Sailor singlehands custom shed build

Pancho Cole of Bar Harbor in the new bow-roof shed he built to store his Luders sailboat. PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Pancho Cole of Bar Harbor in the new bow-roof shed he built to store his Luders sailboat.

BAR HARBOR — When last winter’s snow collapsed the tent over the Luders sailboat in Pancho Cole’s dooryard, he started planning an upgrade.

This winter, he built a new bow-roof 16-by-36-foot shed with a heavy-duty tarp over a simple wood frame. The shed design is elegant, giving the impression of a boat within a boat, or of a small chapel. He’s designed the tarp coverings so the boat doesn’t get direct light in the summer, which would make paint dry too fast during spring fit-out. The light that does come in is low to the ground.

Cole admired the shed a friend, the late Alessandro Vitelli, had built for his International One Design at his home in Northeast Harbor. “I took pictures of ‘Sandro’s shed,” he said. “This design can take a lot of weight.”

He also got advice from Jim Elk, who has a boat shop down the road. They decided it would be safe to hang the boat’s mast from the shed’s ridge pole.

The shed is 16 feet, 8 inches tall and long enough to store the boat’s 33-foot mast with a little wiggle room.

“The old shed was not big enough to work in,” he said. “Now, I can hoist the mast off the boat, store it up top and lower it down to the ground to work on it.”

Construction took about six weeks. Cole built each of the frames by setting up a jig: blocks screwed down to the concrete floor to form a pattern. Then he bent pieces of pine strapping into the bow shape. Each frame is two pieces of strapping connected with spacer blocks.

He held the first frame vertical by tying it to the pipe staging. Then he stood up each successive frame and attached it to the ridge pole. Last were diagonal cross-pieces pressed into the inside of the structure, doors and the tarp coverings.

“It took a lot of force to press the cross-pieces in,” he said, “but they made the structure much more stable once they were in place.”

The doors open inward, helpful in midwinter for access to the snow blower, which shares space with the boat.

Cole races Dilli-Gaff, which was known as Etude when he bought it in 2009, in several Luders class race series put on by the Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor fleets.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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