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

Patrick, approaching retirement and seeing boatbuilding would fill the leisure hours he’d have ahead of him, thought the skiff would be a good winter project and decided to do much more than put a new finish on the still serviceable hull. He pulled out the factory-installed aluminum seats. They were covered in mahogany-brown vinyl, and as unpleasant to sit on as they were to look at. They’d be replaced with warm, bright-finished cedar thwarts. After giving the boat a three-tone paint job, Patrick add faux sheerstrakes of varnished ash
. The skiff’s flat sheerline made it possible to get the nearly straight planks out in one piece from long ash boards.

Nesting Boats

With open sections for the cockpit and stern, the nesting configuration allowed an overall assembled length of 12'.

Trailering a boat comes with its own set of limitations, and cartopping a boat on his van didn’t appeal to him either, but a nesting sectional boat could go in the van, stored safely until he found an opportunity to get afloat. He checked the Internet for nesting boats and didn’t find much, just a two-piece 8′ dinghy and a kayak.

A Sturgeon-Nose Canoe

Harry takes his canoe to many riverside gatherings and lets people give it a try.

Paul Montgomery of Kirkland, Washington, usually has plenty to keep himself busy whether it’s building skin-on-frame boats, keeping bees, tending a greenhouse, or making musical instruments. So when Harry Wong of Seattle called Paul, hoping he’d build a canoe for him, Paul initially turned him down, saying he was too busy. Harry mentioned that the canoe he had in mind was a sturgeon-nose canoe, the kind his grandfather used. That was all it took to get Paul to clear his workbench and his calendar.


James' daughter Kyrie was three when construction began. By the time she had turned four, she had taken an interest in helping build the boat.

In the months that followed, Jim and James, father and son, assembled the 15′ hull, enjoying the other’s company as much as seeing the curves emerge from the flat plywood panels they stitched together. Jim eventually ceded his role as co-boatbuilder to his granddaughter, four-year-old Kyrie, the youngest of James’s five children. Kyrie had her own toolbox and projects to work on, but often suited up with the proper protective gear to help with the sanding and painting of the Chester Yawl.


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

Ernst Glas takes his family on summer cruises on the Baltic Sea aboard RONDINE, a 43′ sloop his father built in the early ’90s. He’d had a rather disagreeable tender for the yacht, too heavy to haul up on deck and powered with a rather unreliable two-stroke outboard that required “a lot of begging and praying.” He sold the tender, but his young son Tristan missed the boat and pleaded with his father for a new dinghy.


The Catherine Whitehalls are raffled off to one of the students at the end of the class. This one went to a carpenter who lives in Friesland, a Dutch province west of Den Helder.

Bert van Baar runs De Bootbouwschool (The Boatbuilding School) in an old navy yard in Den Helden, a canal-laced city on the coast of the Netherlands. The boats he and his students have built over the 20 years since the school’s founding are mostly traditional, open, lapstrake boats for oar and sail, though not, as you might expect, inspired by Dutch designs. Bert has a fondness for what he calls “the American Style,” and among his favorites is the Catherine design, the boat detailed in Richard Kolin’s book, Building Catherine: a 14-foot pulling boat in the Whitehall tradition. Bert describes the Catherine as “sleek, tender, and gracious, and builds like a miracle.”


South of Dubuque, Iowa, a couple new friends accepted an invitation to paddle along for a day, and provided rare photos of both Barb and Gene in the kayak together.

Barb, Eric, and Gene brought the unfinished kayak home to Waukesha to complete it.  At the launching they dedicated the boat to Hal’s memory. and christened it KUPENDANA, Swahili for Love One Another. After their first outing, Gene suggested paddling the Mississippi River – all of it – from its source in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Even though Eric was now in college and Barb was retired from teaching, she had trouble embracing the idea. But then, during a Sunday sermon, Barb and Gene were both inspired to incorporate an element of service to the communities along the route. They would make their river travel a manifestation of Kupendana. Barb and Gene dehydrated food, mixed ingredients for meals, gathered equipment, and made contact with service organizations along the 2,000-mile route they had planned for their 6-month voyage.


The Escargot plans include drawings and dimensions for a rudder, but BEULAH manages well enough being steered with the outboard

Last year, Curt White of Saluda, North Carolina, made some even more dramatic modifications to his Escargot, BEULAH, creating a well-appointed living room afloat. He and his wife Debby had lived in Charleston, South Carolina, for 30 years. To take advantage of the rivers and backwaters that surround the city, they had five boats ranging from a 10′ sailing pram to a 25′ outboard cruiser. When the two retired, they moved inland, trading the coast for the mountains surrounding Saluda, North Carolina. Building a boat was on Curt’s “bucket list,” so he and Debby kept an eye out for designs that would be well suited to the mountain lakes near their new home. The review of Escargot in the April 2015 issue of Small Boats Monthly provided just the inspiration they were looking for.

Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff LIZZY B

On it's inaugural outing LIBBY B lived up to her builder's expectations.

In 2016 and at 72 years old, with retirement from a career in IT management in the offing, Bob was seeing an opportunity to finish the project. That worried his wife, Beth. She imagined the dinghy setting sail from their vacation home on the shore of Lake Mooselookmeguntic, a sprawling wilderness lake in Rangeley Lakes region of western Maine. The lake is subject to sudden storms that can bring high winds and waves over 3′ high. Beth noticed Bob poring over a pair of WoodenBoat articles about the Jericho skiff, another one of White’s designs. The 15′ 6″ outboard skiff seemed to be a better choice for the lake—she saw her opportunity and surprised Bob with a set of plans as a Christmas gift the year before his planned retirement.


Gary Strombo of Everett, Washington, told his friend John Leyde that he wanted to build a boat. As often happens, the moment you speak of your wishes to someone else, the momentum to carry them out begins to build. Gary had had no experience building boats, but John got his start decades ago and had several boats to his credit, including two electric launches and a diesel launch that he later converted to steam power. Gary had taken an interest in Adirondack guideboats and found plans and instructions for a strip-built version in Building an Adirondack Guideboat by Michale Olivette and John Michne.

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