Thursday, August 2, 2012

Doryman's Melonseed

This new design prototype was last winter's indoor project and will be continued in a few months. With all the boats shuffling around out in the boatyard, an empty trailer happened to be standing by.

I called Brandon, asking if he would like to help me float test the unfinished boat... barely got the words out of my mouth...

Brandon refers to Beaver Creek, where it empties into the Pacific Ocean as the Beaver Creek Test Facility. It's only a couple miles down the road, has a very nice, little used small boat ramp and is sheltered from the ocean winds. Two winters ago we tested my rowing shell there and you all know how memorable that was, as Doryman took a dunking.

This Melonseed is a new design but is not experimental. The Jersey Skiff duck hunting boat has been around for a long time. In fact Howard Chapelle drew lines for his famous Melonseed half a century ago and kicked off a whole new generation of duck boats as racing skiffs. Many modern designers have recreated this boat. It has been built carvel planked, lapstrake, strip planked, stitch-and-glue and cold-molded.
But never before has it been conceived in the wide seven plank method of the old Norse, until now.

The bottom is a flat wherry keel, symmetrically double-ended and about a foot wide amidships. The next plank is wide and brings the hull up past the waterline. The wherry bottom and the garboard panels are joined with a flush-matched chine. The topsides are comprised of two planks which are lapped, clinker style.

It seemed wise to give the hull a test before finishing off the decks and I wish to report, this is one very fine boat. It moves very efficiently, tracks well and has plenty of reserve buoyancy. Brandon and I each made a test run and made notes about relative trim as we moved weight fore and aft. With no ballast and only one person, the boat was very stable. As you can see from the video, just a light pull from a paddle moves her right along. Brandon had to move to the fore of the cockpit to get the bow to sink, which means there is plenty of fullness forward that will come in handy while sailing.

Right now, there is a lot going on in the boatyard, but as the winter monsoons come on, it will be back to work on the Doryman Melonseed. Can't wait to sail this little skiff. I'm working out the final details for new plans so if you think you'd like to build one of these, please, send me a note.

Here's a quick video that might help with your decision:

07-26-12 Melonseed Trial from doryman on Vimeo.

Here is the entire build from start to date:


Anonymous said...

I've revisited your previous Melonseed postings a few times over the past few months to study your hybrid rendition and now it's great to see her taking to her element with such aplomb. Nicely done!

Michael H.

EyeInHand said...

Sweet! Wow, she's pretty. Gotta luv a 'seed. Nicely done, Michael.

- Barry

Denis said...

What a perfect blending of different heritages into a uniquely new design. You have a good eye for it Michael

doryman said...

Thanks a lot you guys. It's been a lot of fun working out details with folks here on-line and most of all, I need to thank you, Barry. Without you this boat would not have a particular characteristic I can only call magic.

Denis, we don't really know where the melonseed came from. It's an organic creation. That might be why it's so appealing, don't you think?

shipwright said...

She's a beauty Michael. You're doing a fine job.


doryman said...

Thanks Paul. Maybe you know the feeling... when I'm about to launch a new boat, I always have huge doubts. Will it just turn turtle and sink?
So it's a real joy and a relief when it works.

Erwin van Doeselaar (NL) said...

Beautiful boat. Did you deliberately choose these surroundings to underline its beauty?
I'm considering to build a Melonseed, so I'd love to see your drawings.

Erwin (Groningen, NL)

doryman said...

The plans for this boat will be available as soon as I write some instructions, which will probably be in a couple months, when the fall rains come.
Please send me a note: mbogoger at