This book takes the complete novice–armed only with a gleam in the eye, and a basic knowledge of hammer, saw, and screwdriver–and walks him or her through the process of building a boat. The only materials needed are easily available from any lumberyard: plywood, 2x4s, nails, and wood glue. The process is simple, the result is extraordinary–your own boat, ready to sail, in just a week or two, for a fraction of the cost of buying a factory-built (boring!) boat. And the sense of accomplishment is beyond compare.
The main focus of the book is on building the 14-foot sailing/rowing skiff called “Mayfly.” Full plans and detailed step-by step instructions are given, with numerous line drawings and photographs. Those instructions can then be applied to the other full plans included: for a dinghy, a motorboat, a rowboat, a canoe, and two other sailboats.
The only other book to compare is Harold Payson’s venerable Build the New Instant Boats. But where that book leaves off, this book goes beyond: with chapters on making your own oars, making kick-up rudders, pivoting leeboards, sails, flotation compartments, water ballast, hatches, and tips for cartopping and trailering your boat, and much more. It is an introductory book that will continue to be pored over as the beginner transforms himself or herself into an experienced boatbuilder.
Also included are a catalog of twenty other boat plans for dreaming over, a guide to boatbuilding sites on the web, a guide to materials suppliers, and a bibliography of further reading.
A great book for families, for scout groups, for school shop classes, for anyone who enjoys messing about in boats.
Jim Michalak is a former aerospace engineer who has become, in the last decade, one of the foremost designers of small boats in America. He lives in Lebanon, Illinois.