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Duckworks/Small Craft Advisor - Design Contest #1

Puget Sound solo cruiser

DEADLINE - Midnight, December 31, 2005

Our friends over at "Small Craft Advisor" have, agreed to join us as a co-sponsor of our annual design contest. We have decided that our contest and their "SCA Design Challenge" would be best if combined. The competition will be a little stiffer, but we will all gain from the greater number of contestants and their ideas. The the details are shown below—good luck! —Editor

You’re building a small boat for two weeks of summer solo camp-cruising in Washington State’s south Puget Sound area. In addition to the simple pleasures of just being on the water, you’re looking forward to photographing wildlife and scenics along the way. Your budget for the construction of the boat and all supplies for the trip is $2500. You do not need to purchase pots, pans, rain gear, sleeping bags, ordinary tents, or any gear a typical outdoorsman might have on hand. You are also not required to budget for tools or a place to build the boat. Finally, transportation to and from the cruise need not be included in your budget.

You will often sail in very shallow waters, and you may sometimes have to contend with strong tidal currents in narrow channels and between islands. As maximum currents can run faster than the hull speed of most small boats, careful planning and the ability to complete a passage reliably within a certain amount of time could prove critical. The substantial wake from a ferry or other large vessel could be an occasional consideration.

Rain and mist could potentially keep the boat’s topsides nearly as wet as her keel for days on end, so some means of protection will be required if you hope to have any comfort. Many shores are posted no trespassing and no camping, so while you may be able to camp ashore some nights, you’ll likely have to sleep aboard others. Don’t leave home without a good cruising anchor. Extra credit for boats that meet the primary needs and remain light enough to dragged far up the beach and out of tidal range in a pinch.

Reprovisioning and the occasional hot shower can be had relatively easily, as civilization will never be far away. Days are usually mild, but nighttime temperatures can sometimes drop into the 40s. Sunset can bring mosquitoes. Further research will enable you to determine exactly what type of boat would be most appropriate. - Good luck!


The contest organizers are Duckworks Magazine and Small Craft Advisor.

All correspondence should be emailed to:

or addressed to:
Duckworks Magazine
P.O. Box 10
Harper, TX 78631, USA

The competition is open to anyone other than the following:

  • Previous contest winners
  • Professional Boat Designers
  • Career path Boat Design students who have completed 40% or more of their course

Entrants retain copyright of their designs or drawings. However, it is a condition of entry that the organizers retain the right to display at public shows, publish in Duckworks and Small Craft Advisor (including its supplements and associated publications, whether printed or electronic), in full or part, any submitted material, written or electronic.


Only one entry per person will be judged. Due to the number of entries we expect, and the fact that our judges are busy people who generously volunteer their time, we limit the volume of data that you may submit. Entries that do not adhere to these specific limits will not be judged. Note that these are maximum numbers and you do not need to pad your entry to come up to these levels.

  1. Six drawings or sketches including but not limited to:
    1. Plan view
    2. Front elevation
    3. Side elevation
  2. 20 line list of boat’s statistics (measures, weights, etc.)
  3. 1000 word description of boat
  4. 100 line budget showing how the money is spent.
  5. 500 words of explanation of budget
  6. 100 word bio.

These submissions may be made by e-mail or snail mail in electronic or “hard copy” versions. Please do not submit handwritten text. Please make sure electronic submissions are hi-resolution (300 dpi at printing size) for possible reproduction in print.

Judging will be based on the following:

  • The viability and merits of your boat design
  • How well the boat suits the overall trip and cruising grounds
  • Creative solutions and original design ideas

Judging will NOT be based on your mastery of any boat design
software. We like to see professional looking drawings, but those will not get extra credit. What I am trying to say is don't fail to enter because your drawings are just pencil sketches on note paper. That will do fine.