Links for Builders and Dreamers

Boat Plans and Supplies:

Duckworks is an online magazine for boat builders. It’s a great place for inspiration and practical information. They also sell some useful boat building supplies.

Want to know more about the Pocket Cruiser and other Stevenson boats? Pictures, answers to FAQ’s, and plans are available here:

“Dynamite” Payson, author of several books about “instant boat building,” maintains a Web site where you can order books and plans and join an active forum.

Jim Michalak is a prolific designer of simple plywood boats that remind me of the late Phil Bolger’s most popular designs. I don’t know much about Michalak, but when I want to daydream about my next boat, this is where I often go. He also write an online newsletter and has a new book, Boatbuilding for Beginners (and Beyond). Here’s the link to his Web site:

I had lots of questions about epoxy when I first started using it to build my mast box and bilge board boxes. A great deal of the information online is confusing and vague. In contrast, West System, an epoxy manufacturer, provides clear and concise instructions for dispensing, mixing and using epoxy. I use a cheaper brand called Marine Epoxy, but I’m grateful to West System for their help.

Sailing the Chesapeake Bay

My ultimate goal is to complete a short “cruise” of the upper Chesapeake Bay. Although this adventure is still far in the future, I am already thinking about possible destinations. There is no shortage of information about the Chesapeake, but I found that provides some helpful resources, including charts and useful links.

The Sailing Life:

If you are confused (as I often am) by the arcane language of sailing and the technical vocabulary of boat building, this site is a lifesaver. Glen-L, bless their hearts, developed a detailed online glossary of boat building and boating terms. From “amine blush” to “yaw” this site answers your questions and helps you talk like a sailor. I found it when I was trying to find out what a “fillet” is, but was too embarrassed to ask.

I have an insatiable appetite for books about sailing. It’s an expensive addiction, so I first look for my desired book in the library and, when that fails, I head for the Gutenberg Project, which is maintained by volunteers and provides free access to approximately 28,000 ebooks. I found two classics, Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World and Richard Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast, from this wonderful service. There might be others nautical books. All books are copyright free and downloadable.

Blogs and Other Sources of Ideas and Inspiration

70.8% (the percentage of the earth’s surface covered in water) is an eclectic blog about all things boating, although it focuses on small boats, wooden boats and boat building. Stories and photos are gathered from around the world. It celebrates old world traditions and the work of skilled craftsmen. You will always find pictures of pretty boats.

I’m following the progress of a young women who is living aboard a 27-foot wooden sailboat. Her forays down the Intracoastal Waterway and ruminations on “sailing, simplicity, and the pursuit of happiness” originally paralleled my own plans and preoccupations. More recently, her focus has shifted to writing and development of a video.

Shanty boats don’t make my heart beat faster, but I like the idea of building something that can float out of whatever is handy. This is a funny and well written account of one man’s effort to entice his wife onto the water by building a tiny floating-home-for-two .

The Ziegler family in Baines, Alaska maintains a homesteading/homeschooling/boat building blog that is a treasure trove of inspiration for those of us who want to live simply and frugally. They built several boats, all based on or inspired by the distinctive “square boats” designed by Phil Bolger, including Selkie, a Martha Jane sharpie built in 2001. Every time I look at their sailing pictures, I am convinced that my next boat will be a Bolger boat.

What else should I include? Let me know about your favorite Web sites, blogs, books and builders.


2 Responses to Links for Builders and Dreamers

  1. Tom Raidna says:


    I maintain a website for home boat builders that others may be interested in.

    I have just finished my 4th boat, a Jim Michalak Trilars, I’ve also built a Toto, a Stevenson projects Skipjack, and my first was an 8′ Lark kayak. I’ve got lots of pictures, links to other proje
    cts etc. My Trilars is the feature picture on Jim’s website this issue. Please feel free to contact me for any questions or just to chat boats, I’ll even pass my phone number in email if you’d like.

    Tom Raidna

  2. Chris Lyon says:

    I am similarly afflicted and building in Narberth, PA. I do not refer to what I am doing as boat building, but rather as a wood working project. It limits the ferverish thoughts when the weather is nice and I would rather be on the water. It is getting to the point where epoxy takes 2-3 days to suitably set, and progress has slowed. It is time to build a rudder and some other bits and pieces.

    I am somewhat less far along than you, and building an eccentric power boat. I have an Atkins Sgt. Faunce mostly framed. The planking is planed and neatly stacked. Most of the hardware is in hand.

    I also have had some second thoughts about plans. I think I need a sailboat -Goat Island Skiff is attractive, or perhaps a Harryproa. Thank goodness my son plays cello instead of boat building. My wife would not survive it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: