Building a Hankinson True Grit

A Loose Building Log of the Project

by Ray Macke

First Entry - December 2008

Plans Available at Glen-L







In the winter of 2005 I decided to get serious about building a True Grit.  The previous spring I had impassively started by building four of the frames but the warm summer days smothered the urge.  I had searched for over a year for a design that fit my criteria for the perfect "retirement boat."  I wanted it to be trailerable but still large enough to comfortable for two on long river runs.  A shallow draft and displacement or semi-displacement hull was sought for fuel economy as was a small four-stroke outboard for power.  A planing hull was not even considered.  My wife requested a stand up shower, a real head (not a port-a-potti) and a berth that didn't require entry on all fours or stooped.


Although not reaching all my goals the True Grit / Coastal Cruiser*  was the best compromise I could locate. It lacked the ability to carry a flybridge, a feature I dearly wanted but does not lend itself to a shallow draft trailerable design.  Ken Hankinson was insistent there would be too much weight too high and it should not be added.  Also, when further considering it, I realized the extra heigth woud be a problem too when trailering. So I had to let go of the daydream of piloting from a lofty perch.  As often the case with boat building, compromise is an ever-present partner shaping and guiding the end product. My desire to build was almost pathological but still there was lingering doubt while attempting to justify the amount of money to be spent as well as considering if the design would serve my need. 


But as winter approached the decision was made.  With plans in hand I was ready to start on yet another boat building adventure. But this was to be different than building my Cabin Skiff. In order to obtain full spousal support I had to pledge I would not allow the project to consume my soul as had Therapy. The guarantee was it would be a winter only endeavor. This would allow us to have a life during the build as well as spread the cost over a longer term. The more rational pace seem to make sense as retirement was realistically at least ten years away AND there is always Therapy to provide my boating wanderlust.


My intent here is not to as closely chronicle the process as I had done in "Building a Cabin Skiff."  I honestly didn't want to invest the time building a website when I could be building a boat.  Until now I have successfully avoided it but I have had numerous request to provide some photos of my progress.  Because of that I have decided to offer more or less a photo journal with a few comments.


 But first, I feel I need to point out there are several ways I have strayed from what many consider conventional boat building practices.  My selection of some materials and equipment will probably rile the traditional boat builders but the problem is theirs.  I am not an advocate of any of these just following my own path.  I am building this boat to serve but one master - myself - and I am at peace with my choices. With that said,  here we go.......


* The True Grit and Coastal Cruiser share the same hull but each receiving a different cabin treatment.



Building the Hull


Rolling the Hull


Epoxy Allergic Reaction - AGAIN!


Adding the Cabin Sole


Roughing in the Berth


Cabin Interior - #1


Cabin Interior - #2


Hanging Locker & Head


Cockpit Lockers


Why Use MDO?


Wiring & Wire Labeling


Why The True Grit?


Prep and Painting


                          Which Engine?  updated 9/29/11


The Trailer and Weighing


Exiting The Shop


Loading On The Trailer


First Launch


A Tour - Page 1


A Tour - Page 2


A Tour - Page 3


A Tour - Page 4


Impressions - Page 1


Impressions - Page 2







Riding out a Storm on Kentucky Lake

Solo to Nashville, TN     Added 04/06/13


Just Cruising On Kentucky Lake      Added 10/2014




Corrections & Adjustments   added 8 /11


Autopilot and GPS   added 9/11


Weighing In   added 11/16/11


Propane - Lesson Learned and Heater  Installed    added 11/20/11


Outboard Bracket Mount    Added 12/02/11

Carbon monoxide Alarm Sounding     Added 08/06/2013

Electronics Upgrade  Added 5/23/2016

Last Entry - 5/23/2016