Direction, a Colin Archer cutter

Mar 9, 2020

Direction, a Colin Archer cutter
Always interested in a good sailing story, several years ago I bought a used copy of the book, N by E, by Rockwell Kent, who was to become famous as an artist. Published in 1930, and illustrated with both photos and Kent's wonderful wood block prints, it tells the story of a voyage from Nova Scotia to Greenland, with Kent part of the three man crew, ending in a shipwreck in Greenland and a hike across a glacier at night to get help. The boat in the voyage was Direction, a scaled down version of a double-ended Colin Archer rescue boat design used in Scandinavian waters. Direction was designed by M.H. Miner and built in the U.S. with a length of 33', beam of 11'4” and draft of 6'.
After reading the book, I became interested in building a model of a Colin Archer cutter and started searching for an appropriate set of plans. Much to my surprise I discovered Direction had a second life. The wrecked vessel, brought back to the U.S. from Greenland and repaired, was still afloat in 1978. The owner, Charles H. Vilas, wrote a book, Saga of Direction (Seven Seas Press, 1978), which discusses Colin Archer boats, retells the story of her shipwreck and describes her second career as a pleasure boat. The book contains detailed line plans and plenty of photos so all the information needed for a model was available (Used copies can be bought for about $12 on the used book web site
My model was built with the plank on bulkhead method and double planked with basswood first and cherry second. The deck is made from birch plywood. As a double-ender with fine lines, planking went easily since sharp curves were absent in the hull. The rigging was also simple, and I can recommend this boat as a good first project for someone interested in trying scratch building. Photos of the model are below along with the plans from the book, Saga of Direction. If you are interested in building a model, by all means buy the book, since it is a good read as well as a complete source of information for an accurate model.
side view.jpgdeck view.jpgTop view.jpgstern view.jpgbody plan.jpglines plan.jpgcross section 2.jpgcross section 1.jpg