Sunday, March 7, 2010


Hello all;

This blog will document the building of a small wooden sailboat. As we are amateurs (this is our first boat), we hope that this will be an opportunity to share our knowledge and learn from others.

We have chosen to build John Atkin's Willy Winship, a 13' 9'' flat-bottomed sailing skiff.
We ordered the plans for Christmas from the Woodenboat Store in December and have been studying them and reading many boatbuilding books in preperation for the build. In fact, we highly recommend Greg Rossel's The Boatbuilder's Apprentice, as it is straightforward to understand and very applicable to any small boat.

Excited about the build before us and anxious to get our hands dirty, we plunged right in and began the first mold (without lofting first). First lesson: Loft First! After some frustration with the inaccuracy of the unlofted mold, we decided to loft the next four. Although we had been somewhat anxious about the lofting process by the many complex explanations outlined in some books (including using multiple sheets of ply and/or the floor of a room), we discovered that, to our delight, it was a simple and enjoyable process. All that we needed was a square, a good rule, the back of a laminate desktop, and a few pencils. Because Willy is a flattie, she has relatively simple lines. After building four of the molds to the lofted plans, we found that the process was so superior that we lofted and rebuilt the first mold.

Seeing that the weather here was so beautiful this weekend, we decided to construct our strongback--the spine on which the boat will be built. It is a rather simple affair, consisting of a couple 2x10's and the aforementioned molds, but it is rock-solid! Another word of advice: ensure that any strongback (and each mold) is level and square before moving on. After all, this is the platform on which the boat will be built--small mistakes here will translate to the finished project.

So, that's about as far as we've gotten so far. Hope to post a few photos of the set-up and any new progress soon. Any advice is welcome.

Joe Lap

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