Nutshell PramBy Steve Killing

Joel White's Nutshell Pram is over 15 years old, but it is still as fresh as ever. If you have an urge to build your own boat, this perky little number would be a great way to get your feet wet.

The boat's late designer once wrote this about his nutshell pram: "Little boats are fun to develop, but not easy. The design constraints are so strong, and the requirements are so firm, that the plans for a small boat can be a real challenge." He is so right. For one thing, controlling the aesthetics of a compact dinghy is rather complex - there's not much length to develop graceful overhangs or elegant sheerlines. Add to that the restriction that the boat has to be easy to build for novice woodworkers, and the design task escalates.

Plywood panels are used to create this build­it-yourself boat - a single panel of 3/8- inch plywood on the lower surface and three-quarter- inch plywood panels up the side. They overlap and are fastened in a rather unique way during the construction process. The top edge of the lower plank is bevelled to receive the plank above and the joint is liberally coated with epoxy resin. While the resin is setting, small plywood tabs are placed inside the hull, overlapping the joint, while a screw is driven through from outside to hold each one in place. The resulting pressure holds the joint tight and ensures a watertight seal. This seemingly crude approach of using tabs and screw holes every four inches is actually brilliant. After the epoxy sets up, the screws are pulled out, the tabs are removed and the holes are filled with epoxy.

I had the chance to watch 14 of these tenders take form at a community building project here in Midland, Ontario. Ken Woods, a local boat-building enthusiast, launched the "Build a boat with your mom (or dad, or grandmother, or scout leader...)" program. For most of the participants this is their first boat-building experience and the Nutshell design worked well. The participants built the larger version illustrated here (the original is only 7'7''), which will handle a more substantial payload while rowing or sailing. Each boat had an adult and at least one child sawing, gluing and sanding side by side. I only had to watch this group for a few moments before my belief in the therapeutic power of wooden boat building was reaffirmed. There are few places where you can find a more diverse group of people, working in such close proximity, joking together and, unknowingly, testing their own limits. It was wonderful.

Some of the small boats designed for amateur building have a final appearance that somehow seems fragile - they look like boats, but you could never imagine tackling any serious weather in them. This is not the case with the Nutshell. Its solid gunnels, ample knees that reinforce the transoms and full-length outer keel make the boat robust. The bow and stern are both flat transoms and the only tricky parts to the construction are a laminated central frame and forward inside keel. The shape of the hull and that all-important sheer-line are just right.

The sailing rig is a simple 55- square-foot sail with boom and yard that your children could toss about with one hand. The daggerboard, although presented on the drawings as a flat plywood blade with bevelled edges, would perform better with a nice foil shape, but when you built the boat yourself, this kind of customization is easy to do.

If this boat sounds like a project for you, the drawings are available from Wooden Boat magazine. I encourage you to join the thousands who know the satisfaction of creating a fine-looking boat with their own hands.

Originally published in Canadian Yachting’s Sailpast 1999 issue.

Specifications:
Length 9' 6"
Beam 4' 5"
Weight 110 lb
Draft 5" (board up)
2' 3" (board down)
Sail area 55 sq. ft.

Destinations

  • Prev
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.
The Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) invites all sailors to join a cruising rally from the ...
Long popular with New England and St. John area boaters, Passamaquoddy Bay is too often overlooked ...
We did breakfast yesterday in the Greek port of Piraeus, just outside Athens:strong coffee, crisp ...
After much speculation Prince Harry finally popped the question to American actress and longtime ...

 

How to be as Polite as a Canadian at Gulf Island Marine Park Anchorages

Gulf Island Marine ParkStory and photos by Catherine Dook

One summer I sold ice cream and knick-knacks at Montague Harbour Marina. I was standing behind the counter one day, when the phone rang. “There’s a boat at anchor in the middle of the bay that’s been playing loud music for three hours,” complained an irate-sounding male voice. “Can you make them stop?”

“Um, no,” I replied. “The marina has no jurisdiction over the anchorage. Besides, my only weapon is a till.” The man hung up on me.

Now when you think about it, you can understand why the poor fellow was annoyed.

Read more about the Gulf Island Marine Park.....

 

 

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Don’t miss this brilliant photo double header
In honour of Launch Day, our POTW this time comes from Wendy Loat in Port Credit. This shot, taken ...
Our favorite, Man-O-War Cay, is home to the Albury Boat Building empire. They have been building ...
On the Easter Weekend, the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club from Vancouver Island, had its first ...
We were finally able to get a SIM card and data plan on our phone Monday morning. We could now ...
It’s Friday afternoon at the Newport Yacht Club in Stoney Creek, and that can only mean one thing - ...
As things are always better in the Bahamas, especially during Canadian winters, so too are things ...
We were all set with this week’s POTW when a real stunner came in as part of a story on the Blind ...
Have your say. Send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need ...
When I was about ten years old I starting racing sailboats on Cape Cod and the sound of the wind ...
Canadian Yachting Digital May 2018

 

Dufour 412

Dufour 412By: Katherine Stone

One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done better? The engineers at Dufour Yachts and the Felci Yachts Design group asked that question and listened carefully to suggestions from owners of the earlier, award-winning Dufour 410- one of Dufour’s most successful 12-metre boats. Not only did Dufour make the 412 more attractive and modern, but alsoincorporated amenities that are usually only reserved for larger boats.

We sailed the boat on a gusty, chilly, late autumn day out of Whitby, Ontario, on Lake Ontario, and she handled very well in 20 knotbreezes and three- to four-foot swells.

Read more about the Dufour 412.....

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
In the early spring, just after launch, with the hustle and bustle of engine checks, antifouling, ...
All engines, including marine engines (inboards, outboards and stern drives) have many moving parts ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
I once heard an argument at a yacht club. Two old salts, patiently itching to let go lines and ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 
This one-day course consists of both theory and practical demonstration sessions, is designed to ...
Water has a funny way of making its way into a boat: through through-hulls, stuffing boxes, leaks, ...
If you walk the aisles at a boat show, visit a marine store, or stop in at a repair shop, you’ll ...
 Since the initial article of this column we have identified a wide range of apps and ...

 

Pyrotechnic Distress Flares vs. Electronic Distress Strobes

Pyrotechnic Distress Flares vs. Electronic Distress StrobesBy Andy Adams

Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares have only been introduced in the last couple of years - and they aren't Canadian Coast Guard approved for use in Canada, at least not yet.

But which one is best? And the more important question is: When should you signal for help?

When the authorities do a vessel inspection on the water, they are looking for equipment that is in compliance with the regulations such as lifejackets, bailing buckets, sound signaling devices, and so on.

Read more about Pyrotechnic Distress Flares vs. Electronic Distress Strobes...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...
Ga-Oh (spirit of the winds in Algonquin) creates bags and other items from re-purposed sails.
The 2018 Northwest Boat Travel Guide just arrived. This time of the year is the perfect time for ...
We are all looking to gain a little more time these days, and technology is often the route we ...
While they are no longer a part of the CPS Flare Program, Fogh Boat Supplies and Fogh Marine, both ...
We have all had the experience of heading down below on a nice boat only to encounter an unpleasant ...
Starting from the top. If you partake in any winter activities, you have probably heard that your ...
Last year when this column launched a good deal of time was spent understanding global satellite ...