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By Paul Brown - Sydney - Australia


About four years ago I purchased a set of plans for John Welsford's lug sailed Houdini and that was where it ended. For a while it all seemed too hard and I doubted I would finish. So I put Houdini on the back burner and ordered some plans for Jim Michalak's Toto canoe. They went together really easily and were completed in about eight weeks just in time for Christmas holidays. They were built out of construction grade ply, epoxy coated and painted with enamel house paint which is still holding up.

Next came a Jem Watercraft Sabalo SOT kayak this was built out of marine ply epoxied and varnished.

I built in all the bells and whistles: sounder, rod holders, tackle boxes, wet well etc. This was a full on fishing machine and worked extremely well for the purpose. The other half valiantly accompanied me on some fishing trips in her Toto "Happy" (these craft paddle well and once we covered 10km in 2 hours), but I was concerned that as we sometimes went offshore and if her Toto was swamped recovery and re-boarding would be difficult or impossible.

Time to build again and this time it was a Jem Wadefish SOT planing kayak Wadefish. Faster than my Sabalo which helped compensate for SWMBO's lack of strength.

While all this was happening I still kept thinking about my Houdini plans and from time to time I would ask a question on Johns builders forum. Then I bought plans for a Flint Rowboat because I liked the look of it. I've yet to build this craft but may one day.

While asking some Houdini questions on the forum, John came back with "just get on with it Paul" and maybe it was time. I got out the plans and the how too's and made the centre board, rudder, rudder stock and centerboard case. I was away.

Next, I built the building jig, bought plywood and built a Houdini complete with birdsmouth spars and an Ebay 2hp Suzuki outboard. It was that easy everyone should build a boat at least once in there lives.

Late afternoon on launch day
Ain't she sweet
First real sail

Did I mention I also built a Glen L Tubby tug while all this was going on.

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