Tod Kerr dips his small Cinderella open canoe built from free plans

Tod Kerr hadn’t quite finished building his Cinderella canoe when he put it in the water for the first time – but he seems pretty pleased with it. Take a look at his weblog account to see what he has to say.

Free plans are available from this page.

The Cinderella is an unconventional stitch and glue design that’s very easy and quick to build using a method that works at this small size – there are no real frames or a proper strongback, just (using the plans in Ultrasimple Boatbuilding) three T-shaped temporary frames – though the boat can also be built using just one T, as outlined in the online plans.

Tod went with the book as you’ll see from his photos, has clearly done a good job (well done Tod!) and reports that Cinderella is ‘really light, very maneuverable, easy to paddle and fast’. 

With these characteristics she’s also tippier than larger commercial open canoes with wide flat bottoms, and Tod has learned that trying to sit up too high can be a bit wobbly…

I predict that he’ll find his best seating position and be very happy balancing the little boat – but I also think he’ll likely find he enjoys uses his Cinderella in the sheltered waters she was designed for, rather than far from shore on the sea.

The Ella skiff – a cheap and fun way to get afloat this summer

Numbers of people boating this year are on the rise, according to the 2011 Watersports and Leisure Participation Report.

The report commissioned by boating organisations including the Royal Yachting Association, members of the British Marine Federation, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the British Canoe Union and the Marine Management Organisation showed an increase of 0.3m between 2010 and 2011 – as many as 3.2m people took to boats last year.

In this context I’d argue that the plywood boat Ella skiff – the photo above is a recent and very nicely made example built in South Africa  – represents a cheap, quick and fun way to get afloat this summer. Read all about it, and get free plans here.

Norman Fuller’s Ella skiff at the 2010 HHBR meet at Barton Turf

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Rowing for Pleasure weblogger Chris Partridge and Norman Fuller demonstrate the Ella skiff under oars and with an electric outboard.

Norman brought his Ella to the 2010 HBBR meeting at Barton Turf, and quite a few of us had some fun with it. These clips show Chris putting the little boat through her paces, while Norman demonstrates the outboard, which is a 12lb model that he has set up with control lines.

Free plans for the Ella skiff can be found on the Free boat plans page of this website – you’ll find a link to the free plans page right at the top of this page.