sail Archives - Small Boats Magazine

Swallows & Amazons – Open Boat Event

Our premier open boat event for everyone, now in its 25th year! Join us once again at the Walton & Frinton Yacht Club to race around the Island, and explore the backwaters.

This year we are extending the event to three days. High tides are: Friday 13:08, Saturday 13:51, Sunday 14:51. Sailing will start on the Friday for those that can make it, with a race round Horsey Island on Saturday, weather permitting. On the Friday or Sunday, again weather permitting, we might creep up Bramble Creek to say a quiet hello to the seals. Join on Thursday evening to make the most of the three days!

To mark our 25th year, Tessa Hodgkinson has written a lovely history and description of the event as it has evolved over the years:

The annual Swallows and Amazons Race is a delightful celebration of the diversity found in small Gaffers, the sailing adventures of the Walker & Blackett children, the wonderful back drop of the Walton Backwaters and of course, the ever forgiving, ever clinging Essex mud.

It all started some 35 years ago when Jon Wainwright and Brian Hammett started a “race around the island” for the smaller boats and dinghies at the Shotley Classic Boat Festival in 1989. It proved very popular with all the open boats and even some smaller cruisers, so eventually it broke away to form its own weekend event. The title of the weekend seemed an obvious choice, paying homage to Arthur Ransome and his inspirational books about the youngsters, delighting in their adventures and their freedom with their small gaffers in these very waters.

In the early 2000s we were regularly hosting 40 to 50 small boats at Swallows and Amazons, it was often the largest East Coast event. The boats were a wonderful collection, including real classics over 100yrs old, ex fishing boats including Lune whammels, winkle brigs, smacks boats, barge boats, whalers, also racing dinghies, 1920s one designs, dinghies and self-built boats, and they came from all over England and Wales in a spirit of goodwill and fun.

Saturday was race around Horsey Island, launch as soon as there is water and try to get back before the mud reappears. There were always adventures and spills, dinghies full of families and dogs, some definitely had pirates aboard, some pausing to seal watch and others offering tows to those becalmed without an outboard and needing a helping hand home.

Being a race, of course, there are prizes, but having such an eclectic fleet, handicapping is virtually impossible, so we made many classes, many prizes and a rule that each boat could only be awarded one prize, to share them around as much as possible and encourage all.

Sunday is fun day (just in case the race was not fun enough) we have had dinghy treasure hunts, sail in company to a picnic spot, visit the actual Swallow Island (by landowner invitation), seal trips and exploration into the furthest, shallowest backwaters.

As the years have gone by Swallows and Amazons has reduced in size, but the spirit of fun and inclusivity remains, prizes for all and never more than one each. There is an increasing fleet of east coast smacks boats that regularly support the event and all small gaffers and assorted classics are very welcome. Come by sea or land, enjoy the secret waters and friendly pirates, watch out for seals and mastodons … they can all be found here.

41st Annual Classic Mariner’s Regatta – Port Townsend Sailing Association


1. ORGANIZING AUTHORITY The 41st Annual Classic Mariner’s Regatta is organized by the Port Townsend Sailing Association (PTSA).

2. ELIGIBILITY AND ENTRY  The regatta is open to sailboats of all designs and materials. All sailboats are welcome! Boats may enter by completing the entry form and submitting it, together with the required fee, online at Regatta Network:

3. ENTRY FEE The entry fee is $ 35 per vessel until May 22nd. Late and day of registration fee is $50.

4. VENUE Port Townsend Bay

5. RULES The event is governed by the Racing Rules of Sailing (2021-2024). More info on the Racing page of the PTSA web site.

6. Sailing Instructions The Sailing Instructions will be available after May 24, 2024 at the event Regatta Network site (see above).

7. CLASSES Separate starts for PHRF, One-design, Cruising, and In-shore boats. Classes will be determined after registration. Provisional ratings will be assigned by the local ratings/ handicap committee for boats without an official PHRF rating (

8. PRIZES Prizes will be awarded for each class.

9. MOORAGE Point Hudson Marina has space reserved for CMR participants. You can make a reservation through their website, use the code: CMR2024 and that should allow you access to the available slips. We have 5 slips reserved through May 7. The Boat Haven marina does not accept advanced reservations, but will take reservations the morning of your arrival, if you want to take the chance. If you have any questions, please call Holly Kays at 360-531-0462 so that we can help make your stay in Port Townsend as easy as possible.

10. RISK STATEMENT & PERSONAL CONDUCT 1. Rule 3 states: ‘The responsibility for a boat’s decision to participate in a race or to continue to race is hers alone.’ By participating in this event each competitor agrees and acknowledges that sailing is a potentially dangerous activity with inherent risks. These risks include strong winds and rough seas, sudden changes in weather, failure of equipment, boat handling errors, poor seamanship by other boats, loss of balance on an unstable platform and fatigue resulting in increased risk of injury. Inherent in the sport of sailing is the risk of permanent, catastrophic injury or death by drowning, trauma, hypothermia or other causes. 2. Competitors will accept full responsibility for their actions during any activity related to this event. This includes on-shore activities before, during, and after the regatta.

11. SCHEDULE Saturday, June 1: 10:00 am – Skippers meeting at PTSA Clubhouse near the boat ramp in Boat Haven. 12:00 pm – First start warning. Fleets will race up to 2 triangle course races. One-Design classes (3+ boats) may have other style courses- see Sailing Instructions for details. 6:00 pm – Casual dinner at the PTSA Clubhouse. Cost is $12.00 – you can pay at the same time you register(preferred as this gives us an accurate planning head count!) or with CASH/check at the door. Sunday, June 2: 12:00 pm – Race start warning. The race will be a random leg, reverse (pursuit)* start based on vessel ratings. 4:00 pm – Post race awards gathering at the PTSA Clubhouse. *All boats will be assigned an individual start time based on their rating. Individual boat start times will be posted on Saturday night at the dinner event. The start times will also be posted Sunday morning at the PTSA Clubhouse door. We look forward to your participation in the 41st Annual Classic Mariner’s Regatta!

Everglades Challenge FL

Tampa Bay To Key Largo In Sea Kayaks, Canoes and Small Boats

The next Everglades Challenge is  Saturday, March 1, 2025. There is registration and equipment inspection on Friday, February 28, 2025, prior to starting.  Cost is $495.00  for the captain and $495.00 for crew members if any.

Billing starts January 1.
Registration ends January 26 at noon.
Payment Deadline is January 26 at noon.

Due to the extreme commitment for this race late registration and/or late payments will not be allowed. We recommend that you commit to this race early so you have plenty of time for planning, training, and preparation. Pay early in the payment cycle. You can get a full refund up until January 26 at noon. No refunds after that date and time.

All WaterTribe events are dangerous events as defined by Florida law and common sense. You are responsible for your own safety. You must read and understand the warning before you register for this event.

The Everglades Challenge is an unsupported, expedition style adventure race for kayaks, canoes, and small boats. The distance is roughly 300 nautical miles depending on your course selection. There is a time limit of 8 days or less. Your safety and well being are completely up to you.

Unsupported means that there are no safety boats or support crews to help you during the race. You are not allowed to have a support crew follow you or meet you during the race. It is OK to have family or friends meet you at the official checkpoints, but they cannot provide anything other than emotional support. See the official WaterTribe rules for more details.

Expedition style means that you must carry the same type of equipment and supplies that you would carry on a major expedition lasting 4 weeks or more. Camping equipment, food, water, safety, communication, etc. is required. See the Rules and Warning link at the top of this page for the official required equipment list for more details.

Although this is a race, many participants are more interesting in cruising and adventure. Whether you are a cruiser or racer is up to you. Just getting to the starting line is a major accomplishment and only about 40% of starters are able to finish. You should be an expert kayaker and/or sailor before you consider this challenge.

SPECIAL NOTE 1:  You can earn an alligator tooth award by completing the entire Everglades Wilderness Waterway between Chokoloskee and Flamingo. There are specific rules for earning that tooth:

  • You must obey all Everglades National Park rules.
  • SPOT must be correctly used at all times.
  • You must complete the entire WW as shown on their official maps. You can exit at Broad River and return via Broad Creek. Using the Harney River from the outside is not allowed.
  • The Nightmare is an option. Some people say that taking the Nightmare is easier than negotiating Broad Creek from the entrance. The choice is yours.
  • Once you have reached Whitewater Bay you may follow the marked route or take the Joe River or any other route to cross the bay and enter Tarpon Creek and the Buttonwood Canal.
  • In some years challengers have taken the Hells Bay Canoe Trail to Tarpon Creek. Since this is marked on the official map, it is also OK.
  • You must portage your boat a short distance between the fresh water side and the salt water side at Flamingo. You cannot receive assistance from the Race Manager, CP Captain, or bystanders. Challengers participating in the event may assist other challengers (see the note below).

SPECIAL NOTE 2: In some previous years we have provided a boat cart or other assistance for the short portage at Flamingo. As of EC2011 and beyond a boat cart will not be provided and all challengers crossing from the fresh water side to the salt water side must do this short portage without outside assistance. No cart will be provided. You must carry your own if you plan to use one. If bystanders want to help they cannot. However, other WaterTribers who are in the same event can help – see the ad hoc team rule.

The Everglades Challenge follows the SW Florida coast line from Fort Desoto in Tampa Bay, Florida to Key Largo. You will enter Everglades National Park near Everglades City and you will be within their boundries until you get near Key Largo.  You must follow all park rules and regulations.

Note that the WaterTribe Marathon runs concurrently with the Everglades Challenge.  The schedule mentions both races.

Dorestad Raid NL

The Dorestad raid takes place annually from Wednesday evening to Sunday afternoon in September, each year taking a different route in the Netherlands.

Participants are to complete the entire route without the use of an engine. Playful competition elements are inevitable,  but it is not a real competition. The most important thing is that all are enjoying themselves.

Each day there is a stage which all participants should be able to complete, if necessary with some assistance. All however having due regard for the Terms and Conditions and the Safety Points.

In the morning there will be a briefing explaining the stage for the day and what you can encounter along the way.

Each day ends in afternoon at the place of destination, as agreed in the morning briefing. At the place of destination one will find the accompanying mother ship, the accommodation barge the ‘in Dubio’ of Leo and Hannah Versloot.

The price includes the evening meals, breakfasts and packed lunches, coffee and tea. Other drinks must be paid separately. All participants are, in accordance with the cores schedule, to help once during the raid setting and clearing the tables as well as doing the dishes. Please indicate your dietary requirements on the registration form.

For an additional price one can sleep on board the ‘in Dubio’. If so desired, bed linen is offered at an extra charge. Everything is to be specified on the registration form.

Please also note the Terms and Conditions and the Safety Points.

Barefoot Raid BC

The raid will feature:

  • 7 days of racing
  • 15 legs
  • 100 nautical mile course
  • A mothership providing 3 meals a day and other support
  • Sponsors supplying some great prizes for the racers!

Eligibility requires:

  • A boat no smaller than 12 feet and no larger than what can legally be transported on a highway.
  • Complete application with deposit (1/2 total entry fee) must be received no later than April 30, with full amount due by May 20th.
  • Being a member of the TSCA (there’s a B.C. Chapter!) —
  • If under 18, signed permission from your parents.
  • Carrying the safety gear required under Canadian maritime law.

Courses and classes:

As the whole fleet can only move as fast as the slowest boats, an effort has been made to keep course lengths to that which can be done by the slowest of our group. While many small boat sailors prefer to just meander about, taking in the sights, others prefer to fly at blinding speed. In an effort to appeal to as many of the small boat types as is practical, this event will have classes. Also, in an effort to balance the spectrum of small boat types, some legs will be sailing only, while others will be rowing/paddling/pedaling (human-powered) only, and most will be whatever combination you prefer.

Racing class:

This will be a hard fought, bitterly contested, no holds barred, battle for supremacy. To maintain this level of focus, racers will want light, empty boats, and minimal equipment. That is why our motherships will be here: to relieve us of that burden of gear (and feed us). The ultimate glory of this adventure will belong to those of the racing class.

Cruising class:

This will be the best time out sailing and camping with your friends. Ever. Be totally self-sufficient, or join the racers for meals on the mother ship. Fill your boat with all the favourite, non-perishable food items that you usually bring on every week-long sailing trip; or pay for meals but not for prizes. Either way, you’ll get to laugh at the antics of the racers — battling for every fraction of a knot of boat speed. Enjoy the spectacle, while basking in the glow of your own, self-reliant, non-competitive accomplishments.

The long course:

This course will be for an elite few, who find the modest course distances outlined to be an insufficient challenge, and wish to demonstrate their superior speed by sailing circles around the fleet. Literally. Upon reaching a pre-determined waypoint, long course challengers will then double back and round the race boat at the back of the fleet, before continuing on to the finish. This will promote safety, by keeping the fastest boats in touch with the slowest, and will add entertainment value for those in the back of the fleet, giving them a chance to see what fast boats look like under sail. Those who achieve victory in the long course will receive their own even-faster-than-the-regular-racers trophy.

Getting there and away:

Barefoot Raids typically start and finish at a boat ramp parking nearby for trucks and trailers. Often there are camping options in the vicinity. Some participants anchor out prior to the start day or cruise to the start line sans trailer.


All amounts are in Canadian dollars. Cost for full race participants will be $1100 (Canadian) per boat and skipper, and $600 for each additional crew.

Payment can be made by cheque, money order, eTransfer, or crypto. Contact Commodore Quill [email protected] for e-transfer. Cheques and money orders can be made to Barefoot Wooden Boats, and sent to 2925 North Rd., Gabriola Island B.C. V0R 1X7. Equivalent in gold bullion or silver accepted as well.

What you will need:

Besides your winning attitude, there are a few things you will need to bring with you on the Raid. Some, are required under Canadian Maritime law. Others are just things you should never go to sea without, and are required under Raid law.

The following is a list of things you MUST bring:

  • Life jacket for each person on your boat
  • 50’ buoyant heaving line
  • Noise making device
  • Flares
  • Compass
  • VHF radio
  • Paper Charts of all the area travelled on the Raid.
  • Anchor sufficient to hold your boat in strong winds, 20’ chain, and 200’ anchor rode. (minimum)
  • Three,  20’ lines for mooring boat.
  • GPS device (e.g. handheld GPS, Navionics on a smart phone, in a waterproof case…)
  • Spare batteries and charge cords for devices
  • Knife
  • Headlamp
  • Fire (lighter, matches…)
  • Personal cutlery kit (plate, bowl, cup, knife, spoon, fork…)
  • Sleeping gear
  • Shelter (tent, tarp…)
  • Waterproof bag with a dry change of warm clothes
  • Spare oar or paddle
  • 4 good fenders.
  • Basic first aid kit

These are some things you might want:

  • 300’ or more, of line, with pulleys sufficient to rig a clothesline mooring system
  • Sleeping pad
  • Beach chair
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip chap
  • Basic spares kit
  • Dry bags for everything
  • Blankey…

Glenglassaugh Scottish Traditional Boat Festival this June

The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will return on Saturday June 22nd and Sunday June 23rd 2024. This is the 31st anniversary of the event and a flotilla of heritage boats from across the country, will drop anchor in the historic harbour of Portsoy for a weekend of celebrations.

Upholding the north east’s maritime heritage, there will be a packed programme of entertainment including music and dance, the finest Scottish food and drink and demonstrations of age-old crafts, unique handmade items and gifts.

The festival will begin with our Big Gig on the Back Green on Friday 21st June 2024 headlined by Skipinnish.

Be sure to set sail for Portsoy’s boat festival to be part of the magical mix!

Continue reading “Glenglassaugh Scottish Traditional Boat Festival this June”

David W. Dillion Plans at Mystic Seaport’s Website

Special thanks to friend-of-the-magazine Ben Fuller for bringing it to our attention that 37 drawings by David W. Dillion of 15 different designs have recently appeared on Mystic Seaport Museum’s website. The plans are now available for purchase, too.

From the archives: Read about the Woods Hole Spritsail Boat, one of the boats Dillion documented for Mystic Seaport.

From Mystic Seaport: “David W. Dillion was an engineering draftsman before establishing a career as a freelance boat documentation specialist. He measured and drew more than seventy boats up to a hundred feet in length and taught lines-taking at the WoodenBoat School and half a dozen maritime museums across the United States. His plans have been published in WoodenBoat and other periodicals. He was the major contributor to the Museum Small Craft Association’s publication Boats, A Manual for Their Documentation.

List of Available Dillion Plans

North Haven Peapod, 13’x 3’10″. Carvel planked.

Nova Scotia Gunning Skiff, 14’9″ x 4’2”. Carvel planked, double ender.

Five Islands Skiff, 15′ x 4’5″. Round hull, transom stern, carvel planked.

Abaco Dinghy. Owned by Lance Lee, carvel planked, transom stern. No centerboard.

Bindals Boat, 15′-10″ x 4′3″. Danish built in the Norse style. Owned 1985 by James S. Rockefeller, Jr. Study plans only to show construction details.

Whitney Gunning Float duck hunting boat for oar or scull, 15’7″ x 48″. Carvel planked, transom stern.

Rangeley Boat, Herb Ellis No. 2, 17′2″ x 4′2″.

Whitehall pulling/sailing boat built by Orvil Young during 1968-69 as a recreational boat for the schooner ROSEWAY of Camden, Maine, 16′3″ x 4′5″. Based on fig. 73 of Chapelle’s American Small Sailing Craft. Carvel planked.

Rangeley Boat, Herbert N. Ellis #3; a wide transom attempts to make a more stable outboard version.

Westport Sharpie Firefly, 12’3″x 4’4″. Flat-bottomed and cross planked skiff, centerboard, two planks per side.

Lighthouse Peapod, 14’2 “x 4’8”. Carvel planked.

Matinicus Peapod, Sailing, 15’ x 4’6″. Based on John Gardner’s plans and documented as-built by the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine. Lapstrake with centerboard.

Creole Skiff Gibben Dupre, 17′9″ x 4′9″. Built by Alexander Giroir at Pierre Part, Louisiana, in 1934.

Canoe by J.R. Robertson, 15′ x 30″. Built at Auburndale, Mass. in the early 1900s. Lapstrake construction.

Rushton canoe Ugo, 16′ x 30″. Smooth-skin lapstrake.

VIDEO Small Boat Tour: ESCA, 15′ Christmas Wherry

At The WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, Connecticut, Scott Williams brought ESCA, his impeccably built Christmas Wherry to exhibit among other small boats for “I Built It Myself.” The sail-and-oar boat won Best in Show for owner-built boats in the Concours d’Elegance awards, and this video shows why.

Scott built ESCA’s hull with glued, lapped Okoume plywood on white cedar frames. She’s got a 1-1/2″-thick Okoume keel, a stem of white oak, and the transom and thwarts are of quarter sawn Sapele. The spars are solid, laminated Sitka spruce.

What does Scott appreciate about boatbuilding? Well, as a contractor and builder normally working on land structures with straight lines and 90 degree angles, boats give him the opportunity to “throw away the square” and to do the satisfying work of sculpting and shaping wood “to the perfection of the boat.”

Sail Training Camp: Downeast Foxfire with Arista Holden

Greenhorns is pleased to present our first sail training program: Starting at Liberty Hall in Machiasport, Maine and visiting islands, coves, and historic sites while immersing students in the wild coastal ecology of Downeast Maine, this 10-day course offers a birch bark crafting workshop, traditional seamanship training, and naturalist adventure. You will learn to row and sail aboard 18th-century Bantry Bay gigs. 

For details and to enroll please talk to [email protected], $450 for 10 days, scholarships available.

Greenhorns, is a 10 year-old organization that produces grassroots media and cultural programming for and about the young farmers movement, is located in Pembroke ME. We engage in publishing and cultural work for a national audience, as well as developing locally-oriented educational events including our “naturalist adventure” summer camp series that supports the entry of young people into sustainable agriculture.