Dylan sails his Duck Punt for the first time – and loves it

Keep Turning Left sailor and film-maker Dylan Winter has launched and successfully sailed his new Duck Punt for the first time.

He’s absolutely delighted with the little sailing canoe, which slips along as nicely as those made by earlier Duck Punters on the Essex coast. And there is the added bonus that he seems to be able to sail and film at the same time without falling in – which I’m pretty sure is what would happen to me if I tried the same trick.

Here on the upper floors of Intheboatshed.net Towers, we’re cheering for several reasons.

It’s always great when someone successfully builds a little boat and enjoys it on the water, and the news seems even better when the builder is in the UK. Round here, amateur boatbuilding projects are nothing like so frequent as they should be, given how much water we have to play with.

I’m pleased, too, that the little Duck Punt shows clearly how effective narrow, flat-bottomed boats can be. The British tend to believe all boats must be round bottomed to be any good, and that therefore building a boat is just too complicated to be worth considering. Dylan’s little punt gives the lie to that myth, just as did all the other duck punts that came before it.

Still more than all this, the project is a tremendous example of cheap and simple sailing.

Here’s Dylan’s page linking to his Duck Punt film; links to John Milgate’s original plans are also available on his website.

PS – Fans of Dylan’s adventures should bag a copy of the latest issue of PBO magazine, which includes an excellent feature-length article by the man himself.

7 thoughts on “Dylan sails his Duck Punt for the first time – and loves it”

  1. Well said Gav, great to see Dylan’s obvious delight and of course there is nothing wrong with flat bottoms, as a kid growing up on the tidal Thames most small craft were!

    1. Thinking about the UK, it’s not only the Thames with its lighters and sailing barges that has long had boats of the long and narrow flat-bottomed form. I’d add two sea boats, the Parret and Weston flatners of Somerset, and a great many river and stream craft including the Fleet trow, the Wye trow, the Mersey flat and the Bridgewater barge. And then there are the turf boats and the river punts…

      There are so many successful narrow flatties around, it’s difficult to imagine where the myth that good boats have to have round bottoms emerged from, but it’s very persistent.

      I’d point out something else too: that for decades now most ships have had the long and narrow flat bottomed form.

      I’ve tried to advocate the form in my own way, with the Light Trow design, and also my stitch and glue rowing and sailing skiffs.

      At one time, I had a dream of building one of Phil Bolger’s Black Skimmers to sail on the Thames – I thought it would be great to have a modern flattie with leeboards on the Thames Estuary.

      See: https://intheboatshed.net/2007/03/14/black-skimmer-under-construction/ and , also . Some of the best shots are in the for sale section.

      I don’t think I’ll do anything like this now though as we now have a part share in a a Hunter Delta with a lifting keel – but it’s the thought that counts 🙂


  2. thanks for the mentions and your thoughts G

    1100 people have watched the film in the first four days


    the boat sails really well and is light

    it could be lighter with stisch and flue, stiffening bouyancy to get rid of some of the frames

    better use of glue fillets – maybe beading in the corners

    dump the front oar peg holes

    the inner and outer gunwhale could be slimmer

    the floor boards are essential – and can be removed if you want to make the boat llighter to carry and car top

    then moved separately with the riig

    the canoe paddle is better than a std scull because you can twist rather than pull

    I will see how the bottom wears – but I might risk a couple of bottom rubbing straights

    the boat really sails well to windward

    going to try using it as a canoe – sitting on the mast step will make paddling more comfortable – I reckon that will bring the stern out of the water

    the transome on this one is to cover up a building mistake

    I think I will make a flo mo version – pleanty stiff enough

    stick with the oppi rig for the time being

    because it is light weight

    but a light balanced lug would be great – it is just that I do not have the skills to make it light enough


    1. Hi Dylan, great to see you having so much fun. A lightweight lug rig could be made using very low cost alloy tubing . this one on my sailing canoe was very light.


      I already have an opi sail drawn in SailCut4 which gives all the panel shapes drawn as xy plots. We could include the rig design with the free plans. Perhaps best to keep to an Opi sprit design. A lug rig will need different mast position and might affect handling – would not want that with no rudder.

      What would you guess she weighs – about 40kg?


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