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

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GLEN-L Update
  • Early this month Gayle, Buckshot and I attended the "West Coast Rendezvous" of Glen-L boatbuilders at Bethel Island in the Sacramento Delta area of California. It was a great treat to personally meet some of our builders and their families, marvel at the workmanship of their boats, and enjoy the cookin' of some wonderful cooks & chefs (not to mention the delicious "home brew" beer). We were also very happy to once again see DwainCoulton (whom we met at the "Gathering" last year) and note the tremendous progress of his Ski King. Of course, not enough can be said for the planning, organization and promotion done by DeltaDawg, and the hand-made mini-buoy key chains he made for everyone! DeltaDawg is really building this annual event into something no one should miss!
    2008 Rendezvous Video (Gayle's first ever YouTube video)
  • We've heard from some of our boatbuilders that they'll be attending the famous Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut this coming June and showing off their Glen-L designed boat(s). When I get reports back from the show I'll pass them along in an upcoming WebLetter.
  • Personally, I'm really looking forward to the next "Gathering" of Glen-L boatbuilders at Lake Guntersville, Alabama this coming October. Last year was a bit of a whirlwind trip for us due to my scheduling conflicts, but this year we're planning on a more leisurely trip so that we can more fully enjoy the company of some very "interesting" people (if you know what I mean). I sincerely hope that as many of you as possible can make the time to get to the gathering. Whether you're already enjoying your completed craft on the waters near your home, or your dream boat is still just a twinkle in your eye, I guarantee that you'll learn a lot (without even trying) while you have a wonderful time with a truly fun group of people. And Lake Guntersville/Guntersville State Park is exceptionally spectacular!
  • Be sure to check the Calendar section below for more information about these events and several others.
  • Thanks so much for the outpouring of emails and letters and photos this month. Although it makes it more difficult for me to keep up, it is extremely gratifying for all of us here at Glen-L when you include us in your fun, and it makes for a much better WebLetter, too!

Until next month . . .      

Featured Design: Glen-L 25

A trailerable single- or double-cabin cruising sailboat

I n last month's webletter, we reprinted an article from the Orange County (California) Register newspaper about the annual sailing race from Newport Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico.

About 380 boats of all sizes and values gathered outside the Newport Harbor at noon that Friday to depart on the 125-mile journey to Ensenada, during the 61st annual event touted as the "world's largest international yacht race."

At the end of the article, we observed that the beautiful, lightweight & sleek Glen-L Ensenada 25 is designed for both comfort and performance and that in its first Newport-Ensenada Yacht Race the original Ensenada 25 placed 2nd in PHRF Class-G ahead of over 50 other boats, and also beat winning boats in Classes C, D, E, F, & H on corrected time.

It should be noted that the Ensenada 25 is actually a slightly-modified Glen-L 25, which WON the Newport-Ensenada race in 1979 by a first-time builder…

"A plywood hard-chine Glen-L 25 Solo model named 'Puffer,' built and sailed by Mr. Woody Sanders, took First Place honors in the PHRF 'G' Class of the 1979 Newport-Ensenada Yacht Race." Woody and crew finished the 125 mile race in an elapsed time of 28 hours and 39 minutes. Not only did Woody's boat win in "G" Class and also beat the first place "F" Class boat as well (with a corrected time of just over 19 hours), but came very close to the overall corrected time winner (a 40' boat) and that of the famous plywood hard-chine boat the 62' Ragtime (recently fitted with a new, faster, more efficient keel).

The race was mostly a downwind run under spinnaker with heavy wind and


Deceptive Destroyer

A silent predator is eating away at your boat: Learn to prevent costly corrosion...

by Chris Caswell

We'd been struggling to remove the lower unit of my friend's outboard for an hour, with distressingly bad results. Three of the four bolts had pulled out of the cast aluminum drive, and we were now looking suspiciously at the fourth. With great trepidation (and a flood of WD-40), the socket wrench went back on and my friend gave it a tug. It moved slightly, and the entire bolt pulled out, dropping the drive on the garage floor.

From inside the hollow casting came an explosion of fine grit. When we picked up the drive and turned it upside down, a sizable pile of the grit formed on the floor.

"What the heck's that stuff?" my friend asked me. "I think," I replied sadly, "that it's your lower unit after electrolysis ate everything else away." We had solved the mystery of why his prop shaft seemed loose, and we'd rediscovered why it's so important to make sure the zinc anode on the lower unit is checked regularly.

What Is Corrosion?

Corrosion is a major problem aboard every boat, and not just on metal under water, but every metallic item on or inside your boat. Dampness, salt spray and humidity make corrosion breed.

The most common type on your boat is galvanic corrosion. This takes place when two dissimilar metals are submerged in an electrolyte (a liquid that conducts electricity) with the result being a battery that generates electrical current. Flowing from one metal to the other, it eats away at the weakest (least "noble") of the two metals.

A second type of corrosion is electrolytic, caused by currents from outside your boat, such as leakage from your shore-power system or a mild electrical current from a nearby boat.

There are more ordinary types of corrosion as well, such as rusting and pitting. Iron and steel (your engine block) get a common reddish-brown rust wherever bare metal is exposed to dampness. Aluminum doesn't "corrode" but rather forms a layer of oxidation on the surface that looks like dull grime and whitish lumps.

Preventing Corrosion

The primary method to defeat both galvanic and electrolytic corrosion is


Replacing Sacrificial Anodes

by Steve Noury

I f you're like many people who keep their boats in the water, you may be neglecting to periodically replace your sacrificial anodes. Galvanic corrosion can damage or even destroy the underwater metallic boat parts. When two different metals are touching each other, or are electrically connected by an electrically conductive fluid like fresh or salt water, the "least noble" of these metals (called the anode) will corrode faster than it normally would. In this example, Martyr Fresh Water Magnesium Anodes supplied by West Marine are installed.

Step 1

A knowledgeable understanding of the problem is the first place to start. Galvanic corrosion can often happen in a single piece of hardware - particularly alloys, which contain more than one metal. Interactions between the differing metals in the alloy will dissolve the least noble of the two. That's why it's so important to use marine-grade fasteners (bronze, monel and 316 stainless steel) in underwater applications so they're not destroyed, which can cause a hose clamp to fail or your propeller to fall off. Keep in mind that the higher the salinity and temperature of the water, the greater the likelihood of corrosion. Breaking the electrical circuit between exposed metals by connecting them to a sacrificial anode will prevent galvanic corrosion and damage to your boat's metal parts. Replacing the anodes is an inexpensive and easy project.


Designer's Notebook: Why Not Bung Your Screw Heads?

Bung, in marine parlance, means to cover a countersunk counter-bored screw with a wood plug. In common use, the term "plug" is synonymous with bung. This is ordinarily done on the hull, decking or almost any wood surface that will be finished naturally. The practice was commonplace on the older classic runabouts but has currently carried through to decking and interior surfaces of mahogany or similar attractive woods.

Screws are counter-bored and plugged with wooden plugs, preferably cut from scraps from the wood being bunged. Wood color varies from one piece of lumber to another so always try to make the plug from adjacent stock. The depth of counter-bore for the wood plugs should be about one-third of the planking thickness.

The plugs are aligned carefully in the counter-bored holes with the grain parallel to that of the wood being plugged. Plugs are glued in place with a waterproof marine adhesive although the classic runabouts often used varnish. The bungs should be lightly tapped in place. Don't hit it too hard, the plug may be crushed and tend to swell later. Let the adhesive cure overnight. The protruding plug may be cut with a very sharp chisel, taking light progressive cuts to determine the run of the grain. If care is not taken, the plug may chip off below the surface. Cutting the plugs with a fine toothed saw (one similar to a back-saw without the stiffener) will cut the plug virtually to the surface. Finish out with sandpaper so the bung is flush to the surrounding surface.

Counter-bored screw holes are best made with a tool that counter-bores, countersinks, and drills the lead hole for the screw. A stop collar clamped on the tool governs the depth of the counter-bore. There are even tapered bits that have a maximum diameter matching that of the screw body and taper to a point. Some use a body with counter-bore and countersink with an adjustable depth drill bit held in place with a set-screw (Fig 1). Others are a one piece tool for a specific screw size and length (Fig. 2).

Plugs can be purchased ready cut from suppliers, however, these may not match the wood being used. A plug cutter tool, best used on a drill press, will make plugs from scrap cutoffs from the work (Fig. 3). Most counter-bores are for a 3/8" or ½" plug and the plug cutter allows for clearance in the drilled countersink.

Always equally space bunged screw heads and align them in straight lines or in a fair arc. The plugged screws epitomize fine craftsmanship. They are easily done with the proper tools and the final appearance will be very pleasing.

Fig. 1 - Standard drill bit with adjustable stop collar and locking set screw incorporating a countersink and counterbore Fig. 2 - One piece shank that counterbores, countersinks, and has tapered bit to match screw size; equipped with an adjustable stop collar with locking set screw Fig. 3 - One type of plug cutter and plugs

For more on using wood plugs see "Shop Talk" below . . .


24th Annual Antique and Wooden Boat Show and Woody Car Show
June 7 - 8 @ Lake Arrowhead Village, Lake Arrowhead, California

21st Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival
June 13 - 15 @ St. Michaels, Maryland

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

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

Corinthian Yacht Club Wooden Boat Show
July 12 - 13, @ Tiburon, California

Lake Tahoe Concours d'Elegance
& Wooden Boat Week

August 7 - 13, @ Lake Tahoe, California

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

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

Power Boat Power

When picking an engine
For a new power boat
We often see this as
An opportunity to gloat

It’s a common emotion
Like standing atop a tower
We go for the biggest motor
To get that feeling of power

We ignore the designer's plan
And get horsepower to exceed
The intended boat velocity
And reach the ultimate speed

We think we need a big engine
That is the way to play the game
We don’t want to leave the ramp
In a boat that will not plane

But too much extra power
Can make the boat unstable
Follow the designer's plan
That’s not a boating fable

Choose an engine wisely
Just keep it safe and nice
Do not overpower your boat
That is my powering advice

If you still want that big motor
And on my advice you pass
Just remember one more thing . . .
Four dollars a gallon for gas!


Photos sent in since the last WebLetter...

Harold the boatbuilder
"The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance.

Remember, the greatest failure is to not try."

Shop Talk: Using Wood Plugs

Woodscrews are a sure-fire way to assemble a project securely. The problem is there are times when you don't want the screw heads to show. Simple problem right? Just counterbore the screw hole and then use a wood plug like the ones shown above to cover up the head of the screw.

The type of plug you use and how you install it can make a big difference in how it looks. For instance, most store-bought plugs are cut from the end of a dowel. So they absorb stain or finish like a sponge. This makes the plugs darker than the surrounding wood so they end up standing out like a sore thumb.

  An easy way to get around this is to cut your own plugs. This way, you can cut a face grain plug that will absorb finish more easily. Another advantage is that you can use the scrap pieces remaining from a project to create an almost invisible plug, as shown in the upper photo at right. Or maybe you'd like to highlight the plug by using a type of wood that contrasts in color, as shown in the lower photo.
Regardless of the look, you still want the plug to fit the hole like a cork in a bottle. To do this, follow the simple six-step process detailed below.

With a plug cutter chucked in a drill press, cut the plugs in a scrap piece from the project. Be sure to make a few extra. This way, you'll be able to select a plug that best matches the color and grain of your project.
The next step is to free the plugs from the workpiece. To do this, clamp a tall auxiliary fence to the bandsaw table and cut the plugs so they drop free.
With a pile of plugs in front of you, it's tempting to start gluing them in place. But take a minute to select just the right plug for each hole that matches the grain and color of the surrounding wood.
To avoid a big mess, don't apply glue to the plug. Instead, brush glue around the sides of the hole. Then tap the plugs in place. Just don't overdo it. The plug doesn't have to "bottom out." All you're looking for is a snug fit.
Now it's just a matter of removing the part of the plug sticking above the workpiece. To avoid scratching the workpiece, slip a scrap of posterboard (or plastic laminate) with a hole in it over the plug as you saw off the waste.
With the excess waste removed, all that's left to do is sand each of the plugs flush with the surface of the workpiece. A block and some sandpaper make quick work of this.

Recent eMail:

Subject: Gayle's Build your Dream Boat Newsletter
Date: 30 April 2008

I enjoyed your write up of your memories of your father and family and boat building. Glen-L has always been a part of my boating memories also. In the middle to late sixties and early seventies, I lived on my grandfather’s ranch in central Texas and spent many hours boat dreaming with a blue paperback Glen-L catalog. How this catalog came to be on a cattle ranch in the middle of Texas, I have no clue, but I sure lived a lot of dreams between those pages.

I even made several attempts to build a boat from the pictures in the catalog, one even floated and worked fairly well on our stock pond even though I made it clinker fashion out of pine boards. I moved on to plastic ski boats and the need for speed until I discovered sailing on a friend’s Hobie cat.

Even though I loved the water, I made a career of the Air Force and managed to own a boat of some sort in every country I was stationed in, mainly sail boats. With larger sailboats came the need for a dinghy and thus the return to Glen-L and boat building. I even dreamed of building one of your large sailboats, but just could not find the time it would take. I built several of your dinks in pursuit of the perfect tender, the largest being the Row Me. I enjoyed building everyone of them and they were good boats. We even owned a custom built 38’ wood ketch for several years and the experience I gained from building dinks from your plans was invaluable for maintaining it.

I retired from the USAF about ten years ago and now live and work on Okinawa. My family and I sail a heavily modified Morgan Out Island 41, which we rebuilt and modified to our desires. We are now prepping it for extended cruising as soon as our son graduates high school this June……… I still have one of those blue catalogs………

-- John, Naomi & Wes Howard
SV Horizon, Okinawa, Japan

Subject: Memories
Date: 30 April 2008

Gayle, it sounds like you had a great childhood. I grew up spending my summers at Lake Almanor. We started building our cabin when I was nine. By the time I was twelve, my mom, brother and I were spending the whole summer and my dad would come up for his vacations (four weeks). I built my first power boat when I was in seventh grade, and that was my transportation around the lake. When I decided sailing would be fun, I build a Glen-L Eight Ball. It was a wedding present for my brother. I missed having the little boat so I built a second one. When a friend needed a tender to get out to his ski boat, I gave him Eight Ball number two. I have since build a third one which I still have. This third one also served as the ice chest for our rehearsal dinner when I got married. The rehearsal was a beach party, so we drove the boat to our spot on the beach and then loaded it. Somewhere along that string of boats, I also built a Stiletto. Next best ski boat to a competition ski boat.

Now I live at Monterrey bay, and I am looking for a new boat. Lots of choices out there. Great new boats, but pricey. Used boats are always an option. I think my next boat will probably come from Glen-L. That seems to be where the best custom boats at a reasonable price can be found.

-- Lew Green
Monterey, CA

Subject: Gayle's Newsletter
Date: 30 April 2008

Dear Gayle, thanks for the "personal" letter this time. You jarred a memory in myself as well. My dad was a boat dealer for years; he never built boats but did repairs for people and he would would give me the pink resin that hardened in the bottom of cups and all the neighborhood kids thought I had the most unique hockey pucks and they were homemade!

Thanks for your emails. I am in the middle of two kayaks and two more canoes are right on their tail.

When I retire from teaching I would love to teach boat building. It brings great pleasure.

Keep doing the great job you have been doing.

God Bless,
-- Steve Zill

Subject: Gayle's Newsletter
Date: 1 May 2008

Great stories Gayle. I am still a-ways out of starting my build, and reading your stories is a great way to pass the time in anticipation. I have two sons, now 10 and 7 yrs old, that will be helping me and I only hope when they are our age they tell stories like yours.

-- Corey Duberstein
Richland, WA

Subject: Gayle's Newsletter
Date: 30 April 2008

I have to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed this "Build your dream boat #16..." Your stories were wonderful and made me think of the adventures or misadventures that I had growing up on White Lake in New York State (home of the first Woodstock festival).

When I was 8 I was lucky enough to have an old wooden row boat float up on shore in front of my house...I immediately pulled it up on shore and bailed out the 1000 or so gallons of water that completely filled took me hours but I had dreams of cruising the lake in my new find.

Back in those days (1959) it was common for old row boats to be set adrift when people didn't want to repair them or pay to have them hauled away. Anyway I pulled it out of the water with the help of my two cousins who were 18 and 20 respectively.

My uncle Lou who was the handiest person alive helped me repair the boat by replacing bottom boards that had rotted out. I painted the thing and made it look least through an 8 year olds eyes. We got an old Scott at water 3hp engine and I started my boating career.

When I turned 15 my uncle helped me build your dad's Tiny Mite 8' hydro then when I was in my 20's I built the TNT which my son resurrected a while back...presently building the Crackerbox. So I started like you...and still love it. Thanks for igniting my memory bank.

Warm Regards,
-- Michael Wasserman

Subject: Webletter 100
Date: 7 May 2008

Thank you for the "Boatbuilding 101" book!! Seriously, all of your Webletters and emails really help to not only plan for a better build, but give inspiration for those that have already begun.

I will certainly look forward to the read and also to the next Webletter. Thanks again!!!!

-- Rob Miller

Subject: Webletter 100
Date: 1 May 2008

Just so you know, I enjoy the WebLetters - -they are helpful and inspiring.

-- Wayne Cooper

Subject: Webletter 100
Date: 1 May 2008

Really like the soft jazz accompaniment to the WebLetter. Keeps me coming back!

-- J.R. Sloan

Subject: Center of Buoyancy
Date: 7 May 2008

I am fascinated by Glen's explanation of Center of Buoyancy and Center of Gravity for each component part.

In inboard hydro-racing, we often had the luxury of being able to move the engine fore-aft a few inches to balance the boat and on a windy day moving the CG forward could allow greater speeds if racing into a head wind.

I guess moving the battery is the easiest way to adjust the balance since they are small volume but "right heavy".

I love this WebLetter!

-- Jay Degges

Subject: Glen-L Order
Date: 19 May 2008

Just a short note to let you know that the catalogue that I ordered on May 8, 2008 arrived safely on Friday, May 16, 2008. That's pretty good time for a package from the U. S. that wasn't couriered.

I've only had a brief opportunity to glance through the catalogue, but it immediately sent me back to my teens, and the first boats that I built. You and Popular Mechanics were all the incentive that I needed to get started.

And no, I'm not going to tell you how long ago it was. Just that you can count it in decades more easily than in years!

I look forward to a more in depth study of the catalogue, your newsletters and future building with my nephew and nieces. Yes, the girls love building things with me.

Thank you again.

-- C. Goad
Aurora, Ontario, Canada

eMail of the Month

Subject: Project Registry: Fancy Free
Date: 20 May 2008

Hi, my name is Chuck Perkins and I hail out of Reno, NV. Recent earthquake swarms, a depressed real estate market and a grown daughter that has recently fallen back into the nest have all conspired to dash my midlife crisis dream of retirement and floating/motoring off into the sunset. Glen-L to the rescue. My garage is now my refuge and a set of Fancy Free plans my sustinence. I am well into the planning and learning phase. So well, in fact, that I am about ready to flip a coin when it comes to crucial decisions, some of which, if my research is correct, suggests that blood has been spilled in defense of opposing positions.... Doug Fir ply or Okueme? Doug Fir frames or White Oak? Encapsulation or just fg the exterior hull and deck? Cpes? 4 oz, 6 oz, 10 oz. or other? Scarf or block? Hull insulation? And where do you find those cool Bronze ports while only paying half of a king's ransom. Arrrrgh! (Arrrrgh is a word that came from pirates who obviously built their own boats).

After the coin toss - I am going with DF planking,,, IF I can find a quality source. The "DF checks" talk has me slightly rattled. DF for frames and still slightly clueless for everything else. I have decided to encapsulate. West System 105/207 or similar. Currently, I am trying a repackaged epoxy on a new, obscenely expensive Ida-Sailor mahogany rudder. Great price and sales pitch, If it doesn't work you will probably never hear from me again as the vendor source info will have already gone to the grave with me. I'm going with scarfing the plywood -- I ain't afraid. My mind is whispering 3/4 rigid insulation from Home Depot. I have a sick fascination with fit assembling the boat with copious numbers of dry wall screws then dissassembling the whole thing, encapsulating every thing except the exterior surfaces, redrilling, gluing and assembling with epoxy slathered Glen-L bronze screws and finally fiberglassing the hull and deck.

Good project for a lunatic with a life sentence.

Seriously, any correspondence from current/former Fancy Free builders would be extremely appreciated. Please send to


-- Charles Perkins
Reno, NV

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