Series - Page 32 of 32 - Small Boats Magazine
Without her beach legs, this Caledonia yawl would be resting on her planking and heeled at about 10°, the angle of her deadrise. With the legs she's level, supported by her keel and gunwales and fit for habitation.

Beaching Legs

A simple way to keep your boat upright

I prefer to anchor out when we are camp-cruising, but with Alaska’s 20’ tide range that isn't always an option in some of the shallower coves. Boats with flat bottoms wide enough to keep them upright will ground comfortably on a falling tide, but our Caledonia yawl, with its narrow keel, will come to rest heeled over. This is where beaching legs, also known as sheer legs, come in handy. This decidedly low-tech gear is just the thing to keep your boat upright on the beach, allowing the continued use of your boat as a base camp between tides.

I arrived at the finish smiling at the sight of my three girls waiting for me. It was the first time I’d seen them since the race started. One of the great gifts of the EC is a fresh perspective on what truly matters.

The 2014 Everglades Challenge

A solo sail-and-oar adventure race

The Everglades Challenge begins at Florida’s Fort Desoto State Park in Tampa Bay and runs roughly 300 miles south to the Sunset Cove Hotel in Key Largo. How boats get there is up to their crews as long as they sign in at each of the three checkpoints along the way within the allotted deadlines. The boats are all small because each solo racer or team of two must drag their boats from the high-water mark to the water’s edge without assistance. The race is unsupported; you’re on your own.

Stowing oars and spars

Clearing Clutter from the Cockpit

Oars, masts, and spars get you where you want to go in a small boat built for rowing and sailing, but those long sticks are awkward to stow when they’re not in use. I saw one interesting solution to the problem when I was kayaking the coast of Croatia. In the island village harbors there were lots of small fishing boats equipped with natural crooks set in the gunwales. Some crooks had more than one branch, providing two places to set spars or oars.

Standing up to the Big Muddy

2,300 miles on a paddleboard

I secured my gear on deck. With my quick-dry pants rolled up and water shoes tied tight, I set a foot on the board, planted my paddle on deck for balance, and pulled my other foot out of the icy water and splashed it down on the deck pad. The water ahead was streaked with white. When a cowboy lingering outside the motel the night before said, “You know there are rapids on that river?” I’d brushed him off. Now I was fighting the urge to kneel on the board for balance.

A Cedar-Strip Kayak

Tom Santoro and has wife Carol had a cottage on Blind Lake, one of seven lakes on a chain of lakes in Michigan’s 11,000-acre Pinckney Recreation area, 60 miles west of Detroit. After Tom retired, they rebuilt the cottage as their year-round home. Tom had always enjoyed working with wood, and carved decoys, built wooden model ships and planes, and did simple furniture projects. In 2006, his daughter Amy gave him a copy of Kayaks You Can Build: An Illustrated Guide to Plywood Construction, by Ted Moores and Greg Rössel. It piqued his interest in building something on a larger scale and that he could paddle on Blind Lake.

The Golant Ketch

A daydream turned real

The Golant Ketch is a 20′ hard-chined camp-cruiser designed by Roger Dongray. Dongray is perhaps best known for his Cornish Shrimper, which he designed in 1976 with the intention of building only one in plywood, for himself. But after various friends showed an interest, 10 more plywood boats were built, and in 1979 Cornish Crabbers started building them in fiberglass and have now delivered 1,132 of them. At first glance the Ketch and the Shrimper seem to have similar hull shapes, but this is perhaps only because the eye is distracted by their wide-plank clinker-effect construction.

The Penobscot Wherry

A nicely mannered rowboat

The Penobscot Wherry from Cottrell Boatbuilding of Searsport, Maine, is based on the Lincolnville salmon wherry, a beamy high-volume boat used to remove salmon from weirs in the days when there was a commercial salmon run on Maine’s Penobscot River. “Wherry” is a nebulous term generally used to describe a relatively light rowboat. This particular wherry has a narrow, flat bottom with lapstrake sides, making it a specialized type of round-bottomed dory.

Anchoring the Caledonia yawl

The Mining Ruins of Juneau, Alaska

A family adventure under sail and oar

There are so many things to see and explore in Southeast Alaska that can only be accessed by a small boat. In 2008, my wife, Leni, and I wanted to make sure that our girls—Gracie, then three, and Isabel, then one—didn't miss out on those things for lack of a way to get to them. That’s when we decided to build SPARROW, a Caledonia Yawl, which we launched in 2009. None of us really were sailors back then, but, lucky for us, the Caledonia yawl is a very forgiving boat.

The Outrigger Junior is a modern adaptation of a Pacific canoe

Outrigger Junior

A modern form of an old idea

Long before Europeans ventured to the new world, sailing dugout canoes fitted with outriggers sailed the waters in Southeast Asia and were used for migration throughout the Pacific region. The obvious seaworthiness of these boats was demonstrated by their ability to undertake remarkable voyages. Their twin-hulled form gave them stability, and the slender hulls gave them speed and seakeeping qualities that the western world could only dream of. Today, the recreational market offers many two- and three-hulled vessels for voyaging or daysailing. The Outrigger Junior is a modern adaptation of these early outriggers designed for beach sailing and fast spins around the bay.

Sam Crocker’s Small Outboard Skiff

Sam Crocker’s Small Outboard Skiff

A 1950s design still relevant today

Here’s a boat type one doesn’t see too often these days. It’s a modest-sized outboard designed not as a center-console but instead with a small cabin that will accommodate the adventurous camp-cruiser. For the less ambitious, it’s a boat that offers a place to have a nap, use the head in privacy, or take friends and family to a favorite beach, island, or fishing spot. Given its varnished cabin sides and shapely hull, it’s just the sort of craft that stops dock strollers in their tracks as they say: “Now what is that!”