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, March 26, 2013

Navigator Mast Handling

There's been a bit of discussion on the Welsford Builders forum lately about stepping the mast on a Navigator or Pathfinder. How difficult is it?  Can it be done unassisted by anyone, regardless of age or physical capability? Is a tabernacle necessary? How about stepping the mast on the foredeck or the front thwart instead?  Should the mast be built hollow or solid?  From wood or aluminum tubing?

It all depends on the abilities and desires of each individual builder of course, and that is one of the big advantages of building your own boat.

I built my mast hollow using the birds mouth technique. This technique is a bit more work, but results in a mast that is up to 40% lighter and equal in strength to a solid wooden mast.  The technique is well documented at duckworks.  It's well worth the additional effort in my opinion.  A lighter mast is not only easier to step and unstep, but reducing weight aloft also improves a sailboat's performance.

Here is a short video that shows how easy it is to step, unstep and handle the mast on my Navigator. My mast weighs 17 lbs (7.7kg) not including hardware.  It is not difficult to handle, and as you can see I'm no athlete. If you're a Navigator builder, I hope this video helps you decide how to build your mast.

Friday, March 22, 2013

And now for something completely different

Global War

My past has caught up with me.

Long before I became an amateur boat builder, I was an amateur computer game developer. Back in the late '80s and early '90s, before the internet became available, Bulletin Board Systems were how Social Networking using computers was done. In their heyday there were over 100,000 of them.  I was the Sysop of ProVision BBS and authored two popular door games called Global War and Global Backgammon.  Global War was an online adaptation of the popular board game "Risk".

If you're too young to remember any of this, don't worry, Wikipedia has some very good articles describing what Bulletin Board Systems and BBS door games were all about, but don't wait too long to read them. Various crusading Wikipedia editors have deemed many of the articles on BBS door games "non-notable" and have decided to try and remove them.

Josh Renaud, a contributor on Wikipedia, wants to preserve their history, so he started his own wiki and his own blog. His goal is to collect information on BBS door games for future researchers, historians and enthusiasts. Josh has been tracking down door authors and conducting interviews.

If you would like to read Josh's interview with me, click here, or to read more about Global War, click here

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Scamp Camp #3

Scamp Camp #3 at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is nearly completed as of this writing.  Another six newly completed Scamps will be splashing soon!  Check out the story and photos here. If you missed this Scamp Camp, don't worry, more are coming.  The next one will be in August.