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

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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