Category Archives: Boat Construction

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

Epoxyworks 20

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

Epoxyworks 19

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

Building a Wood/Epoxy Sharpie – Phase II

Designing & Building the Rudder and Motor Bracket

By J.R. Watson

Building the rudder

The sharpie’s main reason for existence for over a hundred years is its fine operation in shallow water. However, the conventional sharpie rudder is notorious for causing squirrelly steering, often becoming totally ineffective when the craft heels more than 20°. Most sharpie sailors simply accept the handling aggravations of the conventional rudder in trade for its wonderful steering ability in the shallows. I decided to resolve the traditional faults in steering by installing a special rudder and steering system that has evolved and is used on some contemporary boats. This system will yield maximum control over a wide range of wind and sea conditions while retaining the sharpie’s shallow water virtues. Continue reading

Maxi Mac

Paul Butler’s New “Maxi-Mac”

BY PAUL BUTLER

As our summer training program grew, SBCSA needed more prams to accommodate all the
kids interested in taking lessons. During the last two winters, Gougeon Brothers has provided space in their boatshop for a Monday night boat building class. The classes were open to any member, including youngsters (with their parents), with no experience necessary. Class met 3-4 hours per night, twice a month, for three months. During the two winter classes, the students and instructors built five new plywood/epoxy Optimist prams to replace older boats and repaired or rebuilt the remainder of the fleet.

No building base, temporary frames or traditional ribs are necessary as the hull is reinforced with interior compartments held in place and made watertight with epoxy fillets. The large front and rear compartments provide seating, dry storage and bracing while standing, plus the safety factor of sealed emergency flotation.

The sheer is stiffened with a laminated gunnel structure, which absorbs the stresses of hard rowing, and multiple oarlock pin locations can be installed as needed. Drifting downstream, the boat can be rowed facing forward or aft for conventional rowing by simply turning around on the console seat.

Epoxy glued butt-blocks reinforce seams and effectively strengthen the hull in critical areas. The bottom is coated with a slippery epoxy/graphite coating allowing the lightweight hull to be dragged over gravel and launch ramps.

The full-length center “console” provides adjustable seating and rowing stations and structural hull bracing, plus an ideal location for an outboard motor well. It locates the motor efficiently in the center of the hull and also prevents “hobby-horsing” in rough water, and the motor can pivot so the prop may be lifted clear of the bottom while drifting through shallows. Even the smallest gas or electric motors will move the boat briskly, and remaining console compartments can isolate fuel tanks, organize gear or may be insulated with foam to function as ice chests.

Detailed, illustrated, step-by-step building plans that discuss options and material sources are available for $33. Pre-cut kits are also available.

Paul Butler Projects
PO Box 1917
Port Angels, WA 98362
paul@butlerprojects.com

Paul Butler is a renowned boatbuilder, designer, and author, familiar to readers of Small Boat Journal, WoodenBoat, Sail, Outdoor Life and other publications.

So the SBCSA started its 2001 season with 10 new and rebuilt prams all freshly painted and fitted with new aluminum rigs and sails. Although these prams are purposely somewhat overbuilt to withstand the rigors of training 40-60 kids each season, they are surprisingly lightweight and fast. The students and volunteers had a good time building them and learned a few things along the way. All of us involved with the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association owe a sincere debt of gratitude to Meade, Jan, and Joel Gougeon, and GBI employees, for their support over the years in helping us foster and train the next generation of homegrown sailors.

Epoxyworks 18 / Fall 2001

Tenacious, a Look Back

by Kay Harley

Epoxyworks 17

Cover Photo: After four years of construction, TENACIOUS began sea trials in June of 2000. 

Tenacious, the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s (JST) new wood/epoxy, three-masted barque, underwent sea trials that began June 2000. It offered a full schedule of tall ship voyages to Spain and the Canary Islands over the winter, with spring and summer trips to Brittany, Ireland, and Scotland. JST is a British charitable organization formed in 1978 with the aim of promoting the integration of able-bodied and physically disabled people through tall ship sailing. Tenacious now joins their other tall ship, Lord Nelson, which was built in 1986 and has
carried over 6,500 disabled sailors, including 2,687 wheelchair users. Continue reading