Boat Building

Model testing the Almaguin, part 1: The framework

Computer simulations are pretty good these days, but there's still a lot they can't do. And as nice as it would be to have my own full-scale prototype of every boat I draw, that's just not feasible- there's never enough space or money for that. Models, though, are inexpensive, don't take up much room, and are fun to build- and, if done carefully with the right mathematical backing, can offer a lot of insight into how the full-size boat will perform.

New plans: Almaguin 400 & 500 utility runabouts

The plans are ready! The four- and five-metre Almaguin runabouts, designed with first-time builders in mind, will be excellent fishing, utility or sport boats for inland lakes, rivers or calm coastal areas. They're built in taped-seam plywood and don't require elaborate jigs or fine carpentry skills. Have a look here, and please feel free to contact me if either of these boats interests you.

Engine access: Sterndrives, part 2 (Doing It Right)

A while ago, I showcased a few sterndrive installations of varying quality, and pointed out some of the engine access problems that result when these units are shoehorned into too-tight spaces. Here's an example of one that's done relatively well. The boat is a 19-foot Doral runabout, built in Midland, Ontario in 2007.

Doral 190

Breached hulls, swamped hulls, and bilge pumps

You see them at just about every boat show. Sometimes it's a six-metre fishing boat, sometimes it's a luxury cruiser with a six-figure price tag. But there are always a few boats with something terrifying lurking under a hidden access hatch in the stern: a "bilge pump" that would barely suffice for aquarium duty in my wife's Red Oscar tank. Sure, it'll get rid of rain water and the occasional bit of spray that seeps down there, but that's not what a bilge pump is for. Its main function is to keep you afloat if everything goes to pot, and frankly, most pumps just aren't up to the job.

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