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Fancy Free With A Twist

On November 15, 2013, in News From Gayle, Plywood Construction, Sailboats, by Gayle Brantuk

For over 60 years, we’ve strived to provide the best plans and patterns we can so that beginning builders can build their own boat and have something that performs beautifully and that they can be proud of.

Over the years, we’ve developed guidelines on changing a design so that first, the change is within the abilities of most beginning builders and second, that the resulting boat will perform as designed. Can you make changes that we don’t recommend such as changing beam, increasing length on a sailboat and still get great results?

The answer is often times a resounding yes. However, it may be that we don’t ever hear from those whose changes resulted in a horrible mess! Today I’d like to share with you one builder who made changes to our Fancy Free outside of those recommended by our designers and is completely delighted with the results.

Glen-L Fancy Free as built by Gale Elenbaum - 142

Meet Fancy Free builder Gale Elenbaum of Marietta, South Carolina. Gale stopped by our office probably a year ago at least and brought photos of his beautiful boat and shared a bit about building it. Gale is a retired ER Nurse so he had plenty of time to devote to building his masterpiece.

Glen-L Fancy Free as built by Gale Elenbaum - 159

It took Elenbaum 8 months to build the Fancy Free he named “Alexcia” which is a combination of his wife’s father’s name and her middle name. Gale changed the beam 2″ and also lengthened her and even changed the bottom. All changes that aren’t recommended in our article. However, according to Gale, she “sails like a dream”.

He used Southern Yellow Pine for the battens, white maple for the cabin stringers and seat framework. The keel is Douglas-fir and for the planking he used Malaysian mahogany in 4’x 8′ sheets. He added a metal piece to the skeg for protection against floating debris.


Elenbaum made his deck of plywood that he routed and then filled with filler to give it a planked look. He also lengthened the cockpit hatch and altered it to slide open. Nice feature in  compact 21 foot sailboat. He also trimmed his windows with Trek, the weather resistant decking material. Gale’s Fancy Free is powered by a 4 hp Mercury.


Congratulations Gale on a beautiful boat and for the successful changes you’ve made! Happy sailing! To see all 175 of Gale’s photos, see his Gallery here.

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