Skip to content

Harbormaster Havel’s Homebuilt Boat Heaven

We’ve been in touch with Richardson Bay harbormaster Curtis Havel over the past couple of weeks as storms have taken their toll on boats anchored out on the Bay. Aside from those stories, Curtis sent a photo to our Sailagram email, [email protected], to show us another side of his sailing life. Pictured below are Curtis and his son Declan sailing their homebuilt Passagemaker Dinghy from Chesapeake Light Craft Company.

Curtis Havel Chesapeake Light Craft
Curtis Havel and his son Declan, plus the sea dogs Calixo and Rocky, sail across Tomales Bay aboard their homebuilt Chesapeake Light Craft sailing dinghy.
© 2021 Havel Family

We asked Curtis to give us a bit more background on the boat, and he responded that after he and his wife sold their Ericson 38 he said he needed another project boat. Curtis decided to order the stitch-and-glue kit from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC), but also mentioned that if someone has the tools and know-how, they can buy just the plans from CLC and build their vessel from scratch.

Chesapeake Light Craft
From an empty garage floor a thing of beauty takes shape.
© 2021 Curtis Havel

Curtis said his CLC boat is a gunter-rigged sloop, with a mainsail and floating jib (although he rigs a forestay for a little more stability). She has a length of 11 feet, 7 inches and a beam of 4 feet, 8 inches. With the daggerboard down the draft is 30 inches. She also has oarlocks for when the wind dies.

Chesapeake Light Craft Passagemaker
The Passagemaker takes a break from the passage on Tomales Bay. (If you read the Bay Area island-hopping story by Tony Johnson in our February issue, you’ll know the name of those two islands in the background.)
© 2021 Curtis Havel

Although the build kept Curtis busy from April through August, he said it was super-fun, and he managed to get the whole family helping out at various points. He’s taken the Passagemaker out a few times now and days like the one above have been great days of fun, adventure and exploration. Declan really loves the responsiveness of dinghy sailing (and Curtis does too). It’s been a neat and fulfilling experience to build a boat and then take it sailing!

Have you got a homebuilt project in the works or already afloat? Let us know here.

By the way, if you like the idea of building your own stitch-and-glue boat but don’t have the space or tools to do it at home, keep an eye out for Spaulding Marine Center‘s spring boatbuilding classes. You’ll be able to build your own dinghy, peapod or kayak — depending on the class — from start to finish, on-site.


  1. Jeff Martin - Kentfield 2 years ago

    Nice work Capt. Curtis! Looks a whole lot like my Mirror Dinghy, Hull #20458

  2. Gus van Driel 2 years ago

    WOW, what a gorgeous boat!!! Something to be really, really proud of.

  3. Peter Adams 2 years ago

    I built a Colin Angus Oxford Wherry. It is a 15ft 10 in rowing boat. I got the sliding seat kit which is a lot less expensive than buying a manufactured one. Total weight dry is 52 lbs. which makes beach launching easier. The kit was very complete, including all materials needed as part of the price.

Leave a Comment

Prada Cup Final
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli defeated INEOS Team UK 7-1 to advance to the 36th America's Cup Match against Emirates Team New Zealand beginning on March 6 in Auckland.