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Ask and yee shall receive – three new Klaus Schmitt designs

Klaus Schmitt has responded to our post last night with three more designs he has sketched up. He is definitely in a nice vein – classic workboat-inspired yachts. All look like they would be comfy and pleasant while not looking far removed from hauling a barge or a net. Of the first, Klaus writes: “[The first] is a raised mid deck cruiser… a nice way to get some room inside without [the sheer] looking too lumpy.” I agree the approach works well here, thanks to the strong trim on the sheer plank.

7 - 34 Ft motor yacht

The next is “a small motorized pinky that will take you most anywhere. Incredibly seaworthy boats.” And sooo gorgeous. This is easily my favorite of the three. I love the lines of a pinky and this is a great take on the tradition. In fact, it really is what we call a Fusion of Tradition boat, is it not?

7 - Motorized Pinky

Finally, a boat Klaus call “a tough little motor sailor.” Indeed – no one is kicking this one out of the anchorage without a fight. And who’d want to anyway? Charming.

7 - Motorsailer

Iteration on the leeboard bracket for AL DEMANY CHIMAN

The leeboard bracket is giving us a tough lesson in the physics of lateral resistance. My first attempts showed flaws in the bracket to clip the board to the single side gunnel. The second attempt, from late summer, is below. I followed the published models and build a bracket that clips to both gunnels.




This system worked well enough at keeping the bracket in place, but I still had the end that meets the leeboard all wrong. I realized two things. First, the bolt was too thin – at 1/4″ it was being bent by the leeboard’s upward, outboard pressure on port tack and upward, inboard pressure on starboard tack. Second, the “face plate” provided too little bearing surface for the board (and the bolt on the outside was too small as well). There wasn’t enough to keep the board clamped in place.

In the Fall, then, I enlarged the “face plate” and made a much bigger knob to clamp in the leeboard itself. The worked much better, but the “face plate” still came apart. In the face of these forces, then, I have now buckled a bit and, how shall we say it… screwed the snot out of it. I am still resisting loads of fiberglass cloth and big metal L joints, but there is more epoxy and bronze than before. I am hoping this will be enough. I find the bracket rather graceful as it is now (scrap white oak FTW!), and don’t want to have to revert to something clunky and ungainly. Physics may overpower, though.



The latest from our shop – canoe paddles for the kids

Hello, dear readers. Or all two of you that haven’t written off Chine bLog. We have been on a bit of a hiatus here at the editorial HQ of Chine bLog. No excuses, just haven’t gotten to much writing.

We have been in the shop a bit over these few months. As Christmas presents, I designed and built paddles for my kids. The larger one, for my daughter, is modeled on Cree style. My son’s is Tlingit-ish (I blunted the tip for improved wear and to limit weaponization potential). All in all, I quite happy with them. They are fully varnished – scoff away, purists – and I managed to put a strip of thickened epoxy along the blade tips for wear. Looking forward to getting them out on the water this spring!

Under sail again! Further tuning the sailing rig on AL DEMANY CHIMAN

It took longer than I had hoped to rebuild the lateen yard so that I could get my skin-on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN under sail again. Recently, though, I finally completed that task and yesterday morning life and the weather gave me an opening to get “the sail canoe” under sail for the second time.


Truthfully, the weather could have helped a bit more – the wind was fairly light and flukey. This said, I did have a nice little sail and made some progress towards having the sailing rig fully tuned and “done.” The new yard did well and the reworked main sheet arrangement was much better. I think I also have identified the right spot on the yard for the halyard.

Left to do is to do some thinking on the leeboard. The boat definitely wants the lateral resistance to go upwind well, but there are two issues. First, the bracket I designed to clip the board to the gunnel just isn’t working. On port tack it was just about pulling up and over the rub rail. I think I am going to need to use a bracket the crosses the hull and clips under the inwale on both sides; this is the more common arrangement I have seen in Gary Dierkingand Todd Bradshaw‘s books.

The other problem is that the board will still not reliably stay down, even after I added leather washers. Not sure what my next step is on this one.

I’ll also be playing with the steer oar to try to improve it. Steering will be something I’ll be playing with further, I suspect.

Boats we found on vacation at Cuttyhunk Island, MA

We here at Chine bLog are just getting back into the grind after a nice vacation at our fave port, Cuttyhunk Island, MA. We got in some good paddles in the skin-on-frame outrigger canoe, AL DEMANY CHIMAN, and, along the way, key our shutter ready for interesting craft that were also there. There were several of note. Below are some highlights.

Pocket-cruiser ketch

An interesting-looking pocket-cruiser ketch

Gaff sloop

Sweet little gaff sloop

Mini tug

A well-appointed mini-tug

Dorethea L

Workboat-inspired power cruiser DORETHEA L


Trawler-yacht ACADIA

As in the past, we are inclined to award a Boat of the Trip, given to that vessel that best captures our heart, pure and simple. The ones above are all nice, and we were thinking we’d have to make a tough choice, but then, on the last full day, the dark horse appeared and sewed up the award. I saw her from the house, about a mile away, and knew I had to check her out. Up close, I found what I expected: a gorgeous sheer, fine woodwork, and tons of character. She’s the delightful lovechild of ROSINANTE, a Maine lobsterboat, and a 20′s commuter. We call that fusion of tradition, my friends. In the end, with no disrespect to the other entrants, it wasn’t close. So congratulations to BARNACLE of Guilford, CT – you’re the Boat of the Trip!


BARNACLE, from Guilford, CT

Barnacle, bow-on

Bow-on view of BARNACLE, from Guilford, CT

Annnnndddd my 2012 boating season is underway at last – AL DEMANY CHIMAN’s keel wet again

We had a nice family paddle at our standby put-in of Mason Neck State Park. Mostly overcast, but warm and calm, good for trying out the rebuilt ama. I’ll have to test it more, but my initial observations are that we working the aft end SEEMS to make her a touch zippier (biased observation noted) and, as planned, water mostly stayed out of it. The main hull is also drier thanks to some touch-up of the skin seams at the bottom of the stems. And fun was had by all. Good to be underway again.

Completion of ama reworking for AL DEMANY CHIMAN

Last weekend I was also able to wrap up work on the refurbished ama for my skin-on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN. I had noted previous progress a bit ago, and I had stalled for a while because life took over. Work crises tamped down a bit and the weather improved, I brought the ama to the front lawn of 1 Chine bLog Place for some skinnin’.

The process went smoothly and I was sorry I had put it off for so long. I was pleased I even felt comfortable enough to make some adjustments to approach midstream without fear of things going awry. Here are the results. In addition to the presumed enhancements to seaworthiness, I actually think the ama looks a good bit better too. Next step, we gotta get this boat in the water for the season…


Aft end of new AL DEMANY CHIMAN ama Forward end of new AL DEMANY CHIMAN ama

Update on the rebuilding of the ama for my canoe, AL DEMANY CHIMAN

It seemed a good time to update you all on the status of our various winter projects on the skin-on-frame outrigger canoe, A DEMANY CHIMAN. When we last checked in, I was trying to figure out how to approach the redesign of the ama, especially with respect to the problem of it shipping lots of water. I have pursued the initial approach (despite good advice to the contrary) and am some way along.

To review, I took the ama completely apart and gave everything a good sanding. I had found the bow piece in suspect shape, so I just rebuilt it. I then coated everything with the same polyurethane that coats the skin and lashed it all back together, but for the stringers. I then got some polystyrene and built blocks matching the dimensions of the four sections of the ama (including the stringers in the width) and then split those down the middle lengthwise. I filed / sanded them to shape so that they fit snugly and had the appropriate sectional shape. I am now 3/4 through the final step, which is carving out a channel for the stringers. Below is the starboard side, with one stringer just laid in.


Now I have to do the port side. I’ll paint them all so they aren’t that horrid pink (yes, in its regular life, this foam would be insulating some house).


A couple thoughts are in order. First, working with foam has been a highly unpleasant process. The mess is horrendous and shaping it does not have the same satisfying feeling wood gives. The stuff is obviously soft enough that it is easy to ding up and it snags much more easily than it seems it should. On the other hand, I think it will meet my objectives pretty well. By coating the pieces in polyurethane, waiting for a full set, and then lashing them, they behave like skin-on-frame construction should, but are protected form the inevitable water (yes, there may be wear and, over time, places water will get to the wood, but that will be down the line a decent bit). The stringers will show through and give the appearance they had, maintaining the same look. Finally, the water will mostly stay out, leaving me confident the ama will remain buoyant in a longer, choppy crossing. Perfect? No, but I think this will get me where I wanted to, even if the journey has been a pain.

Time for a little boatbuilding philosophy

I have given my dad a subscription to Maine Boats, Homes, & Harbors Magazine for several years. Recently he sent me a couple quotes he took from an article in the recent issue (I believe the editor’s note from the March 2012 edition). Behold:

The desire to build a boat is one of those that cannot be resisted. It begins as a little cloud on a serene horizon. It ends by covering the whole sky, so you can think of nothing else. You must build to regain your freedom… To build one’s own craft is to trade a certain kind of practicality for personal satisfaction. And to build with natural materials is also in a way to make a statement about yourself and how you want to relate to the world – to be thought of as part of the world, rather than an imposition on it.

Needless to say we here at Chine bLog can completely get behind this sentiment. In the run-up to building the Peace Canoe PEACE OF THE PUZZLE I had convinced myself that there was no way I could build a boat in the coming years. I was getting by via visits to the Alexandria Seaport Foundation and Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and shutting any further dreams out. When the idea to build a Peace Canoe started to germinate, and, more importantly, the path to do so emerged, the concept went from that “serene cloud” phase to the “I am buying lumber TODAY!” phase in about 3 hours. OK, fine, 3 days, but you get the drift. I was absolutely hooked on making that boat come to life in my back yard from the moment I realized I could.

Likewise, my skin-on-frame outrigger canoe AL DEMANY CHIMAN emerged out of many desires, with a statement of my identity being a more important one than I, at first, realized. I wanted to have this boat because it would be completely unique and would be an unequivocal testament of my personal design aesthetic (what I have written about elsewhere as fusion of tradition) and boating philosophy (small and naturally-powered, please, and suitable for at least light voyages). The boat represents what I wanted in a boat, but also very much something I needed to say.

Nice words from a nice publication.

Memories Dept. – the check that kicked off my boatbuilding

One more on checks I turned up during our clean-out. Here is the check I wrote to the late Harold “Dynamite” Payson for the building manual for my first boat, the Gloucester Light Dory. Pretty momentous purchase right there.


If anyone is looking to build this great boat, Payson’s book is invaluable. Just get it. You won’t regret it.