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Fred Shell Design

Fred Shell - Designer, and builder of Shell Boats since 1983
Born: Detroit, Michigan
First Boat: Age twelve - built a 10' Chris Craft pram - from a kit
Education: Bachelor of Architecture, UC Berkeley

Shell Boats are built using unique and very effective methods which are the result of years of research and development. Roots go back to the early American skiffs, Dutch vlets and the Norwegian holmsbupram of centuries ago. The synthesis of time tested, simple construction methods with modern materials - epoxy, stainless steel fastenings, and marine plywood - produces a handsome craft which is strong and durable as well as economical to build and maintain.

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Shell Boats are designed by first building a prototype - by eye, as the Norwegians have built the holmsbupram for centuries. No detailed plans, offsets or molds are used. The prototype is meticulously hand crafted and temporarily assembled without glue. If anything doesn't look right it is taken apart and redone. The hull is built right-side up, allowing the builder (and designer) to see exactly what is going on. When it is completed, the boat is disassembled and patterns are made of all the pieces. Our plans are made using these patterns.

The benefits are great: light weight, great strength and extreme durability - all at an amazingly low cost.

~~~Standard Features Of Shell Boats~~~

Shell Boats use glued lapstrake construction. The bottom is flat (but fairly narrow) and there are three or four planks on each side. This produces a well-rounded cross section, with good initial and ultimate stability.

Most masts are unstayed and folding. The rigs are very simple to set up - the boats with single sails can easily be rigged in less than five minutes. (Although we recommend allowing five extra minutes to talk to all those people who will lust after your boat and want to know if you built it yourself, etc. etc.) We sew our own sails which are available to builders.

Visit Fred's website: Shell Boats
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