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Duckworks is the brightest media moment in my day. I value what you do. Thanks for being the people you are, doing the things you do.



Design Index


Thanks for the great site!

Once upon a time I found a page on the site that listed all the designs available (for sale?) listed by size. I thought this was a brilliant(!) and useful directory.

Now I cannot find it anywhere. Has it been taken down? If not, perhaps a link on the "plans" page would be REALLY nice.

Thanks again.

Wishing you the greatest success,
P. Robert Wiebe

We were not able to keep those pages current so we have relegated them to the archives. But we are working on a similar listing of boat designs that we have for sale - there are several hundred currently - Chuck

Rope Fenders


I love the site. I browse almost every day. I have not yet run into a tutorial on home made rope fenders. Have you done anything like that yet?

Robert Nelson

We  have not, Robert, you could be the first - Chuck


This is going to sound crazy, but my husband found a silver bowl at a sale a while back. The inscription says New Rochelle Yacht Club, July 1, 1911, won by Lawanna. Anyway, I started to research it and found an article in the NY Times from July 2, 1911 showing the winners of several races. Lawanna won the Larchmont Interclub Class so I believe that is what this bowl is for. I also came across an article in your magazine by Derek Waters on the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival in 2004 where he had featured and pictured the Lawanna. (What a beautiful boat.) I really don't know if you can help me, but if you happen to know who the owners are could you someway put me in contact with them? I wanted to see if they wanted to purchase the bowl to be displayed on the boat. It is really a beautiful bowl and would be great with the boat. Thank you in advance for anything you may be able to do.

PJ Redd

I forwarded the letter above to Derek Waters and got this reply:

Hi Chuck

"Lawana" [not "Lawanna"] is a west coast boat. There's an article online which tallies with my recollection of what the [then] owner said when we spoke at the 2004 show. It says that she was built in 1911 by Taylor and Grandy on Vashon Island to Otis Cutting's design. I doubt she was winning races on the east coast in the same year. [Actually, I'd be surprised if she was ever raced]. I don't have my notes from five years ago to hand, but the internet tells me that "Lawana" is registered to Keith G. Johnson, in Bellevue, Washington. More information is supposedly available on payment of a small fee to BoatInfoWorld...

...but my curiosity doesn't extend to paying for your correspondent's research :)

best wishes to you and yours



Mr. Bolger's passing is so saddening, in so many ways, for so many people. God bless his family.

Len Turner


I'm very sad about Phil Bolger passed. He was a great and inspiring man.

Best Regards,
Guy Capra

Still feeling bad and unsettled about Phil. Thought today's DW entry was a great way to handle it.

Chuck, thanks for including Phil Bolger story  - we never met but shared a couple of letters in years gone by on his light (folding) schooner. I am deeply moved and would like to include a small item in my column in a future issue. 

Best regards as always

Mark Steele


While I cannot claim to have known Phil Bolger personally, he was a part of my life. Nearly 20 years ago I came across the Bolger Payson Pointy Skiff, which I built without knowing how for my daughters who were 3 and 5 at the time. They loved that perfect little skiff.

As a Christian I would not have done what he did. I hope that his life was what he thought it would be and that he received in death what he thought death was, his act of resolution.

What I'll remember about Phil Bolger is the generosity and kindness of a letter--handwritten--which he sent me about a design. Most designers take what's around them and tweak it; their designs are squeezed into forms and looks which already exist. At some point Phil Bolger came across his famous image of how water moves under a boat, and from then on his designs were autobiographical. They seemed to come from him giving out himself.

I think you could see Phil sitting on a dock watching ships, and sit down with him. You could tell him why you love boats, and he'd understand. You could tell him about the perfect boat in your imagination, and he'd be fascinated by it. He was the quintessential New Englander in that you could know him personally without ever interrupting his privacy.

My bow to Phil Bolger is going to be to build Pointy Skiff again, just as he designed it. Maybe I'll call it Tribute.

Paul Austin

Boats and Bolger

Hello Chuck,

Well, another bit of your website has gone into making a boat! I used the fiberglass tape I bought a while back to make a light sculling trainer / kayak from the designs posted by Hannu's boatyard. The build stretched out a lot longer than I expectied, but I learned quite a bit. I kept a loose journal of the build here. I have only used it as a kayak so far, still need to figure out an inexpensive sliding seat rig for it.

Just wanted to say thanks for your site, without it I probably never would have found this hobby. My excitement was dampened this morning when I read the news that Phil Bolger had passed. It goes without saying that his ideas and designs have influenced many of us who enjoy the world around us from small home built boats. He certainly opened my eyes to what is important in boats. Simple functionality is beautiful and allows you to spend more time with those you love on the water or in the shop. The boats I'm interested in now are more likely to be found at Cedar Key or the Texas 200 than at any boat show or marina.

Jon Van Vuren


Without your support (and books... I have David Nichol's book on Traditional Rigs) , I don't think I (or quite a few other people) would be brave enough to tackle something as intimidating to the novice as building a 17' sailboat. Some people say that the internet is dehumanizing and puts distance between people, but when I look at the communities of folks helping each other through projects like this, I think the exact opposite.


Jason Folkers
Alberta, Canada


You know how I am always nagging you about using a compass as your primary
navigation tool and having a list of important bouy numbers -- and every
time I nag you bout it, you say "yea, I have a backup to my GPS.... its
another GPS and spare batteries". Well, here is some more nagging, looks
like the GPS system might not be 100% available.


Another Approach to Shaping Foils


You may remember me from my little chugger that I submitted to you some time ago. As always I absolutely enjoy Duckworks. The article on foils couldn’t have come at a better time – it is fantastic! Keep up the good work.

At present I am working on a 5m (16ft) microcruiser and will keep you posted as I go along.

South Africa

Tape and Glue Update

Hi Chuck,
After building quite a few take-apart plywood boats using the "Tape and Glue" method of assembly, I thought it might be a good time to report on the overall performance of the process.

My initial reason for developing this method of assembly was twofold. First, I wanted a process that was easy to apply, yet strong, with materials readily available and low in cost. Second, it should be non-toxic. I shied away from the traditional materials, fiberglass tape and epoxy, as used widely in the Stitch and Glue process. This led me to a polyester cloth material normally used in the roofing industry, available at any home improvement center, which I immediately embraced. The glue was another matter. After reading many designers comments about various glues, I decided on the TiteBond brand. TiteBond is a more traditionl glue, somewhat thixotropic, applied from a squeeze bottle, as opposed to a caulking gun. I conducted tests on sample assemblies to determine possible joint weaknesses and material breakdown. It was then that I dicsovered TiteBond-III, an advertised waterproof version of the glue being tested. Initial wetting tests indicated that type 3 had better water resistance than the type 2 version, so I switched to TiteBond-III for all further tests. Ultimately, I determined the following: Allowing the glue to cure (dry) for a minimum of 8 hours produced the best results, but this was somewhat dependent on the thickness of the joint. In other words, the longer the cure time, the better. Also, the immersion tests proved that the seal integrity was only as good as the waterproofing of the surrounding wood. That is to say, a good quality primer and paint (or marine varnish) is an absolute necessity, applied after, and over, the Tape and Glue joint, and all areas to be immersed in water. Once the wood absorbs water, it is only a matter of time before joint failure, in the form of delamination, occurs. No surprises here. When properly applied, the Tape and Glue process delivered results that were very promising.

Further testing was now required to determine the strength of the joint being processed. To make a meaningful sample, I designed and built a full size boat, the EZ Canoe, using this method of assembly. Strength tests in the form of placing a load (cement blocks) on newly created T&G joints were conducted, with the hull ends supported off the floor. This provided load forces that could be measured by the deflection of the assembly. So far so good. No excessive measurable changes were observed. Next was the test of me standing in the hull (165 pounds), with the ends still supported, and here too the only discernable weakness was in the hull flooring, being only 1/4 inch ply (with supports). Some would ask why didn't I test to failure. I guess my thinking was this might occur when I first ventured out in the finished boat! But, that didn't happen. The boat performed well, with no observed material deflection (forces are spread over a larger area). However, there was one condition that needed attention. After many beachings and scraping of the bottom surfaces of the boat, some wear of the chine areas were observed, with possible breakthrough of the polyester material. This could prove to be a major future problem. The condition was remedied on this boat by repairing the defective area, and placing 1 x 1/2 wood skids along the chine. Future builds would need a process upgrade.

About this time I was designing the Pollywog Tender, and decided to seek out a better material than the polyester tape. Fiberglass tape seemed to be the answer, as it has good abrasion resistance, but the 6 ounce material is much thicker and heavier than the polyester, and I was concerned it would not absorb the thicker glue. About that time I discovered that Duckworks also provides glass cloth in 3.25 once thickness, and I ordered some to try. As it turned out, the 3.25 oz material is not much heavier than the polyester, accepts the TB3 glue readily, and provides a superior bonded joint. In fact, processing is easier, as the glass cloth, cut in 2.5 inch strips, is more flexible and easier to form around corners. And, no more costly than the previous material used. Field tests (boat in the water) have confirmed my decision to change materials, and the Pollywog seams have proven to be durable and strong. I would still suggest some form of chine protection for boats used in rough environments, but this holds true no matter which assembly method is being applied.

At this point, after much trial and error, and process improvements, I would strongly recommend the 'Tape and Glue Assembly Process' for small plywood boat construction. It is surely easy to apply, strong yet lightweight, non-toxic, and low in cost. The negative aspect of it's use would be converting existing boat designs to 'T&G', as they may not lend themselves well to the process. The plus side is that new designs can be developed using 'Tape & Glue', and new builders emerge that otherwise would not, or could not, construct a small boat any other way. My newest boat design to use 'T&G' is the Explorer ; a small two part, nesting, single sheet rowboat for individual use, that stores in almost any vehicle.

Below is the latest T&G Process page from the Explorer design.


Ken Simpson

Doris Who?


My musty old one year of high school French suggests that your reply to the letter titled "Dories in Brittany" should be addressed to François rather than Doris. "Doris de la Baie" translates as "dories of the bay" (I think).


Oops! Thanks for catching that mistake, Ross - Chuck

To Wish or Not to Wish

You don't need to have the wish list button on the items in the store. Anyone can go to Amazon and download the wish list button, which you then place right on your browser with your "favorites." Then, anywhere you are (including the DW store), for any item you are viewing, you can hit the button and Amazon puts the item on your personal wish list.


I just used my Wish List to put together a big order. I could take my time compiling my list on the wish list site without actually filling out an order and worrying that I forgot something. Also, months go by when I don't have the money to buy the next set of items for my build, but I can always surf and add wishes for when I will have the funds later. I use it for everything, not just gift items. It is great for if you are going over your plans and want to compile a list of materials. It worked for me.

Thanks Chuck for adding it to your site. Yes, I added it to my own browser, but I figured other people might not know about that option and now they do.


A Kayak Idea

My brain has been bothered by an idea for plywood kayak framing which may interest your readers (and viewers). The use of plywood for the station frames is obvious, but the stringers could also be made of plywood, short pieces set on edge between successive frames, ends keyed to fit notches in the frames. The whole thing could be glued up like a model airplane or tied together with string. The pieces could be cut with CNC (computer numerical control) and shipped as a kit for people who want to avoid cutting. There are no long stringers to deal with.

I'm not a kayak paddler myself but would be interested in seeing what other people might do with the concept. If I find the time I'd like to try a model and perhaps a full sized frame. I've been going over the construction in my imagination.

I've had to give up boating for health reasons and am now recycling, restoring, and modifying bicycles which are also providing fertile fodder for the imagination. I continue to visit the Duckworks website most days. I enjoy the continuous stream of innovations.

William R Watt

Kudo's to Rob

Hi Chuck,

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Rob Rohde-Szudy's article on knives. It seems he and I are on same wave length (I too recycle knives) and with the latest installment he has has got the casting bug stirring again!

I've been toying with the idea (bronze) for several years and have the charcoal foundry book he mentions; however the project moved to the back burner when couldn't find material sources locally. Rob's research and references are wonderful. Thank you both for the geat article.


Wharf Inspection Retrospection

I can't believe you posted his little adventure. Hilarious!
I still laugh whenever I read it. Thanks for posting a piece of humor in among all this serious boat building.
Duckworks.... Always entertaining. LOL
Perry Burton


Hi Chuck

Revering to Plastiki. Unbelievable what a name and belonging connections can do.  But perhaps the link below would be interesting for your readers.

In any case very romantic.



Smaller Boats


I found out about your wonderful emag through MAIB which I have subscribed to for several years.

It seems like the smaller the boat, the more pleasure it gives me.

Warm regards,


K. G. Woozle...

Damn you Chuck, and damn Ed Einhorn for that tale. You trying to kill us all? Thats one of those "Chicken soup for the sailor" stories for sure. Damn that was good, now I got to go read it again... Cover story material man, cover story.

Thanks for sharing and shutting us up when we whine about BFB's

Perry Burton


I've been an enthusiastic reader of Duckworks for years. (I hope you're still charging me for the privilege although I wouldn't know - I never review my credit card bills before I pay them. Duckworks could be costing me thousands a year and I wouldn't have a clue. LOL!)

But let me back up... to the real reason I'm emailing you:

Edward Einhorn, from Easton, Maryland, has written a story as compelling as anything I have ever read. Ever. And I've been reading good writing since forever. Halfway through this story I started reading aloud to my wife and by the time I was finished I was finding it hard to talk, my throat was swollen and my eyes were wet and unfocused. Both of us were unashamedly teary-eyed and saddened by Mr. Einhorn's simple story of loss and hope-filled new beginnings.

"K.G. Woozle" is both an Anthem and an unashamedly populist tug at our heart strings. It's an almost literary toure du force & at the same time, it is a quiet, touching celebration of common interests, loyalty to an ideal and a celebration of the respect born from nothing more than the shared luck and circumstance of those who survive the petty dramas we all participate in daily.

Thank you for publishing it.



... Ed Chimes in...


Oh you're gonna love this one; I know this fellow, Jon, who actually used to work for me as a waiter, in a restaurant I owned, Poppi's, in St.Michaels. Jon's a pleasant enough fellow. Supposedly he is descended from someone who palled around with Herreshoff, the elder, and the old wooden 12 meter design crowd. He comes from Old New England Money. Jon married into the hierarchy of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Musuem, politely speaking, a rather snooty crowd. So, he comes up to me the other day after a performance my kid was involved in. I hadn't seen him for a year or so. Speeding thru the perfunctory congratulations etc., and then raising his nose as high as a nose can possibly go, asks me if I'd happen to have seen the latest issue of  Woodenboat? " Nope" I replied. (I'd actually stopped reading Woodenboat years ago, shortly after it appeared to develop a cult -like following). "Well" sez he, "I got the cover story for the April/May issue". Without missing a beat, I congratulated him and said," I got the cover of Duckworks." and with that, I turned and left, and I was walking away I thought of you, and how you might have wished to have been a fly on that wall. Every now and then, we're given such a perfect moment, and I thank you for giving me mine.

I'm still digesting the commentary from the forum. It goes beyond touching, and quite humbling. I feel I ought to write some form of thanks to those who responded. I never expected any feedback such as people have written. It really does go beyond words, but, my kids say I talk too much, and I'll talk to anyone.

Take care, Ed

... As does Kathleen


Ed was kind enough to send me a link to the article on K. G. Woozle.

Thank you for printing it. Dad would be smiling.

"Do the right thing" I know I did. And I love sailing, and I would have loved to have that boat. But - you gotta pay it forward. It is nice to see the boat back with Ed.

Could you be so kind as to send me 2 copies of the article.

I'd like to get them framed.


Kathleen Kirkpatrick


Someone on the Duckworks staff failed to include this photo sequence and description in Tom Schultz's article "Radar Reflector Revisited". That person shall remain unnamed but not unpunished. - Chuck

Somewhere in the discussion someone questioned the strength of the radar reflector using only thin aluminum. Here is a strength test with light card stock (the kind of paper used for soft cover on paperbacks--the material used for the paper model shown above). I don't know the exact weight but it was significant. The card stock sprang back whereas the aluminum would probably have remained bent.
Wish List

Hi Chuck,

I was just on and found a universal wish list feature. It looks like you might be able to add it to your store and then all of us could add things into our wish lists. I don't know if they charge anything or if it is worth it, but I thought you might want to know that it exists.

Thanks for all you do. I really enjoy your site and you have kept me going on this boat building thing.

Take care,

Scott:  I have added the wish list button (see above) to several items in our store - things that seemed like gifts, like our new Scullmatix - so we will see how it goes. Let me know if you think this is a good idea or if there are other things that should have the button - Chuck

Energy and Passion

Mr. Leinweber,
I really enjoy Mr. Steele's articles. I wish I had developed a hobby like he has developed boat modeling. He has cultivated modeling until it is an energy and he is so wonderfully passionate. I can sense the fun and excitment through his writtings. Thank you for sharing his articles and thank Mark Steele for the wonderful stories he tells. JCB.


Hi Chuck and Sandra,

Well, I finally found a new home for Bufflehead so you can remove the "Free Boat" ad. Many thanks for the service. This was the only place that I advertised it as I was sure that a Duckworks reader would make a good owner and I didn't want to let her go to just anybody. The couple that took her, Leon and Diane, live near Eugene, OR and know John Kohnen. They live a mile from the Fern Ridge Reservoir where the Coots from that area have their messabouts and will be kept in a carport and drysailed. I knew he was the right owner when he emailed that he "always wanted a Dovekie but couldn't afford one."

I'm presently working on a solid foam and dacron skin 18' paddle/pedal catamaran that bifurcates into 9' pieces to fit inside my van. Hopefully it will be done in a month or so.

Thanks again,

Gary Lepak

Not Sold


Please remove my classified ad. Too many scammers and they just don't give up. A request for cash or PayPal gets rid of them.


Lifeline Feedback

I got a good comment from CaptLarryN about my Lifeline Article - referring me to this web page.

Whether vinyl-covered “clothesline” is sufficient for lifelines depends on the loads and conditions expected and whether the interior wire is galvanized, I think. While all my sailing is likely to be in sheltered waters, close to shore where I can get away from the big storms, I’m sure offshore racing has tougher requirements! I am reminded of a drawing (below) in Jim Brown’s The Case for the Cruising Trimaran where he describes a boat that endured 70 knot winds and confused seas for 30 hours and stove in in several places. The picture of the Japanese crewman hanging on the rigging suggests a serious need for strength. I do like the idea of changing the wires every 5-10 years, but the ruggedness demanded in the web article comes with a serious price tag—the stanchion bases cost $70 and the pipes list for $60 each in West Marine‘s catalog!

Tom Schultz

Fan Mail

I just wanted you to know how much I love your magazine.

And I like your varied assortment of items for sale. I have always been able to find what I want.

Warren Newbury

Dories in Brittany

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing on behalf of our amateur association that promotes the use and building of traditional dories in Brittany, the northwest corner of France. So far, we have built 2 Newfoundland dories and one Portuguese dory. We are active participants in all the local maritime events, particularly the annual fetes which are held in Binic in May celebrating cod fishing, and Paimpol in August celebrating Sea Shanties (Chant de Marin), as well as more regional events such as those held in Douarnenez, and on the Rance. Our aim in participating is to widen public awareness and interest in the dory.

One of the ways we are active on these occasions is through exhibitions about dories, showing their origins and use. We have visited your website and seen that you share our enthusiasm for this magical little boat, which is why I am writing in fact, to ask if you could send us photos of dories and maybe even one or two videos showing your activities (boat building and navigation) which we could display in our exhibition.

Looking forward to hearing from you and wishing you fair wind and favourable tide

Yours truly

François LE QUERE

Doris de la Baie

7 rue de l'Ic

22520 BINIC


François: All the material we have is on the website, but perhaps our readers will contact you will additional Dory material. - Chuck

LED Info

Hi Chuck,

reading Gary Blankenship's March 12 article about lighting/electrical systems, I wish to drop a little hint to all readers that dare to unscrew things and use a soldering iron. Gary mentioned that the three-LED red compass light which he uses requires a 12V power connection. Being an electrical engineer and having fiddled with LEDs quite a bit, I can very well imagine what that little compass light looks like inside. The first thing it does is with those 12V is to reduce them to about 1.5V with a simple resistor, because 1.5V is the forward voltage that red LEDs operate on. Most of the red ones work very well on a single dry battery cell, greatly simplifying any battery operation that you may plan.

For all of you out there that feel inspired by this idea, here's an approximate list of LED forward voltages _by color_ (NOTE: yes, that's the important bit - different LED colors are obtained by different semiconductor materials - stated below for your reading pleasure, which in turn need different voltages!)

  • Red and Infrared (made from Gallium-Aluminium-Arsenide or Gallium Arsenide): 1,2–2,5 V
  • Red and Orange (Indium-Gallium-Aluminium-Phosphide): 2,2 V
  • Yellow (Gallium-Arsenic-Phosphide or Gallium-Phosphide): 2,1 V
  • yellowish Green (Gallium-Phosphide, Indium-Gallium-Aluminium-Phosphide): 2,2–2,5 V
  • Green (Gallium-Nitride): 3,0–3,4 V
  • bluish Green (Indium-Gallium-Nitride): 3,5–4,5 V
  • Blue, Ultraviolet and White (Indium-Gallium-Nitride): 3,2–4 V, this tells us that we can run most red LEDs directly (without a resistor) on a single 1.5V cell, while most green LEDs can be run directly on two concatenated 1.5V cells. In practice, you would normally get a sample LED first and try it on a battery to check if it blows (or overheats, or just looks "too bright to be true"). If so, you can use a small (20..200 Ohm) series resistor to reduce the voltage. For those of you with an Ammeter in the drawer - a correctly operated LED will typically draw 20mA (OK, 15-30 might be a range) in operation.

By the way - red light, besides being easiest to handle in terms of LED powering, also has the advantage that it does not hamper night vision. Red light does not trigger the brightness accommodation process in our eye, while all colors with shorter wavelengths do. If you look at a compass illuminated in white or blue - even at a low level - it will take a while before you reach full night vision again.

For most purposes where I used to have a flashlight, I now use a small battery operated bycicle backlight (three red LEDs). Does a better job and does not spoil my night vision. Never again this ugly feeling of being semi-blinded at 2am just looking at your watch or finding something next to your bed.

May I add that Duckworks keeps inspiring me to dream a bit about future projects while work is sometimes next to driving me crazy. I will probably have a few boats to build when my youngest son is a bit older (picture below), leaving me a bit more time for woodworking. One is a 6m fantail launch, roughly a strongly shrunk version of a specific type of 1920s/1930s workboats that were very common in Hamburg seaport. There will be others… but I'll take those one by one.

Enjoy, and good luck!

Mario Stoltz,
Hamburg, Germany

EC Reports

I love the EC reporting by Gary !! Hopefully I'll be able to do a similar
good job for this year's T200, I think Gary's reporting has added a lot of extra involvement for spectators like me.


The Good Old Days


I used to pay a little every few months to access your site. I know that may not be the best way for you to make a living doing what you love, but I think I liked the site better then. Major difference I can see is I used to be able to look at a list of every boat 26 ft and over in one place. Now if I want to look at plans for sail boats 25-30 ft, I have to dig around among 20 or 30 different designers sites. Is there any way to access in one location all the plans you offer for sailboats 25 - 30 ft, or power boats 18 - 24 ft or etc.. ??

Ron Smith

Ron: Thanks for the letter. We used to keep a list of all the boat plans available online but the list got too long and we got too busy. We do have plans to make access to the plans that we currently sell easier, though. - Chuck

The Duffield story

Great story well written – I thoroughly enjoyed it, pass on my plaudits.

Mark Steele


I need to "cut-out" some of this Boat-building "foolishness" for awhile so I can get some fishing done.

Glynn Sirmans

Problem Using Chrome


I look at you site most days. There does seem to be a problem with the enlarged pictures in Google Chrome. When you click on them they popup and then disappear immediately.

Thanks for the ever changing contents!


Jagular Gets Defended


I want to offer a response to Len Turner's remarks about "Jagular Gets Rescued." I was amused by Mr. Turner's suggestion that I made myself out to be clever in the article; that's not an accusation I thought I'd be facing. But clever or not, I did in fact manage to keep my sweater dry; the photo accompanying the story was not taken during the "rescue" (no one had a camera handy) but several weeks earlier.

As for the rest, of course, Mr. Turner is free to think as he pleases. I doubt that my example poses a danger to your readers, though; I have more faith in their good sense than that. Thanks again, Chuck, for publishing my story. And thanks to Bobby Chilek for the kind words.

Tom Pamperin


Hi Chuck.

Thanks for posting the letter. Already got a surprise check in the mail. If possible, please let folks know that the $40 price for Bufflehead plans does not include postage.

Thank you.

More Thanks

I have much to thank you for. So here goes.

Again you give my story a Friday Prime time publishing. Thank you.  John Wright gave me a great compliment and I hope he sees my thank you note.   For some reason I have never regularly followed the Duckworks forum... Really can't explain why. Your site is my homepage. In fact, all the computers I refurbish from parts thrown away on loading docks and refurbish to give away (stopped counting at about 23 a year ago) have Duckworks as the home page! Probably confuses/aggravates a few people... :) If they are clever enough they can change it; if they are knowledgeable, they will keep it!

I have my eye on the Florida 120. I really shouldn't do it as I will incur negative income flow for an extra week. But I suspect I might zip down thee at the last minute if I can find a pair of eyes to go with me.

Paul sent me a copy of SCA with your Texas 200 writeup in it. Well done! Very professional. And there is Embers Watch with the full page treatment! Plus mentions in the text! (though Paul took the pics attributed to me, but no biggie{for me!}) That is quite a compliment, and I thank you! If I can back off and look at the foto objectively, it really does encompass the essence of small boatness and what the Texas 200 is all about. Kudos to the photographer!

Bill Moffitt


Re: Steve Earley's article on SPOT - The Spot is a great device and even affordable now. Looks like it will be the EC standard after this year. For an event like that it would be a great device. Although the emergency function is not quite as fast as the epirb it still does the job quickly. One day something like it will be a standard for the T200 type event. It is so simple in concept it will get a lot cheaper. Patents could be the only obstacles? Liability for a malfunction might be the biggest cost.

John Wright

Thanks for publishing the piece about spot.bivy sacs. This online stuff is fun- but not as fun as sailing (I've got just a few more weeks until I launch!!!!)

Steve Earley

Thanks for writing the article, Steve - Chuck

Wood Flour

Hey you two, hope everything is going well with you, Duckworks continues to be my escape from the trials and tribulations of the day(s).

I was filleting some corners on a project and experimented with my own sawdust, which I thought I had fine enough. The filets do not really have a smooth texture but will do fine as I will be glassing over the filets with cloth, I just needed a radius instead of a 90 deg. corner, I'm sure you know what I'm saying.

Does wood flour produce a smooth texture when using things like tongue depressors in filleting corners?

Thanks a lot,

Ron: Any fillet made with wood dust, no matter how fine will be somewhat rough and require sanding. That is why I recommend laying tape right over wet fillets. It is faster, neater, and requires less work. - Chuck

New Blog

Hi Chuck,

I've just set up a blog for DIY boaters. It's free and no registration is required. the URL is:

'ppreciate it if you could mention it on Duckworks...

Paul Esterle
Freelance Boating Writer
"Capt'n Pauley's Place"
The Virtual Boatyard

The Boat You Have

Hi Chuck,

The spirit shown in David Sanborn's article, Going to the Lake with the Boat You Have was remarkable. And while he was inspired by the "vintage" article and went on to "cobble together a reasonably-performing sailing rig from relatively cheap hardware store materials" I'm working at taking the same frugal perspective on my project . . . but trying hard to execute that ineffable vintage "salty" look, feel, and function.

Cheers! Seeya at the messabout.



Fantastic story Sandra. And the accompanying shots by Chuck really capped it off. I love reading these stories in the magazine. Especially during the winter months with snow flying and roads closed like it was here yesterday.

Great job   "Two Thumbs up"

Perry Burton

Bad Link

The Part 2 link of  Lake Powell Rocks / The Ravens Are Always Watching takes you to part 1 again

Thought you would like to know


This is one of the several you'll get pointing out that today's link is for yesterday's article ... and some of us in the East really do take a look at Duckworks with our morning coffee ... I'll take a look later .. great stuff lately ,,, have a good day Chuck!

Bob Throne

Chuck, What happened in part 2 of the Kokapelli trip?


Hi Chuck

I was trying to look at the 2nd story about the cruise on Lake Powell but when you click on it, it goes to the first story. :o

Cheers, Brian


Hey Chuck, great article and pix on Lake Powell! My comlpiments to Sandra as well! Man, I want to get there someday. One typo, however. In a caption in the first section. Look for "rifer". "This shows Hite from the overlook on the North side of the rifer. The picture was taken two years ago, when the water was lower."




you just brightened my day! Thanks for publishing the Pamlico Sound story.

I'm already looking forward to a March launch. I've sketched out a couple of trips for this coming year. Bruce, my sailing buddy, will be joining me as he is now retired and has some free time. We'll get you some better photos on those trips.

Best wishes for a happy new year.


More Thanks

Hello Chuck,

I now find myself regularly reading the articles you publish at with much appreciation for both their clarity and thoroughness.

Thanks very much for producing such consistently high value work, my guess is that it is appreciated much more often than you hear about it.

Best wishes and sincere thanks,
Tom Henry
Salem, Mass


Rob and Chuck,

For two summers in the mid sixties, I cruised and camped on North Carolina's Neuse River in a pair of 20' spritsails, wonderful boats named Rachel and Naomi. Their sail plan looked like that of Ross Lillistone's Phoenix III set up without the boom.

They were built out of juniper planks (no metal hardware) on Harkers Island by Julian Guthrie. Historically, the design was the local fishing boat and all purpose transportation on Carolina's generally shallow sounds.

The hulls were so heavy we never rowed or paddled. When we got becalmed, we poled them with the sprits.

I'll add my "amen" to Rob R-S's assertion that a pole is great way to move a boat when you can hit the bottom with one (see "Pushpoles" by Rob Rohde-Szudy). I recall traveling several miles that way, a heavy boat with 6 people aboard, and thinking that it was a pleasant way to spend a late afternoon. The passengers even let me, their gondolier, sing "Santa Lucia". Can't get better than that, can it?

Thanks to both of you for the great articles.

Tim Ferguson
Thetford, VT

Rob Replies:

Thanks, Tim, glad you apprectiate it!

Here's an odd tidbit, however. Those things the gondoliers use in Venice aren't poles - they're a special kind of single oar! They build the hulls crooked to compensate for rowing only on one side. I guess it takes quite a bit of practice to go in a straight line anyhow.


Laughed out Loud

Tom, I read your story (Jagular Gets Rescued!) and laughed out loud the whole time. I can just see the whole circus in my mind, having dealt with some of the bureacrats involved in the boating world. That was a great story, thanks for sharing it with us.

Bobby Chilek

Did not Laugh

Chuck and Sandra,

I have been enjoying your magazine for over a year and have learned much from the designers and other contributors. Duckworks is one of the highlights of my day. (I know, you probably think I don't get out much).

I was dismayed upon reading Mr. Pamperin's offering (Jagular Gets Rescued!) this morning. Unlike many articles that purpose to inform, educate, teach, and entertain, Mr. Pamperin's article seemed to be focused on entertainment only. To mock the thoughtfulness, sense of responsibility and duty of those who care enough to notify appropriate authorities, and the authorities themselves who responded as they were trained to, can be dangerous to those who are new to boating and to those who might tend to be less responsible as well.

I don't think of myself, or most other folks, as a radical law 'n order guy, but try to be a responsible law 'n order guy. I've fallen afoul of the law a time or two in my youth some decades ago, and received my due.

Mr. Pamperin was clearly not abiding by the rules of common sense, much less the law, by neglecting to register his boat, comply with safety regulations, or even carry a bailer. What could have been wrong with advising the helpful powerboater at the launch ramp that he had experienced similar conditions a short while ago and not to be concerned if the sailboat flipped in the wind, and that he could self-rescue as he had before?

The worst that I can imagine is that Mr. Pamperin may have drowned. The photo showed Mr. Pamperin in water up to his neck. As clever as he makes himself out to be, I'm not sure how he managed to keep his sweater dry above the waist.

I suppose I can understand how Mr. Pamperin might think that he's wise enough to correctly assess the risks of boating in relative high winds while being less than prepared for the consequences. He and his brother may have been perfectly capable of rescuing himself. I can understand how Mr. Pamperin may want to put himself above the other participants in his self-orchestrated drama, even those who participated at significant expense to the taxpayers.

The more serious offense may be that some readers of his article in Duckworks may follow his example and exercise less caution on the water than is prudent. Even worse, that it might cost someone a life. I hope and pray that doesn't happen.

Thank you both again for all you provide through Duckworks. I wish you and your readers a happy, prosperous, adventurous, and safe 2009.

Len Turner

Murray Stevens' Ladybug

Murray (Building the Ladybug) obviously has his priorities right. Build a family, build a boat, build the future, and build them together, in all senses of the word. I wish his wife all the best in her battle with leukemia. By doing what he's doing now, Murray is ensuring that regardless of when any member of his family sets sail for the last time, there will be lots of stories to be remembered and retold. May Murray and his family have fair winds and following seas for many years to come.

Michael Hayden

Kudos for Mark Steele

Hi Chuck,

have been a subscriber to your newsletters for a while now and look forward to them arriving. Especially Mark Steele's column.

I am a kiwi, living in Hamilton, about an hours drive south Of Auckland and have an interest in the older sailing boats, especially the scows, which unfortunately have all but disappeared.

Thank you, and keep up the good work

Harold H. Duncan

Pod to be Free

Hi Chuck,

I would like to offer POD plans FREE to those that wish to download it. This will accomplish two things; get the plans in the hands of kids so they can at least learn how to make a small boat; and it will also help promote the assembly method (tape & glue), which is easy and functional in boat this size.

Thanks for your attention to this request.

Regards, Ken

Thanks for your generosity, Ken! - Chuck

Bolger Interview


In October, Phil Bolger generously agreed to a recorded interview to be aired on Noel & Christy Davis' site. They just posted part 1 of the Bolger interview and part 2 should go up in a week or two. They are interviews 146 and 147.

Gary Blankenship



Why don't you folks at Duckworks have a Donation Button using PayPal on your home page? It seem to me with all the info you put out daily some small boat lovers might be willing to donate once in a while. Just an Idea to help pay bills or what ever.


Joe: Thanks for the suggestion. As it happens, the advertising model is working well for us. Thanks to our wonderful readers, we are not having trouble paying the bills at this time - Chuck


I just overheard a conversation at work with someone talking about her family's snowmobile and yacht.

I don't know what kind of boat they have, but I'm pretty sure there's a law that if you own a snowmobile you are not allowed to call it a "yacht".



Info wanted on: John B Seward

Hi Chuck.

Love your site. I'm trying to find designs by John B Seward. He had a lot of things in Rudder Magazine. They were simple and most were easy to build. I can find nothing about him on the web. Do you have any idea where I might look?


Paul Cabot

Readers: If you have information about Mr. Seward, let me know and I will make sure Paul hears about it. - Chuck (

Junk Design

Saw Kevin's article (Back to Building) about his Junk design, and wanted to pass on something I heard about when designing hulls with the centerboard so far forward. A technique that is supposed to make those work, is the rudder has a good chunk of the blade forward of the pivoting point. That sort of turns the rudder into a turning centerboard, so it performs some of the lateral resistance. Also the rudder pivot mechanism has to be a lot stronger since it now is taking on a higher load. Just thought I'd pass that along, his drawings were showing a conventional rudder.


PS - Heard a story that is supposed to be true. A guy was living aborad in Japan or China, working for a company. The company recalled him back to the states, he wrote a letter inquiring if they would cover the expense of moving his car, household goods and junk back to the states. They wrote back saying they would, not realizing the "junk" was a sailboat. Evidently after he moved back, and a short court case, the company did cover the cost of transporting his sailboat.

Re: Graphite

While I operated under that same theory that graphite would make epoxy into bottom paint, (see January Letters) after one season with a graphite-epoxy coated rudder I can definitely say it does not do much inhibiting of marine growth here in Atlantic Canada (although it chips off a bit easier than on paint). I have found no substitute for coating it with bottom paint (read copper).

Tom Schultz

Florida 120

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for setting up a website for the Florida 120 on the Texas 200 website For those who might have not heard of the Florida 120, it is a four day 120 mile round-trip sailing challenge on the Florida Panhandle. It takes place from May 14th to 17th with sailing legs of up to 38 miles in shetlered waters. We will be beach camping on the soft sugar-white sands and cruising on the clear turquois waters. For a google earth overview of the route visit:

The level of the challenge can vary based upon which of the four classes you choice. Class 1 is no motor on boat, class 2 is motor contingency (use only when safety dictates), class 3 is limited motor (use when leaving anchorages), and class 4 unlimited motor. Folks in the class 4 deserve special recognition as the safety boats for the rest of us! Class 1 boats may qualify for inclusion in the Oar Club as well (see:

One other note for all interested, please check into the forum and sign up your intent to go. I will be making plaques free for everyone who participates but only if you have indicated your intent to go. Also, Pirates Cove has limited parking so I may have to arrange some elsewhere depending on numbers. This is a pay as you go event so come prepared to pay a few bucks for launching and dock fees if needed.

Thanks again Chuck!


Eastern Messabout

This is an early announcement about the upcoming 2009 Eastern Messabout to be held at The Hawk Island Marina in Delanco NJ, June 26,27,&28.

The facilities are wonderful; camping onsite, transient slips, showers, restrooms, snackbar, ship's store,and boat ramp. There are motels and restaurants within easy driving distance and easy access to the Delaware River by boat. The area is great for paddling, sailing, and motoring.

We had a great time in 2008 (watch for the Duckworks article) and look forward to new adventures in 2009. Plan to attend. Go to the website for more info and to register.

I will be sending more details and other announcements in the weeks ahead.
Hope to see you there!

Steve Bosquette

Don Elliott

I just heard that Don Elliott died of cancer a couple of days ago. While he could be a bit tough to get along with, he was certainly influential in boat building circles. I don't know enough about him to write anything, but it would be nice if you could share the news.

Thanks, Bryan

New Paddler's Forum

Hi Chuck,

You may or may not know that the venerable "Luv2paddle" forum is no more. I was developing the DT's til Doug Mackay pointed me to its replacement

P52 is developing slowly, I've pretty well quit working on it til the weather warms up a bit, but am committed to having everything debugged to do the Texas200 in '09.

best wishes for the holidays,


Radar Reflector Article Addendum

In my article last year about making your own radar reflector, I may have mentioned that the design is probably not new. Later that year I happened to notice the markers on each side of the channel leading into the harbour here on PEI. There is a large neon-orange surface as well as a light, but additionally, at the top is an aluminum structure shown in the attached picture. If it isn’t the same structure as I described! Clearly I cannot apply for a patent (I had no intention of doing so) and someone else had thought the same series of thoughts before me. I suspect the Coast Guard buys them from someone else, and the design may be patented by whoever constructs them, but I can’t imagine that an individual making one for their own use would be at any risk of a lawsuit. I have never seen the design advertised for use on boats in any of the marine supply catalogs, but I would think that the patent-holder (if any) ought to go into business for the marine pleasure market since the other devices are so totally inadequate.

Tom Schultz

Fantastic Website


I have just discovered your fantastic website!

I have never built a boat but always had a hankering for it. Having just done an epoxy course based around West-system I am looking forward to building my first boat that will be used to teach my young son to sail.

Your website has been a real inspiration to order the plans and get my hands dirty in the garage.

Thanks and best wishes

George Isted

Hampshire, UK

Re: Goat Island Skiff Build

Michael makes a good point about epoxy/graphite not being all that tough. Using graphite/epoxy as an abrasion resistant coating on bare wood is not the way it should be used.

Graphite/epoxy is slippery, not hard. The way to use it correctly is as an outer layer over glass. The slippery graphite discourages sharp objects from getting a purchase in the glass and slicing through the fibers.

For lightweight glass, less than 4 oz, just use it to fill the weave and add an additional coat. For heavier glass, fill the weave with a microballoon slurry (to keep the weight down), then put on a couple of coats of the graphite/epoxy mix.

I've been doing this for years on multiple boats. I've found that this combination works more effectively against oyster shells and gravel than plain epoxy, but no better against concrete and sand. The nice thing is that the contrast between the black epoxy/graphite and the wood (or microballoons) lets you know exactly when & where the renewal is needed.


The Texas 200


I've been eyeing up the Texas 200 site and I've decided I'm in for 2009--it looks great, just the kind of thing I'd enjoy, based on the camp cruising I fit in this summer after building and launching in August. Thanks for all you efforts in making it happen again.

My wife has given the ok to go and now the only thing I have to worry about is having too many snow days this winter (I teach high school in northwestern Wisconsin), which could mean I'd have a couple extra days to make up in June and I'd miss the start. I'll probably be solo, but there's an outside chance I'll try to shoehorn a crew member into the cockpit if he can find the time and the inclination. And if my boat can float with two of us and gear.

Please post my name and boat picture on the "Who's Coming" list for now. My boat, Jagular, is a Phil Bolger Pirate Racer. I'll probably be re-rigging it as a lug or sprit rig for the cruising season, though--just too much weight aloft in high winds with that eighteen-foot lateen yard.

Which brings me to the next point I'll mention; you've got a great thing going with Duckworks. Man, I love that site! Thanks for your work on that, too. I'll be submitting an article there in a few days about just how it is that I realized that big lateen rig is too big, sometimes ...

Anyway, thanks again, and here's to hoping the snow doesn't fly too thick up here this winter so I can join you in June. Later,

Tom Pamperin
Chippewa Falls, WI

Free Boat Plans from France

Dear Chuck

Here are three boat plans freely available :

Some of them have been built .

The first one is an improved child of Duckworks !

These plans are metric . Title and comments are in French .

If you find any interest and believe it could be useful, I could translate them and convert units to feet/inches .

Best regards from France .

Jacques LHOSTE

Question about Dan St Gean's Article

Who is Mike Lenenman? And what is a Beachcat 22? I could not find any information on the www. If possible more information would be appreciated.

Captain Larry

Third Annual Eastern Messabout
This is an early announcement about the upcoming 2009 Eastern Messabout to be held at The Hawk Island Marina in Delanco NJ, June 26,27,&28.

The facilities are wonderful; camping onsite, transient slips, showers, restrooms, snackbar, ship's store,and boat ramp. There are motels and restaurants within easy driving distance and easy access to the Delaware River by boat. The area is great for paddling, sailing, and motoring.

We had a great time in 2008 (watch for the Duckworks article) and look forward to new adventures in 2009. Plan to attend. Go to the website for more info and to register -

I will be sending more details and other announcements in the weeks ahead.
Hope to see you there!

Steve Bosquette

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