Building a Caledonia Yawl

Thinking of a build?

When deciding to build a Caledonia Yawl a common question is how long will it take me to build one of these? This question has proven to be one without a definitive answer. It depends on the builder’s skill, and length of work sessions. Geoff recalls that his first Caledonia Yawl took him 18 months to complete as a full time novice…  He now completes a build in about 3 months of close to full time work in his professional shop. The project tends to break down to the following format:

1/3 Building the Hull

1/3 Fitting out the hull and building the spars.

1/3 Painting and rigging…

This does not include the time it will take to set up your shop for build. Or the time dedicated to planning and shopping around for hardware, equipment, and accessories.

Building a boat is surely an undertaking, but one that is enjoyable and rewarding when properly prepared. An assistant can work for, or against you if not equipped with the proper experience. When deciding to take on a build such as this, do so planning for at least 500 hours till completion. For the Novice weekend builder the number can increase quickly.


• See the entire Caledonia Yawl How-To-Build Series Here

• Basic Boathandling for Beach Cruising

• Outfitting a Small Boat

Check out some other Shop Tip Videos by Geoff for setting up your own shop:

• Cool Shop Tips – Manning Benches

• Cool shop tips – ‘Bed of Nails’ for Painting

And of course you can see what else Geoff is up to by visiting him online at


For more information and to order WEST SYSTEM epoxy visit them online.


A kit of pre-cut planks and molds can be purchased from Hewes & Co.  See a Complete listing of all of their plywood lapstrake hull kits here.


You can also order plans for building the Caledonia Yawl from scratch from the designer himself Iain Oughtred by contacting him at Iain.Oughtred (at) gmail (dot) com.


Geoff Kerr has more experience building these than anyone we know. Check out Geoff’s guide page and what he’s been up to at Two Daughters Boat Works


(the beginning steps are flexible based upon your space and timing needs)

  • Build jig for laminating the stems
  • Laminate Stems
  • Join the Scarfed Planks (or you can build the building frame first and use the top of it for your workbench for scarfing)
  • Building Frame
  • Set Up Molds on Building Frame
  • Cut and Shape Floor Timbers
  • Cut and Mill the Keelson
  • Clean and Shape the Inner Stems
  • Install the Inner Stems
  • Installing the Keelson
  • etc. — follow the order of video series from here


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