Third “Installment” – 21 foot Shanty Trawler

A Guest Post by Rod Edens: Jan 4, 2013

Here’s the third “progress” report on the construction of the Shanty Trawler. Work moved along slowly the week leading up to Christmas. The weather was fine, but shopping, visiting, eating, etc… You know how it goes. Now that Santa has come and gone, I’m back to work.

As you can see from the photos, the front wall and the two side walls that partially enclose the forward end of the canopy area have been completed and put in place. The front wall includes the “windshield” that opens up by swinging forward. The windshield is made from Plexiglas, glued into a wooden frame. The front wall is 4 feet wide. This gives plenty of side deck to step on when going from the canopy area to the forward deck. At its base, the front wall extends about 2 inches onto the doghouse roof. This makes it much easier to insure no rainwater penetrates the joint between the doghouse roof and the front windshield panel. After other work is finished, I’ll caulk this with silicone.

Each of the side walls are 3 1/2 feet long. The windows in the side sections do not open. They will also be made of Plexiglas. Since the Plexiglas will be glued to the inside of the panels, I was free to make the window cutouts any shape I wanted. As you can see, I chose a shape that accommodated mounting a life ring on each side of the boat. I also plan to install a short grab rail above the life ring to hold onto when going from the canopy area to the forward deck.

Since the last progress report I’ve also added some more deck boards. I had originally planned to use 5/4 inch x 4 inch wide deck boards. When I went to buy them I found out that they have been replaced in the building industry by 6 inch wide boards. So, I used 6 inch instead – it’s easy to compromise when you’re building a Shanty boat. These boards are the same as you would use on the deck in your backyard. I intend to let them weather for a few months, then apply a light grey colored, semi-transparent stain.

The sailboat had an opening hatch in the forward deck. It was positioned directly above the V-berth. When raised it would direct fresh air through the cabin. This was an important ventilation feature and I wanted to keep it usable. So, the new wood deck has a hinged opening above the old sailboat hatch. Opening the new hatch will allow the old one to be opened as well.

Instead of putting a couple of metal cleats at the front of the boat, I opted to build and install a single old fashion looking, wooden post. I’ll use it for securing dock lines and the anchor line. Out of site, below the new deck, the post is attached to the original sailboat fiberglass with steel angle brackets. The post also attaches to the new deck joists and deck boards.

So far the work has gone about as planned. I’m no “finish” carpenter, let alone a fine boat builder. It’s a Shanty boat. I’m using hand held battery powered tools. As you can see from the pictures, I’m doing the work outside, while the sailboat is on its trailer. Some of the connecting screws are stainless steel; some are simply good quality coated deck screws. I’m putting three coats of a good exterior paint on the outside surfaces. The materials are all available at my nearby Home Depot.

My design relies on the original sailboat top to keep rain water out of the cabin. And, it does not attempt to keep the cockpit area dry. When it rains, water will blow into the cockpit area, just as it does on sailboats. The good news is, any that accumulates drains out, since the cockpit floor drain is above water level.

My next block of work will start by adding the new gunnel boards to cover up the old top edges of the cockpit walls. The aft end of the canopy top will be supported by poles mounted to the new gunnel boards. Once those poles are in place, I can build and install the entire canopy top.


Until next time, keep Shantying!

Rod Eden



Originally posted 2013-01-08 08:05:42.

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