Custom Search
Join Duckworks
Get free newsletter
on this site

Death Grip Belt Hitch


Quick note: a variation of this knot (which was featured in the essay at Duckworks on 5/9/13) has been used by mountaineers for a long time, called the Prusik knot. It is a closed loop of rope (using fail-safe stopper knots bearing on each other) that you wind around a climbing rope in on itself several times, and you take the fall of the rope loop and clip a carabiner on it (of course this needs a photo or video to actually make clear); the knot slides up the rope by hand easily, but when you tug on the loop, the knot stops moving. I used this to ascend a climbing rope back when I was too poor to buy the jazzy cam-ascenders. I also used it on my boom once to attach a sheet whose position on the boom I was experimenting with. A clever sailor could find a few uses for it I guess. (In some weird emergency, two of them would let you ascend a mast). -- Wade

Aluminum Trailer Thoughts

Mike, Can you forward this to Mike Machnicki? Here's a clever trick to solve his Beam/washer dilemma (See: Building an Aluminum Trailer) with out a lot of machining... the image is a quick screen shot of the idea. cut a piece out of scrap beam flanges. the angle is already there! just cut a piece and invert it!
Ed sull

Mike Machnicki Replies:

Thanks Chuck/Mike

And thanks to Ed, I considered this idea early on but had already bought the bolts to connect the beam to plates, these I would have had to post back, also this seemed like an inelegant solution as it would have added a great deal of thickness to the joint By the time I had finished there would not have been sufficient metal spare as I only had about 4’ of beam left and it would have involved about the same amount of extra time in cutting and drilling as I spent on the cutting anyway.

The trailer is nearly finished, only the bunks left to make and mudguards to attach.

Many thanks for the email



What a great bunch of boats in the June Splash. The changes David Lucas made to that melonseed came out beautiful. I guess I shouldn't be surprised there. He always seems to turn out beautiful things. Of course the melonseed is a very attractive design to start with. That Sid Skiff has really nice lines as well. I wish I lived closer to the Wooden Boat School. And what a great job Gene did converting Jim Michalak's Mayfly 12 into a modified V bottom. Sandra sure recommended a nice color scheme. I'm sure Gene would have come up with something good as well, but that is one beautiful boat. I love the lines on Tim's sharpie. Whose design is that? It reminds me of Reuel Parker's designs. I hope we get to see some more pictures of it sailing later.

Paul Cook

New Video on Finger Joints


I just uploaded a new video on taking three of the finger joint plates I had and making one long one from them. It came out better than I hoped, and will speed up the task of joining two or more sheets of plywood together when I make my prototype hulls. Will use the new tool in the future (maybe) to make an even longer finger joint tool to do "full width sheets".

By the way, there are three new model hull PDF's for my "future" column. The EMC 16+2 build plans are 99% finished, and I only have the build text instructions to update from the 12 and 14ft versions to put this hull in the "finished" area. Shouldn't be too long if it keeps raining in Seattle."

16+2 Electric Moto Craft 
18+2 Electric Moto Craft 
The OAHE 1530 

Warren Messer
Stitch and Glue and Stylish Too.

The Tim Ferguson Personal Internet Content Award

Dear Chuck,

Please accept the Tim Ferguson Personal Internet Content Award for Keeping the Boat Building Dream Alive. Highly prestigious but unfortunately without cash value.

Wanted to write you with some of my life's boat related miscellany. First, this is what can and did happen when a sailor is asked to display a flag.

Was reading about standing rigging.

Happy Norwegian Independence Day, May 17, 2013

Second, I thought some of your readers might like to read what Joseph Conrad wrote about the Titanic disaster 100 plus years ago.

I read Nichols's The Working Guide to Traditional Small-Boat Sails (a Xmas present I requested) this winter together with Lillistone's letter "Spritsail with Jib Set Flying" and article "Balance Lug – Rigging Details". Nichols kept me from having a square foot to a mast I hope to eventually rig as a spritsail.

A Groovy Stud

End View

Duckworks's How To Index – Masts – Rounding steered me into the redneck lathe that I'm going to use.

Mik Storer says that lanteen is simplest sail but I'll make the lanteen yards the right length to use like below.

Spritsail off of Beaufort, NC with flying jib and spritted boom

My sister Penny, who sails offshore with her husband John, said that the boat in the picture above was likely made at the Beaufort Maritime Museum.

All the best,

Tim Ferguson
building the trimaran Polka Duck
in Thetford, Vermont

Mystery Boat


My dad built this boat over 50 years ago. He said the plans were from the plywood industry. I can't find them anywhere. The boat has a skeg running the full length so it tracks well. The T shaped seat is removable for when the boat is sailing. The "rig" was a 2"x3" with a sprit – no boom. Sail shape was similar to an Optimist, but the main sheet just attached to the clew. It didn't (or perhaps I didn't) sail very well. But a ton of kids have learned to row in this boat over the years. Although its only 5 feet long it weighs quite a bit, so when a child peers over the edge the boat heels, but doesn't flip or ship water.

Have you guys seen this design? I'd like to build several more.

Best regards,
Tim Blagden

Scammers - Right here in River City

Hi, Chuck.

Just thought I’d let you know. Got an email from “Larry Morton” asking if the Makita plane was still available, what was the price, condition, etc. (Although I had noted that in the classified.) I replied that it was still available, stated the cost, and got this reply:


Thanks for getting back to me, I am ok with the asking price and the   conditions of the item.I would have loved come right away to access it and pay for it once,but due to some circumstances beyond my control, I won't be able to do that as am on a tight business schedule.However,If you would accept money order or bank draft as the mode of payment,then Kindly send me the details where to send the payment such as your full names,I mean how it should appear on the postal address with a valid cell/land phone number so it can be sent to you asap and I can ask my cargo agent to come for the pick up  after payment is received.I await your swift response so that we can  further discuss.


Nothing you can do about it,  but just thought I’d let you know. Hopefully he’s not been scamming any of your other good people. What scum!

Thanks again for your help with the ad.

Bob Fogt


Hi Mike, Chuck,

Thank you very much for your ScullMatix article within your last "June Treasure Chest" :-)


Guy Capra


A Thankless Job


I know....newsletters are a thankless job. I do one for our flying club and nearly Never get any feedback.

So's ya do a nice job. It is well received out here.

Brian Amato
Traverse City, MI


A great sailor died yesterday in a capsize on an AC72. RIP Andrew "Bart" Simpson. Artemis' boat has been problematic from the very beginning. (It was never meant to foil).

"It is with immense sadness that Artemis Racing confirms the tragic death of crewmember Andrew "Bart" Simpson today in San Francisco. Simpson, a British double Olympic medalist, was one of the 11-man crew aboard Artemis Racing's AC72 catamaran which capsized during training on San Francisco Bay ahead of this summer's America's Cup. All other crewmembers are accounted for. Simpson, however, was trapped underneath the boat and despite attempts to revive him, by doctors afloat and subsequently ashore, his life was lost.

"The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened," said CEO Paul Cayard. "Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew's wife and family."

The story in Wired


Pocket Yacht Palooza

If you live anywhere near Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia or Montana, or if you've been looking for an excuse to trailer your smaller boat to the beautiful Northwest for a vacation adventure, a great opportunity is coming up in the second annual Pocket Yacht Palooza, a small-craft celebration to be held over the July 20-21 weekend at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA.

Please consider this your invitation to come mix it up with about 100 other smaller rowing and sailing boats. The event is organized by the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters club, and is wonderfully casual--no entry fee, no hassles...just show up on time to display your watercraft and have fun boating with some like-minded folks.

The Pocket Yacht Palooza offers a boat show for the public on Saturday, but all day Sunday participants will hit the water to row and sail Port Townsend Bay together, with an emphasis on experiencing each others' boats. (Some will literally trade boats, but the general plan is to give everyone a lot of boat rides so that we all gain a better appreciation of different boat designs.)

The Palooza is sponsored by the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters, and also by Small Craft Advisor magazine; the Northwest Maritime Center; Sage Marine (which will be displaying its Sage 17); the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding; and the Puget Sound Chapter of TSCA--the Traditional Small Craft Association.

For the purposes of the Palooza, a "pocket yacht" can be most anything from an 8-foot pram (or 12-foot SCAMP), to a 24-foot beach-camping sailboat. While a variety of daysailers are shown, there is some emphasis on designs that are capable of at least minimal camp cruising. (Last year's first-ever Pocket Yacht Palooza, for instance, featured a wide variety of designs by Oughtred, Welsford, Bolger, Michalak, Montgomery, Garden, Devlin and others familiar to Duckworks readers.)

While most of the small craft shown happen to be made of wood, this is expressly NOT a wood-only event. Also, we encourage owners of traditional or eccentric smaller powerboat designs (mini-tugs, electric launches, micro-cruisers, pedal boats, etc.) to long as they are compatible with a fleet of smaller rowing and sailing craft.

If you'd like to know more, check out the Port Townsend Pocket Yachters' website: or send an e-mail to event coordinator Marty Loken at (If you'd like to register, just send a note to Marty along with a digital image of your boat, so it can be included on the Pocket Yachters website as we get closer to the event.)

For a few photos of last year's Palooza, you can also check the adjoining Duckworks Photo Page.

Hope to see you at the second annual Pocket Yacht Palooza! - Marty Loken, Box 216, Nordland, WA 98358

To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit our forum