Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

WebLetter 24

An Occasional Publication for the Home Boat Builder

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update

How this WebLetter is made...
We try to publish the WebLetter every 4 to 6 weeks. Selected email and feedback that we receive from our builders is added as received. We have been running the book Rigging Small Sailboats which has to be typed, formatted, and photos scanned. When I have time, or to answer a question, I write an article, put in a link, or reproduce something from our existing literature. The week before publication, everything is checked, additional articles or features added if necessary, it is proofread, and links are created from other parts of We really want the WebLetter to be of help to you boat builders out there, but there are only so many hours that I can devote to this, which is why I appreciate your input. I assume that our readers are interested in boat building and are looking for useful information. As you find answers to your own boatbuilding problems, how about writing a description and emailing it to us. We'll share it with your fellow builders.

  • Website:
  • For those of you who read the article in WebLetter 23 about the stitch and glue Sweet Caroline by Richard Barnes, we have added 12 additional photos of construction with Richard's comments. You might want to revisit if you are interested in his project.
  • Thanks to Frank for his corrections and addition to the List of Lumber Suppliers.
  • Thanks also to Greg Stender, Steve Parsons, and Hans Binsch for their input on sculling oars. Also George Robinson, Todd G. Williams, and Jim Cassidy, as well as those who sent email.
  • We finish posting the book Rigging Small Sailboats in this issue. Next month we will start a new series: "Designer's Notes". These are notes our designers have made to aid in answering builder questions. So stay tuned for the first installment of these never-before-published gems of boat building knowledge.

Barry Witt      

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Sculling oar

Do your Oar & Paddle plans have details for a sculling oar of the type used in the Scull Boat?

Answer: Our plans have spoon-type sculling oars, but these are not the type used for the Scull Boat...
I put an inquiry on the Duck Boat/Hunter Forum for an answer to this question. I received the following from Greg Stender, Steve Parsons, and Hans Binsch.

January 11, 2001
From Greg Stender



I hope you can sort through my ramblings and be able to understand a Humboldt Bay scull oar, as I try and describe them. I don't consider myself a master sculler, that is reserved in my mind to those who have gone before me, rather I would rather just like to point to them and call them the true masters. I have included some photos of scull oars that I have collected, and a few that I have built over the years. Also a free hand sketch that I drew some time ago to compare notes with some of my East Coast sculler friends, I figured a sketch is worth a thousand words. You may use this for your newsletter also if you desire to, however I am the creator of the drawing and retain copyright on it. I have no invested interest in scull boats or oars, meaning I don't make or sell them for others.

Over the years I have seen scullers fall into two classes or attitudes to sculling. One "low and fast" and the other "high visibility and methodical". I don't believe there is an oar that could be considered the "perfect oar" for all the different boats and scullers that are out there, considering all the factors that come into play for sculling. The type of sculling that I mainly do is all open water stalks. In my opinion speed is crucial to be able to scull into wind waves and tidal currents on divers (canvasback scaup). At 50 or 60 yards a "street wise" raft of divers will start to swim when they see your approaching boat. A sculler has got to be able to close the distance in minutes to be able to put the boat on them before they can figure out if you are supposed to be there or not.

About oars, it really is a matter of experimentation on the users part to find the combination of blade width, length, curve, and flexibility that works best for him. My definition of "the perfect scull oar" would be one that offers the best boat speed with the littlest amount of energy spent to use it. A person that has been sculling for several years will soon have his boat "tweaked" from bow to stern to fit his personal specifications, will have many scull oars and one probably still in experimentation. I believe a glass over wood oar is the easiest way to find the oar that works the best. A person can start with a very thin bladed oar that has a lot of whip in it (probably the easiest oar to learn on) and can stiffen the oar with additional layers of cloth to "stiffen" it up as he wishes, and as his or her sculling progress with time. It is my theory that a glassed oar can store and release more energy than a solid wood one. That type of oar is what I was first introduced to when I began sculling, and all the "coveted" oars from Humboldt that I have seen have been of that design (glass over wood and two piece.) I hope this helps some, and helps describe one of the many regional styles of scull oars that can be found across our country. Keep up the great work at your company, maybe one day I will have the opportunity to scull one of your company's scull boat designs, my desire is to scull them all. Take care, Greg

Greg's drawings, photos, and other responses

Rigging Small Sailboats

In response to inquiries about an out-of-print book published by Glen-L, we are starting a series in our WebLetters, reproducing Rigging Small Sailboats. This issue contains the final installment: Chapter 11 and Glossary.

Chapter 11

.....rigging maintenance

Give your rigging a comprehensive check at least twice each season, preferably just before and just after the season. The maintenance routine will vary depending on whether you leave your boat in the water year-round, or haul out between seasons, or if you trailer your boat in and out of the water with each sail. The rigging deserves the same attention as that given to any "machine". That is, maintenance is a never-ending duty of the owner. You must keep an eye out at all times for danger signals which may cause a failure in the rig. Any chafed lines or sails, or fraying wire ropes should be repaired or replaced BEFORE the next voyage. Corroded fittings, frozen sheaves, or fastenings working loose in deck hardware should be attended to as soon as possible. A little oil or wax can sometimes work wonders. Care of the spars will vary depending on what they are made from. Aluminum spars require virtually no maintenance except for keeping them clean and preferably coated with wax. Aluminum tends to give off an oily residue that is not harmful, but can discolor the sails. Check for corrosion of the spars, especially where fittings are fastened. Also sight along the spars to make sure there are no bends, crimps, or "twists". A little paraffin in the boltrope groove will aid in hoisting the sails.

Wood spars require more attention. They should be well protected with a surface coating of spar varnish or synthetic coating such as polyurethane or paint. Also check for dry rot, especially at the mast base. If the mast is a glued-up type, check to see that glue joints are tight. Also give a check to all fastenings to see that they are tight and haven't worked free. Whether the mast is aluminum or wood, it should be stored so it is well supported along its length. If the mast is fitted with diamond stays or jumper stays, these can be left set-up while the mast is stored. Wood masts should be stored covered, but with good air circulation.

Always try to keep some spare parts with the boat for the rigging. Turnbuckle parts, cotter keys, and clevis pins always seem to get lost or damaged just when you need them. If you trailer your boat, be sure that no part of the rigging hangs down and drags on the pavement. A few miles of this will wear the jaws right off a turnbuckle. It is also a good idea to secure the ends of turnbuckles to the rigging as it is common for them to vibrate loose and be lost on the trip to or from the water. Also avoid putting bends or crimps in the stays when coiling them for travel. With rudders or dagger boards made from wood, avoid storing these in direct sun as they may tend to warp.

The number one enemy of Dacron sails is friction and chafing, mainly against other parts of the boat. Wrap the stays, spreaders, and other parts that contact the sails, with tape or other "chafing gear" to prevent wear on the fabric or stitching. Keep a close check for wear in the area of the headboard and clew regions. Keep sand out of the bolt rope groove of the mast and don't allow the sails to get dirty or sandy. Inspect the sails before each trip for small rips or torn stitching and take care of it as soon as possible to avoid more extensive damage and higher repair costs. Clean Dacron sails in a bathtub with fresh water and mild detergent. Air dry the sails, but avoid direct sunlight and condensation on the "down" side. Never expose the sails to any source of extreme heat. Don't wash Dacron sails in a washing machine nor dry them in a dryer. Never cram your sails tightly in the sail bag, especially if they are damp. Fold them or stuff them loosely AFTER you have removed the battens. Try to keep the bag open somewhat and store them where air will circulate. Don't put clean sails into a dirty sail bag; wash the bag as well.


Feedback: Hercules in Stitch and Glue?

by George Remington

I talked to Glen before starting the Hercules. We discussed lengthening the boat by adding 4" to each frame station interval after Frame 6, to lengthen to 26 ft., and I have done so. The effect on the interior accommodations is dramatic. I now have 7 ft. by 30" berths both sides of the main salon, and, in addition to an 8 ft. length of counter for the galley, we have added a co-pilots chair in the pilothouse, forward portside. I also added a footwell forward for anchor handling, shoved the cuddy forward and put the fore hatch in the cuddy cabin top. All has worked out beautifully without any change in appearance to any but a very discerning eye.

The biggest difference in the boat is that I used the frames as molds for a wood-epoxy hull, covered the mold with plastic, and laid up 5 separate panels ( transom, P&S sides, P&S bottom). The last layer on the sides was longitudinal mahogany at 3/16" thick, as well as the bottom bow above the waterline. With these removed, I took off patterns for a cradle at Frames 2,4,6 and mounted them on a wheeled platform (6 ft. x 16 ft.) Reusing the keel/stem assembly, which was laminated to retain it's shape, I put the panels together using stitch-and-glue lamination.

After installing bulkheads (minor shuffling, to height of stem only), I wheeled the dolly outside, turned her over, and with the cradle removed, back on the dolly. Back inside, we finished the exterior.

I cut a slot in the keel assembly, and installed the core of the deadwood, after cutting , hollowing, and gluing in a piece of 1 1/2" ID PVC pipe in for the shaft. ( I cored it with a greased 1 1/2" dowel to insure straightness.) This way the inside of the shaft is absolutely sealed against water and borers. This allowed me to string line the deadwood core insert for alignment, and epoxy fillet it for perfect line-up. This sounds like a lot of work, but required no special boring tools, perfectly sealed the hole, and guaranteed alignment, all single-handed. That would be difficult do do on a 6 ft deadwood hole by other means. Interestingly, I've never seen this idea written up anywhere.

The rest of the deadwood was glued in place, reinforced with biaxial 17 oz., and the bottom finished to the waterline with two layers of dynel, covered by copper-poxy bottom finish (guaranteed for 10 years). Above the waterline I used 1.5 oz. fiberglass cloth and a very low-viscosity high-clarity epoxy. This lets the mahogany shine through like a varnish job.

At this point the boat was wheeled back out, turned upright and put back on the re-installed cradle. Here's where the job stalled. I needed more than the 9 ft. clearance on my shop doors to allow construction of the superstructure. So I built a 30 ft.x 20 ft. shop extension with 16 ft. ceiling, and a 12 ft. wide x 15 ft. high door. With the Hercules back inside, I had room to complete.


New Feature on Glen-L site: The Old Boat Club

A Project Registry for Glen-L designs built from 1953 - 1980. For those who would like to communicate about maintenance, re-building, and repair.... Old Boat Club.

Feedback: Swish

by Todd G. Williams and Jim Cassidy


Email 22 Dec 00:

We found this boat parked by the side of the road and decided that it needed a new home. (The Swish is a 15' version of the L Dorado and L Capitan.) The boat is complete with everything including the original 35 hp Elgin outboard.

The decks and the transom needed replacing and some of the frames needed reinforcing but the boat was basically solid. After some delays (family and business took priority), we now are back on track. All the structural work is now done and the next step is to re-glass the seams finish the bottom and replace the decks. It is now well wrapped for the cold Connecticut winter.


Recent email:

Subject: Project registry
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 23:10:03 -0500

BASS BOAT / Brian Eager / 01-24-2001
Project complete, probably. This boat was built by my father Dale Eager, brother Steve and I, starting in late 1975 or 1976. We were inspired to build when Dad and I got our backsides wet in a two seater kayak-style Folbot design that we had built 3 or 4 years earlier. Started from the frame kit and worked on the project in the evenings and on rainy days when the farming work was not pressing. We thickened the transom with another 1/2" layer of plywood, and sawed out a full 2x4 (actual dimension) oak crossbeam for additional stiffening. Frame layout, longitudinals and planking were done in the driveway of a corn crib, then we moved the hull into our wood shop (Refitted chicken coop) for the fiberglass application. No big door, we put it in and took it out on edge through the walk-in door. We are powered with a 1958 Johnson V-4 50HP short shaft, it will make about 32 mph at full throttle and consume 6 gal/hr. Reducing power by 1/3 will still translate into around 27 mph and the fuel flow drops to 3 gph. The boat was a great pleasure to build and is still giving us good service 25 years later.

Subject: Registry - Sweet Caroline
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 00:15:07 -0600

Sweet Caroline Update, Donald Hodges, Lynn Haven, FL
As of January 2001, most remaining work is fairing/painting. Scheduled for one week cruise in Florida Keys beginning 3/10/01, so launch date is mid-February. Progress photos and paint scheme sketch on website:

January 20, 2001 at 21:46:16

name: keith howell
Comments: I built the Carolina Dory skiff and like it very much, easy to build, inexpensive, and handles great in almost any water condition.

Below is the result of your feedback form.
Friday, December 29, 2000

name: Brian Amato

Comments: It all started with me building "The Eight Ball" back in 1974. It came out so well, and was such a "ball" to sail....that I'm now building another one here in 2001 !!

You guys are by far the best !
Every one of your plans turns out a terrific boat and your phone help is terrific. I recommend you to everybody.

Sure...there are newer....glitzy designs out there but if you just want to build a proven boat from proven plans...from a proven supplier, go with Glen-L !!

Brian Amato
Traverse City, MI

Subject: waterproofing inside of hull bottom below cabin/cockpit floor
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000

Hello Glen-L

I am a first time builder, making your Minuet. ....

Also, I'd like to say I'm having a great time so far. Just reading the plans has been challenge enough for me. I'm very glad I spent the extra nickle on the pre-fab frame kit. I could never have duplicated the precision assembly you sent me.

Jim Doucet
Calgary, Canada

This is a June 2000 letter I found in my "do something with this" pile.

To Whom This May Concern:

In 1965 as a young man of twenty five, I sent to you and received the plans to build your design the GLEN L #10. I spent a glorious year in Minneapolis building this marvelous little sailboat with my own hands. I also spent many a happy hour sailing it all over the lakes of Minneapolis/Saint Paul. I finally sold it to a friend here in Great Falls and his two sons have about worn it out. Later I suggested to a group of Optimists that as a fund raising project we build "The Stripper" canoe and raffle it off. Unfortunately the club broke up. None the less I built the stripper myself and my "boss" offered me a thousand dollars for it and I never had it out in the water. He promptly tried it in a group of white water rapids near Wolf Creek Canyon. I tried very hard to tell him it was never designed for that so promptly charged him five hundred dollars to return it to it's former glory. ... (He is not my boss any longer but I don't have the money to return his thousand dollars but believe me if I could I would buy my baby back Oh well.) I just turned sixty (January 2000) and have two years before my early retirement. ...

Sorry to take so long to tell you my needs and/or requirements but I thought you might be interested in a little history of how GLEN L has been instrumental in taking part in my life. I don't know which is the most fun, the building or the using of the end product.

Most Sincerely
Jerry A. Hurley

Subject: Frame kit
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2000
From: EL Anderson

Just had to write and tell you how UNDERPRICED your frame kit for the GL15 is. On top of the very low cost of $500 plus the quality is far more precise than I'd ever be able to accomplish.

To prove my point of the low pricing of the frame kit the local lumber yard, where I buy my materials, charged me $468. for the Keel, Chine Logs, Sheer Clamps, etc. Only 4 items required milling (Keel, Carling, etc) and the rest were standard mill measurements. That' only 13" stringers"!!!!! Part of this amount was a milling charge of $100.!!!

Glen-L should be proud!!!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2000

name: Chad George

Comments: Me and my dad have the Missile that my grandfather built in 1959. We sold it after buying a daycruiser and kicked ourselves after. About six years after that we found it by accident looking for parts in the paper. It is now in the garage waiting to be restored. Thank you for bringing the Missile back. You have made a father and son and grandson very happy.

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