Small Woodys – Sailing Sunday



Small Woodys – Sailing Sunday

When recently John Bullivant sent me some launch photos, he asked  “if small boats qualify for Woodys?” – the answer was of course 🙂
So in response John has sent in few snaps of a couple of he has rebuilt. One is a 15′ Edwin I Schock (USA) designed ‘Sharron Potts’ day sailer (design from 1952)  and the other is a 1960’s John Chapple (NZ) designed 12′ Cherokee racing yacht. There might be enough Macrocarpa  kwila Mahogany and Kauri in the Schock 15 to qualify. John talks below on the two yachts

12′ Cherokee

I re-built a 1960s 12′ Cherokee racing yacht (designed by John Chapple). There were only two photos I could find despite many hours of searching the internet so I went ahead and used a bit of ‘poetic license’ in re-building the boat. I have glassed the hull, deck, centreboard and rudder to help preserve it as it was coming apart at the seams when it was given to me, dug out and filled all screw holes, new mast mount, fittings, repaired any soft spots, deck framing, made new rotating mast system etc., etc., (usual stuff), and have had it out on the water, and it sails as well as anything else I’ve sailed, (very nimble in the light stuff).

15′ Sharron Potts

I have also re-built an Edson I Schock designed, ‘Sharron Potts,’ 15′ day sailer, (USA), which I purchased around 9 yrs ago, in a bit of a sad state. I stripped it inside and out, and glassed the deck, rudder and centreboard, made a new rudder stock and tiller, (from my late mothers 70s mahogany dining table), and did all the usual stuff, (re rigging etc). Took me a year to do it, as the brother of the original builder, had sprayed it with a 2 pack paint inside and out, (apparently while he was away overseas), thus annihilating the varnished Macrocarpa interior finishing. I think I got about 2 buckets of paint dust out of it ! It was built by a Martin Jackson and his brother, (in the in Waiuku or Karaka from memory), and was framed with Macrocarpa, scrounged from a farmer nearby, who was milling some trees on his property.  It had a large outboard well built in, but I have removed it, and rebuilt it, to the original configuration. The boat was built from an American plan book, (How to build small boats, by Edson I Schock 1952), the design being from around 1950. Edson Irwin Schock (1897-1988), was a naval architect, from Rhode Island, who designed many small easy to build boats. After retirement he worked for Mystic Seaport designing boats.

The boat sails extremely well, and is perfectly balanced, and can be safely sailed single handed in winds up to around 10knts, (remembering it is pretty much a 470 2 man setup). The mast is from an old David Barnes 470, and used to play like a church organ, till I filled up all the holes, (from a hundred different fittings).
Apparently the boat used to go out with the 470s when Chris Dickson and co. were sailing. I have set up a spinnaker (ex 2004 Mexico Olympics – Andrew Brown, NZL 199, from North Shore), which I found on Trade Me,- (shame they drew the number on an originally $1000 odd Italian made Olympic certified sail with felt pen!), but have not been game to try it without a crew.”

27-02-2017 More Input from John Bullivant

A great bit of information regarding the Cherokee and thanks for the positive comments. I have been trying to find more about the class since I was given the boat by a panel beater in Albany, who had been given it by one of the painters in the same establishment. The painter had sprayed it with car lacquer which was totally the wrong stuff for a very thin flexible hull like the Cherokee and it was removing itself very nicely from all the seams (which were starting to make the boat look like strange slowly opening flower) while I had the boat stored under a cover for a year outside awaiting a rebuild. Finally got to it and got it done and the effort was worth it. She should be ok for a few more years yet.
Had to make a few mods here and there to gain access to the mast step which was broken and rotten (mast had come down at some point and broken the deck and frames on one side) and rebuilt and glassed in a new step mount and made a new adjustable step for it. Had no mast with the boat, centreboard and rudder were split down the middle, centreboard case was misaligned, (a nice 20mm port bias) laminated traveller was delaminating, transom had a large hole which had been patched, (attempt at a self bailing cockpit) rot in the floor in a few places right through and so on, so it took a while!
On sailing the Cherokee for the first time I found it to be perfectly set up for my weight (fluke!) and was extremely nimble on the water. One thing I found out when going forward to the mast to make an adjustment while sailing was – DO NOT under any circumstances go to the mast and try to make adjustments while sailing. I must have tacked uncontrollably 20 times in 20 seconds before I managed to scramble back behind the c/b case! The Cherokee has a disappearing chine and is pretty much just a V at the mast, and when you are up there it develops a terrifying high speed eel like movement. Won’t do that again!
When I first launched it at Torbay a number of people came up to me with stories about Cherokees
One chap said he had just burnt one as it had blown out all the seams from sitting around, and another told me a friend of his on Waiheke has recently fully restored a Cherokee to original and it is fully varnished and beautiful, (be nice to see that one, – perhaps we might prompt a photo through WW sometime! ) Don’t know if it means anything to anyone but my boat appeared to have been originally white with med blue cockpit and red plastic tube trim round the hull access/storage ports. Be nice to see some more Cherokee photos if anyone has them.

10 thoughts on “Small Woodys – Sailing Sunday

  1. Lyndon, thanks for the reply. I would be very interested in a copy of the plans and also some pics of your Cherokee. I will see if Alan Hougton could drop you a note with my email so we can get in contact.


  2. I have also taken the time to restore one of these lovely little boats and still sail it when time allows.
    I think Taikata Sailing Club in Te Atatu were responsible for registration of the Cherokee class so it may be worth contacting them. I also have a copy of the original plans and construction details should you be interested.


  3. Was wondering if anyone has any info on the Cherokee, such as numbers built, registration lists, old plans, or photos which could be scanned. I am planning to take my Cherokee down to the NZ dinghy display next week (4th Oct 2018) and there is a startling lack of information on this class (virtually nothing on the internet). Would appreciate it if anyone could help.


  4. What a great trip down memory lane for me. I bought Sioux no.11 from Tony Baker in the 60″s and sailed her till the 80″s.
    It was truly a beautiful boat which I regret having sold. During that period there were boats in Opotiki, Whakatane, Rotorua, and Tauranga. I remember travelling all around the Bay of Plenty,sailing at Lake Pupuke and even to a nationals at Whangarei. I would love to know where Sioux is now.
    Brian little


  5. Pingback: John Bullivant – The Big / Small Boat Builder | #1 for classic wooden boat stories, info, advice & news

  6. I used to own a Cherokee back in the 1960’s. mine had a blue hull with mahogany deck. Name was Apache if I recall correctly. A mate, Tony Baker owned one too and we kept them both at my parents home in Polygon road St Heliers. Tony,s was totally varnished and looked amazing, I was always envious of it. Not a common yacht these days, but still tugs at the heartstrings for me.


  7. Cherokee 93 was originally named Thrust and was first appears in print early in 1973 and was raced in the Auckland Cherokee champs on Lake Pupuke, although she may have been built a bit before that.

    Her owner in 1973 was G, Beattie, who sold her to R. Lothian who still owned her in 1975. Not sure what happened to her after that,

    Simon, sorry to hear that Finir has disappeared into the National Maritime Black Hole. The great 1934 T-class, Billy Rogers built Treasure went the same way apparently. They used to have a storage vault in the old Naval buildings at Narrow Neck (HDK will know their proper name) but whether they still have them, I don’t know.


  8. You have done a marvellous job of the restoration of both boats. At Lake Pupuke in the late 1960’s I used to sail my own cherokee C 3 Finir in mixed division of yachts but we had about 4-8 cherokees racing.It was a lovely yacht to sail and my intention was to purchase an ok dingy after that due to similarity of rig and hull shape.but that never happened. In the end I donated Finir to the Auckland Maritime Museum in the days when they asked for examples of New Zealand yachts and have never seen it since!……………..someone said it could be in a wharehouse in storage but who knows..


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