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Building “Joe” — 15’ ski boat — Stiletto


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Things are about the same

The boat Joe has been at the marina shop for three months and not much has happened beyond mounting the motor. Parts have come in, but nothing else is installed. I suppose the question I got in September suggested this… “You aren’t planning to actually use it still this year, are you?”  No doubt, they have a huge amount of work in the shop with a deluge of fall winterizing work.  


I decided to just let it take the time needed. Yesterday, I stopped in to check on things since I wanted to move it downstate to a winter storage place where Norma T is, and they offered to keep it in the shop all winter. It’s a heated space, and they could then get to it when their work load was low.  Then, they could concentrate on getting things done nicely.  That was appealing to me. I did ask them to give me a call when they start (likely early 2022) because I have some ideas and concerns. I like this arrangement. Here it shall sit for the winter. 


Plus, yesterday, I bought a THIRD BOAT!!  I will pick it up late November and move it to the winter storage space I was going to rent for Joe.  Below is a picture of my acquisition, a Core Sound 17 Mark 3 named Avocet.  (Like, I really need a fleet of three boats. ?)

Avocet seems VERY well built and I’m extremely happy about my purchase.  I was really not wanting to build any more boats… but I found myself recently starting to wonder whether I’d like to build a Core Sound 20 (open cockpit and self-righting, a model that B&B is developing.)  I didn’t really have interest in the cabin model, but this boat had popped up in the forum as being for sale.  I thought about it, created all kinds of “reasons” this would be a great addition… and I gave into temptation. 

So… all the boat (ready to sail-camp) and NONE of the mess of building it.  

Very pleased. ?



This is a video of B&B’s capsize camp featuring this particular boat. 


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Stopped at my son’s house for a bit today. His 17 foot cedar strip canoe keeps taking more shape, albeit slowly with lots of distractions this year. (He is making a two-fish design in the bottom as he closes in the “football”.)  It’s gonna look interesting when done. 




And we got his 15 foot put into the rafters for the winter. It was a VERY close fit, but works. 

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  • 2 months later...

Just to remind myself… this is last April.  Hopefully in this coming April both will be ready for usage.  Joe needs to have controls installed (the marina will do this in the next month or so) and then I need to finish the boat with the floor/seats installation and top decks  2F5A8D7E-5142-4CE6-B140-FA0F8CBF9C3F.thumb.jpeg.389e4d6a72f8b13e013ddbb7e4f2b2e0.jpeg



And to add to the boating fun this year, I also bought Avocet in November, putting it right into storage. 

Avocet meets Norma T in storage. 


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  • 1 month later...

FINALLY!!!  Work on Joe Will Continue.

It’s a little later than I had hoped but the marina guy will meet with me tomorrow morning (in his shop) to start finishing the installation of controls.  I can then finish installing the decks, floor, and seats. It’ll be a couple/few months before the water around here is ready for the boat to be used. 

Edit — the next day — Wouldn’t ya know… a phone call to come in “tomorrow” instead of this morning. And so the can is kicked a little more down the road. ?

But, I was also informed that the 5hp Honda outboard I ordered for Avocet has arrived. That’s a bit of nice information. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Home Again to Finish the Build

The marina stored my boat all winter in their heated shop and finished the installation today. The roads dried after the recent snowfall so I decided to bring it home.  Back in the garage… and my wife lets me put her car in the driveway for a while.  The snowblower remains handy for “April snow showers.”

Time to finish the floor and install the decks. 


Not having decks in place made the controls installation easier. 





My granddaughters got to try things out. ?



My family schedule suddenly filled in much of the next several months… gotta get into finishing the boat. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Getting There on the Decks

A lot of family stuff to occupy my time in the past month, and more to come. After having the two grand-girls for ten days while their parents were in Hawaii (conference) I finally got back to working in the top decks. I needed first to get all of the support battens fitted and installed.  I had already finished the undersides of the side decks. 




Then, I glued in the side decks. It’s looking better all the time. ?


In mid-April I needed to head downstate to pick up my two sailboats, with a couple of 300 mile trips. 



Then a long weekend of camping with my son & family. It was in the 20’s at night, “ warming into the 30’s during the day. An electric space heater went a long way to keep things comfortable in the pop up camper. (They had their own camper.)

Back home again. I dug out the LAST piece of my red sailboat kit (from B&B), the second gunwale piece that I did not use. Instead, for the Norma T‘s gunwale, I ripped one of the 16’ kit pieces to make two 3/4” x 3/4” gunwales (the width of the stainless rub rails.)  When I decided to make Joe, I decided to match the color scheme of Norma T as much as possible. Since I had the 16’ piece left from the CS15 kit I decided to use it to make matching gunwales for Joe to finish off the sheer of the hull… along with the stainless rub rails I bought from B&B.


After ripping the leftover 16’ piece into two 3/4” square pieces, and molding one side to better accept the stainless, I installed the gunwales.  (I’ll cut them off square at the bow point… like I did for Norma T;  I find that I like the flattened point when pushing the boat and trailer around.)


Since I shortened Joe to 15’ from the plan’s 16’ (to match the 15’ Norma T) all of the 16” pieces of southern yellow pine I purchased from B&B were long enough to avoid any scarfs.  Just enough at the transom. ?


Today, I cut one of the LAST TWO pieces of the boat project: the bow deck. I dug out the last full sheet of plywood (again, I bought all of the plywood and solid wood — except the frame material — from B&B… I’m really glad I did. AND, I got juuuust the right quantity of everything.  I’ll be a little short on the epoxy, so I ordered some more from B&B.  

I used construction paper to mark my initial cut. 

Note the little notch cut into several of the plywood pieces to make them fit into my van… I managed to avoid each one sufficiently.  I gave the piece an extra inch on the curve for closer trimming. The curve part of this piece needs to fit inside the side deck for a good fitting butt joint.  I’ve been concerned how successful I’ll be. 


Carbon paper makes a faint mark that I darkened with a pencil for 2/3 of the curve. I needed to measure the other 1/3. 

I still gave the curve a bit of excess. LOTS of sanding was able to make the piece fit rather neatly. 

Now… time to go camping with my oldest daughter and husband for the weekend… and then back to cut the FINAL piece, the other half of the bow deck. 


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  • 2 months later...

Been a long time since I made an entry.  I’ll do more updating later… but today was very satisfying. I’ve tried the boat a couple times but it has a significant porpoising issue, not uncommon for this kind of hull design. 
I decided to add self-leveling trims tabs (Bennett SLT 10). I installed them today and took it to the river for a test run. 

The 6 second video takes a bit to load, but it shows a very stable boat.   The trim tabs cost some some mph, no question, but I really don’t care. 


I only have some finishing steps.  I’ll be ready for Family Camp.., during which time we will try out the “ski” part of the ski-boat. 



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Today, I call the ski-boat done!!  This is a 15’ Glen-L Stiletto that I started 18 months ago, built from plans (with wood from B&B.)  Tomorrow I will place onto the transom the name of the boat: Joe, my dad’s work nickname. 


Next to Norma T, my mother’s name. I built the CS15 in 2020. 

The boats have the same color scheme. 

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Ok, no… I didn’t place the Joe decal onto the transom today. The day was all about getting ready for Family Camp this weekend. This year, it’s at our house instead of a state park. My wife and I were shopping this morning, including buying a small refrigerator to help cover the hole caused by the garage fridge going out last week… it’s under a year old so the warranty should take care of the issue… eventually. 


We washed the outside of the pop-up camper (dirty from winter and sitting under trees) and got it ready for people using it this weekend. 

I had epoxy-coated the pieces of my sleeping platform a few days ago. Today, I made “tape hinges” for the platform piece, making it accordion fold down for easy storage in the boat. I might try it out on Friday night. (This fits the aft cockpit space in Norma T, my Core Sound 15.)


Then, my wife helped me clean out the garage so the space is available this weekend (in case there is rain.)  That also means the ski-boat Joe will need to move outside.  The first task was to go through the wood scraps and left over plywood. I’ve already used a bunch of the scraps for a few projects.  I think I hit my wood and ply estimates pretty closely since this is what’s left:C04227E8-9287-47BD-92C0-FAE96ABF1FB1.thumb.jpeg.0a6cafcfb6daab4f8a2b2fadee83c39a.jpeg



To make a support frame for the boat cover that will keep rain running off without pooling, I obtained some half inch PVC and a few connectors.  I wanted it to easily break down.  I think it will work well. 





I will get the name onto the transom tomorrow. 

My son is talking about trying to see how the ski-boat does for waterskiing this weekend.  We hope, if weather is favorable, to spend much of Saturday messing-about with two sailboats, a ski-boat, and five kayaks (and whatever watercraft my kids might bring) at the beach where my sailing club launches. 

(Next Day)

The name is on. 

Ok… I still need to install the ski-tow pylon and decide on exactly what I’ll do to finish the floor (paint color or exterior type carpet)… but it’s ready for the weekend Family Camp. They’re already on the way. ?


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