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     "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-Mark Twain

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Serendipitous Perambulations

I’ve talked to a fair number of folks who like the idea of building their own boat…but only if it were easy enough to do and if they were assured it would look good when it was done. I set out to devise an appealing kit-boat to allow people to do that.

Initially I was adverse to plywood. The romantic in me thought, wouldn’t it be nice if anyone and everyone could have the opportunity to put together a traditionally built boat? I mean…who wouldn’t enjoy that? A plank being screwed to a frame…they call it “crisping” when it makes that noise as the screw head seats into the wood.

I planned on building the prototype, at least, traditionally.

I wasn’t exactly sure what size or type boat would make the perfect kit, but it just-so-happened; I had a design for a dory-skiff which was a variation of a Marblehead Skiff which I thought might be good as a kit. It was big enough at 15ft. to offer several different options for configurations; row, sail, motor. It also just-so-happened that I had access to some good lumber, I had some time on my hands, and some newly acquired shop tools which I was itchin’ to try out 😉

It all seemed serendipitous, so I jumped right in.

The 15ft. dory-skiff pictured in the background is an example of my “Serendipity” Design. My “Perambulate” Design is pictured in the foreground

I wasn’t at it very long, however, before I came to the realization that, though this was exactly the experience I’d like to be able to share with everyone, there’s no practical way to create a kit boat for traditional wood construction. Although one certainly could come up with a kit, made up of solid wood parts which were pre-shaped to fit together perfectly, with carefully located screw holes, nail holes, rolling bevels etc… the costs would be prohibitive. You’d be putting a boat together, just to take it apart so that someone else could put it together themselves.

So even before I completed Serendipity, I was already planning for something new.

First, I could cast a wider net if I were to downsize the boat. The smaller the boat is, the fewer materials need to go into it and the easier and cheaper it is to build. If I wanted to design a kit to give everyman (and everywoman) the opportunity to build a boat, I should start small. Also, I still wanted a versatile boat, and it had to be easy to build; a boat of simple composite construction. (plywood and fiberglass). It would be better if it was so small and light that one person could transport it alone. …and, wouldn’t it be great if it could come flat-packed as plywood panels through ordinary mail delivery…

So I started another boat project; as you do.

This would develop into my “Perambulate” Design.

Learn more about Serendipity Plans and my new Perambulate Kit in Plans and Kits.

Tim Estabrook, Estabrook Yacht Design, Yarmouth, Maine

With over 20 years experience in yacht building, Naval Architecture and the design of fine joinery, I have a complete understanding of what it takes to get a project from the drawing board into the water. As a qualified designer, and graduate of Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, I am able to take a boat from its initial concept, both interior and exterior, and create complete construction details specific to various building techniques, through to final production support and launching I am also able to act as an interface between other Naval Architects and Designers and the yards that build their boats. Currently, I am developing small craft plans and kits suitable for beginners and experienced boat builders. Join me on social to see my latest project coming together.

Tim Estabrook
Naval Architect and Yacht Interior Designer

Examples of my work

For more details, take a look through my portfolio and past projects.