Michael Storer

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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Top 5 Thanksgivings at Clint Chase Boatbuilder

We are certainly thankful at CCBB for five big things:

#1: The new shop. The goal by the time we were sitting down for turkey was to be in the new shop and pretty well set up so we could get back to customers' projects with as little delay as possible. We are a few days off the goat but still pretty darn thankful for this 1100 SF space where we'll be able to build above 30' or have multiple smaller boats in construction, or new construction and a prototype, or one big boat, mastmaking, and oarmaking all happening under one roof for the first time.

New Shop
The new shop on moving in day October 1st

#2: Our customers. We wouldn't be here without them. A handful now are out there building our boats around the States, from Maine to Washington, Montana to Texas. Thanks to those who have helped me start out and who help me keep on!

#3: The designers we contract with have been key to our success and I thank all of them: Francois Vivier, Michael Storer, Bruce Elfstrom, Eric Risch, Ruud Van Veelen, Rodger Swanson, Roger Long, and all those who have helped contribute to our grand plan.

#4: Casco Bay and Maine: Though we are in a semi-industrial, urban neighborhood, it is but a 3 minute ride to the ramp that accesses the most beautiful waters in the Northeast. I am very thankful to have access to these parts, the islands, the open ocean and the memorable rows and sails we've had.

Fort Gorges in Portland Harbor
Fort Gorges in Portland Harbor

#5: Of course my family who have been unbelievably supportive in my ventures, not the least of which is starting our business building beautiful boats, spars, oars and selling boat kits to others whose dream it is to build their own boat.

Drake with Kids
Drake and kids in Flanders Bay, Maine

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.

Goat Island Skiff Boat Kits Available

Our first kit offering at Clint Chase Boatbuilder is a plywood and timber kit for the Michael Storer designed Goat Island Skiff (GIS). Why buy a kit? Folks are sometimes offended when I suggest this, feeling that it is thought they don't have the skills to make the parts themselves, but that is not it at all. We build all of our boats in the shop from kits!!! Even professionals do it and the reason is that it makes the build process quicker and smoother and the result is more professional. In the case of the GIS, we have made parts and built the hull of the boat, making all the small tweaks that professionals with a good eye make to the lines of the boat to make them look eye-sweet. Any design, no matter how well drawn, will need some eyes on it in 3D to make final tweaks. We also have checked bevels and made some adjustments for a rabbeted gunwale, which covers the end grain exposed at the top of the gunwale. Our kit captures all these professional practices so you can get a better boat. Currently, kits are cut per order, but we may move to CNC when volume increases.

We were attracted to this design initially because of the sail plan, a beautifully proportioned Balanced Lug. Upon further reflection we noticed something was missing for RAID sailors and for others who might use the boat as a sail & oar craft. It needed a mizzen. A small mizzen gives great control of a small boat, allowing one to lie head-to-wind for reefing at sea or for heaving-to. It allows you to back off a beach or a dock, with practice. It is useful for trimming the sail plan, adjusting weather helm to create "feel" in the tiller. A mizzen makes single handing much easier, especially for switching between oars and sail, because the boat will tend itself and stay head-to-wind while you stow oars and fidget with things at the mast. For a useful diagram showing How to Sail a Lug-Yawl, by James McMullen.

We can supply a kit for the GIS as well as the mast and spars. Masts are round, hollow using the Birdsmouth technique. Yard and boom for the GIS are solid, laminated Northern White Spruce. Laminated spars stay straighter over time with changes in moisture content in the wood. We can make custom 9' oars specifically designed for the GIS. Rowing in the Goat Island Skiff is quite enjoyable, whether it is from the dock to a local area with wind, or coming back when the wind has petered out. Products for the Goat Island Skiff can be seen in the GIS Flyer on our website Goat Island Skiff Page.