The Schooner Boat, Coming Together

The Schooner Boat has grown a few inches longer and a little deeper. Most of the changes have been a refinement of the form. Proportions and shapes adjusted to unify the whole. Each part of a boat has to do different things. Early on it’s good to focus-in piece by piece. Looking at the midsection, the forebody, the run, and the keel profile individually. Of course they all need to transition into each other. But as the hull form comes together there is a phase in which the transitions and their effect on the overall design become the center of focus. It’s a question of integrating the parts into a whole. If we begin smoothing everything at the start there is a superficial fairness, but no muscle underneath the skin. It takes a dynamic interplay to achieve a truly integrated form.

The new Outboard Profile closely follows New England Fishing Schooner tradition. The smaller boats, like this one, would have a single deck stem to stern with a cove line just above the scuppers. The upper bulwarks recessed. The deck edge, actually the covering board, extends to the outside of the hull. The bulwark planking sits on top of it. The frames end below the deck-line. There are short stub-frames that back the bulwark planking without cutting through the deck. Keeping fresh water out of the upper hull structure is critical if we want to avoid rot. The other factor, often overlooked, is fastidiously avoiding building rotten wood, or defects prone to rot, into the structure in the first place.

There’s a tiller instead of a wheel. More fitting for a boat this size. So much better to be able to feel the rudder in the hand without all that gearing in between.

We’ve gone to doubled steam-bent frames instead of closely spaced sawn frames. It seems the better approach for a boat of this size. The frames are 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ in two horizontal laminations bent in place together and then fastened with copper rivets through the planking. This saves an enormous amount of wood and time over the sawn frames. Larger boats are suited to sawn frames or having every-other frame sawn with steam bent intermediaries. It would make sense to use hardwood for the planking, at least below the waterline. Traditionally this would be Yellow Pine. Though it might not be available unless a batch of recycled timber can be found. White Oak is an option. As is Douglas Fir.

Let’s compare the Schooner Boat with Edward Burgess’ Carrie Phillips from the 1880’s. The first thing we see is the effect of size. Carrie Phillips is more than twice the length. A smaller boat needs to be proportionally deeper – and beamier. It’s counter-intuitive, but length is the greatest contributor to stability.

Schooner Boat silhouette adjusted to approximate the proportions of the larger vessel.
Carrie Phillips

I carved a half model of Carrie Phillips many years ago. It hangs by my desk. A Provincetown boat to boot!

The stem and forefoot of the Schooner Boat is closer to an “Indian Header” like Quonnapowatt.

Mattakeessett was another of Thomas McManus’ Indian Headers.

The Construction Profile hints at the Schooner Boat’s tender.

Dories are measured along their bottom. This 12 footer is actually 14′ – 9″ overall. It can be carried on deck, right-side up or upside down, although everyone will be happier towing the dory….

These are incredible sea-boats when loaded properly. It takes a few hundred pounds of gear, cargo, or ballast. Down on its lines – at least with the garboard amidships submerged – a dory will handle almost anything.

Since we only carry one – no need, or room, to nest a gaggle of dories – we can fix the thwarts and include a daggerboard and its case. Steering is with an oar. A rudder would just be a complication.

What we want in this tender is a small boat that’s as capable as the boat it tends after. Schooners and dories belong together.

32.5′ Schooner Boat Project





Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

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