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Glen-L Marine Designs - 9152 Rosecrans Ave. - Bellflower, CA 90706

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GLEN-L Update
  • The West Coast Rendezvous of Glen-L boatbuilders is coming up in just a few days. It's happening in the Sacramento (California) Delta area, and we sure hope that everyone who possibly can will take this opportunity to meet other happy builders of Glen-L boats, share the excitement and "pick the brains" of people who have already been where you're going.

    Gayle and Buckshot and I will be there, and we'd really like to meet you all in the flesh. I'm sure it will be a grand time!
    Bring your boat or your dreams - share the joy!
  • Assembling the WebLetter is something that is done between other responsibilities and I want to point out that it is our builders that really make it happen by sharing their experiences. Take a close look at this WebLetter and it becomes obvious just how much we depend on YOUR submissions. You enjoy reading the WebLetter because these are real stories by builders like you. You could be in the next WebLetter; our readers want to hear about your project.
    Thanks to the MANY builders who contributed to this WebLetter.


It's Ketch as Ketch Can...

The 125-mile race from Newport Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico draws an armada of entries.

HEADING SOUTH: Yachts leave
Newport Harbor on their way to
Ensenada, Mexico, at the beginning
of last year’s race. One vessel that
will join the flotilla this year was
bought for $780 on eBay.

As with all races, the competitive crew on Doug Baker's sleek Magnitude 80 will be pushing to be the first to arrive in Ensenada.

Those aboard John Haupt's 36-foot boat bought on eBay for $780, on the other hand, are just hoping their boat gets there in one piece.

About 400 boats of all sizes and worth will gather outside the Newport Harbor at noon Friday to depart on the 125-mile journey to Ensenada, during the 61st annual event touted as the "world's largest international yacht race."

Magnitude 80's navigator Ernie Richau said early analysis using one forecasting model shows racers are not likely to break records this year, but there could be a favorable northwest wind in the afternoon with speeds of 10 to 15 knots.

That could make this one of the better races in years, as winds have been sluggish enough for sailors to drop fishing lines in the water during recent competitions.

Baker has been doing the race since 1975. Mag 80 has set two records this year for races to Mexico and took home first in class in the last Transpacific Yacht Race.

For some, the Newport-to-Ensenada is a laid-back race known for its crazy parties both in Newport and in Mexico...


How to Anchor Anywhere

by Dean Travis Clarke

Most boats do not come with an anchor. There's a reason for that. Where you boat and what's on the bottom of the water is as important to your anchor choice as your boat and its size. Complicating the decision are many misconceptions about how anchors hold your boat in place. Does a bigger, heavier anchor hold better than a smaller, lighter one? Not necessarily.

Numerous types of anchors exist today for small boats, and there are literally dozens of variations on each type. Here's how to choose the best fit for your boat.

• Fluke anchors, like those made by Danforth and Fortress, offer the best weight-to-holding-power ratio. The fluke anchor lies flat in the sand and digs its blades in as the anchor line drags it across the bottom of the lake or bay.
Tip: Excellent for clay, sand and mud. Not as good on rocky or grassy bottoms.

• Plow anchors lie on their sides when first deployed, then turn upright, digging into the bottom when pressure is applied, ultimately burying the entire anchor securely. They handle changes in pull direction well.
Tip: Good in most bottoms except heavy grass or weeds that tend to resist penetration of the point of the blade.

• Grapnel anchors look like what you throw over the prison wall before climbing the rope to escape. That same solid grip on the wall translates to grip when anchoring where there are rocky and debris-strewn bottoms, wrecks and coral.
Tip: Please anchor in the sandy areas around coral (rather than on it) as that damages this living rock.

Keep in Mind... Two more things to remember when anchoring. First, chain must be used between the anchor line and the anchor to help keep the shank of the anchor parallel to the bottom and to prevent chafe on the rope. Second, twisted nylon makes the best anchor line thanks to its elasticity, which dissipates the shock loads encountered when anchored in rough water.

Reprinted from Boating Life, March, 2007.

Designer's Notebook: Center of Buoyancy

CB is the abbreviation for "Center of Buoyancy" usually shown on the designer's line drawings. The CB can be compared to the fulcrum of an in-balance teeter-totter and, in a boat, is the longitudinal balance point of the underwater volume. Add weight aft of the CB and the boat will go down at the stern, forward and it will be down at the bow.

When the designer designs a boat of any size, he calculates the underwater volume, estimates the displacement, and determines the CB. This initial figure is, however, only a starting point. The weights of all the fixed components in the finished boat must actually be calculated. Yes, this means figuring the weight of each batten, gusset, keel, plank, plus everything in the boat including passengers, motor, etc. The total weight should be very close to the original displacement estimate. If not, the displacement must be re-figured to match the calculated weights and a new CB point determined.

Now comes the fun. Each component part of the boat must have the location of its center of gravity measured relative to the CB; this is then multiplied by its weight. When finished, the designer has a long list including each part of the boat with the distance x weight listed; if the total of figures fore and aft the CB are equal, the hull is in balance. Obviously, this is seldom the case. If not, some weights must be shifted to bring the hull into balance. Although the weights of the components of the hull are fixed, some objects can be moved; fuel and water tanks are easily shifted and are usually the first choice of most homebuilders. But are tanks empty or full? Although designers use a half-full figure, due to the varying weight, the liquids are best located as close to the CB as possible. It isn't good practice to move passengers to balance the hull. Although the location of the helmsperson is usually fixed, it isn't practical to specify where each passenger must sit. It is simply a process of elimination to determine what can be shifted and how much.

Back to our teeter-totter; the farther an object is from the CB, the more its weight affects the balance. A "weight-value" for each component is figured by multiplying the distance from the CB by its weight. A weight of 10 pounds 1 foot aft of the CB could be balanced by 2 lbs. 5 feet forward: 10 x 1 = 2 x 5. In extreme cases, the designer may find it necessary to alter the boat lines to shift the CB, however the options are limited by the parameters of the design. This sometimes frustrating balancing act is the reason many designers have gray hair or are bald.

Displacement or semi-displacement powerboats can be brought into trim by adding ballast. Balancing a sailboat can often be accomplished by moving existing ballast. However, as speed is a function of weight in planing boats, adding ballast for balance in them is undesirable.

Fast planing powerboats are usually not designed to be in balance at rest. In a typical 10' outboard planing hull, the driver can often shift his weight forward to get the boat quickly on plane, then shift aft and the hull will be relatively level. Obviously, shifting the driver forward far enough to have an effect in a larger boat is impractical. Outboards with power trim, after-planes (cavitation plates) and similar appendages will lift the stern and bring the hull on plane more quickly. Any fixed appendage used to force the bow up or down can cause resistance and detracts from performance.

Open planing craft, such as deck boats with lots of passenger space, are only in balance with certain loading. The typical bow rider seems to invite everyone up forward but this imbalance, if carried to the extreme, can be dangerous. For best performance, cruising type boats of any size will have superior performance if properly balanced about the designer's calculated CB.

If you are thinking of adding extra fuel in that big open bow space, think again. What are you going to locate aft to balance the weight x distance contemplated forward? Keep the boat in balance, as per the design, for best performance.


West Coast Rendezvous of Glen-L Boatbuilders
May 4 @ Bethel Island, California

Penn Cove Water Festival
May 17 @ Coupeville, Washington

17th Annual Wooden Boat Show
June 27 - 29 @ Mystic Seaport, Connecticut

32nd Annual Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival
July 4 - 6 @ Seattle, Washington

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival
September 5 - 7, @ Port Townsend, Washington

The Gathering of Glen-L Boatbuilders
October 25 & 26 @ Lake Guntersville, Alabama

Bilge Pumps

B ilge pumps have a purpose
To get the water out
They pump it overboard
Through a hose and a spout

Pumps go round and round
Or sometimes up and down
Whatever way they work
They try not to let you drown

The bilge pump is your friend
You better treat it right
It keeps water on the outside
So you don’t fear or fright

Be sure you get a good one
With a large capacity
Or perhaps, two bilge pumps
Even better, maybe three

But pumps are only meant
For a minor leak or two
A one inch hole in the bottom
Can sink you down into the blue

A major hole below the waterline
Can shake you to your bones
Even with several bilge pumps
You may be greeting Davy Jones

I suggest some positive flotation
For both you and your boat
Don’t depend upon a bilge pump
To keep your derriere afloat

The bottom line, my friend
A bilge pump is a handy thing
But if you rely on it to save you
Better get a raft to which to cling


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...


One Engine or Two?

Twin vs. Single Outboard motors? This is an often asked question, usually in the context of the idea that twin motors offer more power and dependability than a single outboard motor. Research shows that twin outboards generally produce about 85% of the power of a single outboard of equal horsepower; more disappointing is that they'll use about 15% more fuel to produce that power than with a single motor of equal combined horsepower.

Even more bad news; twin outboards nearly double the initial cost, plus they require two of everything - tanks, batteries, wiring, controls, etc.

The advantage of twin outboards, of course, is the safety in having two motors in case one fails. Today's outboards, however, are so dependable that this is not a serious factor. Also consider the weight; a recent model 4-stroke 30-hp motor weighs on average about 187+ lbs., or a total of 375 lbs. for twins. The average weight of today's single 50-hp motor is only about 220 lbs. and gives about the same power as the twins and uses less fuel.

Harold the boatbuilder
"What's the difference between an amateur boat builder and a professional?

The professional knows what 'good enough' is ..."

Shop Talk: The Kick-switch

figure A David Marks

figure B Tablesaw Kickswitch

figure C Safety and A Stable Cut

One of the tools featured in practically every episode of the DIY Network TV Show Wood Works is the table saw (figure A). This is the one tool that David Marks calls "the heart of the woodworking shop."

A significant safety modification that David added to his own table saw is the kick-switch (figure B).

The kick-switch enables the user to turn off the saw while keeping both hands on the stock
(figure C) for a stable cut.

Click here to download a PDF file of David's illustration showing the basic design for the kick-switch shown in this episode.

Money-Saving Tip: Squeezing That Extra Bead Out of a Caulk Tube

Every time you toss out what seems to be an empty tube of Polysulfide Sealant & Bedding Compound (or just plain caulk) you're wasting money. That's because the plunger on most caulking guns doesn't extend all the way to the end of the tube. As a result, a half-inch or so of sealant usually remains in the tube.

The next time you're at the end of a tube of caulk or sealant, remove it from the caulking gun and cut a 1¼-inch-diameter x 3-inch-long section of dowel. Slip the wood dowel into the empty tube and place the tube back onto the gun. As you squeeze the trigger, the plunger will press against the dowel and dispense every last bit of caulk. Remove and save the dowel before tossing out the spent tube.

Innovative Products

Did you know there’s a device that lets you carry a sheet of plywood with one hand?

Gorilla Gripper is a new gripping hand tool designed for lifting, carrying and moving a variety of building materials that are large, unwieldy and heavy… panels of plywood, particle board, wallboard, melamine, glass, granite, marble and more… all with surprising ease!

"Handles sheet goods from 3/8 inch to 1-1/8 inch thick"

The Gorilla Gripper simply slips over the center of the panel. When you lift, it grips using the weight of the material to add super strength to your grip. You'll be amazed at how easily you are able to lift the panel. The leverage created by this tool makes it easy to carry these panels from place to place with increased control and an unobstructed field of vision, making these kinds of tasks dramatically less difficult.

The Gorilla Gripper significantly reduces stress and potential of injuries to your fingers, hands, wrists and back. It also greatly reduces physical fatigue.

For more information go to

Want a map of exactly where your boating adventures have taken you?

The Super Trackstick is the perfect tool to record and view on 3D maps the exact travel histories of anything that moves.

The Super Trackstick records its own location, time, date, speed, heading, altitude and temperature at preset intervals. With over 4Mb of memory, it can store months of travel information.

How it works: The Super Trackstick receives signals from twenty four satellites orbiting the earth. With this information, the Super Trackstick can precisely calculate its own position anywhere on the planet to within fifteen meters.

Where it works: The Super Trackstick will work anywhere on the planet Earth. Your exact location and the route traveled can be viewed and played back directly within Google™ Earth. Everything is included and there are no monthly fees.

Applications / Features

  • Seamless integration into Google™ Earth

  • Professional GPS location recorder

  • Weatherproof design

  • 4-1/2” X 1-1/4” X 3/4”

  • Boat/Vehicle location and route histories

  • Boat and vehicle monitoring

  • Mileage recording and verification

  • Search and rescue
For more information go to Super Trackstick

Recent email:

Subject: Web Letter #99 Viking Ships: The Drakkar
Date: 29 March 2008

As always, I enjoy reading the web letter when it arrives in my in-box.

The black and white photo of a fine looking drakkar immediately caught my eye since having recently finished reading Erik Larson's "The Devil In the White City", I recognized the building that appears in the background of the photo. I am fairly certain that large ostentatious looking building is none other than the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts building constructed for the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, aka The Chicago World's Fair. It was named the Columbian Exposition in honor of the 400th anniversary of the Columbus "discovery" of the New World.

All but one of the magnificent edifices built for the Columbian Exposition were subsequently destroyed by fire. The sole remaining building now houses Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

The Fair had a number of notable water craft in attendance, many of which were moored or anchored on adjacent Lake Michigan. If you look closely you can make out what appears to be the Stars and Stripes flying at the bow of that drakkar. I believe the boat is floating in the Fair's Grand Lagoon.

By the way, a young engineer, George Ferris, built his first wheel at the Fair. It was taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris- a stated goal of the designer to out-do the French engineer on his famous 1889 Exposition Universelle tower.

-- Art Shand
(Building a Crackerbox)

Subject: Viking Boats
Date: 24 April 2008

I was interested to see you featuring viking boats in your webletter. I actually rowed one of these once (as part of a team!). There are longboat races every summer at Peel in the Isle of Man where 4 of these are raced. They are heavy but can get going with a good crew.

A longboat was built in 1979 and sailed from Norway to the Isle of Man to replicate the original Viking travels; apparently it was a pretty fair copy of the original type of craft - apart from the diesel inboard they stuck in it!! Odin's Raven (as it was named) can still be seen at the Manx Museum in Peel. A link for a picture is

Incidentally my Drifter is pretty much finished, just a little finishing work to do; I'll email some pictures when it is finished.

Kind regards,
-- Tim Kerruish

Subject: Squirt
Date: 1 April 2008

Hi- My son (Kyle) and I (Dan) started on the Squirt back in November 2007. At first the project was overwhelming, but with the help of the Boatbuilder Forum and a couple of books and a few e-mails we are moving along. We have over 50 hours in so far and have completed the transom, frames 1&2, stem and breastplate, and the transom knee. Currently we are working on the building form.

Our user name on the builder forum is Tbone. Kyle and I both play the trombone, but that's another story.

We are planning on attending the West Coast Rendezvous this May.

Thanks to all who have helped and we will periodically update the Project Registry.

-- Dan and Kyle

Subject: Living the Dream
Date: 2 April 2008

I am so happy to see that you are still in business and selling the dream of wooden boat building. I would like to tell you a little about my boat building because it has had quite an effect on my life.

In 1972, when I was 14, I found a "BoatBuilding" magazine in a book store with a MiniMax plan in it. I studied the plans in that magazine for hours, and built the weekend project in 14 very long days with a drill and a jig saw. I had such a good time, I built another little boat from your plans the next year, and then another the next year that was a 10' two-seater. I was in that boat for hours every day. Your design catalog was tattered from my studying all the designs in it.

After receiving my college accounting degree, I opened a woodworking shop with my only training being my boats that I had built as a kid (I didn't get to go to shop class as I went to Catholic schools forever). You may think this is odd, but I figured if I could build a boat, I could build whatever my customers wanted; I'm still in business.

In 1998, I was really missing building boats so I bought your Outrage plan. I built it in 8 months, while still building cabinets full time. It was a fun project and got lots of use waterskiing with my children. I also built a Carl Stambaugh designed Redwing 23' in 2004 and your Dyno Mite in 2006 ( I should send you some pictures).

That's my story and that is why I am still glad that you are selling plans....


-- Tim Wahl
Livonia, NY

Subject: Outrage Answers
Date: 3 April 2008

Tim, Thanks for your reply to my questions about your Outrage. Your boat is the most beautiful I've seen in the pictures. I am a semi-retired architect, but my part time work is John's Custom Woodworking - mostly for the office and friends. I've built a 18' sailboat, and two copies of the TNT, all from Glen-L plans- and the plans are great. I do hope the Outrage takes the rough water of the Chesapeake Bay just a little better than the flat bottom of the TNT.

I plan to use mahogany boards of the size you suggested for the front deck and use mahogany plywood on the side decks. I used mahogany plywood on the front deck of the TNT and it turned out great (Check it out on the Glen-L picture gallery)...

Again, thanks for the tips. By the way, my 3 kids used to be tournament water skiers and I was a Promo Dealer for Mastercraft for 15 years - we had 15 new boats. I was a senior judge and driver, but building them is still more fun.

-- John Wilmot
Edgewater, MD

Editor's Note: You can see pictures of Tim's Outrage and read his extremely helpful construction details (and what he would do differently the next time) that he shared with John here.

Subject: Monaco Plans
Date: 2 April 2008

I have registered onto your website, and read a number of very interesting articles on the Monaco. "Fantastic" is all I can say; I look forward to future dealings with your company.

P.S I will be ordering a full set of plans online.

Thank you.

-- Tony Marks
Melbourne, Australia

Subject: Building 1/2 of a Riviera
Date: 3 April 2008

I am just starting on Riviera. Got the design and frame patterns in Feb. I have some of the frames built and am building the building jig. Actually I am not building all of the Riviera....only half of it. I am building a bar for my den.

I am making several alterations as I go to facilitate the bar. However, this is also serving as a dry run for the real thing. It is making me appreciate those who really build one of your great designs.

I am having a great deal of fun with this project. I will send photos when done.

-- Chuck Smith

Subject: Row Me Update
Date: 31 March 2008

I have used my Row Me now for some months and I would like to share a few updates...

First I have a few design changes I would make if I were to build her again. I have not done these as I don’t consider them to be major issues. First, I would build a bench seat between the aft and middle seats. It would make it easier to use the motor as the back seat really is not usable for a fat guy to sit and operate the engine. I sit on my cooler in the space between the aft and mid seats and it works fine. Also some kind of spray rail would be nice if you are taking it out in two foot chop.

I have used this boat for hunting with the following results: With two people in the boat (one weighs 225 and the other 285) a hundred pounds of food and equipment and we managed 5 to 5½ mph going upstream in a local river (dodging floating trees). Now add a 140 pound deer and we made 7 mph going down stream. With that much weight in the boat the boat seemed to draw less than six inches in the water. We have made this same trip many times and it is easy to scoot the boat up a little canal and tie her off to a tree.

I took her on a hunt to one of the outside islands by myself one morning. The water became extremely shallow (less than 8 inches) about 150 yards from shore. I broke out the oars and quietly rowed into the beach and never hit bottom once.

I took her out this weekend into the bay. Conditions ranged from smooth to a two foot chop. We trolled spoons along the back of the barrier islands at 3 to 4 mph. Within two hours we had landed ten fish. I ran the boat at ½ throttle for 4 hours that day and burned almost 1/8th of a tank of fuel (3 gal tank). The front seat I added came in handy for my passenger to use and work the fishing poles.

This boat is well within the amateur's building ability. Basically trace the pattern out on plywood and cut it out.

Believe me, if I can build a boat, anyone can.

--Patrick Kinney
Tyndall AFB, FL

Teacher's Day...A TRUE Story!

I have a friend, and she's a school teacher, and at the school where she teaches every year they have "teachers' day" and when they have "teachers' day" all the kids come and bring teacher a gift.

Not long ago they're having teachers' day, she's sitting at her desk, the kids are lined up in front to bring her a gift and the first little boy, the teacher knew that the first little boy in line, his daddy owned a candy store.

So he sets the gift up on the desk, she unwraps the gift, and inside the box there was a box of . . . candy.

The next little girl in line, she knew her daddy owned a flower shop.

So she set her gift up, the teacher unwrapped it and inside she found a box of . . . flowers.

At the next little boy in line, the teacher got kind of excited, because the next little boy, she knew his daddy owned the local liquor store.

So he set his gift up on the desk, and it had a little wet spot on the side and she touched it and tasted it and said "champagne?"

The little boy said "no, ma'am."

She said "brandy?"

He said "no, ma'am."

She touched the wet spot again and tasted it and said "what is it?"

"A puppy," said the little boy.

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