Home - Project Just Right
Chapter 1 - My goals and Requirements
Chapter 2 - Choosing the Boat to Build
Chapter 3 - Preliminaries, What I Did Before Starting
Chapter 4 - Setting up Frames and Building the Hull
Chapter 5 - Interior
Chapter 6 - Deck and Exterior
Chapter 7 - Topside Details
Chapter 8 - Keel, Centerboard, and Rudder
Chapter 9 - Mast, Rigging, Sails, Outboard & Anchors
Chapter 10 - The Electrical System
Chapter 11 - The Trailer and Trailering
Chapter 12 - Sea Trials and Cruising Pictures
Chapter 13 - Future Projects ... When is a Boat Finished?
Chapter 14 - Useful Information... Sources and Links
Chapter 15 - Questions and Answers
Chapter 16 - Other Vagabond Builders and Aficionados
Chapter 17 - A Few Good Ideas
Chapter 18 - Chapter 18 - Specifications and Equipment

Chapter 16 - Other Vagabond Builders and Aficionados

Vagabond Designer

You may have wondered that with all these pictures, we haven't seen the designer yet. Here's a picture of Jacques, Stefano (visiting from Italy) and me in Florida. I was about half finished with my boat and Stefano had just started.

Vagabond Builders

Over the years, I have received emails from other builders. Some have sent pictures during and after completion. Although I have tried to maintain contact with builders, I have lost track of some. If you are a builder, please send me an email with some details about your Vagabond.

Vagabonds Completed

As I updated this chapter, I was delighted to see that so many builders in spite of jobs, family, and varying finances followed through the construction process and are now sailing. Building a Vagabond is not a trivial project.

I organized the builders in alphabetical order. Many have sent pictures showing variations that each has added. I asked for comments from builders about how their boats sailed. I have included parts of their notes since I think their comments will help guide other builders or entice potential builders to try to build their own Vagabond. I edited the notes somewhat, I hope the authors won't mind. I have corresponded with several builders for years now and I am always amazed at how much their command of English has improved while my grasp of German, French, Finnish, Turkish and Spanish hasn't improved at all.

Carlos José Aga, "TBD", Argentina, Completed about April 1999.


Habib Atinc, "Tersane", Turkey, Completed July 2000, Web site http://tersane.endtas.com/index.html


One of my favorite construction pictures looking down into Tersene.



Hi Justin.

About my boat:

I had a rig and spar built last summer and mounted it. I have a secondhand sail and used it on my boat. After several day trips last summer, I saw she showed high performance and good speed. I also took a little longer trip to different coasts of Marmara sea. I spent three days and nights in my boat on the sea.

I requested a proposal from Turkish UK sail company today for production of new sails. They are using some high tech carbon, kevlar etc. I think their sails will be very expensive. I expect I will go to less expensive cloths.

In the autumn, we lived through a big storm. When I received an alert of storm from the internet, I took my boat to closed marina. It kept my boat secure from the strong waves. The south winds were impressive for North Marmara and created some 9 feet waves.

After the sea temperatures become too cold to look under my boat with seaglasses, I built a watertight inspection camera. I will send some pictures of my amateur built camera to you soon. I saw some areas about fouled by mussels under my boat. So my boat is on the land now, for winter's hard weather. I am spending some times for small repairs and necessities. I am building a hybrid roller-furling system which is a hybrid of Ronstan parts from Australia and Turkish made Admiral and some my own build parts.

You know that the days are very short now since you and are living at the same latitude.

I wish good health to you and to Edith.

Stefano Borelli, " Pagurella" (a kind of hermit crab that takes up residence in an abandoned shell for protection), Italy, Completed August 2003



Dear Justin,

Nice to say a big Hello to you !!!
Hope your trip was beautiful and that Edith and you had a great time.
I enjoyed very much your hospitality and had no chance to write to you
because a hard work and a house moving... No spare time at all !!!

Anyway I would be pleased if you will publish the pictures we took
together in California last month.

I will write a more detailed report on my cruising experience with the Vagabond
but I herewith include some basic comments :

- I cruised for about 20 days this year, all during the summer season and all of
them was on fresh water ( lake )

- The Vagabond moves faster in light to medium winds and even with the motor
( 5hp, 2 stroke, Mercury engine ); I am a little bit slow, compared to other boats,
because I don't have chute sails; probably next year I will get one.

- Generally speaking "Pagurella" sails pretty well and the stability is far beyond
my expectations; the waves seem to not scare her; the comfort is very high,
compared to other boats of the same type.

I have some improvements / wishes for this year.

- I am too oversized for the tiny two berth in the saloon (where I sleep) and
at the same time I still need a table for inside and outside; and here comes the
idea: I want to build a table that could act :
* as a joint through the berths, when lowered , making an union between the berths
in the saloon, to give me the chance to sleep in a comfortable way
* as a table inside the saloon
* as a table outside in the cockpit

- A retractable pole to give me the possibility to have a Gennaker; since I have
no help on the boat, the spinnaker is too complex to handle for me and a Gennaker ( or MPS )
could solve the problem to be too slow in the very light winds. I don't know yet
where to put it but I think that the easiest way should be asymmetrical on the deck.

- I have to provide a better way to drain the water I collect from the side cockpit
holes; I think I will make some passing holes, as you did, through the top side / side

- I will install a radio and a computer connected to the GPS for a map navigation

- I have a little "water" problem with the rudder passing through the hull. I think
I have not well sealed the joint between the hull and the rudder pole. Not a big
problem but need to fix it.

- Repaint the anti-fouling on bottom of the hull and on the keel / rudder

- Move some weight forward; I noticed that when floating, the boat stays 2/3 cm
higher on bow side; I will move some items there

For the next year I've planned to put the boat again on the lake from March to
end of June and than to bring her to the Tirreno Sea Coast than make a cross
to Elba Island and leave her there for all July month; I will go there for the weekend
(I will take a little bit longer week-ends) and I will spend two weeks of vacation.
Than I will bring her back again on the lake for August since November.

I have to say good-by to you and I will take some new pictures now that the boat
is out of the water. Need to go back to work...

Have a nice time and let's keep in touch !


Rodrigo Ferrer, "Conticinio", Chile, Completed March 2000, Built the first version without skirt


John Hoaglund, "Highlander", Chicago, IL, USA, Completed July 2002, John built a 5% larger scaled up Vagabond Plus. John also built the first composite keel. Web site http://hometown.aol.com/thehoag/myhomepage/photo.html



Notice the extremely fair deck edges on John's boat. John fitted the deck side panel before inserting the bulkheads. He said it was a little tough but gave him a very fair deck line.

Teemu Jaentti, "Nasu [Piglet]", Finland, Completed 2001, Fin keel version, Web site http://www.cckalenteripalvelu.fi/teemu/index.html



Hello Justin!

Thanks for your mail! Nasu is doing fine, got her out of the water about two months ago and that was the end of her third season. She will start the fourth season next May.

We didn't take many long trips but sailed often around the Helsinki area. This year, I had a furling genoa (Jib?) made for the boat which made the boat a lot safer. I don't have to go on deck anymore which is nice!

Best wishes,


Mathias Krebs, "Kurzweil", ("Kurzweil" means the opposite of boredom... my dictionary says pastime or amusement. It is an older German word, today not very usual. But the gag is the two syllables "kurz" and "weil" mean translated "short" and "because", a little play on words to our short big cruiser.) Germany, Completed April 2003




Hello Justin,

I am very satisfied with the Vagabond after one year of sailing on our little lake. But I am sailing beginner, so I cannot describe the difference to other boats.

The solar panel is nice for cruising while away from a harbor. I don't need it at our little lake, but next summer I want to sail in the Netherlands and then it will be helpful. Some months ago I tested all my position lamps and forgot to switch off. After two days the battery (70 Ah) was nearly empty, but some days later it was again full charged.


Justin Pipkorn, "Just Right", Thousand Oaks, Ca USA, Completed on my birthday August 13, 1999

Vagabonds Under Construction

Mehmet Ali,"TBD", Turkey, Under construction, http://www.geocities.com/maytekne/ Notice the transom picture below. Mehmet will be able to lift the rudder through the skirt. I would worry just a little about the motor mount. I had to strengthen mine considerably. Nice interior layout.



 Dale Burden, "TBD", Australia, Under construction

Gareth Ellem, "TBD", Australia, Under construction 2/02

Shane Harvey, "TBD", Belmont, Australia, Under construction


Bill MacLaney, "TBD", NJ, USA, Under construction 10/21/01, Web site http://www.whmdesign.com/boat.html

Beatrice LaRosa, "TBD", France, Under construction 2003, Beatrice is building a Primo, the original framed plywood Vagabond. Bea sent lots of pictures.


Hi, Justin,

I read your new illustrated account and I found it very interesting.

I am building the "PRIMO" similar to your Vagabond but "made in France".

The principal difference is that you began with the hull and then the frames but for the Primo it's the reverse.

In your doc, there are a lot of things I liked very well and I'm thinking of using them later.

My Primo is the number 48. There are 48 Primos built in France or Europe.

I've worked on her for 261 hours so far.

I have a lot of pictures of my work with notes. I will give you them, but I have to translate the text before sending.




Tony Nillesen, "TBD", Australia, Under construction

Carl Peterson, "TBD", Green Bay, WI, USA, Under construction

Dennis Ptyza, "TBD", Quakertown, PA, USA, Under construction, Web site http://www.ptyza.com/vagabond/

Peter John Richmond, "TBD", Newcastle Australia, Under construction 2/01

Jeff Roberts, "TBD", Australia, Under construction

Craig Schultz, "TBD", Dimondale, MI, USA, Under construction


Altug Sener, "TBD", Turkey, http://www.geocities.com/altugsener/  What a fancy boat shop!




Building a Vagabond Can Be a Family Project


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