This was not even on my radar, but I stumbled upon a Chesapeake Light Craft Eastport Pram kit one week ago. At 1/3 the current CLC price, I thought it was a real find. Initially I figured I could just sell it for a few “cruising” bucks. That quickly changed as I studied the boat’s attributes compared to our current 8′ fiberglass dinghy that has been well loved. It is a Sumner 8 that has ferried us from big boats to shore for years. With a 2 hp Honda has served us quite well. The sailing, however, has always seemed somewhat of a compromise in my opinion. With longitudinal buoyancy tanks, you are forced to sit on, and not in, the boat. Also, the sprit rig is complicated with shrouds and the halyard forms a head stay.
At MASCF I saw several Nutshell dinghies that made a lot of sense. Very quickly a kit to sell became one to sail. I could see towing the little bateau behind UNA or our big boat. Exploration via sail in port is an added benefit. Also, it can help teach the children better sailing skills too. So, I had to snag it and did. UNA will have a sister.
I’ve now probably 26 hours in the build. I’m amazed at how quickly it has come together. Smaller boats are indeed easier. The laps are an interesting hybrid of lap and stitch and glue. Each plank had a rabbeted edge eliminating any planing of the lands. I don’t know if it would work on larger boats, but it seems to work fine here.
The hull was wired up in about 6 hours! Looks like an upside down boat. Epoxying the laps followed. I’m actually going to follow the Nutshell pram for the interior. Any flotation can be added with a few fenders. I will use the CLC Mk2 sail for this boat. I’ll add a single reef point for “training wheels”, the foot will be loose, and the spars will be fashioned differently. Many of the details will mimic UNA. I even had left over lumber for thwarts, gunwales, etc.
Inside and out I’ll finish her to match UNA. Oh, and the little boat already has a name: Gigi. I have to give my wife credit for this one. It fits I think.
The meaning of Gigi per the Urban Dictionary is:
Here are a few more photos of the build so far. The laps have been epoxied and filleted, the inside bottom fiberglassed, and various parts of the furniture have been shaped and installed. Dagger board case is next up.
|Cleats positioned and clamped.|
|Shear bead added per UNA.|
|Weighted seats to hold cleats.|
|Bow knees and plugs.|
|Clamped thwart cleat.|
|Stern knee with traveller hole.|