question on old design: 17' Cape Charles

Building an old design - the 17' Cape Charles - that I bought back in early 1990's. I had already cut and scarfed the sides back then, so figured that now I have some time, I would finish it. The plans are pretty sparce hand drawn and leaving some to the imagination, but very doable.

There's some differences with the newer updated designs. The old one has 2 deck beams.. one just behind the cowling/cockpit and one just forward of the cockpit. It also shows the aft bulkhead right up against the aft beam. I notice in the old construction gallery for the Chesapeake that in image #38, the bulkhead is also located there, though in the videos and other pics the bulkhead is set further aft. I'm wondering about setting this further aft for a bit of storage behind seat. I'm thinking it wouldn't matter as long as it is only maybe a foot or so back.

The new also shows a small deck beam up near the bow which the old plans don't have. Wondering if it is smart to add this or perhaps not needed in the old plans. The shear clamps go all the way to bow on this boat and there's some hatch reinforcements too.

I have a couple build images here: if that shows up and here:  If those links don't work, then just go to the album Boatbuilding on




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RE: question on old design: 17' Cape Charles

   Those links may point at same image.

RE: question on old design: 17' Cape Charles

Hi Hunky, 

you can move the aft bulkhead back a bit to create some room behind the seat.  that's fairly common.

that said, most folks, myself included move it back maybe only a couple inches as you want some support close to the rear of the coaming should the rear of the coaming take a compression load....which is fairly common (e.g.., sitting on the back of the coaming, pushing out of the boat to get out or in).   so i would not really endorse moving it back a whole foot.

on your question about the bow area deck beam, it can be helpful to ensure that the deck stays curved..and makes it a bit easier than trying to push down aggressively on the sides to push it into the shear clamps to pop the middle of the deck i would recommend it.  it's just a little bit of extra work and wood.

hope that helps.



RE: question on old design: 17' Cape Charles

   Thank you for the reply hspira! Appreciate it. And I'll take your advice.

cheers, Jim

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