Build Your Own Skerry or Passagemaker Dinghy for Sail and Row
Chesapeake Light Craft Build: Build Your Own Skerry or Passagemaker Dinghy for Sail and Row
September 18–24 last day to register is August 16
9 AM – 5 PM | Kit cost + $889 tuition
Join instructor Joel Arrington for this seven-day build class where you’ll be guided through the process of constructing a Skerry or Passagemaker Dinghy.
About the Skerry:
The Skerry is a plywood-epoxy composite boat, assembled using Chesapeake Light Craft’s exclusive LapStitch™ technique. The sides are 6mm Okoume, while the bottom is 9mm, sheathed with fiberglass for those hard beach landings. The interior includes 9mm okoume frames and sealed air tanks at the bow and stern for buoyancy. The matrix of high-quality plywood and marine epoxy allows great strength and a glossy finish. To build a Skerry, all you need is a pair of sawhorses and a warm place for a shop. No mold, no lofting, and no odd tools beyond a couple of sharp planes, a drill, a bucket of C-clamps, and a sander.The flaring sides make the Skerry stable and dry under sail. The stock sprit rig was chosen because it’s easy to set up and handle, powerful for its size, and stows inside the hull for transport. Windward performance is excellent. The boom is out of the way of the crew—no bonked heads—and the boat can be rowed with the sail up. This is such an important and practical feature for small boat handling that it’s bizarre not to find it in more smallcraft. Under oars, the Skerry has a long, easy glide and excellent tracking. Two rowing positions permit the Skerry to be rowed with one, two, or three adults on board. Ultralight weight—about a hundred pounds—also means the Skerry is easy to handle ashore. Given a heavier car, good quality roof racks, and two average adults, the Skerry can be cartopped with ease. Or, if you use the boat by yourself most of the time, the lightest, simplest boat trailer or dolly will work. The daggerboard trunk is included in, and integral to, the “base model” rowing kit. Thus all builders can add the sailing rig from the start, or at some point in the future.
The Skerry measures 15’0″ overall and 4’6″ wide. Draft is 5″, or with the daggerboard down, 30″. The rudder kicks up easily for beach landings and has the traditional Scandinavian push-pull control rather than the more typical tiller. Everyone who has ever spent time in a Skerry has lauded the push-pull tiller as it opens up the interior for flexible seating, whereas a traditional tiller severely limits the seating positions.
About the Passagemaker Dinghy:
Are you tired of moving heavy, traditional dinghies that weigh 200 pounds, or struggling with a limp, awkward inflatable that can’t be rowed or sailed? CLC designer John C. Harris has drawn an elegant, Norwegian-styled pram that weighs only 90lbs, but can survive real abuse in the dinghy park. With a 650-pound payload, the Passagemaker can haul the entire crew in one go, or ferry blocks of ice and jerrycans of drinking water from the quayside to the mothership. The sailing rig components store flat inside the 11’7″ hull; fasten three shrouds and the mainsheet, hoist up the mainsail and jib, and you’ve got a fast, fun, stable sailing dinghy that will please even the most ardent and discriminating sailing enthusiast.
The Passagemaker is a handy boat that can be rowed, sailed, and powered with up to three large adults. The Passagemaker Dinghy is easy to build but looks great and performs beautifully. It’s a boat with smooth glide when rowing, spirited performance when sailing, and steady handling with an outboard. People are drawn to the design as a fun and practical daysailer. Slide the 90-pound hull onto the family car, throw in the kids, the dog, a cooler, and a picnic basket, and spend Saturday afternoons gliding around the lake or bay. When you’re done, the Passagemaker can be leaned up against the side of the house or wedged into the far corner of the garage.
The Passagemaker Dinghy is well within the reach of first-time boatbuilders. There are no tricky steps and no special tools are needed. Completion will average 100 hours for the sailing version. The daggerboard trunk is included in the base kit, so you can upgrade to the sailing option at any time in the future.