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Glued Plywood Lapstrake Construction

All the advantages of this practical method of construction.

Tuition: $1,500 (two-week course)

Note: Previous woodworking experience is a requirement for this course.

The Vikings knew it 1,000 years ago: lapstrake boats just look right! The sweep of a well-modeled sheer accentuated by nicely lined-off plank laps catches even an uneducated eye.

Beach Pea

Epoxy-fastened plywood lapstrake construction is a modern building method with many advantages over traditional styles. This type can create lighter, stiffer, and stronger boats that better stand up to trailering and require little maintenance, yet maintain all the romantic aesthetics and fine performance of their traditional cousins. For all of these high-tech advantages, the skills required are still those of the boatbuilder—lofting, spiling, planking, sparmaking, and so forth. In this two-week class we’ll combine our group efforts to scratch-build a 15’ Beach Pea rigged for sail and oar.

The once ubiquitous peapod is as evocative of coastal Maine as the lobsterboat or the Friendship sloop. The multipurpose double-enders were once used for everything from tending traps and motherships to conveying the family to church. Designer Doug Hylan has surmounted the difficult challenge of creating an attractive, lightweight, stable, and fine-performing version in glued lapstrake plywood construction.

Beach Pea rudder

The class will explore plans, lofting, and moldmaking, then get right to it, laminating stems and setting up the building frame. We’ll then get out and mount the bottom board and plank the hull, learning the secrets of the rolling bevel and cutting gains. After planking, we’ll sheathe the bottom in fiberglass, and mount the outer stems and a keel strip to beef her up for beaching and trailering. Once the hull is done, we’ll turn it over and work on fitting out the interior with rails and breasthooks, floor timbers and seat risers, thwarts and stern sheets, mast partners and floorboards. Bench work alongside the hull will include building spars and fabricating the centerboard, trunk, and rudder.

In addition to all this classic boatbuilding, the project will expose students to the broad world of epoxy construction techniques as well as the practical uses of modern marine plywood as “natural” lumber. The knowledge and skills gained here will prove applicable to a wide variety of boats by numerous designers, not just the Beach Pea.

Instructor Geoff Kerr brings 25 years of experience in epoxy-plywood construction to the course, and he has taught similar classes here at WoodenBoat School featuring other designs such as the Caledonia Yawl and Coquina. While turning out a commissioned Beach Pea at his Two Daughters Boatworks shop in 2014, Geoff realized that it is the perfect design for a class; just right in scale and complexity and a great boat to go home with a lucky raffle winner at the end of the two weeks!