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Old 01-02-2010, 08:36 PM
qwaszx86 qwaszx86 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Location: Atlanta
First-timer instant boat advice

Hey folks, I want to build an Instant Boat.

I'm most interested in the 'Gypsy':

but I'm also considering the 'Teal' becasue i've heard it's easier:

I'd rather build the Gypsy, as I think it looks just beautiful, but I am a complete and total beginner and aiming easier probably isn't a bad idea. I have the book that describes how to build the Gypsy, but not the one for the Teal. Also, I noticed that you can order patterns for the Gypsy from P.H. Specter, which is definitely appealing, since I really don't know what I'm doing.

So that being said, I'd like recommendations. As a beginner I am ready and willing to try and fail and try again, but I'm also not looking to throw my savings out the door to do this. Is the Gypsy too ambitious? Is the Teal easier enough to warrent trying it first? Is it worth ordering the patterns?

I've also noticed from reading my Instant Boat book that Payson assumes a good bit of knowledge I don't really have yet about how this all goes together, so what else should I read or study to get ready?

Also, I'm totally alone in this attempt, without any woodworking or boat-building friends from whom I can get help and advice, so if anyone knows of individuals or groups in the Atlanta area I could get to know, that would be greatly appreciated.

Here goes!
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:06 PM
missinginaction missinginaction is offline
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Location: new york
Good for you quaz.....It's nice to see people like you. We need more people willing to get off the couch and do something.

I'm not going to give you any specific advise as there are folks here much more qualified than me. They'll weigh in I'm sure.

I will however recommend a couple of books that you might like to read.

1. Dave Gerr's book "The Nature of Boats" is a good source of info for one new to boat design and construction. It's entertaining as well.

2. Robert M. Sewards book "Boat Building Manual" will give you an idea of tools, and techniques of woodworking involved in boat construction.

I'm a restorer rather than a scratch builder but based on the plans and materials list, the Gypsy that you like should be within reach if you plan well and work carefully. After all, you have to start somewhere.

stay tuned and good luck,


Last edited by missinginaction : 01-02-2010 at 10:41 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:52 PM
TollyWally TollyWally is offline
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Build the one you want. If you are hesitent about your skills build a scaled down version out of door skin, masonite, etc. first. Good practice, won't really add much to the total build time or cost, will build confidence. YOU CAN DO THIS.
If this is tourist season, why can't we shoot them?
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:00 PM
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LP LP is offline
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Since Gypsy is the boat you want to build, go with it. Two foot on the LOA (Length Over All) will not effect the build that much. What will effect the build is the added strake/plank that gives you an additional seam and a little more complexity and the added bulkheads make for a little more work.

If the patterns (full size I assume) are not too pricey, I'd consider them in terms of reducing your opportunity for error. The process of transfering them to your plywood panels may actually add slightly to build process, but could save you peace of mind. (Provided they are accurate)

Not knowing the information provided in the book by Mr. Payson, I'd recommend acquiring a book that goes into depth on the stitch and glue method. If you are able to browse the book before purchase, look into the rigging section. My experience has been that that portion of the build process is sometimes left to ones imagination. If you have sailing experience, you may already know enough to figure it out on you own. Everyone has their own preferences in how they want a boat rigged. Specifically, I'm talking about the running rigging, control lines, etc. Surprisingly with my first build, I found the most useful rigging information in an old text by S. S. Rabl, Boat Building in Your Own Backyard. Perhaps, your plans will have detailed rigging info already.

TollyWally is right. Build a scaled model first when you get your blueprints. Scale to be about 3' in length and include every detail that you can; right down to the control lines. This way, when it comes time to build the real boat, you've already done it once.

Good Luck and Happy Sailing!


FYI........there is no stitch and glue info in the Rabl text.
LP ----------
Bless the open minded people of the world. LP
"Your mother cheated. That's why you look like a plumber." Ender
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:44 PM
magwas magwas is offline
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I would recommend as a source on stitch-and-glue.
I am also planning to build my first boat, and building a 1:5 model did help me to gather confidence that I can build it. And it helped me to avoid some mistakes with the real one, I hope
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Old 01-03-2010, 01:12 PM
Tug Tug is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Location: Muskoka,Ontario,Canada
I built the Nymph from the Instant boat book..
It wasnt instant....but it was a fun build...
Very easy to build...great first boat.....
I dont think any of his designs are that difficult of a build, very simple method, just more time and materials for different boats..
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:58 PM
qwaszx86 qwaszx86 is offline
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Thanks for all the great responses!

My current plan is to order plans for both the teal and the gypsy, and buy the instant boat book that covers the teal. That way I can make models of both and then make a decision about which one I want to build full size.

It'll probably be awhile till the plans arrive and I have time to knock the models together, but I'll post pictures once I've finished.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:43 AM
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lewisboats lewisboats is offline
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I know someone who built a teal in his attic and shoved it out the window. They are quite tiny when you get up close...but they are a very easy build too. They are a bit a narrow canoe or Pirogue but can be built in a couple of weeks of part time building...if you aren't going for a furniture finish.
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:30 PM
bhoover75 bhoover75 is offline
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Location: Indiana
Go with the one you first liked. It is only wood and fiberglass and if (when) you make a mistake, it is easily fixed/repaired/changed. besides, making the mistakes and learning is half the fun... Then, when you finish teh first one, you have an excuse to build the next one, must get it perfect... and so on and so on until you are totally addicted to this building thing
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