October 26, 2014
Since frame fairing — turning frames with square edges into frames with angled edges — does not make for a really compelling blog, I thought I would post some pictures of the project I completed just before starting the Tardis. Just before taking my Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff out of the water for the year, my friend Eric Bohman did a photo shoot with me driving. Eric is an exceptional photographer and the pictures came out great. Here are the shots and a writeup I did for WoodenBoat magazine.
When I first saw the announcement in WoodenBoat for “Design Challenge I” I was immediately drawn to the photo at its center. It showed Tom Hill’s Long Point Skiff, a boat I had always admired, running fast and handsome. But I was really intrigued by the green boat speeding along beside her. “Now that is one shapely craft. Looks like a miniature lobster boat,” I thought.
As time passed I followed the development by Aaron Porter and Tom Hill of the Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff and discovered that the “green boat” was the original from which the lines were taken for the strip-planked version. And I was secretly pleased that I had a pretty decent eye for a boat: designed by Joel White and built by Jimmy Steele isn’t a bad pedigree.
When I saw Aaron’s classified in WoodenBoat for that same skiff, I was off to Maine in no time with a check and a trailer, and I was proud to be the new caretaker of such a significant craft.
Structurally she was in good shape, but the bottom planking was pretty rough, and 40 years of hard use meant that the rails, seats and transom could use some work. Also, with Aaron’s agreement, I thought the boat would best be modified for life on a trailer with a layer of cold-molded cedar and fiberglass laid diagonally over the planking. I had trouble finding cedar locally, but wandering through a home center one day, I spotted a pile of 1X4 cedar decking that was almost perfectly clear and with a lot of work on the table saw turned it into 2-inch wide strips. They were set in epoxy and covered with Xynole polyester fabric that has proven to be extremely tough and a great surface for the glossy “Chesapeake Green” finish.
Material for the center console was easy to find: My son’s old made-in-Maine “Cedarworks” swingset was getting very tired, so I sawed it up into planks. (Don’t fret about that, he’s 20 years old and doesn’t do much swinging any more). The console was built from plans I had for the Long Point Skiff, which sort of rounds out the whole story.
Due to moving, building a new shop and taking a year off to go on the Great Loop in our Eldredge-McInnis motorsailer (www.memsahibsvoyage.com), the whole rebuild took about four years. But this July I finally got the rails, breasthook and quarter knees rebedded and into the water she went at Guilford, CT.
As Aaron has remarked, this is a fantastic sea boat. She climbs the square Long Island Sound waves with aplomb and very little spray. She is wicked fast with a 25 hp outboard that came my way, and did 21 knots in flat water the only time I had the courage to open her up.
And sitting on a dock with 50 white fiberglass center consoles, she can still stop people in their tracks: “What IS that, what a shape, looks like a little lobsterboat. Is it wood?”