Chesapeake crab skiff

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July 2013

November 2012

Well, we managed to get her bottom wet yesterday (Nov. 12) due to unseasonably mild weather. I must say that I was quite surprised by how stable she is. It was fairly gusty and she seemed to perform very well on all points - was especially docile in the gusts with that reef tied. She is rock solid and stays upright even close hauled in a strong breeze. Her coamings and side decks kept a lot of spray out, and add to the comfort of sitting on the floor, back against the angled coaming and tiller arm resting on the sternsheets. Handy to row, too. What more can one ask for? I am absolutely delighted!

Georgian Bay, Thousand Islands, Poisson we come!

Burton Blais

March 2012

She's a 15' LOA sharpie of the type known as a Chesapeake crab skiff, designed by Doug Hylan. I plan to use her as a replacement for my old Sea Pearl 21 standby. By all reports, the crab skiff is a very capable performer under both sail and oars, a real load carrier which should be well suited to my camp cruising purposes. Her name is to be "Jackrabbit (III)", a moniker borne by all of my self-built (or re-built) camp cruisers, in honour of my personal hero of self-sufficiency, cross-country skiing legend Hermann "Jackrabbit" Johannsen.

I started construction last Summer, though its been an agonizingly slow process, splitting my time between building, sailing, kayaking and cross country skiing when the weather is suitable to either purpose.

She's built of mahog marine ply (1/2" on the bottom, 3/8" sides), set on Douglas fir chines and keelson, with black walnut stem & apron, knees, centreboard case bed logs and centre thwart, all held together with stainless steel fastenings and epoxy. I intend to deviate from the original design by building in buoyancy tanks fore & aft (under the sternsheets, which remain to be installed) and side decks with short coamings for extra security under a press of wind, as well as for bum comfort when hiking out in gusts. Other tasks remaining: flip the hull, glass the bottom with 6 ounce cloth and epoxy, build up a gripe, keel and deep skeg, make a rudder and install the centreboard (already built of laminated ply, glassed with epoxy and with a slug of lead shot for negative buyoancy). Then its flip 'er again one last time, finish the interior "furniture", paint & varnish, build some spars and rig her, then go for a sail! I already have a crisp new sail made by Andy Soper. Projected finish date: mayhaps mid-Summer?

Burton Blais

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