News Updates and Photos


Penobscot 13 For Sale.

The Penobscot 13 that I started last winter is now complete, and ready for the water. She is planked with 6 mm okoume plywood, over eastern white pine keel, sheer clamps and stringers. The seats are also white pine. Foam flotation under the seats makes the boat self-rescuing. She has a daggerboard trunk, and mast step for a lugsail or sprit rig. A mast step for the gunter rig could easily be added. All surfaces have been sealed with two coats of epoxy resin, followed by three coats of varnish on the interior, and three coats of paint on the exterior.

Measurements are: Length over all; 12 ft. 3 in. Waterline length: 11 ft. 5 in. Beam: 4 ft. 3 in. Weight: 125 pounds. For more details, call me at 207 930 9873, or send an e-mail to

Price: $4,250.00.

May 31, 2015.


A Penobscot 14, and a Problem (a small one)

Steven Ahlberg launched his Penobscot 14 recently. The photos show a very nice boat – congratulations to Steven! He writes:

“Launched her yesterday on one of our northern Sierra lakes and she rows beautifully. Can't wait to finish the rudder, mast and add the sails. The design you created turns heads, and the plans/advice you provided made the building process not too overwhelming and very enjoyable. I would highly recommend this project to anyone.”

Steven reports a slight leak around the centerboard pivot bolt, despite having both rubber and stainless washers under the head of the bolt and the nut. I have recommended that he try a silicone sealant under the washers.

We look forward to seeing some photos of the boat under sail. In the meantime, good boating, Steven!

May 31, 2015.


A Penobscot 17 Wins Award

These photos come from Dave Kurtz, of Kill Devil Hills, NC, who writes:

“Although I had done plenty of home trim carpentry I had never attempted anything close to a boat. The Penobscot 17 was the ideal size for me. The plans, instructions and video that you provided were all excellent guides in the building process. I really liked the combination of permanent 3/4" bulkheads and longitudinal stringers in the design of the 17. It makes for a very strong and rigid boat.

“I finished it about 1 year ago and it has lived up to all my expectations. It has been a fun boat to sail, even in winds up to 20 mph. Hiking up on the deck with full sails set and heeled right to the deck, she feels solid, stable and smooth, whether beating upwind or backing off to a reach in an otherwise very choppy Albemarle Sound.

“I knew I wanted to challenge myself with some design enhancements. One was to create a partially decked boat, as inspired by the shad boats that were common in my local waters of eastern North Carolina in the 1800's. Another was to modify the Gunter sailing rig option with a pivoting tabernacle (with the pivot above the boom) in combination with an aft support bracket. This makes the transition from both trailer-to-water and from row-to-sail much easier.

“I entered it in the 2014 Roanoke Island Maritime Museum Boat Show and it won best of show out of 30 total boats. Thanks again for a great design and instructions.”

Dave has posted an extensive collection of photos on Photobucket, here They show very impressive craftsmanship. Congratulations, Dave!

May 31, 2015.


Another Penobscot 14

These photos come from Ram Sudama, who finished his boat last year, and reports a summer of enjoyable sailing. He had a couple of questions. One was about water collecting along the stringers – he wondered whether limber holes would be a good idea. I advised against them, partly on the grounds that sealing inside the holes with epoxy would not be easy. I use a big sponge to wipe out my P14 after ever use. It’s not a big job, and it keeps the interior clean and dry, which helps cut down on maintenance. Ram also asked about a cover for the centerboard trunk; water tends to splash up through the top. This doesn’t happen with a daggerboard, which covers the opening, although I have a cover that I use when rowing. Ram is going to make a cover for his centerboard trunk.

He remarks of the photos, “The ones on the water were taken by a neighbor during an early sea trial unbeknownst to me - otherwise I'd have shaken the crease out of the sail! In any case, as you can see, the boat is quite lovely and I'm very happy with the outcome. Great design.”


The Carolina Rosio Wins a Trophy

This from Peter Sawyer: “Wanted to let you know my Laughing Gull, Carolina Rosio, with Peter Sawyer (builder) and Robby Ashley, took first place in her division of about seven boats in the Washington's Birthday Regatta in Coconut Grove, FL last weekend. The race was organized by The Barnacle, a state park in Grove that includes the estate of yacht designer Commodore Ralph Monroe. Monroe started the regatta, the first on Biscayne Bay, in the late 1800s. The racing began with winds blowing 15 - 20 knots, which the Laughing Gull handled well with a reef. They came in second in the first race by a boat length, but then the wind fell and they shook the reef, handily winning the next two.

Here is a photo of Robby and me with the cup.

Congratulations to Peter and Robby!

February 26, 2015


A Peapod, A Penobscot 14, and an Aussie Magazine

Al Herbertson sent these pictures from the Australian magazine Australian Amateur Boatbuilder and Kitboats, which featured an article on a 12 ft. peapod, built by Kev Watkins. Al is building a Penobscot 14, which you can get a glimpse of in the top photo. He reports that he hopes to conduct sea trials soon. We should have photos soon.

October 23, 2014.


Boatbuilding Classes – Building the Penobscot 13

This summer’s class at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine, was very successful again, students and teacher all having a most rewarding and enjoyable two weeks, with a Penobscot 13 finished ready for painting by a class of six students. I will offer the class again next summer, probably in July – I will post the dates here when I have them.

I will also be teaching the same class at the Long Island School of Wooden Boat Building, during the winter. This will comprise two one-week classes at the non-residential school on Long Island, New York. During the first week, February 2 - 6, we will set up the station molds, stem and transom on the strongback, and start planking. There will also be time to make a stem and transom for another boat, start a centerboard trunk, and look at other techniques. During the second week, March 2 - 6, we will finish planking, and go on to interior work. We should have a boat finished ready for painting at the end of the second week, to be raffled off to interested students for the cost of materials.

For more details, or to sign up for a class go to


http://www.lischoolofwoodenboatbuilding. com/HOME.html

or call me at 207 930 9873, or send me an e-mail at

September 29, 2014.


A Penobscot 17 in Maine

These photos from Elliot Arons. He has just this to say, “Launched in Muscongus Bay, Friendship, Maine. Aug 23,2014. Thoughts: fantastic experience, one learns a lot about boatbuilding and ones self during the process, Arch was always supportive and available. Band saw really helped with the details. My past experience: built a Dacron covered canoe designed by Platt Monfort about 2001. Wife Ellen was very supportive.”

Congratulations, Elliot.

August 29 , 2014


A Penobscot 13 Goes to School

This story by Wendy Owen comes from The Oregonian of February 26:

In an unused woodshop at Aloha High School, students from Merlo Station Community School are building a sailboat. A non-profit organization, Wind & Oar Boat School, is teaching the 10 Merlo students the skills they would have learned in a woodshop class but with a twist. This 13-foot Penobscot sailboat has to float in the Willamette River when they’re done in May.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian stopped by to see the project and talk with the students as part of a visit to schools across Oregon that are finding ways to teach the skills that will lead to jobs and attract businesses.

The Merlo students admitted they struggle in regular classrooms, sitting in the back and zoning out. They’re in the Community School to catch up on credits, and the sailboat project is helping them get there with applied math and applied arts credits. They’re also having a blast.

It takes a team to build a boat and in addition to the math, engineering and woodworking skills they’re learning, they are developing their leadership, communications and other social skills. “Before this, we didn’t talk,” said Sterling Fox, a senior. “We’re more engaged with each other and ask for help (from each other).”

Luis Mendosa, a senior, said he struggled with math before the sailboat project but it makes more sense when he applies it to the project. He smiled and said he’s also better at following instructions now.

Juan Garcia, a senior, already had plans to head into the workforce after high school. “I plan on going into the trades, so this is really good for me.”

“It’s amazing how excited and engaged they are,” said Matt Loughner, director of Merlo Opportunities in Vocation and Education, a federally funded program.

The students spend four hours a day on the project four days a week. It will be done in 12 weeks.

“We all know as educators that you learn through application,” said Vicki Lukich, Beaverton School District executive administrator and former high school math teacher. And the fact that the students are making the boat for someone makes it real. “Precision and accuracy means so much more (to them),” she said. “Me telling them to be accurate on their homework means nothing.”

Wind & Oar founder Peter Crim has watched the project evolve and knows its power to engage kids. “I love to stop by at week three or four and see the confidence they’ve gained,” he said.

The story and photos can be seen here.

March 4, 2014


A Penobscot 14 on Lake Ontario

These photos came from Serge Laroque. He writes:

“This weekend was beautiful so my wife and I went to our usual sailing area, the west end of Lake Ontario. In order to finally get some shots of the boat in action, my wife stayed on shore while I sailed around near the park. In one of the photos a gust of wind came out of nowhere, but I was able to keep things under control.

“As you can see I went with a lug rig. I really like it, as it is quick to set and strike. There is no standing rigging to deal with so once I arrive at the marina it doesn't take long before I'm under way. Thanks for your help during the construction, it was very much appreciated. It's a very fun boat to sail and I often get compliments when at the dock.”

A great looking boat, Serge – congratulations!

October 1, 2012.


If you would like to see your boat featured here, send photos and a description of your project to Arch Davis Design, 37 Doak Road, Belfast, ME 04915. We would love to see them - we are always looking for good picture of boats under way!