AGES: Adult

DATE: Course 3 – July 27-29, 2019; Course 4 – August 31-September 2, 2019

TIME: 9am - 4pm


INSTRUCTOR: Eric Hvalsoe

LOCATION: South Lake Union


Course Description

Learn to build a traditional lapstrake sailing dinghy this summer. In this two-part series, famed designer and builder Eric Hvalsoe will build his 16’ combination sail/row boat with students. This course is perfect for people who are interested in learning about wooden boatbuilding, but don’t have the time to attend a full year boat school. Over the course of two weeks students will build a new boat, assembling the building frame, molds and backbone. The hull will be planked cedar lapstrake over the molds, turned upright and framed out. Students will rabbet, spile, steam planks and oak ribs, and pattern and bevel complex components. Ring nails, wood screws, and copper clench nails will be used throughout the construction, as well as the finest lumber. Boatbuilding experience is not a prerequisite – typically student experience and skills vary widely, all part of the fun. Once completed this boat will be rented in our Livery. The materials for this project were funded in Memory of David Allman. 

These upcoming classes will focus on the interior joinery needed to complete the vessel including constructing the centerboard trunk, breasthook, knees, risers, rudder, thwarts, and sole. We will be working with mahogany, teak, and yellow cedar to complement the old growth red cedar hull. This vessel will be used in CWB’s Livery and is being built in memory of David Allman.

HV 16 Facts 

  • Length: 15 feet 9 inches (4.8 meters) 

  • Beam: 4 feet 6 inches (1.4 meters) 

  • Minimum Draft: 1 feet 6 inches (0.46 meters) 

  • Weight without centerboard and trunk: Approx. 155 lbs. (70 kg) 

  • Weight with centerboard and trunk: Approx. 185 lbs. (84 kg) 

  • Spritsail: 84 square feet (7.8 square meters) 


  • Western Red Cedar planking over White Oak bent frames 

  • Mahogany stem, transom, centerboard trunk, knees 

  • Hardwood keel and riveted rubrails ... Apitong, Purpleheart, or White Oak 

  • Thwarts, typically Sitka Spruce or Red Cedar (special requests considered) 

  • All fastenings are copper and bronze 

About the Hvalsoe 16: The Hvalsoe 16 lapstrake dinghy is considered by Eric Hvalsoe to be “the great compromise,” as it both rows and sails well. This craft’s fine ends make the Hvalsoe 16 an excellent rowing boat, while it carries enough beam to make it stable under its 85 square foot sprit-sail rig. 

  • Marked by an elegant curved stem and rake wineglass transom, the design is narrow at the ends with a powerful, stable midsection. 

  • The rig is an unstayed, loose footed spritsail. The sprit rig is a model of simplicity and flexibility. It features a convenient brailing line, spruce spars and sail assembly that may be stored inside the boat. Mast, sprit and sail come in a long canvas sleeve for tidy stowage and transport. 

These boats will stand upright on the beach with their wide plank keel and are protected with tough, UHMW shoes and rubbing strips. Hull interior are finished with Seafin Teak Oil, exteriors typically painted to the owner's specifications. But don't be fooled by all the gloss, as seats, transom, trim, etc., these boats are coated with an incredibly tough, flexible urethane coating. Results over the years have been proven excellent. 

About the Instructor: 

Eric Hvalsoe has more than 30 years of experience in small wooden craft design and construction, marine carpentry and fine woodworking. Trained as a professional boatwright, Hvalsoe has also taught students around the world in the finer points of wooden boat construction.