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DiscoveryTopsailCutter

DiscoveryTopsailCutter

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Published by: Jim on Apr 25, 2008
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07/19/2014

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Topsail cutter. Beam: 8 ft.

Length: 22 ft. Draft: 34 in.

By William Garden
Naval Architect

D

ISCOVERY is a little ship with big possibilities. She needs but a small cash outlay, she's simple in construction, and she's one of the most useful boats per dollar that it is possible to devise. On an overall length of 22 feet, she can be built complete with outboard for under $750— and built by anyone with the tools and know-how to knock together a flatbottomed skiff. When completed, she looks Shapely, sails beautifully, and runs along at five knots with a 2-hp outboard. If desired, she can be driven by any inboard engine with a displacement of less than 60 cu. in, She's grand for either cruising or day-sailing. Her form is exactly like that of a big skiff with keel, deck, and rig added. Construction follows the same methods. A frame is built of 2x4s at each station and the hull is assembled upside down as shown. A center-line plank is bent on the bottom and lightly nailed to hold the frames in position while the chines are fitted and fastened. The chine pieces are of oak, green

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or newly cut oak, I had better mention. If they prove too stiff, they can be made limber by wrapping them in burlap, soaking them for two days, then pouring hot water over the burlap for two hours. If the oak available is dry and tough, try soaking it for a month during the preliminary work and then steaming it. A piece of heavy stove pipe can be converted into a steam box as shown. Steam the chines for an hour or so, then start forward and bend each piece slowly around. The forward ends should be cut before steaming so that all that remains is to nail them. I would leave the beveling until the pieces are secured and cold. The sheer pieces require much the same treatment. They notch into the frames as shown. Make the frames long enough to reach the shop floor and cut them off when the boat is ready to turn right-side up. With chines and sheer clamps fastened, the hull can be planked. Starting at the sheer strakes, the planks are fitted up to the chines. Use a belt punch to countersink the nail holes; it does the job quicker than a countersink and it works quite well. Leave 1-16 " calking seams to take threads of calking cotton when the planking has been completed. Next, the bottom planking can be started. Fasten the center-line planks first, then [Continued on page 200] 13 7

How To Build Discovery
[Continued from page 173] In a short article such as this, many phases work outboard toward the chine pieces. Each chine should be painted and a thread of calk- of boatbuilding cannot be completely deing cotton should be stuck in the paint to scribed and explained. If you ran into diffimake the seam between plank and chine tight. culty, go to your library or local bookstore As soon as the hull is closed in, install the and obtain a copy of either Monk's Modern intermediate frames. Working inside the hull, Boatbuilding or Steward's Small Boat Conmark the frame locations and bore fastening struction. Should they not be obtainable holes through the planking; then, with a man locally, they can be ordered from The Rudder inside bucking up and holding each frame in Publishing Co., 9 Murray St., New York 7, place, a man outside can drive nails through N. Y. • the holes. The hull should now be calked. Paint the seams with flat primer, then calk with cotton. After calking, fill the hull with a mixture of three-quarters putty, one-quarter white lead, and enough whiting to give it body. When dry, plane off and sand the hull; then give the topsides a coat on well-thinned flat paint and the bottom a coat of copper paint. Next cut the keel timbers and bolt them to the frames. Use long bolts and let their ends extend to anchor the cement ballast in place. Get a gang of fellows for the turning operation. Saw the frames off at the deck line, free the transom and stem, and heave-ho. Block her up on some horses and proceed with the deck work. Fit and install the beams, partner, breasthook, and quarter knees; then lay the plywood deck. Stagger the butts and use plenty of Weldwood glue. Give the deck a coat of thick paint and install the canvas, stretching it tightly over the deck and tacking at 1-in. intervals 1 in. below the sheer all around. Be sure the canvas is bone-dry since it can absorb a lot of moisture without changing in appearance. After the tacking is completed, wet the canvas, wipe off surplus water with a towel, and paint immediately. The water shrinks the canvas and keeps the paint from penetrating the fibers. Final coats of paint are put on in the normal way. Secure the moldings now, being sure to bed them in mastic, and trim the canvas after they are on. Add the seats, floor boards, rudder, outboard well (or motor beds), lockers, and bowsprit and install the chain plates. The next job is the ballast. Let the boat down on one chine and board up the bottom and the low side of the keel to make a cement form. Then board up the high side as the cement is poured. Utilizing all sorts of scraps, work in all the iron possible. The spars can be cut from small trees or you can round them up from square stock. All dimensions are shown on the plans. The topsail yard can be made of bamboo. The paint scheme is up to you. Use lots of color and run in the paint lines as shown. She'll then look like an old-time cutter.
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December, 1953

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