After three sailboats, I decided it was time to try something different -- a stinkpot -- in this case a 19' 9" Albury Runabout outboard. This boat originally built by sight by the Albury Brothers in the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas for the purpose of working among the islands. It has gained a solid reputation as a well built all around small utility outboard. The boats were all originally made of heavy local woods, but that was changed to fiberglass in the 60's/70's. Today, they are still made of in several different sizes.
Twenty some years ago Doug Hylan of Maine visited the brothers in the Bahamas and got permission to draw up the basic hull and publish the plans for sale through the Wooden Boat store which is where I got them and where I got the plans for the sailboats I have built. Unlike the sailboat plans, these plans did not contain plans for the molds. Therefore, I needed to spend some time figuring out how to loft enough of the plans to be able create plans for the molds myself.
To my knowledge all of these boats have been built with carvel planking and the plans call for that. My plan was to build it with epoxy plywood lapstrake planking as I did on the three sailboats. That decision led to some indecision about what thickness of plywood I should use for this build. The three sailboats were 1/4" and 3/8" planked and the heaviest boat, the Caledonia Yawl weighed around 600# finished. The designed displacement for this outboard is 2400# which means everything about this boat is much heavier than the very light sailboats. Recently, I had been thinking that the plywood will be between 1/2" and 3/4" and, after speaking to Doug Hylan, finally decided on 5/8".
Getting what I figured to be 13 planks on a side or 26 planks altogether turned out to be quite a project. Each plank took me several days. It starts with scarfing together at least three sections of 8' plywood in order to cover the length of the boat and cutting these in a way which both conserves very expensive marine plywood and still covers the length of a 20' boat. Once the plank has been spiled and cut to size, it needs to be chamfered on two lengthwise edges and gains cut on two edges at each end. It must also be used as a pattern to cut its opposite side plank. Then it must be dry-fitted to see that everything goes where it is supposed to and fits everywhere. Finally it can be glued and clamped. One of the most difficult things with this approach was figuring out what the shape of each plank should be on the boat as there was no direction for it. I tried drawing it which may have helped a little. But ultimately I ended up makin a bunch of long battens and laying them out in different patterns looking at them on the still upside down boat. That is what I settled on for better or worse.
All of the 26 planks were bent around the hull without steaming. I was sure some of them might snap, but didn't want to chance compromising the scarfs by steaming them. As it turned out to my surprise, none of them snapped -- even the solid ash sheer planks. My next worry became how heavy this thing was and was going to be in the future and in particular would it turn over easily like the prior boats had?. I estimate that the fully planked hull is right around 600#. That is only one quarter of the final 2400# displacement but it is much heavier - probably over twice as heavy as any of the prior boats at this stage. Before the turnover, It had to be sanded, a splash rail developed and attached and then sealed with epoxy, painted and preliminarily finished.
After much agonizing about whether my turning the thing upright might destroy the boat or the barn or both, and with the help of my brave neighbor and good friend Ric who sails with me, we undertook the project. It went well with no destruction, but just a tense moment or too. Nothing broke which was my big fear and I was very glad I didn't try doing it alone as I had the others. Now it is about cutting out the transom, beginning the interior epoxy cleanup and sanding, developing the sole stringers and the four humongous longitudinal timbers that run almost the length of the bottom of the boat.
When that gets done, which will be a way down the road, then comes the development of the sole ('floor') for those of us who don't have one), the furniture, dashboard, bulkhead, seats, deck and finally finishing stuff like the windshield and rails. This is probably at least another year's work assuming I spend at least 4-6 hours a day on it (big assumption). Now this doesn't count little things like acquiring an appropriate outboard motor big enough to push this thing through the water, a trailer big enough to carry it, and a vehicle big and strong enough to safely pull it -- all just little things which so far I have preferred not to think about.