Goat Island Skiff

Maine BoatBuilders Show


Here is a boat moving in for the Show....it is that time of year again. The Maine Boatbuilders Show started Fri and tomorrow is day 3 already. This year has been a good show so far and tomorrow should bring even more interest. People are really intrigued by what I have to offer, a couple dozen truly unique boat kit designs most of which are available only through CCBB!

This is the first time a Goat Island Skiff has been displayed at a US boat show as far as I can tell and people are loving the boat. My boat is still unpainted, but there are always a few boats at this show that are in progress, which makes it a lower key boat show. The philosophy behind this show is that it is a boatbuilders show. People talk to the boatbuilders not reps and, in the case of an unfinished boat, get a rare glimpse into the workings of a boatbuilder, work that is normally inside a shop until it is all painted.

Set up day at MBB Show 2011

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Economics of Kit Building

I receive a lot of questions and comments regarding the true cost of building a boat from scratch, full size patterns, and kits. Since I track time and materials closely, I have found that building from kits makes a lot of sense from an economic stand point. I took some discussions with customers/potential customers and put together this PDF on the 'economics of kits'.

In a nutshell, the cost of building from a kit is not as much more than building a boat from scratch as people think because of the extra plywood required to build from scratch not to mention the time savings.

As of last week

In the meantime, we are making progress on the first professionally built Goat Island Skiff (yawl version) which will be at the Maine Boatbuilder's Show in Portland on March 18-20th. Please stop by. We'll be in building 2 near the stairs up to food court.

When I post next, I'll have a PDF link that goes into more detail about how the designs/kits are produced in CAD and CNC cutting.

Free Goat Island Skiff Yawl Plan

Drake and family at the beach

Drake is getting built in the shop to test the fitting of the kit before they get shipped off to first customers in WA and PA. Kent Fosnes in WA will be exhibiting Drake next year at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. All kits are tested more than once to ensure everything goes together properly. Many of these CAD drawn, computer numerically controlled (CNC) parts are cut to the thousandth of an inch! Accuracy and precision are among a number of value added benefits to a kit. More info about CNC cutting and those benefits is forthcoming.

The first GIS Yawl doing the Texas 200 endurance event.

After the busy summer, I am back in action. Just finished are some plans for my GIS yawl that I am making available for free on my GIS page. Enjoy looking at the yawl and the other tidbits of info I include. Our GIS will be going together in October.

Drake in the Small Reach Regatta on the Coast of Maine: Day 1

The Small Reach Regatta was the next stop in my busy summer. The SRR is a gathering of 70 sail-and-oar boats, this year, at Lamoine State Park and put on by the Downeast Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association. Irowed and sailed (downwind) his rowboat design Drake and consistently finished in the front of the fleet (but of course it wasn’t a race!).

This event is an annual gathering and a wonderful chance to test and showcase the boats CCBB sells and builds to designs from around the world, for example Michael Storer in Australia, Francois Vivier in France, Eric Risch in Maine, Bruce Elfstrom's beauties and my own designs. We will be carrying kits and building boats produced by a Finnish builder, Suomen Puuvenepiste. These are unique, semi-exclusive agreements to bring new sailing and rowing boats into the US market as CNC cut kits, bare hulls, and finished boats up to 25 feet. My hope is to bring a demo boat from all these folks to boat shows and events like the SRR. Next year we'll have a Goat Island Skiff Yawl to show off like this one built by a kit customer in TX for the Texas 200:

The event was three days. Day 1 was a short windy upwind row and downwind return to a classic small Maine coast island. Every day features an interesting lunch stop, a wonderful opportunity to rest and to look at others' boats. Moreover, I see it as a learning experience to talk to the builders and owners of the boats. I learn something new from every one of the boats. For me, the SRR is about the finest form of professional development I can get.

On the downwind return to camp, a small squall came through and the force overcame my mast step..."WHAM!"...I heard the snap and the boat lurched and we nearly capsized. The first night was a quick repair with polyurethane glue while the sun set. Day two was to feature a long, fast broad reach to the lunch spot, and there was no way I was going to miss sailing that stretch! I was repairing until I couldn't see anymore boat...will it work?

Yawl should know the conundrum of getting a tiller 'round the mizzen mast

The details of how to design a yawl so that the tiller gets around the mizzen is an interesting topic. There are a number of tricks:

Using a line steering system: Here you can see Michael Storer's Beth Sailing Canoe with the tiller forward of the mizzen and the lines connecting to the rudder, which is out of the picture.

I'll add that there are a number of ways to do line steering. My Deblois Street Dory has line steering coming into the boat from a rudder yoke but there is not a remote tiller as in Beth. The Coquina is another example of line steering in which lines are attached directly to the rudder and pass through the transom, via a pulley system, and the steering line goes around the perimeter of the boat.

Using a long push-pull tiller: Here you can see James McMullen's Oughtred's double ender.

Using a curved, laminated tiller or split tiller

Using a normal tiller with an offset mizzen

For the Goat Island Skiff, we go with an offset tiller as in this model by a customer:

The other methods I mentioned just won't fit the situation we have in the Goat Island Skiff, mainly because there is not room for a split tiller and we want to keep the solution simple. We are deciding about just how much to offset the tiller. You can see above that the tiller will hit the mizzen before 45-degrees. The big question is how much room do we want to give the tiller to swing. In the pictures, we decided to test a 45-degree swing. That puts the mizzen a little further off the centerline than I'd like. This boat is very light and pushing a tiller than hard over makes the rudder act like a brake and the risk of losing so much speed that you can't get through the tack is something to consider. Then again, we don't need it so close that things feel claustrophobic. In the picture above of the offset mizzen, notice how little offset the mast is...the tiller must touch the mizzen pretty early. Does that give enough steerage for the helmsman when the push the tiller in the mizzen direction?

We'll have a solution soon after a full-scale mock up. The way we are doing this, collaboratively, is something I do on many projects. It always gets a better result because many thoughts and ideas can be sifted through. The more the merrier. Whatever the solution I draw up, the mizzen can always be moved a little more or less off the centerline according to the skippers preference. The important thing is to maintain the rake of the mizzen, which has been determined. My point is, that collaboration with designers, customers, and other folks with experience through the forums and boat shows can be an advantage in getting many thoughts onto the table and generating the best solution.