Open boat sailing, and cruising is very popular. For years, the school has offered a course in open boat cruising, but this year we are expanding our offerings to include an open boat skills course, and we have plans to offer a voyaging course in the near future with an overnight camping component. To make all this happen, we need another open boat capable of carrying 4 students and an instructor. Currently, we use a Caledonia Yawl for the class. It’s a great boat, and we will continue to use it, but we thought as long as we needed another boat, it might be fun to try something different. Clint Chase, of Chase Small Craft has been designing and selling boat kits and plans for all sorts of rowing and sailing vessels from his Saco, Maine shop for years. He has also been an instructor here at the Boat School for more than a decade. Last year, he taught a course building his popular Calendar Islands Yawl, a 16′ open boat ideally suited for camping and cruising waters like the coast of Maine. He’s also drawn and built a 18′ version with the help of David Cockey of Rockport, Maine who is helping with hull design on the new boat as well. We got talking about using that 18′ boat for our courses, and while Clint thought it was a great idea, after looking at it a bit more, he realized it needed to be a bit larger to accommodate 5 people. Enter the Calendar Islands, Wooden Boat Edition, at 19’6″, it’s longer and a bit fuller than the original. It will also sport the ketch rig option, but will have all the structure built into the boat to support a yawl rig as well.
With the design set, what better place to build the boat then here at the Boat School! We are running it as a two-week course, but because a lot of folks these days have a hard time making that long of a commitment, we have broken up the course and are allowing students to sign-up for only one of the two weeks. The first week will be focused on building the hull, while the second week will deal with interior fittings and such. Both weeks offer a great introduction to glued-lap plywood, a bit of stitch & glue and a fair amount of traditional boatbuilding.
The plan is to build the hull and spars (in our sparmaking class) this year. We’ll finish things up next spring during our Alumni Work Weeks along with ordering the sails. It should be ready for use next summer for our Open Boat courses, and the occasional evening cruise.