Category Archives: Designs and designers, boat plans,books of plans

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Designs for the boat-dreaming season, part II

I’m often disappointed with the boat designs that appear in Practical Mechanics and the rest: often they look good at first glance, but I suppose the designers were not paid terribly well for their work and so often tended to leave one or two things less clear than they might.

For example, I was looking today at a fattish dory alleged to be suitable for sailing where the designer had drawn mast partners and the rest, but said nothing very clear about the rig beyond what size range it should fit within. I think that’s leaving just a little too much to chance in terms of the balance between hull and rig.

And yet designs taken from old magazines and books can be excellent. Here’s one that looks really good to me, not least because it has instant character and apparently runs fast even with a small outboard engine. My only cause for slight concern is that the claims for its weight seem implausible, but maybe it was a typing error, or applied only to the smallest version.

In the meantime dig some of the details: the windshields and aft steering position with the big spindly wheel are so sweet! Executed that way and maybe fitted with a well cared-for old outboard I think Victory could be a lot of fun.

For FREE BOAT PLANS for Victory:

For more motor boats:


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Some tempting designs for the boat-dreaming season – part I

Many people start thinking about their holidays at this time of year, but boat and boating enthusiasts are also plotting how to make the best of the coming boatbuilding and boating season. Maybe you need a boat for a child, or to develop your skills, or something quick and easy that will get you on the water quickly? Or are you looking for a particular kind of boat you can’t buy? Perhaps you’d enjoy building something that will turn heads as you pass by?

With my Santa hat on, I’d decided to introduce some plans to tempt you over the next few days.

The first is relatively easy. It’s not exactly traditional boatbuilding but has lots of the detail boatbuilders used 40-50 years ago, and with its heavy steel centreboard, it would make a nice steady boat for pottering around in sheltered waters. Of course it would still need some bouyancy bags to be considered safe in our day and age, but that’s only right. Click on the images and the instructions and plans will come down the wire in the form of a pdf.

Actually, they’re well worth looking at, both for the old-world building details, including a boatbuilder who wears a hat at all times and for an oddly camp collage depicting rapt sailors of all ranks.

The plans come from here:

Click on any image below to download the plans and instructions. And if you do build the Biloxi dinghy we’d love to hear about it!

For more small boats:


Conrad Natzio’s Little Grebe

The Thames Traditional Boat Society’s boats are fascinating and beautiful – but there are lots of us who would doubt our ability to handle that narrow-gutted punt and quite a few who might be nervous of the Thames skiff’s clinker construction. So here’s a nice achievable project for the rest of us: Conrad Natzio’s Little Grebe.

Little Grebe is simple and makes an attractive first home-built project, and because she’s also small and car-toppable she’s also the kind of little boat that’s easy to transport and launch, often by one person. What this convenience means in practice is that she’s the kind of boat that is likely to get a lot of use. Overall, I think she makes a very attractive package for a first project.

For more of Conrad’s designs, see:

Little Grebe Little Grebe

Little Grebe LIttle Grebe