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by John Bortner - Lansdowne, Pennsylvania - USA

Four years ago, I accidentally bought a 1977 O’Day 27 named Circe, but that’s another story.

I would have liked to have a hard tender on Circe, but because she needed some work I couldn’t justify the expense of buying or building one.  I had an eight-foot Sevylor inflatable with a sailing rig so I just used that as a tender.  The Sevylor was OK but this past spring I decided to heck with it, I’m going to build a tender.

A year or so before I bought Circe, my son moved to Solomons Island, Maryland, right on the Patuxent River.  My first thought was, “He needs a boat so that I can use it when I come to visit”.  I looked around on the net for ideas and fell in love with Shorty Roth’s PDR.  It was perfect.  I could build two, leave them at my son’s house and we could take the wives sailing when we visited.  I joined the Puddle Duck group on and made plans to start building.  Unfortunately, I caught a severe case of “Procrastinationitis” and before I knew it my son got transferred further up Chesapeake Bay to North Beach.  There was no place to keep the PDR’s and then Circe happened.

I wanted a hard tender and now was my chance to build a duck but there was a problem; an eight-foot by four-foot PDR wouldn’t fit on Circe’s deck.  I needed a boat that was six by three so I decided the answer was to scale down a duck.  The result is Son of Circe (SofC).  I launched him at the June “Eastern Messabout” at Elk Neck State Park, MD and got some favorable comments and even a mention on  A guy from Virginia told me SofC would be perfect for the pond in back of his house and asked if I had plans.  I had some drawings and emailed them to him when I got back home.  Not sure if he ever built it.

Son of Circe is a sort of ¾ scale duck.  By that I mean, the length has been reduced to 6 feet and the beam reduced to 3 feet, but I kept the rocker the same as a full size duck.  The sides are 15” high and he will float 353 pounds with the bow and transom just touching the water.

Being gravitationally challenged (fat), I built him with ¼” AC plywood for extra strength, even though he’d probably be strong enough and a lot lighter using 1/8”.  I used poplar from Home Depot for the internal framing because it is smooth, clean and knot free.  The chines and outer seams were covered with fiberglass tape and epoxy from Duckworks.  Both ends are watertight for flotation.  The stern box is filled with foam.  The bow box has a six inch screw in deck plate so I have a place to stow lines, water, lunch etc.  There’s an adjustable seat for rowing so I’m not sitting my bottom on a wet bottom.  The seat can be moved anywhere along the rails and is held in place by a simple wedge.

He rows pretty good considering his intended purpose is to go from ship to shore and he is narrow enough to use a double paddle instead of oars.  Someone at the Messabout, asked if I was going to fit him with a sail.  I thought about it and decided to try using the Sevylor sail rig on him.  The Sevylor rudder wouldn’t work so I built a new one.

I’m hoping to bring mother and son to the “Eastern Messabout” in June and find out if the son can sail as nice as his mom.



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