October 2018

From The Editor


Steam-driven piston engines are a relic of the past, and while few practical uses remain for them, they are fascinating and appealing in ways that no internal combustion engine can match. We take a slow ride up a meandering slough, content to be going nowhere fast.


Winter Wren II

A pocket yacht for two

The great joy of the Winter Wren II, Sam Devlin’s trailerable mini cruiser, is its responsiveness. Every nuance of change in air or water conditions translates into some sensation transmitted directly through the tiller, sail controls, or seat of pants.

Ruth Wherry

Quick to build, fast to row

It’s hard to beat skin-on-frame construction for light weight and ease of construction. Dave Gentry’s Ruth is well suited for rowers eager to get on the water with an easily driven wherry.

Sea Trial

A neophyte on the Inside Passage, Part 1

In boatbuilding, according to Pete Culler, “the experience starts coming the minute you begin, and not one jot before.” Christopher Cunningham found that was indeed the case when he built his first wooden boat, and when he set out in that boat heading north along the Inside Passage, experience kept coming, suddenly and frequently.

Homemade blocks met our goals for light weight, affordability, and a classic look. The two blocks at the left share a single axle, creating a double block.

DIY Bronze Blocks

Bronze cheeks and ball-bearing sheaves

If you take pride in making your own boat or would like reduce the expense of outfitting it for sailing, you can make your own traditional-looking bronze blocks with ball-bearing sheaves. You probably already have all the tools you’ll need.

Reader Built Boat

BUTTERFLY, all dressed up, now gets admiring looks, which had never come her way in her previous life.


A makeover for a metal boat

Beneath her warm, bright-finished cedar decks, BUTTERFLY is, at her core, an old boat with a heart of…aluminum. If Patrick MacQueen hadn’t saved her, she might have been recycled into cans, pots, and pans.


If the flashlight gets dropped overboard it will float and automatically start flashing the red light in its handle.

AR-Tech LED Flashlight + Lantern

Five functions and it floats

The Life Gear Flashlight + Lantern was design with boating in mind. It floats, turns on automatically when immersed, has a 100-lumen flashlight beam, and an all-around area light in white for general use and in red for preserving night vision.

The author used optional mounts: the monitor mount instead of the rail mount for the monitor and the tall mount (for better visibility over the bow) instead of the flush mount for the camera.

Cruz Camera

from Hyndsight Vision Systems

Rowing has, at long last, gone digital and wireless. Hyndsight makes a waterproof cameras and monitors that provide a clear view over the bow, so you don’t have to swivel your head like an owl. And the Cruz system goes one better than having eyes in the back of your head; it works for those trailering tasks when you need to be in two places at once.

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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