May 2015


The Thames waterman's stroke, the traditional form of rowing a skiff of this type, is described in the Sept/Oct issue of WoodenBoat.


A Thames River Skiff

Within the pages of Eric McKee’s book on British working boats there are drawings of a 24’ Thames skiff attributed to W.A.B. Hobbs at Henley-on-Thames in the very early part of the 20th century. Thames skiffs were an evolution of the wherries used to transport cargoes and passengers up, down and across the Thames for many years before bridges and other forms of transport put them out of business. Although the vast majority of skiffs have been used for leisure purposes many of them have earned a living by being hired out.

For Mary Sack, John's daughter, and her two brothers, rowing has been one of the pleasures visiting the family cabin on Clear Lake.

A Lapstrake Livery Boat

A Whitehall for quick construction

What was left of the boat rotting in the brambles on the north shore of Clear Lake in Western Washington was once a very fast under oars. Back in the 1930’s John Thomas “could row it across the lake, fill up two gallon jugs with spring water and row halfway back on one cigarette.” When John Sack, Thomas’ nephew, took over the lakeside family cabin in the 1960s the boat had been sitting at the base of the largest pine tree on the property, unused for a decade.

Near the village of Sassegnies, France, the Sambre meanders through farmlands and forests. The lock here was closed and we had to portage around it.

In Stevenson’s Wake

The Rivers and Canals of Belgium and France

Two aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson’s book touched me immediately: first, the course, which I found wonderful and even exotic despite its geographic proximity to my home in Bordeaux; and, second, its vagabond spirit, which struck me as reawakening an ethic of leaving much to chance, a dance with luck, relying on unplanned encounters and unfolding episodes.

Bailing as if it matters will move about 25 gallons per minute

Making a Wood and Leather Scoop Bailer

What a cut-up bleach bottle wishes it were

A few bits of scrap wood, a piece of leather, and a handful of copper tacks will bring elegance back to bailing.

Reader Built Boat

Having the monkey's fist and its heaving line tied together instead of all one piece frees both to do other jobs.

A Monkey’s Fist and Heaving Line

Seperate and versatile

Having a heaving line and monkey’s fist at the ready may spare you the embarrassment of throwing a line only to have it land in a heap far short of its target.

At full power, DOCKHOUSE QUEEN scoots along at 7 knots.


A 16’ Electric Mini-Tug

Terry Everman grew up in a Columbia River tugboat family, and after a 30-year career in the shipbuilding industry, he built a tug for himself. It wasn’t big, like the tugs that he’d seen as a boy, but it was the biggest tug he could build in a one-car garage.


T-nuts slide in slotted aluminum box beams for a wide range of adjustments.

Trailex SUT-350-S

Lightweight Aluminum Trailers

I learned early on that most damage to boat hulls is caused by improper transport, launching, retrieval and/or storage. To avoid any problems while I transported boats, a proper trailer was in order. At races and boat shows the most well-cared-for boats were transported on Trailex Trailers, with the SUT-350-S the apparent favorite.

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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