John Bell's Boats

Hey Chuck!

I just wanted to let you know about what some DW readers are up to with some of my designs.

I'm pleased to report Blackberry has been built at least four times and there are rumors of one or two more abuilding. I've even heard from someone who was going to cut the boat out of aluminum with one of those fancy CNC plasma cutters to weld up for a trade show prop. Never heard if he finished it, though. Those who've built them seem to like them, which is a great relief to me. I've since drawn a 14' version of the boat that I'd be willing to share if anyone was interested.

Blackberry #2 built by John Spragg in California

My entry for the DW design contest last year has finally had a taker. John Burgh in Indiana has started building Blondie #1. Here's a few shots of the progress to date. It looks to me like he's resisted temptation to stray far from the plans, but he's also made the worthwhile addition of skids and a skeg to the bottom. I was a little worried about the size, but he claims it's plenty of boat for his 6' plus frame. I can't wait to see the finished result.

Greg Smith in Massachusetts built the rig for Blondie earlier this year, intending to build the boat at a later date.

It's too bad these two individuals live so far apart.  Because if they were closer, we could see one of these sailing in just a few days!

In the meantime I've been working on my next project for me, a four foot stretch of Blondie, the Blondie 12.

I still haven't finalized the rig as of yet. It may stay the gaff rig I've shown here, it could be a smaller Solent lug, or maybe even a balanced lug. It's all part of the fun of drawing your own boats.

What I'd like most to say is THANKS! To you Chuck for giving me a forum to share these boats, THANKS to all the people who've written with such kind words about my work, and most of all THANKS to those who've been brave and generous enough to try these boats out for real. It's been the highlight of my year.

John Bell <><
Kennesaw, GA