Summer Breeze sailboat

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Project by Dan Lyke posted 07-02-2012 10:26 PM 7557 views 7 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Between a new job, various programs we run for and projects we do with disadvantaged kids, building my living roof workshop, and replumbing the house, we ended up pretty burned out come late spring.

The county 4H foundation has a big annual fundraiser, we had to go early in the morning to take a bunch of cakes “our” kids had baked, and were scheduled to take a bunch of kids to volunteer with the cleanup, but in between there we took a few hours to go hang out at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake park. Sitting there on the shore, watching various people in boats hanging out on the water, we thought “that looks quite pleasant”, and we decided that we needed to dedicate some time to ourselves and build a boat.

So we built a boat. We started on Memorial Day weekend, on the 4th weekend we took it for a test sail. This last weekend we took the boat out for a longer sail on Lake Sonoma, a space shared with powerboats and water skiers, and we’re starting to feel a little more comfortable in it. There are a few tweaks we’ll be doing, but…

Since this is a woodworking site, let’s talk about the woodworking:

First off, this was my first experience using PL Premium as a glue. It’s a construction adhesive form factor (ie: caulk tube) polyurethane glue. Very strong, very waterproof, allegedly has some good long lifespan. Horrible to clean off of hands, we’ve got a lot of squeeze out. We’ll have to strategize differently about this next time, either religiously wiping out the squeeze out and hoping the varnish doesn’t look too different on those spaces, or using epoxy.

The tapered mast was turned on an ad-hoc router lathe built from a couple of 2×4s. I will definitely be looking for a basic motor and speed controller (maybe something I can just put together out of a stepper motor I’ve got lying around) to build a better headstock for a more formal router lathe.

Lots of hand tools. The plywood was all cut with a Bakuma 300 Japanese style pull saw, which rocks, and a lot of block plane action. And the block planes (yes, we have two of them!) got a lot of workout, from cleaning up the edges of the plywood to rounding the spars (which were too thin to round with the router lathe).

Redwood: Nice and soft to work with hand tools, a little soft for gunwales.

The experience of working with the curved luan plywood, and the amazing strength that comes from the inner and outer gunwales with spacer blocks, has me thinking about ways to use similar structures in cabinetry and furniture.

I will be continuing to keep notes and observations, including much more on the sailing portions of my experience at my personal web site notes on the Summer Breeze sailboat. If you haven’t tried boat building, it’s a blast, and if you wanted to do this out of doug fir rather than redwood you could be sailing for probably about two hundred bucks. Plus registration fees: keep your receipts so that when you have to tell the DMV where you got the boat you have the paperwork!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

21 comments so far

View Boatman53's profile


1078 posts in 3272 days

#1 posted 07-02-2012 11:32 PM

I had a similar situation with masts. Follow the like below and you can see what I made. It brings the RPM down to about 100 if I remember correctly. And the chuck couldn’t be easier. Good luck, nice looking boat. Jim

-- Jim, Mid coast, Maine home of the chain leg vise

View shipwright's profile


8711 posts in 3874 days

#2 posted 07-02-2012 11:46 PM

That’s a fine little vessel Dan. I’m sure you will get a lot of enjoyment out of her.

I have a friend who has built small skiffs like this using construction adhesive but I’d definitely recommend epoxy myself.
Looks like you did a lot of things right but there are much easier ways to shape spars than a lathe even for little ones like these. Just my opinion maybe.

Anyway great job and have lots of fun sailing.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View mmh's profile


3684 posts in 4798 days

#3 posted 07-03-2012 12:03 AM

That is a beauty of a boat! I think it would fit in our pickup truck!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View tyvekboy's profile


2112 posts in 4089 days

#4 posted 07-03-2012 12:33 AM

Nice boat Dan. I know what you mean about boat building being a blast. Had to stop cause ran out of storage room. You can check out my boats on my project page.

How much does you boat weigh?

You sure work faster than I do.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Boatman53's profile


1078 posts in 3272 days

#5 posted 07-03-2012 12:43 AM

You are right Paul, I used if mostly for sanding and turning down the head of the mast for the mast fitting. If the hollow spars are made with the birds mouth joint it is already eight sided.

-- Jim, Mid coast, Maine home of the chain leg vise

View madts's profile


1956 posts in 3415 days

#6 posted 07-03-2012 12:48 AM

We do not have enough sailors in this forum!
Very nice job on the boat.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View dpow's profile


504 posts in 3920 days

#7 posted 07-03-2012 02:47 AM

There is something about building a boat that seams really appealing to me. I look at the different boats that have been shared here on Lumberjocks, and think there might be one in my future. If I ever do decide to try a boat build, I don’t have far to look for inspiration. Dan, the Summer Breeze looks great. Enjoy the time on the water, and thanks for sharing.

-- Doug

View Retrowood's profile


117 posts in 3494 days

#8 posted 07-03-2012 04:34 AM

Nice job on the boat. I noticed you used a Bakuma 300 Japanese style pull saw for cutting the ply, was this efficient at cutting sweeping curves?

-- Retrowood

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4313 days

#9 posted 07-03-2012 10:58 AM

Great looking sailboat! Has the 2’ bug bitten you yet… Every boat you build, buy or borrow seems to make you want one just 2 feet bigger… LOL

-- Hal, Tennessee

View hunter71's profile


3553 posts in 4262 days

#10 posted 07-03-2012 11:36 AM

Very nice build. As my “to do” list shrinks my stripper gets a bit closer.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View TimWood's profile


196 posts in 3317 days

#11 posted 07-03-2012 12:28 PM

I’ve built two boats in my life and it is a blast. Your work is excellent….now….please… TELL ME you’re searching for a piece colorful canvas for your sail! :)

-- Tim Harrelson

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5153 days

#12 posted 07-03-2012 01:56 PM

looks like a fun ride…congrats to you for finishing such a fine boat! This is a project you really get to enjoy!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View ChrisK's profile


2053 posts in 4157 days

#13 posted 07-03-2012 02:22 PM

Looks great, Happy Sailing!

-- Chris K

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1527 posts in 5201 days

#14 posted 07-03-2012 03:04 PM

Thanks, y’all!

Jim, I let the router bit do some of the turning, ‘cause I turned the mast while Charlene was off doing other things. I think even 100 RPM may be faster than it needs to spin, but, yeah, that’s roughly what I’m thinking. Unless I can make the stepper motor do it easier.

Paul, except for the color and the foaming everywhere outside the joint, I kinda like the PL Premium: Nice long open working time, no need to mix batches (or, as I could imagine happening with the gunwale glue-up, getting mid-way through the assembling and frantically trying to mix another batch), but I am going to have to learn a but more about epoxies and resins. Especially since now I want to try something cold-molded…

mmh, or on top of your car. We can store it behind my workshop, carry it anywhere.

Alex, the hull probably about 70-80 lbs, with the lee board. I should measure it. Part of our design selection criteria was “car toppable” , and Charlene isn’t super strong. I love your Tyvek skins, gonna have to delve into that a bit (especially if I can find housewrap without the printing on it), although this last weekend we beached at a camp site to go hit the restroom, ‘til I realized that the speedboat wakes on the sharp baseball sized rocks probably weren’t doing the bottom any good. And on “working faster”, it helps to have the woman who takes priority saying “Can we work on the boat now? How about now?” (“I really want to clean the kitchen”, ”... but… the boat!”)

Jim, in my case the mast is just a 2×6 cut diagonally and put back together flipped endwise, and the spars are 2×2s that I ripped into octagons and then hand planed roughly round. I like the idea of building spars as a box, but on a boat this small…

Doug, if you go with 3/8” ply you can skip the chine logs and gunwales and do something like the boat we built for this year's Bodega Bay Wooden Boat Challenge. That’ll take an afternoon, and made with a decent adhesive (rather than just the caulk they supply for the competition) with a coat of house paint should last a season or two. With chine logs, it should last indefinitely and you’ll wish you’d spent more than $50 on materials…

Retrowood, I love the Bakuma for plywood. For thin stock, ¼” or 3/8”, I’ll grab the Bakuma before I pull out the power tools. Most of the cuts on this boat are fairly straight, but, yes, it makes long sweeping curves a lot smoother than, say, a jigsaw, However, since we trained a student team to compete in the Wooden Boat Challenge I know that it takes a bit of practice to be competent with it.

Hal, I’m already thinking I could park my truck on the street so we could put a trailer in the driveway… I think we’ll have to see how and where we use this one. We can sail into campgrounds, so we don’t need cruiser capability, and we’d love something we can go whalewatching in, but a boat that can safely handle getting outside the continental shelf is a completely different beast and probably worth getting the standard sailing certs so we can rent something.

hunter71, I’m pretty sure I don’t have the patience for anything strip built…

tim, we definitely need something lighter weight than that tarp, it’s impossible to read. May try something out of clear plastic so we can put telltales on both sides of the sail, Charlene’s never sailed before and needs all the help she can get. But, yeah, we may have to go for some canvas… though I was noticing last night that one set of bed sheets is getting worn out, and maybe I could repurpose that…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Retrowood's profile


117 posts in 3494 days

#15 posted 07-03-2012 04:08 PM

Thanks for the info, now for the big question…..........When are you going to start on the next boat and what are you going to build this time?

-- Retrowood

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