Lapstrake sharpies?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by troy2000, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Did anyone in the past ever build sharpies clinker-style, instead of carvel-planked? Or has anyone done so in more modern times? If not, why not? Especially considering the history of straight-sided Dory boats in this country....

    Anyone have any opinions on the advantages or disadvantages of doing so? Assuming of course the sharpies were built with traditional planking, instead of plywood.....
     
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Yes, I have seen a few. I like the looks.
     
  3. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    I've always thought sharpies, being shoal draft boats, had relatively flat bottoms and a squarish chine section. This consequently lent to simple flast panel construction using carvel planking and caulked or battened seams, and a faster build time with less waste.
    As a result, clinker construction wouldn't have been an efficient build method. The dory lap would have been an exception where adjacent planks could be riveted together between frames.
    A modern sharpie would take advantage of plywood construction, and there again, the most efficient method of construction would be flat panels and not clinker.
     
  4. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I was always under the impression that the Grand Bank dories were lapstraked mainly because that was the faster and easier method for an experienced production crew, given flat sides and hard chines (aside from it being easier to keep them tight when drysailed nested on a schooner deck, of course).

    Am I wrong? Is it easier to cut, fit and caulk carvel planking instead?

    In modern terms, I think sheet plywood construction wins hands down, for practicality and ease of construction. On the other hand, some properly proportioned lapstrake planking could look darned good.....
     
  5. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Carvel planking would be faster to build, I'd think, than lapped planks, when the panels are flat (like plywood). It may be that dories in rough usage stood up better if lapped and riveted or clench-nailed between frames.
    But a sharpie must have been easier to build carvel. PAR knows a lot about those boats. I'd be interested in what he has to say.
     
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You've all managed to nail it down. We must remember what sharpies are (okay were), expendable workboats. By the very nature of their trade, any extra effort wasn't "cost effective". Even the metal work on most, like the "slippery" rudder shaft and it's fitting where usually mild steel. Sure it would rust, but slathered in goo until it was too bent to work any more and made thick enough to absorb any corrosion, with a strength reserve. These boats died a quick, painful death for the most part.

    As they became "yachted up" some had their topside "rolled". I've only seen one or two like this and they were larger sharpies (25' - 30'). Of course it increased the complication of the build, but it was lighter.

    A carvel guy will recommend carvel, a lapstrake builder, lapstrake. Lapstrake is fast and easy, once you get your head are the peculiarities of the type. Carvel is similar in this regard and much easier to repair. Lap is slightly faster, mostly because all the work can be done on the bench (where it's easier), rather then on the boat like in carvel. Both have their merits.

    Most sharpies where "dory lapped and fastened". A technique still used today on many different types of boats. Advertisements in the first half of the 20th century would have exploited this. Terms like "dory fashion" would have been the catch phrases for small craft ads. They would also have told of the virtues of file planking.

    I personally think any boat will look better as a lapstrake. They also make the coolest sound underway.
     
  7. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Par, what do you mean by having their topsides "rolled"?
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Instead of being "slab" sided as if made of plywood (conical or cylindrical development), the sides have compound curves, which is possible with lapstrake.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You can give the first strake a lot of flare like that.
     
  10. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I see....thanks. Looks like I need a better dictionary, or more time around people who speak the language.

    Here's a random thought on keeping dry-sailed lapstrake boats tight: how would it work if you skinned the sides in 1/4" ply, then applied lapstrake over that? If you used fairly narrow planking that didn't move too much when it got wet or dried, you could fasten your laps right through the plywood....
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    It would work, but you'd have wedge shaped pockets of air between the two skins and you'd also be married to the slab sided look. Of course those pockets would eventually harbor beasties that intend ill will toward your planking. Lapstrake planking, either traditional or glued lap isn't that hard to do. The novice has difficulty getting a brain around it, but once they do they quickly get the hang of it. In other words, I don't see the need to plank a boat twice, just for a faux look.
     
  12. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    Well, I did say it was a random thought; it crossed my mind about thirty seconds before I typed it.;)

    I'm married to the slab-sided look anyway, if I'm building a fairly classic sharpie hull. So that doesn't bother me.

    Maybe I could consider the wedge-shaped air pockets to be reserve buoyancy?:p You're right though; even in a dry climate, it's easier for water to get into wood-enclosed spaces than it is to get it out again....

    I have no problem wrapping my mind around traditional lapstrake; it's the only method I've ever used. It's carvel planking that scares me....

    Getting back to the subject: I'm looking at building a sharpie that will mostly live on a trailer. Obviously, plywood is the practical choice. Then again, if I just wanted to be practical I'd buy a Clorox bottle with a sloop rig, and be on the water next weekend. If I were being really practical, I'd forget the sails and concentrate on making a camping cruiser out of my old 19' Astro runabout. There's almost enough open space in it to hold a square dance, and you can't get more reliable than a 235 Chevy engine hooked up to a Mercruiser stern drive.

    But if we're going to balance practicality against the insanity of wanting a sailboat on desert lakes to begin with, here's another thought: a thirty-foot sharpie at rest will only have about a foot of the hull in the water at the deepest point. Possibly even eight inches, if we fudge the old designs for recreational use; the originals were designed to carry a load. So how about just making the garboard strake out of plywood, making it a little wide, and bedding the lap between it and the next strake up?

    Or maybe if I'm going to go that far, I should just give up and build the whole thing with glued lapstrake plywood. Somehow though, I just don't get the same jollies out of planing plywood that I do from smelling and handling the shavings from pine, cedar or other woods....
     
  13. Johnnylee
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    Johnnylee New Member

    Great info guys, thanks for sharing
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    There are plenty of designs for lapstrake plywood. They are usually epoxy glued at the seams. The laps are structural
     

  15. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    On most sharpie designs, you could use a common curve for the topside planks and have a "rolled" topside that would look good done lapstrake. Say a segment of a 16' diameter circle (just an example). Rest this circle segment against the chine and sheer marks at each station and draw the curve. Line off the hull for your planks and butt the lowest strake against the garboard (fillet the inside).
     

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