We have been teaching folks how to build their own boats for years, specializing in making what at first appears difficult to be achievable. The photos sent to us of first boats are truly amazing.
The Alli8 is a bit of a departure for us, where she is not a round bottomed boat–she’s not even round sided. What she is is a plywood planked V-bottom that’s straightforward to build with readily available tools and materials. And just so you have all the information you need in one place, we’ve written a book that details her design and construction from selecting the materials to her first sail.
The photo below is of our youngest grandaughter (Alli) at the helm of her boat on a lazy September afternoon, ghosting along. Building this boat was her idea.
TheAlli8 is amazingly responsive with her simple lug rig. In fact, we made the initial sail from a white poly tarp that we bought at Hamilton Marine. You could do the same and spare yourself the sailmaking charge. All you really have to do is lay it out according to the plan, tape the edges and wear points with tarp tape and install a few grommets. It's so easy a child can do it...in fact, she did.
So what's the book really like? Read Walt Simmons' own words from the book's Introduction...
Thinking of building a sailboat? Then you’ve made an excellent choice.
Despite it’s diminutive size, this cute little sailing pram we have dubbed the
Alli8 is a serious sailboat, and a lot of fun for kids as well as adults. Better
still, building one is well within the capabilities of anyone with a modicum of
common sense and a willingness to follow directions–which is, of course, the
reason this book was written. It follows the entire process from beginning to
end, and along the way delves into the background information you’ll need
to think the process through.
You will find the style informal, even conversational, much like it would be if
I was there with you while you are building your boat. And throughout, what
is written is punctuated with line drawings and photos taken of the boat being
built in our shop–lots of photos.
There are places where I will explain how things are done and how
measurements are derived even though patterns for those parts are available.
That is because this is not “Boatbuilding for the Complete Idiot.” Few people
aren’t interested in learning, and fewer still build just one boat. So learning
these things is part of the process of becoming better-informed and learning
things that will continue to be of use to you in the future.
To that end I would suggest that you read it through before you start ordering
materials. Even if you don’t understand it all the first time, it will provide you
with a basis of information needed to make the informed decisions that will
inevitably arise. Afterwards will be the time to gather materials, clear your
workspace, and have at it. You can always refer back to what is included
here, and we have even left the back side of pages blank so you will have
ample room for notations.
Building the Alli8 makes a thoroughly enjoyable project for adults and
children to share. It could even make for an interesting and economical
home schooling project. Never done anything like this before? “Experience,”
as Pete Culler opined long ago, “starts when you begin.” The information
you’ll need is between these covers–you have to supply the initiative. For my
own part, I would suggest that to derive maximum benefit that you take the
time to enjoy the building. It will be time well spent, I assure you.
Ducktrap Village, Maine
Want to see what's inside? Here's a page right out of the book (the actual page size is 8.5" x 11").
We help you through the building and the terminology, with precise information like this:
Having doubts, questions, concerns? Contact us.
You won't know unless you ask.