I am not a sailor. When I was a boy, our family had an aluminum fishing boat with a small outboard. Later in life I went sailing on a local lake with a friend on a Hobie Cat for an hour or two. That was the extent of my sail training. These days our family spends a few summer days at a cabin in Michigan’s Les Cheneaux Islands. Surrounded by crystal blue water, islands, rock beaches, and active teenagers, it was easy to conclude that a sailboat would be a welcome addition at the cabin despite our lack of sailing know-how. As a builder and wooden boat enthusiast, the decision to build a wood sailboat was not difficult.We chose to build the Sand Dollar from Arch Davis Design. It’s an 11′ flat-bottomed skiff that can be rigged to sail, rows well, and looks good with its plywood lapstrake sides. I had recently built a 21′ Widebody Tolman Skiff and was eager to try a different building method and to have a boat I could transport on the top of our vehicle. Limiting the number of boats we own is not a priority; limiting the number of trailers and the associated paperwork and maintenance, is. I was also excited about a boatbuilding project that would take much less time than the three years I spent on the Widebody.Arch Davis designed the Sand Dollar for first-time builders, including those with no previous woodworking experience. As he notes, he took great pains with the lines, building a model to refine the shape. The result is a very pretty, practical little boat that will satisfy both the novice and experienced boatbuilder.

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