Tips from A Shipwright: A Plan for a 12 1/2

Master Shipwright and sage video tipster, Louis Sauzedde, has his work cut out for him with this sweet little Herreshoff 12 1/2. She was washed up on the rocks and has some pretty serious damage that will require Lou’s expert work on her stem, planks, frames and bulkheads. So yeah, pretty much most of the boat needs some Lou love.

But he is not daunted by the task and in this video he goes over what his plan of attack is and how important it is to take the boat apart in pieces to retain the hull shape that makes it such a beauty and a pleasure to sail.  This little boat is lucky to be “alive” and is even luckier to have landed in Lou’s capable shop.

Send Us Your Launching Photos & Videos

Launching your boat? We have been getting some fun photos and videos from customers of their launchings. Here is the first video we got! It’s not sunny or even warm looking, but it’s spring and that means LAUNCH THE BOATS!

Send us your pics for a chance to win some TotalBoat SWAG!

send pics to:


Stephens Waring: The Spirit is Strong

Bob Stephens and Paul Waring still draw lines plans in their boat design process. Then they apply modern design parameters and materials…

Story and Photographs Dan Houston, Courtesy of Classic Boat Magazine 

To Belfast, in Maine where I am meeting the design duo of Bob Stephens and Paul Waring, who are carving a name for themselves designing Spirit of Tradition craft which are extremely easy on the eye. The office is on the top floor of a three story red brick building on Main St, just a couple of blocks up from the waterfront of a pretty harbour. It’s a pleasant airy office with extra light brought into the design studio from a floor-to-ceiling artist’s window.

And I am a little surprised to see, alongside the wide computer screens with their CAD drawings of yachts from unusual angles, draughtsman’s tables with spline weights, like heavy black mini sperm whales – the traditional tool of the designer to hold the long splines in position to draw the curves of his design’s lines.

“We still draw out designs because it can actually save time at the beginning stage of the design process,” Bob says. “A hand drawing is also a great presentational tool for a prospective owner. It feels personalised and it’s a good size to be able to see the whole concept of the boat at once.” Of course I need no persuading about this and I love lines plans which are made by hand – they are far more like a work of art than the printout, albeit at A1 size, from a computer- aided design (CAD) programme.

But I’m just surprised to hear that it’s quicker. Bob and Paul avow this is so: “We use hand drawings in two ways,” Bob continues. “First it’s a quick way to develop the ideas of a design process. And secondly we find that when we are developing the construction details we also do that by hand because it’s quicker. But then we transfer that to CAD and the drawings we give to a builder will always be CAD.” I’m quite surprised to hear this because re-drawing the whole boat must surely take time. But Paul adds that this is how they mainly work in the beginning stages – even though the drawing in his desk is number four in the evolution of a design consultation.

With this faith in the speed of hand drawing it’s not too surprising that Bob says he was ten when he realised he wanted to design boats and started drawing properly aged 14 when his parents gave him a draughting set. It was some time before he was able to make his living from drawing boats – helping Joel White in his design office after a couple of years with his son Steve of the Brooklin Boatyard. “I did that for four years before he died in 1997, which was just before we launched the W Class Wild Horses.” About this time Paul had arrived in Brooklin and the pair teamed up with Steve White to become Stephens Waring and White, aiming to design lightweight SoT boats that were fast and easy to sail but which also looked good against the backdrop of so many classics in the local waters.

But after a couple of years the partnership ended and Stephens and Waring carried on as a partnership. Some of their signature designs were from this time,with boats like Hoi An, Geranium and Ginger, overleaf, redefining the way people saw Spirit of Tradition boats. The the recession struck and they had to endure some lean times: “Sometimes we would design a boat that never got built.” Three years ago they moved to the Belfast office and more recently business has turned up with several projects.

And they are excited about the future of their type of boat which can take from any classic design or tradition, from a sandbagger to a sailing barge and apply modern design parameters and building materials to make it sail faster. “It doesn’t always have to be long overhangs and a little spoon bow. There are many traditional designs that transfer well,” Paul enthuses. Watch this space…

Jet boat which acts as superyacht tender

While the SW partnership mainly concentrates on sailing yachts they have designed a number of motorboats and Bob was keen to show us Pandl, a 26ft 3in (8m) tender which is used to ferry crew to and from their 50ft (15.2m) 2003 creation, Hoi An.

But the boat is also a result of a design needing to cater for specific needs, and so, for instance she has an open transom to make it easy for owners to swim from her. Local experience of the area being littered with lobster pots also led to her being designed with a jet engine – so there’s no propellor to get caught up in a lobster buoy line, plus it makes swimming off the back easier too. To be able to access local beaches she has a very shallow draught – of just 14 inches (355mm).

“I drew this boat while I was still employed at the Brooklin Boatyard,” says Bob. “She’s very much a one-off and partly designed for the owner’s wife to be able to visit her mother on a local island offshore here. It would be 60 miles by road but only ten by sea. So she has a 240hp Yanmar four-cylinder turbo diesel that powers her along at 31 knots with a Hamilton Jet.”


Bob takes me out in Pandl to let me get the feel of the boat. She’s partly influenced by the local lobster boats which are so common in these waters… but you’d have to look twice to really see the provenance. It’s more in her lines than her steering and deck arrangement. She weighs just 5,200lbs (2,358 kg) which gives her a feeling of stability without seeming heavy. The jet is like a bucket which directs water. It takes a while to get used to but makes the boat very manoeuvrable. And an emergency stop just turns the bucket mouth from aft- facing to forward and you come to a halt in the water in a couple of boat lengths.

We don’t try this at speed because of the open transom!

Bob says there was a plan to put a gate across the stern but so far there has been no need to do that. We power up and in my notes I read that at 29.5 knots she “tracks like a witch, with no sense of waver, and you can walk around the deck without having to hang on”. But do note the calm waters we were in.

Tel: +1 207-338-6636,

Here Comes the Volvo Race! Newport Stopover Starts May 5.


If you haven’t heard about the Volvo Ocean Race coming to Newport in a few short weeks then lift up your rock and rise up! If you’re a local boater We really hope you will get yourself and your boats and friends to Newport and represent! We stand for those who support extreme stuff like racing sailboats around the world, we support our local pals on Team Alvimedica and the entire Newport Stopover experience. It is important that Newport put on a good – NO, GREAT! – show for this event and much of that hinges on the crowds and the level of enthusiasm out there.

So here is a little roundup of some events going on in Newport at Fort Adams, home base for the 2-week sailing extravaganza. With concerts and kids activities, champagne tents, a section of a Volvo Ocean 65 boat to check out, all the boats docked, a rock wall and zip line, a bubble soccer tournament(?), mad concessions and more… there isn’t a reason NOT to check out this once-in-a-lifetime event many times while it’s open.

BE A VOLUNTEER (there is still time!):

GET YOUR ORANGE ON: Support Local RI based Team Alvimedica with a rally flag

GET TEXT ALERTS to Meet the boats as they arrive: This is SO AWESOME – day or middle of the night. Thousands of BOATS came to greet the boats at most of the other arrivals so we have to get ourselves and our boats and all our friends with boats out there. It is important to the success of Newport’s stopover that the water is crowded with spectators!

SEE A CONCERT: The Heineken Reggae Concert is May 9 for all ages.

HOP ON A SPECTATOR BOAT: and check out an arrival, the In Port Race on May 16 or the RESTART on May 17.





And if you love boatbuilding, then be sure to visit the BOATYARD TENT where all the boat work gets done for all the teams! So cool!

And a video (OF COURSE) to psych you up!!  See you at the Race Village!


TotalBoat Shop Night: Every Tuesday, Whether You Need it or Not!

We already told you all about the awesomeness of every Tuesday night that is Shop Night in this fun post from a few weeks ago… and the party hasn’t slowed down back there. In fact, it’s heating up. Boats are nearing completion and readying for the big dunking and the messy, frenzied state of the shop indicates heads are down, tools are in use and project lists are shortening.

This little video gives you a glimpse behind the scenes of a few of the projects going on – and we will continue to enlighten you with our Shop Night product testing and boat project madness as we go. We even have big plans to take you on the water as the boats launch and see what they get into over the summer.

Judging by the projects that have been brewing all winter, these vessels will be brightly varnished and painted, buffed to the max and ready for any and all action that comes their way on the water. And you’re coming along for the ride…hold on tight!

Steve is using WetEdge Topsides Paint on his Sunfish.
Brendan is using TotalTread non-skid paint on the “Dingleberry” tender
Rob is installing a Pop-Up Cleat on his Seacraft 20 “Flotsam”
Oliver and Oscar – they are using up scraps and delighting in touching every single tool in the shop…and making guns….


Restoring the Mathis Trumpy “Freedom”

Nestled between the super sheds of Hinckley and Hunt Yachts in Portsmouth RI is the more unassuming, yet equally impressive shed of McMillen Yachts. If you appreciate fine yacht restoration and the sweetness of American Motor Yachts – Trumpys, to be exact, then check out the painstaking attention to detail taken by the restoration experts at McMillen Yachts/ Mathis Yacht Building.

Under the leadership of classic yacht enthusiast, Earl McMillen, these guys have invented – or reinvented – the idea of fractional yacht ownership. Want a gorgeous classic yacht but don’t have 100% of the time or money required? Own a fraction of the yacht – and a beautiful yacht, at that. Check out the details on their website.

Then watch this video by Alison Langley of Maine ( about their restoration of Freedom and check out the write up they got on TotalBoat Show last year.  And then look for their spiffy yacht lineup all around the East Coast. Not just motor yachts, either – the 12 Meter “Onawa” is part of their collection, seen often sailing off Newport. Eye candy – all of it!


US Powerboating Camp for Kids

I’ve got some kids at home who think boating is THE BEST way to spend their time. Fishing, jumping off the boat, and driving, too. Power or sail – your kids need to know how to handle basic boating emergencies and even just the plain old basics – to be a safe and helpful mate when you’re out on the water.

US Powerboating has taken this on and is trying to standardize the state requirements for Safe Boating certification. Their “Safe Powerboat Handling” curriculum is a 16 hour class on the water and in the classroom, that certifies both kids and adults in most state’s accepted licensing for kids aged 10 and up. In fact, the very same course is offered for adults with the same curriculum. It’s the teaching style that changes for the 10-16 year olds and Rhode Island marine education specialists, Confident Captain, have it perfected for the kids.

Over the summer if you live near Rhode Island and have eager captains in your family, it is worth looking into these 2 day camps for kids. They focus on fun and on teaching at an appropriate level for the younger learners. There are even weekend classes on occasion and classes for adults, too. Confident Captain is a US Powerboating Training Center and completion of the 2 day class gives passing students their state certified Safe Boat Handling certificate which is required by law for the younger captains.

Check out the summer schedule here and the US Powerboating course info here to see if another facility closer to your homeport can help train your little captains. And when they’re ready – they can go back to Confident Captain for a 100-Gross Ton USCG Captain’s License and you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Spring Commissioning: Bottom Paint

Time to get dirty crawling around underneath your boat as you prep the bottom and apply your bottom paint.  (every brand and variety is for sale here)

First off, though – protect yourself. I know, wearing your bottom paint splotches on your clothes and hands and hair can be considered an annual spring outfit for many, but this isn’t your mother’s arts and craftsy paint and it’s important to protect yourself from the fumes and from the paint, itself! You should wear protection on your head (a respirator is a must), on your hands (gloves!) and on your body.

You’ll need to prepare the bottom before painting. There are lots of ways to skin this cat, but a few videos we gathered for you from our TotalBoat YouTube Channel will have you sorted out and ready to paint in no time. And of course, as the bottom paint “experts” for decades, we invite you to ask our experienced experts for help when you need it. You can call us (800-423-0030) and ask for tech help, use our online JD forum (someone else has probably already asked your question) or you can use our live help on our website (Mon-Fri only)

Enjoy and try to keep the paint on the boat and rollers and off your hair, glasses, clothes, body etc!


Building the World’s Largest Surfboard

Our neighbors  and good JD customers down the street at mouldCAM are into a pretty cool project. They are building the worlds longest, largest and most bad ass surfboard ever constructed. But they are no strangers to oversized composite projects. mouldCAM has global presence (as well as it’s neighboring shop in Bristol) and they have taken on global sized projects in art and architecture, marine, automotive, industrial and renewable energy.

The board is being built for Visit Huntington Beach campaign where they hope to break the world record for most people to catch a wave on a surfboard. The board is going to be 42 feet long, 11 feet wide and is designed to hold 62 people onboard.

“It’s huge, it’s big, we call it the big board and it is the big board,” said project manager Bob Steel.

mouldCAM is doing the first part of the project of manufacturing the board. The board will then be sent out to California to be painted and finished before heading to Huntington Beach.

Read more about this cool project here. We can’t wait to get the SurfCAM pics of the crowd at Huntington Beach catching a wave on this beast. If they can get all 62 people to ride a wave for at least 10 seconds, it will be a new world record.

Read more about the project here. Go the Big Board!

Reach the Bottom of your Trailered Powerboat

We already told you about the cool new TotalBoat Trailer Mounted Boat Lift that the boat trailering and bottom painting experts at Jamestown Distributors dreamed up… Well they are flying off the shelves because – as we say in Little Rhody – they are WICKED awesome and super helpful for getting under the boat for bottom painting and trailer work.

This new video we just produced shows you how easy it is to use the Trailer Mounted Boat Lift. You can single-handedly crank up the boat with your bare hands (turning the screw handles) and it’s safe and easy and it works on boats of all sizes and up to 10,000 pounds.

Sold in kits of 4, it’s not insane to think that you could get a set of the stands and share around the ‘hood, the club or even at the ramp as fellow boaters swoon at your perfectly painted boat’s bottom!

Available at here.