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This time we have the following boats:

Send a picture or three and a short description of your boat and its launch to for inclusion here next month.

Solar Pontoon

My brother Tim is a freelance aerospace engineer who lives on a small lake in Michigan. He recently applied his talents to a prototype that was also a birthday present for his wife: A solar powered pontoon boat. He gave me the following technical details: "It is a 48v system. 4kW motor, approx 1kw solar energy capture. 48v 200Ahr battery pack should run over 2 hours at max throttle. Approximately 10hr recharge time. It is mostly suited for small inland lakes like ours."



Johanna was launched on the evening of June 11th. She performed flawlessly in the very light conditions and I spent a comfortable night on board. She was on display at the Beale Park Boat Show all weekend and the the bonus was that on Sunday she picked up the Watercraft Magazine award for "The most innovative home made boat".

Pictures here and here.


Sit On Top Fishing Ski

I started this sit on top fishing kayak a few years ago, and due to (insert applicable excuse here) I just recently built up enough steam to finish it. Once again, the incredible amount of satisfaction at completing a boat surprised me.

Anyhow, it is a fairly typical kayak hull, with the ends chopped of into transom-like bows and a reversed yacht style stern (because I could, that's why...) The cockpit is stolen from a racing surf-ski, and shoe-horned into the hull which is luckily good quality marine ply.

Still a work in progress, I can report that this boat is absolutely magic on calm waters, and I have fished from her on fairly rough days about a mile from shore. Apart from those open side-lockers (which still require closing with a zip-close canvas cover) everything works beautifully, and surf exits are a breeze.

I will now continue with my next building adventure. Given the current terrible economic situation, I have reluctantly turned my sights from a little cruising trimaran to a somewhat more humble microcruiser. I will be sailing with a friend on his 5 metre micro soon (Manie Botha, Compaxboats) and hopefully one-up him by building something smaller.

AJ - Pretoria, South Africa


The launch of the kayak Sunday went well. My son is very pleased with his new boat and will enjoy paddling her for years.


Grandy Sailing Skiff

Students in the Traditional Small Craft class at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding ( recently launched an 11 foot six inch Grandy skiff.

Launching the Grandy Sailing skiff for her new owner

Working under the direction of Instructor Ben Kahn, students lofted the boat and built it in the School’s Small Craft Shop between January and June 2011. The Grandy skiff was built to the same very successful design as that used by the Seattle Parks Department in the 1930’s. The Grandy was one of seven boats built or finished by the students in the Traditional Small Craft class during the semester.

Sea Trials in the new Grandy Sailing skiff

Grandy Skiffs are lapstrake boats, usually built at the Boat School with a sapele transom, keel and stem, and planked with red cedar. This boat has steam-bent white oak frames and knees and red cedar thwarts. It was finished with teak oil and varnish inside and painted bright red with a varnished sheer strake outside.

Building the Grandy Skiff

Students in the class also built the mast and spar of spruce, and rigged the boat. Sailmaker Sean Rankins, of Northwest Sails, co-located with the Boat School, made the sail.

Building the Grandy Skiff

The boat's first serious trials came a few weeks later during the Rat Island Regatta, which is rowed from Port Townsend's Fort Worden Beach to nearby Rat Island (a sandspit between two nearby islands) and back. Although not made specifically for a race of nearly 7 1/2 miles, the skiff's owner placed first in his class with a time of 2 hours and 10 minutes, a very credible showing indeed.

- - -

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is located on the water in the little town of Port Hadlock Wa, on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, about 35 miles northwest of Seattle.

This year, the Boat School enters its 30st summer going strong with nearly fifty full-time students spread out across the three main boatbuilding programs. The School will celebrate thirty years of training students to build boats with an on-water Sail-In and Open house August 6th, 2011. After the current class graduates in September, 2011, the School will welcome its next class of students in early October, 2011.

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Full-time 12-month students earn an Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Contemporary, Traditional Small Craft Construction, or Traditional Large Craft Construction.

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding
42 N Water Street, Port Hadlock WA 98339  (See us on Facebook at:

2011 - our 30th year teaching and preserving the skills and crafts associated with fine wooden boatbuilding and other traditional maritime arts with emphasis on the development of the individual as a craftsperson


Launched my self-designed sailing kayak today.

I drew the plans myself looking for the following features:
- Hard chine (for simpler construction, at least for me)

- Light enough to cartop/single person launch

- Narrow enough to be a good paddling hull

- Sail well

- Enough keelson curve/freeboard/covered deck area to take open water

- Some cargo capacity

- So dimensions: 13' loa, 30" beam at sheer, max freeboard 12", weight completed hull alone 52 lbs


- 3/16" birch ply for the hull and deck

- 3/8" marine fir ply for permanent ribs, daggerboard trunk sides, bracing under foredeck where the mast passes through

- ¼" marine fir ply strip for keelson, w/ additional clear white pine strip to thicken the keelson to ½"

- 1" x 1" clear white pine for stringers (strakes?)

- 1" Philippine mahogany for daggerboard, rudder, tiller/extension, cockpit trim, and mast step and bracing

- Initial mast/boom out of construction grade white pine 2x6. eventually I'll need to buy better wood and make a straighter/stronger mast

- West systems epoxy, w/ fiberglass cloth on the outside of the hull, spar urethane over all of that

- Lawnmower wheels, ¼" threaded steel rod, copper sleeve, PVC spacers for removable "trailer"

Final steps: install better flotation (ordered some flotation bags), and complete the pvc sail mounting system

I sail a lot on a couple of reservoirs north of Columbus, Ohio (Hoover, Alum Creek), but also get to the great lakes (Erie especially, and I've already paddled it on Ontario out of the Niagara River)

Made the mast and boom, and although I don't have the pvc attachment system done, loops of rope for the luff worked fine for the first sail this morning. I'm completely delighted with sailing it.

No heavy wind yet, but it went nice and fast and by shifting my butt uphill and keeping an elbow on the high side it was very easy to keep balanced.



Here are a couple of photos of the seagull I finished a month ago. I can't believe how easily this boat rows and handles, I love it. Thanks for all the good service on everything. Duckworks is the best.


"Water Rat"

Here is something of interest for you & Duckworks readers, especially those follow the work of our mate Ross Lillistone, who is still working hard to recover from the devastating floods recently in Queensland.

I've just finished building an interesting little boat which I suppose you could describe as a ski or kayak or just paddle craft. As you can see from the photos she is a quirky little beast & a good looker with lots of carrying ability & stability in a compact & curvy shaped hull. All my neighbours who have watched the build & have kids are glowing in their comments on the look of the finished boat & have hinted at wanting one.

The design originated in his Brisbane boatshop when his very good mate, Doug Laver, was working with him to help get his new boatbuilding business established. Doug designed & built the prototype which I saw hanging on a wall of the shop when I first visited Ross about 10 years or so ago & the image of it stayed with me. With a grandson nearing boating age I thought this could be just the answer.

Recently, while talking to Ross, he said he had found the original plan & would tidy up some design details, put it all through one of his computer hull programs so he could print out panels shapes for stitch & glue construction. Some time later, a very basic lines drawing turned up in the mail & was sufficient for me to plot & cut all the panels & build the boat. It all went together easily.

Briefly, she's 9' long, made from 4mm ply, f/g tape & epoxy. Finish is left-over water-based paint from the front door of our newly re-painted house, & she weighs only 17kg. The back-rest is my design.

For larger folk, Ross has recently drawn a stretched version that's nearly 11' & still fits on two sheets of 8'x4' ply... just... it's a tight fit! She will handle a 140kg paddler.

Allan Burke


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