Birdwatcher-2 Building Project


A 24 foot Sharpie Sailboat designed by Phil Bolger, built by Bob Larkin

The construction began around the start of February, 2005, and was completed in the Spring of 2007. Now named "Wave Watcher," she was first in the water in September of 2006. The left picture above is Wave Watcher at Foster Lake this Spring.

These Web pages are a record of the whole project. The reasons for posting this are two-fold. First, this may be of benefit to anyone building this or other boats, or just considering the construction. Similar sites have been of much value to me. In addition, I hope that if others see something that I have messed up, they will tell me! Feedback of any kind is helpful. My email address is here, rather in a "mailto" to avoid address dredgers: boblark 'at sign'

A frequent question is "how long did it take?" I really don't know. Since this is a hobby, I have not attempted to keep track of hours. It has not been a full-time activity, so elapsed months don't mean that much. Besides, I'm sure I'm not a fast boat builder!

The following links are a picture story, with a few JPEG pictures on each page. Most of the pictures are in the 20K to 50K range. A few words go with each picture.

The Frames - Updated 27 May 2005

Assembling the Hull - Updated 27 July 2005

Turning the Hull and the Trailer - Updated 27 July 2005

Afterdeck - Updated 26 November 2005

Motor Mount - Updated 26 November 2005

Raised Deck - Updated 5 October 2005

Tiller, Steering, and Rudder - Updated 2 May 2007

Off-Centerboard and Trunk - Updated 10 July 2005

Polycarbonate Sides (Windows)- Lexan experiments - 8 May 2006

Polycarbonate Window Notes- From Jack Wyman - 8 May 2006

Interior - Update 2 May 2007

Mast and Sails - 2 May 2007

Finishing Details - 2 May 2007

On the Water! Rowing, motoring and sailing - 2 May 2007

My Sailing Thoughts - 27 Jan 2009

Computer Modeling - 10 Aug 2008

The story of the Birdwatcher sailboat family is interesting and subtle. I won't attempt to cover it here, but the earlier part is available on the Web. Anyone interested in learning more should hunt up three magazine articles, Mason Smith's "Birdwatcher, A shoal draft, self-righting sharpie," Jul/Aug 2004 Wooden Boat, and Bolger's "Birdwatcher 2" in Messing About in Boats, Aug 1, 2004 and Sept 15, 2004. I do not have scanned copies, so you will need to check with your library or contact the publishers.

Drawings for BW-2

For those that have not built a boat, here is what a set of drawings looks like. Phil Bolger, the designer, uses these to describe Birdwatcher-2. The blue lines (five 17x22 sheets) show all the important details and dimensions. The "Building Key" in the lower right (10 pages) describes each part in words, including tips for getting the parts assembled. Purchasing the drawings gives the rights to build one boat. The next step for me was to build a model that is shown below. I did not complete both halves as it is useful to see inside, and it also saves time. The process of building the model is very helpful for understanding the boat plans. After the model, it is off to the wood store to buy something to form into the real thing!


Other boat and ham radio stuff

This was last revised 2 May 2007. Bob Larkin, Corvallis, Oregon