Category Archives: Boat Construction

Babyface Nelson

by Bruce Hutchinson

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Cover Photo: After two years of work, Bruce Hutchinson launched BABYFACE NELSON at Gull Lake in western Michigan.

What was I thinking? That phrase kept running through my mind during the 2000 hours over two years it took to build Babyface Nelson.  Now that it’s complete and I’ve logged 50 hours on the water, I can say it was a worthwhile venture. It’s too much fun! People have commented that it must have taken a lot of patience to complete the project. Patience had nothing to do with it: it was perseverance. I ran out of patience about the second layer of cedar planking! Continue reading

The Importance of Stiffness in Small Boat Performance

by Meade Gougeon

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Cover Photo: The SWIFT SOLO is a single-handed skiff built by Bram Dally. Stiff, durable hulls are crucial to skiff speed.

One of the little known or understood characteristics of modern fiber- reinforced plastic composites is the loss of some initial stiffness capability after repeated cyclic loading. Loss of stiffness can be significant enough to cause a noticeable effect on performance, depending upon laminate makeup and degree of cyclic loading.

Loss of initial stiffness after repeated cyclic loading was first noticed in several highly competitive racing dinghy classes where older boats that had been sailed hard for Continue reading

Building for Long-Term Competitive Performance

By Bram Dally

Swift Solo, a single handed skiff built by Bram Dally.

When Meade Gougeon asked me if I’d write a piece about what I’m up to for Epoxyworks, I was honored. He had read the January 2002 article on my single-handed skiff in Sailing World and offered the assistance of GBI (Gougeon Brothers, Inc.) to do some extensive testing for us on several composite samples. The findings will be made public and should be educational. The cedar-cored samples particularly interest me because we’ve had good success using cedar cores and there seems to be a pervasive lack of understanding regarding this composite in high-tech applications. While many high-quality ski and snowboard manufacturers have tried other exotic Continue reading

The Three Lives of Cosmic Muffin

By Jennifer Jones

Cosmic Muffin, a unique houseboat owned by Dave Drimmer, has quite an interesting history. She started out as a Boeing 307 Stratoliner, which was acquired by Howard Hughes in 1939 when he bought TWA. The Model 307 was the world’s first high-altitude commercial transport and the first four-engine airliner in scheduled domestic service.  In 1948, Hughes had her interior redesigned, named her Flying Penthouse, and she became one of the first commercial airliners converted into a plush executive transport. Continue reading

Installing a Teak Deck on ZATARA

by Ken Newell

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Cover Photo: The intricate plank layout of ZATARA’s finished teak-covered cockpit, before the hardware was reinstalled.

The Zatara refit project began two years ago when my partner Steve Gallo (a mortgage banker) and myself, Ken Newell (a materials engineer), decided that we wanted something to do with our spare time and money. What we didn’t realize was the level to which the refit project would absorb every weekend and every non-critical dollar we had and cause our significant others to chastise us for our obsessive behavior. Continue reading

Building Alligator

BY BOB WALTERS

About ten years ago my wife, Ching, and I decided we wanted a comfortable, easy-to-handle, cruising boat suitable for exploring the shallow coastal areas that we missed when we lived aboard our deep draft sailboat twenty-one years ago. We looked at a lot of boats and decided that we would try a powerboat this time. We liked the features found on Biloxi Luggers, also known as “Chandeleur Boats,” a type indigenous to the upper Gulf Coast; however, we didn’t want to own a 30-50 year old wooden boat. Luggers aren’t available as production boats and we couldn’t afford to commission a custom design, so we decided to build Alligator ourselves. Continue reading

Old Lady Survives 70 MPH Blast

By Meade Gougeon

The 35′ trimaran Adagio, designed and built by Meade and Jan Gougeon in 1969, survived the harrowing conditions at the finish of the 2002 Chicago to Mackinac race this past year.

The old lady
Adagio, the first large wood/epoxy structure ever built without the use of fasteners, was one of the oldest, and lightest boats in the race. She has now become a test bed as to how long wood/epoxy structures can last. Over the years, the Gougeon Brothers’ test lab has Continue reading

Testing large fasteners

Testing Large Bonded-In Fasteners

by Brian Knight

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Cover Photo: The 154’7″ Bruce King-designed Scheherazade resting on her massive keel at Hodgdon Yachts in East Boothbay, Maine.

Scheherazade is a 154′ 7″ Bruce King designed ketch under construction at Hodgdon Yachts, in East Boothbay, Maine. Scheherazade is 60% larger than Antonisa, the last Bruce King/Hodgdon Yacht collaboration, and is the largest sailboat under construction in the United States. We first looked at Scheherazade in EPOXYWORKS 17, Spring 2001, before she was rolled and set on her 153,000 lb ballast keel. On a March, 2002 visit, Scheherazade was resting on her massive keel (cover), while far above, surrounded by multiple levels of staging, work continued on her interior and deck (below). Continue reading

Building Prams

For a Community Sailing Program

by Bruce Niederer

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Cover Photo: A new fleet of optimist prams were built to serve the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association

The Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association (SBCSA) was founded in 1995 by a group of local sailboat racers who shared a vision of a grass roots organization to provide area youngsters and adults a low cost introduction to sailing. We began that first season with three Transfusion 547’s purchased for the association by Gougeon Brothers, Inc. (GBI) and a half dozen used Optimist prams donated by the Saginaw Bay Yacht Racing Association. Continue reading

Laminated Canoe

Laminated Construction Gives Lasting Value

John McKibbin recently sent pictures of his refinished 18′ canoe. He built it twenty-five years ago, using cold-molded, that is, laminated composite construction, with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Laminating a hull is similar to making your own plywood on a three dimensional mold. While it may take more time and effort to make a laminated hull, the results are well worth it to many. Continue reading