Boe-Craft Skeeter

Ice Yacht Association

Skeeter Haven 2010
The basement workshop at W6001 Brick Church Road
For Completion of the Mead Project - go to the Current Skeeter Haven page.

Boehmke type steering system installed and working.


The 18' Mead has come a long way. New bulkheads have been fabricated and installed. The Donald Duck pedal is an antique display, replaced by Boehmke type foot pedal steering.

Not every boat that comes to Skeeter Haven is a Boe-Craft - Sometimes there are Mead Gliders.
The boat below is the 1947 Micky Finn.     I 37

This boat is an 18 foot Mead Side by Side. Black painted Canvas over delaminated ply-wood on the deck. Easy pull bottom - cleaned off in 15 minutes. Nice trailer with some welding, grinding, rebuilding, paint. etc.


The spruce sides are in great shape. Bulkheads are delaminated on the bottom. All new bulkheads, new deck, new bottom. a half gallon of epoxy and Bob's your Uncle!

Yes, this is the same trailer in the previous pictures.

Willow Bender gets Lettered. Mike Kelly did an awesome job.

Willow Bender was assembled with the aid of many volunteers along with many snacks and beverages. Of course not everything fit as planned, but all was sorted out and the new North sail was officially measured and stamped.

Cleaning the red and green paint from the mast lengthened in Spark's garage turned out to be an 8 hour project, and ended with the unfortunate demise of one Makita sander.

Skating Away II is done. The paint job is a bit below average, but you get the result you prep for.  The structural repairs inside and the new steering bushings are the important improvements.

With the Willow bender done, back to completion of Skating Away II. After much sanding between two coats of easypoxy primer, the first coat of black is on the deck.

A couple hours of wet sanding followed by a high anxiety final coat with foam roller and foam brush will be next.


The steering has been completed with bronze bushings epoxied into the new springboard and new full size turnbuckles.

Willow Bender has been completed with 5 coats on the bottom and 7 on the sides. The interior has been returned to varnish.

As of August 14th, with the hull complete other than final placement of the rear track, Jim McAvoy is almost done stripping the paint from the Plank and Boom, getting ready for blonding and varnish.
Sparky Lundberg has the wood components ready to extend the mast from 23' 51/4" to 24' 3". Work will start on that part of the project soon, as will stripping the red paint from the mast.

The springboard is done. Three coats of Benjamin Moore 440 Spar varnish have been completed on the Bottom of Skating Away II and on the bottom and sides of Willow Bender. Too hot and humid to open the basement door - so nice dark but shiny pictures.

Both bottoms have all the nail holes filled and sanded and the blue paint has been removed from Willow Bender. The Sides look great and are almost ready to start the Blonde and Varnish Program.

Bottom installation for Skating Away II was a bit more work, with the entire bottom off. The bottom under the tail was left off until after the deck is painted and the rear track is bolted back on. Thanks to Chuck Rick and Mary Jane for the labor, and thanks to Jim McAvoy for the plastic film template idea for accurate glue placement.

Bottom installation pictures for Willow Bender Below:

July 12 2010
The interior filleting work is complete, every stringer and the mast step spar have been firmly joined to the deck. The steering is back in with all new cable and Chuck's pulleys.
The new bottom pieces have been fabricated and test fit. The bottom is ready to glue on.

The springboard has been stripped of blue and green paint, stained white for the blonde process and varnished 3 coats so far. The bottom was coated with epoxy first for durability but not cosmetics.

These flash pictures in the dark basement don't do it justice, but as least it looks better than the two broken springboards it was made from did.

The new # 11 bulkhead/Seatback as clamped in during the gluing process. Not visible is the Rube Goldberg apparatus holding the spruce blocks in place at the chines in front of the plank opening. All bottom stringers were filleted to the bottom throughout the cockpit as well. 

Willow Bender Gets Bottom Ripped Off


Jimmy and Chuck helped quickly strip off the fiberglass and the bottom plywood. Underneath the wood was in great shape - the fiberglass had been put on over a couple of punctures. The mice only peed on the inside of the bottom so all that went to the bonfire.

This hull is pretty unique. The mast step started at 3/4" high at the nose block. Spruce was added last year from the nose block to the #4 bulkhead to bring the mast step spar up to the size of the later boats. With the rest of the botttom off to the firewall, it became clear that the height of the spar under the mast step was done differently than all the late 60's and early 70's boats. It has the main mast support spar tapered from 3/4" just in front of the #4 bulkhead up to 7" at the firewall. More 5/4 spruce was added from #4 to # 6 to produce an evenly tapered spar height. Vertical spruce center supports were put on all the bulkheads. 
The outer stringers stopped in space 3" away from the #5 bulkhead. The picture below shows the new pieces scarfed on and glued into the #5 bulkhead, as well as the clamps and wedges holding all the new pieces in place until the glue drys.  

This pictures below show the spruce added to the mast step spar and the vertical supports.

The pictures below show the new wood added under the mast step itself to give the screws a place to go. With the mast plate removed for polishing - the daylight through the screw holes that didn't hit anything were a little frightening. Both bronze pulleys were grooved nearly the the axles and were ready to fail any moment.

Note the new Harken blocks in place. Courtesy of Chuck Kaye.

With the boat on it's back for all this surgery, it was noticed that the starboard plank mounting brackets were loose. No, it was not loose screws - the entire weldwood glued assembly had broken loose and only the screws kept the boat from rolling off the plank on starboard tack! 
The picture below shows the completed repair. Not only was everything cleaned up to make an optimum epoxy joint - new 7 ply wood was added to both sides to strengthen the sides between the chines and tie them together.


All of this work is aiming toward making Willow Bender ready to take a full length 24 foot mast and new sail. Since we had to cut off the steering cables to get the bad pulleys out, we decided to go full thickness and length with the springboard. Jimmy is going to test run the two broken springboards that were scarfed into one last fall.
Below are two views of the "New" Fred Doolittle/George Beukema springboard as installed.

We just need to put the new bottom and plank opening cover on and do some serious refinishing work. We probably should put the steering cables back in first though.

June 4th - Gluing and Clamping Just Completed:

The 25 pound bag of lead clamps the forward end of the keelson down. The wedges load the vertical supports to the main spar.

The horizontal pieces are the supports for closing in the plank opening. Casey's big clamps are bending spruce inserts that reinforce the sides where the plank bolts on.

The vertical on the last bulkhead (#13) is to prevent it folding up on the horizontal groove you can see between the two large holes.

A vertical spruce support was added to the #3 bulkhead as well. The cedar blocks outboard of the stringers in the picture below are flush with the floor and will take screws to hold the floor in place and add structure. 

The boat has been flipped, and the shredded cockpit upholstery roll removed along with a few hundred staples. The rear deck has been stripped to bare wood. The rest will be attacked soon.

New Components Fabricated

Bulkhead reinforcement and a replacement keelson piece are ready to glue. The spruce parts of the bulkhead needed  plywood back-up to prevent future splitting. The new keelson is made from remnants of Fred Doolitttle's springboard. It has a 9 inch long scarf joint at the number 4 bulkhead and fits into the original number 1 and 2 bulkheads with some additional pieces.
The pictures show the new components laid out and in place as they will be when glued. The long pieces on the left in the picture are verticals that tie the keelson to the main mast step spar.

This shows all the pieces in place.

This is the assembled scarf joint from the starboard side.


The next step is a trip to Rockford to buy 1/8" marine plywood for the bottom.
Skating Away II needs a new bottom - next on the agenda.
Willow Bender - (was Plan B) - needs a beefed up mast step that will be done through the bottom, so a new bottom will get done as an added bonus.
Vertical supports for all the bulkheads will be added as well. The goal is to have a the boat ready for a full size 24 foot spar next season.

The bottom is off. They always go fast before they blow up? Maybe so. Check out the completely broken keelson. Only the heavy mast step and bulkhead bracing kept the boat from breaking in two.

The nice clean stringers and hull/chine surfaces are the result of 14 hours of bottom removal, nail pulling and sanding. There are 430 nails left by Bill Boehmke in a typical original bottom installation. Every one needs to come out and be replaced by epoxy to stop the water getting up the nail holes and causing rot.

This boat had a new triple thick mast step and heavy vertical bulkhead bracing installed in 1989. The internal steering pulleys were perfect then. It has gotten a lot of ice time since then. The starboard pulley was preparing to send the boat into a George maneuver.

There is planning to do on just where to scarf in the new keelson, and to determine the best way to reinforce the number 1 and 2 bulkheads, but it is too nice out to stay indoors right now. More to come ...