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Thanks, Mike

Good morning, Mike,

Thanks for dressing up my article regarding boat shows so well.. You did a great job with the pics and the links!



Further to this article, The two best books that I know of on lugsails are very early copies of the "Admiralty Seamanship Manual" pre 1920. There are comprehensive rigging diagrams and sail plans for the lug rigged small sailing boats, (up to about 35 ft) in those.

Spritsails and Lugsails by John Leather is the other one, and thats particularly good in that England had many types of boat and small ship that used lugsails, and this book is the authoritative work on the subject.

John Welsford

Mystery Boat

We got a lot of replies to last month's mystery boat. Here are a few:

The boat in the photos submitted by Tom Blagden appears to be The Fir Plywood Fleet plan no. 70 for the 5' foot sailor designed by John Burroughs. I have a copy of these plans that I purchased from an E Bay seller. Tom, feel free to contact me - Jeff


In the June Letters article a Tim Blagden asked if anyone new of plans for a Mystery Boat that he showed pictures of. I have the plans for this boat that were given away by the Douglas Fir Plywood Assoc. If you have his contact info. or if you want the plans, let me know.
I built one for our son many years ago and he loved it.
Bob Trygg

Hello, I saw Tim Blagden asking for plans for a 5' boat, I think I have what he's looking for, please forward my info to him, thanks,
Mike Beebe

The mystery boat may be design #5130, called Guppy over at DN Goodchild`s website, Shellback Library. It can be found under something like Kid`s boats or small boats.

Finally, here is one from Tim Blagden, after we forwarded the above letters to him:

Many thanks for connecting me to the plans for the tiny boat.  You’re the best.
As I get moving with building I will be in touch for supplies.  One good turn deserves another.
Best regards,
Tim Blagden

New Mystery Boat

Mike, I subscribed to Duckworks recently and just started (it always takes awhile to follow up on the buttons one pushes) looking at it. Haven't had a chance yet to really scour the site, but it occurred to me that since you're in Australia, you might be able to help me with a nagging issue.

Last summer I bought a Sparkman & Stephens -designed, Australian built sloop called a Prestige 36. Built in 1983 by a forgotten company called Prestige Yachts in Fremantle. They didn't last long -- built 10 or 12 boats and then cratered, probably for lack of business savvy. They may have been swallowed by Swarbrick. In any case, I am, not surprisingly, trying to find someone who knows the provenance of the boat, how they got S&S to design one for them in the first place, etc.

Have tried by calling Swarbrick and various brokers in WA, but all I've come back with is that there are still a bunch of these in the water (one other in the US). They are tremendous vessels in many ways, but this one was clearly left unfinished…or ripped apart later.

In any case, am trying to find a human link so that I can learn more about her.

If you're intrested in helping, I'd be grateful -- and will gladly donate to Duckworks (which will probably do anyway, it looks quite a useful enterprise).

Let me know, and would be glad to send you an attachment with pix, etc.

Frank Gibney


After reading part2 of the Bijou series, I'm even more impressed. that's a lot of boat to squeeze into 13 feet. And the workmanship Mr. Trygg put into it is incredible. All I can say is Wow!

I am curious about something though, 12 pounds seems like an awful lot of weight to put into a rudder. I thought the rudder that came with my unfinished Toon2 was too heavy but I'm sure it doesn't have 12 pounds of lead in it. Did I miss something or does it really take that kind of weight to keep a rudder down? It seems like that wouldn't allow it to kick up if you hit something.


Bob Trygg responds:


The rudder blade weighing 12 lbs. to me is no problem and it has no problem kicking up if hit.  The real benefit is that it returns to the down position with no effort.  The one problem is that you need a lever arm to raise the blade with a pull up line.  You can see that arm sticking from the back of the blade and is made from a 1/4" piece of aluminum.  Also remember that the lead does not weigh as much when immersed in water.

Glad that you like the article about "Bijou", we certainly love her as she is everything that we hoped for.

Bob Trygg

Office visit

We recently had a visit from our old friend Bob Williams. He brought his brother Don, a retired journalist. Later we got a letter from Don reminding us about a poem he wrote long ago and sent us upon Bob's retirement and move from Texas to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Rereading it we thougth it bore reposting:

Chuck, it was good seeing you and your wife, and your place of business. Here's a poem I wrote for Bob. I don't remember who sent it to the magazine. Maybe Bob Shipman. I think it was in 2006.

Northward heading, toward the country
Where the loons and leeches flourish,
Where they have no word for winter
Since that’s all there is, he’s ready,
So he says, to pitch his wigwam
By the shining Small Bay water,
Near the huts of Es-ca-na-ba
And the lodge of Mor-ski-way-wah.
Where they have no enchiladas
Other than the fast food version
(Fast, because the salsa freezes),
Soon he’ll learn the Yankee foodways,
Learn the Yankee thought- and speechways,
Learn the winds on Yankee lakeways,
Learn the joys of porch and rocker,
Find a place to turn out boatage,
Find the water best for flotage,
Do whatever suits old-goatage,
Sit back and misspend his dotage.

Bob (left) and Don

In Praise of Offcenterharbor

Great website! Focus is traditional boats/boatbuilding. Founders and contributors include:

Maynard Bray
Brion Toss
Lin & Larry Pardey
Ian Oughtred
Harry Bryan
& others

Great quality photography, articles, digital video, etc

This is one of the best boating sites - almost as good as Duckworks!

Check it out and pass it on:

Bob Shipman


Dear Chuck and Sandra,

It is with sad hand and heavy heart I pen this letter to you.  I can no longer be a customer of your fine store.  They say the first step in getting cured is admitting you have a problem, well I have a problem, I am a boat building addict.

I will be checking into the Boaty Ford Clinic soon for treatment. I have tried to deal with this problem on my own for some time and have realized it is too big for me to handle by myself. When you try to hurt your friends for your own gain then it is time to get help, and that is what I was going to do. I considered forming a class action lawsuit against the designers (which you conveniently display in two columns on your Duckworks site) for aiding and abetting addicts with all the wonderful boat plans.

I realized the lawyers would end up with the best of the plans and all of the money in the settlement so I abandoned the idea and decided to seek help instead.

But like the smoker who has that one last cigarette before he quits, I have one last boat to build. I got the plans for the AF4 from Jim Michalak while at the Rend Lake Messabout and right after I finish it I will be checking into the Boaty Ford Clinic. Wish me luck!

Gene Berry

Riddle Insanity from a Crazy Inventor

The other day I was thinking about boats, rivers and leaves

The supposition for this invention is that the boat has no motor no sails and oars, just a boat floating on the river down stream. What will happen is that the river, the leaf and the boat will all float together.

The boat has nothing to push against, so it goes with the river and the leaf - all together at the same time, down stream.

That got me thinking: how can I harness the river flow to push the boat up stream with no motor
no sails and no oars.

Furthermore this has to be a technology that ancient romans egyptians or chinese could have thought up absolutely low tech work no matter how fast the river is going (the faster t he better), and very cheap to make by even a kid.

So it's a riddle - and I have the answer

Shmuel Brody

(answer at bottom of page)

New Plan


Here are the plan files for my new design, the EMC 16+2; which is a longer version of the EMC 14ft and designed for two up boaters. I've included the regular build plan set, and added a "Free Study Plan" set for people to see what they can look forward to with the purchase of the full build set. The Study Plan's contain several pages of construction drawings to get an idea of what to expect and I've included several pages of the building text instructions too.

The next EMC is the 18+2, and I am working on that one now. It will contain a lot of the drawing detail pages of the 16+2, as they are identical, and only the addition of the double set of finger joints to stretch out the hull will mark the differences between the two hulls. The same goes for the text instructions, as I only have to change up the description of the panel layouts for the double finger joints.

Warren Messer
Red Barn Boats
Stitch and Glue and Stylish Too.

Boat Question

Hi All, Just picked up a FolBot Sporty - Folding Kayak.
Aprox 15' long X 32" wide, weight is about 50#'s. At least I think it is the "Sporty" model, from 1969-1989...

Does anyone have same boat? I need the rear deck TOP bar, it is missing. Also missing: skin, seat, paddles (which I don't need).

Most of the plywood is sound (except the missing piece)it broke off just behind the bolt on the stern's stem.

I need the dimensions of the missing piece. So I can craft a replacement.

Here is a link to the Flickr set of pics I took (39 pics)
Enjoy the pics.

I was thinking of just rebuilding it as a "Kayak" that does not fold by replacing the six metal-stringers with full length wood (the bottom "floor" and frames are wood already). Then skinning with Polyester cloth, and painting it with oil-based Spar Varnish.

OR just copy the frames/bulkheads, and rebuild it totally.

Thanks for any help, or any information...


Houston PDR Invite

The PDR World championship race is this weekend! Is anyone in Texas interested in having a SDDP race? I would be willing to go anywhere within about 1 to 2 hours drive from Houston.

I also have something else that I want to do that you may be interested in.
I am tentatively calling it the "Texas 20".
Basically, a 1 day run from the Texas City Dike to Kemah.  I have a buddy with an 18' "Party Barge" who has agreed to go along for the ride to pick up anyone who runs into trouble.  I want to get a bunch of of people who normally only sail little lakes close to home and get them to go for a 1 day cruise across Galveston bay.  We would start early at the Dike, stop for lunch at Red Fish Island and finish up at the boat ramp on the North side of the 146 bridge in Kemah, a 20 mile cruise.

Sound interesting?

Eric Comstock

Answer to Riddle

Here is the answer:

If we throw and anchor forward of the boat, (say 1-300 feet) the anchor will stick in the river bottom and hold the boat in place. Now if we put 2 paddle wheels on the side of the boat with an axle between them the wheels will turn from the river the boat will stay in place. Wrap the line from the anchor twice around the axle and the axle will pull the boat up the river. As it gets close to the anchor, you throw another anchor out and as the boat approaches the first it will come up.

The process is repeated as long as you want to go up the river. Coming down the river you just float. Of course the axle can also power a catapult to throw the anchor. This will not work in an ocean or lake, but for that I am building a 12 foot trimaran with a wave machine that uses no motor or sails.

I'd like to hear what you think.

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