Summer Breeze sailboat

  A pleasant sail on the water Charlene came out and watched the 20012 Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival Boat Building Competition, and then we took a few hours and went and hung out at Santa Rosa's Spring Lake Park, and we kinda decided that we need a car-top carried boat to hang out on a small lake in.

I looked at a few options, the idea of building a Sunfish-type knockoff, like the Moonfish 14 is attractive, both from the "high performance" and "bombproof" standpoint, and plans for the Stevenson Projects Mini-Cup are on-line, but that form-factor is also a committed and wet experience. And that top deck also adds a little bit of weight, along with the strength.

So something a little dryer, a little more sedate. A friend described the Marsh Cat as "a picnic on the water", and it's gorgeous, but I also want a fast simple build that's small enough and light enough to store behind the workshop and toss on top of the car. The Simplicity Boats — Summer Breeze fits that bill.

We have yet to paint her name on the stern, but we've decided to call her "Ella".

Notes and changes we've made from the various plans and build notes on the web:

  • We used cheap luan plywood, with redwood for the additional parts. Redwood is great for things like the chine logs, which want to be easy to plane and mill, but we should have gone for something harder for the gunwales.
  • We used internal chine logs. Didn't seem like it was any more difficult than external chine logs, and looks better.
  • We built the rib to be left in place, and doubled the ¼" ply for about 16" behind the rib, for additional bottom stiffness.
  •   We fiberglassed the corners, for added strength.
  • We built the transom up from ¼" skin with bracing, for weight.

So far we're happy with all of those changes. We have a couple of things we still need to fix, and a couple of things to do differently next time:

  •   As nice as the lines look, we could use a little more freeboard in the stern, and the transom angle as we built it from the plans is too steep for good rudder function. We'll be building a brace to hold the rudder axis of rotation more vertical, and we've been changing positions in the boat and started shipping water beside the transom, which was kinda scary.
  • A harder wood for the gunwales would be really really nice.
  • I think the lines of the sides put the point for the lee board a little bit too far aft. Next time I'd move it a bit forward.
  • We may better brace the mast step region.
  •   varnished We'll consider at the very beginning if we want a lot of wood just varnished, and, if so, we'll probably use epoxy rather than PL Premium, to keep the glue squeeze out appearances less ugly.
  • Medium weight tarp is a bit heavy material for the sail, it's hard to read, doesn't move very well.

  basic hull assembled On Memorial Day weekend of 2012 we started building. We got the basic shape of the hull together. This is when the boat started looking really awesome, and we first realized that using PL Premium may have been a mistake: Next time we build it we'll use epoxy so that the exposed wood doesn't have lots of gnarly glue spill-out everywhere.

  Rigging test fit Two weeks later we were glassing the corners, painted the hull and were test-fitting the rigging. And on the fourth weekend, we took her out for a sail on Santa Rosa's Spring Lake. We've since cleaned up the sail rig a little bit and taken her out on Lake Sonoma, tacking out and a good way up the western arm, and then making a long downwind run back to the launching ramp. We've got a lot to learn yet with this boat.      

Since then we've cleaned up the sail a little bit, now we just need to go enjoy the water more.

And plot the next boat... This is addictive!

Category: Boat building