the dream, maybe you guys know something about doing it the old fashioned way.

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by dsuursoo, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    okay, for all my love of multihulls, especially trimarans, i'm a true romantic at heart.

    so i'd love to build a old, old fashioned schooner, kind of like what's below. the revenue cutter Massachusettes was launched in the 1790s as one of the first ten cutters of the what would become the coast guard.

    as a coastie, well, it's got a certain sort of geeky appeal, to build and sail an accurate replica of one of the first cutters.

    carvel construction, 60' on deck(which, judging from the picture means a 80' or so when counting the sprit), two masts, 7'6 draft, 17'8" beam. big boat. the masts would have to be modern construction, probably bird's mouth lamination technique used by stevenson projects, just much heavier.

    only things i'd add: a boom on the mainsail. i can't quite tell if there's one there, if there is, cool! a set of studding sails to sit off the lower yard on that topsail, the lower yards would set out from the deck, probably lashed down, and hinged to fold against the mainmast. better downwind running. a topsail for the mizzen, which i think might be there already, a staysail between the mizzen and main, and possibly a genoa on the foremost stay, or a high top staysail. roller furling on all the staysails, mayhap even boom furling on the mizzen topsail(no climbing!), and the full assortment of lazy jacks and whatnot, so it can be run with a single person on watch. perhaps even a tiny topsail for the mainmast, to run from the gaff to where the topgallant stay reaches. every little bit right?

    i've got no idea of the shape below water, but i think i'd build it with either a v-bottom for simplicity, or a s-hull for efficiency. probably closer to the s-hull, with a full length keel, very much tradition there.

    but, the construction. most of the boats in that size, then, were easily 2-inch planking on the hull or bigger. no problem there, i've got plenty of time.

    but, anyone have an idea what the cost could run to, in hull alone?

    and nevermind the whole 'how the hell do i get it to the water?' bit. i'll deal with that in 12 years.

    but man, she'd look pretty with the rig i want, under full sail. probably get a nice turn on too.

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  2. Gilbert
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    Gilbert Senior Member

    Yes, it would be all way cool.
    But unless you have a huge supply of money or have all the materials already, you would be well advised to scale things down quite a bit. And surely you are going to need help sailing a vessel of that size and rig. How often would you be able to arrange for that?
    I am usually the guy cheering on anyone with a dream and a goal. But you have an awfully big dream so I think some caution is in order.
    I think there are several schooners in the Puget Sound area. If you haven't done so already, hunt them down and find out how big their crew needs to be, etc, etc, etc, etc. Maybe even go out sailing with them.
    I really don't want to discourage you, but I don't like to see projects die on the vine or become a monument to unrealistic expectations.
    I wish you good luck.
  3. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    fair enough. the fun part of a gaff rig, especially in this configuration, is that the watch can indeed be stood by one man. especially with some of the tricks i'd like to do. yes, raising sails will require help, but that's what the kids are for. and as far as money goes, i figure i have twelve years or so to get this done, which helps spread the costs out. i have access to wood, if i'm willing to do the whole cutting/planking/etc process myself. figure, build it, leave the insides mostly empty, no ballast at all, external or otherwise, then get her to the water. put on the keel ballast, then float her(probably take a drydock, due to size), then get the inner ballasting in, then the masts, etc etc.

    i've ridden a couple of large schooners before, and generally, putting sails up is one of the few times you need more than three people, and i don't see needing more than two except possibly on that mainmast gaff. that's a monster of a sail.
  4. kengrome
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    kengrome Senior Member

    dsuursoo, you sure seem to have a lot of weird and inconsistent ideas. You start by saying you want a replica, then everything after that suggests just the opposite. What do you really want? Do you know or are you still in daydreaming mode?

    For this cutter I would guess it might cost you $500,000+ in materials alone for traditional materials and upwards of $1,000,000 for high tech substitutes.

    One man will find it almost impossible to built a boat like this in a decade working at it full time. If you plan to hold down a job during the construction better give yourself 2-3 decades unless you get lots of help.

    What boats have you built previously?
  5. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member


    But beware.

    For the "dream", which is the biggest available to homebuilders, but a bit smaller from what you expect, working time estimed to 18 000 hours. 12 years OK, but only if you work full time on it. And the hours estimate is pessimistic.

    Plan fees is around 18 000 $. (12300€ at current exchange rate). Designer way to avoid dreamers. If spending this is a problem, you are far from having enough money to complete the construction.

    For the "Shpountz", it is a well known design among french homebuiders. Althouth it is small 40-44, there are unfinished yards available for sale. The very few ones sailing took something from 17 to 20+ years to complete with a full family and life disaster (20 years to build with no time for family or other social life), or the builder ended hiring a professional team to finish.
  6. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    the best part is the unspoken assumption that i'll be doing it all by hand.

    and no, no high-tech substitutes(save on the masts), just clever engineering.

    i may ultimately decide against carvel for the build, but then the ease of repair flies out the window.
  7. M&M Ovenden
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    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    My husband and I are romantic dreamers to. We love over all traditional working wooden boats. We have very seriously explored our possibilities to guaranty we were going to make our dream happen. Our compromise has been to build the hull of steel with the challenge of giving it as much wooden look as possible. Many metal boats get built with the idea of giving them that romantic look. Here's an other one or here's an other stunning boat built of steel Our previous boat, a 36 foot gaff schooner, was also steel and was often mistaken for wood hull.
    I'm not saying to trash your wooden vessel dream but as compromise is a big part of boat building dreams I'm opening some other option/idea.

    About the handling of such vessel. You're right huge rigs can be handled short handed but the true minimum crew can not be counted in best condition. Your minimum crew is the one you need when things go wrong.

    As for inspiration, details and under water shape, you want Howard I Chapelle book "The american fishing schooner". His other books would also interest you: "yacht designing and planing" and "boat building" those are far from modern books, they're great "old fashion wooden boat geek" material.

  8. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Oh, hands up all romantic dreamers......I'm another, probably worse than many.

    Nice post Murielle, beautiful boat, you guys are doing great things.


    Don't listen to the naysayers, or rather take them with a grain of salt. People do build big boats, often just with friends and family help. It's a long road, but hey....what where you planing to do anyway? Watch another episode of some TV show? Do realize that many large projects end in unhappiness due to unrealistic expectations. Avoid deadlines (boat will be launched next year) but create landmarks as often as possible, daily, monthly, yearly. Break the project into manageable pieces. Realize the bare structural shell is just the beginning.

    Here's ours




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  9. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    those books i've got on the list.

    steel's an option, or at least it was, until i found out that it's getting hard to insure steel boats.

    i'm counting on a crew of about seven, all trained. the 'single man watch' would be a nice weather, easy sailing sort of thing. heavy rains, harder winds, etc, and the watch doubles. years of standing watches, both civilian and maritime, give me a pretty accurate clue of what's needed. likely, as dusk falls, the topsails come down, possibly the fore-main. it gets much easier after that.

    jiffy reefing takes care of bringing in a reef or two shorthanded, and lazy jacks makes lowering the sails much simpler than it used to be. i'm still up in the air on the roller furled jibs. i may keep them in place, but only use them during nighttime, for ease of handling. the square headsail will be roller-reefed and furled. no question. i'm likely going to be the one who has to go topside the most, i don't want to wear myself out.

    i'm planning on rigging a smaller boat identically, to proportion, so i can work out how everything needs to run for efficient handling. that should help muchly.
  10. dsuursoo
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    dsuursoo Senior Member

    NICE ketch. me like. what are you planning on for masts? modern materials, hollow wood, solid spars? i'm planning a gaffed ketch rig for my adventuring trimaran... i think i might want to pick your brain on the optional sails angle.
  11. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Unless I win the lottery (unlikely as I've never bought a ticket) we will cut some trees down and make them into solid spars. As she's currently floating a foot high we need the weight to sink her down and steady her up.

  12. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member


    You really are something special mate, I cannot believe my eyes.

    All the best with this project..............unbelievable.
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