April 2018 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Stretcher Steering

I’ve been rowing my Whitehall a lot, leaving the sailing rig and the rudder at home, but I decided that I could put the rudder to good use by making it possible to steer with my feet. Now I can devote my stroke to power instead of holding a course.

With a 25-hp outboard providing power, the RB 14 can reach a speed of 30 mph.

Runabout 14

A plywood speedster from Bateau.com

If the Runabout 14 looks like a classic, its designer, Jacques Mertens-Goossens, the founder of Bateau.com, has hit his mark. The boat’s appearance was inspired by a 1950s design, but its structure is a contemporary blend of plywood, fiberglass and epoxy.

The cockpit's removable side benches can be moved to the center to serve as a sleeping platform; an extra pair would make a broader surface. The main sheet has taken up residence in the motor well.

First Mate

A Lillistone beach cruiser for sail, oars, and outboard

The Phoenix III is Ross Lillistone’s most popular design, but its glued-lapstrake construction, with its bevels and gains, was not the easiest method for novices to take on. His First Mate is a stitch-and-glue equivalent of the Phoenix III with the same hull, rigs, and cockpit layout. It provides an easier path to the launching and the same performance afloat.

From Father to Son

Five generations of boatbuilders

Nick Blake is a boatbuilder living on a plot of Mississippi land that has been in the family since the 1830s. Nick built a modified version of a Chapelle Whitehall with the help of his father, tools passed down from his grandfather, traditions established by his great-grandfather, and lumber milled from trees grown on his great-great-grandfather’s land.

My reproduction of the stands used by the Eton Boathouse oar maker turned out to be remarkable quick and effective once I gleaned all of the important details from the newsreel.

Eton Oar Stands

Quick work without clamps

A 1950s newsreel offered a glimpse of English craftsmen making racing shells and oars in the Eton Boathouse on the River Thames. The system they used to hold the oars while working on them did away with clamps and was fast and efficient.

The lanterns all provide a board area of diffused white light.

Luci and LuminAID Lanterns

Inflatable solar-charged lighting

Camp-cruising requires lighting, and these three solar-charged, waterproof, and inflatable lanterns illuminate tents, boat canopies, and camp kitchens with a bright diffuse light at night, can charge your phone, and recharge themselves during the day.

The seats are supplied without pads. Those are left to the rower to select to suit individual preferences.

Poseidon Sliding Seats

Power without outriggers

Most sliding-seat rigs come with outriggers that require long, racing-style sculls. The Poseidon sliding seat provides power without changing the nature of the boat. It’s meant to be used with gunwale-mounted oarlocks and the same kind of oars used for fixed-seat rowing.

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.


A kayak with a purpose

Barb Geiger’s father had dreamed of building a stitch-and-glue kayak but when a stroke restricted him to a wheelchair, he thought his dream was out of reach. Barb didn’t agree. They ordered a kit and got started on the project. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to see the boat finished and launched. He would have had good reason to be proud of the kayak—it carried Barb and her husband safely on a 2,000-mile journey across America.

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