From the 1935 edition of "Twenty Boats You Can Build". If you have more information on Sunapee, or have a copy of the blueprints, please contact Dale Harris (who wants to build one) or if you have general comments or some ideas to contribute, go to the "Twenty Boats" index and visit the comments page.


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Sunapee is a sturdy, well-built boat which in three years of active service has more than justified its designer's ideas for a day cruiser which could be used, if necessary, for comfortable extended cruising.

Before building a boat of this type, you should thoroughly acquaint yourself with the general science of boatbuilding. This knowledge can be obtained from any of the mass of textbooks dealing with the subject available in the public library. This manual itself is probably sufficient reference for anyone able to handle tools.

Next, thoroughly study the plans. Additional and very complete plans of the individual frames are available withe blue prints as advertised on the pages of article.

Before starting actual construction work take off the dimensions of the frames from the offset tables and proceed to lay out full size plans of the eight frame moulds. Very little fairing will be necessary. Use a light batten for this purpose when laying down the lines.

After checking your completed plans cut out the frame members. Do not notch them at this time, but lay them aside and start on the keel. This member is cut from from a length pf 2"x4" white oak. Note that the keel cuts in to meet the stem between stations 1 and 2 but is otherwise straight. Rabbet in the usual way for the bottom planking and lay it aside temporarily.

Now tackle the stem. This is formed of three pieces of white oak and should be cut exactly to the dimensions given in Fig. 2.

Stopwaters Are Needed At Stem and Keel Joint

fig2 fig3
Bolt the finished pieces together and put in the stopwaters which are absolutely necessary unless you wish to have a leaky boat. Rabbet to receive the planking and bolt securely to the keel.

Next in order is the setting up of the frames. Choose a level base and set the keel up on blocks following the dimensions given from base line to keel as shown in Fig. 5. This will result in what is known as a sprung keel -- infinitely better than the straight variety and easier to handle.

With the keel properly set up you can now brace the stem so that It remains perpendicular and true, and then proceed to bolt the frames in their proper positions. The method employed for securing frames to the keel is shown in Fig. 8, but any other method is acceptable.

Use temporary braces to hold the frames in plumb and true in all dimensions before cutting the chine and batten notches which are next to be fitted.

The Transom Is Fitted After the Planking Is Finished

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Use battens to check the fairness of the curves before notching, using your own eyes as the final judge in this important detail.

The transom frame has not yet been fitted. It is left out until later to facilitate getting in and out of the boat during construction.

Chine and battens are now securely fastened in place. Allow these members to project beyond the transom line and that they lie flat and snug within their respective notches. The chine Is fastened with 2" No. 10 F.H. brass screws and the battens with No. 6.screws about 1" long. With chine and batten in place but transom as yet unfitted, the planking can be started.

Commence with the second plank above the chine. This and the next two planks will not have to be shaped and it is an all-round easier way to do the job.

The side planking is secured with No. 6 brass screws at frames and on the chine. It is fastened to the battens with copper nails thoroughly clinched.

Work from side to side during the planking operation. This will prevent twisting and ensures a balanced job. The remaining two planks are now fitted in the same manner but they will require some steaming and bending where they approach the stem piece.

With all side planking in place turn the boat over. You are now ready to lay the bottom planking.

This is composed of three separate layers. A word of caution Is in order here. Be sure to cut and fit the last planks -- the lengthwise ones -- before fitting and fastening the first planking down. This because otherwise the batten lines will be obscured by the first two layers and it will no longer be an easy matter to fit the last layer of planking. Therefore, cut and shape the long planks and lay them aside before securing the diagonal planking.

This is laid, working from stem aft and from side to side. Fasten in the same manner as used on the side planking but put the clinch nails as near the center of the battens as is possible so as to leave room for the double row of nails which later hold the " long planking to the battens.

When all the diagonal planking is laid trim off the rough edges and lay the 10 oz. canvas duck which interposes between the two sets of planking which compose the bottom of the boat.

Set the canvas in a heavy coat of lead and oil and paint thoroughly after stretching. Trim off the excess canvas, leaving a small overlap at keel and stem rabbets.

Now take the long " planks you have previously shaped and fasten them down in their proper sequence in the same manner used to fasten the other planking. Some steaming and bending will be necessary to avoid undue clamping and splitting of the planks.

If you use the inside type of chine, plane off the last plank to the chine line and then thoroughly smooth down the completed bottom. The boat can now be turned over and laid in the original keel supports.

The deck carlings or beams are next fitted as well as the cabin uprights or frame members.

Put in the deck planks of " x 2" material and cover with canvas set in paint. Leave enough of the canvas over to be later snugged down under the moulding strips.

The exterior finish of the cabin is next taken care of. It may be handled as you see fit, but a good watertight job is obligatory.

The cabin roofing, of 3/8" waterproof plywood, is fastened down and canvas covered in the usual manner. Nail the moulding strips tightly over the edges of the canvas.

Rounded Transom Set on Conventional Frame


The transom can now be built and installed. It is shown in the detail sketch, Fig. 6. An oak knee about 1-1/2" wide should be used to strengthen the joint of transom with keel.

Sunapee Is Roomier Than Most Small Cruisers

Secure the battens and other members and trim off before placing the planking. The shaft log is best fitted inside as shown in drawings.

A simple rudder assembly is shown in the drawings. Cables led from the rudder quadrant to the steering wheel (two may be used for convenience if desired -- one in the cabin and one in the cockpit) take care of the steering gear.

The interior trim is optional as, also are the details of interior fittings.

The original "Sunapee" is finished in white to the water line with the exception of sheer strake and transom which are stained.


To print the figures, try saving the large version to your local computer and printing from some application other than Netscape!