Want to build your own beautiful boat?
You can! We’re here to help!
Welcome to Brooks Boats Designs
Welcome. We are John Brooks and Ruth Hill. John designed and built his first glued-lapstrake boat (Rozinante, a 15’ light, fast rowboat) in 1987, and we have been designing and building glued-lapstrake boats together since 1990. For more than a decade, we ran our own shop building custom boats to our designs and those of others, including Iain Oughtred, Doug Hylan, and Harry Bryan. During that time, we published our first two sets of plans, for the 12' Ellen sailing dinghy and the 18' Peregrine fast picnic rowboat. Since then, we’ve added the 8’8” Compass Harbor pram, 16’ Merlin rowboat, and the 16’ Somes Sound 12 1/2 . . . and we’ll be steadily adding to the collection, starting with the long-awaited sailing rig plans for the Compass Harbor pram, to be followed by a seriously fun learning/fooling around/racing sailboat, then . . . well, we’ll see. Lots of ideas to choose from, prototypes to build (and use.) Your suggestions welcome!
Somes Sound 12 1/2 plans. John’s design (above) for a glued-lapstrake cousin to the Herreshoff and Haven 12 1/2s. Many photos and more information, as well as direct downloads for the study plan, lines, sail plan, are now here on the site. We’ll be adding more photos of details and the building process, and quite a few other useful things, as time goes on.
Compass Harbor pram plans. If you’re wondering if you should start with a nice little boat first, we’ve designed the Compass Harbor pram plans to make it easy to learn as you go, one step at a time, from ordering materials to launching day. More than 20 of these boats have been built, as kits in WoodenBoat School classes and from the plans, by home builders and also in WoodenBoat School classes.
Ellen 12 sailing and rowing boat and Peregrine 18 fast rowboat plans. Our popular, capable and fun 12' Ellen daysailers and 18' Peregrine fast light rowboats have been built by many home builders and WoodenBoat School students, and are now out there in many parts of the world enjoying waters salt and fresh.
Plans underway. We’re currently working on plans for: the Compass Harbor Pram sail rig; the 12’ Sundog skiff; a 10’6” seriously fun little sailboat; the 26’ American Folkboat; the 20’ Rugosa, a smaller sister to the Herreshoff Rozinante; instructions and plans for making half-models of our designs; and more.
Custom design. John currently is working on two commissioned designs, for new day/cruising sail boats. We’ll be putting up more info about these designs, from idea to launch to alive and sailing. For more information about custom design work, please contact us.
New designs. Just for fun John counted up all the designs filling his sketchbooks and notebooks, and got up to seventy boats easily. We are steadily working on new designs for plans, and if you’re dreaming of a glued-lapstrake boat, it might well turn out that John has something along the lines of what you’re thinking of in his sketches. We’ll keep adding drawings, photos,and info on designs that are in the works to this site, and also talking about boat designs, ideas, and dreams on our notebook blog: www.brooksboatsdesigns.blogspot.com.
The book. If you would like a copy of our book, How to Build Glued-Lapstrake Wooden Boats, you can order from us if you’d like a signed copy—or follow the link to Amazon to save some $$ for the boat.
We’ll be regularly adding new and helpful things to help you build your boat and learn more about glued lapstrake and boatbuilding—and also some things just for fun. We’d love to hear your ideas; zap us an email and tell us what you’d like to see, what would be of the most help to you for your projects. Thanks!
A little more history . . .
In 2003, we moved to West Brooklin from Mount Desert, Maine. We finished up the last of our own boats for customers, then John spent a season working at Doug Hylan’s shop on the Coquina, among others (if you check out Doug’s great photos for the Coquina, you’ll find John.) An opportunity to join the crew at Brooklin Boat Yard opened up, so John took it and spent the next five years working on several beautiful and amazing yachts including Seminole, Aphrodite, Anna, Ginger and the 90’ yawl Bequia. John continued to teach at the WoodenBoat School, and we managed an article or two for WoodenBoat. And John kept filling his notebooks with boat ideas, boat designs, new building techniques, and, as always, more jigs. Along the way, our family grew from one to four when our two sons and daughter joined our family. We’re now well settled down on Naskeag Point in Brooklin (the design studio and shop is still over in West Brooklin) and very happy to be working together—now as a family—as Brooks Boats Designs.