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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, April 6 2019 3:26 PM UTC +00:00

"Tree to Sea" boat building

A 24' sailboat based on 1850's fishing boat, built "Tree to Sea" from urban reclaimed trees sawn into lumber on my own sawmill.

"Tree to Sea" boat building

A 24' sailboat based on 1850's fishing boat, built "Tree to Sea" from urban reclaimed trees sawn into lumber on my own sawmill.

$62
pledged of $45,000pledged of $45,000 goal
4
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, April 6 2019 3:26 PM UTC +00:00

About

Building Traditional Boats "Tree to Sea"

Mid 1800's period Utility boat used for fishing, mail delivery, transport of people and goods
Mid 1800's period Utility boat used for fishing, mail delivery, transport of people and goods

Boats like this used to be common.  They were the work horses of the coastal regions all over the country including the Great Lakes.  They were built of local materials, used wrought iron fittings, were easy to maintain and made to handle abuse.  They were the perfect combination of form and function, beautiful and tough. 

There are a few places building pleasure versions of these historic watercraft.  These tend to have a lot of fancywork, expensive brass fittings, and exotic woods, built light, and very expensive.  That is not what I am trying to do.  I wish to build boats that are tough enough to work for a living and pretty enough to make a scene at the boat ramp, yet affordable.  Cost of owning a boat goes up exponentially to size.  I have been repairing, restoring, and building boats since the age of 13, starting in 1984.  My own experience has taught me the ideal sized boat to be in the 18-26' range for most boat owners.  But many wish to have a boat that feels bigger.  So with these basics in mind I started working on several designs.  I decided on a sailboat with an outboard motor for auxillary power in a traditional work boat style.  I decided on the below profile plan for the boat, a 24' gaff rigged schooner.  It can be towed with a 1/2 ton pick-up avoiding expensive dockage, and parked next to or inside the garage under cover.   It is designed to be used as a day sailer or camper/cruiser and handle moderately rough seas.


The plan view of the 24' Gaff work boat I am building
The plan view of the 24' Gaff work boat I am building

The drawing above is part of the blue print for the boat I am building.  Construction has yet to start as I am just starting to collect logs to saw into the lumber.  She has a 24' hull, 31' sparred length, 8' beam, and carries 290 square feet of sail.  Traditionally, these boats were ballasted with rocks, but I am casting the ballast of 900 lbs externally in concrete.  She will have a good sized centerboard which is retractable for a shallower draft and reduced leeway when down.  She will be built tough with a double planked hull 1 1/2 inches thick and framed with steam bent oak frames every 9". Mostly decked over, there is an 8' long cockpit area at the tiller and enough room below the deck to use a porta-pottie or sleep on the over night trips or enough room to sleep on deck.  The beauty of the rig allows the booms to be raised and a tent pitched over one for extra room in crappy weather.  The Rig is simple enough to handle alone and masts can be stepped and un-stepped single handedly.  An outboard motor can provide propulsion when not under sail.

All the fittings will be wrought iron and hot oil dipped, hand forged by my self. This makes them durable and strong, also period. I am also making all the blocks and pulleys for the boat.  Currently in the process of collecting logs for the boat, I am using winter wood as it is more durable then wood cut in the summer.  Below is a picture of I nice log I am dragging onto my trailer from a construction site that will be used for planking


All the wood will be treated with borate salt in a linseed oil carrier which is about the most environmentally friendly wood preservative I have ever come across.   It is also very effective.

It will be a fun boat to sail, great for small families with lots of strings to pull, and would be a great sail trainer if someone wanted to do that sort of thing.  And adding the portability and camper/cruiser function for versatility, it will fit many different needs.


Once the boat is finished in early spring of 2020, sea trials will commence.  The boat will be used for promoting the concept of "Tree to Sea" boat building and sold to fund the building of another identical boat. This is the first boat of the design and I hope to do many more as my goal is to put as many of these types of boats on the water as possible to make the waterfronts more beautiful.

Risks and challenges

I have built and designed many boats over the years (as large as 38') so this is nothing new. It is the biggest boat of my own design however, so I am being extra careful to get the centers (gravity, buoyancy, effort) all in the right range. I feel I have given myself ample time to complete the project but first time builds can run into complications. That being said, it is still a relatively simple build and since I am forging the fittings myself, I do not have to try to find ones that fit properly. The biggest challenge I see is finding enough quality urban reclaimed timber to saw into lumber in the next 2 months or less before the sap starts flowing. There are also rules and regulations, Coast Guard requirements that must be met, but nothing that is insurmountable. Just time consuming. The lumber needs to season for 6 months before being used so I am planning to do some of the things like make the blocks and pulleys immediately.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    18' x 24" copy of sail plan, antiqued

    Every person who pledges $100 gets a 1/2 scale copy of the plan view of this boat. This is the drawing you see in the story

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A hand made wood block (pulley).

    This reward is a typical wood block that I am making for this project, used in the rigging.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    A half day sailing aboard this boat

    This is a limited reward, available to only 12 contributors. Each contributor who pledges $1000 will get a 4 hour day sail on Tawas Bay for themselves and 1 guest. You will get to steer the boat and haul the lines. A fun experience if you have never sailed before or been on a gaff rigged boat. You will be responsible for getting your self to Tawas in Michigan, and any food and lodging you may need. There will be three people aboard for the the sail

    you, your guest, and me. You will get a good description of traditional boat building and rigging, life working in this type of vessel, and hands on experience sailing it. I will schedule with you after the sea trials are completed in the spring of 2020 so you can make it part of a vacation.

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Funding period

- (45 days)