Silver Gull Series
As marine plywood has come into its own as an accepted boat building material, designs have gradually evolved to take advantage of its unique properties. Designer Philip Bolger has done a great deal, in particular in his development of "instant boats" which either require no lofting or are lofted directly on the flat sheets of plywood. One does not save on the materials costs in building such a boat. However one does save tremendously on the labor, which by our figuring amounts to about one sixth of the time needed to build with conventional methods. This will represent a significant monetary savings if the boat is to be professionally built. For amateur builders there is the real benefit of the time saved plus the great psychological advantage of quick results, minimizing the chance that the project will become bogged down. Of course for the biggest savings the whole boat needs to be kept simple. Remember the actual hull is often only 25% of the total boat cost, or less.
The Silver Gull series is more "instant" than most, in that all the lines and saw cuts in the original setup of the hull are straight. Besides basic woodworking tools, epoxy products, and fastenings, you only need a chalk line, a steel tape and a carpenters square. These will produce the sides of the hull. These sides are then joined at the stems and bent over one or more of the central molds or bulkheads. The curves of the sheer and chines are produced naturally when the plywood is bent into place. The bottom panel is scarphed to length (as are the other panels, as needed) and then bent in place on the inverted hull. The curve of the side panels is marked on the plywood and it can then be cut out and secured, whereupon the hull is basically complete. Chines and many other joints are made using glass-sheathed epoxy fillets. This is a very strong and easily produced configuration that creates a very attractive and durable rounded inside comer. All other structural joints are epoxy glued and all plywood surfaces are epoxy sealed, producing a very long-lived and easily maintained boat. The decked models use sheathed strip decks.
Installing the interior elements is also made significantly easier because of the flat bottom and straight-line hull sections. We have carried the theme of absolute simplicity throughout the rest of the construction, but there is no reason why more complex interiors or details cannot be added if the builder prefers them.
The designs are intended to produce maximum seakindliness and offshore ability, within the limitations of moderate displacement. The only disadvantages for offshore are the abbreviated under body, necessary to keep wetted surface to an acceptably low level for performance in light air, and requiring more effort from the helmsman or self-steering gear. Unlike more conventional contemporary boats, the hull shape minimizes the tendency to surf downwind, thus allowing improved control, and reduces motion as much as possible. This hull shape responds very well to loading, and the greater the load that is carried, the better the motion and sail carrying ability.
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