We built Huialoha about eight years ago with no blueprints or plans. We started with several pictures of lobster boats from New England and did a Hawaiian version. He had 100 sheets of 3/8” (9.5 mm) marine plywood and about 50 gallons of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. It took three months to do the hull and the boat in the water. The cabin was added while the boat was in the water. I am still working on the interior teak trim. Every time I go down to the harbor to work on it, I get distracted by Hawaii’s beautiful weather and end up going out for a cruise and swim instead! Continue reading →
Cover Photo: One of LADY B’s first sails on the Saginaw River near the Gougeon Brothers boat shop.
Lady B is a sailing sharpie I launched on August 20, 2009. On one of the first sails, I asked Jan Gougeon to come along with me to see what he thought of her. That sail brought back many memorable sailing moments that Jan and I have shared over our lifetimes.
Above: The plywood sharpie is the latest in a long line of boats that Captain James R. Watson has built over his lifetime. Here he is at age 12 with a plywood dinghy he built himself.
Building the rudder
The sharpie’s main reason for existence for over a hundred years is its fine operation in shallow water. However, the conventional sharpie rudder is notorious for causing squirrelly steering, often becoming totally ineffective when the craft heels more than 20°. Most sharpie sailors simply accept the handling aggravations of the conventional rudder in trade for its wonderful steering ability in the shallows. I decided to resolve the traditional faults in steering by installing a special rudder and steering system that has evolved and is used on some contemporary boats. This system will yield maximum control over a wide range of wind and sea conditions while retaining the sharpie’s shallow water virtues. Continue reading →