Thursday, December 24, 2015


It has been a long time coming.

Here is the boat I have (just this morning) begun to build.

She (no name yet) is just shy of 34 feet long with a 10 1/2 foot beam, and 6'4" headroom down the center.  All framing is 2x4 structural fir, except for the roof longitudinal beams that will be Indonesian mahogany, a pile of which I obtained cheaply and will be further used for hatch coamings, interior trim and so forth.

The hull, sides, decks and bulkheads are 1/2 inch marine fir.  Sides and decks will be 2 layers and the bottom 3 layers. Roof will be a layer of 1/2 inch MDO with another layer of 1/2 inch fir.

Framing and first layer of ply will go on with PL Premium and epoxy coated deck screws.  Subsequent layers of ply will be epoxied and nailed with Raptor polymer nails.  The whole exterior will be epoxied and covered with Dynel.

The layout is spacious and commodious.  Down the companionway stairs (easier for us as we age) to the starboard galley.  A composting head is located in a compartment big enough to accommodate it, but no larger.  Forward of that is a work surface that folds up to reveal a sit down shower that can double as extra storage and a place to allow wet gear and clothing to drip dry.  Through the bulkhead to the salon with dinette, wood stove and large settee.  Insulated and laminated marine windows allow sitting eye level views of the outside.  Forward of that is the stateroom with queen size berth and a hatch to provide access to the forward deck and egress from the boat when nosed into a beach.

My plan is to make as much as I can in the garage at home (e.g. bulkheads, curved stringers, etc) and then transport them a short distance to the yard where assembly will take place.  I will build the hull inverted and finish it up to the point of bottom paint and then get a crane in to flip it.  We'll complete to exterior paint and then transport the boat home and level it up in the driveway for fitting out.  That way I can save some space rental.  Getting to that point should be relatively quick - at least that is what I am hoping.  Below are some self explanatory pics.

More to come...


  1. Consider using 5/8" for the bulkheads. Sam Devlin (in his book) says he found it much easier to work with than 1/2" because of its increased stiffness. 5/8 is twice as stiff as 1/2.

  2. A good start! Consider curving the sides just a bit. It's amazing how much stiffness that adds to the entire structure, for very little trouble.

  3. Rick, the bulkheads will have additional finish material added in many places where it will add to the stiffness. I have lots of 1/2 inch ply since I got a good deal by buying a whole lift so that's what I'll use mostly. I thought of doubling on the bulkheads but it seemed to be overkill. Thanks for the input though...I never reject a suggestion without a good think beforehand!

  4. Believe me Dmitry, I kicked that around a lot. I'm quite aware of how well a curved surface contributes to the stiffness of a structure since I did structural work on aircraft for years...and particularly helicopters. What it came down to though was simplicity, ease of construction and time to build. Curves require beveling, fitting, and more work in general especially when it comes to finishing out. It is not that I don't have the skills or the willingness to work, but the difference between a project that might take less than a year and a project that could take considerably more than that means a lot at my age (61). My Dad died suddenly at 61. Without purposely being morbid here, we don't know what time we've got left and while the process itself should be as enjoyable as attaining the goal, I do want a barge in the water sooner than later. As I say to my wife, "Don't worry about the future. We're in it!" Thanks for following this though. It means a lot.

  5. How has your boat project gone. I am building a simple 12 by 36 sailing raft in Mazatlan, Mexico.

  6. Where are you building this? Looks like SE Alaska.