January 2015


The towing bit prevents the center thwart of this skiff from being used for rowing but a set of rowlocks forward is well suited or rowing with a cargo or passengers in the stern.

The Willis Boats of Maine’s Dark Harbor

The enduring legacy of Willis Rossiter

The legacy of the Rossiter Skiff outshines that of even its most popular fiberglass counterparts. The family of skiffs that evolved on the mid-coast island of Islesboro, Maine, has been around for decades, and summer residents and local fishermen alike continue to use these boats more than a half-century after the design’s debut. Some of the boats have become family heirlooms.

John Welsford’s Sweet Pea

A Lightweight Cruiser/Racer

Sweet Pea offers sport cruising on a budget: a fairly fast shallow-water cruiser for those who prefer the comforts of a cabin and a portable toilet to a tent and a trowel. The boat could even be a contender in adventure races, where a place for the off-watch crew to rest is more of an advantage than speed.

Greg Hatten races his PORTOLA down the tongue, hitting his line in Soap Rapid. Eleven miles below launch, this second major rapid has a 17' drop and gave the rowers a feel for the river and their newly built boats.

Dories in the Canyon

Honoring the boats and the men who saved the Grand Canyon

In the early 1960s Martin Litton came to the McKenzie River in Oregon to write a story. The wooden drift boats he saw there would change his profession, his life, and river running on the Colorado River forever.

Comfortable Seating for Sailing a Small Rowing-and-Sailing Skiff

The trim of a small boat dictates where you need to put your weight; adding width and wings to the center thwart will give you a place to sit when you’re where you belong.

Reader Built Boat


Tom Potrykus launched his center-console outboard skiff, TRADEOFFS, in the shallow inshore salt water near Beaufort, South Carolina. When the hull touched the water for the first time, it was already 15 years old.


The rescue flares have an integral sighting tube, but it can be difficult to see properly in the dark. To aim the laser without it, hold the flare next to your eye and hold out two fingers with your target in between them. Sweep the beam of light back and forth across your fingers and you'll hit your target.

Greatland Laser’s Rescue Flares

Emergency laser signals have an impressive range and don't burn out in a few short minutes.

From top: Tasman Salt, Salt 1, Atlantic Salt, Pacific Salt, Mariner Salt

Spyderco’s Salt Knives

An exotic steel that can take abuse, neglect and a sharp edge

News and Curiosities

Video: The Pirogue Maker, 1949

This 14-minute piece of vintage film shows Cajun craftsman making a pirogue the "old way": Hewn of a cyprus log by hand; probably the last pirogue made this fashion.

Amazing Resource: Nick Schade’s How-To Videos

Nick Schade is producing beautiful videos that are helpful and chockablock full of information. Right now he's working on a strip-planed microBootlegger, but he's got other playlists and builds: A skin-on-frame microBootlegger Sport and a Petrel Play.

Natalie Warren’s Series About Great Places to Paddle

Warren shares both overnight and day trip possibilities with readers, and has all sorts of boaters in mind when she shares what she's found.

Wes Modes, Hazel the Dog, and Shanty Boat Living

Through video, photography, written stories, an art installation, and more he’s conveyed his experiences building the boat and living aboard it on a few different rivers over the past few years. In June 2018, they’ll be exploring and documenting the people and places of the Hudson River.

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.

View All

Upcoming Events