Saturday, October 30, 2010

Building the Sea Eagles, David Nichols

Pandion, David's prototype

the lines for the 14.5

Chapter 5, Setting up the Strongback and Bulkheads

Caapter 6 Planking the Hull

Chapter 12 The Big Turnover

Chapter 24 The Sails

Chapter 25 Odds and Ends

all material courtesy David Nichols

Back in April I had written about David Nichols new creation, a pair of Sea Eagles. The design had been featured in the Small Craft Advisor, and really caught my eye. David is not selling plans of the boat in the traditional way, but is rather offering the plans as part and parcel of a construction guide. A meticously detailed guide it is, too. I've offered a few pages from the book here to give you an idea. This work is so thorough and well photographed that I think people with only the desire, determination and some basic woodworking skills should be able to complete the project. The price of the book is a fraction of what most designers charge for plans. Published by Breakaway Books (see David's other books there as well) and is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and many other booksellers.

From David's introduction:
...Most of us dream about sailing off into the sunset to wander the oceans of the world, but for me that just isn't practical. For that matter, it isn't practical for most of us. What I do find practical is a small, simple beach cruiser that I can in a variety of waters both big and small. A boat large enough to provide some creature comforts but not so big that her size limits where I can take the boat. The boats in this book fill that bill.
Both Sea Eagles do have some creature comforts. In the cockpits, the seats are wide for pleasant sleeping and both are easily rigged for a cozy cockpit tent or sunshade. The 16.5 has a small cuddy with comfortable quarter berth for sleeping when the weather is frosty and both boats have plenty of storage space below decks. It' possible to carry enough gear below decks for lavish beach living and still have the cockpit clean and uncluttered. And both boats carry a portable head, an important consideration for many.
Also, I want boats that are forgiving and I designed the Sea Eagles to be forgiving. You'll find both boats stable to at least 90 degree of heel and the cockpits are self bailing. The heavy bottom and generous fixed ballast in the keel help to bring them back in case of a knockdown. Her tandem centerboards keep her balanced on all points of sail and well mannered in a following sea.
Good manners and a forgiving nature are crucial, but I think that a sailboat that is easily launched from a trailer is important as well. Boat slips are expensive and becoming increasingly hard to find. A boat that lives on a trailer doesn't need a slip and has virtually unlimited cruising ground. Sea Eagle's free-standing masts and simple traditional sails mean the time spent getting ready to launch is short and their shallow draft makes them as easy to launch as a power boat.

In addition I want a boat that is relatively simple to build. And because these boats go together with a modified stitch-and-glue building technique using epoxy, they are less complex and labor intensive to build than more traditional methods.
So that is what you'll find with the boats in this book. Both Sea Eagles are boats the are simple and easily handled, boats you can take on big adventures or small adventures, and boats that you will not easily outgrow.
You will also find that this book is writtenas if you had little or no boatbuilding experience. My goal was to make the book turn-key. That is, show you not only how to build the boat but make the sails and most everything you need to get the boat out on the water.

The book is so well documented that I believe it could be used as a construction guide for other boats built with this technique. Check into it. David's business is Arrowhead Boats.

1 comment:

Fernando Costa said...

Hi Thomas!

Thanks a lot for this post in the moment that I am beginning the construction of a little boat invented bay myself. His name is "Joy".

Good winds!

Fernando "Morning Star" Costa, from Cabo Frio, Brazil, South Atlantic

T talked about your blog in my blog. Look!