The Detailers: Robert Darr

If the opening frame of this video doesn’t draw you in, then you can go back to watching your reality TV shows…. you must not be a [snowbound, longing for springtime] sailor. What is it about having the tiller in one hand and the mainsheet in another – sitting quietly in almost no breeze – aboard a little wooden beauty of a sailboat that captivates every sailors imagination? Am I right? Have you clicked?

We reached out to boatbuilder, Robert Darr, to get his insight into the work he was doing in our featured film. He had some cool insight to offer us about his work and about this boat in the film:

RD: The boat that I am hand-planing in the video is the ‘Eleanor’, named after my daughter.  I designed it about 12 years ago as part of the design class that I teach at the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding in Sausalito, CA.  The vessel is a sturdy mini ocean cruiser, 21′ long sloop with a displacement of nearly 2 tons. We cut the pepperwood and black locust trees for her hardwood, and local fir for her deck. We cast her lead keel and also patterned and cast her bronze fittings.  The other boat in the shop is the Loon, which I designed about 9 years ago, also in our design class.  Loon is 20′, with a displacement of one ton, half of which is in a bulb keel that adjusts from two feet to five feet of draft. Viewers may be interested to see other designs at our website:

Another tidbit about Bob and his school’s work that seems worth mentioning is their basic philosophy about teaching the craft of boatbuilding:

The Arques School has, since its inception, harvested its own lumber as much as possible, abandoned the use of toxic fungicides, and limited the use of harmful glues. Power tool noise hazards are reduced through an emphasis on hand tools, which also reduces the production of wood dust. The Arques School’s classes have been developed over the last twelve years to provide adult students with an authentic understanding of traditional boatbuilding.

Bob and the crowd at Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding is yet another example of fine boatbuilders who have, for many years, bought various products from Jamestown Distributors.  We are proud to have contributed the great work being done by Bob and his boatbuilding students. Thanks for the inside scoop on ‘Eleanor,’ Bob.

Leave a Reply