February Reports  

By Duckworks Readers - all over the place


Mystery Solved!

Jim Antrim's (San Francisco naval architect) weird cat hits the waves. Read the San Francisco Chronicle story.

submitted by Chris Ostlind

Mystery Boat

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I am trying to renovate the boat shown (pictures above) and need to find either exact or similar plans. Any help would be appreciated. You can write me at: lowie1801@xtra.co.nz

Simon Lowe

Sailplan now included with Flapdoodle plans

Hi Chuck,
I added a sail and rigging to the plans for the Flapdoodle folding dinghy. The mast and mast socket had already been added.

Please advise anyone with plans to check for updates.

You can see the sail plan HERE:

Try to stay warm,
Bill Weller

Report From the North West School of Wooden Boatbuilding

Hi Chuck and Sandra,

I've begun my second year as a student at the North West School of Wooden Boatbuilding, and look forward to sending you occasional updates as we progress through the year.

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The Basic Boatbuilding Skills students finished their three E.G. Monk-designed flatties, and have turned out some beautiful work.

All three boats have already been sold, a testament to the continuing popularity of Monk's work.

Although we've had some cold days here in the Pacific Northwest, and gray days as well, the scenery here at the school is always wonderful to enjoy.

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This year, the Traditional Small Boat class in which I am a student will build two Grandy skiffs under the direction of Instructor Tim Lee, and a Whitehall under the combined direction of Instructors Tim Lee and Ray Speck. We're also looking forward to taking the lines off an older Whitehall as the year progresses, and beginning basic repairs on that boat.

The Traditional Large Craft Class, under the direction of Instructor Rich Wilmore and assisted by Master Boatbuilder Jeff Hammond, will continue work on the Wilcox, a 35-foot motor-cruiser, and will build a Haven-class sailboat.

And, the Contemporary Class, under the direction of Bruce Blatchley, will build the third of the PT-15 sailboats (the subject of a recent profile in Wooden Boat), as well as an additional boat.

On a separate note, the Basic Boatbuilding Skills students each built their own wooden smoothing planes and adjustment hammers, a project which is really paying off now that we are honing our skills building spruce oars. I'll bring you pictures and directions in a future article.


Pete Leenhouts
Student, North West School of Wooden Boatbuilding
Port Hadlock WA

A Swaggie hits the Water

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Had you seen this? It's Luis Estevez' Swaggie. I'm pleased with the way the little boat looks, for a little boat, I mean. Check his website.

Thanks, John

The Canvas Currach

Hi Chuck

Recently I bought a book and DVD from an Irish publisher about building Currachs. The book is based on extracts from the DVD and a set of lines is provided together with the DVD.

I have to say this was one of the most enjoyable viewings I’ve had for ages. It starts with a short local history told by the builder and goes on to show the whole thing from the choosing of wood, to the measuring and building process. A very enlightening entertaining and clear DVD. You just know you could go and build one of these things by eye.

Far be it from me to criticise design, but in my view the build is rough and ready to put it mildly. However when you see the finished product on the water and winning a race, all you can say is. “This is real non nonsense boat building. Very impressive!”

I’d recommend this to anyone interested in skin on frame boats as you can sail these as well.

Get it from


Michael Birch

Roll, Roll, Roll anothercoatofepoxyonto your boat.

Lee Martin working on his multihull.

Where the supplies have ended up

Chuck & Sandra,

Thought I’d share a few pictures of where all my great supplies from you guys have ended up. After 18 months of weekends, I launcher her Sunday on a perfect day in Tampa Bay. She swam in a local lake so we could introduce our selves to each other slowly. S.E. wind at 15 knots with a high of 82 F. Could not have been a more perfect day and she behaved like a lady. The “Tiki” is birthed.

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Thanks again for all the great service and supplies and I’m sure I’ll be ordering more from time to time.

Regards & Happy New Year,

Peyton Swan


I live in Thailand where the biggest challenge is accessing the right tools and materials. Not just because of a lack of availability, but because of the huge differences in language, the written word and attitudes. Several times I have asked for exterior grade plywood, only
to be told by timber merchants that you can't build boats from plywood (not surprising perhaps in a land where the local boats are beautifully crafted from delicious hardwoods).

I bought the best 6mm ply that I could find, aware that it was not brilliant, and built a little boat from free plans on the Net - from Hannu's Boatyard. I launched it in July, and it has seen good service helping to clear weeds from the farm pond.

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Here is my wife and puppies in the little boat I built.

I am now ready to start the next project - Piccup Pram. Last week I drove 9 hours each way to Phuket to buy epoxy, and had bought fibreglass tape in London when I was there in September. After much fruitless searching I was tomorrow going to go to the same merchant for plywood as I used before, my wife is going away for a couple of
days and I was going to really get cracking.

But disaster! I today discovered that the bottom of the little 6 month old boat is completely rotten. Since the wet season ended a couple of months ago it has been kept upturned outside, where the sun is strong and the temperature around the mid 30s Centigrade (around 95F).

Could it be the power of the sun alone? Could it be the fact that I used oil based primer with latex topcoats (won't do that again)? Could it be that I coated the ply with polymer resin before painting (OK I won't do that again either, it seemed to do strange things to the ply)? Should I aerate the farm pondwater more? Or was it that the plywood
was just awful and I have to start from scratch again trying to find a decent supplier?

My first boat was really to test out materials and my skills. I made some giant errors but also was able to correct some of them and adapt where shortages required it. And I was hooked! I have an ever growing library of plans, with dreams of spending my approaching retirement up to the elbows in sawdust and epoxy, and sailing on the nearby lakes, rivers and Gulf of Siam.
Comments PLEASE!

First Boat

While I sometimes wonder where the years go, I don’t dwell on it too very much and am grateful for the reminders of the more rewarding paths that I have embarked upon thusfar. One of these reminders that is still with me, is the first real boat that I built. Pictured here, in for re-finishing is my version of a Rushton, “Princess,” model, sailing canoe in about its fourth iteration since it was first built, over 30 years ago.

With an initial couple of very helpful suggestions from my late father (along with his permission to monopolize his garage) I started this project after reviewing many old issues of the National Fisherman newspaper, joining the International Marine book club and purchasing dozens of boatbuilding books to eagerly consume. Eventually my passion set my dreaming into action. With all my enthusiasm (and then available resources) I decided on this canoe model and with the blissful ignorance of youth, felt fully qualified to enlarge the design, make every bit of gear for it, modify some second hand sails to fit it, and then with no real sail training, I took to the bays and lakes around my hometown.

The first real boat that I built, pictured here, in for re-finishing, is my version of a Rushton, “Princess,” model, sailing canoe.

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Luckily my instincts on the re-sizing of a design worked out reasonably well. I had a fully decked sailing canoe, LOA 17’- 10” Beam 42” and a mid-ship depth including the coaming of 14”. A sliding gunther rigged main and mizzen and a decent self-tending jib, totaling about 125 square feet, pushed this boat along nicely. Beginning it’s life with water-tight bulkheads at about half the canoe’s volume, originally a centerboard, then a dagger-board, then lee-boards and now mainly used for recreational rowing with a single stowable sailing rig for use when desired, the boat has served me well with these modifications to overall weight and ease of use, closely following my diminished abilities for those acrobatic feats of posterior positioning once so easily accomplished.

Constructed of opposing layers of native white-cedar strips, running diagonally from the keel to the gunwales, (Ashcroft style), laminated with WEST System epoxy, with three longitudinal strips of graphite fiber between the layers of cedar on each side of the hull, spar varnish and porch and floor enamel have protected surfaces nicely, never having glassed anything. With a bit of regular simple maintenance it looks like this canoe could easily live through a couple more generations of use. I will certainly try to send a picture next time we’re on the water.

Don Freix
Fish Creek

Nessy's new rowlocks

Chuck - I am sending you this picture for two reasons. One is to show the shiny and lovely Duckworks rowlocks in place on Nessy when I went out today (December 23) on Chichester Harbour. The other is to brag about being able to row more or less year-round here on the south coast of England despite being at 51 degrees North. It's not exactly the Caribbean, and the sun barely heaves its lazy self over the horizon even at midday but last week has been sunny, crisp and cool.

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The shiny and lovely Duckworks rowlocks in place on Nessy

The rowlocks enable me to use proper feathering blades. Although Nessy will never be as quick as my sliding seat skiff, the comfortable seating position means I rest on my oars less often and the higher oar position over the water means choppy conditions are easier to cope with. In fact, I am really enjoying returning to fixed seat rowing.

Chris Partridge

My Buddy caught this 350 lb Tuna!

My high school buddy, Curt Kamada, just got back from his annual, long range fishing trip out of San Diego and this is what he brought home. A 350 lb. Yellowfin Tuna! It took Two hours to land this bad boy. Curt was fishing 130 lb. test line at the time with the World Record for Yellowfin on that rig at 382 lbs. he's in pretty rare territory, indeed.

Curt tells me the back of his truck was filled with vacuum bagged tuna steaks and he had to start giving them away to friends. For those who never go fishing in the ocean... the Yellowfin is also called Ahi in some circles. You may have seen that name on the menu at a restaurant.

Here's the trip report: https://tinyurl.com/ymquc9

Chris Ostlind


Dear friends of bill . I regret to inform you that Bill passed away on December 1, 2006. I have sent an attachment with this mail. Bill had a cerebral hemorage and did not wake up. I am sorry I am not a computer person otherwise I would talk to everyone individually. regretfully starr pettit

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