Assistance building an Eastport Pram


Hi there,

I am toying with building an Eastport pram so I can get on my local small lake and teach my kids to sail. It would be awesome!

However I am nervous about undertaking the build solo and was wondering if there any experienced hands in the Newton/Boston MA area that might be willing to lend a hand at key stages or even do a super quick build with me!

If anyone is interested or has any comments/experience on building an Eastport pram please contact me.

All help appreciated


17 replies:

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RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

This is one of their more straightforward designs -- if you let some one help you, you'll miss out on half the fun.  As complete novices, we built a Passagemaker Dinghy and it came out fine.  You CAN DO IT !!  

 Especially when you consider the great tech support CLC offers via phone and e-mail, you really won't be building it all alone! 


RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

Thank you for the encouragement and I am busting to have a go.

What level of skills did you have when you started, ranging from "I changed a light bulb once" to "building a deck is no problem for me"?!

I understand the Eastport is probably easier than the Passagemaker but I am interested in an estimated number of hours for your build.

Thanks for the reply

RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

While not specific to your build, ours scout troop is building Kayaks.  When the boys started you could see the doubt in their expressions when they were told they would each be building their own boat.  The end of the project is beyond thier experience, similar to your reservations.  The thing each of our boys learned (the youngest is 13) is that building a boat is nothing more than a series of steps.  Each step is not beyond their (or your) ability.  If you just take one step at a time and remain patient, you will build a boat that you are proud of.  As you go, you can sometimes see ways that you can improve or customize your boat and each sucessful step you take builds confidence.  Finally, our boys learn that there is almost no mistake that they can make that cannot be fixed in some way.  Just take the first step, you will love the journey.

RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

Just about anyone can do it and there is no shortage of help between this site, the book and CLC tech support.

You will get a feel for working with the epoxy quickly.

About the only thing you need to develop a feel for carefully is the sanding, if you are using a random orbitol sander. And even then, if you oversanded an area, it can be fixed.

Building the boat and getting it ready for finishing seems surprisingly fast.

The sooner you order it, the sooner you can be out on the water. I should tell you there may be a long waiting list, so do not delay too long if you are looking to float this season. I waited a month for my kit and that was in the dead of winter.

RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram


Estimated hours is not a good thing for builders, especially first timers, to worry about. Hours are for commercial builders who are trying to make money or for kit and plans suppliers, who are also trying to make money. Since homebuilders usually aren't in it for the money, it doesn't really mean that much.

For suppliers, hours are a way to let customers get a very rough idea of how complex a boat is. It's sort of like the EPA mileage figures - no one actually gets that mileage and it's lower in California, but it gives you a rough idea of which car uses more gas.

And just as there's city and gas mileage, there's also multiple types of boatbuilding hours. There's labor time, which is the time when builders actually have tools in their hands and are working directly on the boat. This is what most suppliers quote and is the smallest part of most builds. It doesn't include getting a workspace set up, maintaining tools, waiting for epoxy to cure, sitting/standing/walking around just looking at the boat and considering what to do next, etc.

There's oops time. Something minor goes wrong and a step has to be stopped, fixed and  cleaned up before progress can resume. It's no big deal, and with epoxy stitch & glue it's pretty easy to fix, but it's hours that don't get included in the build estimate.

There's artistic time.Say you decide to add one of those nice onlays CLC sells. That's not included in the build time and can be a susbstantial number of hours if you're working very carefully to make a museum-quality build.

Related to that is finish time, the time spent on the outer .02 inches of the boat. It has no effect on performance, structural strength, weight or any of the things that actually matter on a boat, but it's pretty much the only thing which determines whether a boat wins best in show so some people will spend enormous amounts of time on the finish, most of which isn't counted in the build estimates.

There's also life instrusion time. This can be a big one. Kids get sick, trees fall down, the garage door gets jammed, the toilet backs up, the basement floods, the boss wants you to stay late, etc. Not only does this directly steal from the boatbuilding time, it can also leave a builder emotionally and financially too drained to be able to work on the boat for a while.

Finally, there's what most builders are actually interested in - calendar time. How long will it be  between sending out my credit card number and putting the boat into the water for the first time? It should be pretty obvious by now that that's a very individual number that is hard to pin down.

The best thing is to not even worry about it, try to do something every day towards building the boat, even if it's just cleaning up some of the mess from the last bout of building, and enjoy the build process. Pretty soon you'll be looking at the box and see that there's no more bits of wood left to glue onto the boat.

Good luck and don't worry. You'll do fine.



RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

Ditto what Laszlo said about the time factor.  Well put.

We did not keep track of time spent on the PMD project, and after we stopped worrying about self-imposed deadlines for finishing it, the whole process was more fun.  Take whatever time you need and enjoy the build process along the way -- it's very gratifying.

We were complete amateurs as far as boatbuiding goes.  Reasonably comfortable with basic household power and hand tools, but no special skills (I had never used a router, for instance.)  My forte is actually the destructive sort of tools, like chainsaws and sawzalls!

One possible advantage is that we were experienced boaters/sailors, so we had an intuitive sense of how things should turn out even if we weren't intimately familiar with construction process.  But I'm not sure that really mattered much, given how detailed the instruction manuals are.  My strongest suggestions for a newbie are to build from a kit, and don't rush it but instead take whatever time you need to build it right. 

Go for it! 

RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

Thank  you all for your insightful comments.

The main lesson I have learned is that I need to focus on the journey not just the end result.

The idea came about because of my desire to get sailing with my kids asap on my local lake. However your experiences tell me that the build itself has to be part of the reason and if it is then a tremendous ammount of satisfaction can come from that.

That is very valuable input and I am just letting that sink in (pardon the expression!). I want to make sure I start the project with the right frame of mind.

Thank you all again, it is great to know there is a community out there.


RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

and a great community it is.

Lazlo forgot to mention the the additional "PLS" time that should be included in the boat build. We experienced some of that this weekend.(parking lot syndrome)...its the uncalculated amount of time you will spend talking about your your craft to complete strangers at the launch, beach, stop lights etc..Although it is much more fun than sanding. 

RFB...stitch and glue boatbuilding is more chemistry than carpentry....and yes the journey is as much fun as the destination.




RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

great advice Laslo,I needed that little talk, to quit rushing, I'm just about a week away to getting my boat in the water, then the real work begins,sanding,sanding and more sanding. I am enjoying the trip thinking about another build already, shhhhh don't let the wife know, it's for her.

RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

"The idea came about because of my desire to get sailing with my kids asap on my local lake."

It is pretty common that building a boat will take longer and cost more than you expect. Realistically, if you are a first time and/or part time, builder, even a small boat can easily take you at least a month or two (or more) to complete. Add the extra bits for a sailing rig and that's even more time. Don't let that dissuade you, however! Boatbuilding is indeed extremely satisfying and rewarding!

BUT, if you want to get sailing with the kids right away, then I recommend you turn to Craigslist and buy a beater dinghy. Likely for a few hundred dollars you can drive away with a Sunfish, or any of a number of other dead simple sailing dinghies, and you and your kids can be out on the lake and having fun while the weather is still perfect. When it rains you can all stay at home and build the pram!

 Boat building is about as far from wasting time as I can think of, but, around here at least, summer isn't the time to be stuck in the shop!

Good luck!


RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram


Thanks for the post, I think you hit the nail on the head: "sail now and have a really cool project in the darker months"!

My challenge is that my local lake has no boat ramp just a sea wall with a 2 foot drop, so I need a light boat that I can haul into the lake on my own or with minimal help from a 7 & 9 year old. The Eastport pram is only 60lbs. 

I can look at Opti's, do you have any other suggestions of light easy to sail boats?

Thanks again


RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

Sounds to me like you have a boat building crew there.  Anyone can sand and use a roller to spread epoxy, also, with proper supervision and instruction the kids can begin to use the various hand tools that will build your future craft.  Imagine the pride they will have in sailing the ship that they build.  Sound like you have a project in your future.  I asure you it is more worth while than the current popular video games.

RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

First I have to say that the Eastport Pram is a wonderful way to get your kids hooked on sailing.  My kids love taking it out.

Second, I had some woodworking experience before building my Pram, but I had to draw on very little of it to build the Pram.  I had no experience with epoxy - and that is where my much of my learning (as in mistakes) took place.  I didn't mess anything up too seriously, though.  At least it hasn't fallen apart yet.

I took me a year and a half calendar time to build it, but I didn't come close to working on it on any regular schedule - except for the final push at the end. I took last summer off.  And I have small children - I had to keep my priorities straight.

No matter how long it takes you to build it, or how perfect the result, I can virtually guarantee you will enjoy the process and be proud of building a beautiful boat with your own hands.

Feel free to read about my Eastport Pram building experience in my blog.


RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

Thanks everyone, all good info.

I shall definetly be learning from Steve's blog when I start the build. Steve, how many have you got in the pram when sailing and can you lift it single handed or maybe with just a 7 or 9 year old holding on at one end? 

I am getting closer!




RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

I've sailed it with two small children plus myself.

Lifting it single handed would be a stretch - literally.  It's not that heavy, but it's awkward. My wife and I have no problem lifting it and neither one of us is what you would call large.  My 10 year old son might be able to lift one end but it would be dicey.  It's easy enough, though,  to build a cheap dolly using PVC, an aluminum rod and lawn mower wheels.


RE: Assistance building an Eastport Pram

FWIW, I once built a sabot which is very similar in size & weight to the Eastport Pram. I used to move it single-handed not by carrying it, but by wearing it like a turtle shell. The thwart/seat was on my shoulders and I was holding the end of the foredeck with my hands. The weight was well-balanced and nicely distributed on my shoulders. It was easy enough to carry it for at least a couple of hundred yards. Maybe something similar is possible for the EP? (Wouldn't that be a fun contest at the next Okoumefest - pram races on land?)



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