Here are a few photos of the first steps in building a wooden 16 foot sharpie sailing boat. First the wood for the chines, inwales, and keel are jointed and planed to thickness. Here I’m checking them for square and straightness.
Then I have to mark out the frames on the sheets of half inch plywood. I nested the frames as best I could on the sheets to reduce wastage. This was fairly easy to do as as the sharpie hull shape is very economical with materials. One of the reasons that it has remained a very popular traditional hull form. Perhaps more boats should be flat bottomed wooden boats. Of course more boats should be wooden boats. Then the frames had to be cut out with a hand circular saw and a guide rail. I did use a jigsaw in some locations but the circular saw is much quicker and leaves a straighter cut.
Well that’s all you are getting to see so far. We actually seem to be having some Summer weather here in Ireland for the first time in years and it is getting very very hard to stay in the workshop and not just go sailing.
Roeboats have been commissioned to build a 16 foot sharpie designed by Karl Stambaugh. The owner will be finishing her himself so she’ll leave the workshop without paint, rigging or sails. Hopefully I’ll get to sail her at some point. The lug rig should prove powerful and versatile and it looks pretty good too. The finished boat will be sailed on Galway Bay where the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race will finish. I’ll be posting the building of the boat as it progresses so check back to see how I’m getting on or better still subscribe to the blog or Roeboats Quarterly newsletter which will have the inside info on all the goings on at Roeboats.
This lovely raised deck 25 foot cruiser was designed by William Hand in the 1920’s. It is part of a series of boats that he designed that ranged from the smallest Zenith (below) all the way to eclipse at 40 feet. All of them featured a raised deck that produces a roomy and strong hull and to my eye anyway good looking boat. It is the quintessential classic cruiser look. You can easily imagine yourself enjoying an exhilarating trip across the bay to a friends cocktail party. This boat is no slouch, the lightly but strongly built hull, slips through the water at a tidy clip and is powered by a miserly 20hp inboard diesel. You shouldn’t think that these boats are just for zipping around the harbour, in their day Hand designed motor boats of this size and smaller have completed quite long cruises. One of these famously was from Long Island to Nova Scotia and long and demanding journey for any boat.
Down below there are all that is needed for you and a companion to cruise in comfort from bay to bay, with two berths, a galley and toilet. The boat as designed featured a canvas awning over the self draining cockpit but for a little more comfort in these northern climes a simple cabin can be built to keep you and your crew dry and cosy on those inclement days and keep the sun off on those glorious summer days that make you drop everything to get out in your boat.
If you would like your own custom built Zenith, a fine sea boat that will give you many years of pleasure and relaxation contact Tiernan Roe at 086 158 6937 or email@example.com. Less than you would pay for a similar mass produced ugly plastic boat that will no doubt gobble as much fuel in a day as Zenith might use in a week.
28, 34 and 40 foot versions also available contact Tiernan for more info.
Here are some photos of the Ilen the last wooden sailing cargo vessel built in Ireland in 1926 for use in the Falkland Islands. She’s currently undergoing a rebuild here in West Cork. I was invited to the framing out celebrations on the completion of the reframing of the boat. Next step is the planking and you can help by sponsoring a plank. They are also running traditional boat building workshops each month. They’ve also started a blog here.
The Baltimore Wooden Boat festival was a tremendous success with up to 70 boats attending. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of the weekend as I was too busy talking to people about Ninigret. I’m exhausted having spent the entire weekend talking.
Just to let you know that Roeboats was featured on RTE 1’s ( Ireland’s national radio broadcaster) maritime radio programme Seascapes last Friday the 7th of May. I tried listening to it but hearing my own voice was just too weird. Let me know if I sounded O.K. You can listen to Seascapes here.
With this weeks ongoing flying ban over most of Europe I was wondering if people were beginning to contemplate having their own means of travelling from Ireland and Britain to mainland Europe. Something along the lines of the commuter yachts that were used in the USA at the turn of the twentieth century. Something along the lines of the boat below.
Just the thing for popping across to France of England for business and if you’re worried about getting a touch of Mal de mer there are no gyroscopic stabilisers available which greatly reduced roll and pitching.
The boat above is“Rosamund” designed by John Alden in 1926 is the quintessential commuter yacht. These yachts were moderately fast motor boats that were quite spartan to begin with but later developed into luxurious yachts. Seven months a year wealthy New York industrialists were able to leave for work in their dressing gowns and have breakfast and dress on the way. With today’s communications technology it would be quite possible to work while underway turning your luxurious yacht into a mobile office. Built to the highest standards by Roeboats there is no reason why a modern or classic commuter yacht wouldn’t make the perfect antidote to air travel which will become more and more expensive and which has proven to be vulnerable to disruptions, think of 9/11 and now volcanic ash.
Or how about a Swedish commuter yacht, this one M/Y Vidar was designed by C. G. Petersson the famed Swedish naval architect, who I’m currently researching. His boats are drop dead gorgeous and of course seaworthy and fuel efficient.
Starting a business in the middle of a recession is not easy but people will still want to enjoy the unique unparalleled freedom offered by being captain of your own boat. Yes it has been difficult but I’ve wanted to be a boat builder since I was thirteen when I started maintaining and repairing racing dinghies. After nearly 25 years of learning and honing the skills needed I finally decided to start Roeboats and follow that dream. So far I have been successful and I’m hoping that clients will recognise the value and beauty of the boats that Roeboats build. I’m building boats that were designed during the golden age of yachting and building them using eco-friendly and low maintenance techniques so clients can have beautiful classic boats without the headaches of traditional construction and benefit from their sea-kindly and fuel efficient hull forms.” It all started with the building of an optimist dinghy with my father see the picture below.
Mo Bháidín (My little boat) 1983
To celebrate Roeboats first anniversary in business I’m offering a free tender with every boat ordered over 20’ before the end of April 2010. Launched with the commencement of the building of hull number one a John Atkin designed 22’ eco-friendly fuel efficient powerboat Roeboats have not only survived the recent economic maelstrom but are implementing plans to grow the business in the coming years. I’m currently discussing custom built boat projects, both power and sail, with prospective owners both here in Ireland and abroad. We’ve teamed up with two boat dealerships in Ireland, I’ll be announcing details soon, and I’m also beginning to target the UK and northern Europe. Initial contacts with specialist brokers have been very positive.
Official celebrations are being postponed slightly to coincide with the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival at the end of May where Roeboats first boat will be making it’s debut where clients can get a chance to see the fine craftsmanship and excellent sea keeping of the Ninigret. So if you’d like to have a look at what Roeboats are up to why not head to Baltimore for the 28-30th. of May
If I could build one boat for myself I would build a Dark Harbor 17. Twenty-five feet overall with a 17.5′ waterline, this gaff rigged beauty is the quintessential gentleman’s day boat. Those graceful overhangs and fine hull shape combined with her long keel and simple cuddy all combine into something incredibly beautiful. You couldn’t name this boat after your wife or husband; they could get very jealous. You could very easily start to spend all your free time out sailing in the best looking boat in the bay. Designed in 1910 by B.B. Crowninshield for the members of the Manchester Yacht Club as a one design racer, they are still being built to this day, a real example of how style never goes out of fashion. It doesn’t look like my wife will let me build one of these for myself, I already spend too much time in the workshop. So if you would like your own Dark Harbor 17 there is no better time to order yours now. I’m offering a free classic tender with each of these boats so hurry before the offer is over. I was thinking of building a new version strip planking and epoxy sheathing for low maintenance and durability. This would result in a lightweight and low maintenance classic wooden gentleman’s day sailor that will give many many years of enjoyable and reliable service.
Wooden boat magazine did a feature article on this beauty in issue 196 May/June 2007 which has some good photos and information about the designer.
Well the picture book of the building of Shena Christina is done. It arrived in the post today and looks pretty good. Of course all I can see are the bits that I could have done better, but that’s always the way isn’t it. You can have a preview of the book here. The masters of English literature needn’t worry but thankfully there’s lots of pictures. This is for the client to have as a memento of the project. I hope he likes it.
Epilogue: The client contacted me moments after receiving the book in the post, to say how delighted he was with it.