23 Years of the Skerry: A Retrospective by John C. Harris on 2024-05-08 18:03:27
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1w ago
23 Years of the Skerry: A Retrospective By John C. Harris May 2024 The Skerry's a well-balanced boat in all conditions. Here's a bit of Skerry sailing video. The first sketches of the boat that would become the Skerry date from 2000. There was an early prototype that was less sleek, with a deeper midsection. I was attempting to create a boat that had some of the utility of a Maine Peapod. Peapods are the shapely and rugged indigenous doubled-ended fishing craft of Maine. What did not dawn on me until the first Skerry prototype was built was that the essential character of a Maine peapod is its ..read more
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A Midwinter PocketShip Cruise by John C. harris on 2024-03-16 11:08:07
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2M ago
A Late Winter's Sail By John C. Harris March 2024  In early March I slipped away for a bit of PocketShip sailing on the west coast of Florida. Timing my arrival to view the start of the annual Everglades Challenge, I was counting on mild temperatures and good sailing breezes. I got a little of both. It was a lot of driving—four days round-trip for four days on the water—but it'd been ages since I sailed those waters, and I had a good audiobook. PocketShip Hull #1 from above, showing a dry and comfortable cockpit with plenty of sprawling room, ample sail area, and a stiff, easily-driven h ..read more
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Sinking the Peeler Skiff...for a Good Cause by John C. Harris on 2023-02-07 12:42:38
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2M ago
By John C. Harris July 2012 Powerboat designs, even those sold as kits like our new Peeler Skiff, must comply with stringent Coast Guard regulations.  The Coast Guard checks the designs in a special tank manned by marine engineers.  These tests are voluntary, but a great way to be absolutely sure about the safety of a design before it goes on sale.  We passed with flying colors.  I accompanied the boat for much of the two-day test and had permission to snap photos. The Peeler Skiff dangling over the test tank.  The first test, and one of the most interesting, was sim ..read more
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What Happens When Stitch-and-glue Boats Get Old? Part Two by John C. Harris on 2022-11-04 13:36:26
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2M ago
Continued from Part One.  Return to Part One Annapolis Wherry Age: 12 years Damage:  Water incursion in deck. Cause:  A single tiny pinhole has allowed water to propagate across the plywood deck. Fix:  Nothing easy.  The pinhole obviously needs to be sealed, but the discoloration is deep so refinishing probably won't undo the damage. Prognosis:  Live with it. (click on photos to enlarge)  You'd need a magnifying glass to find it, but there is a tiny pinhole in the epoxy coating of this workhorse demo-model Annapolis Wherry, at th ..read more
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A Short History of Boatbuilding Kits by John Harris on 2022-12-23 01:07:04
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2M ago
By John C. Harris October 2010 On my desk in front of me is a copy of the Brooks Boat Company, Inc. catalog for 1930.      Brooks Boat Company, Inc. catalog, 1930 Brooks, based in Saginaw, Michigan, sold boat kits through the mail. It’s a thick, beautiful catalog with black-and-white photos and snappy descriptions.  Kits range from a 9-foot dinghy ($42.50 for the complete kit) to a handsome 40-foot cabin cruiser ($917.50, not including an engine). Brooks is long gone, but the tradition of boat kits is ancient.  4300 years ago, the Pharoah Khufu was laid to rest with 1 ..read more
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Nesting Expedition Dinghy Update by John C Harris on 2023-03-30 15:35:54
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2M ago
Beautiful Is As Beautiful Does By John C. Harris November 2016 A year-and-a-half ago I wrote about an oddball design, the kind of boat that's fun to contemplate and play with, but which is unlikely to pay the bills. Thank goodness for boats like this. If every new CLC boat design had to win the approval of a focus group I think I'd auction off the place, fix up an old sailboat, and go cruising. My last "just for fun" design was also an oddball, a physically large one. Madness was bonkers fun, but I resolved that my next personal project would be a very small boat. That way, i ..read more
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Madness in the Boatshop by John Harris on 2023-06-14 10:04:19
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2M ago
By John C. Harris January 2011 I should have known that building a 31-foot multihull in CLC's shop would cause a stir.  My first blog post about the boat, back in September, has attracted almost 9000 hits as of this writing.  At the time, the proa's nascent assembly was bundled off into our storage lot under tarps while the shop was busy with boatbuilding classes.  We resumed work in November.  And while I'll not be retiring on sales of kits and plans for a 31-foot proa, the positive feedback is gratifying and has spurred Madness along. Here are some no ..read more
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What Happens When Stitch-and-glue Boats Get Old? Part One by John C. Harris on 2023-08-16 10:39:34
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2M ago
What Happens When Stitch-and-Glue Boats Get Old? By John C. Harris November, 2014 "Stitch-and-glue" is a style of boatbuilding in which pre-fabricated plywood parts are assembled with epoxy and fiberglass to create a rigid, durable hull.  While the techniques and materials have varied over the last forty years, within recent memory the process involves sealing everything in the boat with waterproof epoxy, inside and out.  These boats are pickled in epoxy, so to speak.  Reinforcing and sealing a wooden boat within a matrix of epoxy and fiberglass yields remarkable strength and ..read more
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Final Thoughts On Madness the Proa by John C. Harris on 2023-09-19 11:46:26
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2M ago
By John C. Harris December 2013 Many observed that my 31-foot Pacific proa project was ambitious, experimental, and a bit daft.  "Yes" to the first, "no" to the second, and "maybe" to the third.   The project was ambitious in scale, at least by comparison to CLC's usual small boat fare, and bringing it in for a landing on a reasonable budget of time and money was an interesting challenge. It's one reason I'm glad I did it, as it demonstrated the CLC team's ability to execute complex technical exercises. Madness was not "experimental" in terms of design.  As I was at pains to ..read more
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How To Take Great Photos of Boats by John C. Harris on 2023-10-04 14:06:11
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2M ago
by John C. Harris January, 2015 Click here to go back to the CLC Photo Contest Page My grandmother was fond of saying, "You can't take a bad photo of the water!"  I appreciate the sentiment, but yes dear, you CAN take a bad photo of the water.  Here are some simple tips on how to make photos of your boat (and its crew) stand out from the crowd.   Choose good light! The photographers call the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset "The Golden Hour."  They aren't waxing poetic; it's because they tend to get paid for photos taken during those hours.  Photos taken ..read more
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