Small Boats Annual 2018 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Small Boats Annual 2018

Editor’s Page: Small Is the Answer
In late September, I sold my boat, NAVIGATRIX, a 33′, 12,000-lb yawl built in 1957. In the autumn of 2009, Holly, then my soon-to-be wife, and I had purchased it with dreams of cruising the Maine coast each summer and perhaps living aboard for weeks or even months at a time. Soon after we acquired the boat, we took a glorious autumn sail up Somes Sound … Continued on Page 4 of PDF version.

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Tango 13

A twin-tailed transom

The Tango Skiff has interesting hull extensions that create an attention-grabbing geometry aft of the transom. The additional running surface and buoyancy of the extensions appealed because of previous experience in small outboard-powered boats. When operated solo, many of them with a conventional transom will squat under the weight of the motor and the skipper and set the bow pointing skyward.

Peeler Skiff

A lightweight fishing and utility skiff

The requirements were simple. The boat had to be light enough to tow behind a four-cylinder SUV, small enough to fit in a garage, and capable of getting two and gear the 50 miles from the south end of Lake Chelan to the north end and back again in the afternoon when the lake gets rough. Although there are many affordable aluminum and fiberglass boats that would serve the purpose, the boat had to be something distinctive.

Penobscot 17

An Arch Davis cruiser for sail and oar

Arch Davis drew the Penobscot 17 with three rigs—gunter sloop, ketch, schooner—and we take a look at his sloop-rigged version. The plywood lapstrake cruiser sails and rows well and is well suited for meandering among small islands and along convoluted coasts.

Pelicano 20

A trig outboard cruiser

The owner of the first Devlin-designed Pelicano 20 had high praise for the boat: “A real jewel. We were impressed when we first took the boat out for sea trials. Even with that big 115-HP outboard hanging on the stern, it floated perfectly on her lines, and its performance turned out to be nothing short of breathtaking.”

Four Oars and a Sail

A 2,000-mile river voyage through the American Heartland

A young couple with an abiding thirst for adventure built a cedar-strip version of a faering and traveled 2,000 miles under sail and oars from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico. Their boat took a bit of a beating along the way and almost sank on the Mississippi River, but the partnership stayed afloat and the bonds between the two only grew stronger.

The Coot Dinghy

A proper little boat

Andrew Wolstenholme’s Coot is a proper little boat. With respect on your part it will look after you, take you on mini adventures on rivers, lakes, and estuaries, and be greatly admired wherever it goes.


Pygmy's SUP board

The All-Rounder SUP is Pygmy Boats’ newest kit. The 11’ stand-up paddleboard has plenty of stability for beginners and volume enough to take a youngster along for a ride.

Lake Tanganyika

Rowing Africa's Great Lake in a leaky boat

An adventurer in Africa traded his bicycle for a sad-looking wooden boat and set out to explore Lake Tanganyika. With gaps between planks big enough to slip a pencil through, a map bereft of detail, and a remote and unforgiving coast ahead of him, what could possibly go wrong?

This spritsail boat isn't yet equipped with oarlocks. The original had rowing stations at the center and forward thwarts with oarlocks mounted on blocks fixed to the outside of the coaming

Woods Hole Spritsail Boat

From workboat to daysailer

The Woods Hole spritsail boats are similar to the iconic Cape Cod catboats, with a few distinct differences. They are sprit rigged, not gaff rigged, to make it easier to unstep the mast to pass underneath a stone bridge at the entrance their traditional harbor, narrower to allow them to be rowed by a lone fisherman, and have more freeboard for the notoriously rough waters of Vineyard Sound.

The Glen-L Utility

Classic 1950s style in a boat that's simple to build, a joy to use

The Utility, a small general-purpose outboard, was designed in 1953 and is among Glen-L’s earliest designs. For over six decades, it has endured as a standard offering in the Glen-L catalogue, and with good reason. It was specifically designed to be affordable and easy to build for the first-time amateur builder.

Fairhaven Flyer

A light dory for solo or tandem rowing

The Fairhaven Flyer from Devlin Designing Boat Builders is a versatile 20’ light dory that can be rowed solo or tandem, with fixed thwarts or sliding seats, and used for exercise or adventure.

Saturday Night Special

More Bang for the Buck

The Saturday Night Special was John Welford’s idea for a fast beach cruiser that was so simple to build that you could arrive a few days early at a multi-day small boat cruise or raid, build the boat, participate in the event, and fly back home, leaving the boat behind for someone else to use.

Maine Coast Peapod

Joel White's classic

The peapod might be one of the most easily identifiable, traditional small craft found on the coast of Maine today and Joel White’s classic take on this timeless design is perfectly suited for both sailing and rowing.

Tadpole Tender

Cottrell's 10' Whitehall

The Tadpole Tender from Cottrell Boatbuilding is a scaled-down Whitehall that can do well as a tender, a rowing trainer for kids, or a lightweight rowboat you can carry by cartop.

A double-bladed paddle, the type used for sea kayaks, is the best choice for general paddling in the Wee Lassie. It offers better course holding than a single-bladed paddle.

Wee Lassie

A classic in skin-on-frame

In the 1880s, Henry Rushton designed the original Wee Lassie as a beautiful lapstrake canoe and since then, his iconic design has been rendered many times, in many ways, by many builders. The skin-on-frame (SOF) version is 10′ 6″ by 27″, just like the original, and, at 19 lbs, about a pound less.

The Lightning Bug's electric power plant can maintain 5 knots for 7 hours.

Lightning Bug

Quiet power, stately pace

The Lightning Bug’s range of 35 miles between charges will theoretically get it to points with a 17-mile radius from home. That’s a lot of territory, but a boat that is so easy on the eyes and ears isn’t about merely getting from one place to another. The vessel is in and of itself the destination: a place to relax, enjoy solitude or the company of friends, and take in the view, both within and beyond the boat.

Milgate Duck Punt

Simple rig, rewarding sailing

Mersea Island, tucked into England’s Essex coast about 50 miles east northeast of London, is truly an island only twice a day, when the high tide covers the causeway that connects it to the mainland. There’s open water to the island’s southeast side at the junction of the Colne and Blackwater estuaries, and to the northwest mile after mile of tidal salt marsh with a wealth of wild waterfowl. This is the spiritual home of the Milgate duck punt.

The Odyssey is fastest with both harms and legs powering the stroke. The hands need to be used to speed the recovery.

Odyssey 165

A front-facing rower for touring and fitness

The Odyssey 165 is an unusual rowboat for touring and exercise. It is specifically for use with the FrontRower, a drop-in forward-facing rowing system. With the oars fully supported by the rowing rig, there’s no need to make the boat wide enough to provide a workable span for conventional rowlocks, nor stout enough to take the strain of rowing on the gunwales. The Odyssey has the proportions of a canoe, offers the same view over the bow, and is similarly efficient converting effort into forward progress.

Seaford Skiff

A versatile thin-water cruiser

Seaford skiffs first appeared in the shallow marshes around the New York town of Seaford, Long Island, in the early 1870s. They are an evolutionary product of skiffs commonly used by local baymen for hunting waterfowl, digging clams, and fishing. Boatbuilder Samuel Gritman is credited as the primary originator of the Seaford type, but other builders such as Paul Ketcham of Amityville, and Charles Verity and his son Sidney of Seaford, built many and contributed their own modifications to the design from its inception through the 1950s.

At Nubble Beach on Maine’s Butter Island, the tide exposes several hundred feet of beach at low ebb. Here, the anchor was set just beyond the low tide mark, and the extra warp was walked out the rocky promontory to secure the boats. With this adaptation of the Pythagorean system, the boats can be pulled into water even deeper than it is where the anchor is set.

Pythagorean Mooring

Variations on anchoring

The Pythagorean mooring technique appeared in Roger Barnes’s delightful and informative book, The Dinghy Cruising Companion, when it was published in 2014. It is a simple and clever way to anchor a dinghy without using a clothesline loop or outhaul set up. As described, a Pythagorean mooring, named after geometry’s theorem of right triangles, is most useful in settings where tidal range is modest and where there is fairly deep water close to a shoreline.

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