About Us

Ruth and I have been together since we were 15, and have been sailing together for the last 6 or so years.  We love everything about the cruising life, and plan on living like sea gypsies for the rest of our lives. The only problem is we are way to picky about our boat… We have a passion for traditional wooden boats, and often prefer the ways of old with anything we do. It has taken us six years and six different boats to realize that we have a hopeless self destructive addiction to wooden boats, and thats not going to change…

We bought our first boat together when we were 17. she was a run down 30 ft fiberglass sloop. She was totally bare and smelled like fish-pits, but she was good enough to get us out sailing .when we bought her she had no engine, no toilet, no water, and sails from 1964. After spending countless hours fixing our little turd up we set sail for Mexico when we were 18.

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After sailing around in the sea of cortez for a bit we decided that the life was definitely for us. we also decided that if we were going to commit to more serious sailing then we should get a boat suited for blue water. After selling our little sloop we started boat searching with the plan that we would buy another fixer upper fit for blue water sailing. We would spend six moths or so fixing her up then set out again….. Then we found Baltia, and so began our love affair with wooden boats.

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Baltia was a 1946 john hanna ketch. She was 36ft on deck with a beam of 13 ft, and she weighed 37,000 lbs. She was quite the beast. Baltia is a bitter sweet memory. She was our first wooden boat, and the start of it all, but I can’t help feeling bad for where she ended up after we sold her. I didn’t know much about wooden boats when we bought her. I spent much of my free time reading, and learning, and the rest working on Baltia.

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After living aboard and working on her for over a year, Ruth and I made the decision to sell her after uncovering some bigger issues with her hull. We were back and forth on the decision, but decided we needed to focus on our life and our upcoming wedding  rather than such a large boat project. looking back on it now after 4 years of working on wooden boats, and cramming my brain with as much knowledge as I can on the subject the sad thing is that she really wasn’t in that bad of shape… So it goes.

The next chapter of our nautical ramblings came in the form of a kettenburg 40 called Bravata. She was a 40 ft mahogany racing sloop built in 1959. Being a racing boat she was not really our normal style, but damn she was sexy!

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She was a gentleman’s yacht Built like fine furniture out of real old growth mahogany. We got her for a song because her stern was rotted out, she didn’t have an engine, and she needed about 8 new frames. We were very lucky that Napa Valley Boatyard was so awesome, and let us haul her for the refit (although I could see their doubt when I told them that we would be done in a month…) Boatyards don’t like wooden boats. Especially when they need work. Ruth got an awesome job at a wine shipping company while I set to work on Bravata. I built her a new stern, fixed her frames, and dropped an old diesel in while Ruth kept us both very hydrated with amazing wines that work sent her home with daily.

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We launched on day 30. Now that she was more or less seaworthy we decided that although beautiful she was not the boat for us, so up for sale she went. We also learned that we could make a living from fixing up old wooden boat’s then selling them, and at the same time save an awesome part of history that may have been destroyed otherwise. Definitely best of both worlds for us! So we did it again.

Ronin was next. She was a 1951 Ralph Winslow ketch, and by far our most ambitious project. Nearly every frame in her hull was done for at the turn of the bilge. She also needed some plank repairs  as well as numerous structural repairs throughout. After stripping  her interior we hauled her for the refit. Which at first consisted mostly of demolition.  I decided the way I would go about the frames was to cut out the bad section, laminate in a new piece then run a full length sister up next to it. Essentially creating a double frame, just laminated instead of sawn. I decided to do this because in my opinion she was framed way to light in the first place, and I wanted to stiffen her up quite a bit. I am always learning as I go, and in no way am I an expert. Looking back I would do the job differently, But I have learned a lot since then. We also replaced numerous floor timbers, and decided we would try our hand at the age old practice of copper plating the bottom.SAM_0630 SAM_0662 SAM_0717

We couldn’t find much info on copper plating so we just kinda came up with how we thought it would work, and went at it!

We spread on a layer of tar, then felt, then another layer of tar, and finally the copper on top tacked into the hull with copper nails.

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It ended up looking pretty sweet

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Next to come

Sirena a beautiful Aries 32 cutter

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And Scout a rawson 30 cutter.

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31 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Hay kids!! I love the blog!! Vary well done! Broaght back a lot of memorys and i’m going to share it with lots of friends. Now Ruthy, A wornning…. If you see some of those big lumberjack woman up there and here the sound of GEEE…..BOOOO GEEE….BOOO!! RUN!!!
    Love you kids vary much
    Christopher Damien Rainsford ( The paint god )

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    1. Thanks Rick,
      We are not sure yet it definitely depends on funds when we get to that point. So far we are leaning towards a older perkins 4-108 or the equivalent westerbeke. They are inexpensive simple workhorses. Although we would love to throw a brand new beta marine in there!

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  2. Awesome projects. I was building my house (along with my wife Susan) in the country when I was somewhat older than you guys. I keep an old Prindle cat for zipping around the lakes and I’m beginning restoration on a T26 Columbia – a nice shoal keel all fiberglas boat – but I’m definitely going to be following your boat build. It combines some of my favorite things – wood work, sailing, and based on photo, beer. I love the fact that it’s PBR – reminds me of when my Dad and his buddies built a wood Y-Flyer back in the middle 50’s!

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    1. Thanks Steve! Im glad your enjoying the blog! Wood work, sailing, and beer are definitely some of life’s great pleasures!
      Good luck on your restoration, and thank you so much for supporting the project!

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  3. Hi folks, just saw a post about your blog on reddit. Wow — a lot of progress in a very short amount of time. Long way to go too! Are there any completed versions of this design you know of?

    I’ve got a back-pocket project in the works to do something this size if I ever can scrounge up the cash. For now I’ll have to satisfy myself with building dinghys & such.

    Looking forward to checking in on your blog and seeing the progress.

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    1. Hi Ian. This is the first of this design so far! We found the original Button design on George Buehlers web site, and really liked the look of the hull. However the cabin, and rig were not right for us. We talked to George and he totally redesigned the boat into the new Button 2.

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      1. Badass! My back-pocket project has always been Atkin’s “Fore an Aft”. Smaller for sure, but no less pretty. Unfortunately, if I ever undertake that build, it will be without the benefit of a living designer to make modifications and comment on errors in the plans…I can see how that would be a massive help.

        Looking forward to seeing it come together. If you have an auto-mail list that notifies folks of new blog posts, can you put me on it?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Right on! I love the Fore an Aft design! I definitely considered a few of Atkin’s designs very seriously before deciding on our boat. It’s awesome having George Buehler available to give advise here and there, and he’s really good about getting back to you quickly. I spent probably around a year looking at different designs. Most of that time it was still just a fantasy. When the opportunity actually arose to do this we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted. We both really like chine hulls. They just look super tough and salty. A lot of people don’t like them, but that does’t matter to me… Anyway you can follow the blog and receive update emails. Under where it says archives there is a blue button that says follow. That should get you on the mailing list! Im glad your enjoying the build, and thanks for the comments!

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  5. Noticed your post on scarphing.

    I do this quickly with just hand tools and without needing to bother with the saw cuts.

    1 – Strike 1:12 (or whatever slope) lines for your scarphs down the sides of the board, and across the flat of the board at the end of the scarph
    2 – Hack out the rough shape, down to maybe 1mm of the line on either side on low angles so that you leave the middle. Use a draw blade, framing chisel or slick for this.
    3 – hack out the middle, being careful not to dip below the lines on the sides. You should now have a mostly-cut scarph.
    4 – Plane carefully down to the lines on both sides, holding the plane at a low angle so that you again leave a ridge in the middle.
    5 – Hatch across the middle with a pencil and start planing away the middle ridge. As you plane, the hatches are peeled away, giving you a gauge of flatness. Check every so often with a straightedge to make sure you’re not leaving too much in the middle and replace hatches as necessary.

    Seems complicated but it’s very easy. Taught to me by a proper boatbuilder too — and if you have a good sharp slick, you can do 98% of the job without picking up a plane.

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  6. Hi..
    the video Salt & Tar Episode 9 – The Engine isn’t visible in Germany due to audio rights..
    Maybe you should consider using free music so that everybody could enjoy your videos.. 🙂
    Thanks
    Marco Ramberti

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  7. nice life worked on boats all my life still like wood not sure where you are but up in BC you can still cut a few log on the beach just. saw a place for sale Thais Inlet 65000 three houses garden and ship yard what more could one ask for needs a Little work but comes with every thing solar generator green house waterfront lease it rains there a lot but beautiful deer jump from you front yard to the deep frizz salmon of the dock trout in the streams one more year before she retires if she not ready to sail of i will be gone. LOVE TO READ

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  8. Man I love checking in on this site — have it in my bookmarks bar for the occasional boat-gawking indulgence at work…haha.

    Nice to see you making such great progress. I like the quote in the most recent post[paraphrasing] “we’re done the topsides, so it should be pretty easy from here on” .

    good to have a positive attitude about things!

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    1. Thanks Ian! Yes a positive attitude in necessary. without it I would go crazy! She’s been a lot of work , but it’s been an incredible experience so far!

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  9. Please Ruth and Garrett, I need a high res picture (digital camera) of you guys smiling with your boat. I wrote a story on YouTube Channels for sailors and yours is featured. The publisher would like a picture. The pics on your blog have been optimized for the web, not good for print (glossy). Thanks!

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  10. I came to your website by way of George Buehler’s. I admire your choice in boats. She has a classic style and looks incredibly seaworthy as well as livable and manageable. I also admire the way you have learned your skills, by just jumping in and doing. Thank you for explaining how you put the copper on the bottom. Would you please be so kind as to write a book about the building of your boat, with plenty of pictures? It would be of great value to a lot of people, and I think it would be profitable as well. Thank you for sharing all of this with the rest of us. Best of luck!

    May the wind fill your sails, may the sun warm your face, and may the rum never run out.- John

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  11. After ages of being a composites expert, frp boats made a decent carpenter out of me. You have all this energy that comes from the 1st quarter life, as you say, the advise from the 2nd quarter is quit spending time fixing at the boat yard and spend it out in the ocean. You can work on wooden boats till your gray hair falls off, but there will be a time that sailing will become a sport for the young at heart.
    I’d get something like a Valiant or some Taiwanese look alike, a few gallons of good epoxy, sails made out of steel, and a decent sea anchor and kiss that land goodbye. Too late for this advice huh? 🙂
    There is nothing like sitting on the dock with a beer after the tropical sun has gone down telling stories about how you built it by yourselves and it lasted the passage. All the older know-it-alls immediately shut up!

    The more serious advise is that keep in mind that after this experience you may never be fit for urban social life ever again and the earth is getting crowded these days. Imagine a boat with out any dock lines, deck cleats, or anchor. Surviving with landlocked people may be more of a challenge than taking day trips from Chile to Argentina and back.

    A higher quality picture of the Eagle would greatly be appreciated!

    Rock-On!

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  12. Hi guys, love your project and your video’s. It’s great to see such ambitious young people. I am building one of George’s Diesel Duck’s, you can see it at: http://www.seadreamerproject.com Maybe I’m just not seeing it in your pictures but shouldn’t the bow be elevated slightly on the building form. Looking at the plans online and comparing it to my 41′ duck, the bow rises off the base line slightly. I think this how she is supposed to sit in the water so if you don’t do it while your’re building it when you get her in the water all the floors will slope down towards the bow. Just curious and like I said you probably have I just can’t tell from the pictures.

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