November / December 2019

Building a Dark Harbor 171⁄2

Part 2: Finishing out the completed hull

An oval coaming that transitions into the cabin sides, combined with sprung teak deck planking, lends an air of elegance to the Dark Harbor 171⁄2 KOTIMANA. She was built at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in
Port Hadlock, Washington.

The first phase of the Dark Harbor 171⁄2 project at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding involved building KOTIMANA’s hull and deck on two separate construction jigs. This took about four months and was recounted in Part 1 of this series (see WB No. 270). After the hull and deck structure were successfully fastened together and the final four strakes of planking were hung, the students got to work preparing to build the deck, coaming, cabin, interior, and spars and also to install her rigging and hardware.

The original 1908 plans for the Dark Harbor 171⁄2, designed by B.B. Crowninshield, called for the deck to be built of tongue-and-groove white pine sheathed in canvas, which in those days was typically bedded in white lead paste. KOTIMANA’s owner, however, requested a deck of teak planking glued over a subdeck of 3⁄8" okoume marine plywood. This method of construction not only provided better strength than the original but also gave the boat the incredible beauty that a sprung teak deck adds to any classic yacht.

Before installing the plywood subdeck, we added blocking to support the port and starboard panels where they would butt together at the deck centerline, as visible in the photo. We also installed blocking in way of the foredeck hatch, chainplates, mast partners, and deck-mounted hardware.

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