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An 18’ 6" Camp Skiff designed by Karl Stambaugh
"Coogee" built by Andrew & Melissa Darnley
(Click here for Coogee’s launch and first cruise.)


Melissa and I live in easy trailering distance to 3 rivers and a large semi-enclosed beach fringed bay on the sub-tropical east coast of Australia. The Redwing 18 developed by Karl Stambaugh and based on Howard Chapelle’s 1940’s drawings, is a small outboard powered camp cruiser which will well suit our available cruising waters. We both like the spring in her sheer line and the hint of workboat in her lines with her bold cutwater. The name Coogee [pron. oo as in hook] came from the beachside suburb where I grew up and offsided my dad when he built his ply v-bottomed fishing skiff.

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1 Laminated stem and meranti frames setup on the strongback.

The construction is easily handled "glue and screw" of ply over straight frames, lofted from accurate offsets shown on the plan. We used plantation grown hoop pine ply and red meranti for framing. The frames were set up on a strongback using the method described in Reuel Parker’s The Sharpie Book and the hull, decks and cabin top have been sheathed with 6oz glass and epoxy resin. The rest of the boat has been epoxy sealed. Our climate is tough on clear finished timber so almost the whole of the boat has been painted and this is one job I was glad Melissa offered to take on. The only clear finish is in the cabin on the tongue and groove pine overhead lining and the coaming around the berth and lockers.
Coogee’s cabin has been customized, from two single berths on plan, with an infill to make one double 6’2” v-berth forward. A chemical toilet is stored in a locker to port with a smaller locker next to it. To starboard on plan is a galley which I’ve changed from a fixed shelf and locker to a locker at berth height for storing a propane camp cooker and cooking gear. The top of this will be used for cooking and then double as extra seating. Melissa has fitted the berth and lockers with 3” high density foam, covered with a heavy weave linen. For us this adds up to a comfortable camping cabin with good sitting headroom. A sliding hatch allows for you to stand and pull on your gear. For the keen builder the plan shows a hinged cabin top, Coogee has been built without this.

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2 Hull glassed and undercoated. Karl Stambaugh’s offset table gives nice fair lines. The cutwater laminated and glassed with 10oz biaxial tape. Leading face was given two layers.

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3 Turning the hull shows two forward deck beams, temporary cross bracing and underseat bulkheads [not shown on plan.] The last of the turning crew reckoned it was a “piece of cake”, a lot lighter than it looks.

In the cockpit the plans show 5'6” bench seats and a hatched motor well aft. Built to plan this would give classic style and extra quietness from the 5 to 10hp 4 stroke. I was after more lounging room and a possible summer sleeping option so I’ve done away with the motor well and mounted the motor on a well braced transom. Coogee now has an 8’ long cockpit with 2 lockers added just aft of the cabin under the extended bench seats. I’m sure designers pull their hair out over blokes like me!


Karl Stambaugh lists the Redwing 18 in his Windward Designs catalog and WoodenBoat has an article in back issue #82 on Howard Chapelle’s original design. In that article, Mike O’Brien wrote “The boat’s perfect proportions reflect Chapelle’s respect for her type.” Karl Stambaugh’s development has now made this design more accessible to the amateur boat builder with a moderate level of skills. As we’d say down under, she’s a bottler mate!

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4 Coogee decked, with ironbark bollard post, rear cabin bulkhead and cockpit seating fitted. Deck was glassed with 6oz cloth.

redwing05.jpg (18111 bytes) 5 Cabin completed with sliding hatch, deadlights and deck box. Slots in deck box front and vents in forward cabin bulkhead gives flow through ventilation much like an oversized dorade box.
6 Cockpit and removable cabin doors. Plan shows doors with vertical sides but our measurements must have been wrong! The 1989 long shaft motor is given a trial fit.

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redwing07.jpg (19670 bytes) 7 Andy admires Melissa’s paint job of cabin, coamings and cockpit, as well as her v-berth coverings and cabin cushions.
8 The trade off for not building a lift top. Coogee’s crew test sitting headroom after raising the forward cabin bulkhead 2” to suit. A cozy cabin for best mates and Andy clears the cabin beam with ease.

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redwing09.jpg (24425 bytes) 9 Coogee rolls out of the work bay on her trailer. Melissa gives her the thumbs-up.
10 More fees! Coogee waits for the official State Waterways ID code plates to be fixed.

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Click here for Coogee’s launch and first cruise.

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