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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Interior Paint

Not much to report this time.  Just lots and lots of interior painting.

It takes me between 4 and 5 hours to put on one coat of paint.  Each coat requires 48 hours to dry before the next coat can be applied.   Can't really do much else with wet paint lying around so it gets to be somewhat of a grind.

First coat - blech!

But after 4 more coats it's looking much better.

Next, on the agenda, laid decking for the seat tops.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Before we begin, it's time to play "Guess the mystery object" (answer below)

While you're pondering that, I'll go on about decking

This weekend I got the decks rough cut to size.  It felt really good to be making sawdust again, after all that time off painting the hull!

Fitting the deck is exactly the same process as fitting planks.  After beveling the gunwale and cockpit stringers, I fit an oversized piece of plywood on the boat, clamped it in place, and traced the outline leaving a bit of excess all around.

The panel was then cut to the line on the bandsaw

And then test fit back onto the boat.

After confirming the fit, the port side panel was traced to make the starboard side panel.  Both panels were then screwed in place. All the screw holes need to be properly countersunk and ready to go for when the panels are ready to glue in place.

The same procedure was then repeated for the aft half of the deck.

Oversized panels placed and traced

Then cut
And screwed in place

Finally, all four panels were removed and set aside for later.  They will be installed after the anchor well, storage locker, and interior are painted.

And now, back to our game.

What is the mystery object?

It's what's left of a screw that went through the gunwale stringer and the stem a little too high, and then lost a battle with a belt sander.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ellie's got wheels

I bought Ellie a new trailer this weekend. A local boat shop had several left over trailers from a recent boat show that were on sale for $100 off.

The trailer came in handy as I needed move Ellie out to the driveway so I could make the King Plank and test fit the main mast.  The main mast has to go through a mast partner in the King plank, through a hole in the seat and down into the mast step. Locating the mast step and the mast partner in the King Plank are no problem - getting the hole in the seat to line up with them is the tricky part. I had done some careful calculations earlier and it paid off as everything aligned perfectly (whew!).

I have named my Navigator "Ellie" after the young, brave, assertive, energetic tomboy in the Pixar animated movie "Up".

"Up" is one of my favorite movies.  In it, young Ellie dreams of being a great explorer. She wants to travel to South America (it's like America, but SOUTH!),  live at Paradise Falls and chronicle her adventures in her Adventure Book.  Click here to watch a video clip of Ellie.  Adventure is out there!  I love it!

This weekend I also installed the anchor well floor and the cockpit stringers

I couldn't resist hanging the rudder and tiller on, just to see how they look.  My stand is too low to get the rudder all the way down, but I like the way the transom, rudder head and rudder turned out.  I made the rudder and tiller about a year ago, long before the hull was assembled. At that time I had to guess as to the shape of the tiller, and unfortulately I was way off. I put way too much curve into it and the tiller handle is way too high. It's destined for the scrap bin and I'll have to make a new one.

All in all, a very productive weekend!