Shipyard Memories #8: The Smaug Blog: Wood Boatbuilding 101, Under Sail

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 11-19-2010 03:30 AM 4414 reads 1 time favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: The Smaug Blog: Wood Boatbuilding 101, Interior and Stepping the Mast Part 8 of Shipyard Memories series Part 9: The Catboats: Framed Plywood Construction, Scarfing and Setup »

The only sailing photos I have were taken before the square rigging arrived, too bad. I say arrived because we didn’t build the yards and their rigging as we did the rest. The designer, Jay Benford, at the time owned a (the only as far as I know) sistership “Sunrise” and was in the process of changing to a “great pyramid rig” that made his yards and square sails surplus, so we were able to buy them as a package and they were fitted a few months after the rest.

In order to be chronologically correct I will show the pre-square rig photos first. These two pics are Smaug under fore and aft sails plying the waters of Quatsino sound just off our dock in Coal Harbour. In the first she’s just ghosting along and in the second there’s a bit of breeze. What is immediately obvious when you sail on her is that she is a big strong heavy boat. She doesn’t ride up and down the waves, she plows right through them like a tank.

Here she’s tied up at the fishermans’ dock in Coal Harbour getting her squares bent on. Neil, the owner used to say that while most sailors these days want to be able to control all the lines from the cockpit, he was happy if he could handle most of them from the deck. You only had to go aloft to secure or shake out the topsail.

This one is about 15 years later as Smaug arrives in Victoria to participate in the annual “Classic Boat Festival”. She was still owned by the original owner.

In the last photo for this blog, I get a turn at the helm in the “Schooner Classic” race for gaff riggers at the Classic Boat Festival. This late summer event is often, as shown, a rather windless affair but it was fun to see her again.

Well folks, that about wraps up the “How to build a carvel planked sailboat” class. If any of you are still interested, I could go on to cold molded, classic plywood, or stitch and glue construction. I do have a lot of old photos.

Thanks for bearing with me and my sometimes over-technical rantings and thanks for enjoying the show. If you had as much fun with it as I did then my job is done.

Until next time


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

26 comments so far

View terrilynne's profile


836 posts in 2919 days

#1 posted 11-19-2010 04:07 AM

She’s a real beauty. At what point does a boat become a ship? I mean there are rowboats, flat bottom boats….etc. How big does a boat have to be to be considered a ship?

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2824 days

#2 posted 11-19-2010 04:10 AM

Good question Terri. The general answer is ” It is a ship when it is big enough to carry a boat”

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3263 days

#3 posted 11-19-2010 04:30 AM

Great series. I’d love to see the other boats you’ve built.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3044 days

#4 posted 11-19-2010 05:32 AM

Thank you very much for doing this series, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! I’d be interested in further series too if you feel like and have time for it! The Smaug is a beautiful boat.

Erwin, Jacksonville, Fl

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3800 days

#5 posted 11-19-2010 05:34 AM

Great series of blogs. Very informative and intereseting. You did a beautiful job on her. Do you still sail and have a sail boat? Thank you!

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Jimthecarver's profile


1124 posts in 3811 days

#6 posted 11-19-2010 05:59 AM

I have read this series of blogs and I have to say you really build a beautiful boat. Looking at the connections and joints especially in the cabin area. I know nothing about boats or boating but this was a great trip. From start to finish….all I can say is WOW!
Thank you for sharing these past builds and I would enjoy seeing more of your boat builds.

-- Can't never could do anything, to try is to advance.

View dlmckirdy's profile


199 posts in 3159 days

#7 posted 11-19-2010 06:11 AM

I loved this series. I’m not really into boats (strange, since I grew up in San Diego) but building a wooden boat is the epitome of woodworking. Keep up the boat building series, and I, for one, will watch every episode!

By the way, Smaug is a beautiful craft.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4103 days

#8 posted 11-19-2010 07:03 AM

very nice series…such a great job on explaining!

I know blogging takes LOTS of time…so pace yourself…but if you enjoyed doing this——there is no question so are we…

I am reading/skimming through…”Gougeon Brothers on Boat Contruction” (1979)...and they describe cold molded “stringer” framed construction—-just barely read about it…and I think that is the style of the boat I am building—-Stevenson Project Weekender…using plywood, stringers and bulkheads…

So…would love to see a boat done that way at some point…also read a book called “In the Year of the Boat” and he built a Sam Devlin boat—-as a total novice which was interesting…so the stitch and glue would be fun to see from an expert pt of view…the one bad part of the book was that there were so few pictures…

so “seeing” the boat building would be fun for me…

Again…no rush…do it as long as you enjoy it…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2824 days

#9 posted 11-19-2010 07:10 AM

Thanks everyone! I will do another one.

Tom, I still have a sailboat that I built myself when I retired in 2004. I actually built it in the winter of 05-06.
See “Friendship” in my projects.
Thanks again.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View sras's profile


4811 posts in 3155 days

#10 posted 11-19-2010 07:40 AM

A very enjoyable blog – I also would very much enjoy seeing another story.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3096 days

#11 posted 11-19-2010 10:02 AM

Thanks for this series I love boats As a young man I was at sea for about 7 years & always had an interest in anything to do with the sea I’‘ve owned quite a few boats all but one were made out of those fibreglass trees you were talking about (mainly for time,cost & maintenance issues) however I love traditional boats nothing sits or works on the water like a good wooden boat & I really admire the skill of the boat builder using tools & techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries
Thanks again

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3387 days

#12 posted 11-19-2010 11:22 AM

Hey Paul,
Any additional blogs on the numerious kinds of builds would be real sweet.
Been a great treat so far….bring them on.

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3487 days

#13 posted 11-19-2010 01:33 PM

Thanks for this blog, Paul. You certainly can be very proud of what you have done. My son would say boatbuilders rock!!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2802 days

#14 posted 11-19-2010 06:20 PM

Beautiful, absolutely beautiful – not much more that I can say

-- David in Damascus, MD

View mickyd's profile


31 posts in 3163 days

#15 posted 11-19-2010 11:04 PM

Great series Paul. I enjoyed every word and photo of it. Thanks for taking the time to share your past.

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