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Miss Bonne Idee

My latest design/build project, Miss Bonne Idee which won its class in the Phat Water Race finishing 42.5 miles down the Mississippi River 40 minutes ahead of its nearest competitor. Next I will be building the yawl rig for her so she may be used in the Texas 200.


Swamp dwelling boat builder.

Sneaky Shark, taken May 2012 at Gosport Maring (Portsmouth Harbour)

Boat in group raft up was after the first race of the English RAID where sneaky shark and her owner George Isted finished first. The first real sail of the boat.


This was the first sail (but not the first launch).

Pics were taken by Karen, who was playing with the kids on our other boat.

George Isted

Another Toto is launched

Last summer I built a Toto for my 11-year-old grandson, Joseph. Well, in a way it was for me too - but he was a good excuse!

We launched her at Lake Bala, in Wales. Bala is a beautiful lake that is perfect for boating and is situated in lovely countryside on the fringe of the Snowdonia National Park.

The 'Camping and Caravan Club' have a boating section and they have an annual camp alongside Bala Lake. This event has now been running for more than 30 years and is a wonderful family week where participants of all ages enjoy messing about in all sorts of wind or paddle powered boats. It is a very friendly week long 'festival' with a wide variety of water and land based events and competitions.

It was our first attendance at this event and it was a perfect place to launch our newly built Toto. She was soon christened the 'Banana Boat' - perhaps influenced by her striking yellow paintwork! She has proved to be superb on the water and handled the choppy windy conditions with ease. Our paddle was found to be a little short but we now have a longer one and feel sure she will now be even more delightful to handle.

You will see from my photos that she is giving Joseph lot a fun and also that our Bala Lake camp has a great atmosphere.

Malcolm Lyon

Herefordshire England

Helen Marie

We've had three sea trials so far and things are coming together pretty well. She sure looks small in the water. I'm making some adjustment to the water ballast system to get the bow down a little more. And it seems that for all of my genius I did make a couple of small errors. Who would have thought that when you make a hole below the water line to let water out it will come in also. I didn't want that. What happened to the magic one way hole? It's a long story but suffice it to say that Steve was kind enough to point it out to me with words to the effect of "hey we're taking on water dumb ass, are you trying to sink us". Respect is a fleeting idea around here.

There's still work to be done on the interior but she sure is comfortable, just like sitting in your easy chair, arm out the window watching the world go by through all of the windows. Helen has all of the cushions and window shades done but I can't put um in till I'm finished making a mess. It looks like her hull speed is going to be about six knots which she can achieve at almost idle speed on the motor. This twenty gives a lot of power in reserve in case I need to tow a string of kayaks someday. Steve took some of these pictures but the really good ones were by his wife Lenna. Where did this hull design come from you ask. It's an exact blow up of Roger Allen's 15 foot Melonseed which is an enlargement of a classic 13 footer done years ago by the master Joe Leiner from up in St Michaels, Md. It also turns out to be an almost exact replica of this 1899 fantail launch that I discovered after I had the hull already built; so to save a lot of questions and wrecks on the highway I put that on the trailer.

David Lucas

Lil Sister, a Modified Michalak River Runner

Lil Sister is my second River Runner. The first one "Twisted Sister" was so named because I accidentally built in a twist in the front half of the hull. Twisted Sister was short lived due to another mistake I made installing the gunnels. The end result was the boat splitting in half. So enter Lil Sister so named because I narrowed her 6" and built it from 5mm ply instead of the ¼" ply Jim calls for, I did use the ¼" for the bottom though.

The whole intent of this exercise was to get a lighter smaller boat that I could paddle like a canoe but hopefully still carry a load like a Jon Boat. I splashed her in my pond and what little I got to play in her she seems to fit the bill. I can easily reach either side to paddle and she is very stable even with vigorous rocking side to side. We will see what kind of load she will carry this spring when I float my favorite rivers again. Thanks to Jim for a great design and to Duckworks for the supplies.



While visiting my son in law, who is the waterman, I asked my daughter how many surfboards and paddleboards did they have? After a search, the answer was about 23 in the house and garage but some may have been loaned out. Their whole family, mom, dad, and two girls, surfs and paddleboards. Guests are often taken out to learn paddle boarding, surfing takes a little longer.

This started my "what if" to working. What if I tortured and twisted a sheet of Luann in to a shallow boat and decked the whole thing over? Kayak, paddle board or raft? This is hard to figure out, but what a nice problem.

First I start with line drawings then paper models then onto the Luan. Lots of cutting, twisting, plastic ties and epoxy made an awesome shape. The result is a fine looking craft 88 inches in length, with a 44-inch width. After sea trails twin fins were added to the stern to help straight-line motion.

This is a fun boat. My test pilot can stand or sit and balance easily. Personally, I feel like a cheese box on a raft similar to the USS MONITER ironclad of civil war fame, I am sitting out in the open with the breeze using me for a sail. I use a nine-foot long double paddle, which works sitting or standing. I copied some elements from the plastic kayaks for storage and tie downs. This is a nice weather boat but what fun!



I have built a Dory (according to Hannu´s boatyard plans) with a removable leeboard. I have only the basic tools. The Dory was taken to a mountain lake, here in Finland, 14 km from the road so like last summer we spent four weeks there fishing and sailing.

Matti Asikainen

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