Water Craft magazine preview – and subscribe through PayPal now!

Water Craft is a great little magazine and, after talking with folks who edit it, I’ve decided to publish previews’s of each issue. Hopefully it will remind people to nip down to their newsagents – or, better still, to buy a subscription for themselves or a loved one.

[ad name=”intheboatshed-post”]


The March/April issue of Water Craft. As usual, click on the thumbnail for a bigger photo

The bi-monthly Water Craft is a great magazine and, after talking with folks who edit it, I’ve decided to publish previews of each issue. Hopefully they will remind people to nip down to their newsagents – or, better still, to buy a subscription for themselves or a loved one.

Editor Pete Greenfield reports that ‘small is beautiful’ has emerged as the dominant theme of Water Craft number 74, which is due out on the 26th February.

It’ll include a reprint of an article by Moray MacPhail first published 14 years ago, which now seems more relevant than ever, particularly in the light of the evidence of the WBTA Boat Buying Survey also included in the issue.

Also,there’s a piece from canoe builder John Floutier describing a sailing canoe cruise in company in the Western Isles. Also Kathy Mansfield impressed by the 14ft GRP Devon Yawl, and Jo Moran down in Cornwall sails the similar-sized and equally gutsy GRP Bristol Jolly Boat.

Smallest of them all in this issue, however, is Chris Perkins’ latest home boatbuilding project, the 10ft Stickleback canoe designed by Iain Oughtred.

Look out also for Dick Phillips sailing Secret, a 20ft Edwardian-style ‘gentleman’s cruising yacht’ you can build from a pre-cut plywood kit, and the beautiful 20ft Laurent Giles Sandpiper named Surprise, built by Tom Naismith in his garage.

The Grand Designs series features Nigel Irens’ 15-knot electric speedboat, which made her debut at the London Boat Show and Australian designer Michael Storer introduces his Radical Raid Boat, which will make her debut on the Water Craft stand at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show.

Subscribe to Water Craft now using the button below – with the pound so cheap now, this must be a real bargain for many of our international readers!

Water Craft subscriptions

Check this website to find a newsagent in the UK: http://availability.mmcltd.co.uk

John Welsford on choosing a dream boat

[ad name=”intheboatshed-post”]


An outstanding example of John Welsfords Rifleman light outboard motor
boat. This one was built by a retired professional boatbuilder and is the
best John has seen

for-leo-21 for-leo-3

One of John’s Navigator open cruising boats

Be rational, says legendary New Zealand small boat designer John Welsford. Think about the water you can get to, the people you have to sail with, the time you have available, the space you have to build in, and the size of your wallet.

He isn’t about to spare your feelings, but he might just save you a lot of money, time and heartache, so do please listen to what he has to say – unless, of course, you’re one of that rare breed of person who really is cut out to look after a special old boat. If that describes you, follow your dream and please send us some photos!

But back to John:

‘You will have some thoughts in your mind as to what would be a nice boat to have, and no doubt some ideas as to what you want to use it for. Some people will have seen something on the water or in print that they have fallen in love with and nothing else will do except one of ‘those’.’There will be those who have a lot of boating experience in one type of craft, and who don’t want to risk a change, and a few who are looking for something different. All of these already existing ideas have a bearing on what you might choose from the range of plans here in this on line catalogue of my work.

‘But here’s a warning: I’m going to lecture you a bit here, if you don’t like lectures, go and have a look at the boats, but otherwise, do please read on.’I have sold something in excess of 4500 sets of plans over the years and more than a few of the owners have ended up with a boat that, while it did what it was designed to do , what it was designed to do was not a good match for the owner’s environment, or was not suited to the usage, or could not be achieved with the time, building space or budget available.

‘There was nothing wrong with the boat, but it was just the wrong one for the place or the job.

‘So here are some suggestions.

‘Have a look at the area where you are going to use the boat: an ocean cruiser is not going to suit daysailing on a small lake, while a boat intended for running a river bar won’t be ideal for fly fishing the upper reaches of that same river. So have a realistic look at the water you have available to you and make some notes.

‘A small boat can be very seaworthy, but each person on board needs about 10 pounds a day of stores, and the trip to Europe from the US west coast needs six weeks worth of stores aboard. If your crew is four people, that’s getting up towards a ton of food and water plus the boat’s needs for the trip. If that’s your purpose, choose a boat that is designed to carry that load.

‘A boat that is intended to do that trip may be mostly cabin, and will have a tiny cockpit to accommodate one or two on watch but if you’re day cruising in a hot climate no one will want to be downstairs in a stuffy cabin so if you’re going to be sailing in  warm part of the world, you’ll need a much bigger cockpit.

‘Type is important too, rowing boats are as long and as narrow on the waterline as the designer thinks they can get away with, while a power boat intended to plane has very straight lines underneath – but these will make it a poor sailor. A sailboat is of a shape that resists the winds efforts to heel her over, and will travel at relatively slow speeds efficiently, but not fast.

‘A heavy motorboat won’t ever achieve planing speeds and the longer it is the faster it will run, ( a bit like the rowing boat) .

‘Meanwhile, a yacht tender is possibly the hardest boat to design of all, as it has to fit into a small space on deck, carry impossible loads, row well, tow at high speeds and be stable enough to allow its occupants to stand up and scramble into the parent vessel without going for an ignominious swim.

‘So think long about your dreamboat, consider where you are going to use it, be realistic about what you are going to do with her, and think over your likes and dislikes in a boat. Even the building space and budget will have a bearing on what is realistic.

‘If your choice is a good match with your dreams, the environment in which she will be used, and the skills and resources available to build her, then the project will be a successful one.’

John Welsford is a highly respected designer of small boats built from plywood, many of which include features from traditional boats. See his website at http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz

For more posts relating to John’s work, click here.

John Welsford’s new Pilgrim 16ft open cruising boat design

It’s entirely a matter of coincidence, but John Welsford has also been weblogging the design of boat  – though his could hardly be different from my little skiff.

Pilgrim is a small seaworthy open cruising boat light enough to be managed by one person on the beach, but fitted with removable ballast. It has a rounded and balanced hull form that allows it to heel without wanting to turn – in that way, it’s more like a yacht than modern dinghy, even if it is dinghy-sized.

(For those who don’t immediately understand this last point, I should explain that the now conventional sailing dinghy form that encourages planing when sailing usually also makes a boat that pulls round into the wind when heeled. Yachts however are generally designed to remain easy to steer as they heel, because there’s usually no way of ensuring they can be sailed flat – some obvious exceptions are high-tech boats with moveable ballast and heavy keels that swing sideways such as Mini-Transats and Open 60s.)

John’s project is interesting not least because I can’t recall anything recent that’s quite like it, but also, I think, because its rounded hull bears at least a little resemblance to the beach fishing boats that have been used on the South Coast of England for generations, and I’d guess that at least some of John’s design criteria have something in common with the needs of the crews of those little boats – which one might say was a matter of convergent evolution.  Notice the cute bowsprit designed to maximise the rig area to match the powerful hull, and the long shallow keel that becomes deeper the further aft you go. The rather misleading name for this feature is ‘drag’, by the way, but don’t let that confuse you.

I do hope John himself doesn’t think I’m talking complete nonsense!

I wonder what the members of the Uk’s dinghy cruising movement will think about it? My only concern is that I think rowing it will be hard work – but with a big rig, perhaps that won’t be necessary very often in John’s sailing area.

Click here to follow the Pilgrim project’s progress.