Small Boats Annual 2007 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Small Boats Annual 2007

Editors Page: What’s a Small Boat?
When word began circulating that WoodenBoat would publish a special edition dedicated to small boats, we heard one particular question consistently: What is a small boat? It’s a reasonable thing to ask. The label “small boat” is commonly used but not commonly defined. Continued on Page 5 of PDF version.

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Nostalgia with 10 coats of varnish

Already a monumental success in 1950, Chris-Craft thought to use up their mountain of mahogany scrap by cutting kits for handsome plywood power skiffs. It must have been some mountain; Chris-Craft claims that between 1950 and 1958 they shipped 93,000 boat kits in 13 different models sized from 8' to 31'.

The Ness Yawl

A thoroughbred’s blend of ability and beauty

Few boats developed from a traditional working boat are as adaptable to small boat sailing as a Ness Yawl, and few are as much fun. It’s worth remembering, however, that it can be adapted to different requirements. The Oughtred Ness Yawl is light, and her 15' 8" waterline length gives her speed and also safety. Even as she comes up…


A small cruiser for going just about anywhere

Paul Gartside's plans for modest-sized cruising boats inspired by the Falmouth cutters of his native England should all come with one of those warnings from the Surgeon General, this one about the risks of indecision and the dangers of addiction. To look at one of the profile drawings too long leads to certain wanderings of the mind that can all…

The Tolman Skiff

A boat for all seasons

Renn Tolman designed his eponymous skiff as a workhorse for rugged Alaskan environs. The boat has proven to be adaptable to a wide range of locales—and to a wide range of configurations.


A playful runabout

RASCAL sped across the riffled waters of Long Island Sound. Her mahogany foredeck glowed from the depths of its varnish, and her stainless-steel cutwater sparkled through drops of water streamlining into mist. Driver and passenger sat low on a simple rolled leather seat, legs stretched out nearly parallel to the cockpit sole. A tall person could reach over the side…

Stir Ven

A good sense of balance

With his Stir Ven design, a 22' LOA center- boarder, François Vivier took first place in the “neo-traditional” category of a 1997 design competition organized by the French magazine Le Chasse-Marée. His main design objective was to balance the aesthetics and appeal of a purely traditional sailboat with a modern hull’s efficiency of construction, maintenance, and overall performance. Nine years…

The West Pointer 18

From workboat roots, a solid recreational boat

Six River Marine based this tough and shapely skiff on a highly regarded workboat designed and built by Alton Wallace. Chip Miller gave the new boat more freeboard, less flare, greater breadth, and slightly increased length.



A beautiful and practical daysailer

Skylark was designed by Paul Gartside for day-sailing in the sporty estuary and ocean waters off the Oregon coast. With a 14' length and a 5'8" beam and tipping the scales at 550 lbs, Skylark is one big, little boat with plenty of freeboard and stability.


A striking outboard cruiser

Conceived in the early 1980s by Ken Bassett, Onion River Boat Works, and massaged into her final form by Phil Bolger, BLACKBIRD embodies the spirit of carefree mobility found in the lyrics of the Mort Dixon/Ray Henderson song “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “Pack up all my cares and woe, here I go, singin’ low, bye bye blackbird.” BLACKBIRD evolved on the…


A simple girl

PETITELISA is a synthesis of Gilles Montaubin’s long experience with sail-and-oar boats. Unlike many boats of this type, she is not reminiscent of any traditional working boat type. Instead, she incorporates some very contemporary features. Montaubin, for example, has intensively tested the use of water ballast on many boat designs, and its use on PETITELISA allows her displacement to be…

Coho 17

Elegant and able home-built kayak

People are always drawn to the warmth and the visual texture of a varnished wood kayak, but the beauty of a plywood kayak can and should be more than skin deep. Not only do the sweeping curves of the Coho 17’s multichined hull and beveled deck offer up an elegance that sets a kayak like the Coho apart from main-…

The Flatfish

An inspired daysailer

Every sailor has his own vision of the perfect daysailer. For many, this ideal boat is based on the Herreshoff 12 1⁄2, Nathanael G. Herreshoff’s iconic daysailer, which debuted in the summer of 1915. For others, it’s the larger Fish class or the still-larger Alerion—two more masterworks from the hand of Herreshoff. These boats have been the subject of imitation…

The Boothbay Harbor One-Design

A fast and wholesome daysailer-racer

The Boothbay Harbor One-Design, a short-ended Burgess, moved to mid-coast Maine and hired Geerd daysailer with a long waterline, is a particularly handsome boat that has proven itself in the choppy waters off Boothbay and Pemaquid, Maine. It’s an easy boat to sail, while being both maneuverable and fast, and its design is the product of some of the best…

The Christmas Wherry

A Maine example of a traditional design

The Christmas Wherry possesses two characteristics that should be critically important to anyone looking for a small boat to use in open waters. It displays classic beauty and, as the boat’s designer, Walt Simmons of Lincolnville, Maine, says, “It will take you out, and bring you back home.”

The Gloucester Light Dory

A classic design for plywood construction

In the early 1980s, I bought Phil Bolger’s plans for the 15′ 6″ LOA Gloucester Light Dory. I was living in an apartment at the time, and I was intending this boat to be my first built to an “official” design. I had built furniture in my living room, and in those single-man days my dining room table was a…

Endeavour 17

A kayak for just about everybody

The Steve Killing–designed Endeavour 17, a kayak built of cedar strip planks and fiberglass, combines beauty, fast lines, load-carrying capacity, and relatively easy construction. Let’s have a look at each of these points—the last one, ease of construction, in some detail.

The Lake Oswego Boat

A small lapstrake gem

Few joys in life are simpler than a morning row. Oars over the shoulder, hollow footsteps along a wood-decked float, the boat quivering with the first step aboard, the sharp ring of the oarlocks as they slip into place, the soft purling of water against lapstrake planks as they leave the first wake of the day...all these seem to require…



A solo canoe for double paddle

Harry Bryan, a boatbuilder and designer from New Brunswick, Canada, designed the Fiddlehead, a 10 1⁄2' double-paddle canoe, in 1992 after his sister-in-law introduced him to her Wee Lassie. The Wee Lassie is a small double-paddle canoe designed by J. Henry Rushton around 1893. Bryan had always rowed small boats, rather than paddled them. He had “never faced forward in…

Macomber 15

The Macomber 15

A fast and heavy skiff from Westport, Massachusetts

You can walk across the Westport River in southern Massachusetts at low tide. It's a mile or so across in some places, but the depth at full ebb is only 4′. If you want to cross that water with dry feet, then you need a shallow-draft boat. If you want to venture on that water to clam flats or to…

Sailing Skiff 15

The Sailing Skiff 15

A simple, striking, affordable boat

All youngsters might begin their waterborne adventures in flat-bottomed rowing/sailing skiffs. Easy to build, but difficult to design properly, these honest little boats teach lessons in seamanship and self-reliance. At the other end of life’s voyage, a good skiff will take gentle care of old folks as they sail comfortable miles to nowhere in particular. Here’s a flat-bottomed 15'4" sailing…


The WindSprite 26

An easy-to-build, multichined hull for performance daysailing

Frank Pedersen designed a light-displacement planing hull, and WINDSPRITE's abilities as a performance daysailer have been anything but a disappointment to him. With basic accommodations and without expensive electrical or mechanical systems, she’s all about fast daysailing at minimal cost.

The Annapolis Wherry

The Annapolis Wherry

Quick to build, fast to row

Faster than a typical skiff, yet more stable than a recreational shell, the light (65 lbs) Annapolis Wherry from Chesapeake Light Craft offers healthy exercise and satisfying speed. The Wherry goes together LapStitch fashion, which produces a clean interior with few frames.

The Ben Garveys

Simple boats for work or play

Boats don’t always need to have pointy forward ends. Here we have two easily built, square-ended workhorses that will handle all sorts of waterfront chores—and look just fine while they’re about it. Designed by Maine boatbuilder Doug Hylan, the 15' 9" and 19' 0" Ben Garveys will earn their wages.

Norwalk Islands 26 - Boat from Small Boats 2007 Annual

The Norwalk Islands 26

Fast, shoal-draft, and self-righting

The sheet-plywood Norwalk Islands Sharpie can easily be built in the backyard, yet it outperforms more expensive yachts. Its simple cat-ketch rig needs no standing rigging (wire shrouds and stays that support the masts). The outboard-motor lifts into its own house when idle—no ugly mounting bracket, no hydrodynamic drag.

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