Category Archives: Boat plans and books of plans

Plans for boats, sailing yachts, motor yachts, rowing boats, sailing boats, dinghies, dories, canoes, skiffs, oars, sails – may be free or paid-for

Celebrated yacht designer Alan Buchanan passes away

Buchanan Owners Association


Sad news from the Buchanan Owners Association

Alan Buchanan, one of the last great yacht designers from the era when yachts were still built the traditional way and looked absolutely gorgeous, has passed away at a great age – by my calculation he would have been 92 or possibly 93.

His glory days were during his time working as a yacht designer at Burnham; many of the successful racers of the the 1950s era were the product of his drawing board. However, he continued to draw boats well into years that for most of us would be retirement or even dotage.

The Buchanan Owners Association website has an excellent article by John Leather about Buchanan’s work – as a memorial it would be difficult to beat, so read it hereClassic Boat’s short announcement is here, and there’s a Wikipedia entry about his Hilbre One Design here.

A Cinderella in Colombia

An example of my small open canoe design intended for quick building, the Cinderella, has been made in Colombia. See the free boat plans page.

Hearing from people all around the world is one of the great pleasures of having designed some small boats, and this one has certainly been built with loving care.

Here’s what the latest Cinderella’s builder, Franklin Peñaranda has to say:

‘Mr . Atkin,

‘It is a pleasure to finally e-mail you. I live in Barranquilla, Colombia and I have built the Cinderella canoe that you designed and wrote about in your book Ultrasimple Boatbuilding.

‘The book was given to me by a good neighbor as a gift about 6 years ago, and I have been dreaming of one day building that canoe.

‘My interest in boats and boatbuilding dates to the teenage years (I will be 48 in March).

‘I am sending you a few pictures of my interpretation of your wonderfully designed Cinderella. It took me more than 11 months to construct it, mostly due to difficulties in finding fiberglass and paint help, and I made a few errors that had to be rectified, but it has been a wonderful learning experience.

‘I do not have any training or experience in boatbuilding, and nor any family, friends or neighbors. My background and profession is in truck driving.

‘The Cinderella has had such a great response from people that I am going to build small boats for a living. Imagine that!

‘Thank you for writing and publishing your work, and for inspiring and us novices.

‘Sincerely, Franklin Peñaranda’

BBA December 2014 student launch photos

The Boat Building Academy’s class of March 2014 launched the boats built as part of their course under brilliant blue skies on 3 December. Here’s principal Yvonne Green’s report:

‘Two hundred people including Lyme Regis mayor Sally Holman gathered to celebrate the end of the course.

‘The eleven students came to the BBA from places as far apart as Brazil, America and Bridport, just 9 miles down the road from Lyme.

‘For the first time a father and son, Laurence and Will Shillingford, were on the course at the same time. Will is off to work at Michael Dennett’s in Chertsey, where he will join 2013 intake graduate Adam Smith, while Laurence returns to Bridport, with a 21ft Thames skiff based on a drawing in the book Working Boats of Britain by Eric McKee.

‘The François Vivier-designed 14ft Beg Meil gaff-rigged dinghy made a festive splash of red, crew dressed in homage to the designer.

‘Instructor Mike Broome designed the 14ft outboard-powered runabout.

‘Sadly a strip-planked Alden O Class sloop was unfinished and stayed in the workshop; in order to launch her the students would have made a rush job of finishing, which would have been a sin.

‘But she’s still going to attract a lot of attention once she’s finished.

‘Last but not least is The Lost Tribe. A 12ft glued clinker Fleet Trow. Builder and owner Nigel Chapman plans to use her for fishing, but was taken seriously ill half way through the course. The Trow was finished, but fortunately Nigel is recovering and we look forward to him rejoining us when he’s fit enough.

‘After the certificate awards the students danced until 10pm at the Power Boat Club on the beach opposite the Academy.

‘They’ve thrown down the gauntlet to their friends in the class of September 2014, who move down onto the main workshop floor after Christmas.’