June 2018

From The Editor

Fatherhood, Childhood, and Boats

With Father’s Day coming up, our editor muses about a deep connection with boats and how it might be passed down from one generation to the next. Could the process could begin before birth? His own kids seem to indicate a prenatal influence.


Hitia 17

A beach catamaran, a micro cruiser

James Wharram’s Polynesian catamaran designs have inspired countless backyard boatbuilders with dreams of ocean voyaging to exotic tropical destinations. His Hitia 17, with its dry-storage holds and kayak-like cockpits, features real camp-cruising capability for sailors who don’t mind roughing it a bit.

Crabbing Skiff

A Chesapeake Bay working boat from Chapelle

The traditional craft documented in Howard Chapelle’s books are well known, but a number of his drawings are tucked away in the Smithsonian Institution. Among them is a handsome 18’ crabbing skiff with many of the characteristics of the turn-of-the-century working skiffs used by Chesapeake Bay crabbers. With plywood construction, it is easy to build and lively under sail.

This trailer tire looks brand new—it still has all of the little rubber "hairs" left by the the mold that created it—but the codes molded into the sidewall indicate it is 16 years old. It needs to be replaced.

Trailer Tires

Age before wear

It’s easy to take trailer tires for granted—they don’t log many miles and don’t usually show much wear—but they deserve more attention than a glance to see if they appear to have enough air in them.

The Canoes of Guna Yala

Panama's sailing dugouts

The Guna people of Panama have been building dugout canoes, called ulus, in the same way since they populated these waters two centuries ago, and still rely on them for their livelihood. When visiting yachties brought a sport-sailing mentality to the islands, the Guna crews took to racing their ulus.

Reader Built Boat

The dinghy sits lightly on the water and has enough volume to carry a complement of three.


A tender built by father and son

Ernst Glas and his family sail the Baltic Sea aboard a 43’ sloop his father built in the early ‘90s. He had sold its tender, but his young son missed the boat. Ernst struck a deal with him: they would get a new dinghy, but they would do as Grandfather did and build it themselves out of wood.


The Small Craft version comes folded to fit a waterproof chart case.

On-Demand Paper Charts

Government charts, private printers

In 2014, the US government brought an end to printing the lithographic charts that it had been producing since 1862. Printed charts did not cease to exist, but their production was taken over by NOAA-certified, on-demand printers.

A dolly opens up access to the water in areas without launching ramps.

Dynamic Dollies

Lightweight rigs for hand launching

Dollies reduce dependence on paved launch ramps and open up new areas to explore. And the less effort it takes to move a boat, the more often you’re likely to use it.

News and Curiosities

NOAA Releases New Version of Chart No. 1

The chart of charts has been updated. This article at NOAA's website details the revisions that appear in the new version.

Coast Guard Advises Labeling Paddlecraft, Free Labels Are Available

In the recent Atlantic Coastal Kayaker, they shared a couple of important advisories from the U.S. Coast Guard regarding free labels and what happens if they find a small boat unlabeled and unmanned.

The Only Commercial Ice Boat Builder in Maine

It's typical for an ice boater to build their own boat or to take careful care of a vintage one, but Buchholz has been responsible for making the sport more accessible to people who otherwise might have been daunted by building their own boat and rig.

Man Who Crossed Bering Strait in Dinghy Deported from Russia

This man planned to sail to China in his 8' dinghy, but ended up in Russia. He's now been deported about six months after his arrival.

Across the Bar: Dave Getchell, Sr., Founder of Maine Island Trail

David R. Getchell Sr., 89, author, editor and outdoorsman, died November 10, 2018. He was managing editor and editor of the Maine Coast Fisherman, National Fisherman, and founding editor of the Small Boat Journal and the Mariner's Catalog in Camden. Later, he co-founded the Maine Island Trail and created the Georges Highland Path, a 40-mile hiking trail system in the Midcoast, for Georges River Land Trust. In 1994, he edited and was lead author of The Outboard Boater's Handbook.

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