With the kayak done and Summer temps winding down, I decided to construct another boat. This is actually the end of a rather meandering path of fitful beginnings without any starts. For several years now the idea of sailing an open boat closer to shore for extended days has poked and prodded for my attention.
For this type of cruising, there are many suitable boats. Not all are a suitable builds and not all evoke the perhaps romantic notion of slipping along a reedy creek on some crisp Fall afternoon. For countless hours I’ve dreamed and studied this design or that building method. A library now resides in the upstairs hall dedicated to this pursuit. However, if I had to pinpoint the initial spark, it likely came when I stumbled upon Ross Lillistone’s “Periwinkle”, a cat ketch with balanced lugs (video here). She has that historical reference, yet with new construction techniques is a fresh original.
Not long after, research turned up another boat from down under, Mickey Floyd’s “Salty Heaven”.
Say what you will about the name, this yawl lugger’s workboat lines make her a beauty.
|Floyd’s own “Salty Heaven”|
Somehow the New Jersey gunning skiff dropped in there most likely due to Barry Long’s exquisite “twins” he crafted in his basement (video). These got my longest attention, but ultimately they lacked the volume I hoped for to take 2 or 3 sailing. His blog Marginalia is a great history of his builds.
|Long’s Melonseed “Aeon”|
The long search and dragging of feet ended with a double ended balanced lug yawl by Iain Oughtred called the “Sooty Tern”. Perhaps his 100th design, she is the inheritor of a long evolution of his yawls. Details are here (Sooty Tern). Max Filusch has one of the best sets of photos of this boat. This blog’s current background photo is one of his. Here’s another:
Oughtred’s designs are some of the most built boats out there. With a large following, resources abound on WoodenBoat Forum. For that matter, any wooden boat of note is virtually catalogued there. Sooty fits the bill. With a nod toward history, an evolution of ideas, and simplicity of design, this boat proves to answer a dream …