Almost-a-SCAMP Progress Report #3 . . . . .

Started by Charles Brennan, Jan 08, 2024, 06:12 PM

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Charles Brennan

Accumulating data . . . .
The Holidays kept me from doing much to the actual hull, but I did keep busy re-arranging the garage and knocking off repairs/chores that had been accumulating.  Almost got the garage to the point, that I CAN work on a project of this size.

Since I know little about the SCAMP (or boat building, for that matter) I needed to find out what I could. 
Where to go?
TSBB is a great place for general sailing topics, but I think we only have one SCAMP owner (who was not the original builder) and maybe a few former SCAMP owners and the amount of help I think I'm going to require, is MASSIVE.

I tried the obvious first, the SCA magazine SCAMP forum and got numerous views and zero responses.
Swell.  ???
I can't use a link to this forum, because non-TSBB members cannot see posted pics and because we somehow got dropped from 40 pics per post to 8, which is very restrictive, for conveying information.

Finally, although I hate  >:(  their constrictive and limited posting/editing format, I was forced to post pics and questions on FaceBook.
To my surprise, responses were immediate and most helpful from the SCAMP Dreamers and Builders forum.
To a logical mind, it seemed to me to be a good idea to finish (epoxy-prime-paint) the inside of the first third of the boat, first.  I pointed out that one would have to be a left-handed, double-jointed, albino dwarf, to work in those cramped areas, once the deck and cabin roof were installed.
While I was asking these kinds of process questions, the more experienced builders (like Howard Rice, who built my hull, more on that, later) immediately picked up on building errors from the (Hey!  ;D  I FINALLY get to say it, after all these years!) DPO!!  >:(

Posted an innocent pic like this one:
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And immediately got told the fillets on the plank seams were wayyyy too thin and not up to snuff.  :( 
I had noticed that when I first went up to buy the boat, but figured the intent was to add a 2" fiberglass tape seam over the fillets.

I also had general questions about the revision level, since there seemed to be contradictions, from the original SCAMP builds, versus the more recent builds.  Revisions per se, do not bother me overmuch, as I used to work in the Electronics industry and dealing with the Revised Revision of the Revised Revision, was a near-daily occurrence. Things like the mast ramp, foot well, etc. were all over the place on my hull.  No mast ramp, (old rev.) but it DOES have the foot well and ballast tank doublers  (new rev.) used on newer builds.
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(Ballast tank on the left, foot well on the right.)

I'm here to tell you, people, these guys have as many opinions as TSBBers!  ;D

I also got some more information from Howard Rice, about my hull.
The guy who sold me the hull in Wisconsin, said that it was one of three hulls built at a SCAMP Camp that also included Howard Rice's Southern Cross (in for repairs and touch ups) and an unfinished SCAMP named Mozart.
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The guy who was going to build my hull could not make it there and Howard built it up for him. It was never finished and it languished at the Sheboygan Sailing Center, until Mike E. brought it to his barn and ultimately sold it to me.

And as Paul Harvey used to say: "And now, for the rest of the story . . . ."
Howard Rice was in on the original SCAMP project, even doing capsize testing on the prototype.  He was enamored enough with the boat that he bought two kits, SCAMP #2 and #3. His original intent was to build one SCAMP kit strictly to plan and learn enough to know what modifications he required for his intended expedition to the Straits of Magellan, around the tip of South America's Cape Horn.  He got involved enough with the SCAMP project that he figured out what he needed to do and built Southern Cross, a heavily modified SCAMP and did indeed take it around the Horn.  You can read portions of that voyage at his blog:

So he built SCAMP #2 and never quite got around to building kit #3.  When he had a chance to do a Sheboygan SCAMP Camp, he sold kit #3 to a guy who was unable to make it to the camp, so Howard built it up for him.  Some other builder took it over made a few token fillets and apparently, abandoned it and then Mike E. up in Sheboygan, put it up for sale in SCA's classified section, where I promptly glommed onto it.  :) So, while I have the plans for SCAMP #637, what I actually own is hull #3!  :o
Built (to its current level) by Howard Rice, himself!!
(Awed susurrations and random oohs and ahhhs, here.)   ;)

If/When I get to the point of putting the sail numbers on, I'm going to have to think long and hard, about which number I want to use, #3 or #637.
One # will garner me near-Instant Fame in the SCAMP community, but it will also probably expose my workmanship to a scrutiny, I don't think I could handle.  :-[

I've also been thinking about a name.
I named Urchin based on an experience I had in the Bahamas.  I was snorkeling a reef (far beyond, from where the lifeguards at the resort, were happy with me!) and I noticed a Sea Urchin that had accumulated all kinds of jetsam from all the tourists.  In the wild, they normally attach whatever drifts by to use as camouflage against predators.  This one had tourist-provided camouflage. It had a red cellophane strip off a pack of cigarettes, which it was waving around in the current like a feathered boa, a strip of aluminum foil backing from a gum-wrapper, and even a  pop-top from the days when pop-tops used to get pulled off beer cans and eventually end up in Jimmy Buffet songs.  And even for such a primitive creature, you could just tell that this little Sea Urchin considered herself Bee-You-ti-Ful!!   :)

Years later when I bought my Windrose 18, I remembered that event and realized that my family and my sailboat were not all that different from that lowly creature. We too, tended to drift around out there and accumulate whatever came our way, so we named the boat: Urchin.
Seems like I'm going to be doing even more of the same with the SCAMP, so I know of no good reason why I can't name her Urchin as well. 
Plus, I got a real cool Teak nameplate that will scale well to the SCAMP's transom!  ;D 
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I'm going to have to sell the boat, but I don't necessarily have to sell the name, too!

Going to be a busy year:
Packing up the last of the Christmas stuff (ours stays up until Epiphany), beginning work on the new boat and preparing the old boat for sale. 
HOW COME, a boat perfectly acceptable to take your family cruising on, is somehow, not nearly good enough to sell to a Total Stranger?!?   :o
Another of Life's Mystery's to ponder, as I sand.  And sand. And sand. And sand.

Charles Brennan

Captain Kidd

Wow! What a history! You have hull #3. It deserves that signature. REALLY!!! And to have one with Howard Rice's workmanship at its core is simply awesome!! You are indeed in rare company.

For questions you might also try John Welsford's FB group. It's called John Welsford Small Craft Design and is very active. The Wooden Boat Forum would be another option.

As to Howard rounding the Horn in his Southern Cross, I think you need to double check that. I was following that trip very closely and I don't think he got that far before a horrible storm and scores of williwaws ended his adventure and almost his life. He did round it earlier in his life in a sailing kayak!

And Urchin is still a fitting name.

Looking forward to more reports.

Dave Scobie

Quote from: Captain Kidd on Jan 08, 2024, 11:53 PMAs to Howard rounding the Horn in his Southern Cross, ...

Yes, sadly, because of the weather and knockdowns Howard didn't round the Horn on Southern Cross.

Captain Kidd

Quote from: Dave Scobie on Jan 09, 2024, 08:17 AMYes, sadly, because of the weather and knockdowns Howard didn't round the Horn on Southern Cross.

Quite the harrowing tale! He was literally blown off his boat more than once. IIRC, he stated it was not his immediate goal to round the Horn on that trip. He just set off to explore the area. I believe he might have done it had circumstances been different.


When I built my first little boat, I got excellent information from Off Center Harbor:

It is a subscription site with excellent videos by some of the best wooden boat builders in the country.

Here are some free examples:
Precision 165 "Simple Pleasure"
Sisu 22 "FogCutter"
Portage Pram "Tiny"

Charles Brennan

DBthal, Thanks muchly, for the link to Off Center Harbor.  The SCAMP build manual, while providing very useful tutorial information, for all the total noobs out there, (like me!) still makes some assumptions of knowledge or technique, that some might not have.
My favorite analogy for assumed knowledge, is elevator buttons.
There are no instructions for elevator buttons; the up and down arrows are assumed to provide direction, but that might not be obvious to a robot, or a native from a remote south seas island, who had never been on a multiple level structure.
I subscribed, then spent most of the evening watching the videos and filled in many gaps and questions that I had.

You have probably done a great service to the various SCAMP forums, keeping me from asking so many Dumb Questions! :)

Charles Brennan



I'm glad you found "Off Center Harbor" as helpful as I did.

We will all enjoy your posts of the Scamp build.

Precision 165 "Simple Pleasure"
Sisu 22 "FogCutter"
Portage Pram "Tiny"

Charles Brennan

Captain Kidd and Dave Scobie, I read about Howard's exploits some time ago in SCA magazine and at the time, had been under the impression that he had made it to the Horn, and then been blown ashore, before actually rounding.
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You'd have to admit: He got pretty close!!  ;D

Certainly, closer than I ever will.  :o

Another misconception that was clarified, when re-reading the posts:
It was 9 foot waves at 40 mph, not 10 foot waves at 50 mph that finally drove him ashore.
This is a common failing in we Irish: We don't Lie, we just Remember BIG!!  ;D

Charles Brennan

Captain Kidd

Charles, it's all good. Any way you slice it, Howard is a phenom. I came across this article about his rounding in a sailing kayak in a search just now:

I believe this is Howard and his kayak, Sylph.

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Norm L.

DBthal... Mid-coast as in Rockland-ish? 

Castine alum here and having dinner tomorrow night with a couple from Maine that have moved south.
I still check with classmates up there. One recently sold their Stone Horse and went down to a more easily handling cat boat. 



Mid-Coast is a bit of a stretch on my part... I'm right on the southwestern edge. I live in far eastern Casco Bay where I sail my P-165. All my cruising is done in Muscongus Bay, Penobscot Bay, and beyond.

Have a couple of friends that are Maine Maritime grads.

Precision 165 "Simple Pleasure"
Sisu 22 "FogCutter"
Portage Pram "Tiny"

Norm L.

Dan I just communicated with a classmate that still lives in Castine (married a local) It is bad. Winds on the ship recorded at 98. City dock gone and all the businesses on the waterfront flooded.

I thought we were the only ones who got tired of being flooded. And there will be another hit tomorrow.

I would occasionally get a job in Maine, one was up in Eastport and I was in Portland starting an appraisal of the McAllister tugs the Monday of 9/11. My roommate lived in Falmouth Foreside and we'd frequently spend some time at DiMillo's.  And my favorite beer glass is Shipyard Brewery.   

Riley Smith

CB what is the fix for the joints? Total redux or can you just add more?

Charles Brennan

Riley, Based on what I can glean from the forums and build-blogs, about the only thing these SCAMPs have in common, is the name.   Seems like everybody has his (or her; there's a very good SCAMP build-blog from some woman in Canada) own way of doing things. I bet the designer, John Welsford, (whom I'm beginning to suspect, is a genius) probably feels like he's herding cats.
As a result, there are numerous options open to me.
1) Sand and re-fillet.
2) Sand and lay down a 2" strip of fiberglass tape.
3) Sand, fiberglass tape, sand and add a final layer of fillet.

Since this is going to be a Brennan-built boat, I'll probably use method 3, in keeping with my over-all building philosophy of everything I build being: Nailed, Glued, Screwed, Blued and Tattooed!  :o
Go ahead, Laugh!  ;D  Might be bulky, might be clumsy, might even be ugly, but you can do chin-ups on anything I've ever built, or installed.
Since we ALL know: A Thing Worth Engineering, Is A Thing Worth OVER-Engineering!!  ;D

They say empty weights on these things vary from 420 - 460 pounds depending on how much epoxy and fiberglass the builder decided to use; me, I'm shooting for under 500 pounds.
But not much under.   :-[

Hope this clarifies,
Charles Brennan


Mr Brennan, I'd like to respectfully offer this method for consideration:

4) Remove blush (if needed), sand, re-fillet, and tape.

Fillet mix: 1 part mixed epoxy, 1 part fumed silica, 2 parts glass micro spheres

The fillets don't add much structure per se but allow the tape to be installed in such a manner that is not not going to crack from being hard-creased, controls resin from draining away from the joint (the error of the builder of my boat), and widens the joint to make less of a 'hard spot' structurally. Fillets on top of tape are just spackle before paint.

Big dreams, small boats...