News, Stories & Photos

Laughing Gull Kit.

I currently have a Laughing Gull pre-cut kit available for immediate shipping. This is a kit that I have been holding for a builder of a Penobscot 13, who wanted to build the Laughing Gull for his grandchildren. Life has intervened, as it so often does with our best laid plans, and he now wants to sell the kit. If you are interested, call me at 207 930 9873, or send me an e-mail at

September 13, 2017.

Wooden Boat School

I had another great two weeks at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine. With 11 students in my class, we built two Penobscot 13s. At the end of the course both boats were almost ready for painting – a power cut on the last afternoon, held us back a little. The two boats are going to good homes with enthusiastic builders who will complete them. Now I have to catch up on all the work that has accumulated while I was away. Summer is almost over, but we are enjoying some beautiful weather here in Maine (doesn’t seem quite fair, with hurricanes hitting the South). If you missed this year’s class, keep an eye on my web site, or the Wooden Boat School site, for dates for next year’s class.

As always, I had a great time. The staff at the school are wonderful, the food great, and the waterfront spectacular, with opportunities for taking out boats from the school’s fleet. All my students told me how much they enjoyed their time and the school, and how much they learned. Come next summer – you won’t be sorry!

September 13, 2013.

Kent and Audrey Lewis sent these photos. Kent writes, “We built our Penobscot 14 St. Jacques for use in our local bays and rivers. We used okoume, white oak for the keel and cypress for the seats, gunwales and spars. She is finished with Pettit EZPoxy Sea Foam Green, Rustoleum Marine Oyster White and TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish. Gudgeon. Belay pins were crafted at Port Townsend Foundry and the rigging is New England Rope Vintage StaSet. Sailrite provided the tanbark sail kit. The sprit rig is easy to handle and we row home with vintage longleaf pine oars when the wind drops. Thanks Arch for all of the help!

“ Another trick we added was a tilt tiller, I cut the inner piece shorter and rounded the end, then trimmed a bit off of the tiller shoulder and rudder head. The tiller is held in place by a vintage Sunfish rudder hinge pin. It raises enough so we can duck under it when tacking and slide around on our horseshoe seat.”

You can see a video of their first sail here:

Congratulations Kent and Audrey.

July 19, 2017.

La Serenita

These photos come from P. Michael Jordan of Waxhaw, NC. He writes, “I attended John Brook’s class for glued lapstrake boats at the WoodenBoat School in 2006 with my son. Then I felled a couple of ash trees on a friend’s farm to get started. I used the ash for the thwarts, bulkheads, transom, stringers and keelson. I used okume plywood for the strakes and sappele for the fancy trim, accents and the keel. I painted the outside and interior with Epifanes yatch enamel and clear varnish. I purchased 4 oarlocks and oars from Shaw & Tenney and added an aluminum strip down the keel since I have to trailer it often.

“Nine years after laying the building jig I finally got my boat wet as life happened during the build. The kids grew up then went off to college and I now have the perfect exercise machine with the best views in the world. My wife and I named her La Serenita which is Italian for ‘the serenity’. We can be found rowing on Lake Wylie, Lake Norman or any other body of water between the Atlantic coast and eastern Tennessee. I kept the boat simple as I’m too tall to sail a 14’ boat and wanted a means to exercise and get out on the water. I kept friends and family up with the build process on Facebook under the name of Datsa Myboata, which was the punch line for a joke my dad used to share.

“Now I am constantly asking myself when am I going to build another one. I have become addicted to making sawdust and constructing beautifully curved wooden surfaces that glide effortlessly through blue waters.

“Thanks for listening and for a beautiful row boat design.”

April 2, 2017.

Back on Deck.

After a great holiday in New Zealand it’s time to get back to work!

My wife and I had a great time catching up with family and friends. We had good weather most of the time. I was able to go sailing in the MARISA (top), a boat I built in New Zealand years ago, in the Bay of Islands. Owner Paul Donahue and his son Shea took me out to Cape Brett on a beautiful day, then I got to sail around the bay with my old friend Rex Underwood in PANINA (bottom), the boat he built for himself. It was a great thrill to re-visit these familiar waters. The Bay of Islands is one of the most beautiful parts of the the north eastern coast of the North Island, truly one of the great cruising areas of the world. We had sunshine, light breezes, clear blue water, and white sandy beaches. If you are a sailor, I can promise that you will find the long trip to this remote part of the world very much worth while.

Now we are back to cold and snow! But the days are getting longer, and spring isn’t too far off. Soon we will be getting the GRACE EILEEN ready for another season.

February 22, 2017.

A Penobscot 14 in Australia.

These photos came from Tim Calleia, in Australia. He writes, “Finally got the boat wet the other day! Had her displayed in the local yearly boat show before the unofficial launch and received many compliments on the build and your beautiful design. I am also taking her to Tasmania in February for display at the Wooden Boat Festival.

“Your Penobscot 14 rows very nicely, even in reverse thanks to her raked transom. Her full length 1 inch deadwood keel gives the boat amazing resistance against sideways forces, also adds great strength to the boat. The offset centre board keeps the sand out when dragging up the beach too! Great design work Arch! Thanks again for your great design.”

November 10, 2016.


Mike Silver won one of the Penobscot 13s that we built at the Wooden Boat School in the summer of 2013. He took it home and finished it to a very high standard. He recently added a sailing rig. He comments, “This autumn has been very kind, and provided us with at least one last warm, windy day toward the end of October. Matan and I took the Woodwind out on Horn Pond in Woburn, Massachusetts. What a great experience! I never sailed a more well balanced boat. She stays on a heading at any tack with the lightest touch on the tiller, no need to hike out even in strong winds, and good speed even in light winds. The Woodwind is an absolute pleasure to sail.”

That’s Mike’s son Matan at the helm, obviously having a good time !

October 28, 2016.

Eagle Scout Project.

These photos show Brent Curry, and his Penobscot 14, which he is building as an Eagle Scout project. Brent is currently raising funds to complete the project. Here is what he has to say:

“My name is Brent Curry and I am a 17 years old and working on my Eagle Scout rank of the Boy Scouts of America. To achieve this, a scout must lead a project that benefits the community in some way. My project is to build the Penobscot 14 to be used as a teaching aid for underprivileged youths in the local Tampa Bay area, such as those in the foster system, to give them an experience they otherwise wouldn't have access to.

“When it comes to funding, my goal is to raise $3,300 for materials and hardware to construct it. Propective donors may go to the Facebook page and click the "Donate Now" button. This will take them to the GoFundMe page; or they can go directly to the GoFundMe page via the link. There are regular updates on the Facebook page if they would like to track my progress towards completion or follow up on their donation.

“Pictures of me can be found on the Facebook page, but attached is a picture (inset, on the left) of me in uniform at my friend's Eagle Court of Honor (the ceremony where the eagle rank is awarded). If anyone has any questions, they may contact me by sending a message to the Facebook page. Thank you again for all of your support.”

Here is the link to Brent’s Facebook page:

Brent has evidently been making good progress – we wish him every success!

July 8, 2016.

Rebecca Restored.

Phil Rushing, of San Diego, CA sent these pictures. He writes, “Good morning Arch! Thought you might appreciate some photos of my Penobscot 14 with a newly freshened up interior. She is named Rebecca after my late sister, with whom I shared some precious sailing moments. Just to refresh your memory, I bought this boat completed. I did not build her; that said, I have put a lot of work into her. She is now 11 years old and never had been repainted, so I decided to take on the project. I just finished stripping all white paint from thwarts and most interior wood and then stained/varnished. Then repainted rest of interior white. Looks beautiful to me if I don't say so myself! The hard part is done; now I just need to flip her and do exterior. Truly a labor of love!”

You may notice some departures from the original design in this boat, most notably the open gunwale, which makes is wider (more comfortable for hiking out, no doubt!), the shortened side seats, and fore and aft flotations compartments apparently replaced with flotation under the seats. The belaying pins for the halyards are a nice touch.

May 1, 2016.

A Penobscot 13 Completed.

These photos came from Jim Chandler, of Roanake, VA. I asked him for his comments on his project – here is what he had to say: “I had an itch to build a boat for quite awhile, but since my carpentry experience included a birdhouse, I was intimidated and apprehensive. I read that over half of all boat kits go languishing unfinished; not giving me confidence! I looked at LOT of different plans from multiple designers before settling on Arch Davis' Penobscot 13. The video was indispensable, and not something that other designers offered. His help online or by phone was patient and always available. The prettiest boat that has instructions that are not easy to understand will indeed go unbuilt by the novice, likely condemning the builder to never try again. Rest assured: if you choose an Arch Davis Designs plan, not only will you get a beautiful boat, it will get built by you!”

Thanks for your kind comments, Jim!

April 28, 2016.

If you would like to see your boat featured here, send photos and a description of your project to Arch Davis Design, 37 Doak Road, Belfast, ME 04915. We would love to see them - we are always looking for good picture of boats under way!

All plans from Arch Davis Design are backed by a free advisory service. If you have a question or a problem when you are building your Arch Davis designed boat, call 207-930-9873 between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, including weekends, for advice from the designer.