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’

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Water Craft’s whacky Cordless Canoe Challenge races at the Beale Park Boat Show

Water Craft Cordless Canoe Challenge

A potential entry for the Water Craft CCC – very much in the spirit of the event, but the drag of that parasol may not help

Water Craft magazine has fired the starting gun on what promises to be a highly entertaining new competition for the Beale Park Boat Show, which in 2011 takes place from the 10-12th June.

The journal’s annual Amateur Boatbuilding Awards contest is well established and one of the highlights of the Beale Park show each year – but the new competition promises to be completely daft.

Inspired by a suggestion from Beale Park marketing manager Donna Hatchett, Water Craft editor Pete Greenfield has announced the Cordless Canoe Challenge, in which entrants have to use a cordless power tool to power a canoe around a short course on the lake at Beale. He has the support of power tool manufacturers Makita and the Electric Boat Association.

The boats do not have to be home-built, but can be of course, and they may be made of any material and can be modified any way entrants choose.

The only rules are that they mustn’t be longer than 16ft 3in (5m) including steering and stern gear, and have to be propelled solely by one or more cordless electric tools. A drill driving a prop shaft is one possibility, or perhaps a Thai-style long-tail rig sort-of, kind-of arrangement?

Pete suggests a jigsaw could be used to drive waggling flippers, or that an angle grinder might be fitted with a fan.

I’d suggest one of my Cinderella canoes powered by a steerable rack of, say, four cordless drills fitted with shafts attached to model aircraft propellers handing over the stern and controlled via a long tiller. But that might not be in keeping with Water Craft’s rather more sportsmanlike idea, which is that the power tools used should be things entrants already have in their workshops…

The racing will be in the form of a knockout tournament between pairs of boats drawn by lot, and will take place over the course of the Saturday and Sunday of the show. The course will likely be an out-and-back dogleg around two buoys, with some hopefully exciting action around the turning mark right in front of the beer tent (I’ll be watching, at least some of the time).

Entrants will need to slow their boat for this (if they reach any speed at all) and will likely need some kind of proper steering system.

Curiously, editor Pete also suggests the draft of entering craft should be modest, which presumably means judges will disqualify submarines. So, dear readers thinking of entering this malarkey, I’m afraid you can’t go underwater and will be stuck with wave-making resistance.

Boats invited to enter the cordless challenge will be checked for safety (you’ll doubtless need a bouyancy aid) – and crews for sanity – by Electric Boat Association stewards before being allowed to compete.

I should mention the prize to be awarded to the winning boat – a bag of Makita’s cordless power tools including a jigsaw, sander, planer, two drills and a site radio valued at over £1200!

Entrants should take a photo of their entry boat, preferably under way, and send it to Water Craft by the 1st May. More information about the comp will appear in the January/February issue of the magazine, which should appear in shops and fall through letterboxes on the 16th December.

I think it’s all going to be very amusing and, for the winner, rather profitable…

beale park cordless canoe challenge course

The Cordless Canoe Challenge course. If you know Beale Park, you’ll realise how short this is – turning ability will be as important as raw speed

Alan Stancombe builds his second Cinderella – and does a super job

Alan Stancombe's Cinderella canoe

Alan Stancombe's Cinderella canoe Alan Stancombe's Cinderella canoe Alan Stancombe's Cinderella canoe

Alan Stancombe's Cinderella canoe

As usual, click on the thumbnails for much bigger images that in this case reveal just how smooth and sweet Alan’s seams really are!

Most first-time boatbuilders find themselves saying how much better the boat would be if they could do it all again, both because of the different choices they would make but also because of the techniques they have learned and improved. Many then go on to build different boats, but Alan Stancombe has built a second Cinderella to the free plans I drew up – and a great job he has done.

The difference lies in his use of tongue depressers as spacers between the strakes, which he says enabled him to produce smooth taped seams on the inside of the boat.

However he did it, I’m thinking he could give lessons in building Cinderellas!

For free plans for this easy to build 12ft stitch and glue open canoe made from plywood and epoxy, click here: Cinderella download

For more examples of the Cinderella, see the free plans page link at the top of this page.

PS I was also chuffed today to hear from Dave Stone, who sent me a Sketchup model of the sailing version of the Ella skiff that he’s been working on. Well done Dave! Plans for the Ella skiff are available from the Free plans page – see the link at the top of this page.

Ella skiff sketchup model