Editor's Page

If It’s Wood, and It Flies…

One of this magazine’s founding principles was that it would not be devoted exclusively to preserving the cherished, time-honored traditions of wooden boat building. While proven processes and techniques are a critical element of what we strive to convey, we are also deeply committed to the evolution of how wooden boats are designed, built, and repaired. Several years ago, we distilled this posture into the informal slogan, “If it’s wood, and it floats….” This issue’s cover image, for me, exemplifies that commitment. It shows two men, Nathan Coffman and Del Waters, working to get a foiling sailboat up and out of the water—“flying,” in the parlance of foil-sailors.

Nathan and his parents, Bill and Carol—along with a crew of artisans and technicians—operate CF Boatworks of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Beginning on page 26, Associate Editor Delaney Brown describes that company’s decade-long quest to improve the wooden foiling sailboat. CF Boatworks, as we learn in the article, is at the vanguard of making foiling technology widely accessible. The boat in the cover image carries two sailors, rather than just the solo skipper. And it is propelled by a kite (you can get a full view of this yellow cloth blade on page 30). “Foiling boats,” Delaney writes, have “become the norm in the upper echelons of the match-racing world…the foiling phenomenon continues to trickle down to other sailboat design.”

As I peruse this issue, I’m awed by other technologies that have trickled into the world of wooden boats. Consider SKIPPER, the classic runabout described in Bruce Kemp’s article, “Up from the Ashes,” beginning on page 84. This 32' family heirloom burned to the waterline a few years ago, and there were no surviving plans to inform its reconstruction. But the crew at Sirens Boatshop in Ontario, Canada, were able to computer-model the hull using data derived from photogrammetry. They combined the resulting shape with details gleaned from similar boats to create an accurate reconstruction.

Consider, too, Bruce Stannard’s story of Andrew Denman and Denman Marine in Australia’s island state of Tasmania (see page 34). Among Denman Marine’s many endeavors, they are the Australian agent for Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) of Annapolis, Maryland. John Harris, CLC’s proprietor, was impressed with the consistently superb quality of Denman Marine’s work, and several years ago invited a discussion of their becoming CLC’s Australian agent. The two businesses came to quick terms. Making this relationship all the more remarkable is that the arrangement was negotiated without Denman and Harris ever having met in person. Denman cuts CLC kits using files transferred to him via computer. “We give him a lot of latitude,” Harris told me, indicating the faith he puts in Denman’s workmanship and judgment. The customer feedback, Harris says, has been superb.

If we look back at the evolution of wooden boats—and boats in general—over the past century, we see certain developments that are now considered commonplace: internal combustion, external ballast, steam-bent frames, marconi rig. And now we can add to that list photogrammetry, foils, epoxy, and file transfer. What a thrill it is to watch that evolution continue.

Matt Murphy

Editor of WoodenBoat Magazine

Robbert Das
Page 48

Robbert Das

by Nic Compton

If Albert Einstein wanted a person to prove his theory that time is an illusion, he could have done worse than look at the career of Robbert Das.

Preview Article
Tolman Skiff
Page 58

Building a Tolman Wide-Body Skiff: Part 2

by John Marples

In the first part of this series (in WB No. 280), we dealt with how to cut out and prepare the Tolman Wide-Body Skiff’s hull bottom panels and pieces, as well as the transom, in preparation for the first phase of hull construction.
Preview Article
Page 68


by Lawrence W. Cheek

For five years in the early 2000s, John and Ann Bailey raced and cruised the 49' schooner they’d just bought.
Preview Article
Page 84


by Bruce Kemp

Andrew Lee’s first impression when he saw the burnt-out wreck of a classic runabout named SKIPPER was, “This isn’t a restoration, it’s a whole new build.”
Preview Article

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SHADOW of Gig Harbor, Wa USA. Maiden voyage April 14th, 2024.