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Atlanta wooden boat association membership
David Moss Boatbuilders is situated in the old port of Skippool within the beautiful Wyre Estuary country park. Following a 5-year apprenticeship in the 60’s David gained valuable experience in other yards prior to establishing his own boatyard in 1974 committed to ensuring the survival of traditional wooden boatbuilding. Over the years he has employed a mixture of skilled staff and apprentices in order to give young people a rewarding career and ensure the continued future of the trade. David and his team of dedicated craftsmen and women have an empathy with wood and love to build new wooden boats and restore classic yachts to their former glory.
In the last 25 years the yard has built many one-off bespoke boats up to 50ft overall but David’s  “Sea Otter”  canoe-yawls have proved most popular.
The yard also provides laying up facilities, craneage, boat maintenance materials and engine spares. Jenny Bennett and Peter Chesworth travel to Lancashire to sail a new design twenty-one footer canoe yawl. Once in a while, just when you think that the line of traditional boatbuilders who have learned their techniques in yards must surely be coming to an end, you meet someone who puts your mind at rest. During the course of construction, Sea Otter developed from her original concept of a dayboat with cuddy to become a small, cabin boat with a fully fitted interior. There is a surprising amount of space down below although this has, perhaps, been gained at the expense of cockpit area – more than two adults would feel overcrowded when sailing. It is always one of my fears that a boat which looks beautiful, and is obviously well built, will let itself and its creator down when sailing. I should make mention of the weather helm which was, for me, slightly on the heavy side but I should also say that had we been sailing for a leisurely afternoon’s fun, we would almost certainly have put one reef in the mainsail which would have instantly negated this problem. I was, however, particularly impressed by Sea Otter’s performance under jib and mizzen alone.
Thus, Sea Otter forced me to revise my opinion of the yawl sail plan and proved that David is not only a first class builder but also a designer of no small merit.
Clinker building is a method of constructing hulls of boats by fixing wooden planks to each other so that the planks overlap along their edges.

The technique was developed in northern Europe and was a method of construction favoured by the Vikings for their longboats being quick to construct, easy to repair and light enough to row. This has gained the boatyard an enviable reputation for high quality work in building, repair and restoration, receiving many favourable reviews in magazines such as ‘Classic Boat, Practical Boat Owner,  Boatman and Watercraft’. The backbone is iroko throughout its length, laminated in the stem and sternpost and solid in the hog and keel.
The beauty is lent by curves where there might otherwise be angles, the strength by solid wood where there might otherwise be ply, the warmth by a bright-finish and cream paint interior where there might otherwise be veneers and plastics.
There is limited headroom but, as the bulk of the cabin is mattress with lockers under, this is no loss. There are no guard rails but, with all the running rigging leading back and the foresail fitted with a Wykeham Martin roller, there is little need to leave the safety of the cockpit. I also have to confess that I have not been a great fan of the yawl rig on small boats, not because of their performance but more because with three sails, the rigs tend to end up being low and spread out and thus, to my mind, not as visually attractive as some other arrangements. I did find that her heeling motion was comfortable and would be surprised if she proved to be unpleasant or particularly wet in a seaway. I have always expected a yawl to be comfortable and safe under such a sailplan but not, to be honest, particularly useful.
Ask David Moss for a boat and you vvill not be met with a glib salespitch and promises of delivery yesterday, but if you are prepared to be as thoughtful and methodical in defining your vessel as David vvill be in building her, there is no question that the result vvill be worth the waiting, so much so that you would need to travel a long way to find better quality boat craftsmanship. Inspired by historic British working cutters, we construct and restore authentic wooden boats from the Old Mill Boatyard in Dartmouth, Devon. The clinker built method as used by the Vikings created a vessel which could twist and flex relative to the line length of the vessel, bow to stern giving it an advantage in North Atlantic rollers. The Clinker build today lends itself to lightweight watercraft providing that traditional wooden boat appearance.
The new Sea Otter has not been quick in its build and it has to be said that, if you want a boat tomorrow, David Moss is not the man to ask. Her construction is solid, giving rise to a displacement of 3920 lb, and the best quality materials have been employed throughout. But here, with a high-peaked mainsail and an equally high-peaked mizzen of a size large enough to have a significant effect, I was prepared to accept that all aesthetic preferences should be prepared to allow exceptions!

But if you want an original created with unquestionable craftsmanship and quality materials and if you are buying a boat to keep for many years to come and are therefore prepared to wait for the best, then this quietly spoken, highly-skilled man from Skippool Creek in Lancashire is worth a visit. In the 1930s there were so many new beautiful boats and those are the ones that today’s yachtsmen are doing up and cherishing.
Immediately inside the hatchway from the cockpit is, to port, a small wet-locker and shelving and, to starboard, the centreplate and its lifting gear, a two-burner Optimus paraffin stove and some mug and plate racks custom-designed to accommodate the already-purchased crockery. The cockpit itself is deep and comfortable with highly varnished iroko seat tops hinging up to reveal two spacious bin lockers to starboard and one, running the length of the cockpit, to port – this latter is large enough to house the long-shaft 6hp Seagull outboard. Furthermore, she behaved beautifully, despite it being only the second outing (her first in a strong breeze) and despite having a helmsman who was inexperienced with the strength of the ebbing spring tide in the main channel.
When it was time to sail back up the creek to David’s landing stage, we lowered the mainsail into its lazyjacks, tacked back and forth against and into the tide whilst the sail was stowed and then crept up the creek. All the shelves are fitted with bottom fiddles, while the curved locker openings have solid wood restraining bars to prevent their contents spilling out when in a seaway. Although there have been some complications in the simultaneous stowage of the engine and its fuel tank, the outboard will normally be stowed whilst under sail.
Not once, when going to windward, did I have to attend to the mizzen, and not once did she falter in coming through the wind and settling down into her new point of sail. Throughout, the solid timber has been bright finished the Douglas fir of the cabin roof contrasting well with the laminated cedar and fir beams – while the plywood sole, bulkhead and locker fronts have been finished in Epifanes cream monourethane paint.
However, as we were in a strong tideway, we elected to leave the motor in its bracket and, although the propeller did drag, it did not greatly interfere with our performance.

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