February 2021 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Our editor recalls JFK’s declaration to go to the moon and sees in it a connection to the allure of boatbuilding. A 17’ catboat designed by Charles Wittholz and a Finnish sliding-seat double are the subjects of our Boat Profiles. Isabelle Heker of Germany tells the story of building her first boat, a skin-on-frame Greenland kayak, and we take a look at submersible LED replacements for trailer lights and at Harken’s small-boat jib roller furlers. Waxed canvas is no longer used as much as it was a century ago, but it is still a useful fabric and well suited to do-it-yourself sewing projects. Our Reader Built Boat is a plywood kayak kit given as a gift to a pastor by a grateful congregation.

“Not because they are easy”

Almost 60 years ago President John F. Kennedy said we’d go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard. The same holds true for boatbuilding; many of us are drawn to it precisely because it’s not easy.

Savo 650D

Fast rowing, Finnish style

Finland has so many lakes that it was inevitable that people living on their shores built fast rowing boats to make a living and get from one place to another. The contemporary Savo 650D is a speedy double with deep roots in the country and the culture.

The Wittholz Catboat

A classic adapted for plywood

In the 1960s, Naval architect Charles W. Wittholz drew several catboats including a 17-footer with a classic catboat profile, a beamy single-chine plywood hull, and the option of a marconi or gaff rig.

Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

Isabelle Heker's Greenland kayak

When Isabelle Heker decided to build a Greenland-style kayak, her friends and family doubted she was up to the task. In spite of her lack of woodworking experience, tools, and a place to work, she forged ahead and proved something to everyone, including herself.

Waxed Canvas

Classic fabric for home-sewn projects

While waxed canvas has lost the important role it once had in military, maritime, and recreational activities, it is a handsome and durable material for DIY sewing projects for boat and workshop.

LEDs for Trailers

Long-lasting submersible lights

Incandescent light fixtures have long been the standard outfitting for trailers, but they don’t hold up well to the dunkings boat trailers subject them to. It’s easy to replace them with submersible LED fixtures.

Harken Roller Furlers

Tending headsails from the cockpit

Roller-furling jibs are common features on large sailboats, but there is scaled-down hardware to bring the convenience and speed of roller furling to small boats. We take a look at Harken’s smallest standard and continuous-line furlers.


Catalog dreaming

When he was boy, Dave Gibson circled toys in the Sears Christmas catalog. Nearing retirement from a long career as a pastor, he circled a kayak in a catalog of stitch-and-glue boats. A congregation surprised him by giving the kayak kit to him.

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