NSC member Jonas Abromaitis proudly launched his homebuilt 21’ gaff-rigged sloop, Stella Maris, in June 2015. The sloop is a John Welsford designed “Penguin,” a lapstrake construction of Meranti plywood over Ash and Douglas Fir framing.

Working from a set of plans and a stack of lumber and plywood, Jonas took care over ten years to build each component and plank with precision and aesthetic appeal.


Construction took place in the family garage.

The resulting craft displays excellent sea-keeping ability and a surprising turn of speed. She may look a bit like a fat duck, but she’s plenty quick, especially sailing a few points off the wind with that large gaff main. Her nearly 1000 lbs of lead ballast keeps her solidly on her feet, even in the gustiest of conditions.


Welsford designed the Penguin to be a safe and capable cruising boat for the coastal waters of New Zealand. It can easily handle anything the Ottawa River can dish up. And with a retractable centerboard, other sailing venues are easily accessible by trailer.

Launch day, June 24, 2015.


Now that’s a fine day on the water!

The cabin is especially roomy, featuring a large berth in the forward compartment, an enclosed head, galley, and comfortable seating for four. Ample storage space would allow for extended cruising.


Lots of room inside for a 21’ boat.

Jonas acknowledges the expertise of Daniel Servranckx in assisting with the setting up of the rather complex gaff rig. If you enjoy hauling on lines while sailing, a gaff rig is the only way to go!

WoodenBoat Magazine deemed the story of Stella Maris worthy of publishing in their monthly online magazine, Small Boats Monthly. You can read a more complete account of the design, the building process and the sailing characteristics of this boat in their December 2015 Issue.

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