Join Date: May 2005
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If you do not have a subscription as of yet, one to "wooden boat" would be good, also look at their website for multitudes of plans, and they have a three books that I know of with study plans in them. They also have a boat building forum to get help on the building process;s too.
Clark craft, Glen-L marine, Devlin boatworks also have plans, and kits for some of the plans.
I have built two Glen l boats, step dad has built one. Plans were very detailed and easy to read and use.
I personally like the plywood over frame construction, easy for most any woodworker to do. You will be typically limited to flat or vee bottomed boats thos. But if you have other talents, the foam core as mentioned, lapstrake, or laminated style siding works too, but more time consuming, can get you into a more rounded shaped boat too.
Devlin boatworks has plans for boats upwards of the mid 30' range in plywood stich and glue. A fairly simple light weight boat. One of these may work for your needs too.
The nice thing about building your own boat, is the interior you can do as you want, not as the plans say. But it will take time! My stepdad has been working on a Bill Garden designed Sea Bird yawl, a plywood version of the original from Thomas Day. It has taken him 30+ yrs, and may, hopefully will get her in the water this summer!
As I do not know where you sail etc, to go into a design that will work best, is not right IMHO. I sail in Puget sound, water depth is not an issue for the most part, so a deep draft boat is my prefered choice, but if you sailed on teh columbia river in Portland or equal, then a shallower draft boat might be in order. On the east coast, most folks seem to prefer shoal or centerboard style boats.
Another option.... not saying this is good or bad. Recently their was an older fiberglass ericson that sunk. The insurance company totaled the boat. I am sure the body was still sound, but obviously the rest of the boat, ie motor, interior cushions etc was toast! You could probably pick up this hull/hulk for a song, then redo the interior work yourself, and be out less time and money than building the whole thing including the hull!
Size and length, well big question. A friend of mine will not get anything smaller than 40' or so, as you need a boat that big to have at least 6.5' of headroom. Being as he is just shy of 7', spouse is 6', headroom is of importance. Meanwhile my spouse is 5'3", I am 6', my 30'r with 5.5-6' of headroom works just fine for us! Altho I will admit, a little more headroom would be nice!
At this time, I see more than one option as far as what will work for you. Follow your dream, you will get there!