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Lake Powell Trip


We launched the newest of our small fleet, "Pickle" an 11 foot Sailing Whitehull. It's mostly intended for the kids to learn to saiil on. We had a great weekend. Kids really took to the new boat, but not much wind for sailing.

Tom Gale


click images for larger views


Today started out nice, forecast to be in the mid-seventies. I decided to take the Toter for a spin. Upon arriving at the lake, shortly after 9 am, I realized that the wind was blowing and the water was churning. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try. I unloaded, set up and launched Toter into the unknown. As I progressed out slowly, the fact that some waves were the height of the Toter caused me some alarm. But honestly, that little boat just broke through, with some splashing, and I always had directional control. So I tested it to the limits (mine), by broaching the waves, than heading straight into them, and finally almost surfing, letting the water have its way. As the designer I should have known better, but the Toter was never in any trouble, and after 30 minutes or so, I headed back to shore feeling very confident with it's overall performance. I have a couple of photos of the whitecaps on the water to prove it. All in all a very good day.

Ken Simpson"

I realized that the wind was blowing and the water was churning. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try.

Unknown Yahoo 

Here is a photo of an unknown yahoo sailing a nice looking radio controlled model on Onepoto Pond in Auckland, New Zealand.

Holy cow! As rare as yahoos are - especially down under - a second yahoo has joined the first! No telling what sort of mayhem will result.

Thanks to Mark Steele for the pictures

Postcard from Joe Dobler's Father

Hi Chuck,

This photo is on the back of a post card from Joe's father W. J. Dobler to his wife Suzanne from Dawson Sept 13, 1908.   W. J. Dobler was a steamboat captain on the Yukon River and was leaving the following day on his last trip down the river for the year. 

Tom Setum

Texas200 Boat


Can you send me 400 #6X5/8 ss screws and 300 #6X1/2 ss screws....we burned through the last order very fast... attached in the latest photo of the boat....the cloth is on and we're filling the weave......will be painting by Friday or Saturday


- David Nichols

Muga and Tonka

Hi Chuck - I finished Muga and Tonka (Bear and Buffalo) today! Got slowed down working tornado and flood disasters up in northern Arkansas. Wouldn't you know my hotel was three miles from where the Buffalo River and Big Creek merge! It snowed while I was there - so I got a couple nice pictures. Anyway - weather permitting I will get them wet this Saturday. Hopefully my intuition was correct and they turn out to be good boats - otherwise I built not one - but two duds! My brother and I will use them for a Buffalo River float next month - can't wait! Oh - they are 14' and weigh 70 lbs each.

Anyway I will do a write up on how I built them, how they work, and the Buffalo trip - guess that would be a two part mini series. Wish me luck!

Larry Pullon

Yesterday was vernal equinox

The snow was gone, we had the windows open, and I was thinking about this weekend for dragging the tablesaw outside to catch up on ripping without creating a blizzard of sawdust in my tiny shop.

Unless of course there's an *actual* blizzard.

Well, I do have to give the meteorologists credit for accurately predicting this. I just didn't want to believe it.

--Rob in Madison, WI

Surfbus Power Optimized

A techy friend in Australia has helped to optimize the hull forms of the SurfBus for the correct engine needs at a cruising RPM. We selected 12 knots as a good cruising speed for the boat, with the capability to take it up to 16 as needed.

The engine that was spit-out of the analysis software was pegged for the Yamaha 9.9 Hi-Thrust model at 108 pounds. So, with the throttle at just over half, the boat will comfortably hit the cruising speed with enough throttle left to punch it up whenever. This engine size range, running at half throttle, will provide really nice fuel economy for a four person boat.

I'll pull together an article for the design and get it out to you guys in the near future.


30' LOA
12' BOA
Weight 2600 lbs. all-up
The amas fold for trailering beam

You've seen this boat before when I first did the smaller brother model, the

Javelin, which is meant for two adult cruising at 25' LOA. This one got preference when it came time to finalize the plans when I got a serious query from a guy in SoCal who wants to build the SurfBus for tooling around in SoCal waters.

This thing should make for a really high wow factor when out and about in the Newport Beach harbor on a summer weekend. I wouldn't be surprised at all if it provokes a bunch of requests for boat building commissions, but I'm not holding my breath on that potential.

Chris Ostlind

Grandson's First Boat Ride

We've been having some decent weather, so Friday a week ago I took my sweet wife and the grandson out for a row. His first trip on the water, and he did great.
Went up the bayou a bit to a local park, had a picnic supper of sandwiches and chips, then rowed back to the dock. I'll take him on a number of rowing trips, and when I'm sure he's comfortable (and I'm comfortable with him being in the boat), then we'll sail.

Al Meyer

New Boat

I've been building a boat in my garage. I designed it myself so we'll see if I'm any good at it. It's a 17' X 6' with a shallow V hull design. It has some rocker built in and I figure 10 HP to drive her to 12 MPH. Kind of a picnic boat with a small cabin for the porta-loo and storage. Cockpit is about 8' with 18" slop well in the back for the outboard. Maybe close to a Michalak AF4 or Electron with a smaller cabin and larger cockpit.

I include the only picture I have of the boat in construction. I was trying to explain to a co-worker the procedure of stitch and glue building. Notice the dowels on the joints? I used them to fill the gaps of the bottom and top panels with an interesting effect of getting some really nice lines on the chine. I put extra glass on each joint just in case.

If you're going to Lake Powell, I'll do my best to get there as I would really enjoy seeing you again. All depends on the dates.

I'm envious of your trip, well done!

Jeff Blunk

Bateau FL12

I launched my first home built boat here last summer, a FL12, and am looking for other home builders in our area.  I want get going on my next project.  It will be a sailboat of some kind and I would like to share ideas and maybe sources of wood.

Also, I’d love to participate in the Texas200, but don’t have a suitable boat presently.  I have been enjoying lower Laguna Madre for many years.  I often visit my elderly parents who live near Harlingen, and also to fish and vacation with my family.  I might be able to contribute to the event in some way other than bringing a boat, however, so please include me in any planning correspondence that might be useful.

I have been reading your website for about a year and a half now and really enjoy it.

Thanks and best regards.

Truman King

Cheap Ply Canoe

Hi Chuck,I thought you might like to hear about a 14' open ply canoe I built and gave to my son six years ago. He lives in Alberta, Canada and has three sons, now aged 11 to 17. For the past four years the canoe has been hauled out at the side of a farm pond when not in use, winter and summer, sometimes upside down and sometimes right side up and part full of water. It has had six years of hard use, including being hauled up and down river banks, apart from being a plaything for teenagers in the pond. For those of your readers who don't know it, Alberta weather can be anything from long days of sunshine with temperatures in the 90 to 105 degree range to winter temperatures well below zero fahrenheit.

The point of this story is that the canoe was built of 5.2 mm luan type underlay plywood at $13.00 a sheet plus epoxy and glass tape and cloth and to my surprise it is stil structurally sound with no delamination and no leakage. The paint is worn off the chines and perhaps the 6oz glass sheathing is beginning to wear through by now, but it still looked sound when I saw it last summer. Some people say that this type of plywood is not durable and unsuitable for boat building but this case seems to indicate otherwise.

I attach two photos of the canoe in use on the pond. Clive Bennett, Ontario, Canada.

Just Discovered Duckworks

Dear Chuck, I just discovered DuckWorks Magazine this past week. I really enjoy all the articles, how other people are building and sailing boats, it's a great cure for late winter cabin fever (we still have two feet of snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing day and night. Arrgh).

I've attached a few pictures (thought you might like some eye candy :)): One is my personal boat, a Teal, named the Saranac. I live in the town of Saranac, NY, where I built it in 2000, and I am just a mile from the Saranac River where this boat made it's maiden voyage (I've also had it on the Ausable River and Lake Champlain). I have plans to upgrade it this spring with flotation chambers, trolling motor, maybe an improved lee board. It has a swivel bucket seat installed. My section of the river has about 6 miles of flat water with a gentle current. I think the Teal is perfect as a one man rowboat, sailer, troller. I would like something a few feet longer with more beam, but for now the Teal is perfect because I can stuff into my pickup truck and go. (When I get to it, maybe you would like an article about how I mount a trolling motor on a Teal and how it works out?)

The other boat, the Rooster, is a reproduction of an 18th/19th century bateau. It's a 34 ft, double ended, flat bottom scow, lapstrake construction. These were work boats for lake, shoal and river (equipped with guns for wartime use). I'm one of the builders, also the coxswain. It's rigged with a 11x11 square cotton sail, footloose at the bottom. I'm an historical re-enactor and this boat belongs to the Battle of Plattsburgh Association. Every year we take it to several re-enacting events at historic sites such as Sackets Harbor, NY, on Lake Ontario, and Fort La Presentacion in Ogdensburgh, NY, on the St. Lawrence River. In the first shot, it's just above the mouth of the Saranac River, where it empties into Lake Champlain, taking part in the annual Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration (War of 1812). The men are about to shoot blank charges out of reproduction Brown Bess muskets; and there's a swivel gun mounted on the bow. The other pictures are at Bath, Ontario, and Sackets Harbor.

Best regards, Don Craig, Saranac, NY

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