Boatbuilding news, building tips, and builder feedback

An Occasional Publication for the Home Boat Builder

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

In this issue

GLEN-L Update
  • CS-20 is here... just barely. I was the last plan checker and had difficulty getting it done before the WebLetter came out. For more information, see the article below.
  • The WebLetter is a week late this month. Partly due to the CS-20, but I don't like to post the WebLetter until it "looks right" to me. The problem is that my expectations have been increasing and the WebLetter is taking longer to produce. That is why I really value you submissions. I think what is sent in by builders is of more value to other builders. And it is a lot easier to "format", than to create. The Featured Design section is especially difficult as I want to offer new photos and information, not just a repeat of what's on the site. This section will probably not be appearing in every issue, but its timing will very much depend on builder response. If you are building the Stiletto (our next feature), I hope you will send in photos, cost to build figures, performance reports or stories about you project. Note: We check all articles put in the WebLetter for spelling and sometimes reword in order to make them clearer.
  • One of the "articles" in this WebLetter is an email from Lee Walker. I debated whether to put it in. I decided to include it because I was impressed at Lee's resilience and his desire to build another boat. And there is something to learn from his experience.
  • I have included links to the latest photos of launchings. This was a last minute addition and I hope I got them all in. I will add this as a permanent feature, so be sure to send your launching photos.
  • There is also a string from the Boatbuilder Connection, "To Dream of Building a Boat", started by Dan Hehn. This is one example of the really neat conversations on the Connection. Why not visit and join in?
  • There was a snafu in the Customer Photos section this past week. Wrong pictures with wrong copy. The Glen-L website is not particularly high-tech. Except for the Boatbuilder Connection, everything is hand entered, which includes Customer Photos. When you send photos, I copy the photos, reformat, copy and paste any text. The same is done with Project Registries. So if you send material for the website and it doesn't appear, let me know.
  • Thanks to all who have contributed to this WebLetter. I couldn't do it without you.



It's here, it's here! Well, almost. I know that this design has been eagerly anticipated by many of the readers of our WebLetter. I am the last plan checker and I am almost finished. The CS-20 plans and Patterns will be ready within a week. They will sell for $131.00. We do not yet have prices for the Stitch and Glue or Fiberglass Kits, but they will be posted on the Boat Design Catalog price list within a week.

See the online CS-20 Design page for more information.

Featured Design: Delta Q, Gypsy and Quest

In parts of the country where there is ready access to rivers and lakes, a houseboat is the ideal form of camping. It offers a movable camp and immediate access to water fun, and because these three designs are trailerable, it is easy to get to the water. These designs offer more stability and carrying capacity than the more common pontoon designs with less draft.

The name of the Delta Q, was originally Delta Queen (still is on the plans). It was changed when someone contacted us to say the name was copyrighted. We probably didn't have to change it, but really didn't want to fight about it. The Delta Q was our first houseboat and was featured in Popular Mechanics in 1969. The larger non-trailerable Delta King followed, then the rest of our houseboat line.

The Quest and Gypsy offer the trailerability of the Delta Q, but in sizes that are more easily stored and can be pulled with smaller vehicles. See these and the rest of our houseboat designs in our online catalog.


Delta Q Photos
Star is Launched
Delta Q in PM
Gypsy Photos
Lee Freeman's Gypsy and E-Book
Quest Photos

The launch of "Whatever-you-can-call-this-thing"

by Russ Sexton

I know you do not post plans that have revisions. But I revised the Tunnel King and had so much fun for the past couple of years that I could not help but send you the first float test... of whatever you can call this thing.

This morning's story

I finally got the boat to water this morning about 10 am... things went great!

The morning went something like this:
          7:00 am called Earl on the cell phone.
          "Hey Earl, you up?"
          (Earl) "Ahhh - what? yea yea give me 30 minutes, I will be ready for breakfast."
          (Me) "Well I am on the road and got the boat hitched up and strapped down."
          (Earl) "Boat? oh yea, we were going to float test this weekend. see you in 30, bye."

I get to Earl's house in 45 minutes... the straps fell off twice on the road and I had to stop to restrap the boat.

Earl jumps out the door and down the steps. We look over the boat and trailer. I was thinking to myself, "I should have a better finish on the hull, but what the heck", and off we go to Cracker Barrel for our morning breakfast of oatmeal.

We leave the Cracker Barrel, and head down to what was the worst part of Huntsville, Triana, on the river front. This is the closest boat ramp, only 10 minutes from Cracker Barrel.

We get to Triana (first time for me) and search for the river front. Finally find the launch ramp. Earl jumps out of the truck, I grab the shifter and pull into 4x4 low range. Earl is already on the ramp speaking, "back it, back it, right, right, whoaaaaaa".

I put on the brake and we unstrap the boat and tie on a tether. Into the truck, back it down the ramp, and the next thing I see is a boat floating off of the trailer - "yippee" -- step one complete, the boat came off the trailer by simply floating away. Lucky for us Earl had grabbed the tether before the current took the boat. Funny thing about TVA river systems, the dam up-stream (Guntersville) had just opened that morning and the river was filling.... THE CREEK WAS RUNNING UPSTREAM, and not out into the river.

Oh well, we adapted and moved on with the test. Earl held the boat, I jumped in and Earl snapped off a whole round of pictures. One of these is included. The boat floated, no leaks, and just to practice a few engineering skills I had painted the back underbottom on the transom to where I predicted the water line to be. Well it hit within a 1/4 of an inch. I was very pleased and Earl snapped a shot for all. The boat is very stable. We played rock the boat and could not turn it over!

How the boat will trim at high speeds will be another day and another adventure for the Huntsville Team. First, I have to get the steering and motor installed.

We pulled the boat out, strapped it down and headed for a lunch spot. There we celebrated the first boat test with the one-hour photo lab results.

Another exciting day with Russ and Earl, the Huntsville Team.

I first read about your plans and kits as a sea scout in 1970. Keep up the good work, this has really been a dream come true. ...Russ

Feedback: Amp Eater

by Gary Williams

Do you know how far/long you can run the Amp Eater on a charge? We never ran it long enough at a time to find out and a lot of people ask. - Barry

I've never stayed out long enough to even insult the batteries, let alone kill 'em. Here's the theoreticals:

  • The motor is 1 HP (750 watts)
  • The boat's top speed is just over 5 MPH as measured by GPS
  • My four 6-volt Trojan T-105's are rated at 225 Amp-Hours each
  • 24 volts x 225 Amp-hours = 5400 watt-hours
  • 5400 divided by 750 watts (1 HP) = 7.2 hours at full speed (5 kts) or 36 miles, running the batteries to flat.

Real world:
You can't run past about 70% discharge, so max. range is closer to 25 miles. The biggest factor is that we almost NEVER run at full speed (5 MPH feels pretty fast in a little boat like this); the whole idea of an electric boat is silent, civilized cruising, so cut speed in half and you get over 10 hours on the water.

The size of the boat (and of the average human bladder) are the real limits on duration. I can't imagine driving the thing for 5 or 6 hours at full speed. It's not that kind of boat. Bottom line: with typical golf cart batteries (225 AH) you have a nice day on the lake, with no worries about running out of power.

Hope this helps.

Subject: Hunky Dory with cabin, Lee Walker

8-6-03: Please feel free to delete my notes from the project registry, due to fire damage the boat will not be completed. Thanks for your support over the project's duration, I will be selecting a new project soon. Lee Walker

August 23, 2004

OK, enough time has passed that I can now tell you what happened, without bursting a vein. I assign no one fault (except myself). When I built my Hunky Dory, I made a very serious assumption, and wrongly so. I ordered 5/4 X 4" CVG (clear vertical grain fir) from my local lumber yard. The wood I got looked great to me, and I used it for everything from frames, to chines, motorwell framing, transom, splash guards, and gunnel trim. The boat was looking pretty good. I got a group of friends and family together and we lugged her out of the shop, turned her over and all stood around and discussed her finer points. The feeling of pride was enough to justify the 3 years and a couple thousand dollar investment. We had a few beers, my lovely wife fixed a fine barbecue, and we all told fishing stories, and discussed the many benefits of the "dory". I made arrangements for the local people to stop by on Saturday and help me lift her onto the trailer. I could hardly stand to go to work Friday, but managed by staying completely away from the shop and boat.

Saturday morning bloomed bright and sunny, the neighbors stopped over and bummed cups of coffee. It was time, a quick trip to the shop and there she was in all her -----glory? The frames, the chine strips, the splash guard, the majority of the CVG material had warped and split BEYOND REPAIR. All points of contact were screwed and glued, but the material still split (yes I did pilot drill the screws). This was as close as I have come to crying since my wife and I fell off the roof (another story)...

I had not asked, actually did not know to ask; but in this area Hemlock is sold as fir. I had assumed that fir CVG was Douglas fir, it was not, it was Hemlock. I have since been informed that if I had turned the boat over in the shop, and painted the interior with any UV protecting paint or stain before exposing it to sunlight I would not have had the problem.

As near as I can tell, I had about $2,100.00 in: plans, CVG, marine plywood, epoxy, glass cloth, paint (an off-white with a touch of forest green), screws, nuts, bolts, etc. My ships log indicated about 120 hours logged to the project.

In my last notes (in the Project Registry), I noted that fire damage was involved, the attached picture shows the "fire damage".

I am planning on another project starting this winter, I have not decided which project, but I WILL DO MORE RESEARCH THIS TIME.

I do not think the problem was the "hemlock". It is not generally considered a boatbuilding lumber, but I suspect that such a dramatic deterioration was the result of rapid moisture loss; that the lumber was not properly dried. If you used construction grade Douglas-fir, you might have similar results. Coating with UV protection would only help if it also sealed the lumber to reduce moisture loss. Damage would likely have been manageable had it been painted.

I always hesitate when giving DF as an option because it is a common construction material in our area and many people assume that they can go to Home Depot to buy it... not so. It should be clear, vertical grain and properly dried. It will usually be separated from construction grade and located next to oak, mahogany or other finish woods. I would always specify Douglas-fir, even though in our area, "fir" usually means Douglas-fir.

I am impressed that you are getting ready to start again after such a "shitty" experience. Good luck.


From the Boatbuilder Connection

David McAdam's Squirt website

Posted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 4:28 am
Post subject: To Dream of Building a Boat!

I have recently been corresponding via several private messages with Fritz, another forum member here, who is also planning on building a Zip. We got into somewhat of a discussion about getting the boat onto the water to PROVE that we can do this, to our wives and our friends. I got onto somewhat of a rant about this subject and then I thought that I should post it on the forum rather than just in a private message to one other member. I got to thinking that if Fritz and I had experienced this one thing, I'd be willing to bet that all the forum members here have had an almost exact experience.


Feedback: Console Skiff

by Dan Hehn

The boat was launched for testing on 8/29. The boat performed extremely well. The 50 hp Mercury is more than enough power for this boat. In fact, I think it is too much power for most users of this boat. With 1, 2 or 3 people on board, I would say that a 35 or 40 hp outboard would be ideal. This boat pops right up on plane (even with 2 adults, 5 small kids and a dog) and handles well.

Additional photos

Shop Talk: Neat tool

by Ken Schott

Here is the steam box I came up with. The basic tool was thrown away by a neighbor, and I added a couple dollars worth of gutter parts. You can steam battens, sheers, chines, clams, crabs, & shrimp. Works good as a turkey fryer too!

Add a downspout, and stick the front end of the batten in there. Stuff the hole with a rag. Works exceptionally well on White Oak. I got the batten lying in shape and it can be moved around for final curve with two fingers.

Here is a pic of the project covered up for Hurricane Frances. We had rain blowing from stern-to-stem and I am in coastal Georgia!!! The storm was in Florida at the time. Notice in the pic of the batten under the plastic, it is lying in curved shape.



Some of the Glen-L designs launched in the last month

TNT Ken & Karen, 13 August: "I started my TNT on 1/15/04 and have just finished it."
Monte Carlo Tom Phillips, 16 August: "OK IT WORKS!!!! Now back in the shop and to work on the deck and interior!!!"
Scull Boat John McGovern, 16 August: "I took the boat out on its maiden voyage today, it was great."
Malahini Doug Hodder, 19 August: "What a ride!! I can't believe how this boat corners."
Glen-L 13 Jim Morris, 30 August: "It gets more enjoyable each time..."
Console Skiff Dan Hehn, 30 August: "The boat performed very well. In fact, I can't think of any area where I was disappointed."
Eight Ball-SG Ray Boller, 5 Sep: "This boat attracts attention and smiles everywhere I go."
Pee Wee Scott Gaskell, 6 Sep: "I gladly tell everyone who asks that she is a Glen-L design..."

I hate sanding!
Part 1 of a boatbuilding odyssey

by Mike Lechowski

25 Aug 2004

I have some some 20 odd photos of my Bassboat for you, which I will be sending over the next few days as my time at work allows. I don't have any time at home to send them because my "home" time is all divided between building the boat... and fishing.
But let me start from this. I HATE SANDING!!!!

OK, maybe I should start at the beginning.

It all started a few years back. I was looking for something I could do with my son and decided to try fishing. Well, he likes fishing to a point, but my wife and I... I guess there is no other way to say this - we got hooked.

The first season, it was fishing from the bank and a small inflatable. Next, we moved up in the world and bought a small 9' 4" vinyl bass boat (not bad actually). But soon we realized that we were spending all of our free time on the water, it made sense to get real boat... there is a lot of water in the Poconos. But at around $15 to $20 K, a new boat was way out of my reach. I started looking on the Internet for a used boat, since locally even beaters are expensive. That's when I came across some pictures of a boat someone had built in his garage. Yea, right. This guy is full of.... wait a minute, he actually did it.


Recent email:

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Monday, September 13, 2004

name: Jack Slocombe

Comments: My wife and I purchased the prototype "Lo Voltage" electric boat. We could not be happier. The design is excellent and the boat handles beautifully. An ideal boat for up to 4 adults.


From: E. Anderson (old guy building boats)
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 2004

Know you've been dying to know how the TUBBY TUG is coming along. Well maybe not dying to know but curious? No? Don't care? Whatever.. Here she is with all construction finished and the first of two prime coats applied. Now for another primer and then 3 coats of finished paint. Cabin will probably be red with blue top and hull is finished except for a little "touch up".

That monstrosity on the bench is the cabin that will fit in once the final paint is applied. Easier to do out there then on the boat.

Then what? Who knows.

Cap't sea legs

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Thursday, September 9, 2004

name: Jack Ridinger

Comments: Great site.
Getting ready to order the plans for the Power YAK. Stress Reliever type work. I'm a police Capt. 26 YRs. Need this therapy.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Wednesday, September 1, 2004

name: Mark Ortiz

Comments: To the glen-l company
I was elated when I discovered I was spelling your name wrong, found out the correct spelling, then found your web site. To find you guys were still in business, I could not believe it. Boy was I happy, and let me tell you why. I own a 1957 Glen-L Hot Rod that I bought about 6 years ago. I love that freaking boat. It has the original trailer. The boat was built by a well know master mechanic hot rod builder in Antioch Calif. The boat at the time was running a high performance flat straight eight engine in 1958. The guy I bought it from told me the boat was in some movie that Elvis Presley starred in back in 1959 or 60. I'm guessing the year. The Hot Rod is running a 400 Pontiac Grand Prix motor today, which is being rebuilt right now. I'm so glad you guys are still going strong...
Thanks a lot. Mark Ortiz

On Fri, 27 Aug 2004, Jean Savard wrote:
I am building a "Double Eagle". I plan to install a 90 hp Honda outboard, weighing 373 lbs, or a 115 hp, weighing 496 lbs. Is the 115 hp outboard too heavy for my boat?
I am wondering why the "Double Eagle" which is longer and displaces more than the 22 ft "Eagle" can take a maximum of 325 lb outboard, compared to the "Eagle" which can take a 450 lb outboard.
Jean Savard.

The weight of the motor has to do with the balance of the boat. This could be affected by hull shape, cabin size, weight and location of other components. Minor differences in balance are not critical, but large differences could cause porpoising or other unpleasant ride characteristics.
The Honda should probably not be a problem, but may require some minor weight shifting.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004

name: Jack O'Sullivan

Comments: around 1967 i built the stilleto sk. it ran about 55 mph with a 100 Merc. we loved it.

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted on Friday, August 13, 2004

name: Dr. Norman Cove
Comments: I have already built two Glen L Boats. Both were a great success and the building was very straight forward.

I have recommended your plans for over 40 years.

I look forward to building Eight Ball soon.

Norman Cove

16 August 2004
Thank you for the comments, I built in the UK about 1959.. Tiny Might. Your plans called for a Ford V8 flat head (alloy I think) with V-drive. I used an in-line English Ford 1700 cc, straight drive... no gear box... it was a bit hairy having a rotating shaft beside ones left elbow. It went like H... and was a thrill to drive. Left her there when I emigrated to the Bahamas.

I built a 23' Key West centre console runabout about 1980. a great boat too...

I wish to build the Eight Ball as a dingy for my 1947 50' Huckins Fairform Flyer.

I'm sorry to say I don't have any photos, but will definitely make some of 8 Ball.

Best Regards,

Subject: Re: What boat is it?
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004

Dear sir:
The boat is a Glen-L 21, a 21' Fin Keel Sloop on page 38 in my catalog.
Thanks, Chuck

For being the first (and only) person to answer the question in the last WebLetter, we are sending Chuck a beautiful Glen-L T-shirt. ...Gayle

Subject: Kentucky River Article
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2004
From: ken schott

Barry: I read the article on the Kentucky River in the WebLetter. You don't realize the memories that brought back to me.
As a kid, I grew up on the Indiana bank of the Ohio River across from Louisville, KY. Our immediate neighbor was a yard building steel hull Yachts. When I was about 10 yrs old, we (parents & neighbors & friends) took that trip up the Kentucky River. We had 2 steel hull boats, one was a power converted Shantyboat, the other was a 50' yacht. I remember those steep cliffs, which we called the 'Palacades', as well as going thru the locks. The locks were sooo scary to a young kid, we were all under the depth of the water it seemed.
Exiting one of the locks, going upriver, our boat ingested trash and got hot. We headed for the bank in an emergency, with the spillway still roaring. The heat cracked the manifolds and we were dead on the bank. I remember the roar of the spillway as we stayed tied to the bank, with the engine cooked. The dads (skippers) lashed the 2 boats together and got going upriver to the next city, where parts were obtained. Quite an exciting trip all in all.
We did the trip in the autumn, so the fall colors were awesome. Kids usually don't get excited about things like the fall colors, but nothing since has topped that trip.

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