Mark V-39 "Leah Gent"
We have finally finished our Mark Van Abbema designed Mark
V-39. We have always heard you should build a dingy
first to see if you really like building boats. Throwing all
caution and good advice to the wind, we bought plans from Mark
after he finished his boat and motored to Florida from Missouri.
I figured that if his boat would go that far it must be a good
design. I'm happy to say that after 2 years of nights and weekends
we finally are on the water. Not only on the water but we have
put 185 miles towards what will be a year long cruise from North
Carolina to Canada with a stop in Key West and then back to
Any time you build a boat you hope people will like the way
it looks. Right? No point in building ugly boats. We have had
so many comments from the dock that one of our kids suggested
we put a nickel in a jar anytime we get a favorable "Nice
boat". The jar is filling up fast. We hope to put an extra
month on the end of our cruise with the extra loot.
Having some concerns about the "pounding" I have read
about with Sharpie designs, I asked Mark for some input. The
answer was to the point. "Don't go into a head sea with
more than 15 knots on the nose". Caution to the wind again,
we have done this and it's not too bad for a while but it does
get old, fast. Turn a few degrees off the wind and you can usually
get to your destination by tacking upwind with less fuss. I
did pull the boat back out of the water after we launched it
the first time to install a bow thruster. Because there is little
(make that no) boat in the water at the stem unless loaded there
is a tendency to get blown sideways in a cross wind. The bow
thruster makes me look like a pro when it comes to docking.
Everyone said it couldn't be done in a boat with so little draft,
just 7" at the front door. Caution to the wind a third
time! It will work if you make the thruster think it's further
under the water that it is by putting "eyebrows" between
the waterline and the top of the tube openings. It sounds really
technical until you realize we are just talking a really high
priced trolling motor here.
Bow thruster installation
To sum it all up, Mark has done a good design
that handles well in most seas, anchors in two feet of water
and gets about 5-6 mpg at a 7.5 knot cruise on 60 hp. All this
in a 39' boat that anyone with a little time, money and ambition
can build in their back yard. Ok, building it in the front yard
makes it easier to get on the trailer. We did it and you can
too. Go build a boat!!
I'll let you know more after we get a few thousand mile on her.
Brad and Debbie Indicott
currently somewhere on the East Coast
PS: We ran out of time and had to buy a dingy.
A plastic dingy no less............ maybe when I get back I
build a "real" one.