This page pictures of the building Getting to grips with the epoxy Painting the boat Various Signets being sailed Other places to look

Building a Wooden Signet Dinghy

This is how I built a Signet Dinghy. It took about 60 hours but I did not cut the wood or take days trying to find the materials. This boat was built from a kit that is obtainable from Fyne Boat Kits. This is a great hobby and, when I have finished, there will be a boat to play in.

The pictures are below but first a bit about the boat itself.

The SigneT was sponsored by the Sunday Times and designed by Ian Proctor in 1961. It is a class racer with its own Association of enthusiastic members.  There are fleets in Australia and US as well as UK. 

I first raced one in 1966 and this is a replacement for the boat I parted with in 1972. I have had over a dozen boats since but this is the one I had to go back to.

 Apart from being a fast racing machine the Signet also makes a splendid cruising boat or day sailer.  Its vast inbuilt buoyancy of 1500 lbs  makes it a perfect boat for those starting out in boating. For those who appreciate comfort this boat is uncluttered by buoyancy bags

 Although the boat is made in the same way as it was originally designed more modern materials are now used.  The epoxy coating makes for a virtually maintenance free finish that does not usually need repair for five years.


Dimensions Length overall 12ft 4 inches (3.78m)
Waterline length: 11ft 6 inches (3.5m)
Maximum Beam: 4ft 11 inches(1.52m)
Draft C/B down 3ft 4" (1.02m)
C/B up 5" (0.13m)
Weight Bare hull 160lbs (72kg)
All up weight 190lbs (86kg)
Sail Area Mainsail area 63 sq ft (5.8sq m)
Jib 25 sq ft (2.3 sq m)
Genoa 42 sq ft (3.9 sq m)
Spinnaker 90 sq ft (8.36 sq m)
Buoyancy Built in 1500lbs (680 kg)
Portsmouth No. 1267


Tools Needed

Not many tools seem to be required but below is a list:


The build

The first task is to stick together the floor panels. The scarf joint is pre-cut so it is simply a question of applying thickened epoxy and weighting it or temporarily screwing it together.

It is resting on some old floor panels


Holes to let the water out?

I used temporary screws to hold the joint together whilst the epoxy cured overnight.

It sounds a bit dramatic to drill holes in a boat but the manual says that it is OK because the holes will be filled with epoxy later - assuming I remember.

It is a strange time to do it but the book says put the keels on next. I must admit it makes the job very easy since it is flat. Note the use of plastic sheeting to prevent the epoxy getting where it should not.

Keel on already

A neat trick This is a clever trick. The slot in the keel is kept parallel by leaving a little piece in place and screwing (again!) through it to the scrap wood. Actually the piece is left in place by Fyne Boat Kits.
Using pieces of wood or plastic to prevent the screws leaving dents in the wood when they are removed. Neat trick to stop the screws damaging the wood
These pieces are the inside panels of the bouyancy tanks. It makes the boat look a bit like a bath with port holes so it is not a good time to invite neighbours in to view your project. Pass the soap
These clips only cost 50 pence each The after part of the cockpit is in place complete with the 'plugholes' on only day 4. This panel has a pre-cut shamphered and bent deck beam. It needed a little triming later but I would not have liked to have cut it in the first place.
With the introduction of the transom I allowed visitors in. The epoxy in use is Professional Epoxy Coatings as supplied with the kit. It has no smell and does not use solvents. Splashes on the skin are easily washed off with soap and water and, the best bit, the mixing pots are free being cleaned yogurt pots. Well engineered
The introduction of a bow king plank makes a great difference as do the side supports which hang like ears. The bow tank parts are held together in a precarious manner but it only has to hold over night until the epoxy sets.
A bit wobbly Big ears
The best looking 'case The centreboard case is assembled off the boat then placed in postion. This idea allows it to be done whilst waiting for the epoxy used on previous steps to cure. This is a very attractive feature of the Signet. When I build another I shall probably cap the endgrain to make it drop dead gorgeous.
Now we have a boat.

The tilt is the photographer and does not reveal a sneaky ploy to improve the speed of the boat. I don't remember putting in the mahogany thwart so it must have been done very late one night.

No-longer bath like
A glove compartment?
Very late but I could not drag myself away Fixing on the outwale with the 50 pence clips late at night. The supports for the aft tank top can be seen.

Those two bottles in the background are the epoxy resin and activator.

You should see how many are on the other side Sticking down the deck was fun. 'Use any weight you can find' says the manual. I even used the fire extinguisher.

I borrowed 39 clips which were perfect for the job. Unfortunately, they are only to show off because this deck was stuck down the day before with the aid of paint pots.

This is a clever idea. Where the aft deck bends it is held in place by some pieces of scrap ply clamped to the transom.

This boat has an arrow head design to the decks. That is, the grain has been selected to go in different directions and form an arrow with the point at the bow.

After deck


Waiting for the varnish and paint

Two coats of epoxy and it is finished.

No this has not been varnished but it is fully protected and ready to be used.

No varnish here Unfortunately, I will not be using it but painting it.

Eventually there will be a page of the painted boat and the boat on the water.

Ask for more information on the SigneT

Getting to grips with the epoxy Painting the boat Sailing pictures Other places to go