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Topsail cutter. Length: 22 ft.

Beam: 8 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 flat-
bottomed skiff. When completed, she looks
Shapely, sails beautifully, and runs along
at five knots with a 2-hp outboard. If de-
sired, 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. Con-
struction 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 fas-
tened. The chine pieces are of oak, green
171
or newly cut oak, I had better mention. If
they prove too stiff, they can be made lim-
ber 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 plank-
ing can be started. Fasten the center-line
planks first, then [Continued on page 200]

173
How To Build Discovery
[Continued from page 173]
work outboard toward the chine pieces. Each In a short article such as this, many phases
chine should be painted and a thread of calk- of boatbuilding cannot be completely de-
ing cotton should be stuck in the paint to scribed and explained. If you ran into diffi-
make 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 Con-
mark 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 opera-
tion. 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 chang-
ing in appearance. After the tacking is com-
pleted, wet the canvas, wipe off surplus water
with a towel, and paint immediately. The wa-
ter 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, out-
board well (or motor beds), lockers, and bow-
sprit 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.

200 December, 1953