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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another Navigator nearing completion Down Under

Lester Searle is nearing completion of his Navigator yawl Leighton.  Lester is building his Navigator in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, which is on the East coast of Australia - about midway between Sydney and Brisbane.

Lester named his Navigator in honor of his father and his service during World War II.

"She's called Leighton which was the name of the British merchantman out of Liverpool my Dad was serving on in WW2 when he met my Mum in Fremantle West Australia."

Lester tells me he's "given the plastic a workout at Duckworks" and has "got to the really scary bit for me - the rigging."

"Still no rub rails  but think I will get her in the water sometime in the next few weeks."

"I am not an experienced sailor so this is the most mysterious part of the whole thing.  I am not an experienced boat builder either - gardener by trade and latter day pen pusher - so the building thing has been great fun."


Looks like fine workmanship to me, Lester!

"...sometimes I just go down to the shed (4th one so far in a seven year build) and look at her and feel happy. "

For his yawl rigged Navigator, Lester rigged his mainsail as a sliding Gunter main, but with a sprit boom in lieu of the conventional boom.  I've seen this rig many times on other Navigators, but I haven't heard much discussion from those who have used this setup.  I'm very interested in hearing how he likes it.

Congratulations, Lester, on your accomplishments thus far.  We are all looking forward to your upcoming "splash", and wish you many, many years of joy and adventure aboard Leighton.


  1. Lester, that is one fine looking boat! Well done. :)

    Thanks, Joel, for sharing his accomplishment.

  2. He planked her upside down. That's the traditional way to build small boats, but contrary to Welsford's instructions for Navigator. I bet he had advice from an experienced boatbuilder. She came out looking very sweet, so its all good.

  3. to be honest I just couldnt work around the transverse sections of the strongback when trying to glue the bottom planks. It worked ok to do it this way and I think it gave me more control not working with my head lower than my waist.