December 2015

From The Editor

Joshua Slocum

I trust Joshua Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World needs no introduction here. I have three copies of it: the paperback volume I read in seventh grade, my father’s 1950 hardback, and a 1905 edition I received as a gift from my friend Paul Thomas. Every time I pick up that oldest book, I think of the hands that opened the cover over a century ago to sign it.



The comforts of home in a 21' trailer yacht

John Welsford designed this trailer-yacht to be a roomy and comfortable cruiser with aesthetic appeal and excellent seakeeping ability. The gaff rig elicits images from a bygone era, but there is nothing old-fashioned about the Penguin.

Calendar Islands Yawl

A boat that almost builds itself

Clint Chase’s new 15’ 6” daysailer, sized to get planks from pairs of scarfed-together sheets of plywood, is designed to make the most of its sailing capability without compromising the pleasure of rowing.

Rann backs the ELSIE MAE from the ramp with his mother, ELsie Mae, and Art Arpin aboard. Rann's daughter Heidi, aboard his ARCUS with her fiancé Sean, records the moment.

The Power Dory and the Pilot

Bringing history back to life

In a garage in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, an all-but-forgotten design and moment in history come back to life when an eccentric neighbor volunteers to help build a Hammond power dory.

This small fence of locust wood took about five minutes to make.

Planing Edges Square

Shop-made fences for planes and routers

When you give a plane a sharp edge and set it to make a fine cut, it’s easy to come neatly up to the pencil line you’re cutting to. It’s not so easy to keep the plane square to the work, especially if its sole is teetering on a narrow edge.

Reader Built Boat

From Aerodynamics to Aesthetics

Building Soap Box Derby Racers and Stand Up Paddleboards

A serial stand-up-paddleboard maker got his start doing strip-built construction in an unlikely place—soap-box derby cars—and three decades later shifted his focus to artistic expression in wood.


The author's double ender has a short outrigger for a sculling. The lock needed to be slightly elevated to keep the handle from making contact with the outrigger.

The Scullmatix

Sculling's simple solution

If the technique for sculling has eluded you and your oars are too short for it anyway, there’s a stainless-steel solution for you.

Linseed oil soap, a 7 oz sample of linseed oil paint, and purified raw linseed oil

Linseed-oil Paint

Better for your boat

Made as it was centuries ago, linseed-oil paint allows wood to breathe, preventing peeling and rot. It may just let you off the hook for regularly repainting your boat.

News and Curiosities

2018 Small Boats Annual on Newsstands

From 2017's articles here on the site, we've got the Coot dinghy on the cover, a nice selection of sail, motor, paddle, and oar articles, a guide to kits and boatbuilders, and an inspiring collection of Reader-Built Boats and their stories.

Watch: Building and Using Oselvar Boats

A few years ago, the Oselvar boat was named Norway’s national boat and the design serves as an icon of the country’s deeply rooted maritime traditions. Vidar has filmed an informative video about the boats and the workshop.

Drake Raceboat Plans and Kits Are Now Available

With winter coming on, it’s a good time to retreat to the shop for a boatbuilding project. By spring you could have a Drake Raceboat ready to row. You can now order plans or kits from Chase Small Craft.

Sights from the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival XXXIV

Our Fearless Editor, Chris Cunningham, has traveled to this gathering in the past, and we plan to re-establish our connection with this fantastic gathering in 2018. A workshop? A beer social? We're not sure yet, but get excited. Here are some photos from 2017 to get you ready for next year.

Canadian Winner of World’s Best Teacher Promotes Kayaking With $1M Prize

Maggie MacDonnell, a teacher in Salluit, Canada, who recently won a $1 million prize for her contributions to education, and, in particular, to the Inuit community there, is channeling that fortune into connecting the rest of the world with kayaking and other aspects of Inuit culture.

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