Perry Sinnett has been credited by maritime authorities, such as Howard
Chappelle in "American Small Craft", with having built the first vessel
ever to use the strip plank method of construction.
Sinnett was a
fisherman, boat builder and resident of Bailey Island when, in 1877, at
about the age of 33, he began building a few two masted, lapstrake vessels
called Hamptons. The design had originated in Hampton, New Hampshire and
these boats were popular with the inshore fishermen of the day. Sinnett
decided to square off the stern of this double-ender as an experiment.
Shortly after Capt. Sinnett began his square stern experiments. a local
fisherman, Thomas Lubee, asked if the Capt. could built a square sterned,
smooth hulled Hampton for him. Sinnett worked up a model and began
gathering the stock. He built this vessel of wood strips, one and one half
inch by one inch, nailed one on the other and put in ten pairs of steam
bent timbers. This was the first smooth seamed, strip built Hampton ever
constructed. (It has been surmised that he began using strips in boat
construction because of a shortage of clear pine planking. The strips
could be salvaged from the formerly unusable scrap that was abundant
around his shop from cutting planks for previous boats). These sea-worthy
vessels ranged from 21 feet to just over 30 feet with the most popular
being 21 or 24.
About the turn of the century, power was added in the form of a
one-lung Hartford or some other style of single cylinder make and break
engine and by 1907 it was estimated that there were over 300 of these
vessels in Casco Bay waters. Capt. Sinnett guessed that he alone had build
175 of them, and other Bailey Island builders had copied his methods as
well. Prices ranged from about $5.00 to $12.00 per foot and Sinnett
figured he could build a 20 footer for $100.00.