Small Boats Annual 2023 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Small Boats Annual 2023

Editor’s Page: Puzzled by Boats
There is a lot of romance associated with boats, and it’s well justified. They can be things of beauty whether at rest or in motion and provide an escape from the unmemorable workaday world. But romances eventually come out of the clouds, and those that last make their way along a sometimes-rocky road … Continued on Page 6 of PDF version.

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A 17′ Outboard Runabout

Paul Gartside's Design #221

Paul Gartside’s Design #221 is an outboard-powered runabout with the look of a classic but more easily built using lapstrake-plywood or strip-plank construction.


An easily built all-around skiff

The Shellback is a 11′ 2″ lapstrake plywood dinghy designed by Joel White for sailing, sculling, and rowing. A precut kit can pave the way for a novice boatbuilder.

Shrimper 19

A trailer sailer from Cornish Crabbers

Built in Britain by Cornish Crabbers, the Shrimper 19 is a fiberglass production boat with a traditional lapstrake look, a gaff-sloop rig, and a flush-deck cabin.


Grace and ease in a quickly built hull

The 18’ Firefly is a performance rowing boat that has a combination of stability and speed that’s well suited for novices getting into sliding-seat rowing.

Sailing to Denton

Two canoe yawls on the Choptank River

Two 18’ Autumn Leaves canoe yawls follow in the wake of 19th century cargo schooners to ascend Maryland’s Choptank River under sail and oar.


A strip-built kayak for novice boatbuilders and beginning paddlers

The Excursion is a stable recreational kayak for quiet coastal waters and lakes. The kit from Newfound Woodworks can provide a novice with an easy introduction to strip-building boats.

The Six-Hour Canoe

An easily built 15' double-blade plywood canoe

Designed by Mike O'Brien in 1977 to put two extra sheets of plywood to good use, the Six-Hour Canoe has been an introduction to boatbuilding and boating for thousands.

Little Crab

Doug Hylan’s 13’ V-Bottomed Skiff for Sail and Oar

The Little Crab is a 13’ flat-bottomed skiff by Doug Hylan to serve as a tender to a yacht, a weekend camp-cruiser for two, or a boat for exploring protected waters under oar and sail.

Hunky Dory

A beach-launched outboard fishing skiff

Patterned after the outboard dory skiffs of the Oregon Coast, Glen-L’s Hunky Dory has a wide flat bottom and an upturned bow, features that make it possible to launch from a broad sandy beach and safely negotiate the surf zone.

Handy Billy

An outboard out of sight

Handy Billy, Harry Bryan’s V-bottom launch, has classic lines inspired by William Hand’s deep-V inboards of the early 1900s but gets its power from a modern 4-stroke 25-hp outboard. Concealed by a housing over the motorwell, the outboard is hidden from view and as quiet as it can be.

Colonia Dinghy

A 17' daysailer from N. G. Herreshoff

In 1901, N. G. Herreshoff designed a 17’ sailing dinghy for the steam yacht COLONIA. The boat proved successful, and 36 more Colonia dinghies were built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. Sea trials aboard a 1975 copy suggest the design would be well worth reviving.

Utility Launch


Nelson Zimmer designed his Utility Launch to shuttle people between towns and fishing camps in Canada’s North Woods. Powered by a small diesel motor, it’s efficient and elegant, and what he regarded as a “good, common-sense little boat.”

Outer Banks 26

Cruising in comfort for two

The Outer Banks 26 is the newest and longest of the three Outer Banks cruisers from B&B. They are designed for economical cruising for a couple, with the 26 providing more features and additional room for multi-week adventures.

Sand Dollar

A skiff for oar, sail, and outboard from Arch Davis Design

Arch Davis designed the Sand Dollar as a boat that a novice woodworker could build. The flat-bottom skiff can be rowed, propelled with a small outboard, or equipped with one of the three sailing rigs detailed in the plans.

Ptarmigan 17

A Selway Fisher pocket cruiser

Created by Paul Fisher of England’s Selway Fisher Design, The Ptarmigan 17 is a pocket cruiser with a comfortable cabin with berths for two and the choice of a gaff sloop or gaff yawl rig.

66 Canoe

A canoe-building system from Cape Falcon Kayak

The 66 Canoe from Cape Falcon Kayak was not designed as a set of plans for a single canoe, but as a system to create canoes of different sizes and for different purposes.

Devon Scaffie

A trailerable keelboat for camp cruising

The Scaffie was designed by John Watkinson, founder of the Drascombe line of small boats, and has been in production in the U.K. since 1978. It is 14′9″ long with a beam of 5′9″ and, at 462 lbs fully rigged, ideal for trailering behind even small vehicles.

Deblois Street Dory

Clint Chase designed the Deblois Street Dory in the spirit of New England’s dories. The lapstrake hull, graceful curve of the bow, the tombstone transom, and low sweep of the sheer are all Swampscott dory.

A Tale of Two Boats

Building the PM-38 once as a teen and again 50 years later

A 7-1/2-page article published in a 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics might seem, by any standard, to be an insufficient guide to building a boat, but Terry McIntyre built the magazine’s PM-38 twice, once in 1962 and again in 2019.

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