Australian-born designer Michael Storer developed a wooden SUP and named it Taal after a lake near his home in the Philippines. The boats and canoes he designs are light yet strong, and while they may appear to look simple at first glance, they are actually sophisticated, elegant, and fast. His 12′ 6″ Taal is no exception. While many production SUPs resemble surfboards, they are rarely used for riding waves; they’re most often used on flat water. The Taal is designed like a displacement hull rather than a surfboard and optimized for speed, tracking, smoothness of ride, and stability on flat water.
My trials in a local lake proved that the boat trailered, launched, and performed remarkably well. The bottom is 5′ 9-1/8” at its widest point, and because of the narrow beam at the waterline, I feared the boat would be rocky, but was pleasantly surprised by its stability. Having the helm 13-1/2′ from the bow on a 20′ boat and off-center does not seem to hurt the performance or the balance. Even with the added foredeck and side decks, the cockpit is still quite open and we are able to move around freely with no obstacles or wires and cables to trip over.
he French term voile-aviron translates to “sail and oar,” and describes a type of small cruising boats with a devoted following. French naval architect François Vivier has created an extensive portfolio of voile-aviron boats, and the Ilur is his most popular—many hundreds of them sail in France and a growing number are being built in . . .
grew up in central Massachusetts, and still live there. When I was a kid, each summer my family rented the same beach cottage near the east end of the Cape Cod Canal. It was there that my love of saltwater fishing began. Around 1990, intrigued by having seen a fellow using a fly rod on . . .
The Ski King was designed by company founder Glen L. Witt—a keen water-skier and a boat designer—in 1953, the year he went into business selling plans and kits to home boatbuilders. Although he enjoyed boating in his own Ski King for many years, at some point sales of the plans diminished and they were removed from the Glen-L catalog. But in 1976, Dwain Colton of Portland, Oregon, was keen to purchase a set of Ski King plans which, luckily, were still stored within the company’s archives. As it turned out, Dwain didn’t complete his Ski King until 2003, but the plans are now in Glen-L’s online catalog and “even made it back into our print catalog, which is something that I don’t remember ever happening before,” said Gayle Brantuk, Witt’s daughter who now runs the company.
I met this great bloke, Ross Lillistone, a classy sailor, designer, and builder of boats, at a boat show in 2005 and asked him to sell me plans and give me guidance in the selecting and building of a couple of small boats—a 9’ Sherpa that I rigged with a balanced lugsail and 10’ Fish Hook rowing boat—both from designer John Welsford. I’d been happily sailing then with a new cohort of like-minded sailors, but I eventually realized that I needed a faster, more versatile, but still simply rigged boat.
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 the turn-of-the-century East Coast workboats in their files, catalogued as HIC303, is a handsome 18′ crabbing skiff. It has many of the characteristics associated with working skiffs used by Chesapeake Bay crabbers of the era: a shallow deadrise hull, a large skeg and centerboard, a transom-hung rudder, multiple thwarts, a foredeck with washboards down the sides, and a low coaming around the cockpit.
While ocean-voyaging catamarans have been the main focus of Wharram’s design work, his plans catalog includes a few smaller boats suitable beach cruising. The Tiki 21 that was recently profiled here in Small Boats Monthly crosses the line between the two pursuits but is still a bigger boat than many people want to build or trailer. The Hitia 17 and the Hitia 14 are based on the same hull shape and design concepts as the Tiki 21 and her larger sisters, but the Hitias are open boats. They are lighter, simpler, and less expensive to build, while retaining the sailing characteristics and performance of the cruisers. While the smaller Hitia 14 is strictly a daysailer, the Hitia 17, with its dry-storage holds and kayak-style cockpits, features real camp-cruising capability for sailors who don’t mind roughing it a bit.
ryn Morgan has spent all his working life at sea, but until now he had never had a boat of his own. For many years he had his eye on an 18′ Plymouth Pilot, a fiberglass production boat with lines based on a 1930s pilot vessel that operated out of Teignmouth in Devon, on the . . .
graduated from college with a degree in art, so when I took up boatbuilding a few years later the transition came naturally. There is something quite sculptural about hulls and oars, spars and sails. Joe Greenley of Redfish Kayaks has doubtless made the same connection. While he is well known for his artistry with strip-building, . . .