Skerry launched!

Finally got Skerry finished and launched--in rowing mode only that is.  Now I have to get the sailing rig built. 

Go here to see much of the process and the boat in the water:

Building a Skerry


13 replies:

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RE: Skerry launched!

That is a most beautiful Skerry.  Nice job!  Do you know how many hours it took you to finish?


RE: Skerry launched!

Thanks "atwoodyducker," I lost track of the hours a long time ago--out of town a lot and other interruptions.  I had the feeling that it was taking me at least twice as long as the Chesapeake 17LT I built, if that is any help.  The sailing rig will take a fairly long time also--lots of parts that have to be sanded, coated with epoxy, and cured before I can move on.

RE: Skerry launched!

I was planning on epoxying the spars on my Skerry but after asking a number of experts have decided against it. As I understand it Skerry #1, which sees heavy use, just has varnished spars.

RE: Skerry launched!

Interesting--I'll look at the manual again to see what is required.  My understanding, though, is that epoxy totally seals the wood whereas water still penetrates paint or varnish.  The result is that the wood expands and contracts a lot more and causes the paint or varnish to crack and peel.  That means you have to sand the finish completely off and re-finish every year or two, but with epoxy under the finish you only have to re-finish when it gets too scratched up--maybe five or ten years.  And even then you don't have to sand the finish off completely--just smooth it and scuff it (unless there is deep damage) and you're ready to re-finish. 

The bottom line: Much, much lower maintenance as long as there is no significant damage.

All that being said, they (John Harris et al.) may have been talking mostly about the boat itself, not things like spars.  So, as I said, I'll take another look at the manual when I get home tonight.

RE: Skerry launched!

I checked the manual and they seem to suggest a couple coats of epoxy on the spars is a good idea, but not absolutely necessary.  I plan to do it just to keep future maintenance to a minimum.

RE: Skerry launched!

How do you plan to suspend-support the spars while coating them?

RE: Skerry launched!

That's a darn good question!   My first thought is to coat one side at a time.  This will take forever. 

Perhaps the smartest thing would be to epoxy the mast only, and only up to the mast partner.  This would be to protect it at the place it is most likely to get wet and stay wet for a while.  I would stop just below the partner so the line would not be visible.

I will write CLC for an opinion, and post their answer here.

RE: Skerry launched!

I might suggest a finishing nail or screw in each end and suspend the spar from strings, line (depends on how heavy these are as to what you might use) at the ends.  When done, remove the nails/screws and epoxy the holes left behind and varnish.  Just a thought.


RE: Skerry launched!

Finally talked to someone at CLC.  They were ambivalent, i.e., it's a good idea but not crucial.  So my plan is to varnish-only for now, then sand down to the wood sometime this winter and apply epoxy, then varnish again.  A bit of extra work but will allow me to get in some sailing before it gets too cold.  Will probably go ahead and epoxy the bottom end of the mast though because it can stay wet while sailing.

RE: Skerry launched!

You did a fantastic job on this build. The fine detail of finishing really shows how much time you put into this. Very sharp boat!  Ken

RE: Skerry launched!


Thanks for the compliment.  I'm very proud of the boat and love to show it off--of course there are flaws that only I see, but that is normal.


RE: Skerry launched!

Here's John Harris's take on the question:

Coating spars in epoxy will definitely increase their durability and
resistance to dings and mishaps.  Varnish will also last longer when
applied over epoxy.  (You'll still need three or more coats of varnish
for UV protection.)  If you have the time and patience, coating spars
in epoxy is a good thing.

Coating skinny things like spars is a little tedious.  It's nearly
impossible to avoid sags and stalactites, which, when sanded, often
lead to "burn-throughs" to the wood, and thus to a wearying cycle of
recoating and sanding.  For this reason, we've never epoxy-coated any
of the spars in CLC's demo fleet.  It's interesting to note that
Skerry #1, whose rig has been to around 250 boatshows, is still on its
first coats of varnish.  Of course, we store our rigs indoors when not
in use, but our Skerry's rig still looks perfectly presentable after
12 years.


John C. Harris
Chesapeake Light Craft
"The Best Boats You Can Build"

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