December 2017

From The Editor

Coming in from the Cold

The “fo'c's'le” of the family canal boat was converted into a pilothouse so the helmsmen can come in out of the weather, join the conversation of the guests, and enjoy the heat of the woodstove. Sticks and strings provide remote control of the tiller and the outboard’s throttle and kill switch.


Pooduck Skiff

An able dinghy by Joel White

The Pooduck skiff provides a good feel for traditional boatbuilding. After it leaves the shop, it is easily tailered, well suited for rowing, and gorgeous under sail. It carries a lug-rigged mainsail that can be sailed with or without a jib. A cleverly designed mast partner allows the mast to be angled forward or backward to keep the rig balanced whether raising the main alone or the main and jib.


A William Garden canoe yawl

The Eel is an 18’ 6” canoe yawl designed by William Garden as a slightly shorter and much lighter version of the original Eel designed by George Holmes in 1895. Holmes was one of the pioneers of the canoe yawls that became popular in England at the end of the 1800s, when recreational boating was then in its early stages.

Wolf Rock Light

Eight miles out to sea in a dinghy

Will Stirling set a goal for himself to sail around every one of Britain’s 50-plus offshore lighthouses. Nic Compton joined him for an 8-mile passage from Land’s End to the Wolf Rock Light. They sailed a 15’ dinghy, anchored near the wave-washed rock, and swam to the lighthouse in dry suits.

The sliding seat rig, spanning a thwart in the author's dory, has shorter tracks than those used in racing shells, but is well suited to using the same oars and locks that are used for fixed-seat rowing. Note the foot brace secured to the floorboards under the aft thwart.

Sliding-Seat Conversion

A longer stroke without outriggers

Sliding seats are commonly associated with outriggers and long oars, but Ben Fuller found he could rig some of his boats with a sliding seat and add power to his rowing without changing oars or gunwale-mounted oarlocks.

Reader Built Boat

THE G.O.A.T. may need a bit of time in the water to get the seams tightened and leak-free.


Harbor Master Skiffs

The Independence Seaport Museum is not only preserving artifacts of the past, but is also keeping traditional skills alive by passing them along to the youth of Philadelphia. This year the Workshop on the Water, the museum’s working boatshop, brought groups of high-school students together to build a pair of flat-bottomed skiffs.


The Minnow, shown here, is the smallest in the GoBag line and a snug fit for a MotoG smartphone.


A self-closing bag with a magnetic seal

Smart phones are as valuable afloat as they are ashore, but require reliable protection from the water. We take a look at two unusual waterproof cases. The GoBag is a transparent case with a magnetic closure that assures a tight seal every time.

The Ugo's laminated fabric includes a layer of foam so the case doesn't depend entirely on the enclosed volume from buoyancy. The seams are all RF welded rather than sewn.


A different kind of waterproof phone case

The Uno holds a phone behind a window and keeps other essentials in partitioned space behind it. A waterproof zipper provides easy access when open, a reliable seal when closed.

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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