Home>Bill Erickson's Caledonia Yawl Double-Pipe's Kid
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Building Double-Pipe's Kid

Between early 2001 and mid 2002 Bill Erickson in Michigan built the Caledonia Yawl Double-Pipe's Kid. His account and pictures follow. Double-Pipe's Kid was launched in June 2002. Pictures and an account of the first sails are on the page Sailing Double-Pipe's Kid. Click on the boat pictures to enlarge. Select 'Back' to return to this page.
The epoxy sealed hull ready for painting and riggingMy dad passed away two years ago at the age of 90. He was a gentle, quiet man with a great love for the outdoors. He made his living working in the iron and copper mines of northern Michigan. His shift started underground at midnight and ended when he came back to the surface at day break. After a night's work he often headed directly to his favorite pass time - fishing from his boat in Lake Superior.
Fisherman around the harbor all knew him by his nickname, Double-Pipe. He got that name because he always hunted with a double barrel shotgun. As a young boy I would walk along the docks looking at the fishing boats. One of the old fisherman called out to me from the back of his boat. He said, "Hey, ain't you Double-Pipe's kid?" I felt proud. Now, almost 40 years later, I am building a Caledonia Yawl called "Double-Pipe's Kid" and looking forward to sailing it in the waters that he loved so much.

Bill EricksonI've been building boats for about 12 years. My first was a cedar strip canoe, then a sea kayak, followed by a row boat and finally a small sail boat. For many years I was obsessed with canoeing, paddling my canoes year around both for recreation and competition. After building my third boat I was paddling less and building more. In the fourth boat I discovered the power of the wind and haven't picked up a paddle since!

The only trouble with my last sail boat was that it was too small. It was comfortable for two but crowded with four. I searched the plan books looking for a bigger boat with a simple sail rig. At a wooden boat show in Connecticut I spotted a Caledonia Yawl. It was perfect. Before the end of the day I had Iain Oughtred's book under my arm and was heading back to Michigan.

Building Double-Pipe's Kid

Bill's garage/workshop with the Caledonia Yawl growing insideBeing a low-budget boat builder, I don't have fancy shop or a lot of expensive tools. Our two-car attached garage serves as my work shop. This makes boat building a seasonal operation because here in Michigan, we need to park our cars in the garage in the winter. As the boats get bigger, the garage seems smaller. The boat only fits when orientated from corner to corner with little room to walk around the Boards and ropes provide the right leverage to force a tough bend in the garboard plank.ends.

My tools are pretty basic. Most of the work gets done with a table saw, saber saw and a power hand plane. The Bosch power hand plane is my favorite. Purists may scoff at the noise and dust but for me it is the best boat building tool ever. It makes scarf joints, tapers stems, planes the bevel on plank lands and rounds the square stock for masts and spars in a fast and efficient manner.Shaping and smoothing the second set of planks with a power plane.
This was my first lapstrake boat. The planks all laid down on the mold and glued up much easier than I expected. Getting the forward bend on the garboard plank to lay down was the biggest struggle. I solved the problem by applying leverage with 2x4's and ropes to force the plywood into submission.

One thing that impressed me was Oughtred's home made plywood The home made plywood clamps used to pull the planks togetherclamps for gluing the plank seams. They are easy to make, cheap and effective. By using these clamps I was able to construct most of the boat with very few permanent metal fasteners.
The planks are built with okoume marine plywood. The stems, keel, keelson, and gunnels are built with douglas fir. Yellow pine is used for the thwarts, side benches, and floor boards while the center board is white oak. I agonized over the buying of sitka spruce for the masts and spars but went with common white spruce because I couldn't justify the added expense.

Final sanding before the bottom was sealed with epoxyFiberglass cloth was applied to the bottom two planks. It wasn't recommended in the plans but will offer more protection to the bottom for those less than perfect landings on rugged shorelines. All of the wood surfaces of this boat are covered with a sealer coat of thin epoxy. It's wonderful stuff that aggressively works its way into all the pores and makes a good base for subsequent paints and coatings.
I will be using the balanced lug sail plan because of it's simplicity. The ride that I had in a Geoff Kerr's Caledonia proved to me that this sail moves the boat around with ease.
Family and friends that helped pull her off the mould.My initial plans are to make this boat as light as possible. I'm building the non-decked version without the permanently attached extra ballast. This boat will live on a trailer and be used for beach cruising where it's lightness will be important when dragging it up on shore. Maybe I'll change my mind on the ballast thing but I'll try without it first.

What's left to do?
The epoxy sealed hull ready for painting and riggingAs I write this, in early March 2002, it's still winter here, so my boat is out of the garage for another month. I've been keeping myself occupied by working on the masts, spars and oars in the basement. As soon as the weather allows I will begin to paint the inside and outside of the boat with Interlux marine paint. The next step will be setting up the rigging. I've already purchased the sails and trailer so most of the big expenses are over. In a big push to get Double-Pipe's Kid done, I may take a two week vacation from my day job in May. The projected first launch is June 1st.
Double-Pipe's Kid was finally launched on June 19th 2002 on Lake Lansing. See Sailing Double-Pipe's Kid.
If you would like to share information about a Caledonia Yawl you are building or sailing, contact me via the Discussion Forum and I'll create a page for you and your boat. Nick Grainger
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