Building the Ness Yawl
Glued-lapstrake construction of an Iain Oughtred classic daysailer.
- Geoff Kerr — August 7–20
© Kathy Mansfield
The Ness Yawl is one of Iain Oughtred’s iconic double-ended beach cruisers, one of a family that includes the larger Caledonia Yawl. She is long, lean, able, and gorgeous. Iain has transformed her North Sea heritage, using modern materials and techniques, into a lovely, lightweight, yet capable, rowing and sailing boat that is remarkably easy to own, trailer, launch, and store. She’s a treat to single-hand, to row single or double, to picnic or to camp cruise a couple or family of four.
The class will spend two weeks building a Ness from scratch, learning the process and sequence of building a wooden boat. We’ll be working with epoxy, plywood and natural lumber, and traditional and power tools. Working from Iain’s exquisite drawings, longtime boatbuilder and instructor Geoff Kerr will lead students through lofting and the building of molds, erecting the building frame, laminating and shaping stems, mounting and beveling the keelson, and then planking her up. After planking, we’ll get out and mount the outer stems, keel, and skeg, and then turn her over for fitting out. The work list will include rails, breasthooks, thwarts, mast partners, floor timbers, a centerboard trunk, the rudder, centerboard, and even spars. At the end of the class, we’ll have a mostly completed boat, ready for a lucky student to trailer home for polishing up.
Students will learn skills and techniques that are applicable to any glued lap design, and indeed, much of the work is good old fashioned boatbuilding. While Geoff’s course is not intended to be a “fundamentals” class, there will be much general knowledge packed into these two weeks. Geoff’s syllabus will include presentations on prep and finish work, rigging, sails, hardware, and boat trailers.
Geoff Kerr brings a wealth of experience with Ian Oughtred’s designs to this two-week course. The Caledonias and Ness Yawls are a specialty in his Vermont-based Two Daughters Boatworks shop, and he has been sailing his own Caledonia NEDD LUDD for 15 years. NEDD will be along for the session, and students will have plenty of opportunities to sail with Geoff after class and on the weekend.
Tuition: $1150 two-week course
Geoff Kerr was really outstanding. Building a kayak with my son was a wonderful experience for both of us and Geoff had a lot to do with that. The week was very enjoyable and satisfying, and in retrospect, exactly what I could have hoped for in a course like this.