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12-18-2015 11:43 AM
Re: Building my own dingy

I will be building a Devlin Boat design Polliwog this winter. For a rowing dinghy this has the advantage of a longitudinal bench. This will allow adjustments for when there are one vs. two in the boat. Not sure how well it sails. The D4 plans include plans for adding a dagger board, etc.
This thread is a bit old, but, thought I would provide a little follow-up to my posting. I did a little write-up for Devlin Boat on the dinghy build, with some pictures.

Devlin Designing Boat Builders - Polliwog: George

Here is the text from the write-up.

Lightweight Working Polliwog

We are day sailors and weekenders on a Bristol 27 sailboat. I don’t think we will be shellbacks at any time in the near future (a Polliwog having sailed across the equator, and shellback having not). We sail off of a mooring pin, therefore, find that we need passage to and from shore. In my first attempt at building a yacht tender, I made a 7 foot pram out of quarter inch construction grade plywood. My ‘beauty’ weighed in at about 80 lbs. Being of somewhat slight physique (think Kermit the frog arms), I was having a difficult time getting my pram onto the top of the car. Looking around, I found that the design of the Polliwog made sense as a replacement in a number of ways: It had a pointed bow, that might make the boat fit on the foredeck of my sailboat better than a pram bow. It had a longitudinal rowing bench, making balancing rowing position changes possible. And, finally, it just looked more ‘shippy’.

For this effort, I wanted to push the limits of lightweight, with the intention of still being able to use-and-abuse her (lovingly). By stepping up to marine grade okoume, I saved a bunch of weight compared to pine plywood. I also reduced the thickness of the hull from ¼ inch, specified in the plans, to 4 mm. I sheathed just the bottom, and over the chines with 6 oz woven glass. I didn’t sheath the topsides, or the inside, to save some more weight. The transom, and seat support bulkhead, forward seat divider, and skeg where all laminated double thickness of the 3mm ply. The rest of the front seat supports and rear seat support were single layers. The corner knees, and seat tops where all single layer ply rather than solid wood. I put a small solid wood strip on the edges of the exposed ply for cosmetic reasons. In order to prevent damage to the mother ship, I put (well) used fire hose over foam pipe insulation around the gunnel for a fender. I’m guessing the pipe insulation material will get squished, and will need replacing every few years. I screwed a small sacrificial aluminum strip from stem to stern on the skeg for protection. For additional thickness in this area, I extended the skeg all the way up onto the prow. This also makes the aluminum strip stand proud of the hull, helping to protect her when dragging out of the water. Because I did not want to show off my less than perfectly smooth hull (it is a working boat after all!), I painted it white, with a thin cove strip for visual interest.

My new creation weighs in at about 45 lbs. with everything attached. I have no trouble getting her on top of the car by myself. With my wife helping, it is almost effortless. I have found that the Polliwog rows well. Before mounting the oar lock sockets, I took a trip down to my local lake with oar lock sockets in hand and a couple clamps, and got in the boat. I positioned myself in the boat so there was as much skeg in the water as possible without the transom dragging, and marked the spot for the oar lock sockets. I then did the same, with my wife in the stern seat. Turns out, it balances well with me almost snug into the bow of the boat, which provides the whole area between the two of us for cargo.

We plan on being a little more careful with our lightweight Polliwog about avoiding rocks going ashore, and with throwing heavy things down from the mother ship. I suspect she will give us many good years of service.

10-21-2012 06:08 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

Besides the fact I need a tender for my boat...I have finished all the big projects. A friend was building a nesting tender for themselves but then didn't need it so was going to sell it to me, but this one is so easy to build and I can customize it to my boat. Also it's away to use up alot of the left over lumber I why not.
10-19-2012 02:49 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

I built a 10' Spindrift 10N nesting dinghy out out Okume plywood. It was my first building project and it was a lot of fun. It's an awesome dinghy that stows nicely in front of the mast, rows, well, motors well and tows very well. Some day I'm set her up for sailing.

She was quite usable after a winter of slow building, but I'm still finishing her up.
10-19-2012 12:07 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

Oh, one more thing about Okume: For the same strength okume weighs a LOT less than exterior ply.
10-19-2012 12:05 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

One the other hand, if you wish to cover with a varnish equal, so you see the teak grain in the plywood, Okume is the way to go. But any 1/4 dg fir based marine ply or ext grade glue plywood would work.
That is basically what I found. Exterior grade plywood works... my boat didn't sink (has been going strong for 5 years). However, because of the internal voids, there is severe checking. The wood breaks down from the inside. Protecting with a layer of epoxy and painting won't keep this from happening. Maybe a layer of glass would. I think if you are going to spend the time to make a boat, spend the extra $100 and make is look good and last.
10-18-2012 08:29 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

Reality is, you could do it with ACX plywood, as long as it had exterior glue. One does not need to use okume plywood $$$$$$

One the other hand, if you wish to cover with a varnish equal, so you see the teak grain in the plywood, Okume is the way to go. But any 1/4 dg fir based marine ply or ext grade glue plywood would work.

Make sure you get the plans with full size patterns. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time drafting things upward!

10-18-2012 01:11 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

I would be suprised if there wasn't someone with a supply in AK. OTOH, they may not have 4mm Okume.
10-17-2012 05:45 PM
Capt Nos
Re: Building my own dingy

8-Ball it is then for me as no clear leader has risen above the 8 ball design and a few sound like they did it when they were kids which is reassuring for my skill set. Ordering the plans tonight I think. Wish me luck, I'll post the pics when I get started. Unfortunately due the fact that i live in Alaska I'll have to special order the marine ply.
10-17-2012 03:52 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

Building a dinghy connects you in a visceral way to all the shipswrights of days gone by.
Totally agree.

I will be building a Devlin Boat design Polliwog this winter. For a rowing dinghy this has the advantage of a longitudinal bench. This will allow adjustments for when there are one vs. two in the boat. Not sure how well it sails. The D4 plans include plans for adding a dagger board, etc.
10-17-2012 03:31 PM
Re: Building my own dingy

Originally Posted by miatapaul View Post
If you don't have good tools like a big table saw, you might want to look into some of the kits like the Chesapeake Light Craft kits, very nicely cut out marine grade wood as well.
I have most of the tools, but don't have the money for a kit (the cost of a kit would pay for all the tools and enough materials to make some major mistakes and then some). Materials will cost me <20% of the cost of a kit....not even accounting for the wood I have on stock. Not including, fastenings, adhesive and the like. If I use the fanciest 4mil Okoume marine ply ($50/sheet), I have most of the other wood. I would only use 1 1/2 sheets for the boat (the left overs will be used for other things so don't count towards cost of skiff) and have to purchase less than $50 for everything else, including cast in lumber shoild be around $125.....I have oars locks and access to a pair of 7 1/2' sitka spuce oars ($115)....the sailing rig something else.
I visited Cheasapeke Light Crafts booth at the wooden boat festival....the kit prices were worth a think, if you can afford it, they have some nice boats. But I have a design I like which I am tailoring to my kit will fit my needs that precisely.
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