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Little Breton

It is several years since I made this boat. I built it because I wanted a boat I could put into the back of my pickup truck. I am now retired, but when I was working I had access to a CNC router. Since I programmed that router, I was able to take Gavin's DXF file and upload it into a toolpath for the router.

It took me about a month to get all of the little gaps and overlaps out of the original file and 10 minutes to cut the planks when I was done. I discovered a 1" too wide error in one of the planks (actually two) which I was able to fix at home by setting a rip fence on a hand router and trimming it off. The other thing I did was to shiplap the planks to make it easier to assemble the boat. I also built the forms and will recommend that any builder use them. Gavin says if you are good you don't need them, I am not that good.

I also put a Skeg on the boat because it spun like a top under oars. With a Skeg it rows well and sails well. One thing the boat rolls quite a bit when you move around in it however the form stability is such that it stops with the gunwale about 3" above the water and won't go more. The pictures I have added of the boat in the swimming pool is when I was trying out different sizes of Skeg. The other picture was taken when I had tie wrapped the boat together and was just starting to put epoxy "Mayonnaise" into the seams. The boat was built out of A-C fir plywood then covered in one layer of 2 oz glass the epoxy was given a layer of polyurethane varnish over the top.

Brian Evans

Gavin's plans for Little Breton are free in the Duckworks store.


SPOT Global Phone Brings Affordable, Superior Voice Quality to the Outdoor Recreation Market 

Portable, easy-to-use and affordable, the new SPOT Global Phone keeps users connected to family, friends and emergency services when their adventures take them off the grid 

Covington, LA (May 14, 2013) – SPOT LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. and leader in satellite messaging and emergency notification technologies, today announced the new SPOT Global Phone, a portable, easy-to-use and data-enabled satellite phone. Hunters, hikers, boaters, off-road travelers and all outdoor enthusiasts will find that SPOT Global Phone provides industry-leading, crystal clear voice quality where cell service won’t work.

“Outdoor recreationists have come to appreciate SPOT as a brand that keeps them safe as they explore new ways of getting off the grid,” said Jay Monroe, Chief Executive Officer, Globalstar. “As the first satellite phone available in major retail outlets such as West Marine, REI and Cabela’s, SPOT Global Phone will not only provide a lifeline during these adventures, but an opportunity to connect with impeccably clear voice quality on a satellite network that is light years ahead of the competition.” 

SPOT Global Phone Features 

•       Compact size: 5.3"H x 2.2" W x 1.5"D

•       Lightweight: 7 ounces

•       Satellite-based technology

•       Superior voice clarity with no noticeable delay or echo

•       Backlit color display optimized for outdoor daytime viewing

•       Long-life battery: 4 hours talk time, 36 hours standby

•       Data capable enabling email and file transfers

•       Quick online activation, ten-digit dialing with local phone numbers

•       Ergonomic design

•       Lighted keypad

•       911 emergency service access 

SPOT Global Phone ensures users can connect with family, friends and businesses even when their adventures take them out of cell coverage. With patented Qualcomm-based CDMA technology providing crystal-clear voice quality from anywhere within the service footprint, SPOT Global Phone users experience superior performance. Critical communications happen in an instant, with no noticeable time delays on a network that transmits even a whisper. With the availability of Express Data on most data plans, guaranteed data speeds of 9.6Kbps provide up to four times the data speed of most other mobile satellite data services and enable emails, file transfers, and basic services to occur at high-speed. 

Pricing and Availability:
The SPOT Global Phone is the only satellite phone to be offered in major retail outlets and is also available online and through a dealer network, expanding the reach of the mobile satellite service (MSS) market beyond oil fields and commercial fishing. The SPOT Global Phone retails at $499 plus a required subscription service that provides industry-leading voice quality starting at $24.99 monthly or as low as 25 cents per minute. For more information on where to buy the SPOT Global Phone and other SPOT products and service offerings, visit or call 866-651-SPOT.

About SPOT LLC: 
SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc., provides affordable satellite communication and tracking devices for recreational use. SPOT voice devices use the Globalstar network to transmit two-way communication.  SPOT messaging devices use both the GPS satellite network and the Globalstar network to transmit text messages and GPS coordinates. Since 2007, SPOT has provided peace of mind by allowing customers to remain in contact completely independent of cellular coverage, having initiated over 2,300 rescues worldwide. For more information, visit 

Note that all SPOT products described in this press release are the products of SPOT LLC, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia. SPOT Connect is a trademark of Spot LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Song of the Paddle

This weekend there were 25 paddlers in mainly open canoes, but with two creek boats, two SOT's, an ally and a pakboat folding canoe, an Easky tourer and a restored Tyne folder (despite three professional carpenters in the group). The amateur restored tyne was the only ''wooden'' (wood and canvas) boat.

One of the guys had a front rowing system in his canoe similar to the one described in this article and bought from the USA.  

It looked like this one: 

It's most interesting in motion. The paddles/oars sweeping back and forth like a large insect, but entering the water at the correct angle and propelling the boat almost effortless forward - overtaking the conventionally paddled canoes easily.

A blog of the meet is here. It captures the ethos of the meet - paddling, shooting weirs, visiting pubs, campfires etc. This is picture heavy, so may take time to load.


 Solar Boat

This was my second boat I built for the solar boat race in Canberra some years ago. It was powered by a 12 volt motor and was very stable and being only 8 feet long was not a world beater. The skipper in the photo is professor Alex Revel.


Laminated Wood Boats

The Fairey airplane company in England made hot-molded plywood parts for airplanes during WW II, perhaps even parts for Mosquitos. Anyway, after the war they had a bunch of retorts and other equipment for making molded plywood structures, and the founder of the company was an avid yachtsman, so they spun off a company to build hot-molded plywood boats:

They made a whole bunch of sailing dinghies of different types, and some larger boats, all carrying design names taken from airplanes the company had built. I ran across an interesting one that had blown into Florence, Oregon some years ago, on it's way from Newport to the Amazon River. It never got any farther than Florence, about 50 miles south of Newport, but it was an interesting boat - a Fairey Atalanta. The Atalanta was a 26' cruising boat designed by Uffa Fox, based on his air-dropped lifeboat of WW II. The Atalanta had whaleback decks fore and aft, with cabins under each, ballasted retracting bilgeboards, a Bermuda sloop rig, and a Coventry Victor flat twin gas inboard for power. It looked purty seaworthy for a smallish boat:

In the US, Thistles began being made in 1945, of molded ply construction, and the construction was used in many other popular boats on through the '50s. Here's a Dunphy speedboat.

I've heard that a well kept wooden Thistle will hold its shape under racing stresses better than a fiberglass one, so the old boats are still competitive. I did see some woodies competing in the Thistle Nationals when they were held at my local Mudhole a few years a go. An avid local Thistle racer brought his fiberglass boat to a boatbuilder friend of mine to have him smooth up the bottom for those Nationals. It was hopeless. The bottom of the boat was all bumps and dents and it would have taken a ton of filler to get it smooth. <g But this boat had been doing well in the local racing... <shrug I don't recall how he did in the Nationals.

John Kohnen

A Report from the Essential Skills for Beginner Boatbuilders Class

Class Number One, Hamilton New Zealand, 18/19 May 2013

My first encounter with John Welsford was in a bookshop when I first spotted his book "NZ Backyard Boat Building". I had recently started sailing with a friend and liked the idea of building a small boat, and I really liked John's writing style and the traditional appearance of his designs. Not long after that I received a set of plans to build one of John's 'Truant' designs for my birthday. That put some pressure on me to get building. Some 3 ½ years later, after a stop go process due to work and family pressures combined with ample procrastination, due to my uncertainty about how to proceed at various points, I completed the build having learned a lot of new skills along the way. However I still felt that there were a number of areas in which I could do with some better skills, and I have several more sets of John's plans that I want to work through in the near future, a tender for my yacht being one to start with.

Earlier this year John posted a message to the JWBuilders group on Yahoo announcing a boatbuilding skills workshop he was planning for mid-May. I looked at the list of topics to be covered and could see several that would enhance skills that I had worked out by trial and error during my Truant build. I wondered whether I would learn enough to make it worth the cost, but decided that at the very least it would reinforce some basics and I know that John is always an entertaining raconteur.
Last Saturday morning I walked into John's house to join 6 others who were already sitting down with a cup of coffee introducing themselves to each other. A short while later we were getting the required health and safety lecture and course overview from John before getting into the programme. 30 hours later we all went our separate ways having worked both individually and cooperatively on a range of basic boat building operations.

We learned how to mix & apply glues (epoxy for hands on practice but John discussed various others too), joint filleting, fibreglass tape application, setting up bandsaw blades and guides, tool safety, plane and chisel sharpening, power tools application, reading plans and marking out panels all while being provided a non-stop stream of useful guidance, recommendations and anecdotes by John.

I have had my plane and chisel blades pretty sharp for a long time now with even a small mirror finished micro-bevel before but I think I can now get a finer edge on them in less time. I would love to have a decent sized bandsaw but it won't happen until I get a bigger workshop. If and when the day comes that I have a bandsaw I now have some idea of how to set up the guides to get the best performance out of it.

I have filleted a few joints in the past but now have a cleaner and faster way of doing them using John's clever "stirrer/filleting combination tool". And I'll use less epoxy too – my fillets are much bigger than they need to be. Likewise seeing John applying fibreglass tape showed me that when I have pre-wetted the surface I have not used enough epoxy. The process is easier if you start with the right steps.

All in all a worthwhile weekend away from home learning useful skills with some interesting people and conversations on the side.


Jim Shaw, who is the proud builder of a very nice "Truant" of John Welsford's design.

Exciting Doings in Toledo Yesterday (Oregon)

A friend of the Coots (he'd be a Coot if he didn't work so much <g) launched the first of a planned three floating B&Bs - mini canal boats designed by Phil Thiel. An interesting venture, and we all wish Rick well. You can see some of the usual Coots in the video: Andrew does the christening blessing, Joe Lawton blows the whistle, and I take pictures from Joe's electric launch, with Charley the Johnson worshipper along for ballast:

www. newslincolncounty. com/archives/84814

Unusual for a port, Toledo is run by people who like boats! That's the port manager, Bud, running the tugboat.

My photos coming soon...

John Kohnen

Safety Yellow

Safety yellow hull. The cottonwoods are conspiring against the paint today.

Joe Stromski

Missouri Float Trips's Photo

The Welcoming Committee!

David Graybeal

July 25 Webinar to Address Inventory and Profits for Maritime Companies and Individuals

Who:     The American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC) and the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA) will co-host their second webinar,OPTIMIZING  INVENTORY, as part of an educational series that helps any maritime company, boat builder, manufacturer, marina or yard facility, and the service technician manage their inventory while improving profitability. The webinar will be led by Stephen Bullard, Senior Sales Director, PierVantage.  Bullard has more than 20 years in the marine service management, has logged more than 15,000 miles sailing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is a 100 ton master captain.

What:   Topics to be covered include Inventory Management Organization, Purchasing, Parts Management, Inventory Accounting and Physical Control, Evaluating the Inventory Management Function, followed by a question and answer session.

When:  July 25, 1-2PM EST. Two more webinars are scheduled to be hosted by ABYC and ABBRA later this year that will also speak directly to those interested in the recreational marine industry, and marine service and repair companies.

Why:     “More than ever the new economy dictates that inventory management is one of the keys to successful cash flow management,” says Ed Sherman, ABYC’s Director of Educational Programming.  

How:     Cost for ABYC and ABRRA members is $89.95 and $125.00 for non-members. Members may register online at: 

but non-members must call ABYC to Register 410-990-4460 x101.

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