Alan took the helm and we headed
out past Point Hudson, then over to watch the schooner race.  We had a good
view of the start, then followed the race down to the first buoy.  On the
return leg, we saw Jerome on the water and sailed over to say “Hi”.  The
wind had about dropped by then, and he was just taking down his sail as we
approached.  Still looked great, though.

We also saw a Martha Jane, owned by Bennett from California – the boat’s
name was Steadfast.  She looked good, and Bennett told us he’s sailed her
all over, including Florida and the East Coast.  Although we were going in
similar directions from time to time, we didn’t get into a head to head
race, so we can still both hold to our conviction that our boat is superior!
I will say, though, that the lug sail looked very impressive.

That was about it for boat showing.  Jerome, Alan, John Kohnen and myself
had dinner together at the little café by the Boat Haven – good fish and
chips and great milkshakes!  After that we went our separate ways.  I was
worrying about the weather for the next day, so I tuned in to the weather
channel on VHF.  It sounded like the forecast was improving, but it was
still expected to blow hard again in the afternoon – and in the morning I
could expect to lose 2 knots to the tide.  Gradually the conviction grew
that the best time to head home was right then, even though it would take
most of the night, and I still had some stuff I wanted to do first.

Anyway, I left the dock at 10:30, with my battery operated nav. lights
duct-taped to the masts.  Even before I reached Point Hudson I was getting a
lift from the tide – 6 knots at half throttle.  I rounded Point Wilson at
10:55, and 20 minutes later I was making 8.7 knots over the bottom!  (Normal
motoring speed is about 5.5 knots.)  It was almost a windless trip, except
for a bit of breeze in the Point Wilson area, so I didn’t have the sails up
at all.  It was chilly, I was glad of the Mustang Cruiser suit, with hat and
gloves on as well.  After the fog on the way over, I had bought a radar
reflector in Port Townsend, and I was glad of it as I passed three big
freighters in the dark. I saw the lights of each in the distance, but
couldn’t tell what they were until they were about a quarter of a mile away,
when they suddenly materialized out of the gloom and became these huge

I reached the Customs dock in Victoria’s Inner Harbour at 4:18 in the
morning, called in, then got my head down for a couple of hours before
making breakfast and heading to Fleming Beach and the launch ramp.  A great
night’s trip to end a great weekend.  If I’ve missed anyone or mispelled
their name, I apologize.  See you all again next year.



Hi Richard,

here are some pictures of our newborn
chebacco “Kitty Hawk”.


kittyhawk1 kittyhawk2 kittyhawk3

Hi Richard,

thanks for you nice message. I made the wooden blocks out of black locust
using drawings on “the rigger apprentice” by B. Toss as templates.

The tabernacle has worked well, so far. As I had mentioned, I did not like
the original turnbuckle system to hold the mast, and replaced it with a
steel fence-like piece (I will try to take a picture of it).

Yes I did leave room for the gaff between boom and the folded mast and, just
like you plan to do, I keep the boat under a tarp with the sail and rigging
attached with the mast folded down.

The sails were made by a professional sailmaker (veleria Zadro in Trieste)
that is one of the few in this country to know how to cut a gaff sail. Thanx
for your suggestions about the sails. I will try to increase the draft on
the main by playing with the halliards and the boom out haul, and see if that
improves things. Zadro refused to cut the mizzen dead flat! Any way I am now
trimming it flatter than it looked in those early pictures. I am also
experimenting the mizzen with a conventional boom instead of the sprit.

The aft hatches are made as in the plans and they seem to be good enough to
keep rain and spray out; of course some water would get in case of capsize
or if swamped by a big wave.

I will try to send you details of the blocks and tabernacle.

Yes, things around the back of the cockpit and the motor/slop well are
indeed a bit different than in the plans. I will send you pictures of the
details. Anyway, the idea was to make the cockpit self-baling when the water
reaches the level of the seats; So there is an oval cut at that level in the
back of the cockpit that drains in the slop well that has the round drainage
holes that you noticed. These holes serve the double purpose of keeping
things in the slop well and of accepting some rubber flaps (not yet on in
the picture!) mounted on the stern that would act as valves. The flaps are
needed only to prevent BIG waves coming from astern from spilling water in
the well (and in the cockpit!) while letting water go in the opposite
direction. At some point I will have to do some sort of swamp test to verify
all this!



When I came to Tulsa for flight school I owned a 14′ O’day Javelin sailboat. I
brought it along. On October 31st, 1987 my roommate and I decided to go
sailing. It was in the 80’s, which was un seasonal for that time of year. The
water, however was pretty cold. He had never been sailing. I had sailed a
little, but no formal lessons.

Background: The last time I sailed in Ohio before coming to OK it was a wild
time. A highschool buddy and I took the boat up to the lake. When we got there
a big thunderstorm was approaching the lake, and all other boats were leaving.
We looked at each other and said “What the F***”. We put the boat in the water
and rigged it. By the time we had the sail up it was raining cats & dogs. We
started out of the boat launch and the gale force winds hit. Man did we have
the time of our lives! The bow was cutting through the waves like we were at
sea! She was hiked over and water was running into the cockpit area from the
low side. Water was POURING from the mainsail onto us. It was an awesome time!
(I/we didn’t realize how STUPID that was!)

Back to OK… My roommate and I got the boat out onto Keystone with no
problems. We had sailed around for about an hour. Then we noticed a storm
developing to the south. (Little side note here… an Ohio storm does not
equal an Oklahoma storm .. unknown to us..) I announce “Hey, no it’s gonna get
fun!” LOL!!! Boy was THAT an understatement!!! The winds were so strong out of
the south that I reefed the mainsail quite a bit, and dropped the jib
altogether. I was getting frightened. (Did I mention that I swim like a
ROCK!?) I started back towards the boat launch, but of course it was to the
south. Directly into the wind. My buddy (who had never sailed before) kept
telling me to put the sails all back up and lets have fun. I finally listened
to him. We started tacking back and forth to get to the boat launch.

It was on the third or fourth tack when the wind shifted drastically and with
great force. It grabbed the mainsail and “jibbed” it. (It took it from one
extreme to the opposite side all at once — and fast!) The momentum took the
boat right over. We capsized in a heartbeat.

Both of us clammered up on the bottom of the boat. At first it was funny. We
were laughing. Then I heard her taking on water. The lifejackets were neatly
stowed in the cuddy cabin. Nice, eh? I tried swimming under and getting them,
but my feet keep getting tangled in the rigging. (Did I mention that I swim
like a ROCK!? LOL!!) It had “full floatation”, but it had taken on so much
water that we were unable to keep it “righted” each time we tried.

At the time of capsizing we were only a couple hundred feet from the launch.
By this time the wind and current had blown us out into the middle of the
lake! (Did I mention that I swim.. Oh yeah..never mind) All day long we had
not seen ONE person on the lake. My buddy made a very brave move, which I
still appreciate to this day. He decided to swim for shore from the middle of
the lake! It was horrible to watch. Each time his head would go below a swell
in the water, I thought he had drown! I was standing on the bottom of my boat
yelling for him all the way! I know he couldn’t hear me with the wind, but I
had to do something. It seemed like he swam forever. When he finally made it
ashore, he was dead tired. He waved to me. Then he limped up the hill and out
of site looking for help.

Ok.. now it gets funny. After my friend’s ordeal.. this Bayliner with 4 dudes
partying goes by! I scream.. they come over and I get on their boat. I tell
them to let my sailboat sink because I don’t care anymore! They were great
about it and lashed it, still capsized, to their Bayliner. When we got to the
launch I notice that it had banged the side of their boat up pretty bad. I
don’t think they noticed since they were so stoned. LOL! My buddy finally
comes back over the hill and I am standing by my car! LOL!! Poor guy!

Final side note. After getting it onto the trailer I could not pull it until
enough water drained out to get the trailer fenders up off the tires. It took
2+ hours to drain! LOL!!

That night we treated ourselves to a steak dinner. We had our picture taken
with our waitress. I still have that photo, and the memories. What a great

Ok.. I’m all mushy now. 🙂

That’s my Keystone story.