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Summer Breeze ideas, and build notes -  (still in progress) Last updated April 22nd, 2002
Correction & update  of side layout! see below...

SBsail1.jpg (55340 bytes)    sternsailart3S.jpg (49905 bytes) SBrow2.jpg (40541 bytes)P4210034.jpg (26042 bytes) SBrow1.jpg (42750 bytes) SBtrim.jpg (36375 bytes) 
Sea trials at Cedar Key Mess About 2002!

Here's documentation of the Duckworks build of Summer Breeze in stitch and glue.

Intended purpose:

Summer Breeze was designed to be the most boat from the least materials. It is a robust all purpose skiff  targeted primarily at pleasurable rowing and sailing in protected waters, but also suitable for a small motor. It’s light enough to car top, narrow enough for most truck beds and yet has capacity for two adults and a child. (Or a dog and their gear, or no dog or kid, just a bunch of gear. Or one really huge guy with a bottle of wine and bi noculars! Your choice...)

It also uses the fewest specialized tools or skills. There is no lofting. The sides are created with all straight cuts that can even be done with a hand saw. The sides are then stacked and a hand plane or rasp, or belt sander is used to round a gentle curve in the rocker. The bottom perimeter cut is traced from the bent sides. (Though offsets are available if you crave connecting dots.)

The edge joining of plywood sheets is required, but the skarfing of the sides and back is done with simple butt blocks and weights or a staple gun, for clamping.

The boat can be built either stitch and glue or chine log & nails or screws.

(I personally prefer the later, as I prefer wood working and nailing to handling epoxy and fiberglass.)

The finished boat is 11 1/2 feet long, 50 inches wide with 16 inch sides. When fully loaded with two adults and gear (up to 500 lbs) her transom and stem barely touch the water. This translates into very little wake and consequent easy rowing or sailing. She can take a small motor as is, but if the primary desire is a motor skiff the transom can be widened, made more vertical, reinforced and the rocker decreased. (See variations.) Scott Widmier uses a 4 horse outboard on his Summer Breeze.  

Getting Started:

If you're already a boat builder you probably recognize an easy build when you see one, so you don't need any encouragement from me. Have fun. If you're new to boat building or haven't built a boat before you've found a good place to start with Summer Breeze.


This is the most important ingredient in creating anything. If you have a vision you're set. If not, try making the paper model. Imagine how you'll feel when you launch your new boat you made with your own hands. Imagine they way you intend to use your boat. Dream a little.


If you can read a tape measure, saw near a pencil line, drill a hole and hammer a nail you have all the skills you need. As you'll see, none of it is as mysterious as it sometimes looks.


  • Measure & Mark: tape measure, straight edge, pencil - bevel guage
  • Cut: hand saw, saber saw, circular saw
  • Drill: hand or electric drill (cordless is nice)
  • Sanding:  block & paper, electric palm sander, hand belt sander
  • Finishing: foam roller & tray, roller covers, foam brushes, bondo or exterior filler
  • Clamps - the more the better, but you can make some of PVC too.


      2 - 4x8 sheets of 1/4" exterior plywood. (I've used Marine grad, AC, BC & Luan)

     The solid wood pieces can be of fir, spruce, yellow pine, cypress or whatever you can find.


Being a "belt and suspenders" kind of guy, I like to use glue and fasteners. The theory being if you use nails or screws sufficient to hold the boat together by themselves, plus a modern glue that could hold the boat together by itself, you have a built in safety margin. Either can fail and you can still be afloat. On top of that when using fasteners, you can often continue on with building while the glue continues to cure.


SSscrews2.jpg (35147 bytes) Stainless steel deck screws are available in most hardware stores. I like the square drive heads myself, but philips is fine. I use them to attach the (optional) inwales through the spacers into the rub-rails. Also, where the frame pieces overlap, and attaching the seat risers. I used to use little 3/4" SS screws to glue on the sides and bottom, but partly for economic reasons I have grown fond of bronze ring nails for that purpose. They both hold as well, screws are removable, but getting the heads flush and filled well is a challenge.
drywall.jpg (15377 bytes) Screws can be used temporarily like you would clamps. Drywall screws with little pieces of plywood are great for this. The ply keeps the screw head from pulling down into the boat piece you're holding which minimizes the hole you will be filling later. I try to keep a bunch around in different lengths.


bronze14_75.jpg (9078 bytes)  Bronze ring nails are sometimes called "boat nails" and are a great invention. They hold as well as screws, are relatively cheap and easy to use, and if you hit one with a tool, say a hand plane, it doesn't damage the blade. Bronze is softer than steel and so steel will cut it. They are available in many sizes my favorites are #14 3/6", 7/8" and #12 7/8", 1", 1.25".


PL Premium, Titebond II, Epoxy

Build overview:  

First you'll study the plans and gather your materials and tools. Then you're going to make some major parts, sides, stem, frame and transom. Then you will bend the sides around the frame and attach them to the stem and the transom. You'll make the chines (gluing strips for the bottom) and glue them to the sides. You'll use this sides assembly to trace the lines of the bottom. The bottom is glued on then the other bits, rub rails, keel, skeg seats etc. Then you'll sand and paint the whole deal. That's the big picture. Now on to the details.

Sides: sidelayout4.gif (7276 bytes)

          Lay out the sides on the sheet per the drawing.  Be sure to mark where the frame will fasten to the sides.

          Rip the bow side strip 16 inches wide. (Remember your saw will remove a “kerf” of sawdust so allow for that to keep your sides the same width. They will be slightly narrower than 16”.) Per the drawing measure and mark 52” from opposite corners of the bow side section. Connect those marks and saw down the middle of the line.

          Rip two 3” strips 32” long off of the end of the remaining aft side section.

Rip that section into two 16” strips. This aft section is where the rocker is created. The line connecting the point 5.25” into the short side and 50” into the long side of the panel creates the rocker. You can stack these pieces and cut them at the same time, then round the “point” a gentle curve, or you can use  a batten (flexible piece of wood or plastic) to draw that curve and cut it at the same time as the straight cut. This can be done with a saber saw or jig saw, but a circular saw with the blade set for a shallow cut works best. You can then measure the 4 3/8” in from the aft bottom corner and connect that with the aft top corner, stack and cut. Save these pieces for quarter knees later. (You might consider just marking the quarter knees and waiting until after the dry fit to cut them off. This will give you more adjustment room during the dry fit.)

Bottom Panel:  

Mark a center line lengthwise on the ply sheet at 24”. Also a center line width wise at 48”. (This is where the center frame falls.)

Draw the 12” x 32” triangles on the corners of the ply sheet, then cut, and set aside.

Draw and cut out the frame gussets and breast hook from the other corners as shown in the drawing. (Full size patterns may be available.)

Rip a 3” strip off both sides - one will make the lengthwise butt block for gluing the bow section of the back. The other will be laminated into a backup plate for the leeboard.

Now glue the triangles to the end of the ply per the drawing and instructions below.

Butt block notes:

          There are many ways to clamp butt block skarfs. You can use weights or short #6 sheet metal screws, or even clinch bronze nails and leave them in place, but I prefer a staple gun with half inch staples. The staples are removed after the joint cures.

          Draw a center line down the butt blocks. This line will be above the joint of the ply pieces. A large flat surface is needed. It can be the floor or a table or workbench. I like to set up saw horses with a sheet of ply or OSB on some 2x4s. Use wax paper or plastic wrap to prevent gluing your pieces to the work surface.

Do a dry layout of the pieces and trim the butt blocks to clear the stem, chine logs or inwales if you plan to install them. Trace the butt blocks during the dry run. You can also round the edges and sand the blocks making them ready to paint, before gluing them.

Make sure you weight or tack your pieces so they don’t slide around when they have the glue on them. Apply glue to the edges and the surfaces using your pencile trace lines as a guide. If you use PL Premium spread it with a notched trowel. If you use Titebond II you can spread it with a brush, roller or spatula or scrap of cardboard.

Position the butt blocks, drape twine over them and staple stradling the twine. A staple every couple of inches will do. Make sure you get the corners. The twine both prevents the 1/2” staples from going all the way through the ply and makes removal easier. I usually let my joints dry overnight.


 half frame.gif (4218 bytes)   There is only one frame which falls at the widest part of the hull.  It's often easier to do a full size layout drawing of the frame and set your wood on it. The final measurment of the bottom and the side frame are 39" and 16". They have to be slightly longer initially. How much longer depends on the actual width of your stock. If your wood was miraculously exactly 1.5" wide then we could trust our drawing which says they are 39 15/16" & 16.55" before the angle is cut. But in the "real world" your stock might be 1 5/8" so just lay your wood on your drawing and transfer the lengths.

Clearly mark the center of the bottom piece to help with alignment later. 

 framebrace.gif (6420 bytes)   I like to cut the side pieces a couple of inches longer than 16", and trim them later. This allows me to temporarily screw a piece of scrap 1x2 across the top to stabilize the frame while all the fastening is going on.
gussetb.gif (4310 bytes)   . Here's the pattern for the gusset. You can draw a full size pattern or do something like I did with these foam board scraps. Just make two 6" legs and a 9.5" leg and connect them to each other. Instant pattern! Place them on your ply and trace the interior. gussetpattern1.jpg (62535 bytes)
   The gussets are sandwiched between the bottom frame and the side frame pieces. (see drawing) Glue and nail the assembly,  with one 1 ½” SS deck screw in each corner where the frame members overlap  

Limber holes: 

These are drain holes that are found in most traditional boats, which allow water to move freely from one side of the frame to the other. They  are more important in a larger boat where any water needs to drain to the bilge pump.

limberholes1.gif (3091 bytes)  I feel they are optional in this small a boat since a boat this size is often turned over to empty, or bailed and sponged. There are a couple of ways to make limber holes. limberholes2.gif (3696 bytes)
If you have external chine logs, just saw the corners off the frame. (See sketch.)  They will need to be more inboard if you do inner chine logs. Notch for inner chine logs before you attach the frame to the sides. (See sketch.)
Whatever you do make sure you seal them well with epoxy or paint prior to assembly. They are difficult to get paint to once once assembled, and they could suck water into your frame and promote rot if water is left standing in the boat.
fullframe1.jpg (60704 bytes)  Here's the frame in an almost completed Summer Breeze with external chine logs and optional inwales. You can also see the forward seat supports. (I know this picture's a little out of sequence, but it's the only photo I have of the frame right now.)

TSSboards2.2.gif (20688 bytes) This is the board layout I came up with for the Duckworks contest. This layout is a bit crazy, since it is only to comply with the contest materials rules. You don't have to do all the scarfing, you can just buy longer boards! And you can make some of the sailing bits of plywood too. I'll comment about that as we go.


transom1.gif (3748 bytes) transomangle.gif (4503 bytes)

Made of solid 1x12 (3/4 ” x 11 5/8”) the bottom measures 29 ¼” inches and the top 34 ¾” inches. These measurements are for the outside or aft side of the transom. That way if you decide to make your transom of thinner or thicker stock it will still be right. The aft, or outside dimensions remain the same.  The angle is 13 degrees. Or 103 degrees for most circular saws, since your adding 13 to 90. Remember to mark the center clearly on top and bottom edges. This is crucial for alignment later.

The arched crown addition is optional. (Looks sweet though.) The transom could also be made from ½” or 3/4” ply if you have it. My first Summer Breeze transom was made from 2 x 12 stock. Which turned out to be overkill.


stem.gif (6723 bytes)

          The most frugal use of materials is to cut a 1x2 corner to corner and glue the sawn faces together. (See diagram.)  The angle is 41 degrees, set your band saw or table saw blade to 20.5degrees. This can also be cut from a 2x2 (or laminate two 3/4” stock) where you just cut two corners off your stock.

This is optional if you are doing stitch and glue. Duct tape the outside of the bow, and prop the hull up bow down to assist in applying the fillet of thickened epoxy and tape to the bow joint.


          Once the sides are joined, and the frame and stem is made, it’s time to bend the sides, and make this stack of wood look like a boat! I highly recommend a dry run of this step. It can prevent major nervousness. And a goof found without glue is infinitely easier to fix.  

On the floor or work surface first attach the stem to one of the bow ends with two or three drywall screws and ¼” ply pads.

Now line the sides of the frame up with the marks on your sides. Hold it with a couple of your dry wall screws with the ¼” plywood pads. You have a big “H” now.  

Using a “Spanish windless” – loop of rope with a stick twisting it to tighten it, (Or what I prefer is a truckers hitch instead of the stick) bring the bow sides together and screw the other side of the stem.

 truckers_hitch.gif (8053 bytes) I actually use a variation on the trucker's hitch. Any loop in the end of a line can be used like a block (pulley) which gives you mechanical advantage, or "purchase" as shippy folks say. For this bending after it's pulled up tight a simple overhand knot "in the bite" (half bow) will secure it, since we're not driving this rig down the highway.

Here's a great animation of a "real" truckers hitch that works well for securing loads... like boats! 


Great boy scout knot site!


Now attach one end of the transom to one side end with drywall screws.
Now use a Spanish windless to pull the sides into the transom. Temp fasten this with screws as well.  

Step back and admire your handy work. Now does that look like a boat or what!! Better put it on low saw horses at this point if you've been working on the floor.

          Now check for alignment. Stretch a tight string from bow to center line on the transom. Make sure it passes through the center mark of the frame. Adjust as needed. (Meaning bang it around a little.) We'll test fit the bottom before gluing it up.

sb09.jpg (75904 bytes) Here is Chuck's stitch and glue version with the sides bent test fitting the bottom.


Chine Logs:

      chinegundetail.jpg (32048 bytes)     These are cut from one strip 5/8” x 1.5” 130” long. It is split at 18 degrees. They can be of fir or pine or cypress, the important part is that they be as clear, straight grained and free of knots as you can find. They can be wet down and set with their ends supported and a weight in the middle overnight, to make bending a bit easier. Some woods 


If external these are just glued and clamped to the outside bottom edges of the sides and nailed with 7/8” bronze ring nails. They can “run wild” at the ends, and then be trimmed. The other advantage they lend is when the bottom is glued on. External chine logs form a lip that the edge of the bottom can be easily clamped to. This does alter the way the leeboard is attached, as there will need to be a spacer that the pivot bolt goes through since the board will bear against the gunwale and the chine log. (Stitch and glue, or inner chine log allows the leeboard to be bolted flat to the side.)


          Internal chine logs are another matter, but are probably the most “boaty” steps in building Summer Breeze. You get to use a bevel gauge and feel like a real shipwright! This is because we measure and mark two angles on each end using your bevel gauge. (See diagrams.) 

chinebevel4.jpg (8775 bytes) chinebevel2.jpg (7992 bytes) chinesaw.jpg (7641 bytes)

First the bow end is fitted and the chine is bent and temporarily clamped to the side, until you reach the frame position line. Mark where that line falls on the chine log. Now unclamp the chine log and do the same from the stern to the frame mark. You’ll now have two marks near the middle of your chine that represent how much the piece needs to be shortened to spring fit into the boat. Using your angles from one end,  shorten the piece the amount you measured between your marks. If all went well it will pop into place if not, either shorten it or we’ll fill the gap later.

          These are glued and clamped, and nailed in place. A long board with course sand paper can be used to level off the top of the chine logs. (See illustration.)  

Now tack the bottom back in place and trace the side lines onto the bottom.

When the fit looks good trace where the sides touch the bottom. Remove the bottom and cut outside the line with your circular saw set shallow. How close you saw to the line will depend on how you intend to remove the overhang. If you flush trim with a router it doesn't much matter. If you intend to hand plane and sand, you might want to angle your saw blade 18 degrees and stay pretty close to your line. This will give less material to remove later.

Dry fit the bottom:

          Set the bottom on align the bow triangle and the center line of the stern with the center of the transom. Weight it in place, and tack it to the stem, frame and transom with finishing nails. How’s the fit? If it’s good congratulations! If not, aren’t you glad the transom is only dry  screwed on…;-) If necessary the position of the transom can be adjusted slightly.

          Now remove the bottom and disassemble and reassemble the sides, frame stem and transom – this time with glue. Pull the string and check alignment before the glue sets up. Correct if necessary.  

Gluing the bottom:

 Before you glue on the bottom you want to be sure the chine logs are pretty level across the bottom.

fbld20s.jpg (12475 bytes) A long level or straight 2x4 can be used to check how level your chines are. Splitting the stock at an angle gives a head start on this, but you'll probably have to plane or sand some. One trick is to wrap course sand paper around the end of your long board. The end resting on the other chine keep you level as you work your way along.

Finger Guage:  

markgauge2.jpg (6422 bytes) I made this little marker some call a "finger guage" that makes it easy to mark where the nails will go in the chine log. Mine also has a 4" piece of wood taped to it that determines the spacing. (Some space their fasteners 5" or 6" apart, but I use nails which are cheap, so I put them at 4".)

markgauge.jpg (9287 bytes) Here it is in use. Mark with a pencil or an awl.

 fingerguage1.gif (2650 bytes)  Here are some  illustrations.  Shape will vary depending on whether you have chosen to do inner chine logs or outer.    fingerguage2.gif (2909 bytes)

Apply glue to the chine logs, stem and transom and tack the bottom back in place, using the same finishing nail holes. Mark, drill and nail the bottom on moving from bow to stern, with a nail every 4 inches. (If you prefer SS or bronze screws can be used instead of nails. They hold about the same as nails, but they are removable. Getting the heads flush is slightly trickier.)


          Also known as rubrails, these go on just like external chine logs. They are glued and nailed flush with the top edge of the side. The ends can run long and be trimmed after they are attached. I dry wall screw and pad in either end is helpful.


Quarter Knees & Breast Hook:

These are cut from ¼” ply as shown on the plans. There are two ways they can be installed. Cleats can be glued to the inside of the sides such that when glued in place the ply pieces are flush with the gunwales. The top of the gunnels and stem, or gunwales and transom can be planed or sanded flat. The ply pieces are then glued flat on top. The first approach looks tidier to most folks, but the second approach is a bit easier. The edges can be left as is, or a scrap of ¾” solid wood or ¼” ply can be glued to the underside edges for stiffness and appearance sake.

Handle-Braces: Variation on hook and knees. Details and pictures here.

If all of the above seems tricky here is another approach. ¾” to 1" dowels can be as combination braces and handles. 

These lend the stiffness and resistance to both compression and expansion that breast hooks and knees provide while also functioning as handy handles or tie points while car toppng.  

Keel & Skeg:

On the firest Summer Breeze, I made them both made from 1x4 which is 3/4" stock. You can laminate the skeg from the two pieces in the drawings of the sides layout. It tapers from 3.5" to 3/4". The keel is 2 1/2" wide.   My approach is the same as used on the Bevin's Skiff. Here are their instructions. (off my site) Their instructions might be a little clearer. (Remember their bottom is 3/8" so don't use their nail sizes)

keelclamp1.jpg (12572 bytes) Here I'm dry fitting the blanks. First make center lines inside and outside the boat. On the outside mark on either side of that half the width of the keel. The edges of the keel should hit those marks. Make a center line mark on the bow end of the keel that will line up with a center line mark on the stem. Once positioned trace the edges of the keel with a pencil. I drilled 2 pilot holes in the stern end of the keel and one hole at the bow end where I use a temporary dry wall screw which goes through a small pad of 1/4"  ply, so it clamps instead of pulling down into the keel wood. Now I unclamp the keel and round it's edges.

routeskeg.jpg (15643 bytes) I like rounded edges, but they aren't really necessary. Here I'm rounding the edges of the skeg with a 3/8" round over bit in my router. (If you laminate a 1/2" skeg use a 1/4" round over bit) A clamp on the router and a clamp fixing that clamp to the workbench makes a mini shaper. You can also round edges with a rasp and sandpaper.

keelslot.jpg (16274 bytes) I make the skeg slot by drilling a  hole in the keel with a spade bit where the forward end will go. (Same size bit as the thickness of your skeg)  Using a table saw, circular saw with a guide, or a hand saw cut the slot from the end to the hole.


skeginslot.jpg (10489 bytes) Rounding the tip of the skeg with a radius round over bit makes it a perfect  fit in the hole at the end of the slot.  (Again 1/4" or 3/8" bit matched to skeg stock.)

I use #14 x 7/8" bronze ring nails to attach the keel. You could use screws if you like.  I pre drill for the nails with a bit slightly smaller than the nails. I use a pattern of 2 side by side about 3/4" in from the edge, then 1 in the center every 4 inches. In the skeg area, I only nail the edges. 

Either clamp a spacer in the skeg slot to be sure it stays the right size or put the skeg in the slot. Spread PL on the bottom of the keel, screw it to the stem, and nail or screw it to the transom. (#12 1 1/2" ring nails) The rocker in the bottom seems to hold it in alignment pretty well. You can also attached some temporary alignment blocks to make sure it goes in right. 

If you're working by yourself:

After the ends are attached,  turn the boat right side up on your floor. (Remove the skeg if you had it in the slot.) I put some scrap 3/4" stock to either side of the keel to keep the boat from rocking. I then stand in the boat using my weight to press the keel to the floor while I nail from bow to stern. I needed to prop the stern up with a boat cushion while I did the bow as my weight wouldn't pull the keel all the way to the floor otherwise. I also prop the bow while nailing the aft end. It's also possible to leave the boat on sawhorses, and slide a saw horse along under where you are nailing.

If you have a helper:

It's quite a bit easier if you have a helper. You can keep the boat on saw horses, and your helper can hold a "bucking iron" - any heavy weight, usually a sledge hammer - against the keel behind where you're hammering. (Your helper will want to wear hearing protectors.)

Now flip the boat back over and glue in the skeg. First test the fit, and adjust if necessary. Butter up the skeg and put glue in the slot to get good squeeze out. You don't want air pockets in there. I didn't put any nails or screws into the skeg from the inside, since it seemed strong enough without them. You might want to though. Be sure its at a right angle to the boat bottom as it dries.

trimskeg.jpg (8183 bytes) After the glue has set I cut the skeg and keel off flush with the pull saw. 

keel&skeg.jpg (7551 bytes) Here it is glued. 

As with epoxy it's very good to work as clean as you can when gluing. It's much easier to clean up glue while soft then to struggle to get it off later. I keep a bunch of tongue depressors around (sort of large Popsicle sticks.) and use them as disposable scrapers. You can cut the end at the desired angle and scrape squeeze out as you go. That said, there will be dried glue to clean off. How hard you work at it depends on the level of finish you are going for. 


I have no seat in my prototype boat as I like that space open for sailing. With no centerboard trunk, the whole boat becomes a cockpit with much sprawling space. I prefer to sit on a moveable seat when I row, usually a stack of cushions. A great idea I haven't tried yet, it a plastic tool box with a piece of plywood and a cushion attached to the bottom. Sit on it to row, flip it over to grab a tool. The cushion should float it in a mishap, but best to keep it tethered. That said...

If you decide to install a seat measure and cut it to fit which allows for any minor bend variations in your hull.  For the design contest I allowed a small cleat of 3/4" stock to be attached to the side for the seat to be attached to.  The center of bouyancy according to the computer is 79" from the bow. In theory you can place the center of your seat there. But remember what Yogi Berra says:

"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

So you could do what I do. Seal the edges of the ply with epoxy, and then get her wet and see how she floats. In the "theoretical place" a  9 1/2" wide seat will have the frame notched into it 3" in from the aft edge of the seat. However, I rarely stand on my seat putting all my weight over the center of buoyancy. Some of my weight is on my feet. So a bit forward of the theoretical is probably closer to the practical.

A better Idea I just got from Mike Goodwin is a removable seat that works like this. The seat is omitted from the sketch for clarity.

seatsupport.gif (11578 bytes) Another 1x2 frame piece it attached to the side forward of and parallel to 
the main frame. Notice the lower end tapers to meet the internal chine log. 
(If your chines are external or you stitch and glued just taper it to the side 
bottom joint.) The cross support is also 1x2 and runs long so the "ears" can be used to tie or bungie the seat in place. Hieght is a matter of taste and I've seen seats from 9" to 12" high. You can decide by feel or, if you plan on using a trolling motor allow for the height of your  battery, as midships is the best  place for it. If your trim test has your seat farther aft then let the aft "ear" run longer and notch the seat around the frame.

Mast Partner:  

The mast partner should also be cut to fit, and make sure you leave the center of the mast hole at 50" from the bow as shown in the rig sketch. If you do the rectangular mast from 2x4, make sure the long dimension is athwartship (side to side) as the mast takes the most load in that direction and is stronger that way. The mast partner should not be removable but fastened securely to cleats as a lot of torque is transmitted to the hull through this piece.

Mast step:

maststep1.gif (4972 bytes)  These are 4 1/2" squares of 1/4" ply with 1 1/2" squares in the middle. The slot is in the bottom one to let water drain. Face the slot aft. Glue these  two pieces together.  Shoulders are cut in the bottom of the mast leaving a 1 1/2" square 1/2" long to fit in the step. Find it's position by leveling the boat - corners of transom and base of stem should be the same distance from the floor. You can use a plumb bob from the mast partner, or insert the mast and use a level to make it vertical. Mark where the step goes.  Glue and screw or nail it into the keel. Make sure glue ooze doesn't obstruct the drain groove.


TSSMsailrig6.gif (5678 bytes) The rig on the left is the original from a 9'x12' tarp. The one on the right was for the Duckworks contest, which had to be pieced  from an 8'x10' tarp.  

The polytarp lugsail is effective and easily made. It has an upper spar or “yard” 10 feet long and a 10 foot sprit boom, rigged with a “snotter.” (Piece of rigging attaching it to the mast and allowing you to vary the tension on the sail...see rigging diagram on details page.) Here are details for making the sail.

sailmeas.gif (5061 bytes)

Leeboard and brace plate:

  The leeboard is made per the drawing. If you want to stay very basic you can get away with just rounding all the edges. If you want to make it a bit more efficient you can taper it towards the leading and aft edges. Generally the thickest point of a "foil," as they call them, is a third of the way back from the leading edge. Some say leaving the trailing edge squared off is more effective then rounded. That's a bit over my head, but if you want to research it Jim Michalak is the guy to go to. Here are a couple of his articles on leeboards:


http://marina.fortunecity.com/breakwater/274/1998/0615/index.htm#Pivoting Leeboard Design

Here's a quote from one of his recent newsletters:


The leeboard - always best to laminate it from thinner plywood to avoid warpage. So if the leeboard is to finish at 3/4" thick you should make it from two layers of 3/8" plywood or three layers of 1/4" plywood. What I like to do is to make one lamination exactly the right size and the others a bit oversized. Then apply lots of glue between the layers, place the layers on top of each other on a flat surface and tap light nails through the stack so that the layers can't slide around on each other. Then place something like concrete blocks on the stack of layers to aply pressure. Then walk away until the glue has set hard.

Trim the glued up leeboard blank to final shape. Then streamline the front and aft edges that will flow through the water. Don't just round the edges with a router bit. It doesn't have to be carved to a full airfoil shape but I would suggest something like this:"

Read the whole thing here:   http://homepages.apci.net/~michalak/ and browse his boat plans. He has some great ones, and very reasonably priced.

He also has some great articles in his archives on leeboards and rudders. 

The pivot bolt on Summer Breeze  is placed the same distance from the aft edge and the top edge of the leeboard. That distance will be 8" for external chine logs, and 6 1/2" for internal or stitch and glue. The difference is because with external chine logs the leeboard will bear against the gunwale, the pivot bolt spacer, and the chine log when deployed. The other version is bolted flat against the side with a plastic spacer to reduce friction, and touches the underside of the gunwale when deployed. It sort of "bump" stops against the gunwale in the down position. 

   A 3/4" thick backing plate of 3 pieces of the 3" wide ply is fastened to the inside of the side, opposite the leeboard. This reinforces the pivot bolt mounting point and distributes the forces over a wider area.

board up.jpg (77540 bytes)  board down.jpg (79785 bytes) leeboardown.jpg (24859 bytes)

This leeboard idea I got from my friend Richard Frye. It will work with internal chine logs or stitch and glue. 


In the contest design the rudder is of 3/4" pine, but I would recommend plywood if you can do it. I've used 1/2" ply, with the edges just rounded, and I've laminated two 1/2" ply pieces into 1"stock and shaped it into more of a foil cross section. (see leeboard) 3/4" would work fine too, and I know Jim Michalak sometimes laminates 3 pieces of 1/4" for his. Many woods will work, but ply is much less prone to split than solid stock.

rudderSB.gif (13402 bytes) rudderSB2.gif (9275 bytes) ruddersheetsepia.jpg (52129 bytes) 

I recommend you draw this full size on card board for a template. That way you can check it against the transom and with your hardware.

This is a kick up rudder that will pivot up out of harms way when you hit something. There is a disk of plastic sandwiched between the blade and the head that allows for generous tightening of the 3/8" SS pivot bolt and still have a  nice amount of friction. Keep you're mounting hardware in mind while you make this. Make sure the hardware doesn't interfere with the pivoting blade. Sometimes it has to be countersunk. 

Some counterweight their rudders to make them negatively buoyant. For any who would like to try their hand at pouring lead... here are notes on my journey into lead land.

tiller1.jpg (4244 bytes)   TillerSB3.gif (4477 bytes) TillerSB4.gif (5139 bytes)The tiller is made from  3/4" x 3.5"stock 38" long. I drilled a  hole in it the thickness of the rudder head stock, then sawed to the hole to form the slot for the rudder head. If you round the head with a quarter round radius router bit, it can fit the slot perfectly. Very satisfying. Could be left square though. A stainless steel bolt runs crosswise in front of the head slot to prevent splitting. The hole in the handle end is for attaching a tiller extension if needed.

Option: You can see in the sepia photo above that I run my main sheet through a hole in the tiller that has been routed into a kind of smooth fair lead. It is above the rudder head in such a way that downward pressure on the tiller pinches the main sheet, lifting allows it to run free. This allows both steering and sail control in one hand, which I often find handy in small boat sailing.


   The mast is as simple as it gets. Use as clear a 10 foot 2x4 as you can find. Taper it starting about 3 ft above the base, to 1.5" at the top. The 3.5" dimension runs athwartship (side to side) so it's strongest side takes most of the stress. A 3/8" or 1/2" hole is drilled in the top for the halyard. If you round it with a quarter round bit it becomes a pretty smooth "fair lead." If you end up in conditions you think are going to break your 2x4, get out your oars and get home!


    Both my spars - the yard and the sprit are bamboo. I know most don't have access to bamboo, so the yard can be made of closet rod if you can find it in 10 ft lengths. You can also make it from 2x2 which is 1.5"x1/5". Round the corners to cut down on sail abrasion. The sprit can be made of the same, but you can also taper it starting about a third in from each end. Taper to 1" square. Find the clearest wood you can.


Here' is a great article by Dave Carnel on latex paints for boats. I know it might sound crazy, but a lot of folks do it and it can work out to be an economical and effective solution to boat finishing.



Resources - Supplies, Materials and Tools...

Jamestown Distributors -- Boatbuilding Supplies for the Trade and Craftsman
World Panel - source of Marine Plywood
stainless steel nails and screws from USA Manufacturers
Boat building screws, boat nails, carriage bolts
        From Glen L Marine 
Ken Hankinson supplies

Raka Home Page
reasonably priced epoxy (sometime free shipping)
Epoxy Accessories
MAS Epoxy - Some claim its the best if you tend to be sensitive to epoxy
Fiberglass Coatings Inc Lowest cost epoxy I know of. A Florida Company

US Composites - Might be lower priced then Fiberglass Coatings, haven't tried them.
Hollowood Exotic Plywood Tubing by BrandNew $5ish a foot for small mast sizes - cherry, maple, walnut etc...


More Jim Michalak resources:


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