Poor Richard Plans PDF

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"POOR RICHARD" - 21' Skipjack hull, wood. Various configurations shown in the plans are cruising launch, sailboat, open launch, gill net fisherman, etc. Includes lines, table of offsets, construction plans, arrangements, scantlings, etc. 3 sheets and article reprint.

The Chesapeake skipfack hull is more noted for economy and ease of building than for good looks, but in Poor Richard designer Weston Fanner has turned his talent for lovely boats to producing a skipjack with yachty lines. On one basic hull you can select an arrangement of your own choice.

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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S proverb boy, Poor Richard, made great virtue of economy. Since economy is her greatest virtue I have christened this skipjack hull Poor Richard.

Usually if one goes to the native builders on any great regional body of water he finds a-building there boats that are perfect for local conditions. This is true of the Chesapeake, which the writer knows well. The Bay is a varied body of water, shallow in spots, narrow in some, deep at places, and is both fresh and salt. The native boat of the Chesapeake is the diamond-bottom boat, grandfather of the modern V-bottom boat, and is called locally a skipjack. Skipjacks are good in fresh-and salt-water behavior. They love a chop, are fine in a wind, and drive easily.

They are, moreover, very inexpensive to build. The basic hull of Poor Richard here can be built for about $300 for lumber and fastenings, depending - on the degree of local larceny.

Editor's Note: This article was written long ago so prices quoted here are likely to be different than you will find today

Now any boat that Father Neptune has liked as a type for hundreds of years is bound to make a good knockabout hull on which the back-yard boatbuilder may add his own private arrangement plan. To show the versatility of the type, I've drawn eight adaptations on the 21-foot hull for which the basic offsets and constructions plans are given.

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(click image above for larger view)

On the opening page you will see three profiles and arrangements. A word or two on each.

The upper arrangement is typically Chesapeake. It is in fact the exact layout of a skipjack I found at Speakers Yard on Spa Cteek, and the lines of which I have modified in this design. The cabin was of 1/2" plywood with plain windows. This cabin should more properly be called a cuddy because it is open at the aft end, being closed by a canvas curtain. The motor of the original boat was a one-lung Lockwood-Ash or DuBrie, I believe, of about 3-3/4" x 4" bore and stroke, turning a 3-blade 12" dia. x 14" pitch wheel for a speed of about 7 mph - very comfortable going on her length. The motor was located exactly where

What might be done by a builder who has sufficient skill to construct a coach-type cabin, add a steering shelter and bulwarks is next shown. The hull is sufficiently weighty to handle this Roamer top hamper provided it is kept light - say of half-inch cedar, with half-inch plywood steering shelter crowned with quarter-inch canopy decking. Such a boat can handle a 4-cylinder Universal Utility Four placed where shown, although the trim will be lowered forward to a degree. Such a motor will give 10 mph, nearly, turning a left-hand 13" dia. x 9" pitch wheel. This is about the limit of speed. More weight of engine or power she cannot handle. She'll merely squat and wallow.

If you like a dollop of rag aloft, a short mast can be stepped over beefed-up cabin carlins and a low dipping-lug sail can be bent for steadying and running off the wind. The sail shown is moderate, and needs to be, for Poor Richard would be too tender for a lofty-reaching rig. The rag shown on Smorky is 4', 6" on the luff, 6', 9" on the gaff, 11', 6" on the boom, about 10', 7" on the leach, and the mast stands 10', 9" with no bury. This will be enjoyable with the wind abaft the beam, and off the wind will kill much wild motion. The rudder in this case will best be lengthened. A dipping lug is a matter of balance, the halyard tackle being delayed at the optimum point to flatten both peak, and throat.

For a family boat, an old-time "launch" arrangement is best. and still good. This arrangement is labeled Jill. It gives the most room and useful boat. A Universal 8 hp Fisherman, or any 4-8 hp one-cylinder engine can be used for from 7-8 mph. Two-cycle engines are preferred by the writer for this type of boat, and they are still made in the U.S. and Canada, costing about $235 for a new mill. Since such motors never wear out, one can frequently find them around boatyards for from $5 to $20, needing only a rebabbitted bearing job to make them run again.

The open launch Jill could be made into a rainy-weather boat by the addition of stanchions, a standing canopy, and side curtains. See profile.

Some locations afford good mail and grocery routes, and a profile showing a covered freight, mail and motor compartment is shown. Not a bad-looking little rig - with a spray-hood, too, for murky weather.

The crabber or oyster longer who needs a new cheap boat will recognize his meat in the drawing of Ann.

The gill-netter or mackerel-chummer who wants to get to fishing on a
minimum outlay will sense in Gull a fine beginning piece of equipment and one that will quickly repay her cost.

The writer has designed a number of fish boats and semicommercial hulls on this Chesapeake type of bottom. They are in use in Alaska, on the California coast and on the Great Lakes, as well as on the Chesapeake. All are performing well under varied circumstances.

Now I am not going to tell you how to drive every screw or how to hold a hammer—that kind of space is wasted because no two men have access to the same materials. To start building it will be necessary to lay down the lines full size, of course. The lines are given to outside of planking, and you will have to subtract from your body plan the thickness of the planking you use. I have specified ordinary clear 1" x 6" boards for planking, but you won't get this thickness commercially. What you will get will be between 3/4" and a strong 7/8" thickness. This will be all right.

The frames are best of 3/4" white oak, but 1-1/4" spruce or tamarack or mahogany will do just as well. Since the boat will be built upside down extend the frames to the floor line, sawing off at the sheer line after planking. Double cheekpieces are glued and nailed to the frames with galvanized shingle nails, leaving the frame in one plane, is the best method. See gusset detail.

The transom will have to be "expanded" - don't make your transom from the section in the body plan - it is not in the right plane. Go to the raked stern for heights before you go outboard for half breadths. Watch the bevels closely.

The transom may be made up feathered in the seams with a 1/4" x 1/2" dado cut in each board using a 1/4" x 7/8" white pine feather set in casein glue, or the seams may be cleated and caulked, as is the usual practice with Chesapeake builders. Transom planking is 1-1/8" yellow pine, cypress or fir.

I show two types of keel construction. One is Chesapeake style, the other the more universally known apron type. The Chesapeakers run the keel up into the hull two or three inches, and then side-fasten cheekpieces to form a rabbet. Thousands of boats have been built this way. The rabbet cheeks are easily beveled, and require only galvanized screw or boat nail fastenings through the cheek into the keel. Some money is saved on long fastenings.

The disadvantage is that the cheeks must usually be laid in canvas marine glue or paint to get a tight job. Some amateurs can't do this. Their tools get gummy and the screws have a way of wadding up the canvas.

The apron type of rabbeted plank landing is a little harder to bevel, uses more long fastenings. Through bolts, 1/2" galvanized, will be required to draw the apron down to the spring of the keel.

Now though the keel is of 4" stuff, which means 3-3/4" nominal, if you use the apron type of construction, soak the apron in water for several days to make it rubbery, then over a horse or logs, or around stakes driven into the ground, spring the apron to twice normal bend and let dry for a week or two. Otherwise the 4" keel will not be able to keep the correct, apron profile.

Here is a general list of scantling sizes: -Planking, 13/16" white pine,
white cedar, cypress or mahogany.. Frames of 3/4" white oak spaced as shown, or 1-1/4" spruce, tamarack, yellow pine or fir. Gussets for frames, 1/2" plywood set in casein glue and screwed or nailed. Floor timbers gained over keel and cheekpieces, or fayed flat across the apron if that type of construction is used.

The chine is of 1-1/8" x 2-1/4" oak. This piece needs to be of oak to hold fastenings, particularly if the bottom planking is to be Chesapeake style - that is, planked diagonally from keel to chine, starting at about 15 degrees aft rake forward and "fudging" a little until the final aft pieces of plank are running diagonally across frames at about 45 degrees of angle.

This type of construction is a hallmark of the Chesapeaker. To obtain the shape of the bottom forward, the Bay men usually bolt on forefoot badges of about 18" length of solid timber and adz the shape in to fair between the first thwartship plank and the forefoot.

If thwartship planking is used, two fore-and-aft battens, 1-1/8" x 2" of fir, yellow pine or some similar wood, must be gained into the frames to provide bearing, one each side of keel.

The bottom may be planked fore-and-aft, without battens, using 1" x 1-3/8" intercostal frames between each main frame. These intercostals must be used on the topside planking regardless of the type of bottom planking. Use fore-and-aft planking on the bottom only if you have access to a steam box, as there is much twist to the garboard forward.

The sheer clamp will be 1-1/4" x 3" yellow pine or fir.

Stem is of oak, sided 3".

Stem knee is of oak, blended from 4" to 3" to fay on keel and stem.

Deck stringers along the coaming edge, or plank-sheer edge, should be i 1-1/8" x 2-1/2" yellow pine or fir - whatever is easiest to secure in your locality.

Deck beams for the cabin top and the short foredeck may be 1-1/8" x
2-1/2", best of oak.

Use all galvanized fastenings. These are cheapest and last longest. Under no circumstances use "coated" nails, or any bright or black iron. If you use bronze, use bronze all the way through. Don't mix metals in the fastenings of any boat, particularly if for salt-water use.

Don't put a converted auto engine in Poor Richard. It probably will be too heavy, and will "dollar" you to death.

On the timber sizes given, and to the lines as specified, anyone who can saw and plane a board can build this most acceptable hull. The fun comes in putting in your own arrangement. Keep the weights balanced as possible, about the midsection, trim her aft with fuel and perishable stores, and she'll work out extremely well.


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