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jbarros 10-06-2003 03:34 PM

building a small racing sloop

So, I was thinking of a good first boat building project. Now, my Josie''s not big enough to carry, or strong enough to tow even the smallest dingy (and still get anywhere) so I was thinking about putting together a small racing dingy to kick around the bouys on wed nights.

Does anyone know if a Laser can be made out of wood? they race those around here.

If not, ideas for simple, small, cartopable or easily towable race boats to be used either single or double handed would be apreciated.

I know I wont build anything realy competative, but I''d still like to get some time on the water in something I built.


Thanks. :)

-- James

Jeff_H 10-06-2003 06:43 PM

building a small racing sloop
No James, Lasers can''t be built of wood. There are still classes where you can home build competitive one design race boats out of wood, but they are becoming increasingly rare, and I doubt they exist in the Great Salt Lake. There are some bigger PHFF type boats where cold molded or wood composite boats might be competitive. Actually Thunderbirds are reasonably competitive 26 foot plywood boats aimed at amateur construction.


jbarros 10-07-2003 08:07 AM

building a small racing sloop

Would this be a stupid idea? Other good suggestions? I heard a spray may be a good first project, but for the life of me I cant find any plans.

PS, I''m in Southern California, so the local wed night racing is a 5-7 mile ocean course.


Thanks agian. :)

-- James

aflanigan 10-07-2003 08:32 AM

building a small racing sloop
There seems to be no shortage of interesting "do it yourself" designs out there. Check out the selection here, for example: d=5669962_12079

I don''t think making something out of wood with your own two hands is a "stupid idea" even if you end up longing for a different design before you''ve even finished the one you start on. The process of creating a boat out of wood is a very challenging and rewarding one. If you''ve got the time and desire, I''m sure you would have a lot of fun. It would be good to have an expert resource to turn to with construction questions, and perhaps ask for references of people who have actually built and sailed the design you pick to see how well it fulfilled it''s role. For example, here in Alexandria, we have a seaport museum/foundation that does wooden boat construction; I also spent a few weeks at Mystic seaport museum, where they have a small wooden boat shop dedicated to making classic designs (melonseed, marblehead skiff, swampscott dory, etc.) and the fellows who work there are absolute experts on making seaworthy small craft. Having someone with that type of experience you can turn to would be a big help.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA

dpboatnut 10-07-2003 03:44 PM

building a small racing sloop
A Lightning might be a reasonable first boat. The class rules allow wooden construction, they are not too tough to trailer, but would probably require hoist instead of ramp launching. I think there is an active group sailing them in the L.A. area- I thought I saw a bunch at a Marina del Rey Yacht Club (or were those Stars? from a distance, they''re similar...)

Anyway, Woodenboat did a two-part article on the construction of a lightning in issues 153-4.

But I think building something even smaller and simpler first wouldn''t be a bad idea- even a stitch and glue pram or kit kayak- just to work out the bugs in your skills with epoxy and related goops. Read Gougeon''s epoxy manual before and after your first project- you''ll be amazed at how many concepts come into focus after having lived thru the problems they solve.

Or get a few friends together and jump straight into building a mount gay 30 from Dix- it looks like a hoot! Lets see, the next Transpac is in ''05: can you be ready by then?


jbarros 10-07-2003 04:13 PM

building a small racing sloop
It''ll be my first project. I''ve got my first boat. I''ve also been somehow goaded into teaching kids to sail in Sabots next year, and in the meantime saw some of the older kids playing in the Lasers, and that looked like a hoot. They are very active at the 2 local marinas.

I was going to build a small pram for my boat, but realized that even at only 6''8" she''s still too big to fit on Josie, and building a boat I wont use would just be... disheartening at the least.

If I build a laser or similar size boat I can probibly store it for free right at the docks, (it''s good to sail with the Chandlery owner for so MANY reasons ;) )

The basic idea was to put together something that would add diversity to my sailing experience. I crew on big boats, single hand my Josie, who is beutifull, but not exactly the fastest tortouse in the desert. :-\ so a small zippy boat that I could rush around the harbor, flip trying to go fast, and possibly take out for the Wed night races (hey there''s some maniac who does SantaBarbra to Anacapa and back (40nm) in/on one pretty regularly)

So, I''m down with simple, as long as it''s simple, and fun/fast to sail. What suggestions do you have?

By the way, all the kayaks I''ve seen have been traditional planked construction... I''m not sure I''m up to that yet. You know of a good kit thats simple for a beginner? A kayak could be a fun diversion ;)

Thanks. :)

-- James

jbarros 10-07-2003 04:14 PM

building a small racing sloop
and as for the Mount Gay, I was thinking more like a Didi 34... whadya think? ;)

-- James

Jeff_H 10-07-2003 05:49 PM

building a small racing sloop
As I said earlier the Didi 34 is a neat boat. It would be a great all around boat.

As to building a ''Laser'' in plywood, that is out of the question. You could build an OK Dinghy which is a trainer for the Olympic Finn and was designed for plywood construction. When I owned one in the early 1970''s the plywood boats were competitive with the glass boats, but I am sure that is no longer the case. These were really nice boats that would teach you a lot about boat handling and like the Laser give you abs and thighs of steel.


sailingfool 10-07-2003 06:34 PM

building a small racing sloop
54 Attachment(s)
Take a look at the latest POPULAR MECHANICS where they build a neat wooden two person rowing dory from a $1,000 kit - apparently it can be rigged to sail also. If that seems too tame, they also have an article on the latest in kit airplanes.

jbarros 10-07-2003 09:13 PM

building a small racing sloop
I have exactly 30 feet by 25 feet of building space. :( So the 34 is out. Which is just as well, because it''s a bit intimidating to me as a project, and I''m somewhat fond of boats I can jump from one end of to the other in 2 hops. ;)

I am looking into the OK dingy, although to be honest, I''m having a time of finding plans. If I still cant find any in another day of searching, I''ll contact the US association and see where they can point me.

Thanks agian all of you. :)

-- James

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