News, Stories & Photos

New e-mail address.

My e-mail address has changed. It is now If you have recently sent me an e-mail at the old adress on my web site, or sent a message through the “Contact Us” page on my web site, and haven’t received a reply, please try again at the above address. I am normally able to respond to e-mail enquiries within 24 hours or less, so if you are waiting for a response, please try again. I lost access to the old address on April 2. Thank you for your patience.

Spring is Coming I!

With two weeks of brutal cold and two blizzards behind us, and plenty more to come, it’s time to think of spring! The Penobscot 13 in my shop is well along, and I expect to have it finished early in February. If you would like to have this boat for a spring launching, now is the time to get your order in. There probably won’t be another one available before summer.

At this point there is still the opportunity to customize the boat to your preferrences. It will have a daggerboard trunk installed, but you can specify a sailing rig, with the mast step to suit. I haven’t painted the boat yet, so you can also choose your own color scheme. The price is $4,450.00. You can add any of the three sailing rigs yourself, or have me do it – call for pricing.

January 12, 2018.

Spring is Coming II!

Here is a photo of the sail loft at Pope Sails and Rigging, Rockland, Maine. Note the cool way the sewing maching is installed at floor level. You can’t see it very well, but there is a pit for the sailmaker to sit in while he works on the sail, which slides easily over the varnished floor through the machine. The loft has several sewing machines with pits like this.

Last year was a busy one for Doug Pope, who has been making sails for our customers for about 25 years now, and it has been a very rewarding relationship for us both. Doug’s workmanship is first class, and we have benefitted greatly from his expertise.

In 2017 Doug and his team made several suits of sails for all three Penobscots, the Sand Dollar, and the Peapod, with rigging kits for many of them. We were always able to get sails out in a timely manner, usually within a couple of weeks of receiving the order. This year is shaping up to be another very busy one, so if you are planning on a spring or early summer launching, it’s a good idea to get in early, and beat the rush. Maybe it will brighten a cold winter day to know that your sails are on the way!

January 12, 2018.


Andy Crawford’s sails his Penobscot 17 in South Australian waters. SOPHIE-LAYLE appeared here a couple of years ago. Recently he sent some more photos. The top one shows Andy, with his wife at the tiller. He writes that this was the last and only voyage his wife took and she skippered for a few moments. She passed away in April 2017. Our sincere condolences to Andy on his loss.

The lower photo shows the portable and collapsible transom ladder which he devised. He reports that it clips onto the transom, fitting neatly, parallel to the transom, with a rope attached so as not to lose it during a capsize. He writes, “After having two sets of cracked ribs scrambling back into the capsized craft, one easily righted, this seventy five year old geriatric had to find a more suitable embarking method. We are in white pointer waters so the need to get back aboard is quite impelling! At the time the cracked ribs from the gunnel were irrelevant....until the next painful morning.

“As with most amateur boat builders I have modified/simplified the rigging, made a new laminated boom and boom jaws, and fitted a transom block either side of the transom centre . This is to support a 5 HP Honda long shaft outboard motor for trips when my family may want to fish rather than sail! The transom did not need to be modified, apart from fitting the two mounting blocks. These accommodate the outboard screw clamps. I took my grand daughter and her partner for a first sail, and to ensure no panic, I reefed the mainsail.”

We hope Andy continues to stay away from the white pointers!

January 7, 2018.


This is Alan Nephew and his wife Karen, for whom he named his Jiffy V-22.

He writes, “Arch, it is done, and we are now fishing it. I have had many boat over my life time – by far this is the best. Fully loaded with radar, auto pilot, down scan and side scan sonar, 50 gal. fuel, four T 105 Trojan 130 amp batteries.” The motor is a 115 HP Evinrude giving 15 knots at 3200 RPM, 18 knots at 3600 RPM, and 26 knots at full throttle. Alan reports a fuel consumption at cruising speed of 3.7 gal/hr.

“I made little changes to your original plan – I located the water closet on the starboard side with through hull pump out capability and I doubled the side cockpit comings to 1” thickness. The boat is in a slip here in San Diego. People who come by just want to know more about the boat and the build. Thanks Arch for your support."

Alan’s friend David Titus took the photos.

November 16, 2017.

An Enjoyable Project.

Jeff Johns, of Lincoln, CA sent these photos of his Penobscot 17.

He writes, “This boat building project has been one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done. I first questioned my ability to accomplish the task, but dove in anyhow. The plans were clear and the full size sheets made it very easy to transfer the lines on to the lumber. The manual was well written and easy to follow and the big part of this was the quick responses I got back from you to my questions. Of course I made mistakes, but I was always able to work my way out of them. Like my old Jr. High woodshop teacher told me: ‘There is always more ways to skin a cat’.

My woodworking skills have improved immensely during the build including using the hand plane effectively.”

As you can see, Jeff’s skills obviously were equal to the job. Congratulations, Jeff.

November 10, 2017.


Kent Lewis sent some more photos of his Penobscot 14 ST. JACQUES, here in company with SWEET DREAMS, built by John Stevenson. Two beautiful boats!

November 10, 2017.

A Penobscot 14 in Australia.

These photos from Mark Wetherspoon, who writes, “I bought plans from you around three years ago for the 14. After just under two years of building I launched it yesterday on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra Australia. I have yet to try the standing lug rig but my first impression is it is a beautiful rowing boat. It was very windy and cold but even into the breeze the boat felt effortless and my boys could even get a good bit of steam up.

Timber is a mix of Australian hard and softwoods. Tasmanian Blackwood for the keel, stringers, seats and rail capping. Queensland silky Oak for the deadwood and side seats. Sydney Blue Gum for the rowlock pads. Golden cypress for the quarter knees and breasthook. The plywood for the hull is Hoop Pine. I also used Tasmanian Myrtle for the rudder housing.

It was a very well documented package you produce which a raw beginner loike me can bumble through whilst allowing for my own unique touches as my confidence grew. It is a very well balanced and beautiful design. Thank you.

Congratulations to Mark on a beautiful boat!

October 30, 2017.

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.

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.