chopandquench.typepad.com > Building the Single Handed Schooner

After a very nice sail with Sue aboard her Single Handed Schooner (Phil Bolger design, also known as His and Her Schooner) last September (2005) I decided to build one myself. It is just too cool a boat to resist. I started building my Single Handed Schooner (SHS hereafter) in October 2005. The boat is described in Bolger's book Boats With An Open Mind. Plans by Phil Bolger were purchased from H.H.Payson at a mere $35 USD. They are composed of 3 blueprint size pages. The detail is very good, and I have had no problems figuring things out at this point (hull is 85% complete after about 50 hours of work). (Update 1.5 years later - boat is now 90% complete after about 150 hours of work ;-) This is the first boat I've built by the way.

A. Singlehanded schooner

A. Singlehanded schooner

Here's what the finished boat should look like.


B. Workshop

B. Workshop

My workshop is just a big clear tarp over a fairly sturdy pergola in my back yard. Bet you don't know what a pergola is - google will tell you...

I worked on and off through the winter. I started with a propane heater that was pretty hot, but caused massive humidity within the workshop. I switched to a 1500 watt electric heater, which was not as hot but provides a nice dry heat. I use Industrial Formulators' Cold Cure epoxy during the winter. If the weather was about 2 Celsius or warmer the electric heater would warm it up to about 6-10 degrees. This is a reasonably comfortable working temperature, and allows the epoxy to set.

Now that the weather is warming up I'll switch to one of the standard East/West system epoxies.


C. Springing the sides

C. Springing the sides

The Bolger Single Handed Schooner uses the "instant boat" technique of springing the sides around bulkheads. Very easy. The sides are made of a single plank of plywood. The boat is 19'6" x 4. 100+ lbs of lead in a dagger board makes it very stable. The schooner rig is cool looking (in profile the boat looks just like the back of a Canadian dime - how can it be cooler?), and makes heaving to far easier than it would be with a modern sloop rig. Keeps the centre of effort low too, which is good for stability.


D. Another angle

D. Another angle

Another view of the sides sprung around the bulkheads.


E. bottom, sides and bulkheads

E. bottom, sides and bulkheads

Bottom is on. Temporary mold in the foreground.


F. Complete hull

F. Complete hull

Another view of the more or less complete hull, showing gunwales and frames.


G. Fwd cockpit, daggerboard slot in deck

G. Fwd cockpit, daggerboard slot in deck

Deck is on now (August 2006). This a the fwd cockpit.


H. Aft cockpit, rudder slot

H. Aft cockpit, rudder slot

Aft cockpit, rudder slot. Rudder and daggerboard have boxes built under the deck. I glued on the deck before I remembered to take pictures of the boxes.


I. Dagger board

I. Dagger board

Daggerboard - see lead ballast in the bottom.


J. Lead ballast

J. Lead ballast

This is about 150 lbs of lead. I poured it into a mold formed by the bottom of the daggerboard. Basically you throw 5 or 10 lbs of lead in a cast iron pan, put the pan on your outdoor BBQ burner plate and 15 or 20 minutes later you have a silvery liquid metal that you can easily pour into a mold. It took 21 pours to do this. It's important to do this outside and wear a ventilator mask to avoid poisoning yourself. Oven mitts are a good idea.

The lead forms around silicon bronze screws, screwed half way into the inside of the daggerboard frame. It's a bit more than the 106 pounds of lead specified in the plans, but what the hell, Susan's schooner has 150 lbs and it sails well and takes quite a bit of wind to knock it down as I understand it.

I will fair it some more, then fiberglass the whole daggerboard.


K. From bow

K. From bow

You can see the deck, fwd and aft cockpits, daggerboard slot and in the right foreground, a small square cutout in the deck, which is the foremast partner.


L. Another shot from the bow

L. Another shot from the bow

Looking aft from the bow. Next steps include sanding/fairing the outside of the hull and deck, applying glass cloth to the deck, xynole cloth to the bottom and side, and doing a bit of stainless stell welding on the rudder.

Then follows painting, finishing the masts, assembling deck hardware and rigging, restoring an old trailer to put this thing on...the end is almost in sight (ha).


M. bottom

M. bottom

Bottom is 1/2 inch (glued up from two .25 inch slabs of ply). Used lots of epoxy on this glue operation (20 feet of plywood). Better to get some 1/2 inch ply and scarf it together.


N. Glassing the deck

N. Glassing the deck

Here's the cloth laid out over the deck. I next cut out around the cockpits, foremast partner, daggerboard and rudder trunks. I laid on resin with a 3 inch sponge roller. It went on pretty easily. Ended up with 3 coats of resin.


O. Finished glassing deck

O. Finished glassing deck

Here is the deck after a couple of coats of resin. Next step is to turn the boat over and apply the Xynole (TM) cloth to the bottom and sides. Xynole is tough as nails and drinks resin like a thirsty camel.


P_bottom

P_bottom

VC Tar on the bottom. Nice and smooth. I finally got back to work on the schooner over the past summer. I can see light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully not a train. Ordered the sails from Harold H. Payson. I should be mostly finished by the end of the year. Launch in the spring of 2008 I expect.


Q_topsides

Q_topsides

Topsides are painted now. You can see some unevenness in the finish where the Xynole cloth meets the regular glass cloth. Have to work on my glassing technique for next time. Red boot stripe.


R_rudder

R_rudder

VC Tar on the rudder. The rudder is glassed too. It's made of 4 pieces of 1/4 inch ply glued together with a round front edge, and a somewhat foil shape feathered toward the aft edge.


S_coamings

S_coamings

Main and fore cockpit coamings. Shop vac. You can sort of see the main mast step at the fwd end of the main cockpit.


T_foremast_step

T_foremast_step

Foremast step. I wonder if the mast will stand up straight?


U_coamings2

U_coamings2

Another view. Ready to paint the deck now.


V_coamings3

V_coamings3

Yet another view of cockpit coamings.


W_mainmast_step

W_mainmast_step

Clearer view of the main mast step. The daggerboard trunk is visible just to the right of the step.


X.launch

X.launch

Here it comes off the trailer, real easy like after all the huffing and puffing to get it out of my back yard, down the alley and onto the trailer. Slid right off like a greased um, something.


Y.150lb_daggerboard

Y.150lb_daggerboard

Phil Bolger's plans call for 100 lbs of lead but I followed Sue's lead and put in 150 lbs. Boat floats right where it should and is pretty stable. It takes two fit persons to raise or lower the daggerboard. I used two pieces of wood through holes in the dagger board to keep it up for trailering.


Z.raining

Z.raining

Fore and mainsail rigged. Nice moody photo. The rain was beginning and a storm was brewing so I dropped sails and put tarps over the booms to keep the rain out of the cockpits. The tarps are just regular poly tarps doubled over with some grommets. I check the day after the storm and they had actually let only a little water into the boat.


Z.rigging

Z.rigging

Just finished rigging the fore and main.


ZT.justlaunched

ZT.justlaunched

Minutes after launch, dagger board still up...