Wee Lass – Part 1

Now that the second strake is on, hanging strakes 3 through 8 is pretty much “same ‘ole, same ‘ole.”  Fun and exciting for me as the boat gradually takes shape, but likely boring for anyone else.

I’ve mentioned Wee Lass a number of times, so now is perhaps the best time to talk about her.  Wee Lass is a Penobscot 14, designed by Arch Davis.  To try and head off any confusion, Penobscot 14 is the name of the design, Wee Lass is the name of the boat I built to this design.  Wee Lass is named after my wife, who is vertically challenged.  I once got into a whole bunch of trouble when I placed all of her coffee cups on the top cabinet shelf.  (Tammie Norrie is the name of the design by Iain Oughtred; I haven’t decided on a name for the boat yet.  With the progress I’m making, I’ve got plenty of time to make that decision.)

The first boat I built was from a book called “Building The 6-Hour Canoe” by Richard Butz.  The 6-hr canoe is really a pirogue; a Cajun craft consisting of a flat bottom and two sides.  It’s the simplest thing you can build and still call it a boat.  I proved on that project that I’m not a fast boat builder.  The “6-hr canoe” took me about three months of weekends to build.  The pirogue turned out nice, and I spend many an enjoyable Sunday morning on one of the local bayous with it.

6-hr canoe

When I started thinking about building a sailboat, I purchased the book “Building Catherine” by Richard Kolin.  Catherine was just the type of boat I was looking for – small enough to fit in my garage, but with the classic style I was looking for.  It was also traditionally built.  The book is very well written, but after reading it twice through very carefully, I reached two important decisions: 1) there ain’t no way I had the skill to build a boat using traditional methods, and 2) the type of materials needed to build this boat don’t exist  in my area, even at the Very Expensive Lumber Purveyor.  Still, the book was worth the price just for the description of how traditional-built boats are constructed.

 "Building Catherine" by Richard Kolin

“Building Catherine” by Richard Kolin

Someone pointed me in the direction of the Penobscot 14, designed by Arch Davis.  The Penobscot 14 had the classic looks I was going for, but was built using glued lapstrake construction, instead of traditional lapstrake construction.  I browsed on Arch Davis’ web site, and one of the construction photos showed that the hull was planked on permanent stringers, set over temporary molds.  The photo reminded me of the balsa wood model airplanes I built as a kid.  Hey, I could build this boat!!

2003-05-31 Wee Lass, ready to plank.
2003-05-31 Wee Lass, ready to plank.

The plans and the instruction book were very detailed.  The instruction book told you not only to glue Part A to Part B, but also how to cut Part B so that it would fit to Part A.  The stringers make it easy to plank the hull.  Spiling is not necessary, and you only have to cut one edge of the plank to shape before installing (the edge that overlaps the previous plank – and the instruction book shows you an easy way to do that).  The other edge is cut oversize, and after it is glued and screwed to the stringer, is trimmed flush with the router.

2003-09-07 Wee Lass planked
2003-09-07 Wee Lass planked

This boat was considerably more involved than the 6-hr canoe, but the level of detail in the plans and instruction book was such that I was able to do a pretty decent job of planking the hull.


Tammie Norrie update: 

My weekends have been busy lately, so I’ve been working on Tammie Norrie a couple of hours here and there after work.  I really enjoy the long summer evenings.  The third strakes are on.

2016-06-19 Gluing up the strakes. Yes, my garage is crowded.
2016-06-19 Gluing up the strakes. Yes, my garage is crowded.
2016-06-26 Third pair of strakes glued on.
2016-06-26 Third pair of strakes glued on.

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