The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














design by Weston Farmer

Build her in your garage over one winter. You can trail her anywhere and use her on almost any water. She is 17 feet overall, with 6-1/2 foot beam and high sides. Use the smallest, or up to 60 hp inboard power

Clinker built boats are, coming back strong. To meet the resurgence toward clinker construction I have designed Kingfisher. She is 17 ft. overall, and is therefore the smallest of similar inboard powered, craft. She comes between the point where the 15-footers of outboard flash leave off and the 18 and 19 and 20-footers of inboard persuasion begin. She has 6'6" of beam, weighs near 1,300 Ibs. ready to launch, and so will haul and trail easily.

She is a high-sided little mite, havings 34" freeboard at the stemhead and 27-1/2" freeboard at the transom. This makes her proportionately deeper but that, too, is a good thing: wind will bother her passengers less, and since' she has "good long legs" in her lateral plane, cross winds won't knock her about.

Her deep entering forefoot helps in that regard. A slight hollow to the water lines results, which purls the bow wave under in pretty fashion. I have built a model and tested it, and Kingfisher will prove very free running.

In fact, she can be very adequately powered with either of the two smallest inboard marine engines on the market. The Brennan Imp made by the Brennan Motor Company of Syracuse, New York, or the Universal Atomic Four made by the Universal Motor Company of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, will prove very satisfying for power.

The Brennan Imp will push the boat 12 to 14 miles an hour. The slightly larger Universal Atomic Four of 25 hp will give you 14 to 15 miles as will a Gray Seascout or a Kermath Sea Cub.

For those who want real "rush", a Gray Lugger of 33 hp Will give 17 to 18 miles, and any of the 60 hp 133 cu. in. kit boat motors like the Gray, or Chris Craft "B" (built around a Hercules block) or the Universal
Unimite will giye 22 miles.

More power will Just be wasted.

To anticipate the inevitable—yes,she can also be built as an outboard by the simple expedient of cutting away the trailing skeg, framing the transom to suit a motor opening. A 25 hp outboard would "poosh" her 16 to 18 miles an hour light.

Lest some who have a bit of know-how, but little know-why, accuse me of imitating anything like the Lyman Islander or similar craft, such as the Century or the Cruisalong as the Century Buccaneer, let me call to the attention of such that it was 24 years ago in Motor Boating that the plans for Kidette appeared. This was a 17-footer of my design which had wide beam, clinker topsides, a 32 hp light motor, and exactly the same cockpit layout as today's most imitated boats.

click to enlargeI am not Suggesting that today's designers of the highly popular clinker utilities ever saw the plans of Kidette. What I am pointing out to your up-raised eyebrow, is that Kidette, placed alongside the most imitated boat of today would show the same general characteristics, and would cop the First-of-Type Trophy.

Kingfisher is small enough to be squeezed into the average garage when building. Please realize that any home-built boat involves three steps before you are even Stephen with the professional shops: You must have a good bench, good tools, a dry place to work. Also you must make out a bill of materials and get your lumber on hand. Next you must lay the boat down full size—all of it—profile, half-breadths and body plan, and fair it. Then you are on the line, on the mark, and can proceed with no more than average troubles.

Kingfisher will build easily. Any pro boat builder who knows his trade will tell you that the boat which is built of light material in small parts will go together easier than the big hunk stuff. It may take longer, but it
is easier.

Let us assume you are about to forsake being a dreamer about this boat and plan to become a doer. The first thing to do is to get one more copy of this Boatbuilding Annual so you'll have a clean, and clear, reference to work from. One copy will become smeared, smudged, illegible. Get one before the next guy has the same idea.

Next, send to Motor Boating, 572 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, for Vol. 34, Practical Boatbuilding. This is a recently reprinted volume, containing the priceless boatbuilding lore of H. W. Patterson, formerly chief designer with Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp., "New York and a most thorough and knowing constructor. There you will find spiling method, layout, fastening methods—everything you might be groping for and which would be impossible to give here in limited space. The price is $4 postpaid.

Next get a roll of brown paper, some battens, nails and weights, and now follow my constructional specifications.

Lay the job down full size, fairing out obvious errors and little errors in the offset table as you go.

click to enlarge

Next make the moulds. These can be of scab lumber. They must diminish by one thickness of planking from the faired-up body plan. The laps compensate each other and this reduction in skin size gives proper designed displacement.

Erect the moulds on a grid marked on the floor as shown in the perspective drawing. The braces you will use are not drawn in.

As shown at "A" on the perspective sketch, most pro boatbuilders would diminish the moulds by one planking thickness, and plank before framing. It would be much easier for the home boatbuilder, though, to diminish the moulds by the thickness of one plank, also of one frame and one ribband. Built thus, the frames can be bent (after steaming) about the ribbands, and the planking can be spiled directly from, and applied to the frames by one man working alone. More, he can quit when he feels like it, with each plank properly nailed. And he can rivet each lap to each frame working alone. More initial trouble, less final trouble, a fairer hull.

The stem is of oak, sided 2-5/8" and moulded as per plan. The knee is the same. The cark can be of tamarack, or yellow pine. ("Cark" means
core or burden, hence load earner,) This assembly bolts as shown to the keel and apron. The keel may be of 2-5/8" sided white oak, or 3" fir or yellow pine. The apron is of yellow pine, 1-1/2" x 5".

Abaft the drop in the keel where it leaves the apron, a filler is laid to form a rabbet edge for the aft run of the garboard strake.

The frames are of oak, 11/16" x 1-1/16" on 6" centers. The heels of each frame are boxed neatly into the apron, screw fastened. The frames are chamfered or rounded on the inboard edges. They are steam-bent, which is a great labor saver in boatbuilding, and should frighten only those who have ever had trouble boiling oatmeal or cooking an egg in hot water.

Sooner or later you'll run into the seeming conflict in frame sizes. The lines call for 7/8" x 5/8", the inboard construction calls for 11/16"x 1-1/16'. Use the lighter frame for an outboard motored hull, the heavier frame for an inboard job. In each case use the forward mark on the lines plan for the 6" spacing.

Practical Boatbuilding, previously mentioned, tells all about steaming and gives plans for a $5 rig.

There are 14 strakes of planking each side of the keel. Make the garboard and broad as dimensioned on the scantling section. Then "line off" a few battens from the sheer toward the turn of the bilge. This means to get a fair sweep to the few topmost strakes. Spile the others between the lined-off topmost strakes as planned and the broad. If you spile all the strakes, especially the topside strakes, in a clinker job the run of planking will seem to bend downward.

Philippine mahogany planking, of 7/16" finish, is best and probably cheapest. Plywood, if of 5-ply special panel length, will be okay, but as plywood by the board foot usually costs just double untouched prime lumber, why use it? That is for factories which have resaw rollers and
big tables.

click to enlarge Fastenings for the planking will be copper clout nails, properly turned with a clinch iron and set up with a nail set about 1/16" to 3/32" into the planking. Any over-zeaious hammer marks can be worked flush by daubing with water. This swells the wood out again.

The transom construction, the installation of the risers and the engine
beds and bilge stringers are just simple, straightforward carpentry and need little explanation. Before I go along, the clout nails should be I-1/8" long, and the double-lap rivet at each frame (over a bur) should be 2" No. 12 nipped off.

I should judge all materials would cost $400 and the motor will cost what you select. Labor: between 300 and 500 man-hours. She'll build in spare time over a winter.