July 2020 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

When our editor’s marlinespike knife resurfaced after being lost for over a decade, it rekindled memories of his grandfather. The two boats featured in this issue are both 15-footers: one is an outboard skiff built of common lumber and the other is a double-ended pulling boat in fiberglass. Ontarian Phil Boyer takes us along under silent solar power on the 125-miles of the Rideau Canal and our how-to articles show how to get the best out of centerboards and rudders and how to increase the range of a handheld VHF radio. Our gear review determines that impact drivers are an excellent way to drive wood screws and our Reader Built Boat features a paper canoe from New Zealand.

Lost and Found

A marlinespike knife that our editor had taken apart and then lost track of resurfaces after being missing for over a decade. He puts it back into working order and recalls its history.

Crawford’s Gunning Dory

A classic form in fiberglass

Crawford Boat Building is best known for their fiberglass Melonseed Skiff, but their Gunning Dory is equally able and attractive. The 15’ adaptation of a 19th-century Massachusetts predecessor has an appealing lapstrake appearance at a fraction of the weight.

Spira’s Hudson Skiff

An easy-to-build outboard skiff

The Hudson Skiff from Spira International is a simple 15-footer for outboard power. Typical of Spira designs, the skiff can be built with inexpensive common lumber by novice boatbuilders with modest woodworking skills and limited access to tools.

A Solar Solo

Cruising the Rideau Canal

Phil Boyer takes a look back at his first fully solar-powered cruise. In SOL CANADA, a boat he built with a canopy covered with solar cells, he traveled 125 miles from Kingston, Ontario, to Ottawa, along a canal system that has been carrying boat traffic since 1832.

Antennas for VHF

An elevated accessory antenna can increase a handheld radio's range

Handheld VHF radios are very useful for communication from a small boat, especially in an emergency. Their height above the water determines their range and Ben Fuller covers more territory with his VHF by attaching it to an auxiliary antenna that's elevated on a pole.

High-Performance Foils

Shaping better centerboards and rudders

Sailors often look aloft to see if their sails are taking their best shape and getting the best performance from the wind. Builders of sailboats,too, should pay close attention to the shaping of a boat's rudder and daggerboard or centerboard. Alex Zimmerman explains NACA foils and the difference they can make.

Impact Drivers

Power and finesse

Impact drivers may seem like tools for heavy work, but while they have a lot of screw-driving power, they can provide exceptional control and greatly reduce the number of screws that get damaged.

Built by the Book

David Parker's Paper Canoe

New Zealander David Parker was in the midst of strip-building a canoe when he decided to use its hull, still upside down on the strongback, as a mold for a canoe made of laminated paper. Paper boats were once hi-tech marvels, but that was in the last third of the 19th century.

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