11 Tibbetts Lane - Georgetown, ME 04548 - 207-371-2662

The melonseed (or melon seed) plans are in Howard Chapelle's book, AMERICAN SMALL SAILING CRAFT published by W.W. Norton in 1951. His description of the boat is as follows:
Fig. 78 is the plan of an old melon seed of 1888; the plan was once in the files of Forest & Stream magazine, but was never published. A good rigged model of one of these boats is in the Watercraft Collection. The melon seed, as can be seen, is modeled after the beach skiff but with much less depth in proportion to length. It had fine lines... and sailed very well indeed, by all accounts. Unlike the beach skiffs, the melon seeds appear to have been caravel-planked, though it is reported some were lap-strake in early years. Most gunners think a lap-strake hull is too noisy to be a good gunning type, yet many such boats were planked in this manner, so it must not have caused much real trouble. Reference to the melon seed earlier than 1882 has not been found, and the type is wholly extinct in New jersey waters as far as could be learned in 1951.

At the boat shop in the spring to discuss the project...

Our melonseed would be lapstrake cedar on oak frames since we would not be sneaking up on ducks and she would be dry-sailed from a trailer.

Spring turned to summer before the project could get under way. Click on the thumbnail image to see the plans Alex got from the Smithsonian lying next to the lofting.

Construction begins with lofting to spiling - August

showing the sheerline

spiling & stacked cedar

the sheer strake & stem


Don planing

Planks and frames - September

planks & screws

Alex bending in a frame
wtih small steam box


frame detail
Since the frames were thin a bit of preparation was needed to pull off the framing. The small steam box was sufficient to heat them, but the thin frames would cool quickly hence the screws needed to be placed prior. Alex and Don had to enlist their wives to help hold the frames as they fastened. Detail shows the shim at the garbord strake. You can see the mast step and the daggerboard slot (mahogany). Click on images to see an enlargement.

Don with daggerboard trunk

trunk in place

deck beams, sheer strake

beams and block for mast

cockpit defined

nearly decked

Rigging and finishing - November

mast and boom

Alex considers colors

rig stowed for rowing

rig furled

shaking out the reef

nearly ready to sail

The rig is a traditional sprit sail rig with a boom and  a loose-footed sail. Brailing lines are fixed to the boom to allow the entire rig (mast, sprit, boom and sail) to be furled from the cockpit. The rig can all be lifted out and stowed as one. Rowing her with the stowed rig looks possible. The sail has a single reef point. The mainsheet (not seen) will come from a traveller through blocks on the boom to a block and jam cleat at the front of the cockpit.

The final touches and a December "launch"


deck - Grand Banks Beige


builders & buyers

Patience's Party
December 7th

Alex takes her for a spin.
Launch Day - May 16, 2003

Walt takes her out...
South Freeport - July 6, 2003

Returning in the evening...

Exploring Quahog Bay