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Jim Michalak in WoodenBoat Magazine

Check your newsstands, folks!

The good people at Woodenboat Magazine have included the article I wrote on Jim's AF4 design in their annual "Small Boats" offering. It's good to see Jim's work getting some attention in glossy print, and it's been an honor to help make it happen.

Rob Rohde-Szudy

Article Suggestion

Hey Chuck, howsabout doing an article (or do you know someone who could do an article) on mixing and spreading techniques for epoxy. From uses as coating/sealing to gluing and filleting all the way to barrier coating as with fiberglass and with graphite powders and such. Things to be included would be mixing ratios, how to figure, and determining quantities for certain jobs, how much to mix at a time and stuff like that. Don't forget the safety factor either, we all want to be safe while building our boats!

It would need to be done by one who has more than one build under his belt (maybe several) so we can get tips from experience not just regurgitated instructions if you know what I mean.

I for one would think the duckworks community would find great benefit from one such as this, eh?

Thanks and keep up the most fantastic and most visited website on my computer!!!

Geoff Adams

Thanks for the suggestion, Geoff, perhaps this next letter will be helpful - Chuck

Letter to Warren Messer

Dear Mr. Messer,

I want to thank you for the information you have posted regarding the subject of fiberglassing. It is a wonderful tutorial for people like me who are not engineers, whose eye hand coordination is limited to eating with utensils and are clueless as to how some thing work.

I have built an electric vehicle roughly the size of a motorcycle trike.

For the longest time I've been stumped on how to proceed to the next stage and give it a sleek fiberglass body and not something boxy which shouts garage built. No offence intended to garage builders everywhere. I've found a front shape and a rear shape of two vehicles I like and enough information about moldless composit construction using wooden templates and foam insulation to give me the confidence to tackle making a mold/body. Your series on fiber is one of the essential pieces of information I've look for and not been able to find. Once again thank you for posting it.  I'll forward along a picture once I've completed my project.

Mitchell Jones

Letters for Jackie

I have been reading Duckworks articles every morning for quite a while now, and I must say that the quality of writing is superb. Jackie Monies' "Notes From The Boat Palace" is especially enjoyable. She has great insight (especially for a "land bound person") :-) into the things that motivate us to do what we do in our workshops and on the water. Thanks Jackie!

Chuck Pierce

Hey, Jackie,

I've been enjoying your Duckworks column--keep up the good work.

Good luck with the Laguna build! And yes, I'm planning to be back at the Texas 200 next year--looks like I'll be in Jagular again unless I can con my brother into building a boat big enough for both of us. Later,

Tom Pamperin


Just read your latest article on the Duckworks website about boat building. Thoroughly enjoyed it.Keep up the good work!

My best to Mike.
Kevin Nicolin


Great job on the article. I learned more about the boats from your writing than I did while there. And yes you made us all look "cool."

Same time next year?

Paul Helbert

Hello Jackie & Michael,

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your article on DW today. You were right, a shot of my "Temple" would have fit right in.

As for the Palace-I am insanely jealous!

Keep up the good work! Both of you...

Bill Moffitt

Hi Jackie,

You have set a very high bar in your account of the worlds. It presents a wonderful stencil to guide future articles.

Thanks from Israel



That is very enjoyable and thorough coverage of the event we all wanted to attend. Love the historical bits you included for us newbies - especially the Flaca Vero piece.

Thanks soooo much - a job v.well done. Just (well almost) like being there.

Question for you and others... can anyone identify the plum/purple colored boat with the athwartships rounded bottom shown in Jackie's last picture? (Labeled "Mike Monies and Tim Cleary consider the next race")

Cheers, and thanks again Jackie,


PDRacer Worlds


As a former PDRacer owner, I enjoy keeping track of the happenings and events in the PDRacer world. The article on the 2009 PDRacer world championship was great. Imagine my surprise when I find myself mentioned abut half way through the article and see my old PDRacer "Headless Duck" (#23). I was even more surprised to see Mik Storer sitting in it, and having taken 3rd place. I was nice to see my old boat still floating and keeping people happy.

One correction please. I live in, and built the boat, in Livermore California (SF East Bay), not Sacramento.

After this article and seeing my John Welsford Navigator build-blog mentioned in Web Watch, I'm really connected into the Internet boating scene! I can't wait until Monday to read more great DW articles, but in the meantime, the weather is nice, and there is some epoxy waiting to be spread.

Michael Allison
Livermore, California

John Cupp

I read a couple of pieces by John Cupp in old issues of your magazine, is he still writing? I enjoyed his tool reviews. Do you have contact info for him?

Regards Rick West

Rick: We have not heard from John for a couple of years - Chuck
John: if you are reading this, drop me a line - Chuck

A Humble Suggestion

Hi Chuck

Thank you for a wonderful website. I spend more time here than I would care to admit. I'm sure you get tons of suggestions as to what we would like to see on your web magazine, and yes. This is yet another.

I frequent a completely unrelated website that has a feature I enjoy immensely and would love to see on yours.

The proprietor of this site collects (what he deems to be the best) photo's patrons have submitted and places them on a slideshow. The slideshow loops continuously on the intro page. I had one of my pictures selected and is a tremendous sense of pride for me as I'm sure it is for others that had theirs selected.

I'm sure this so much easier said than done. But my understanding is that for the advrider website this is a big hit.

Just another humble suggestion.

Keep up the good work.
Thank you


Michael Storer's talk online

I have the first part of my full length talk up.   It covers boat building and design.  It is about an hour long and more comprehensive than the one I gave at Conroe.  It is also the first of three.   

It is on this page

Michael Storer

Louisiana Log Pirogue Video in Webwatch

Enjoyed seeing this, which of course brings up my mantra/soap box about lost skills once taken for granted.  Asked Mike if he had ever seen one or knew anyone in South Louisiana that could still make one.  His answer:

"Just that one at your mothers." 

That's right, my mom had a half-decayed one from one of our plantation tenant houses torn down! 

"What became of it, Mike?" 

"She burned it, as far as I know."

Sad commentary.  Should have been in a museum.

Love, Jackie Monies

Thanks from France

Bonjour Chuck,

Thanks for publishing our article.

We will stay in touch with you as we are building a new prototype. It is a 5 meter cat in plywood and fiberglas. We will cross the Atlantic with in the two way.

Have a good day.

the twins.

Thanks from Fred

Thank you Chuck. Once again you have made sense out of my ramblings.

You have polished and sent forth four of my missives now. Sweet Itch, Ruby, Real Treasure, and now Kool Kat.

Thanks again, you make my day every morning when I look to Duckworks for my daily fix on boat news.

Fred Night

Your articles are great, Fred - we enjoy reading them as much as you enjoy seeing them "polished". Keep up the good work! - Chuck

You Guys Rock!

Just realized I had lost a drain plug on a kayak I have for sale. Got on the Duckworks site and there it was for $1.44. A few clicks and it's on the way. You guys ROCK! May you live long, always have fair winds, and prosper.

Rick Steingress

Thanks, Rick - Tell your friends - Chuck

Rob's Wisdom and Madness
I just spent about 25 minutes reading Rob's treatise on plotting and running search grids to locate a lost GPS that he could have simply replaced. I was enthralled with the detail, the planning and dedication to a cause so unimportant that one engaged in such a venture would be considered off the beam and pitied by non-messers. We know better. The greatest thing about it was that in this fellowship of compulsives, it didn't take any time to find someone (of no small noteriety) who would join right in, and even assume part ownership of such a joyous grand folly.
Rob's great writing draws you deep into the chase, into the green murky water, up and down the grid and you find yourself cheering on the hero as he refines his technique and making one more go at it. In Clive Cussler (Sea Hunters) style, he had me right there in the bow, looking for some glimmer in the shallow water. I looked forward to the moment when the rake would strike plastic and the elusive prize raised to the surface.
On finishing the story, I was reminded of a scene in the movie "Tucker. the Man and his Dream" where Preston Tucker, the creator of the Tucker Torpedo, a car way ahead of its time, is meeting secretly with Howard Hughes in the hanger beneath the "Spruce Goose", a huge flying boat built of plywood. Tucker asks him "Will it fly?" Hughes says quietly, "That's not the point."
At first, I made the mistake of wondering what is the point to this story? I sat back and thought for a minute, then felt a growing sense of vindication and satisfaction in my own Don Quixote quests. I walk about a mile every day or so because I know where there is a pecan tree (rare around here) loaded with pecans and I am probably the only one who knows about it. They are still bitter, but in a couple of weeks, they'll be ready and I intend to get to them before the squirrels. Buying a pound online from Priesters for eight dollars hasn't even crossed my mind.
I've filled books with countless sketches of hulls, and spent dust-covered nights, weekends, months, years building boats in an unheated barn. I've purchased plans for boats I know I'll never have time to build, and it seems I only get a chance to sail 3 or 4 times a year. But I can comfortably say, like crazy Howard, "that's not the point"; If you ain't having fun fishing, it doesn't matter how many you catch or how big your boat is. Find the fun part; go after those windmills with zest and zeal.
I've been waiting for them to drop Percy Priest Lake so I can go look for a pair of prescription sunglasses, but now I've done gone and got inspired. Think I'll go over to Harbor Freight first and get me one of those big magnets...and a map.
Thanks Rob for the adventure - may your tribe increase, and Chuck for the work you do, and giving us all a place to hang out.

Stacy D. Smith

Trailer problems

I made a trailer and it all came from the rubbish tip (dump) and the cost of the trailer was $120 including new tyres. Now I takes the trailer to get the rego (registration) on it an they charges me more for the paper work costs me to build the flipping trailer. Not only that, they have you running around longer than it takes to build it as well. These places are worse than going to the dentist and getting your wisdom teeth out, without anesthetic and cost twice as much. At least the dentist is honest and you know it's gonna hurt. They also tell me I can't put my boat in the water cause they dont like it cause it aint standard, and that is the point of building the thing.. Just wait 'til they see the submarine I have planed - I think they will walk on water...he he:)  cheers Stewart

Readers - Steward lives in Australia and speaks Australian so I translated a couple of his terms. Be sure to read Stewart's excellent BLOG - chuck

Shut up and Built a Boat!

Hello Chuck,

My wife surprised me last Christmas with a set of GIS plans purchased from you.  I guess that meant shut up and build me a boat!  I'm a newbie boat builder and am having a good time building.  All the great and free info I have gotten from your website as well as countless others has made the build much easier.  For example: currently I'm building a birdsmouth mast and Birdsmouth In Practice by John O'Neil is a great help.  I created a blog to document my building and sailing adventures and hopefully add to the collective small wooden boat building web community.  The blog is

Simon Lewandowski
St Pete, FL

Boat Covering

Hi Chuck,

Rob Rhode-Szudy's article on boat covering sounded familiar. I bought a few" white polytarp "garages" and built a compound out back. Snow load isn't a problem in the south., but we certainly have UV breakdown. THe trick I learned is to paint the polytarp with latex housepaint. Cheap is fine. If you don't care about what the color is you can usually buy mistake or returned paint at the big box stores or paint stores for around $10 a can. Most have UV filters mixed in. My polytarp sheds have been up for over 10 years. If one develops a leak you can mark it with a sharpie and when it's dry you can glue a polytarp patch to the inside of it with contact cement, then paint the out side of the patch. Or maybe that means it's time to paint the whole thing again. I put two together in a row and have a 40 ft long shed with zippered openings on both ends. In the summer I put a warehouse fan at one end and turn it into a wind tunnel. It makes for a good place to work on my 28' mast.

I read Duckworks daily. It's a great site! Thanks for all your efforts.

Billy Carter
Nashville, Tn

Rob replies: Very cool! I didn't know paint would stick to polytarp that long!



One of my favorite questions from the Small Craft Festival was "Is this the boat I read about on Duckworks?" Your site is very well known and I'm proud to have been published on it.

We had a great trip on the bay followed by a great visit to the festival. Great to see all those boats out on the water.

Steve Earley

Max Wawrzyniak's Articles

Dear Duckworks

I'm just emailing to say what a great website you have and to forward you a copy of my email to Max Wawrzyniak.

I've spent several weeks (and not an insignificant amount of money) having my old outboard engines repaired by a local outboard engine "specialist" who kept telling me the engines were fixed, when they were not!

I now realise that I should have done all of the work myself by following instructions contained in the excellent articles written by Max Wawrzyniak that are featured on your website. ...... Please keep them there for other would be unfortunates like me!

I've kept all of his articles (that I have found). With his help, and the knowledge that I now have, I think those old engines will last longer than me!

Many Thanks

Andrew Walters

My first boat:

Andrew: don't forget Max' excellent book "Cheap Outboards" - Chuck


Hi Chuck,

Ducksworks has been a daily stop for me for the past few years. Needles to say, your commitment to the site is very impressive.
Having been messing about with boats for a while, I have finally have something that I would like to share with you and Your readers. It is not so much as building a boat, but how one was saved from the dump. I gave some new life to an old neglected fiberglass canoe.
Please have a look, and if you feel your readers would enjoy reading it, or just looking at the pictures, feel free to include a link in your magazine. I would be thrilled to see it.

Please realize that this is a first effort, both for writing the blog, and the canoe, so both might not be up to the standard that you are looking for. Any hints as to how it can be improved would be appreciated.


Leo Rapacki

Mike's Indexes


Thank you so much for making such a great reference page! It's definitely handy!



Dear Chuck,

Thanks for your great website. I'm addicted!

Leigh Cooper

Economy Power Cat

Hello Sandra & Chuck

Thank you for  introducing the ECOnomy power cat to your readers. Some interesting facts for you how popular the Duckworks magazine is. I have normally 1250 hit’s a day on  my web presentation.  The 16th  I have had 3841! The hits where coming from countries around the globe. Besides as expected the English speaking countries from Russia, Indonesia, the Pacific islands, a lot from Brazil etc. I have also a worldwide coverage, but this was the top.

Thanks again
Bernd Kohler

PS: here a letter from our K-designs forum where Ron reports about the behavior of the ECO power boat with a 20 HP outboard engine.

Have now re powered from twin Honda 5hp to a single Yamaha 20hp. Twin 5's did a very noisy 10-11 knots. The Yamaha 20 does 15 knots or a quiet 10 knots at 4300 rpm. Control and maneuverability (docking) as the props have much more "bite". Fuel is less then one gph at ten knot average over 30 miles in rough conditions. Spray/waves do strike the outboard leg which is now shielded with wave breaker splashguard (still above the waterline). Buy a motor without power trim for the longest leg protected by a spray deflector. My older Honda 15hp (on a Jarcat ) does not work for this application!

Whereas the Eco cat "bobs" a bit in short steep one to two foot chop at ten knots, it becomes rock solid at 13knots and just flies. I did have a very bad patch of steep three to five foot wind (15 knots) over current conditions and was able to manage running cross current with careful steering. Don't want to do it again but the cockpit was dry and nothing got tossed around!

Ron Mueller

What's New?


I realise you want to appeal to a wide audience, but for myself I am interested in small boat designs suitable for amateur building, discussions of the art and science of small boat design and personal experiences directly related to these subjects.

By the way, where is todays "What's New"?

Clive Bennett

We missed a day - sorry, it was a technical glitch - Chuck



My build was in the February Webwatch. I just recently discovered it was posted there and clicked on it and it had an old link... I would like to give you the new link to post to your page if you do not mind. The picture you have on your page is in Feb Webwatch 10 th picture down. It is a model I built of the Egret to see how it would float.

The build is a Sam Devlin Egret. Been working on it part time for about 4 years in between my fulltime job and spending time with my wonderful wife and not so much in the 105 degree Houston summers since most chemicals and paints require 90 deg or below.


Trekka Update


I don't know the vintage of your article about Trekka but I have some info. A good friend of my sister in California bought Trekka from John Guzzwell and he and his bride circumnavigated (the 2nd for Trekka) on their honeymoon. Clifford lives in Brooks, CA. Sadly, Marion passed away two years ago. When I visited in October '08, Clifford talked about going to Victoria for the tall ships visit where he and John led the tall ships into the harbor aboard a reconditioned Trekka. Check out the facts but I believe Trekka is doing fine.

Fair winds,
Bill & Sue Shafer aboard s/v Unchained in the esastern Caribbean

PS: I just checked and "Wooden Boat" has an article by John Guzzwell about Trekka and the 2005 tall shaips event.


I just noticed that the WB Store is offering the JR-7 Resp-O-Rator for $12 more than your price!


Thought You Might Like to Know


Three years ago, I built a 10 foot, wood-framed, fabric covered boat which I packed in checked baggage  (a golf bag carrier) and took on an airplane to Bermuda. The boat was originally assembled at Nine Beaches resort, and left partially assembled in a friend's closet on the island.  At each visit, I assemble it for use there. I built two similar boats in one weekend at a cost of about $80 each.  The other boat is assembled in three pieces and can be disassembled and put inthe back seat of a car.  I have built a trailer for this boat, which I pull behind a mountain bike.  I just thought you might like to know.

Robert Holt


Hi Chuck - in the September letters you provided some suggestions to a writer who was having trouble keeping his epoxy from going off in the heat of his shop.

The writer might consider putting his resin, hardener and mixed epoxy containers in an icewater bath. That sounds funny, I know, but I talked to a guy who built a 45 foot contemporary boat in Las Vegas in 115 degree (dry) heat who had done just that. He told me it was the only way he could use epoxy in that kind of heat. That, and, as you suggested, the smallest possible mixes. I'd suppose being ultra-prepared to use the mixed epoxy would help, too (ask me how I know that!) (smile).




I've started a new set of how to videos on my site on how I designed the Granville Bay, and all the steps leading up to and through the construction, and final launch of the hull.

Warren Messer

Paul Austin's Column


Paul Austin's article on museums is one of the most excellently written articles I've read on Duckworks.


Michael Hayden

Bolger Memorial

To: John Kohnen, Chuck Leinweber

I hadn't seen any mention on your part whether you were going to make it to the Bolger memorial in Gloucester on the weekend of the 19th. If Bruce Hallman can make it from SF and I can make it from Juneau then it should be easy for you from Oregon and Texas, right? Your names popped up in an off line discussion of putting faces to names that we are well familiar with on line but never met.

See you there, I will be in Chucks old Tennessee with Seth Macinko.

Harry James

I wish I could have made it, Harry, I'm sure John feels the same - Chuck

Paul Boyer's Column

Hi, Chuck,

The "Pride in Our Builds" column looks good, as always. I did notice that a paragraph is missing and I wondered if that was accidental or intentional.


It was very much an accident, Paul, please forgive us. The text is corrected now for anyone who wants to read it again - Chuck

Briggs Outboard


After reading John's review of the Briggs & Stratton outboard motor, I did some further research and was interested in getting one. Problem is, I boat in salt water. So I decided to call B&S and get the time line of their salt water version. I was then totally surprised by the customer service rep telling me that they were no longer manufacturing outboards! I would suggest that any of your readers who wants a dependable, efficient, air cooled outboard grab one quick! (I did, even though it was built for fresh water)

Chuck Braffett

Homemade Weed Anchor

Dear Chuck:

You did a nice job on our anchor article except our Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in CA - not the one in Texas. It is no big deal for us but I thought some of your readers might try to drop by!  Our community is called Lucerne (95458) which is adjacent to Clear Lake.  We use Clear Lake on the transom  of  our boat "Chantel Marie" #1854 Mac 25. 

We thoroughly enjoy your magazine!

Best Regards, Wilson and Christine

Wilson and Christine: Sorry for accusing you of being Texans - I know I'd be insulted if you said I was from California (just kidding) - anyway, we got your location corrected. No hard feelings? - Chuck

Ross Lillistone's Column


I thought the Lillistone discussion was a worthy one.  I have had complaints about the fancy small boats, also.  I put my complaints in my newsletter here and there, but got no response.

I would add a few things to what they said.  First, the drive for innovation sometimes comes before the technology to pull it off.  A perfect example is the centerboard, supposedly invented by a Captain Schank of the British Navy.  Later on he went into golf where he invented the shank.  But in 1774 when he had two centerboards put on a 65 foot cutter, the technology to make it work was not there.  All the cases leaked, so the British gave up on the idea.  Nathaniel Herreshoff had leaps of insight and then created the technology to built what he could imagine, such as the cutaway forefoot to beat a rule.  Technology or demand to make a living did not create the overhangs, a racing rule did.  And Chappelle make his reputation as a historian on the insight that the American superiority in wooden boat design came from the desire for speed.  Throughout history insights come before engineering.  This is the case because the limitations of engineering cause someone to leap their mind over the technology to imagine something which has never been done...yet.  So sometimes insight precedes technology.

My second point is that so many boats today are designed to look like big boats, not the small boat they are.  Pointed bows, twenty laps on an 8 foot dingy, mizzens hanging far enough aft to use the boom to walk the plank, etc.

My third point is that so many boats are designed today which say 'for the amateur builder,' butare too difficult for me.  You just about have to be able to work in a boatyard to build a Paul Gartside design or some of the Arch Davis designs; they're too hard for me.  I've had some email contact with Arch and he's a wonderful designer.  He was always kind to me when I had my newsletter, but his boats over 10 feet require great skill and great tools.

My fourth point is plans by some designers are too expensive.  One of the Duckworks designers sells designs which are just way out there in price.  I haven't received my Destitute Writer's Stimulus Package yet.  The Nutshell skiff by WB is around $75, the same price as the 25 foot Albert Strange Canoe Yawl, Wenda, which is a full cruiser.  I know with some plans you get plenty of help and older plans don't explain everything, but the help I need is with the price.

In the end, what the guys were disagreeing about is just the thing which created WB magazine and all these wooden boat designers and boats--the love of daydreaming in a crummy century which I don't find liveable.  It's the dream of being able to sail away to some other time and some other place in Hanna's Tahiti Ketch which has inspired so many of us--and made us willing to pull out the plastic.  The remaining places where a man can be himself, where he can make something with his own hands are few.  Illustrators of old magazines are now graphics files in a computer; the old craftsman living by the dock in a shed he owns by making wooden boats himself has been replaced by GRP molds; and now magazine writing is just filler between photographs (except Duckworks).  So some of us really need to bend wood to a stem and sand a block and cut a tiller handle out of mahogany till it curves to the arm.

Philip Bolger once said the best boats are the ones which you can live on or those you can carry to the water.  I'm in the latter category, so I thank God for the boats I actually can build.

Well, all of this may not be useful but I'm a writer..I have to write since I don't really get along with members of the human race.  By the way SMU is having a promotional regatta here in Dallas at White Rock Lake this month.  Your Out There correspondent will be there with pencil and camera, looking for a story.

Paul Austin

Lake Havasu Pocket Cruisers Poker Run


Would love to have you and your readers come join us in Feb for some winter sailing fun. Here's the link to the website.




Thanks for including my pictures in the August "Splash!".  I do however need to make a correction. The boat is a Nymph and the sail is a Tender Behind sail.  Thanks again!

Terry L. Green

Thanks for helping us get it straight, Terry - Chuck



Thanks for posting Crabby.

Did you mean to cut off the last three verses?



The main didn’t shred, the painter stayed whole.
The waves rolled beneath us, didn’t fill up the hold.
I picked up a mooring and rowed into shore.
Glad to be living and healthy.

That’s my adventure, take what you will
Didn’t circle the globe, didn’t get to Blue Hill.
Didn’t pay for not reefing in the water so cold
So Crabby’s a hero of mine.

She’s a Cape Dory Typhoon eighteen foot or so
Her bunks hurt to sleep on, she’s wide and she’s slow.
She’s got 500 lbs ballast in a 3 foot full keel
And will stand in a bit of a blow.

I am so sorry, Tim! I certainly did not mean to chop the last three verses off. Please accept my sincere apology - Chuck


Hi Chuck

Long time no speak

I still check out Duckworks every day, it gets better and bettter.

For the last year I've been converting an old house so no time for boats, but I'm mightily impressed with the Puddle duckers and will be joining their ranks in 2010 and hopefully starting a fleet on our local boating lake. The local club seems quite keen.

In the meantime I saw yesterdays poetry post and comments. Now as you know I've got a great many poems, although I've closed the website down for the time being. a few poems relate to boating or experiences on or by the water. Below is one which might entertain some of your readers and is a true story set in 1997 when I was fishing off the end of the pier in Southport England. It was an awesome experience, which I have tried to share in the poem.

Now I feel it's very easy to bore people with this sort of thing, but, if you felt it appropriate to your magazine, I could send you a poem a month for about 8 years, although most of them are philosophical in nature incorporating my views after amateur study of quantum physics. (not that a claim to know much about it). Anyway it's up to you.

All the best to you and the family.

Michael Birch

Communions Clear Golden Light

Standing at the end, of the Victorian Pier
The air is heavy, threatening sky does leer

Down at the heaving, sullen grey sea
Seagulls fly quiet, riding swells rolling lee

Then rising a little, on a breath of air
On the windward side, but lift is rare

They climb a little, with a half hearted flap
Numbed by the sudden, earth shattering clap

Of thunders violent, and sudden birth
The air is split, and the clouds are burst

The sky explodes, falling onto the sea
Hammering it flat, Thor's hammer the key

Opening the heavens, and releasing the storm
Purple flickering, light flashes pungent ozone is born

The gap between sea, and sky closing down
Shiny wet seals head, emerging with a deep frown

>From half way down, the swells soft lee side
Looking me in the eye, asking can we abide

As we are brothers, in our earthly role
And feel the warmth, of life's burning coal

Forcing me to understand, it's aware like me
And wondering at creation, and creations vast sea

A life changing moment, shared with a another soul type
Changing perception for ever, communions clear golden light

Copyright Michael Birch ©



Glad you could make it up for the Columbia 150. If you want to you can publish this poem. I had a couple more boat related ones that SCA did on their blog awhile back so I didn't include them. No use to burn out the audience. :D

Terns For the Verse

Fun to watch them fly and frolic,
stunts and airs and high speed swoops,
but oh it renders me melancholic
to see my boat all covered in poops.

I hung up foils and owls and snakes,
stood on the deck and waved my arms.
I thought I'd done all that it takes
everything but install alarms.

And yet each day I sadly view
Tern poops, tern poops, anew,
Tern poops, tern poops...residue.

Rich Green

A Follower

For many years now I have had an interest in boats, and for a while I even worked with a company that built them. They were from 15 footer up to 45 feet. But as things changed as they all ways do, I found myself leaving and working at a chemical company after that.

A few years ago by chance I found your Website and well like they say the rest is history. I have been a follower every since. Not to say I have not found other site on building boat. But one thing has made your site the best and stand out the most to me is that you to put up new things on it for all of us to read and think about. Others have great sites but once you have looked and read it, there is not much of a reason to going back to them. So I guess what I am trying to say is change is a good thing.

Keep it up and thank you and your staff


Small Craft Advisor Article

I just read your article in the SCA...... got to hand it to you El Chucko the Ducko,,,,, EXCELLENT piece of writing...... I am proud to be associated with you and yours !!! Good show!




Can't thank you enough for, I guess the word is posting my article: A Boat Named Alice.

Your site is a true jewel.

Chuck Corwin

Epoxy Question


I recently bought the epoxy kit for the Toto. I got it with slow hardener. I am not familiar with applying epoxy in hot weather. I've applied epoxy in more moderate temperatures in Washington State. What would you recommend for the highest temperature to do epoxy filets and applying epoxy over fiberglass cloth?

Thanks for the advice.

Frank Coletta
San Antonio,

Hi, Frank:

I have been doing some epoxy work in this heat in my non-air conditioned shop so I have up-to-date experience. I wish I could say use the extra slow hardener. But since I can't, will advise you to keep your unmixed resin cool. If you can keep it in an air conditioned room until you use it, that will help a lot. If not, can you put just the resin in a refrigerator? That would help. If you can't do any of these things, you will have to mix very small batches. By small I mean only a couple of ounces at a time - and then work fast.

Applying epoxy over fiberglass cloth is a whole different animal. In fact, I have been using fast hardener for that - not that fast is needed, I just wanted to save my slow hardener for fillets and gluing. Measure, mix and spread quickly and you will be fine.

Does this help?


Boat Finish vs. Speed

I hope I´m not out of line here. I wrote earlier about the implied time-scale of boatbuilding in many of the articles and thinking back on the letter I wonder if it will offend some of your writers because some people read into things what in fact isn´t there. I mean to say that some of your correspondents could (with effort) feel that they were being criticized for the length of time spent, which wasn´t even close to my intention. I simply wanted to point out to first time builders that a functional boat doesn't take nearly as long to build as a pristinely beautiful boat and since those of us building purely functional boats aren´t writing articles about the building process, nobody is saying "Hey, you can have that boat in the water next week". I just went over some notes and saw that I had the bottom on my PDRacer in 10 hours (that´s not to say from 8am to 6pm, but 10 hours in the shop. There is waiting time while glue dries, so probably two days). It will unlikely win "Best of Show", but I get to sail. And for those who have their workboat quality sailer, they can spend forever building the nautical Stradivarious. I hope there´s nothing offensive here, I certainly don´t mean there to be, but I´ve found there are people that can find offence in the strangest places.

Don´t assume by this that I advocate speed in the building process. We each have our own level of aptitude and velocity and must stay within our limits to build well and safely. Ultimately, the level of finish will determine the time spent, and other than for serious racers finish only counts for personal satisfaction. I love to see beautiful boats, but don´t have the patience to make mine that way. I´m in a hurry to get sailing.

Luis Grauer



"Boat Widows" by Jackie Monies brought tears to my eyes - what a superlative article! I've read many fine articles on Duckworks over the years, but this has to be one of the very best.

Pete Leenhouts

Just Right

Hello Chuck,

I just finished reading the article on the florida 120 and thought it just right. One question though, would it be possible to get some info on one of the boats? "Little Gem"? maybe some more pictures of it and the designer and some specs and if plans are available? Maybe the owner has a website about it? Also would be neat to get info like that on all the boats involved.

Thanks and keep up the GREAT magazine!!!

Geoff Adams

Scott will send you some info on Little Gem, Geoff - Chuck

Blobster Builder and Enthusiast

Hi Chuck and Sandra,

The Blobster sail I ordered from you has arrived safely here in Birmingham Gardens, Australia. Thanks heaps for such a great service. Sandra, I appreciated your emails keeping me informed about the order and shipment. You are such a pleasure to deal with.

Now to build the mast and spars and get this prototype Blobster officially launched! I've done some 'sea trials' under motor and she performed beautifully. We will see how she goes under sail, but I'm already convinced that Jim has really got a winner on his hands with this design.

Kind Regards
Miles Bore
Bobster Builder and Enthusiast

A Texas200 Account


I am sure you will be publishing Chuck Pierce's story in Duckworks soon, but I wanted you to know that I do consider this the greatest story that came out of the TX200 sail. I doubt you knew about his cancer, but doesn't it make you feel both proud and humbled to know that something you started could so affect someone's life? I get the feeling that the TX200 probably did help save his life.

Best, Jackie Monies

I agree, Jackie, this is a heartwarming, inspiring story. I hope everyone reads it - Chuck


Sandra and Chuck - The Caroline "T2" was a real hit at the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport this last weekend. Lots and lots of people over the two days we were there, lots of interest in the design. Displayed next to a Herreshoff skiff that utilized 3000 grit sandpaper to achieve a mirror finish, ours was a study in contrasts. Yes, many people commented on our colors or the different design, but I spoke with a lot of Duckworks fans who were already familiar with Jim's work. We had a handout that gave the Duckworks website for the plans, so if you see an increase, think fondly of us!

click to enlarge


The Texas200 - Two  Points of View


I loved this article, and this format. Brilliant. Thanks.

David G
Harbor Woodworks

A literary coup by the Duckworks editors. Two, side by side, accounts from two points of view of the same events. A fresh view of our PDHeros and the Hobie "Dude".
A must read.

A great read. What's so interesting to me is the huge variety of different tales from the same trip.



Much of the delight in the accounts comes not from hearing from 2 people in the same event, or 2 people in the same boat, or even 2 people of different generations. It works so well for me because they are a parent/child couple. A dad, transparent in his fears, and willing to do anything to keep his child safe, and a daughter's desire to encourage her dad to push toward his goal. In the end, they accomplished more than I'm sure either of them expected, individually and as a team, and created priceless memories. Their stories, told together, produced a more rounded and completely engaging account. Kudos to the writers, all the participants, and to you for the way you presented the stories!

Len Turner

Good on Dad for encouraging his daughter to write. Well done Kristen for doing it. I knew a young lad of 10 who loved fishing and loved to write stories. He ended up editor of a leading boating magazine, without formal qualifications, and that is not easy these days. Give our young experience like this and it can lead to all sorts of things. Possibly she has taught us a thing or two about what is important - the people we meet along the boating journey. How interesting to read what our long suffering crew think during the situations we put them in. Well done and nicely presented.


I think the dual story from Bobby and his daughter was brillant and the account from the Californian comes closest to explaining the madness than anyone.  We are all hooked now and read all the posts and forums. 



I really, really enjoyed Kristen's version of this years Texas 200. She needs to submit more articles to Duckworks Magazine.

Warren Messer
Red Barn Boats

Let me add my compliment to the side-by-side father/daughter articles you did a couple days ago. It was very effective and entertaining. Well done.

Gary Blankenship

Hi Chuck,

Last night I read Kristen's account of the Texas 200, and her father's. What an amazing adventure. The finest community. Your web site is a real treat - I always find gems there.

Martin Adams

The website has received some special kind of writing lately, with the father/daughter story and others.  Duckworks has become a literary giant.  It shows the value of having a niche and helping others along the way.

Paul Austin


It seems that your idea to post both stories side by side was good one. The story has been well recieved and there has been much chatter about it on boating websites. Thanks for helping to make the story such a great success.

Bobby Chilek


Dear Chuck,

Been cruising your site again whilst working at sea (Currently Chief Officer on a Support ship working in the oil industry off the coast of New Zealand). Reading about the texas 200 it looks like a good challnge... I own Jaunty David Perillo's old Navigator and for a bit of a joke really sent an email out asking if anyone would be keen to go, included John asking if he would like to design a Kiwi boat for us to build and sail. Well not only does John sound keen but he has found a gentleman somewhere in E Texas who would put us up for a couple of days whilst we built our boats, so I am having to get slightly serious!

The idea only started this morning but it seems to have some momentum already.

My current idea is to perhaps build another boat here to trial her then bring the frames and sail with me. Buy the remaining ply etc and build her in Texas. Anyway all dreams at the moment, I will let you know how it progresses.

Do you have a date yet for the 2010 event? Where is the nearest big airport that we would fly into from NZ, I want to check airfares? You might have some Kiwis wanting to come and play!


I suppose being there was far superior to the reports, but the T200 reports were - are - great stuff. And now maybe you've spawed a Kiwi/Yankee - Welsford/Michalack rivalry of sorts! It will be far more facinating than the America's Cup to this sailor.

Bob Throne

Out There

I have truly enjoyed reading Duckworks and I think the appeal is your reader written stories.  That new columnist you started writes really well. Todays story on schooners was well done, having owned a classic schooner it made great sense and was well written.  There are a lot of people out there that can write given the chance.

Jackie Monies


I can not say that I ever met Phil Bolger but I sure whish I had. I eagerly waited for his cartoons in "SBJ "(another sad loss to the boating community) and more recently Bolger on Design in "messing about in Boats". In fact it was hard to pick up any boating mag and not find an article on boats submitted by Phil Bolger. To me Mr Bolger was to the boating community as Frank Lloyd Wright was to the housing design community. Except Mr Bolger thought out side of the box and designed some of the most useful and beautiful boats I have ever dreamed of building. Again he was a great designer that I whish I could have sat down and spoken with,. As for the way he died, I am slowly dying of spinal cancer (Leukemia) and wish I had half his courage to decide how life would see him and death would accept him.

Mark Knedler

Chuck - back on 15 June 2003, I think, I downloaded a copy of the article running on Duckworks regarding Phil Bolger. It was written by Joseph Gribbens.

I noticed in the current issue of the magazine "Messing About in Boats" that Bolger's widow suggested a gathering of Bolger boats later this summer.

Two suggestions: perhaps you might consider re-running the Gribbons article to introduce newer Duckworks readers to Bolger and his genius, and perhaps you could host a web gathering of Bolger's designs... pictures and very short stories about them, perhaps, from your readers.

Respectfully, Pete

Smaller Sneakeasy

I sure enjoy your magazine.

What about a smaller Sneakeasy? 3 feet wide and 19 or so feet long? Why? Easier to build and easier to launch by myself (63 years old). Also I have a 9.9 hp outboard.

Would it roll over way too easily?

Thanks for your advice.

Warren Newbury



In response to my ad selling “Snark Wildflower Parts” in your classified section, I got an email from a scam.  I am enclosing the whole thread to-date.  I am no longer giving the emailer the satisfaction of a reply. 


Fran Marinaro


Am making inquiry on the item you have for sale..However,i 'll like to know the price for it....Also,i want to know if it's still available.Do send pictures of it ...

Which ad are you responding to?  I have ads on craigslist, Duckworks and Small Craft Advisor.  All 3 ads have prices..  The craigslist and Small Craft Advisor ads have pictures.

Thanks for the mail..i 'll like to know the price for it so we can finalize discussions on the payment..ok

The prices are as stated in the three ads
Thank You


Life on the Ocean Wave

The article ... A Kid's Point of view is a reprint from Multihulls Magazine - May/Jun 2007. Thought I had seen it before, and looked it up. Great story though, but not sure if you need to acknowledge a prior printing.




Thanks for publishing my piece on the cartop carrier coracle. I've sent the URL to all my friends.

Your site is an example of exactly what special interest websites ought to do.

T.A. Coons



You have a great site here for all of us boat builders and users of small boats BUT the “letters” title has always bothered me. How you ask, well the letters that came in for the month of May are labeled June letters! How is this possible was there a time warp that allowed the June letters to be delivered in May. I can’t figure this out and as I get older these little things bother me.

Thanks for a great site!

Gerry Williams

Still building a Ladybug

Now I'm confused - Chuck

Rope Fenders


Regarding the June letter from Robert Nelson about rope fenders, here's a Wooden Boat article on how to make them, and a photo of the ones on my boat.

These are a bit used, as you can tell from the discoloration. But they're not difficult to make, and they're so cheap that they can be replaced easily. I just made a new set and think I spent about $10 for a set of four. I cheat a little when I make mine. I don't have a swedish fid to tuck the strands at the end of the weaving, so I just bring all the ends together and put on a common whipping with seine twine. Seems to work fine.



We are so sorry to hear about Phil Bolger. Thank you for posting the article about it… 

Gayle Brantuk

A Boat Builder's Club for San Antonio?

Hi Chuck,

I am in the process of building two Totos with plans and supplies I purchased from Duckworks. As I was working it occurred to me that it would be great to get to know other boatbuilders in the San Antonio area. I would like to throw out the idea of forming an informal boatbuilding club. We could get together periodically to talk boat building and check out other builders projects. Maybe promote a messabout or PDRacer fleet. Please consider posting this on your site to see if there are any other likeminded boatbuilders in the area. Interested folks could contact me at the below phone or email address.

Thank you,
Frank Coletta
San Antonio, TX



Oh my God, this is the best report. Thank you so much for sending this. It makes me realize yet again how fortunate I am to take part in trips like this with terrific folks like you and the rest of the gang. Thanks for putting this together.

Look forward to seeing all of you on the next paddling trip!



That is a great telling of the story of our trip. The pictures are fabulous, too. Thanks for posting it.


PS: That last little canyon is Hot Springs Canyon.

Hi Chuck!

GREAT story and photos! I really enjoyed re-living that trip again.

Would you mind if I put a blurb in the Houston Canoe Club newsletter about this story,
with a web link to it?

I'm sure that other club members would enjoy reading it.

John Rich

Confessions to Paul Boyer


I 'd like to say how much I enjoyed your article" timid and conventional" which recently appeared in Duckworks. As a 55 year old approaching the end of a lengthy, some would comment too lengthy, boat building project, a Bolger Tennessee outboard powered camp cruiser, I related to, and found great humor in much of what you said. When you make it down the bay, you would be most welcome to anchor in the yard.

Enjoy your project,
Ed Einhorn

Latest on Zamna

Zamna is due to leave Cozumel July 11 sailing to Miami at 7 knots(probably 3 or 4 days), then to New York, probably towards the end of July, then to the Mediterranean and back to Mexico towards the end of the year.

Luis Grauer

Pathfinder Preview

Hi Chuck/Sandra,

I'm glad We Backyard amateur builders have an outlet to let others know what we are doing and to see and read about their methods. It's certainly a collective learning process you have built in Duckworks magazine.

Work on my Pathfinder progresses at a now blistering pace. (about20-30 hr/wk) I aim to launch by July 18, 2009, a little more than a month from now. That's the start of my summer vacation, this year I'll need it :)

The hull got rolled back over upright last weekend after being glassed and painted, and I'm in preparations for painting by weekend. My guess is that I have 2 more articles left to complete the series.

The Texas 200 looked amazing! Aaah I could only wish to be there for such a spectacle of oar and sail.

Perry Burton



Your site has become very frustrating to use.  I went through the dory listings tonight and found many dead links.


JJ - You are probably referring to our old Boat Indexes. Unfortunately we are no longer able to keep those updated. There are'nt enough hours in the day - Chuck


Hi Chuck.

This is my first letter after reading every of the articles on Duckworksmagazine for the last several years.

I'm very interested in foldable designs like Bolger's Folding Schooner, the EZ-canoe or the Drake 24 from Selway-Fisher. Such a folded boat can take up less space than a small dinghy, if built in three sections.

I'm thinking about building a self-designed boat of this kind.

In your very interesting article about Laguna Jim Michalak has no proper solution for the folding or nesting process, because of the weight of the hull and other reasons.

This is my idea:

The middle and the rear/stern section has the same size and the rear section should be folded over the middle section. This allows me to put all heavy weights -including ballast eventually- in the middle section, which does not need to be moved and keeps the rear part light. The front/bow section is smaller than the other two parts and nesting between the folded sections in the room which was formed by the two cockpits. As a disadvantage, this makes a centerboard trunk impossible. I want to use bilge boards. Because the bow part is narrower, it allows little side decks on the other two parts. I would make the middle and rear section 8 feet long and the bow 5 feet or so which results in a 21 foot boat.

Best regards, Kai Lueddecke

(from rainy Thuringia/Germany)

Dear Chuck,

Firstly, I have to congratulate you on the Laguna article. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what is really important in this boat-world of ours, as I think that some people are becoming too tied up in the idea of the boats being an end in themselves, rather than being part of a larger ‘activity’. I probably haven’t put it very well, but I’m thinking of the people who view the boats as vehicles for their egos, and spend their time going to Classic Boat Regattas and other such meetings, instead of getting out there and using the boats for what they were designed to do. Still not happy with how I’ve expressed myself, but I hope you will understand.

With the above in mind, I’ve been spending more and more time thinking about Jim Michalak’s work, and that of Phil Bolger. These guys (and a few others such as William and John Atkin, Sam Devlin, and John Gardener) have never lost sight of the functional role these boats are designed to fill. The fact that I designed a stitch-and-glue ‘functional equivalent’ of Phoenix III is evidence of where I’m heading. However, I think that the very best boats (for our purposes) are the brutally simple examples of the work of the guys I’ve just mentioned.

Your commissioning of Laguna is right on the mark, and there is nobody better to do the work than Jim. ‘Well done’ to you both.


Another Point about Tanbark Sails


Another good selling point for tanbark sails, especially in crowded areas, where there's some of the "big boys" out. (I've done a fair bit of sailing in "Portsmouth Roads" the area between Rye/Portsmouth, NH and the Isles of Shoals. Tankers, bulk-cargo and large vessels are common there)

Every single variation of tanbark color is one that should be avoided. Small boats with white sails look like a cresting swell on the "big water."

"Be dark, be seen, even against whitecaps"

Chris Collins
Montgomery Center, VT

NACA What?

In relation to centreboard foils, can you tell me what NACA actually stands for? Thanks David

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
The official seal of NACA, depicting the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina


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