Sojourn, a Sjogin IIIa

Sjogin III, a Paul Gartside design, is a sturdy, seaworthy daysailer that evolved as a smaller, trailerable version of the 22ft double-ender Sjogin. Click here to read how the Sjogin plans came to be.

This build will be a challenge, not only is it about 10 time larger (by displacement) than my previous builds, Gartside plans, while beautifully drawn do not come with instructions. And to increase the degree of difficulty I am modifying the plans quite a bit, stretching the length, 10% to 20 1/2', removing the centerboard, experimenting with bilge keels, or twin keels (depending on the design or definition), and adding the small Sjogin cabin. And if that's not enough planked it with Vendia Marine Planks a product that while favorably reviewed in WoodenBoat Magazine had not been used in the US until now.

Design criteria, why? Why mess with the Gartside plan? First, our home in Blue Hill, Maine is situated at the north end of Blue Hill Bay where a couple of times a day the 10' tide retreats to reveal several hundred yards of mud flats. Many boats in Britain deal with the tides by having bilge keels allowing them to sit upright until the waters return. I had the plans already for Sjogin III and the slack bilges seemed suitable for adding bilge keels. The 8' beam on her original 19' length seemed more than adequate, so stretching her 10% seemed appropriate plus that would provide more room to add the small cabin. Since I have another 18" why not keep the original rig and add a mizzen...I always wanted a canoe yawl. (With an 8' beam it won't be very canoe-ish) I'm not doing this completely wily-nilly as I'm in contact with Paul (he stops in to see what I'm up to when he teaches at WoodenBoat School) and David Wyman, a naval architect and good friend, has run the hydrostatics and continues to advise while the build is in progress.


June 2018

It all starts with a blank sheet of plywood, painted white. The lofting is taking place, appropriately, in the loft above the boat shed.

(mouse over) It's exciting and more than a tad confusing as line after line is drawn, corrected, eventually revealing the shape of the boat to be.

Jigs were made to bend the beautiful vertical grain Douglas Fir to form the inner stems. It was milled by America's Wood, 16 lams 1/8" thick laminated 8 at a time.
These are some serious chunks of wood, considerably larger than what I used in my other builds. The inner keel is 2" thick, flaring from 4" to 9".

8 molds of 1x12" pine. Nail heads transferred the shape of the body plans deducting 1/2" for the thickness of the planking.

(mouse over) The molds lined up and ready to go. This is going to be one fat boat!

One can start imaging the size and shape now. The stems are positioned, next up is to get the inner keel scarfed to the stems.
Planing the 10' inner keel, 4 lams of 1/2" vertical grain Douglas Fir. Making a nibbed, or stepped, scarf that will be reinforced with pegs of black locust.
Stems are scarfed to the keel, planking bevel is roughed in and now the plank lining process begins.
Vendia Marine Planks make it to Blue Hill, finally. First time in the US! Now I just have to figure out how to get 12mm (1/2") planks to bend around 2 pointy ends.
Beveling the stems, lots of wood to be removed. A slick is your friend! Some power and block planing to finish.

An articulate planking batten, adjustable so you can spile the planks with it. Not easy maneuvering its 23' length.

I quickly gave up using the full length batten as I could only spile a 1/3 of a plank at a time.

1st plank cut, smells like the pine it is. So far very pleased with quality, cuts and planes like real wood. It was scary making the 1st cut as I can't go a local store to get more. Here the garboard is being convinced that it wants to go where it needs to.

Garboards on! The Vendia took the bends with only a bit of fussing and was a pleasure to plane. Ready to spile plank #1. Only 7 more planks to go.

1st half of #1 plank on. The Vendia took the bend on the stern stem well. The garboard has a layer of Dynel and a start of fairing with thickened epoxy.

First screwup (that I'm aware of) as I tried to get the plank out of a prescarfed board. Even though I got the wider garboard out, the 8" #1 plank wasn't even close. So now I know that I'll have to scarf in place. Once I figure out how to do that, it will be rinse, lather, repeat for the others. Hope I have enough Vendia.

1st angled scarf in place. I'll have to do a lot of these. The remaining planks will need 2 each.

Vendia does bend nicely. It needed some persuasion to take the bend at the stern. A cup of hot water and a towel did the trick.

(mouse over) The bend at the bow is much easier, taking much less persuasion. Slow going as it takes 3 sections to get one finished plank. Taking advantage of the unseasonably warm November temps (it won't last) to get some epoxying done.

Working on the 4th plank, and since there are 8, I'm getting close to half way. But now it's winter and without heat it will be a few more months before there is anymore planking.

Here I've finally got around to making a jig for clamping. If you look at the photos above you can see the crazy combo of clamps needed to coerce the planks around the stem. Once lathered with epoxy it was a slippery and frustrating mess, fighting any attempt to get the plank clamped back into position.

The small workshop out back has a wood stove and is sort of insulated. So if I can get the fire going in the AM by noon it can be quite comfortable.

While this may look like spar making it is really an expensive and labor intensive way to make kindling. Not to mention trashing out the workshop.

On the horses will hopefully be the main boom, gaff and mizzen mast. The main mast will be 20' and birdsmouth. I will have to figure how to fit that in a shop that isn't much bigger than that.


The winter wasn't entirely without projects as I made my first real piece of furniture, a Morris Chair (plans from WOOD magazine.) It turned out to be a great place to recover from the ankle surgery I had in February

May 2019

Ah, the smell of paint, some sunshine, and it's finally springtime in Maine. The fleet is uncovered, the peapod and skiff just got quick recoats. Rivus is going to need a bit more as the summer spent on the mooring took a toll on her brightwork. Should be getting back to planking the Sjogin soon.

Plank on! 2 sections of plank #4. First progress since November. Notice the back of the shed is now enclosed and insulated thanks to nice BinL, Terry.

You come for a visit, you get put to work! Chris came for Alumni Week at WoodenBoat School. He got to warm up by helping get another plank on before reporting for school duty.

The clock is ticking...Just had this load of beautiful Black Locust delivered today, sawn yesterday. Rich at America's Wood did me good. This is the clearest BL I've ever seen. Milled to various thickness 5/8" to 6/4. MC 20% to 23%. The thinner boards will be used for the sheer strake.
Lather, rinse, repeat...Another section of plank being fitted. Plank #1 is now glassed with 2 coats of epoxy. I'll alternate between planking and glassing. Eventually I'll get another coat of epoxy applied with peel-ply.
The last Vendia plank is secured, and I have a couple of boards to spare. Better to have extra then have to order more from Finland. I made a rough mock up of a bilge keel to get a feel of size and placement. It's going to be interesting from here on as there is a lot of head scratching to be done.
Not so fast. The Black Locust on closer inspection will not be usable for the sheer strake. Either there was a very large knot hole smack in the middle or the saw wavered and some were too thin in areas. Sooo, back to using Vendia for the sheer strake, but that means planing the last 2 15mm planks to 12mm. Yes it can be done and here it is, with 1/3 plank forward to go! That's the mock up of the bilge keel on the other side.
Now the planking is really done and a good thing because I'm out of Vendia. All I have to do is fiberglass w/2 coats of epoxy, the last 2 planks, figure out the outer keel, then another coat of epoxy using peel ply on all of the planks, and paint with several coats of 2 part epoxy primer. Then I should be ready to flip the boat and be 30% done!

Now it's ready for the stems and keels. I'm discovering the joys of working with rough black locust and that it will be a challenge to find enough usable wood with all the imperfections inherit with BL.

Paul Gartside stopped by last week as he was teaching a class at WoodenBoat School. He offered some advice on the bilge keels and overall construction. He's nice enough not to laugh at my construction or pending modifications to his design.

On to new stuff. Here is the 1st half of the outer stem being laminated in place. I better be able to remove it for shaping after it cures. It will be sided to 3", tapering from 3" at the sheer to 1 1/2" profile.

This is where I start deviating from Paul's plans as the keel doesn't need to accommodate a center board I'll make it 5" at the widest vs 9".

Plan B, as I managed to get 17 of the 22 deck screws out, but busted the heads off of 5. I had waxed them, used heat to extract but the 4" screws didn't cooperate. Several days later and a few dollars spent on extractors (didn't work) and a long plug cutter, which did work until it broke, I managed to get the inner part of the outer stem off the boat and repair the damage.

Calling all clamps. Outer lams of the stem glued to inner outer stem. I had planned to glue these in place but after the screw issue I made this reinforcing jig on the loft floor.

Next will be to dry fit in place then carve then reinstall, then do the same for the stern stem.

Here the outer stem has had a lot of wood removed and has been carved to close to its final shape.

I do like opening the shop in the AM and having the sun light up the project. Now to cut the scarf (mouse over) and get this epoxied. Then do something similar at the other pointed end.

Now wasn't this sternpost just a lot of fun, not! First the bend was rather severe so I opted not to laminate in place. I made a jig on the lofting floor, knowing that this would be needing a fair amount of adjusting to match the inner stem.. I wrestled it in 2 sections again, and discovered that my jig was not quite up to it as there was some twist, so more adjusting. Several days and too many times to count taking it off, sanding, screwing it back on. But it finally snugged up to within my epoxy limits. Now on to an almost straight keel...

A new view, on top of the bottom! Thankfully Paul said it was fine to mix and match wood for the keel so I bought 12' VG DF from the local hardware store. That saved me days of milling and scarfing from my stack of BL.

There was probably an easier way to do this, but I didn't think of it, so I rough cut the planks then got out the slick and carved them in place.

Keel is in place covered with Dynel and 3 coats of epoxy. No exterior wood, other than BL will be exposed. Docks should quake in fear!

Here I'm doing an experiment with peel ply on one strake to compare to see if it's worth the effort.
(didn't like the results of the peel ply, too much work and didn't save me the sanding. Could be my technique.)

With a mouse over you can see a reminder to myself that I used BL pegs to help secure the keel. I know I would not recall that. You can also see the sternpost starting to grow a skeg.

Sanding! Glad that's over...maybe not, but I'm not going to keep track of how many times. You can see the paint line which I drew with help from the new laser level that just arrived. It will be interesting to see how close to reality it comes.

The keel, stem and sternpost are now Dyneled and epoxied to the paint line. More sanding and primer next.

Started removing the molds and for the first time got to see the big interior. Looking forward to getting to work on that.

Progress, as a few coats of Total Boat Total Protect changes the look considerably.

Mouse over to see other pointy end with a skeg. It's not in the plans but it will provide a 3 point stand when grounding plus some directional stability. A piece of black locust is being added after David Wyman pointed out that the way I had it it would be catching lobster pots.


October 2019

WoodenBoat friend, Pat Fanelli helps with the bottom paint.

Big Day! With the guidance of David and help of Pat and Susan we get a new view. And what an interior, this is a big little boat.

I'm not going to estimate how long it will take to scrape, fillet and finish it.

Paul called this fun, fitting the 3x7/8 beam shelf, I was thinking of other words. The forward 12' I got dry fit using all of my C clamps. No way was the stern section going in. I cut kerfs, pre-bent it on the outside after making a pattern and sawing it to shape. I then tried soaking it with hot towels and weighted with lead overnight (it broke) Finally I lengthened my 4' steam box and voila, it's in. Should have tried that sooner. I also ordered 30 more C clamps, gonna need them.
Here's all 30+ clamps in use. Best tool for getting these boards to fit? Sledgehammer! Fine woodworking it's not.

Racing the season here, trying to get as much done before the temps drop. Got the interior laps filleted, then a lot of scraping and sanding. I used one tube of Thixo, the dark fillets, port side, aft. But you can see it would have taken a lot of tubes so I made my own with a microballoon, wood dust and silica mix.

1" laminated black locust bilge keel stringers, or pads, in place. They will be captured by the cabin and bridge deck bulkheads, and BL floors.

Progress in November! Got some decent temps and managed to get half of the black locust floors installed and glued!

Mouse over to see how I used the WoodenBoat method of hot gluing small pieces of scrap to get the shape. Works pretty good.

Spent a nice Saturday morning at David Wyman's. We, he, did some serious number crunching trying to keep me honest with all the modifications to Paul's plans.

I had several semesters of naval engineering back at boat school, but somehow after 4+ decades and never having to use it, all those formulas are buried, probably lost.

January 2020

It is winter, work in the boat shed is limited (cold!) so I'm looking for projects to do in my heated shop. I glued up some black locust and started carving the bowsprit. Felt good to making shavings even though I won't be needing it for a while.

Another winter project and a part that I won't need for a bit is the rudder. I opted for VG Doug Fir, rather than plywood, stronger and more fun to work with. I ripped it and alternated the strips. Then got after it with a power planer and 40grit!

Aft end will be tapered, fwd, rounded over, then glassed. I'm letting the top stay wild for now.

It's another stray from Paul's plans as he had a drop down but I'm opting for simplicity and no moving parts. We'll see....

Bridgedeck bulkhead, fitted.
The camera angle exaggerates the beam somewhat.

I'm using 3/4" marine DF ply, covered with epoxy and 4oz glass to keep from checking. Mouse over to see how it will be attached.


Rudder sort of in place. I can see it needs more shaping. I calculate it at 15% of the lateral area with 10% being ideal so it can be trimmed some. Won't find out for many moons how it will work.


Working on the hatches, hopefully watertight, for the forward bulkhead. Paul doesn't think watertight compartments are needed in this size boat. David does, so I'll put a couple in, can only help, plus I've never built them before.

I routed a rabbit to fit a rubber gasket. While there are more elegant ways to seal I opted for simple black locust dogs to keep the water on the other side...if needed.

There are 2 hatches as there will be a sampson post in the middle.

March 2020

First 2 deck beams are installed aft, with a king plank. Need to get better at mortising and fitting the beams! The aft bulkhead is tacked in place. It will (should) be watertight and have a gasketed access plate. Waiting for warmer temps to continue.

April 2020

Watertight bulkheads installed fore and aft, inside epoxied, primed and painted. Won't be having much access to those areas once the deck is on.

All of the floors are installed, lag bolted and filleted. Most of the main cabin bulkhead is fitted along with the bridge deck. I've been messing around with a cabin side mock up, it's going to be snug.

I plan to glass and epoxy the bilge. This part is not a lot of fun.

Fitting a cabin on what was designed as an open daysailer is yet another challenge that I've done to myself. Here is a very crude mock up. I can just fit sitting, while Susan has plenty of room. I will add an inch to the camber and hope it doesn't look too boxy.

I will epoxy, glass, prime and paint the main cabin bulkhead. It will get installed after the interior has been epoxied.

Let the light in! These windows are a nice modification to the boatshed as that end was poorly lit.

Mouse over for an interior view. All the frames are in, now the interior needs to be sanded, again, the bilge glassed and the entire interior epoxied.

I'm waiting on the bilge keels before installing the bulkheads.

May 2020

Spring is here and with stay at home pandemic restrictions there in no excuse not to make progress. Here the interior has 2 coats of epoxy, stbd side primed, bilge fiberglassed (10oz) and one coat of epoxy bilge paint.

Here's something you don't see much on this side of the Atlantic, a bilge keel. It's being welded by Jeb Bush. I had him bend a curve to the inner face, the outer will be flat. The cavity will be filled with lead. He has tapered the 1" steel end plate. A top plate bent to hull camber is next and then a lot of fairing.

June 2020

May not look like it but a lot going on here. First the deck beam, 2 1/2x3 laminated BL is in place. Knees will tie it to the frames below.

Toward the stern, seat risers were wrestled in place. It took some head scratching and force to get those installed. Not pretty but should be functional.

The box at the aft bulkhead holds the outboard bracket which pulls out.

Adding that watertight bulkhead meant the seating had to be redesigned. I'm waiting on the bilge keels before continuing with that project. .

The bilge keels arrived! Jeb did a real nice job. I surprised myself by getting one dry fitted and it did fit! It took a lot of raising and lowering the hull, digging a hole in shed floor to fit the jack (another good reason to have a dirt floor) and nudging the 200# keel to line up the bolt holes.

Forward deck beams and kingplank fitted, hanging knees, 2 each side, 3/4 marine ply, glassed. bronze chainplaates installed.

Those beams are actually the second set as I ran into another amateur goof up. Don't ask. But that is a moaning chair which was well used yesterday.

Bilge keels back from being sandblasted, then primed with many coats of TotalBoat TotalProtect 2 part epoxy.

I bought the cherry picker last year knowing I'd be loading/unloading/moving these hunks of steel and lead. I weighed the keels at the transfer station, 180# each. We has guestimated #200.

Since we are planning on 600# total ballast, I should be fine as I have another 300# I can use internally.