...to Plywood Boats or to The Cheap Page or to The Odd Sails or Short Boats

Gidge Gandy's Groovin Garvey


By Gidge Gandy.

From The RUDDER, June 1929

 A garvey is a traditional sharpie-like boat of New Jersey and the coast of Maryland and Virginia. The hull has a blunt, scow like bow and a curved bottom, so it's like a cross between a scow with "raking" ends like the St. Michaels Scow, and a sharpie with a pointed bow. Gidge Gandy took some pieces he had on hand, like a mast and centerboard, and made a garvey to suit. This is a cool looking boat!

 You can build this boat from plywood or from lumber like pine or cypress, although nowadays a 16-inch plank is going to be hard to find and expensive. You could try a 10 and a 6 or two 8s, glued together with epoxy or PL polyurethane glue.

And now, back to Mr. Gidge:


This slightly refined garvey, of approximately 16 feet overall length, has a beam of 3 feet at the bows, 5 feet at midsection and 3 feet 6 inches at the transom. The draft is approximately 4 inches.

 Her sides are 16 inches from deck to bottom and they flare 6 inches, which gives her a bottom of 4 feet 6 inches breadth at the midsection.

[NOTE... this seems to be a typo. The drawings are marked with 22 degrees flare, or six inches per side, giving a midsection beam at the floor of 4 feet. If the flare is only 3 inches per side, the angle must be approximately 11 degrees. There's nothing wrong with less flare, as long as you adjust what is shown in the drawings. The boat with less flare will have more stability. Perhaps I can resolve this with a model. A difference in flare will affect sheer and rocker but not the panel shapes shown below].

 Flare of 11 degrees = 4' 6" bottom width at midsection

 Flare of 22 degrees, as drawn = 4' at midsection

 Although the old garvies carried the conventional gaff cat rig, I prefer the sprit leg-o'-mutton sail once used on the Mosquito and Cricket boats of Atlantic City [dating from 1895-1900].

 No stays or shrouds are used with such a rig and the butt of the mast is soaped or greased so it will turn and allow the sail to pull the sprit to leeward. The forward end of the sprit is supported by an outhaul which leads to a cleat at the after end of the centerboard trunk, permitting adjustment of the draft of the sail at any time.

 The design was worked out by rule-of-thumb, and on the front porch another boat bug and I built her of cypress and copper fastenings. Click here for larger image.

 The sides were cut out of two 16-inch-wide planks and these bent around three forms to fix the angle of flare, their ends brought into place and held there by a temporary transom at the stern and battens at the bow. By nailing a stiff pine plank on top of the forms and end supports, we maintained the centerline. Click here for larger image.

 Side and bottom planking is 13/16 inch thick. Permanent frames or battens were beveled and fashioned out of 1-1/4 by 1 inch screen stock and fastened a foot apart to the side planks. After fastening the deck carlines and notching in the partner planks, the two of us picked her up by the ends and turned her over to plank the bottom.

 We planked the bottom athwartship and, instead of caulked seams, used the Japanese method, grooving each plank with a brass screw-eye turned in a small block of wood. We fastened a 13/16 by 5 inch keel inside and a sand-shoe of similar dimensions outside.

 Building a board well to fit one of the centerboards on hand, we fitted a shallow skeg and stern post to the stern to support the secondhand rudder, taking care that the skeg would not increase her draft. The hull was thoroughly saturated with kerosene before painting, to prevent undue swelling of the cypress and to keep the wood from waterlogging. We used 11/16 inch groove-and-tenon ceiling for the decking and covered the same with 16 ounce duck, laid in thick paint.

 She took very little water and, as we were anxious to learn how her centers balanced, we stepped the mast, hoisted sail and were off! She carried just the right amount of helm in the gentle breeze and we patted ourselves on the back and admitted that we were good! We were so tickled with the job that we hardly noticed how quickly she had crossed the bayou. She seemed to have speed.

 Although her sail was setting abominably, when we close hauled her she pointed higher than we expected and seemed to foot well to windward. We began to suspect that a garvey was something more than we had anticipated. Although she was steady, she handled smartly.

 Not yet satisfied, we raised the centerboard in the well and I'm a stone crab if the funny looking little packet didn't work to windward with a draft of less than four inches !


Sail Plan.

Gidge mentions no dimensions.
For a high-res scan with my best guesses:  Full sail / Reefed

To Plywood Boats or to The Cheap Page or to The Odd Sails or to the Top.


2.0 12/24/02