Monday, February 1, 2016

Doryman's Boatyard

The end of January brought temperate weather to the Salish Sea, enough to tempt a groundhog out early. Which means activity in the Doryman boatyard. Some of you who have been around for a while may remember the Doryman Melonseed. Aria has been in the wings waiting for a sail rig. The plans call for a sprit rig but since I'm the designer, an easy administrative decision was made to substitute a balanced lug sail.
Why not simply make the sprit sail I sewed last winter into a lug sail? I think it will work. But not as easy as one might imagine.

Redesign in the works, on rainy days. Stay tuned.

Dryer days mean repairs on the Sam Crocker Stone Horse, Belle Starr. I met an interesting boatbuilder a few weeks back - a fellow older than me with a more traditional training - who insisted a Stone Horse has no chine. I said it's a Stone Horse redrawn from Sam's plans to accommodate plywood construction. He insisted the chine made it some other boat. Very interesting proposition.........

Belle Starr as she looked last September. A Hulk.
Sailing season over early. Not much chine left.

Demolition left very little of the starboard side. Paul looks despondent but he's really enjoying himself.

About a month later the "A" team closed up that gap and once again, a chine emerged.

Plywood construction methods show quick progress toward healing wounds, physical and psychological.

A couple very wet months suspended that initial push but just recently the clouds miraculously parted. The freshly faired Belle Starr emerges whole again. Gotta love that beautiful chine. I think Sam would approve.

These shots are from two days ago, after some intense sanding and fairing.

She's not finished by a long shot.
 But it's a great relief to have gotten this far.

I believe this is one of Sam Crocker's drawings, but I'm not sure which boat. Looks suspiciously familiar though, doesn't it?


Brandon Ford said...

Looking really good Michael! Inside was a nice surprise too. Looks like a little paint and she'll be good to go. Ready for summer cruising for sure.


doryman said...

I rebuilt the interior before the side panels were laid up. Each compartment is a structural element, in lieu of frames. Most of the pieces were still in the boat or had floated up on the beach, so it was a process much like a puzzle - clean up the piece with a grinder and find where it fit. I'm using a small grinder with a sanding pad attached. If you were to look close, you'd see the quick work made with 16 grit paper. In other words, paint is a long way off. Yesterday I applied biaxial cloth to the seams inside to bolster splices in the plywood panels and strengthen fillets. The outside will be covered in cloth. It's a bit early in the season for that.

EyeInHand said...

Balance lugs seem to be popping up everywhere these days, quite a revival underway. Will be very interested to hear your assessment.

doryman said...

I've spent a bit of time watching your vids to see how the sprit performs. To tell the truth, the rig makes me nervous. When it's time to strike the sail, it's a production short of stowing the entire mast. Out a few months ago in another sprit rigger (Stewball) the wind came up hard on the nose and I wanted to row in. No easy task. With the 'seed's mast so far forward, I'm afraid of a dunking.
Been using the balanced lug for a few years now, on my faring, Saga. It's a powerful sail, easily stowed. Just a few grommets left to set and the sail can be set as a sprit or a lug on the same mast.

Anonymous said...


I'm just a beginner with the sprit rig- we have a little pea pod with it. It works fine in light wind, but when it gets heavy, I never know what to do with it- and yes, I have taken down the whole mast. The lug feels more complex to set up, but easier to handle once you've got it.


doryman said...

The sprit rig fiasco I spoke of was just short of dangerous. I tried lashing the sprit and sail - got driven downwind several yards. Tried to furl the sail around the mast, but with pressure on the mast partner, the mast would not turn. More distance lost. Finally I struck the whole rig. Started rowing, but by now I was so tired, I was grateful to take a tow offered by another sailor into the marina. Found out later they'd taken bets on whether I was too macho to accept a tow. No pride lost.

The balanced lug rigging I use is documented by Mik Storer:
Which he says comes from and old book, "The Dixon Kemp Manual of Seamanship". It's dead simple. The only difference for me is that I don't lash the boom to the mast. I find the downhaul keeps the sail tension perfectly whether the boom rests against the mast or not. With this rig, I can strike the rig, bundle yard, sail and boom along the thwarts and be ready to row in a couple minutes. I even have a long bag to contain the whole mess so it's ready to set anytime. I use the sail/boom/yard bundle to hang my tent when needed. It's slick. I'll be writing about the balanced lug soon. Of all the traditional sail rigs, it's hand's down my favorite.

Anonymous said...

The body plan in your February 1, 2016, entry is of Sam Rabl's Flying Cloud 27' 6" raised deck auxiliary cruiser, not Sam Crocker's Stone Horse. See

It's great to see the resurrected Belle Starr.

doryman said...

Thank you for setting me straight, Mr./Ms. Anon. In the five years I've owned Belle Starr, I've not heard or seen another hard-chined Stone Horse. I guess she might be the only one.

Anonymous said...

Hello..just picked up this blog...the body plan indeed was Sam Rabl design, Flying Cloud, How to Build 20 Boats, A Modern Mechanix Publication 1938 Edition. It is on page 109 of this publication. We have a boat built from these plans (built early ' 60's) and in storage awaiting our attention. The builder of this boat decided to build it as a schooner (gaff rigged) B.C. Fir masts, home sewn sails, with a 2 cylinder Rustin & Hornsby diesel installed.(20 Hours TTSN) Regards.