Captain Mac's Boatyard

This is how boatbuilding all began for me. It was the summer of 1976 and I had a couple of friends whose father was a carpenter. One day he acquired that brownish sabot leaning against the house. He'd always wanted to build a boat, so using it as a pattern he went at it. While he was at it, he asked his boys and any of their friends who were hanging around the house if they wanted one. As we were all in a C.S. Forester/Patrick O'Brian phase, we all said yes. Suddenly Captain Mac's Boatyard was in business and committed to building 14 (!) sabots.
It was a real stone soup operation. Captain Mac scrounged some 1/4 inch plywood from his scrap pile. His boys made the sails from muslin bedsheets. I scrounged the paint from my day job at the shipyard (leftover epoxy tank liner for supertankers, $1.00 for the bucket, drive home like hell before it turned into a manhole cover in the bucket), we welded up the hardware from scrap metal, etc. We cut wood, planed and beveled chine logs, shaped the masts and booms with spokeshaves and drawknives, glued and filled, etc. And everybody sanded (except Captain Mac - RHIP) .

We modified the design somewhat. We added some freeboard because Mac and his boys couldn't swim. We broadened the beam because we wanted room for 3 aboard (though we all ended up sailing solo most of the time) and we shortened the length to 7 feet, 11 and 3/4 inches to avoid having to register and pay taxes on a pile of scrap wood, scrap metal and discarded paint. The net result was a boat that actually planed when heeled. One fine windy day I ran before the wind at 13 knots with those bedsheet sails!

Copyright © 2002, 2003 László I. Mórocz. All Rights Reserved.

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