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by Alex Bogdanov- Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada

I remember being about 8 - 9 years old when one day my uncle Bobby came to visit us. He saw me reading books about sailing and adventures again and asked me if I would be interested in signing up in the local sailing club. The coach was his friend. I accepted immediately and after a few days I was learning the first steps of sailing in a small Optimist. I still remember how frustrated I was trying to get the boat going against the wind: One day it was blowing really hard and I had my first capsize and got very scared. I said to myself I would never sail again which of course didn't happen. It wasn't long before I moved to a Cadet (a two person sailing dinghy popular mostly in Europe) as a crew. Slowly climbing up the stair I became a skipper of a Cadet and after a couple of years switched to class Finn which is a single person racing dinghy. It's about then when Communism in Eastern Europe collapsed and most sporting activities sponsored by the government slowly came down to a shutdown.


After unsuccessful search for a used boat I decided to build my own. I found the plans for a 14' sharpie in a DIY magazine. It was called Vaurien (meaning Vagabond), designed by the famous French designer Herbulot. Construction was plank on frame. The entire boat was fibreglassed. It turned out very nice and me and my friend Vladimir (with whom we built the boat together) enjoyed many hours of sailing fun.

After moving to Canada I needed a boat and my attention was caught by a 12' dinghy - a stitch and glue design. I ordered the plans online and the only thing I changed was to increase the sail area from 39 to 61 sq. ft. It was a good overall boat for both rowing and sailing. I really enjoyed sailing it in the protected waters of Boundary Bay, BC. In 3 years time I sold it. I just didn't have time to use it. My first son was born. It was taking me a good half an hour to set it up for a sail. Plus it was towed on a small trailer which in a way is a limitation where one can use the boat - a boat ramp is needed.

My next project was a pirogue or canoe made of two sheets of plywood. I found the plans online again. I needed something which could be built fairly quickly during my summer vacation and still have plenty of time left to use it. The design was an excellent choice. It took me 5 days to complete the boat. It was made of 4mm plywood and everything went together very fast. Experience counts. The building method was again S&G. I didn't bother painting it, just epoxy coated everything. Then I spent the rest of my vacation paddling around the huge 30 km dam. Unforgettable 10 days of fun!

Inspired by the pirogue I wanted something more stable which could also be used for fishing. Where I live we have a lot of lakes, rivers and small ocean coves which are very suitable for kayak fishing. Frustrated by the price of even used fishing kayaks, I decided to design and build my own. It uses only two sheets of ΒΌ" plywood. This design was inspired by Ross Lilistone's "Water Rat".

A friend of mine saw the kayak and asked me if I could design and build a small fishing dinghy using oars for him as he didn't like paddling. Excited I sat in front of the computer for a couple of days and came up with a small 7.5' flat bottom dinghy which is also easily car topped. That was one of the requests of my friend.

If you want to learn more about these two designs please visit:

Next in line is my attempt to design a 1 sheet fishing mini punt for use on small shallow ponds. The prototype will be launched and tested this spring hopefully as the weather improves.

We all know the best cure for the BBV (boatbuilding virus) is just to keep on building more boats!:)

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