Calendar Islands Yawl

Workshop Schedule Up

Two workshops are schedule for 2019, Intro to Boatbuilding with the CIY and Sparmaking.

Late last year, I had a group in the shop for the first run of Introduction to Boatbuilding with the Calendar Islands Yawl. Here is what Ben had to say…

“For me, the greatest takeaway from the class is the confidence in myself to make my project successful.  Having helped build a boat under your guidance was a great experience. I loved the shop, felt really comfortable moving around, felt like I was working in a friends space.  For Dave and I your teaching style was excellent. You gave us the information needed, then let us work. We were able to figure things out for ourselves, but you were still always willing to come guide us as needed.”

-- Ben, CIY class participant


Another student bought the boat and we are finishing it out in the shop for him.

I look forward to teaching the methods of sparmaking that I have settled on after years of practice and building boats.

An excited, novice builder takes on the Calendar Islands Yawl 16

Nick and his first-mate

Nick fell in love with the Calendar Islands Yawl. He wanted a beautiful boat that he could build himself and sail with his family. And he wanted to learn how to build a boat with help from me at Chase Small Craft as well as the supports offered by the WoodenBoat Forum and the excellent books available on plywood boatbuilding. Nick bought the CIY plywood kit and epoxy/glass kits.

One of the first and most important learning curves for any builder is the mixing and using of epoxy. I remember not-so-fondly my nerves frayed when I did my first epoxy job. Just breathe, take your time, and by all means get the ration spot on! Most of the epoxies I send out are 2 parts Resin to 1 part hardener (2:1 ratio). In my kit manuals, I advocate and instruct on the importance of precoating the plywood parts with 2-3 coats of epoxy. The epoxy seals the plywood and provides an outstanding base for varnish and paint. The best epoxy are the low-viscosity ones. Nick is using System Three's Laminating Resin, which came in the CIY epoxy/glass kit I sent to him with the plywood kit. Once understanding the simplicity of mixing this 2:1 epoxy mix, the next quandary is how to best schedule the multiple coats of epoxy. The ideal precoating schedule follows:

Use the light glaring off the wet surface to tell if you have covered the wood uniformly. This becomes more important with each coat of epoxy.

Use the light glaring off the wet surface to tell if you have covered the wood uniformly. This becomes more important with each coat of epoxy.

  1. Prepare the parts by sanding edges and other rough spots with 120-grit sand paper. If parts were glued, smooth areas of squeezed out glue with 80-grit. Roundover edges of frames/bulkheads that will be in the "cockpit" with 80-grit or a router bit up to 3/16" radius.
  2. Prepare the application materials for precoating (included in kit): roller covers and frames, plastic squeegees, mixing cups and sticks, paint trays, chip brushes.
  3. Prepare the area for rolling on the epoxy. A bench with parts laid out and plastic underneath is best. An old door on sawhorses makes a great makeshift bench!
  4. Mix the epoxy exactly as the directions say. Never, ever add a little more hardener because you think it will make the epoxy cure better. That is not how epoxy works.
  5. Roll out the epoxy like it is primer for paint: a think even coat. Use a brush to soak end-grain (edges of ply) and nooks or crannies. 
  6. Let the epoxy tack up or "go green" as the pros say. You know you are at this stage when you can see your fingerprint in the epoxy and it is clearly tacking. Roll on coat #2.
  7. When coat #2 goes green, roll on coat #3.
  8. Sand it all well with 120-grit. A machine sander really helps for the planks and larger bulheads, but sand corners and edges by hand. By all means do not "burn through", meaning don't sand through the epoxy into the wood....ideally. 
  9. The parts are ready for setting up on the strongback once sanded smooth. For the places where glue is to be spread (e.g., between frame and plank) do an extra thorough sanding so as to get the best secondary bond. If you burned through in areas, spot prime those with epoxy and resand smooth.
  10. The time to recoat the epoxy can be anywhere from 6-24 hours depending on the temperature. Use the fingerprint method and plan on all day monitoring of the epoxy. The time to sand will also be temperature dependent: 24 hours at room temp. Double that time for every 10 degrees in temperature drop. 

Advanced tips:

  • Sometimes it is advantageous to let the 2nd coat cure 100% (24 hours) and sand it smooth, then apply the 3rd and final coat of epoxy.
  • If you do the above for the planks: let the final coat of epoxy cure and glue it onto the boat without sanding the epoxy. This will give you the ideal chemical bond between planks and frames.
  • System Three laminating resin is a non-blush epoxy with a 72 hour recoat time! But it is best practice to recoat within 24 hours if you are able.
A batch of CIY parts prepared: the bulkhead frames are glued. You can make out the alignment holes precut into those parts. 

A batch of CIY parts prepared: the bulkhead frames are glued. You can make out the alignment holes precut into those parts. 

There is so much to learn and I’m loving it. I’m very happy with how well things are working out so far.
— Nick, newbie builder extroidinaire

Some Articles on My Boats

Recently two came out, one in Small Boats Monthly and the other on the brand new, UK-based Barnacle Bill. Small Boats covered the Calendar Islands Yawl and Barnacle Bill had a piece by a customer in the UK who has built and avidly rows a Drake 17.

A Calendar Islands Yawl based in Duluth, MN

The orogonal Drake 17 rowed by me in one of the Small Reach Regattas

Sorry these may not show much unless you have a subscription. Believe it or not I don't read much boats stuff....but these are very well worth he money. Both rags will require good contact and readership. So far the writing is excellent!

Design Projects

Sponsorship and Commission Opportunities


A new approach to getting projects funded and delivered is through a model sort of like crowdfunding. A design project is any boat design that is either started from scratch or a project where an existing design (that has been built) is reworked or it may be a boat that has been design but not built which needs further development.

The KDI has been crowdfunded for this Fall...a number of sponsors pay into the project and receive the plans for free and a discounted kit. I benefit from having paying work, We all benefit by having the work get done! 

The hull lines for the new KDI sketched out.

Another design project is the Drake Raceboat. It has never been built, but needs sponsorship or a commission to finish the speculative work that I have started...a 3D hull model. Further work to do is to build a hull model,  finish designing the interior, create cutting files and draft the plans. The Drake Race is all about speed and efficiency but retains the seaworthy faering-esque hull.

The Drake Raceboat has been modeled in the computer but that is it until sponsorship comes along.

Another design project is the Caravelle Skiff. It has been built a few times now, but soon a sailing model will be launched and from those sea trials a set of revisions will me made (I will call it a mk2 model) and the plans and kits will be delivered to those who preorder kits. I am looking for a few more preorders. A gent in NYC will cartop his skiff to all sorts of places around LI Sound for sailing and rowing.

Lastly, an example of a scratch design project is my brief detailing what I will likely call the Calendar Daysailer, which is actually the precursor for the sail-and-oar boat the Calendar Islands Yawl. This new boat model will be 90% daysailer with water ballast and a motor well and a lot of space for 4 people to go out sailing. 

Contact me at

Developing the Calendar Islands Yawl Daysailer

Be part of the Calendar Islands Yawl project this winter

Calendar Islands Yawl daysailer

New design

the brief:

      Hull above will be modified to create more of a daysailer hull form with ample freeboard and some deadrise for choppy water. Narrow flat bottom will be retained for beaching.
·         Capacity will be up to 4 people maybe 5
·         Loa ~18’8” x ~6’6’
·         Weight estimate ~200lbs
·         Plywood stitch and glue bottom and lapstrake topsides 9mm ply
·         Large foredeck with coaming and high bow make it a dry boat
·         Lug-awl rig or gunter-sloop configurations w/ centerboard
·         Auxiliary power by oars or small OB motor
·         Interior layout with side benching and a thwart across to stabilize cb trunk and provide a spot to row from
·         Motor well aft, 2.5-4hp
·         Side benches aft and forward compartment provide positive flotation

      The idea is to find an interested group of people to help fund this work. If you are interested in having a fantastic daysailer that you can have an influence in the design, please email me at