This blog is devoted to my John Welsford designed 15' Navigator yawl Ellie. I built her in my garage over a period of 18 months and launched her in 2011. She sports a sliding gunter main, roller furled jib and sprit-boomed mizzen. Her construction is glued-lapstrake over permanent bulkheads and stringers. This blog is a record of her construction and her voyages here in the Puget Sound area and (hopefully) a useful resource for fellow Navigator builders.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Ellie got her first taste of saltwater this weekend!  The weather was beautiful with 5-10 knot NNW winds and gentle seas here in Possession Sound.  Just enough to move Ellie peacefully along.  We couldn't be more pleased with the boat!  She performed beautifully.  I was impressed with how easily she tacked in the light air. Her sails set beautifully. We had a spectacular afternoon.  I didn't take nearly enough pictures because, well, we were too busy enjoying ourselves!  However, I hope you enjoy this short video of Ellie's first adventure.

All set up and ready for launch!  Setup took a little longer than usual due to several admirers who dropped by with questions, compliments, and asking to take photos.
Ellie is officially launched!  She floats!  No leaks.  The centerboard raises and lowers perfectly.
The only real "glitch" we encountered was a little bit of water creeping through the seam in my centerboard case cap.  Entirely my fault for deviating from the plans.  The portion aft of the seam, where the mainsheet tackle is attached, is permanently affixed to the centerboard case.  I made the capping forward of the seam removable.  No problem, I will simply add a rubber seal to the seam.
This is my Son's first sail since he was about 5 years old.  He did very well and I think he may be hooked!  I am also very pleased with the way the main halyards and furler have been led aft. It sure is nice to be able to control things even with two passengers on either side of the centerboard!

My compliments to John Welsford for designing such an outstandingly beautiful, seaworthy, and enjoyable boat, and for the generous help and support he provides.  Thank you Bill Tosh for the terrific sails and thank you Chuck and Sandra at Duckworks for your outstanding service and excellent selection.  Thanks to everyone on the jwbuilders forum for generously sharing their knowledge.  And a special thank you to my family and my wonderful wife Cindy.  Your precious love and support made it all possible.


  1. Congratulations Joel, and well said. I'm sure this will be the first of many special moments on the water in your lovely boat.

  2. Great job Joel! She looks good in her element. Here's hoping you have many enjoyable outings in her.

    God bless!

  3. SO AWESOME!! Congrats dad! She's beautiful! I can't wait to get out for a ride! :-)

  4. Joel: Congratulations, really beautiful work and a real machine to enjoy! I've never written but I have followed developments with great attention, greetings from the South.
    Barreiro Darwin