The Fishicist--Building an FB11




    The Start
    Tack  Welds
    Inside Seams
    Outside Seams
    Middle Bulkheads
    Rear Seat, Stiffeners and Gunwales
    Floatation Foam, Front Seat and Oars
    The Big Cut

What is it?

The FB11 is a boat design from It's a small dinghy built with a double bulkhead in the middle, then cut in two. In effect this makes two smaller boats which nest together for storage, and which bolt together for use to form an 11 foot dinghy. It can be rowed, powered with a small outboard, or set up with a sailing rig. The construction method is stitch and glue. Bateau has a really excellent online forum for getting answers to questions on the method. As the name implies, I expect to use if mostly for fishing.


It's built from three 48" x 96" x 1/4" plywood panels. The preferred plywood is 5-ply Okoume marine plywood. Made in France from African Mahogany, it's somewhat spendy at about $75 a sheet but I decided to spring for it if I could get it without a lot of extra shipping cost. Bateau offers it, but they are in Florida. I live in Portola Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula. I found it at MacBeath Hardwoods in San Jose. The epoxy, fiberglass and related material I did order from Bateau.

A Preliminary Project

While I was waiting for things to arrive, I decided build a toy boat/geranium planter using the stitch and glue technique. My reason for this aside from impatience to get started, was to learn and bit about the techniques. There was wood to be cut and gluing methods to try out and master before doing violence to $75/sheet plywood.

I started by cutting 8 foot long  rectangular sides out of a piece of cheap luan plywood and screwed them to spacers at the ends and in the middle. In the picture below, I have set the result on the plywood sheet and traced out a bottom panel. In passing I note that the thiness of the "good" side veneer of the luan would be creditable in a semiconductor fab.

Tracing bottom panel
Tracing the bottom panel

In the next picture I have bored small holes in the edges of the side and bottom panels where they meet and laced them together with tie wraps.

The laced up boat.
The panels tied together

This being done, I have set it aside for use a glue and epoxy technique testbed. The process has given me a bit of insight as to how such a boat might be designed and put together on the fly