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A day of boatbuilding fun! Working on the North Shore Sailing Skiff at CBMM.

North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model

Excellent times Saturday as I took advantage of a Christmas gift of another day in the Apprentice for a Day program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I hadn’t been there since the passing of Dan Sutherland, who ran the program for the past few years and a much-missed genius. Happily the program has rallied to continue Dan’s final project, a North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model, and I was thrilled to get a chance to participate in building this nice-looking classic small rowing and sailing boat.

North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model

I confess I didn’t get to learn much about the boat. It was designed by Robert H. Baker and a version of it appeared in the very first issue of WoodenBoat. More recently, the hull, NELLIE, appeared as Miss November in WoodenBoat’s 2010 calendar (via Benjamin Mendlowitz, of course). CBMM’s blog has a bit of additional info.

The boat had been fully planked and framed. The boat is going to be gorgeous. She will have a bright-finished Spanish cedar transom and I must call your attention to the black locust breasthook and quarter knees. My goodness, that breasthook is treasure.

North Shore Sailing Skiff breasthook North Shore Sailing Skiff quarter knee

So, on to the work I did. The morning had us refining the fit of the seats. As is often the case, this meant a good deal of subtle tweaking and nudging followed by an extensive effort to find the right spot to cut the mast partners into the forward seats (there are two mast positions and the center-line had gotten a bit murky when compared with the seats). I eventually was able to have at it with the drill press and a 3″ hole saw. A little more clean-up and the seats got pulled again and spent the afternoon in the finishing room with another participant.

North Shore Sailing Skiff aft seat North Shore Sailing Skiff with seats

The afternoon was focused on figuring out the floorboards. The plans called for a single 3″ plank running fore-and-aft about 5-6″ off the center line. This seemed an odd choice and we decided, after extensive discussion and test-fitting, to add a second floorboard inboard of the designed ones. We milled the boards – barely – out of some sassafras and a spent the last part of the afternoon shaping and sanding these pieces. Satisfying as always.

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