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Small Boats Magazine Archive

A Collection of Archived Small Boats Articles
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A chance meeting at a wooden-boat festival brought together two couples who quickly bridged the broad gap in their ages, experience, and resources.
A single, long pintle and an open, hooked lower gudgeon simplify the task of hanging a rudder on a skiff’s transom.
The myriad islands between Vancouver Island and the intricate mainland coast of British Columbia provided a rower and a paddler with unspoiled waterways shared with orcas and humpback whales.

December 2022

5 Pins
When Matt Morris of Waterloo, Ontario, learned that the restoration of a silted-in lake in the middle of town would include a boat launch, he began to design a sectional boat he could tow to the lake behind his bicycle.
For his rowing cruise of Wisconsin’s Chippewa River delta, Tom Pamperin intended to find a loop of the interconnected waterways but found only one dead end after another.
The 66 Canoe from Cape Falcon Kayak was not designed as a set of plans for a single canoe, but as a system to create canoes of different sizes and for different purposes.

December 2021

5 Pins
When James Baker of England decided he needed a second tender for the 42′ wooden gaffer he built, a paddling curragh native to County Donegal in Ireland was his inspiration.
Tom Conlogue and Delaney Brown took a shot at circumnavigating Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula by rowing a dory along the coast, down the gullet of a tidal rapid, and across a salt pond to a portage used centuries ago.
The Oonagh was designed by Doug Hylan “to combine some of the best qualities of inflatables with the advantages of a traditional dinghy and put it into a package that is a little less hostile to the planet.”

September 2022

5 Pins
Sean Russell is the author several novels about naval warfare in the days of sail, but RIPPLE, the dory skiff he designed as a tender to his sailboat, is meant to lead a more tranquil life.
The choice of extensions, their height and mounting, is going to vary depending on your boat. The easiest modification is a fabricated metal tube and rod or cast lock system. A wooden extension could be easy to make for a boat with open gunwales, but a boat without slots between the inwale and sheer planks would need at least a wooden “partner” to hold the extension.
Something would be missing if every cruise went as expected and that’s the satisfaction in rising to meet the unexpected. A lot of things went wrong during Bill Hutton’s short cruise to one of Florida’s barrier islands, but the experience was more fulfilling than what he’d imagined.

January 2022

6 Pins
A small living room for a shop and a small car for storage and transport didn’t stand in the way of Paul Sesto’s dream of building a boat; he designed and built a sectional boat with three nesting pieces.
If your boat fenders get put away after launch and stowed until you get back to the ramp, they spend most of their time taking up valuable space. Impact Fenders make themselves useful while you’re underway or taking a break on shore.
Floorboards are often fastened directly to steam-bent frames in traditionally built lapstrake boats. Boatbuilder Eric Hvalsoe developed a system to make floorboards that are easily removable and don’t damage the frames.

February 2022

7 Pins
Reader Built Boat alumni Joe Lanni is back with his second boatbuilding project, an 11′ plywood double-paddle canoe.
The next time you’re out rowing and a friendly following breeze pipes up put the oars to use as a mast and a rudder, take a comfortable seat in the stern, and leave the labor to the wind.
Padre Island stretches for 113 miles along the Texas coast and separates the Gulf of Mexico from Laguna Madre. Roger Siebert, soloing his 15′ lug-rigged skiff, explores the protected west coast of the barrier island.

June 2022

6 Pins
Tim Shaw grew up by the water in Manchester, Massachusetts, and has never drifted too far from boats. After building a few small boats, he was intrigued by the outrigger canoes he saw in Hawaii and years later designed and built one for his family.
The Drake 13 from Selway Fisher is a small sharpie designed to be propelled by oars, a lugsail, or an outboard and to serve as a tender, a daysailer, a beach cruiser, or a fishing skiff.
The south coast of Menorca, one of Spain’s Mediterranean islands, is a 25-mile-long stretch of limestone cliffs and caves, a landscape that can only be explored and appreciated by kayak.

November 2022

3 Pins
On another sail-and-oar cruise of Ontario’s Georgian Bay, Tom Pamperin and his brother explore the islands clustered along the coast and the narrow, rocky inland waterways of the French River Delta.
On another sail-and-oar cruise of Ontario’s Georgian Bay, Tom Pamperin and his brother explore the islands clustered along the coast and the narrow, rocky inland waterways of the French River Delta.
Most serial boatbuilders don’t really need another boat, they just need an excuse to build one. The pandemic provided just that for Gary Hardy of Melbourne, Australia: building a Skerry would be an important mental-health measure during a lockdown.

October 2022

5 Pins
Two 18’ Autumn Leaves canoe yawls follow in the wake of 19th century cargo schooners to ascend Maryland’s Choptank River under sail and oar.
In retirement, Richard Honan of Winthrop, Massachusetts, turned his attention to building boats and spending time with his grandchildren. A peapod is the latest family-built boat.
Built in Britain by Cornish Crabbers, the Shrimper 19 is a fiberglass production boat with a traditional lapstrake look, a gaff-sloop rig, and a flush-deck cabin.

August 2022

5 Pins
A folding bowl from Germany serves many purposes afloat or ashore and when it's not in use it makes a flat, compact bundle that's easy to stow out of the way.
Sailrite's pre-cut sailcloth kits for small boat sails provide a clear path to a well-shaped sail that can be sewn on a home sewing machine. Audrey and Kent Lewis make Sailrite's lugsail for their Nutshell pram.
With a food dehydrator, you can prepare a wide array of camp-cruising foods that won't spoil or crush, reuire refrigeration or protective packaging, or take up much cooking time and fuel.

July 2022

8 Pins

Small Boats 2010

0 Pins
Rowing into a headwind can put a strain on the rower. Jim Tolpin devised a clip-on plastic sleeve and button that gives the oars a lower gear to provide them with a greater mechanical advantage.
A Florida man confesses he’d rather build boats than go boating. With a half-dozen boats in his largely unused fleet, he’s running out of room to keep them.
A pair of hand-truck wheels, some bits of ¾” plywood and a steel axle are about all that’s needed to make a small-boat cart that comes apart for easy storage on board.

May 2022

10 Pins
LAZY LIGHTNING is a 12′ 8″ Excursion kayak that Dave Feder built from a Newfound Woodworks kit. Aside from a model strip-built kayak, LAZY LIGHTNING is his first boat.
Dave built the kayak on his own and worked about 200 hours over nine months before launching it in June 2021. In a nod to his relaxed approach to kayaking, a favorite song by the same name from the ’70s, and the electrical origins of its decorations, he christened the kayak LAZY LIGHTNING.
When Dave Feder built his first boat—a cedar-strip kayak—he wanted to give it some personal artistic touches and did what any other electrical engineer might do. He had high-voltage electricity do the work.

April 2022

10 Pins
Designer Paolo Lodigiani worked with Jeremiah to modify the boat’s method of construction. Paolo said that collaborations like this remind him that, even after 30 years in the business, there is always something new to learn.
When an artist with an affection for boats suffered a heart attack, he was in the midst of a multi-year project of building a small outboard runabout. The challenges he faced in building boats gave him valuable insights about meeting the unexpected challenges of life.
When a trailer’s tires or bearings fail, having the tools to make the change can save an outing from being turned into an ordeal. The Quick Change Jack has no moving parts and takes only seconds to use.

March 2022

15 Pins
The August 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics had 202 pages for just 35 cents. I immediately turned straight to page 140 and read the article. It described how to build a neat little 13′9″ outboard runabout, a PM-38. The “PM�” was for Popular Mechanics and the “38” came from a boat speed of 38 mph, a materials cost of $38, and a build time of 38 hours. “Hey,” I thought, “I can do that!” I showed it to my dad, and he said that if I could build the hull, he would find an engine for it.
A 7-1/2-page article published in a 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics might seem, by any standard, to be an insufficient guide to building a boat, but Terry McIntyre built the magazine’s PM-38 twice, once in 1962 and again in 2019.
The designer recommends 9′ oars for the dory. The stations for tandem rowing have plenty of space in between them to minimize clashes if the rowers get out of synch.

November 2021

8 Pins
The canoe was finished with inwales of locally-sourced spruce and outwales of red oak. The thwarts are also spruce; the forward has a hole in it and serves as a mast partner. The seat is designed for sit-on-top kayaks. The 230 cm kayak paddle, seen here at launch day, turned out to be a bit too short.
Paul and Sharon LaBrie have been enjoying boating together for their 40-plus years of marriage; a difference of opinion between the two led to a novel hybrid hull that combines two different types of construction.
"The kayak was very stiff and comfortable, with room for big five-year-old Cabot to sit in front of his mom. The boat showed a good turn of speed with minimal effort, and we didn’t need the rudder. On a windy and choppy day, however, I suspect I would have wanted it down to help with directional stability."

October 2021

15 Pins
The love of boats and the skills to build them has been passed down from Daniel to his son and grandsons, and the newly finished scow is the latest boat to take shape in his shop.
Patrick Blake of Vicksburg, Mississippi, is 11 years old and the sixth generation of his family to take a serious interest in boats. In the company of his little brother, father and grandfather, he built a little scow for the creek that runs through the family land.
Rowing into a headwind can put a strain on the rower. Jim Tolpin devised a clip-on plastic sleeve and button that gives the oars a lower gear to provide them with a greater mechanical advantage.

September 2021

13 Pins
LIL’ WOODIE, a 19-year-old Sea-Doo turned classic mahogany beauty, is doubtless the only jet ski capable of drawing admiring looks at gatherings of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. And its metamorphosis is matched, perhaps, only by Dale’s metamorphosis from bank vice president to boatbuilder.
Dale Brevik is a dedicated amateur woodworker who enjoys a project that will challenge and add to his formidable repertoire of skills. His latest was to give a 2002 jet ski a mahogany makeover with all the elegance of a classic runabout.
Mike Jacker, along with his friends Louis and Marty, had just graduated from high school and would have spent the summer of ‘72 sailing Lake Michigan at a local club, but a book on hydrofoils set them on a quest to design and build their own sailing foiler.

August 2021

10 Pins
A couple living on the coast of Brittany had already accumulated a small fleet of boats when they decided to build an Escargot Canal Cruiser designed by Phil Thiel. It would be a boat they enjoyed using even without leaving the dock.
A small cove might not provide enough room for a boat to swing at anchor, but it can make a worry-free night aboard with a system that keeps the boat precisely located regardless of wind and current.
"The sun had already dropped below the horizon before I landed at Long Island. After climbing the smooth slabs to the summit ridge, I was able to enjoy a second sunset from my higher vantage point." - Tom Pamperin

July 2021

12 Pins
Jon, Bob, Chris, Ron, and Ian were all pleased with their work. The Tubby Tug has a fair and sound hull. An electric outboard borrowed later that afternoon proved it could perform well with appropriate power. At the close of the festival, Bob took the boat home and in the weeks that followed rebuilt the pilothouse and gave the whole boat a proper finish. He rigged it for electric propulsion with controls and steering in the pilothouse.
John Lee, his father, and three friends rose to the Edensaw Boatbuilding Challenge to build a boat during the three days of the 2018 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. Their Glen-L Tubby Tug turned out to be a charming keeper.
It was midafternoon on a Wednesday in May, more than a week before the start of the summer camping and fishing season, and my 17′ garvey cruiser, HESPERIA, was the only boat at the ramp.

June 2021

8 Pins
AVANTI emerged from the garage measuring 7′2″ long with a 3′ beam and weighing just 40 lbs. And with the little 2.5-hp outboard providing the power, AVANTI will get on plane and look good doing it.
Riley Hall, a shipwright leading the restoration of a 96-year-old purse seiner, spent his free time recently designing and building an outboard skiff that required only one sheet of plywood to build and could get on plane with a 2.5-hp outboard.
If spring is your time to hit the road with your boat in tow, Kent and Audrey Lewis will guide you through taking a look at your trailer to make sure it will get you and your boat to the launch site safely.

May 2021

12 Pins
C H K has cruised to Desolation Sound and will have plenty of British Columbia coast to explore in the future.
Barry Jensen lives on Canada’s west coast but he was drawn to the lobsterboats of the east coast. He built John Gardner’s Down East Workboat, added a low cabin and an upright wheelhouse, and had his lobsterboat cruiser.
At the end of our longest day—from Butter Island to Ram—John curled up with a drink on the warm ledge and checked the next day’s weather forecast. We were both spent and not up for anything but taking it easy.

April 2021

12 Pins
John Carswell retired to Jekyll Island, a 7-1/2-mile-long barrier island on the coast of Georgia. With gentle slopes of white sand on its Atlantic coast and creek-laced salt marshes on its western side, Jekyll is surrounded by shallow water. When John and his wife Dorothy relocated there, they brought a boat with them, a Princess built in 1932 by the Thompson Brothers Boat Manufacturing Company of Peshtigo, Wisconsin.
For his first boatbuilding project, John Carswell took on a boat with a complex strip-built hull that has a box keel to keep the boat upright while the tide’s out and a tunnel to protect the propeller when motoring across shallows and weeds.
"The afternoon sun dipped behind a tight row of cottonwoods on the landing a mile up the Willamette River from downtown Corvallis, Oregon. It was the first weekend of October, and a few beams of light slipped through the leaves to reach the floating dock where I was packing CLARABELLE, my 17′ fiberglass Jersey Skiff. Jon and I would be well-stocked for our two-night, 37-mile row downriver to the town of Independence."

March 2021

10 Pins
While waxed canvas has lost the important role it once had in military, maritime, and recreational activities, it is a handsome and durable material for DIY sewing projects for boat and workshop.
With Wyoming’s Mt. Moran towering above Leigh Lake to an elevation of 12,605’, Dave paddles HMS KATHI LENETTE toward a campsite in the lake’s northwest corner.
When he was boy, Dave Gibson circled toys in the Sears Christmas catalog. Nearing retirement from a long career as a pastor, he circled a kayak in a catalog of stitch-and-glue boats. A congregation surprised him by giving the kayak kit to him.

February 2021

9 Pins
PUDDLE DUCK waited 75 years from the beginning of her construction to her launching. Sawyer and Greg take PUDDLE DUCK for her maiden voyage. She needs a few adjustments to get her to float on her lines.
Ritchie With’s father started building a plywood pram in 1945, but the plywood parts he cut out gathered dust for 75 years. Only when Ritchie’s daughter-in-law needed a pandemic project to keep his grandkids occupied did the pieces get put together.
I was all alone at a midday break at the cut through Mud Island, where our entire group had camped two nights before. These cuts and beaches are in constant flux. The spattering of olive green near the shoreline are hundreds of black mangrove seeds that have washed ashore. Given enough time between hurricanes or other storms, some will set down roots and make this spit of shell more permanent.

January 2021

12 Pins