By Jim Post – Gainsville, Florida - USA

Easier Than A Kitchen Cabinet - No Doors Or Hinges

At this writing I have almost completed Michael Storer’s PDR Goose. The hull is complete, the spars are ready for finishing and the foil laminations are ready for profiling.

I expect that when the small boat builders see the result of Michael’s design for extending the hull length of the successful DUCK to address some of the limitations of an eight foot hull that many more will be built. There were so many good learning outcomes for me during the construction that I felt other potential boat builders might benefit from my experience. I wanted to tell what has happened as of this writing and not wait until the sea trials are complete. When that happens I will tell about that, too.

My narrative is based on the digital photos taken during the construction. First I want to discuss those items that made the construction easier and more satisfying. The construction of an adequate building base, especially a square and modular hull such as the Goose is most important. See photo 1 for a picture of the all important base I used for a building platform.


I assembled this base one Saturday morning with a material’s cost of about $50. The materials are reusable, since no cutting (other than some 2x4s) is required. Don’t go too thin on the plywood. I used 5/8 exterior, (planning on building some plant shelves for “she who must be obeyed”—hence the exterior grade. Using the other highly recommended item shown in the photo – six foot builder’s aluminum level – the base can be leveled and trued up nicely and used for many future references. By the way, an added value building a 4x 16 provides an extra work surface. That 4x4 rugged work area will be greatly appreciated during the build, especially if you are short on work benches. Examples of clamping and positioning on this table are shown in other pictures. Thus the special items for the build are only two – the base and the builder’s level.

The Duck plans and the Goose supplement are very complete. My only caution is to be careful switching back and forth between the documents as you may end up with a ten foot boat if not paying attention. One very important point faced early on. Michael shows two versions of shear lines and recommends the straight shear. I am glad I followed his advice which shows on the plans. The layout is so much easier and looks really good. My suggestion to Michael is in later versions of the plan so use the shear for the base line and use a manufactured edge of ply for reference. Station perpendiculars would then be erected on the base line.


Regarding materials, the builder was most interested in constructing a hull that would be durable and easy to finish. Achieving a minimum weight was not a driving parameter. The final choice was Meranti 4mm and 6mm thicknesses. The finishing of this material was facilitated by the good surfaces and lack of voids, ample return for the higher cost. On hand was a good supply of seasoned soft maple and I ripped that to ¾” square for the edge joining. This is all in accord with the drawings. I found that the chine edging did not have to be laminated as suggested in the text. The curve is gentle enough to allow bending of the edging. The sides ready for assembly appear in photo two. The size of the hull and lines are emerging.



Photos three and four show the completed bulkheads ready for assembly. My only variance from the specifications was to construct the forward transom using 6mm Meranti. I also decked the forward section of the decking with 6mm. The weight penalty was small and I have a tendency to overbuild which I acknowledge here.

Limber hole construction as shown on the drawings seems labor intensive to me. My technique (originality not claimed) is shown in photo five. Clamp a piece of waste the same thickness as the edging to the frame edge. Locate desired position and drill with a one inch spade bit.




The good part starts with photo six and seven. You can see the value of a rugged and level building surface in these two photos. Ample clamping is available; I think that is almost as useful as a building partner. As this is my first boat, I spent lots of head time trying to arrive at the best method for doing things. These findings are included in this narrative to assist and encourage other first time builders to tackle the Goose. The plans are so very complete you can be assured of a good outcome. Photo seven shows frames in place and clamped. Spend some extra time at this step with the two foot building square to assure proper location and alignment. As parts are added, from this step forward corrections become harder to make. Photo seven shows the 4x4 building space discussed earlier, (place for a coffee cup.)


Time for celebration. Photo 8 shows bottom installed and gluing, using screw pads per Michael. As an aside, do not think of the scow hull type as a compromise on performance. When you place your eye forward of the hull and look at the run going aft, you will see a very efficient water to boat interface. I expect this hull to be easily driven and quick to plane. Photo 9 illustrates forward transom in place.





Photos ten, eleven, and twelve show interior construction details, especially dagger board case and bracing. The alignment string shown in photo eleven is not offset, my camera is. Check that string frequently and keep in place as long as possible. Always be sure that a tool or board is not leaning on the string. Sounds obvious and is, still happens. Frequent use of winding sticks help assure good hull alignment. I often used my six foot level for one stick, placed upon the top of the forward transom. You will be pleased and amazed at how well your eye will detect twist in your hull and it is easily corrected at this stage of construction.



Photos thirteen and fourteen show installation of mast step and mast partner. Both of these items were fabricated on that handy 4x4 area (have I mentioned that before?) I made liberal use of registration pins, actually 4 penny finish nails, predrilled, to hold parts in alignment prior to gluing. They are easily removed when glue is cured. These can be seen in photo 14.


Decking completed, shapes really coming together. Shown in photo fifteen. At this point curiosity got the best of me and I weighed the hull. Using a bathroom scale under each transom I found the total to be 120 lbs.



Photos seventeen and eighteen illustrate a hull position that you will greatly appreciate many times during construction, boat on side. This is one place where flat sided hulls and a good work surface (did I mention that?) are really helpful. Central seat and dagger board case and bottom slot are all performed in this position. The central seat does not show on plans so this is ad hoc following e mails with Michael. An observation about the seat. I was especially pleased at the room in the 12 footer, particularly the forward cockpit. I am certain that you crazy guys that do the Texas thing will like that forward space! I can see all sorts of treatments for storage there.

The remainder of the photos detail painting and fittings. The splash combing was fabricated from a beautiful piece of walnut I had for many years. I patterned it after the Lightening hull my father built for me when I was in high school. Those of you with fathers long gone will appreciate my thoughts as I was building the Goose. I believe he, as a great boat builder, would be proud of the results.

Every boat builder needs a dog. Here is mine. Coco is a standard male chocolate poodle, shown in one of his favorite positions after a hard day of chewing his beef bone and watching me.

As this is my first boat build, I was concerned about the amount of weight I should be handling in hull turning, loading, and sailing. At 81 and two total knee replacements I have to be careful. That is where planning helps. Probably the 12 foot range, such as the Goose, is about the upper limit for me. This is not to discourage you first time builders in any way, because I am able to do it. Let’s see how the sailing part goes.



Photo 21 shows my treatment for the masthead and halyard return. I have some nice lignum vitae blocks for many years and decided to use some of it for dumb sheaves (actually I thought it was rather smart to do it that way). As you know lignum vitae is a curious wood, very dense and containing a high content of lubricating wax. There was very little friction when I installed the halyard. I was not too sure how it glues with epoxy so I installed three 5/16 oak dowels through the block and into the mast. Be sure to sand the dowels down to obtain a slip fit throughout to avoid splitting and binding. There is no advantage to a drive fit here as you also need clearance for the epoxy.

While I was cutting the blanks for the dumb sheaves I cut two extra to rough shape, needing only holes and fairing as shown in the photo. These I will be sending to Chuck at Duckworks. The first two builders that send him photos of their completed Goose will receive one for their boat. I did it that way to avoid these parts sitting on someone’s desk with no boat. If the response is good, perhaps I can find some more in my wood treasury.






Photos 22 through 26 show rigging taking place. I hope to have sea trials soon and plan to supply more photos and perhaps video of the tests. My account is to encourage more builders to build the Goose. My experience is that the bits and pieces as Michael calls them took almost as much time as the build. So you Duck guys are half way there.


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