Monomoy Surf Rescue Boat

Built by Ejler Hjorth-Westh

Text by Robin Jettinghoff

The Launchings section of WB No. 264, September/October 2018, shows a 26′ Monomoy surf rescue boat recently launched in northern California. Ejler Hjorth-Westh of Elk, California, was commissioned by the Noyo Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association in Fort Bragg to build the Monomoy. He and a crew of six amateurs worked on the construction of the glued-lap plywood boat for six weeks from September 18 to October 28, 2017. Hjorth-Westh is on the faculty of The Krenov School at Mendocino College in Fort Bragg, but led this project at his own shop in Elk.

The team built the boat from U.S. Coast Guard plan No. 90872 drawn in 1937. This design has quite a following in that part of California. The Bay Area Whaleboat Rowing Association coordinates races and other Monomoy events for nearly a dozen rowing clubs in the San Francisco area. The Noyo TSCA will take part in those events in the coming months.

Hjorth-Westh builds boats by eye—he calls it “building in air.” He starts with several key measurements, and then builds the boat right-side-up without molds. With the Monomoy he lofted the offsets of stations 3, 5, and 7, as well as the stem and stern. Next, they shaped the bow and stern stems from the lofting, attached them to the keel plank, then aligned everything precisely on the strongback.