Trailer and car-top boats are my specialty for a number of reasons - the primary one being that I don't have the resources to live near a deep water anchorage and so carvel-built boats kept on a mooring are beyond my means.
|Tom Dudgeon moored in very shallow water. |
(illustration taken from Coot Club by Arthur Ransome)
But in many ways this state-of-affairs has turned out to be to my advantage. Large and deep boats are unable to visit the hundreds of thousands of superb shallow water destinations which abound along the coasts of most countries, and a cruise in a large boat can mean being imprisoned in a cabin or on a deck which is in constant motion while the crew view the exciting coastline from a long distance out. Every bar-crossing is a stressful event and very few nights on a cruise provide real rest because of the responsibilities of anchor watch.
On the other hand the dinghy cruiser can work up tiny creeks, cross bars where a mishap simply means stepping into ankle-deep water and pushing the boat across the obstacle into the calm on the other side of the bar. Some of the most enjoyable cruising I've done (all in dinghies - sail and power) has included sessions of travel along the coastline with the boat just outside the shore break. This is most exciting and enjoyable stuff, providing close-up views of beach, rocky headlands, mangrove creeks, breaking reefs, entrances to bays which are invisible to the crew of boats further offshore etc. Sailing, poling or rowing across flats covered by two feet of water is challenging and deeply satisfying. The options available to the beach-cruiser are manifold....
|Alec Morgan's camp ashore on an island in Moreton Bay during a solo beach-cruising expedition. The trip was of about five days duration, and involved a whole range of coastal activities including exits and entries across surf bars.|
Anyway, I've found myself spending a life involving small trailer boats, and I still get excited every time I head out (and in when I'm tired/cold/hot/scared/hungry/sun burnt/hypothermic....)
|Graham Faulkner's Periwinkle in the beach slop|
|Son David and me approaching the shore after a very wet and cold sail - heavily reefed and going like a rocket.|
|Periwinkle under construction using glued-lapstrake techniques. Most of the weight in the internal structure gets left on the mold strongback.|
|Will Shrapnel's boat being built using the stitch-and-glue method. This is my Fleet design - a very light boat.|
|Cover shots from Chris Kulczycki's book The Canoe Shop in which I first read about the "Lap-Stitch" construction method. That is John Harris, owner of Chesapeake Light Craft, in the paddling photo.|
|A drawing I did to illustrate the difference between Glued-lapstrake and "Lap-Stitch"|
|Annapolis Wherry Tandem during the initial stitching-up process|
|Here you can see the stitches on the inside of the hull.|
|I don't have any suitable photos, but this drawing shows a section through a conventional glued-lapstrake hull showing the beveled laps with parallel-sided glue lines.|
|External glass cloth over the bottom panel and the first plank (garboard strake) on each side. The internal and external glass shown is as per instructions.|
|Recent photo showing external paint nearing completion|
|A long and lean boat - awaiting final internal sanding and painting|
Well, that is a brief run-down on "Lap-Stitch". I think it has a place for some people - especially beginners. However, like all boat-building methods, it does require serious attention to detail, and should not be taken lightly. For myself, I'll stick to the normal method using a station mold and strongback, as I like the tighter glue-lines and neater work. My opinion is that I could have built the strongback, mold and the boat using conventional methods faster than by going through the messy gluing process and filling of hole associated with the "Lap-Stitch" system. But that is just my own opinion, and I can see a real place for "lap-Stitch" as long as the plank patterns are accurately deigned and cut, and that the person doing the work is happy with relatively heavy epoxy use in comparison with conventional glued-lapstrake. I'd say the building process is more simple for a tyro than the conventional method, but not any faster.