Mark Wallace's Black Skiff

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Boatyard

As noted in the recent post, A Substitute for Building Boats?, I use model building to help assuage the ‘need to build boats’.  Following are some of the results.


Bolger's Elegant Punt and Tortoise
The Elegant Punt is found in Bolger's Folding Schooner and Other Adventures in Boat Design. She is 7' 9" (2.36m) long. He includes in the plans a sprit rig with detachable leeboard. The model is scaled 1:12.

Tortoise is included in his book, Different Boats. The after deck enabled him to push the dinghy across ice and if it broke through, it would support his weight without his whole body going into the water. She is 6' 5" (1.96m) long and is scaled here at 1:12.


Bolger's Amesbury Skiff
Featured in Small Boats, this beautiful little (9' 6", 2.9m) skiff is a delight. Scaled here at 1:12, it is one of my favorite models. If I had a cruising sail/motor boat, I'd build this dinghy, calling it "Roo", and call the mother ship "Kanga".


Gavin Atkin's Oarmouse

Oarmouse is 14' (4.27m) long. She is a fast rower due to her "V" bottom, high waterline length to width ratio and light weight. The model is scaled 1:8.


Gaven Atkin's Oarmouse Converted to an Oar Cruiser
By adding decks, floorboards and hoops to hold a tent, the Oarmouse can be converted into an effective Oar Cruiser (for calm waters) that will be described in the June 12, 2016 post.


Two Concept Model Oar Cruisers Designed with Hulls Software

These two models are some of my early thoughts on Oar Cruisers. The upper one is a variation of Gavin Atkin's Oarmouse. The other is 12' (3.7m) long and "V" bottomed. I used "Hulls" to create the designs. Both models are scaled 1:16 (3/4" to the foot).


Another Concept Model Oar Cruiser with Downwind Sail

This concept model, also 12' long and scaled 1:16, includes a proposed downwind sail. The two 'booms' pivot on a single pin at the mast. By bringing the booms together and moving the mast to a second mast-step just aft of the aft coaming, the sail would be an 'anchor' sail to prevent the wild yawing that occurs with small boats anchored with one anchor in windy conditions.


Bolger's "Minimum Kayak"

Phil Bolger, in The Folding Schooner..., presented this 11' 5" (3.48m) long, flat bottomed kayak. He states the design " meant to be used in warm water, or if the water's somewhat cold, at least where it's smooth, shallow, and close to shore". He includes a picture of Harold Payson paddling this kayak, with the caption: "How does a commercial fisherman try a kayak? Nervously". 


Bolger's Thomaston Galley

In his book, Small Boats, Bolger presented his design for what he felt was the finest and most successful combination rowing, sailing and outboard powered boat there was. She is 15' 6" (4.7m) long, "V" bottom, with strong enough quarters to support sailing. The topsides are higher aft which enable a small outboard and two people to be supported at the transom without swamping. The design includes a high peaked sprit sail, loose footed. All spars stow in the boat to enable rowing. He stated he can row her at 3.5 mph for hours and sprint to 5.5 mph. The hull only model pictured is scaled 1:8.


Michalak's Larsboat Conversion to an Oar Cruiser

Jim Michalak based his Larsboat design on his Toto design by adding 2' 5" to the 13' Toto for a new boat that is the same width (30" 762mm) as Toto, but 15' 6" (4.7m) long. The conversion of Larsboat to an Oar Cruiser is described here. She can be rowed, paddled or sailed (downwind).


Michalak's Tween with Custom Decks and Chine Runners

I wanted to build a sailboat that could fit in my two-car garage, along with Ross Lillistone's Flint, my wife's car and my workshop. Given the overhead door and other considerations, the boat had to be less than 8' (2.44m). I first considered Storer's OzRacer (see below) and then Michalak's Tween. Based on the plans, I built this model scaled 1:8, adding fore and aft decks and 6" (152mm) wide chine runners. I used a Storer style holstered rudder and air tanks at each quarter under the decks.

I built the boat, but chickened out using the chine runners (I wish I hadn't... I now think they would have worked... at least it would have been worth a try). I used a single leeboard as Jim designed, added side decks that flare outside of the gunnels (similar to what John Welsford did with his Kiwi Duck). These side decks work very well and I'd do it again. I use a push-pull tiller rod attached to a yoke on the rudder head. I will change this back to a standard tiller... I just can't get 'automatic' with the steering as I am with a standard tiller. The 'holstered' rudder works well, including adding a 'plate' on the bottom of the rudder blade as well as a corresponding 'plate' on the bottom of the holster. I don't know if the latter helps in steering... it seemed like a good idea at the time and causes no problems. Rather than use the lateen rig that Jim suggests (I made the spars according to Jim's dimensions, wrapped in braided biaxial fiberglass sleeving from Duckworks, but they were much too heavy in my opinion), I used a standing lug rig, which works well.

The Full-sized Tween, as Described Above


Mik Storer's Oz Racer

This a a model of Mik's Oz Racer. Rather than use side tanks as he specifies, I used end tanks and I used a leeboard rather than a center board. Other than these two changes, the model (scaled 1:8) copies the plans.


Michalak's Vireo Converted to an Oar Cruiser

Jim Michalak's 12' (3.66m) Vireo is a "V" bottom (no immersed chines with one person) row boat that is very easy to row and very stable. The conversion to an oar cruiser is detailed here. The concept model pictured here is scaled 1:8.


Michael Storer's Quick Canoe Converted to an Oar Cruiser

The conversion of Mik's Quick Canoe to an Oar Cruiser is described here. She is 15' 6" (4.7m) long and 33" (830mm) wide at the gunnel. She would be very fast (and tender) oar cruiser. The model is scaled 1:8.


Bolger's Japanese Beach Cruiser

Ever since I first saw this beach cruiser in Bolger's Boats with an Open Mind, I wanted to build it. For various reasons, I didn't. But I did make the model. The design is in metric, but I converted it to Imperial and built it 1:12 scale. Other than the hatches and seats, the model is according to plans. The Dutch style leeboards really are this big!

That is my model boatyard. I hope you've enjoyed the walk-thru...

In the next Sunday post, we'll present two SOF boats that could make good oar cruisers.


  1. these are shoal water leeboards. sea leeboards would be smaller and longer. Greetings Hilbert.

  2. Hi Hilbert... that makes sense since Bolger designed the "Japanese Beach Cruiser" for 'near-shore' waters in the Sea of Japan.

  3. You might look up Gavin Atkins Cinderella canoe, he has pictures of one in Poland? I believe that was modified for rowing, by adding out riggers.

    1. Thanks for pointing out Gavin's Cinderella plans... available for free in Duckworks... She would make a very nice light paddling canoe.

      Note that I'm getting two copies of all of your comments (that's why the 'deletion' below)... Tom

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I have build some cardboard models. It seems like the open deck boats like the tortoise and the elegant punt are significantly weaker in torsion that something with sealed end boxes, like the Tween. Do you find that to be true also? Thank you!

  6. Yes, fore and aft decks significantly decrease twisting of the hull!