The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














Here is a sample of some of the interesting mail we get...
January - February - March - April - May - June

Have you had any more feedback on SailDart? I'm just curious.

Thomas Hamernik

Editor's note: If you have not tried Tom's wonderful sail dart calculator, you really should. And when you do, drop Tom a note to let him know how much you appreciate his work.- CTD

A Houseboat in Panama
Hi my name is Joseph. I'm in Panama City, Panama and I was thinking of getting a two bedroom house boat built here and then selling it in the states. How hard is it to bring the boat in to the country and sell it. What type of papers will I need and roughly how much time and money would it take to bring it into the states. Do you know any boat builders in the Republic of Panama? I'll appreciate any info. you can supply, or contact person. Thanks Joseph
More Classified Ad Scams

May 20-
about my classified ad:
I have a Jim Howard from Canada who would like to buy the boat. He says he will send me a Cashers check that I can run through my bank and hold the boat untill the check clears..Then he will have someone pick it up..The check will be in US dollars and I have been comunicating by email..I told him According to my bank I will have to wait a Min of 12 working days to a max of 15 working days for the check to clear and he has no problems.
He has not asked to give me more than the asking price and has not asked any additional money be give to the shipper,. Have you heard of any scams comming out of canda? How does this sound , I know This is my decison just wondered if any one had any dealings with Mr Jim Howard of Canada
Thanks Ron Thweatt

May 21-
well Chuck: it took Mr Howard a week to get around to asking me to cash a check WesterUnion send the diffrence of $2600 from the $3900 he was sending me he is so Kind he is giving me $100 Dollars for my "Running around" I am in the south but I do have shoes even if i choose not to put them on - I replied NO NO NO I will not be part of a cash and send program and asked him to not send me any additional emails. The boat is on Trailer sailor and your site. so you could put the word out not the Canadians are after us now! must have been something we said. He goes by Jim Howard will ask for photos about the boat never asking for anything but the lowest selling price as any one would then after about 4to5 emails and you send you address he then lowers the boom about the scam to cash send and pick up of the boat.. Thanks for your imput last week. should have known but all he has at this point is my address no phone nos. and the boat is not at that address
Thanks for the good info
Ron Thweatt

New Design Contest
Hi Chuck!

Just wanted to let you know I, for one, am excited to see what comes out of the recent contest for the Puget Sound cruiser! I have longed to have someone design such a boat for me to build. I have lived up here all my life (47 years now). My limited boating experience has shown me that the design problems you listed are accurate and unique to us here; limited beach access, lots of rain, big tide currents, ferries, and cold nights were all there.

Thanks for running the contest! I look forward to seeing the entries; I hope there is a bunch of them.

Best of Boating!

Greg Sluys

Wing Nuts
Free Boat Design


Check out the updates - there's some good suff here, as always, but
it's particularly hot if you're into canoes!


Duckworks Messabout Pictures

Please publish this url for my pics. People are welcome to download them.


I'll leave it up for a few months.

Richard Spelling

Free Boat Design Resources
Check out the updates - there's some good suff here, as always, but
it's particularly hot if you're into canoes!

Gavin Atkin

I love Duckworksmagazine.com.

Just thought I'd say it.

Bob Howell
Well worth the money, you guys. Duckworks is a real pleasure to browse through, constantly surprises me with the breadth of the topics and projects covered, and has become one of my favorite resources.


Ken Burke
Back from Florida and happy to be seeing the granddaughter regularly and working on boats. Current project is a 13-1/2' stripper built to the Mac MacCarthy plans and book. I spent lots of time looking for #18 1-1/4" wire nails to no avail. (Mac no longer has them.) The longest I could find were 3/4" and they just don't hold. Finally found the solution when wandering through a Home Depot in the heart of Manhattan, 18 ga. 1-1/4" galvanized brad nails. I split them off and use them as I would the wire nails and because of the square shape I think they actually hold better. Of course I could buy a brad nailer but the thought of using one on a stripper doesn't appeal to me.
Steve Fisher

I neglected to mention a source for the LED festoon lights used in the navigation lights that were the subject of the March story, "Two Ideas." The bulbs came from www.superlumination.com, which has always given me good service and seems to have very good prices. I'm sure anyone could find more sources by typing into a search engine "LED festoon bulbs" or "LED festoon lights," or some variation thereof.

Gary Blankenship
No gloves?
After all we hear on epoxy safety no one in the Rifleman building article is wearing gloves or any protection at all. Safety! Good article otherwise and it looks like all are having a blast doing it. I have thought of building one if my shop was bigger.

Steve Miller
Portland, OR

New Grandson
Do they make PFD's that small? A custom made paddle is do-able, but the PFD may have to wait a year or so. He's beautiful.
Jim Chamberlin
Sail Dart Calculator
Here's a bit from one of the e-mails I've received, so far (I've left out the name for privacy reasons). Looks like SailDart is working for Jim M.:

Just having a ball with your Sail Dart Calculator. I'd asked Jim M for the dart layout for Mixer and he couldn't find it so he used your calculator to work out the measurements for me. (I'm guessing you gave him a copy.) His screen shots were not enough but since I've downloaded the later version (I run 2000) I've been able to get all the details.

I've also punched in a few sails I"ve been considering for a smaller boat and have been very impressed with the results.

To give myself a hard copy I've been cutting and pasting the pattern with the layout info via Word. Bit of a pain but very neat results. Would be better if my home printer were colored <g>.

I don't have the higher end math skills to comment but the results look very good to my untrained eye. The last sail I laid out I did the pillow under the sail method. Will have to get the data in Sail Dart Calculator and see how well I did.

Thanks again.

Thomas Hamernik

I was reading Nichols article on Duckworks titled "Replacing a Modern Sailing Rig with a Traditional One" at

He shows the CE placed forward of the CLR. What? Is that right? I thought I understood this before reading this article and I'm having a hard time wrappng my mind around why the CE should be forward of the CLR.

Michalak's article on sail math suggests lining them up or placing the CE slightly abaft of the CLR (thus inducing slight weather helm).

I just happened to run into the book "The Complete Sailor" by David Seidman over lunch at the library and he says the same thing as Michalak on p94. Haven't had a chance to look at my other books yet.

Wouldn't Nichols placement in the Duckworks article induce lee helm?

I understand this varies somewhat with hull type, but the hull in Nichols' article doesn't look much different than the typical small boats you see around (i.e. it isn't a big deep displacement hull).

Could someone please enlighten me?


David Nichols responds:

Having the CE (center of effort) in front of the CLR (center of lateral resistance) is necessary because as the boat heels over, the footprint or the water line of the boat becomes asymmetrical and this causes the boat to want to round up into the wind (weather helm). Imagine the symmetrical, bullet shaped, water line of the upright hull, as the boat heels over and starts to move forward this bullet shape becomes a ‘u’ shape and this ‘u’ shape causes the boat to round up into the wind. Moving the CE (center of effort) of the sail in front of the CLR helps to counter-balance this asymmetry of the hull.

If the hull remains symmetrical as it heels then Mr. Michalak and Mr. Seidman, both knowledgeable men, would be correct in the placement of the CE and CLR. It’s good to remember that the center of effort of the sail and the center of lateral resistance of the boat are really theoretical points and that these points are in a constant state of flux as the boat and sail move through the water and air.

Finding the balance of a sail boat is really just finding the right compromise for these constantly changing forces. Each boat is different and my article was meant to give the builder a starting point to find the best compromise.

I hope this has helped clear up your confusion about this subject. If you would like to read more about this you might check out chapter 4 in Classic Small Craft You Can Build by John Gardner. Dave Gerr has also written about balancing a sail boat in Boatbuilder Magazine, January/ February 1992, and, I believe, in his book The Nature of Boats.

Epoxy Scale

I want to share with you the positive feedback on my Epoxy Ratio Scale article. Thanks for publishing it. Seems I have been sitting on the idea for too long.

From: "Steve Miller"
To: <scsbmsjoe@yahoo.com>
Subject: scale
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 17:42:45 -0700


The scale is absolutely brilliant! I also use System 3 by weight. I use a small digital gram scale. To weigh small batches I zero the scale with the cup on it then pump out whatever hardener I need. Noting the weight I multiply that by 2.33 to get the resin weight and add that number to the original hardener number to get the total number needed. Now its simple to drizzle the resin in until the scale reads the right amount. Pretty hard to mess up but limited by the 100 gram max of the scale. I have an old triple beam scale that I was thinking about using for bigger batches but your idea is just too simple and elegant to not use it. I'll build one tomorrow.

Thanks for sending the article to Duckworks.

Steve Miller
Portland, OR

Joe Tribulato - Watsonville, CA

And another one.

Joe T.

Subject: Epoxy Scale
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 2005 08:07:35 -0500
From: "Bill Allen"
To: <scsbmsjoe@yahoo.com>

What a great idea !

I use West System epoxy with the graduated pumps.
I'm on my third gallon
building the Payson / Bolger Bobcat. The problem I had was with an older set of mixing pumps that I had had for a couple of years. I noticed I was getting low on hardner but still had more resin than I thought I should have. I checked the pump and sure enough, the little restrictor plate in the hardner pump was partially collapsed which meant my ratio had been slightly off. I don't think it seriously affected the finished product, but I knew I wasn't getting the exact ratio for the first half of my resin. I went and bought a new set of pumps, but there are a lot of times when I need less than a full measure from the pumps. When I needed a small amount I would always have try to find some other use for the remainder of my small batch.

Epoxy is so expensive I hate wasting even small amounts. Your scale idea seems to be a near perfect solution. I'll build one this weekend and give it a try. I'll let you know how it works.

Thanks for a great idea.

William Allen

Another satisfied customer. Joe T

From: "Gary Lepak"
To: <scsbmsjoe@yahoo.com>
Subject: Epoxy scale
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 12:02:00 -0700

Hi Joe,

Just wanted to let you know I built a scale to your idea a few nights ago and have had a couple days use of it. It is great! I love it. I have been building my own boats with epoxy since 1970 and have been through maybe 150 gallons of the stuff. I've used the Gougeon expensive pump for a big project, but have been using System 3 the last 10 years or so with small pumps and graduated cups. Your scale has all the other cheap methods beat, and is just about as good as an expensive pump and doesn't need to be cleaned. I'm cheap too.

Thanks for sharing.
Gary Lepak
Port Angeles, WA, USA

Joe Tribulato - Watsonville, CA

Dear Chuck,

There are two things that I seek. Does anyone know where there are available the original West Wight Potter plans for home construction in plywood (15 or 19 foot)? These are probably in England somewhere. It is also my understanding that, in the misty past, the original Sunfish was designed to be built in plywood. Does anyone know where those original drawings are?

Next is any help in finding effective fabric treatments for rot proofing cotton sails. I can find and sew heavy cotton OK, but how to treat them? Heck, dacron is getting too expensive and cotton was good enough for 300+ years, right?

If anyone has any information, please write me at b9bpattson@aol.com

Bob Patterson

Simple and minimalist design

In my situation some basic considerations are mandatory. My first mate would sail off the edge of a flat earth with me but not without a convenience that had a roof! And so the search went on. Many designs use more weight in ballast than we would carry for all our provisions (toilet,cooler,stuff) and I wanted to tow as light as possible and be able to store inside an already crowded garage (boat investment will last much longer). Apparently I'm not alone in this design quest as the theme surfaces again and again in the chat groups I follow. Maybe simplicity and minimalism is the core of this
home boatbuilder thing. I'd like to encourage Gary Lepak to
keep the details coming on a very, very interesting boat.
Yours, Robert Jolly


Chuck, hola....

I am a new suscriber, well, some months now... Long tine fan of MAIB, and wish I could read your's in the tub in the morning. alas.... (We met in Sept. at Lake Powell, the Gale family-"the mud kids", Heather with her whitehall and my pulling skiff.) re. latex paints....

Tom, my son in law, has painted parts of topsides. not coated w/epoxy w latex and it did not last thru the winter. (nasty) Also the ply suffered mightily.

I have limited knowlege of durability of latex, only having used it on house projects, but have found it does not hold up without a very good interface between it and the wood, ie, epoxy or a quality primer, ie, oil based or epoxy primer.

I highly reccomend System 3's water based primer, pricey, slow curing, but incredibly tough stuff.

...Jack Hicks

Fillet or Fillit?

Is the word fillet when used in boatbuilding pronounced as the same as 'fillet mignon' or as in metalworking 'fill it' weld?

Best Regards, Terry

Design Contest
Your judges might like to know that a father and two teen-aged sons set out on 1 June 1980 from Winnipeg, Manitoba in a 20 ft canoe and reached New Orelans, Louisiana on 21 August, in less than 90 days. The first part of the trip was upstream against the current on the Red River, and one son suffered so much from asthma he couldn't paddle.

They then continued along the coast to Mexico where they were held up for some months and one son went home but the father and other son paddled on along the coast and into South America eventually reaching the mouth of the Amazon. The entire trip was done under their own power, no hitchting rides on motor vehicles.

In my opinion the judges greatly understimated the capability of narrow boats.

Source: "Paddle to the Amazon" by Don Starkwell (1987)

William Watt

Dear Dave Zeiger

You and I have a common goal, we have both seen the many debates on which sail rig is better than the other, most of which is pure speculation or quotes from one of Czeslaw Marchaj's books where he reports on his numerous wind tunnel experiments on various rigs.

click to enlargeThe gimbal test rig you suggest is very intriguing. I wanted to share a dream of a sail rig testing apparatus that is along the same lines, possibly it could be called a poor man's wind tunnel. What I envisioned is that some block of wood is suspended from a string, it's sole purpose is to hold a model sail rig and trim the main sheet to a certain angle. Then a fan blows down on the sail rig, which should produce lift. To evaluate the rig's lift, a counterweight is suspended on the other side of the string and the weight is adjusted until the rig does not rise or fall. Some sort of rail or slide might have to be added to keep the hull from sliding around on the board.

But in the end, the reason this test rig stays on "the list" instead of actually being built is because I built a PDRacer which is the ultimate test machine, all the hulls are alike with only the sail rigs being different. To make a new full sized sail rig, it only takes me about an hour plus a $9 sheet of polytarp. First one across the finish line has bragging rights to the best sail rig.


Dear Lon,

Great idea, fella! Just a quick note that the Boston Public Library has a pretty awesome collection of old boat stuff too, but some is in pretty ratty condition (probably from much use over the years).

Bob Patterson

Classified ads
Hi Chuck. John asked me to write you and to remove the 25 foot albin fri\om the classifieds as his computer is down. A testimony to your popularity he has been getting almost daily calls on it but has decided to keep it. Hopefully nest fall we will refit it with a stern drive 9.9 yamaha with a spare 9.9 and try to motor it up the intercoastal to canada starting march of 2006. Thanks and I still owe you the completion of the Happy Adventure a Bolger Houseboat which is a wonderful small river cruiser. regards Paul McLellan, preparing for a 5 week cruise on a converted Martha Jane on the canals of france in May. - Paul McLellan
The Peanut Effect

Building the two River Runner prototypes I have observed what I call the "peanut effect". This "effect" is still a puzzle. It first reared its ugly head on RR16. I went ahead and finished the boat anyway, thinking that I had made some erroneous measurements and cuts in width for the seat frames. The peanut effect seemed to be somewhat ameliorated after finishing the hull installing the chine logs, bottom and wales.

Of course, I can still see it right away, even on the finished hull, but it may escape the notice of others at first. In any case, I told the RR16 owner that if others do notice to tell them, "this is a prototype of a new hydrodynamic hull design called the "peanut hull".

Here is what happens. River Runner has a forward bulkhead 3 ft back from the bow. Another bulkhead is 3 ft ahead of the transom. In between are two seat frames. Bottom width is supposed to be a uniform 32 inches between both bulkheads. The design calls for each bulkhead and seat frame bottom to be 32 inches. Done. The sides are fastened to the seat frames, then bulkheads, then bow and transom as usual. Of course, the bow and transom pieces are narrower at their bottoms. The sides curve ahead and aft of each respective bulkhead. One can look at Michalek's study plan on his plan sheet on Duckworks to see what I mean more clearly.

When this assembly is viewed from the bow and the chine logs are not yet in place, the "peanut effect" makes its appearance. Looking down the hull toward the stern the lines of each side become wider, then aft of the 1st bulkhead they become narrower. Just forward of the rear bulkhead, they become wider again then finally narrowing to the stern. It looks like a peanut shape - hence the term I gave "the peanut effect".

As I wrote before, I chalked it up to dimension "pilot error" by me on RR16 and went forward anyway. Now, since I have seen the same thing occur on the larger RR18, I was alarmed. I carefully measured the seat frames and bulkhead bottom dimensions. In RR18's case, they are all 36 inches. However, just 3 or 4 inches aft of the front bulkhead the bottom width as measured between the inside edges of the sides is 36 3/8" !

This immediate area of the widening of the hull at the bow and stern ends also happens to coincide with the drastic change in flare of the sides of the hull. What to do? I don't think that I can clamp and 'pull' the sides in and make the 3/8" plywood bend enough in that short a distance to make the uniform 36" dimension.

Have you seen anything like this before? In the future hulls is it possible to anticipate this and compensate by narrowing slightly the bottom width of the bulkheads so that this bend coincides with the uniform width desired? Or is there a different answer? Or does one just 'live with it' ?

I cannot take the hull apart on RR18 now as it is already glued up. Next step is chine logs, then the bottom.

Please advise.

Marine Toilets
Wow, I'm getting a lot of feedback on the toilet article - all positive! In one day I got the letter below. Max Wawrzniak said he LOVED it, and Garth Battista was pretty pumped to have the head problem solved for Cormorant. Guess it was time to mention the unmentionable.

Hi Chuck

I just finished reading Patrica Lesh "Launchitis"

What a great read, very entertaining, She has no email so I am voicing through you. I will have a very different look at people launching the next time out. Should be less than 2 months. (winter, bahh) .
I have never noticed this in people. I don't think I have it, however the fact that I don't see the others around me during this event makes me think that I might. I am fortunate to be one of these who gets the boat in under 2 mins. But getting it out is a whole different story.

Keep up the great site.

Responses to movie clips
  • love ‘em – I vote to keep them. - Rick Malagodi
  • Great idea to put movies up! I'd rather see them in .mpg or .wmv formats though so they can run on windows media player. My two cents worth. - Doug
  • Loved the sailing clips. Keep up the good work New Stuff is Great.. RP
  • Keep them coming. You get a much better sense of the boat in a movie. - Reed Smith
  • I like the idea very much. Don't you have a "rowing Mixer" movie from Thomas? I would love to see it. - Wojtek
  • I like the video clips, they're easy to watch. Here at work the download is no problem at all. I'll try 'em at home in a couple days on dialup. I don't get to see homebuilt boats in action very much, and I can't see mine from across the water when I'm in it either. I'm going to have to get a video of Trixie B in action. - Jerry Church
  • Yeah! Lot’s of fun if it doesn’t suck up to much bandwidth for you. I think it’s great to be able to see home built’s in action! - David Farr
  • The video clips are a great idea, and the around 1 MB size has pretty good download time and resolution (this on DSL 768 downstream, 256 up). Pictures are worth a thousand words, they say, and the video provides a more dynamic understanding of what is happening. - Matt Meacham
  • I love the video clip idea. We recently installed DSL, and so have the bandwidth to enjoy these. There isn't a lot of sailboats around my neck of the woods, and so it is really instructive to see someone else sailing. - Dave Hahn
Viking Longboat

Greetings! I am the president of a Non-profit Medieval Recreation group and we are trying to plan a project to build a replica Viking Longship at 2/3 scale (about 40 foot at the waterline and 6 foot at the beam). We are looking for sponsors for the project (we are the appropriate non-profit type so donations would be tax deductable) but we are also looking for technical advice as well. We have several very skilled carpenters, but no shipwrights per se.

The Shire of Glenn Linn is in Upstate NY, on the sunny shores of Lake George. Our borders encompass the Southern end of Lake Champlain as well. Specifically we're in Glens Falls, but the boat will most likely be built in Lake George. Many of the components (ribs, fittings, etc) can be made here in my shop and assembled on-site, but we're planning and determining resources right now.

The ultimate goal is to build her and sail all along the two lakes (George and Champlain) and the canal system, marauding as we go, and building public awareness of Middle-Ages ship building and culture. Our first campaign would be to "take" Fort William Henry and then Fort Ticonderoga on Lake George.

Seamus Maguidhir
Seneschal, Shire of Glenn Linn
Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
Ad Officium ut Congregatio

Small Craft Advisor

Hi Chuck,

Just wanted to mention we're always on the lookout for great cover shots. If you come across any great small-boat photos by owners/builders, let me know. I don't pay much, but people usually like to see their boat on the cover.

Josh Colvin
Small Craft Advisor

Design Contest


10 minutes of the 'I won Boogie' later…: You know, I've been on pins and needles for at least 3 weeks now. I want to thank the judges for their time and efforts in what must have been a very difficult deliberation process.

Right now I'm a little speechless so I'll compose a suitable letter of thank you and comment later.

Steve Lewis (back to the boogie)

Thanks for running yet another design contest.

It was good to see the sprit sails and the over-the-mast crab claw sail. It was sad to learn there is not enough wind on the lower Mississippi for the trip. There are four sailing clubs on the Ottawa River in the city of Ottawa, one across the river in Quebec, and others close by on the Gatineau and Madawaska Rivers.

I do most of my small boat sailing on the Rideau River. All of these rivers are considerably smaller than the mighty Mississippi.
There's plenty of wind on all these waters from spring break up to winter freeze up. Lake and river winds require different tactics and make for hours and hours of fascinating, never boring, sailing, in my opinion. We have boats sail up from Montreal every summer. It was interesting to read that a third of the time there is not enough wind on the lower Mississippi to because in this area about a third of the time there is too much wind. I can imagine there would be no sailing clubs on the lower Mississippi where the current makes it only possible to sail downstream. The lack of wind is a shame because on a trip downriver prevailing westerlies would put a sailboat on a fast reach most of the time. As high pressure systems moved through the wind aft would be ideal for a spinnaker.

I think it was a a bit unfair for the judges to base their decision on a personal preference for fat boats over thin boats.
Trips on wilderness rivers are in thin boats, if you ignore inflatable rafts which are sometimes used. Thousands of people do these trips every year. Hundreds come back year after year. I'd find sitting for hours and days on end in a fat power boat excrutiatingly boring.

The only real objection I have to this year's judging is one sexist comment that a woman would not be willing to make a trip in anything but a fat motor boat. I'd invite that judge to come up here and try competing against our local women sailors, and to take a wilderness canoe trip during which he would quite likely be struggling to keep up with woman trip members and woman guides.

I have to mention one amusing thing I saw which was the contestant who budgeted $26 a day for food. Some people claim there are no differences between Canadians and Americans but diet would have to be one.

I hope the Duckworks design contests continue to provide novel ideas, great entertainment, and interesting differences of opinion.

William Watt

The Mystery of Inexpensive Marine Hardware


Can you or your readers shed light on this situation?

I was looking into getting a couple additional genoa lead cars for my 22' Capri. You don't need to know what they are, or why I wanted them, for what follows, however.

I looked up the parts in the usual catalogs - West Marine, Defender, etc. They have lead cars from Harken, Lewmar and Sheaefer starting from about $130.
That seemed pretty high. The cars I have do not have a manufacturer's name for part number on them anywhere.

I called a Capri dealer. She did not have lead cars in stock, but suggested I call CatalinaDirect. (That's a company; she did not mean to place a direct call to Catalina Yachts.) I've dealt with CatalinaDirect before and found them knowledgeable and helpful. They have a couple of choices of lead car at $37 and $47.

The point of the story, and the connection to Duckworks, is that there are companies out there making marine hardware that is suitable for smaller boats that is much cheaper than the stuff made by the big name companies for fancy racing boats, and the cheap stuff is not getting into the catalogs of the big distributors. I'm sure these are exactly the products you want to feature in the Duckworks store, but how do you find out about them?

Peter Vanderwaart

Feedback from the fair sex

ha ha
Sandra Leinweber

Out of the Shop
Editors note: It seems out friend Richard Frye has been busy this winter - he had a quintuple heart by-pass operation. Here is a report:
Hi Chuck,

Well .....I figured I'd let ya'll know that I'm out of the shop now and do'n pretty damn good! Chrissie has taken excellent care of me...you know...making sure I don't do anything stupid and break something else. Yep...them 5 by-passes was enough repair work for a while, and I ain't in no hurry to go back into the shop to git fixed. Got a good report from doc today and should be released on Feb 21st and will be totally released in about the end of March. We are both anxious to get back into the water and out and about in the Teardrop. later

Richard Frye.

The Real Max
Just who is the real Max? It's taken me more time than I'd like to admit, Shipmates. But I've finally solved the mystery. All the clues are there in photos accompanying Max's past articles, and in the photos above parts 1 to 4 of Max's big twin revival article. If you look at an old article, you see one guy, in part 1 of the big twin article there's an intermediate version, and by part 4 you see our new man, a master of disguise! Trouble is, as he thins he gets more and more serious. Could be a real storm brewing here ;-)

I like your writings very much Max. Old outboards have always seemed like nothing but trouble for me. But now I'm almost convinced that a fellow could learn to love one.


Paul Browne
Geezer Boatworks

Seagull Race

I am thinking about entering an outboard race here in New Zealand that is dedicated to Seagull engines that are only 4.5hp. These engines were designed as barge pushers. Do you have anything that you could recommend in your range that might be suitable. It needs to be light and hopefuly able to get on the plan. The only limit I am aware of is 3.5:1 ratio. I am guessing making the bottom out of 1/4" and sides of 1/8"

Look forward to your suggestions
Don Short

Happy New Year
Hi folks, A belated Happy New Year ! I've been surfing your site for about two years now and have been a member for almost a year. This is a favorite site and the new format makes it even better. The daily posting under "new" is a great pick-me up and the expansion of the store is looking good. A welcome added catagory would be all of the past duckworks design contests with the entries and their info. I
just joined several yahoo groups and only now learned of John Bells' 2001 "Blondie" entry by way of a very old mesg. So far the creativeness of the past entries I've seen is just mind boggling and with this years entries I would not want to have to judge ! Keep up the good work ! Robert Jolly


With reference to the banner advertisement at the top of the front page of your online magazine. (ad appears above - Ed.)

John has designed some marvellous boats over the years here in New Zealand, but I can assure you that even he cannot conjure up crocodiles on Wellington's windy coast.

Try changing the word crocodiles for "seals" maybe or "dolphins" ?
But hey, if I didnt enjoy visiting your site, I would never have noticed.


In the sunny Bay of Plenty,
New Zealand.

Back from the Dead
Hey Chuck

--Rob Rohde-Szudy

Chuck and Sandra - loved the Shorty Routh article explaining how he brought back the Boy Scout boats from the dump - that was GREAT!

Pete Leenhouts

Shorty replies:

WOOOO HOOO!!!! Didn't have enough space or an economical way to transport the holder out here in Phoenix, so I sold her back in Houston. She was bought by a guy from Austin, I told him all about the Duckworks messabout etc. so you might see her again.

I bought a bare laser 2 hull out here as a replacement boat, so starting from scratch again. The hull is in good shape with no holes, but I want to convert it into an unstayed mast, so will do an article about that. Probably not for another year though, am building another pdracer and need to finish the oday first.

I bought a trailer, the laser 2 and a Melges M16 scow all as part of a package deal, am selling off the M16:


Hi Chuck,
I just saw the Measure Twice on the 'new' page. Thanks for posting the pics, they look great. Keep up the great work. Are there any updates to the Tolman Skiff project? I've been eyeing that plan ever since I started the Measure Twice.

Frank Talbot

The Truth About Tools

You've gotta get hold of Bruce Armstrong ("The Truth About Tools") under January Reports) and let him know that he MUST submit another list of definitions. On an otherwise blue evening after our son had left for Ft. Benning to be deployed to Iraq (it was a hard Christmas, but we're thankful for the time we had), I was perusing the website as usual and decided to just see what the definitions were all about and not just surf them over.

I about fell out of the chair. My wife couldn't imagine what was so funny, but only us shop nuts would understand this.

Well, the upshot is that it made my evening, I find myself rereading the list and they're still funny! What a great website.

Ron Bennett

You need only two tools: WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the duct tape.

Peter Page

New Look
Great new look! Congrats to your webmaster – she’s terrific.
-Rick Malagodi
I really like the new look of Duckworks. It's very clean and easy to
navigate. When you couple that with all the articles and "stuff" for
sale, you've succeeded in creating a website that is absolutely
indispensable for the amateur boat builder.
Well done!
Bill Paxton
Apple Valley, MN
.....I like it! It gives improved "visibility to all the articles and bits of info that are available. Constant improvement is a good thing; keep up the good work!
A few wayward comments concerning the recent comments by Messrs. Murocz and Buehler. Laslo Murocz certainly appreciates the incredible strength of bonded plywood/wooden cleated structures, particularly when bonded into a curve. His comments about epoxy are generally true. It's amazing stuff - strong and waterproof.
And as Phil Bolger often points out - plywood is stronger than steel on a weight/volume basis and is certainly cheaper and easier to shape.

However, I think he does not see where George Buehler is coming from. George is used to being out in "survival" storms, in large, heavy boats. The stresses involved are enormous, and George anticipates them by building low stress, heavily built vessels, such as those popular in Northern Europe. The idea of a laminate failure "out there" is not acceptable to him. Let's face it - under even ideal conditions, haven't you had some bonding that was less than perfect? Isn't the bond limited to the top layer of plywood? I often use a construction knife to score any surface to be bonded and still occasionally have problems.

I guess it's best to conclude with the comment that "different stokes for different folks".
Bob Patterson

Contest Idea
Hey, had another idea for a future contest idea: a disposable vacation boat

Have seen this idea float around the net, what the concept is that you fly in somewhere, have relatives pick you up at the airport, then you pickup whatever materials you need at Home Depot, and build a boat in your relative's back yard in one or two days, and take them sailing.

Some of the limits might include the amount of tools you can take with you on the airplane, the airlines have a strict limit of 50 lbs per checked in bag, and some only let you take 2, so one bag for tools & supplies, and one bag for clothes. Not sure what the limit on spending for materials should be, the boat will be left with your relative, or possibly left at the lake / beach.

One requirement might be to supply a building key showing exactly what gets done, in what order. To show building sessions and prove that you can build it in 2 days, even with glue drying, paint drying etc.

Judging could be:
most durable looking
best big water capability
simplest and easiest
most likely to fall apart on first use
overall most plausible


Mixer Article
I approve. Your enthusiasm for the boating is remarkable and a great
service to the homebuilder.
Thomas Hamernik
Unrest in the Ukraine as it affects boating in Poland

I hope they will manage and negotiate nonviolent solution. In case of large bloody clash leading to collapse of Ukrainian democracy we would have a problem of refugees but would not be engaged in a military conflict.

I have to tell you that there is another aspect of the problem. One of my dreams is to sail from Warsaw to the Black Sea along Polish and Ukrainian rivers. I would miss free Ukraine because of this reason, too.

-Wojtek Baginski

C/M/U , making a bigger "Brick"
James Underwood Crockett was the original gardener on the TV show "The Victory Garden", and one of his favorite things to say was that he was not trying to tell you so much WHAT to do, as much as WHY to do it. Phil Bolger strikes me the same way. I finally have a lot of his books and can always get a new nugget of wisdom or get a new slant on boat design just looking at his designs and following the accompanying commentary. He even is a bit self critical and self deprecating, certainly traits more akin to his grandfather's day than the ballyhoo of our modern life - a certain stripping down to Zen simplicity. Need light? Stick three candles in a scrap of wood. Wind stopped? Get out some oars. Why paint a boat cabin's interior? Don't.

If you review a good cross section of his designs, you realize that he is a master, having done some of everything, from his plywood "box boats" to a replica sailing ship, that was destined, years later, to star in the recent movie "Master and Commander". And so "Brick" was presented a a simple, easily made, commodious, "boy's boat" (a historical reference - no sexism intended). I kept looking and looking at it. Simple, pleasing to the eye and easily handling my mid-aged girth and weight. And yet…… admittedly a bit flimsy as specified, short waterline length, big bellied so as to be apt to bog down in self-created waves (these comments from the designer in his book "Boats with an Open Mind", which even included a 20 Foot big daddy version - "SuperBrick").

C/M/U was conceived to be the big brother to "Brick". In standard construction specifications, C/M/U stands for Concrete Masonry Unit (ie. cinder block), so as to keep the masonry cliché going. Enlarging the station intervals by 25 percent, slightly reducing the already generous freeboard, doubling up the mid-section of the gunwales, retaining beam at about 4 feet, slightly playing with the bow angles for looks, using doubled up ¼ inch plywood for the bottom planking, with heavily built bow and stern transoms, adding bow and stern decks and a standing lug rig. . Just as Phil mentioned in his book, I now have a much different boat - heavy (150 lbs.), more difficult to construct (had to put framing under those decks), and definitely a handful to load into the pick-up truck.. But I love the looks and it suits a 6 ft. 2 inch, 270 lbs. guy like me. A 21st century "stealth" Beetle Cat, perhaps? We shall see. Too cold to take or send pics now. Hope to have sailing report this summer.

"Lauan" Bob Patterson
Billerica, MA