AGES: Adult

DATE: Varies

TIME: Varies

CLASS SIZE: 12 Students


LOCATION: South Lake Union


REGISTER ONLINE for one of the upcoming Kitten Classes:

MODULE 15: MAY 17 – 20, 2019: 9AM-5PM

$275 Members | $325 Non-Members

Kitten History
The Kitten was designed in 1920 by John Winslow of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. A 15-foot wooden sailboat, the Kitten was designed to teach young women how to sail, and a detailed article on how to build the small craft was published in Pacific Motor Boat Magazine that year. Two years later, Winslow relocated to Seattle, bringing along a small fleet of Kittens to the Seattle Yacht Club. He made fast friends with local sailors, and with the help of famed Seattle boat designers and builders Ted Geary and Norm Blanchard, he modified the design of the Kitten. A fleet of these boats were built and used to teach Seattle’s young sailors. The new design made the Kitten the first self-rescuing dinghy on Puget Sound. This small vessel has marked heritage significance to King County’s maritime history, and today, there are no known seaworthy wooden Kittens.

CWB’s new Kitten will be built over a course of class modules that will teach students each aspect of building a new boat. All modules are independent, there is no pre-requisite for any of them.


Module 1: Lofting
Lofting, or “laying down the lines,” is the process of drawing the boat to full scale so that patterns and molds can be built. This is the first step in resurrecting this historic design. We’ll be using plans that are nearly 100 years old with the ability to check measurements off of the original Kitten in our collection. In this class students will learn about drawing curves on waterlines and stations, marking a rabbit, laying a fair line, and designing patterns for molds, keel, centerboard trunk, and rudder. By the end of this class the Kittens shape will have come to life and be ready for the next stage of the build.

Module 2: Mold Building and Backbone Construction
In this class we will take the information from lofting and begin making molds and patterns from which the Kitten will be built. Once Molds are built at the Station Lines we will set them up on a strongback as the design really starts to take shape in 3D. We will also begin to construct the backbone, stem, transom, and centerboard trunk. Students will learn about pattern making, mold construction and set up, cutting a rabbit, and the importance of a centerline.

Module 3: Mold Building and Backbone Construction Part 2
This class will be a continuation of the previous class where the backbone construction is completed and set permanently on the molds. Carpentry will be a focal point of these two classes as lumber will need to be milled and cut to the precise shapes dictated by the lofting. Students will learn about pattern making, mold construction and set up, cutting a rabbit, and the importance of a centerline. By the end of this class the Kitten will start to look like a real boat, and be ready for lining off and steam bending frames.

Module 4: Ribands, Clamps, & Lining Off
With the molds and backbone set the next step is to let in horizontal ribands into the molds, along with the shear clamp. Frames made from white oak are then steam bent around the ribands and tied into the backbone. Once the frames cool, we’ll use battens to “line off” the plank lines. At the end of this class, the skeleton of the Kitten will be completed.

Module 5, & 6: Planking
We’ll begin the process of planking. The Kitten is carvel planked and copper riveted onto the frames. Students will learn the process of spieling, or tracing the pattern of, plank lines. Transferring those lines to plank stock. Then cutting the shape out, beveling the edge, steam bending the hood ends, and hanging the plank.