|The new molds! Thanks to Howie for this photo.|
We could have chosen most anything as our inaugural project, but we’ve been talking about a bigger, better looking, more seaworthy boat to replace the thirteen foot Boston Whaler that we use as our race committee, sail instruction, and general yard boat. We need to be able to function safely in conditions that push the limits of the little whaler. That boat loves to gulp seawater over the bow. We looked at a lot of designs, including the nineteen foot semi dory from John Gardner, Carolina Skiff types, the Bateau Boats FS17, the Handy Billy 21, and finally the Point Comfort 23 from Doug Hylan. One important aspect of this building project will be to teach woodworking and boat building skills, and the use of hand and power tools to a group of interested people, some of whom have never seen a significant boat materialize from the ground up. We could have chosen a boat design that offered a CNC kit, but honestly, there’s not much to learn from a bunch of puzzle joints and fifteen gallons of epoxy. The Handy Billy was extremely appealing as an antidote to the kit boat route, but we felt like she wouldn’t offer us enough initial stability, good sea boat that she is. We need a stable platform and lowish topsides from which to work. I had looked before at the Point Comfort 18, but pretty as she is, she’s not enough boat for us. Then Doug Hylan introduced the 23, and we had found our project.
It’s a simple, rugged, quite pretty outboard derivation of a classic Chesapeake deadrise skiff. She’s got the straight stem and deep, narrow forefoot of the type, but designed for plywood construction over more or less typical longitudinals. The hull is heavily built from 3/4” meranti ply. The forefoot is cold molded from two layers of 3/8” ply with vertical seams staggered. Besides the chine timbers, clamps, and keelson, there is very little internal framing, other than floors, bulkheads, and deck beams. The heavy skin makes this possible. This boat has twice the displacement of the 18, and maybe four times the dry weight. She’s substantially built, to be sure.
|A meeting was held to choose the boat design for our new project.|
|Our group met again to review the construction process.|
|Laying out footings for the strong back.|
|The forms were laid out with a laser and string lines...|
|And the concrete was poured.|
|Threaded insert with bolt.|
|Threaded inserts were epoxied into the concrete.|
|Locally applied heat cured the epoxy.|
|4x4 clips are aligned with the laser...|
|... and bolted down.|
|Chris drills clearance holes in the trestle legs for the bolt heads.|
|The trestles were all custom cut to a common level benchmark.|
|And here they are. A level base to build our strong back on.|