May 2023 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Our Boat Profiles highlight the Didi 23, a Dudley Dix trailer-sailer, and the Rhode Runner, a 14′9″ Chesapeake Light Craft runabout. Dave Zumwalt takes us along on the sun-drenched Texas 200 and a hybrid foam/inflatable PFD and a handy adjustable trailer step get a close look in our gear reviews. While soft shackles are popular among high-tech, high-performance sailors, inexpensive homemade versions in ordinary cord can be useful on more modest small boats. Our Reader Built Boat is a Cosine Wherry built in Cleveland, trailered to the West Coast, and raced in Puget Sound. On a recent canoe outing, our editor traded paddling for staring up at the sky.


Leaving the to-do behind

There are times when the most rewarding boating is going nowhere and doing nothing.

Rhode Runner

A stitch-and-glue version of a mid-century classic

Designed for stitch-and-glue construction by experienced amateur builders, Chesapeake Light Craft’s Rhode Runner offers performance, comfort, and classic runabout looks.

Didi 23

A Dudley Dix 23-footer with generous accommodation and fine sailing performance

A modern pocket cruiser with high-performance sailing pedigree, the DIDI 23 has a plywood hull that does away with angular chines by using Dudley Dix’s radius-chine plywood construction method.

DIY Soft Shackles

Made with ordinary rope and knots

Bronze and stainless-steel shackles can be expensive and more than you need for use on a small boat. Homemade soft shackles made of rope are an inexpensive alternative that are more than adequate for many applications.

My Texas 200

A five-day sail-and-oar raid along the Texas coast

David Zumwalt joined a fleet of 80 sail-and-oar boats in a five-day raid along 200 miles of the Texas coast. Sailing his home-built cat-ketch, REDWING, on her first long voyage, he endured equipment failures and mud banks.


A hybrid foam/inflatable PFD from Mustang Survival

For some rowing, paddling, and sailing outings in small boats, a simple, compact PFD that provides extra buoyancy only when you really need it, is the answer. Ben Fuller believes he’s found just the thing.

FlexStep Pro

A user-friendly solution for boarding boats on trailers

It’s hard enough getting in and out of some boats when they’re on the water, but when they’re on a trailer it can be almost impossible. The trailer-mounted FlexStep Pro offers a helpful leg up.


How a boatbuilding project led to the race of a lifetime

One-time varsity sculler Henry Billingsley was in search of a rowboat that had the style of a Whitehall but was equipped with a sliding seat and outriggers for performance. The Cosine Wherry was just the boat to bring those elements together. Helped by friend and mentor, Ed Neal, he embarked on a boatbuilding odyssey that led the pair to a 70-mile, overnight rowing race.

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