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This time we have the following boats:

Send a picture or three and a short description of your boat and its launch to for inclusion here next month.

Micro Mouse

Seagull a micromouse hull # M228-mm

This is a rather belated Splash.

I started construction in '08 and finished her enough to launch once in '09, her first real use was our three day camping trip on Folensby clear pond, Santa Anna, NY. My daughter loves her boat, I am almost finished with a square mouse for my son, and a flats rat for my self.

Seagull is a PLpremium and luan boat, the square mouse will be tape and glue, the flats rat is PL premium and sureply.

Josh Withe

Another Pathfinder Hits the Water

A sunny Friday afternoon in Gowlland Harbour on Quadra Island B.C. Canada saw the launch of another one of John Welsford’s Pathfinders. Started some 9 months earlier in the cold month of January 2010, with 2 or 3 hours tossed in a day amongst regular working time, PINTAIL rolled down the launch ramp and into the water amid the chaos and celebration of onlookers.

However, to have a successful launch, one must first build the ramp. No problem, grab those 6 x 8 beams laying over there in the corner, scrounge some planks from the old wharf down the bay, a bag of screws and some non skid and your done (plus a couple of big boulders at the bottom to keep it from all floating away…)

Then it was a matter of the ‘twist and turn’ to get car and trailer down to the ramp amidst all the helpful folks who just can’t resist waving their arms, pointing this way and that to ensure you are heading in the right direction. This usually led to stopping the whole parade, getting out and silencing everyone to have a good look for yourself.

Once down the ramp, she slid gracefully into the water and immediately came to life as a small gust of wind caught her broadside pushing her towards the shoreline rocks. Not just yet, I thought, I’m sure I’ll have ample opportunity to kiss the bottom when we’re gunk holing along some remote shoreline. A short line to the waiting zodiac prevented any initial embarrassment and she was towed over to the docks amongst healthy cheers and raised glasses. The one elderly lady who keep insisting on “ where’s the champagne?!” was later no where to be seen at the celebratory dinner but assured was ‘resting’ in one of the cabins close by.

Baden Cross

Racing Canoe

We took the 4 man out today on town lake.  Wow, that’s all I can say.  It turns on a dime, very fast, very stable.  We hit the mark on this one my friend.  Just keeping the paddles wet we were going 5mph.  Very light cruising was 6.5mph.  You can see in the video how stable the boat is.  We picked up the rudder, and were still able to turn on a dime.  It’s going to be a fun racing season. 

I ended up using a couple additional layers of cloth.  It feels very solid.  On the outside I used hybrid Kevlar/carbon, 6 oz s-glass, and 2 layers of carbon.  Inside I used Kevlar, and a full layer of carbon.  Fully rigged with rudder and sliding seats we are 120 lbs. 

Rob Leef

Kind words, one quick note, I suspect the turning on a dime without the rudder down entails some carefully choreographed and executed work by all four paddlers.

Rob had contacted me last summer with the desire to build and campaign a new four man racing canoe in the Texas Water Safari (often billed as the “World’s toughest canoe race” and it may well be). 264 miles more or less from the spring fed headwaters of the San Marcus to sleepy Seadrift on San Antonio Bay. Along the way the first 30 miles on the San Marcos River is narrow and swift with many portages a few class 2 rapids which then opens up into the Guadalupe River which has its own share of sweepers and strainers and as the river widens and slows a few log jams that can be miles long conveniently located closer to the coast so that racers can negotiate them after starting to feel the effects of over 24 hours of intense paddling. Throw in a little Central Texas heat and humidity after the second week of June along with critters. Water moccasins, alligators, stinging insects of every variety and usually mayflies at night so thick you must use some sort of breathing protection (unless you are starved for protein). To finish it off there’s last eight miles or so of open bay which can be challenging if the wind is up. And they get to do the whole thing without any outside help other than water and ice from a designated Team Captain, no outside supplies period.

Not an event for the faint of heart or constitution. The Safari started back in the 1960’s and I’ve helped design some boats for the event since the late 1980’s. Now a boat has never won this race, or any other human powered race for that matter, paddlers win races. It is prudent to design and build as good a tool as possible for the racers but I’ve known teams that would have been competitive in a number three washtub if you gave them a sledgehammer and fifteen minutes.

Back to Rob’s boat, a four man boat is not going to be quite on par with a six man boat (the current maximum ‘unlimited’) but some of the cubic inch advantage is offset by the better maneuverability of the smaller boat and the dynamics of a four man team are simpler than a six man. Besides Rob wanted to do a four man boat so a four man it is. Size of the team pretty well sets the displacement, paddlers, gear and boat. Displacement sets the overall length, a workable midsection has pretty well evolved, any narrower and any extra speed is more than offset by the time lost swimming. So we end up with a thirty-six foot long canoe about 30” maximum beam for Rob to build.

Rob’s boat is built just like a wood stripper; upside down over forms spaced at 9” in this case stripped with 3/8” a800 corecell rather than wood. Strips are glued with gorilla type glue which is ideal for this one particular use. Laminate schedule is in Rob’s email above. Rob sent a video earlier of the form set up for stripping.

Rob’s right, it does look like it’s going to be a fun season. I suspect it’s going to be hard to peel off the second day of the Safari to head south, but the Texas 200 beckons.


Sent by Milton “Skip” Johnson, Houston, Texas - USA

Tug Boat

After our houseboat build my daughter asked me to build her a tug boat. We fell in love with Mike Gills design. It took us a year and our modifications she was done. We can not wait to get her wet.

Justine with our Tug



This is about a one sheet skiff with a heavy transom or did I just describe an old girlfriend.

I built 'LIL RED' with a 3/4 inch plywood transom so I could store her upright in a shed. I also added some heavy splines to her stern so that I could attach a 10" wheel for rolling down the kayak trail.

The sides and bottom were of 1/4 inch exterior plywood. I did not like the plywood as some voids swelled when coated with epoxy.

I did tape and glue attaching the bottom, I used a mid frame mold to bend around with a 28" beam, I made the bow 14" and the stern 12" with the sides at 10" to match the curve of the bottom.

The gunnels were formed in three pieces to fit the curve. I made a outer stem out of a oak dowel stick cut in half, it looks good. My floor is 1 x 2 furring strips to take a stadium seat for comfort. 'LIL RED' comes in at 94" over all with a width of 29 1/2".

She weighs a heavy 57 lbs. with epoxy in and out and that heavy rear. I know that is no way to talk about a lady, but she floats level and looks just fine. My first mate loves her and promises not to mutiny if she can have 'LIL RED' to herself.


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