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'Rocky' Start


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Over the years I've enjoyed reading, learning, and following along wih the building achievements of the people on this site.

Until now I’ve been a kayak and canoe builder. A while back I decided I needed a sailboat. I looked at numerous designs and read all I could about them and others. I discovered this and a few other boatbuilding forums, and bought a set of plans for a Vacationer.

I had read of mods being done to the Vacationer to make it sail better. I tracked down Paul Riccelli aka PAR from Riccelli Yacht Design and asked if he would be so kind as to help design a modified keel for my Vacationer, he agreed to help me out. After numerous exchanges I received a very nice keel design with the draft I was looking for.

I contacted PAR about moving a support in the keel so the bolt pattern would fit better with the cabin interior I was envisioning. After some discussion I said “Paul, why don’t you just design me a boat that will do what I want it to!” He asked me what I was looking for, and I told him I was looking for a 20 or so foot boat with the cockpit and cabin layout of a 30 footer, that would handle nicely as I was rounding Cape Horn in stormy seas, and that I could race in the America’s Cup when I wasn’t cruising! He gave me a digital slap upside the head and asked what I needed rather than wanted. Well OK, maybe the conversation didn’t go exactly like that.

I wanted a boat that could be easily trailered, with as shallow a draft as I could get away with and still have it sail well, being beachable would be a bonus. A fairly roomy cockpit and cabin, that was easily single-handed (my kids are in their mid to late teens and my wife’s idea of roughing it is when she can’t get a parking spot close to the mall, although we’re a close family, realistically I may not always have crew readily available). A fairly tall order I know, but Paul said to leave it with him. I received periodic updates and a few electronic copies of what Paul was working on or had just completed. I was like a kid at Christmas waiting for the plans to be complete.

Well, the time has come and the plans are complete. A week or so ago I received a large tube of plans from Riccelli Yacht Design. Very impressive, just short of 40 pages, many of which are near full blueprint size. Very thorough, very detailed, very well done I must say!

Living north of the 49th parallel, epoxy friendly weather is soon to be in short supply. I will be doing parts of the build that I can do in my basement shop and moving to the boatshed in the spring. I’ll try to be diligent and post frequent updates of my progress.

Be well!!



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Nope and every year I tell myself I'll get one up, but it never seems to be high enough on the priority list. Maybe one day I can trade a set of plans for a "Cliff's Notes" version of building a site. I do have a few sets of plans listed over at the WoodenBoat magazine's "plans directory" Just search for "PAR" and mine will come up.

( >http://www.woodenboa...s?keys=PAR< )

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  • 5 months later...

Hey Ken.  Any progress reports or piccies yet.  I too am building Rocky, I have Rocky number 3.  I will attach some piccies of my progress thus far.



Stay in touch dude, we can compare notes.  How cool is Paul Riccelli? so helpful with amazingly detailed email responses to any of my questions.  I highly recommend building one of his designs.  I too was considering building one of the "Weekender" range till I stumbled onto Paul.  The build is a bit more difficult then a weekender but Rocky is so well designed I will never regret the extra challenge.





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Andrew, looking good.

I've only progressed as far as laying out forms. That's all I have room for in the basement shop. I'm in Winnipeg MB Canada and outdoor temps are in the -25C range, so I can only putter on the small stuff till spring when I can get out to the boatshop.

Can't agree more with regard to how helpful Paul is. Not only does he know his stuff and reply promptly, he's also has a great sense of humor. He's a pleasure to be involved in a build with.

Keep up the great work! I'll be following in your footsteps as soon as the weather breaks.


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Andrew is building a Bermudan sloop and Ken is building the Bermudian ketch.




These are the rig choices currently available.


Oyster, the cabin is all V berth, with a center notch of course. The berth is 6' 9" long, so plenty of room. Also the centerboard case is offset to port (about 8"), so the interior is free from case obstructions, as it hides under the V berth.




This is the V berth top and the long rectangle (darker gray), is the centerboard case access panel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rocky continues on.  Cut one bulk head too small, noticed it didn't look quite right on the strong back, so checked measurements and sure enough I erred.  It's a wise old saying "Measure twice - cut once!"

I have decided to cut a stem and include it in the planking rather then install it later, I like the idea of having a few bulk heads, stem and transom already in when I roll over, that way there is no cradle required and I'll have a point of reference for all other fit-outs. 

Paul Ricelli is continuing to be amazing with help and advice.  I still highly recommend him and his designs.  As he says... "There a lot of boat designs out there by dead guys but try getting answers out of them"  lol  love this guy!






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  • 10 months later...


I'm just to the point of beginning to skin mine with marine ply. Canadian winters are not kind to boat builders.

Haven't heard from Andrew, who is building in Australia, lately. He was progressing quite nicely a while back.

Contact Paul Riccelli if you need any info on the design, I'm sure he'd be glad to answer any question you might have.


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  • 3 months later...

post-3075-0-09902500-1401484489_thumb.jpgHi guys.  Took a 12 month break for various reasons, money, disappointed at the bow not going together smoothly, other things happening.  Anyways, I'm back at it with renewed enthusiasm. I putting the skin on, crawling under and filleting from below, then will tape the outside before turning over so it all holds together.  I still have to put the second layer on the bottom plank.  The fillets are a bit skinny but it's just to hold it all together.  I'll upgrade them when I turn over and tape them as well.  





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  • 3 years later...

Hi Andrew and Ken,


Any updates on on your Rocky builds?  I started to build hull #21 at the end of 2016 and have nearly finished the hull planking - chose to cold mold the hull in two layers of ply as I didn't fancy my chances of getting the curvature right at the bow section. 


I'm located in Melbourne, Australia.


Regards, John T.



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  • 4 months later...

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