I am frequently asked why I built a boat, and particularly, why I built a Glen-L Zip. The first part of the question is easy to answer: I love to build things and I can't afford to go out and buy a new boat, so a set of plans was my preferred starting point. And why the Zip? I was initially drawn to it because it has style and character, more than I’d ever be able to find in any boat on the market, whether or not I could afford it. But I didn’t have much boatbuilding experience, other than a stitch-and-glue plywood kayak I had finished, so I was unsure if a Zip would be within my abilities. As I searched the Web and corresponded with other novices who had successfully built one, it quickly became clear that it was the obvious choice.I am a Fire Chief in a small community in Michigan, and our Village Manager is my good friend Art Atkinson. One day Art walked into my office and said he was considering building a boat for himself. He had just returned from northern Michigan where old wooden boats are almost everywhere along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. I told him I’d been considering building a boat for myself, too. He liked the idea, and we decided we would both build wooden boats while helping each other along the way. I ordered plans for the Zip, and Art settled on an equally classic-looking runabout, the Glen-L Squirt.  Both Art and I would be building our boats in our basements and so had limitations on the size of the boats we could build. The 14′ 4″ Zip was the largest boat I could build and still get it out of my walkout basement. The 10’ Squirt was small enough to be carried up the stairs from Art’s basement, and through the kitchen to get it outside.

 The 5' 9" beam provide the Zip with good stability and the flared sides help keep the occupants dry.photographs courtesy of the author

The 5'9" beam provides the Zip with good stability and the flared sides help keep the occupants dry.

Read this article now for free!

Sign up here (No credit card required) to finish reading your article now.

— OR —

Subscribe now for $29.99 a year! You'll have access to our new issues as they are published, and access to our entire archive of back issues, starting with our inaugural issue in September 2014. Subscribers can also post unlimited classified ads. This is an extraordinary value!