30 Sep


Nominate Your Favorite Small-Boat Cruising Ground



There are lots of places to sail—especially in a small boat—but let’s face it, some places are better than others. Maybe it’s the amazing weather and consistent winds, or the scenery, or the miles of shallow water and deserted anchorages, or the special history of the place. Whatever brings you back, we’d like to know about it for a feature article we’re working on.

In the survey below we’ll ask you for a few details about your favorite spot and we might include your quotes and information in the upcoming feature. (We know we’ve already asked some of you this question and we appreciate your previous response and may use those too, but this more formal survey will help us flesh out the article—Eds)

Click here to participate in survey.


Filed Under: Uncategorized

13 Aug


The Cartop Carrier Yacht


An Inveterate Tinkerer Turns Things Upside Down
by Jim Graves

I stopped at a nearby neighbor’s almost perpetual garage sale, where a Sears cartop luggage carrier about six-feet long caught my eye. I figured that with a bit of work—some judicious cutting and drilling here and there—it’d make a quickly-built and quirky little sailboat.

After a bit of planing and sawing, the hull begain to show promise of a capable, if tiny, sailing craft. Much online research was begun to find the specific ratios and distance dimensions. A lot of small boat comparisons of apparent sail area to hull profile were tallied; the same with lee board size and location. The “quick” project went the same as all the others, taking far longer than expected, but the enjoyment was not diminished. It became obvious that, more than with motorcycles and other builds, a sailboat has to have all its component parts designed at the same time to work properly. As in an engine, everything has to work together, and small dimensions matter. It takes at least as long to research and design as to build and install. But the hope remained that, in the end, maybe it would float.

I also consulted with a few experienced and successful sailboat designers. I learned that the scale of the appendages does not change at the same rate as the hull, when scaling to a different length. So, as always, a bit of “over engineering” in places seemed wise, if specifics are not known. That is, we don’t have to know some of the exact parameters, but should be able to compare and copy closely. Thought was applied to where stress would originate and travel. Also, it was decided the materials used should be conducive to low-cost construction. Pine wood was settled on for its lightweight and finished beauty.

Some extra heft was put in the leeboard swivel surface. The hull was stiffened using 6″ pvc thinwall tubing around the upper inside gunnels. And it provides floatation. The mast step is pvc tube too, held stiff and distributing the loads by lateral tubes to the gunnels, with a stiffening plate under. More pvc space frame may be added later. If it floats. An aluminum extendable tube was attempted as mast, but added unneeded complication; the old proven aluminum tube being resorted to. The experimental  sail is of painters drop cloth. The boom will be changed from the pvc to matching aluminum. L-boards and rudder are foil shaped, and the rudderhead is hand carved, using electric power tools. Stand by in a future issue of Small Craft Advisor, for the results of the sea, I mean, pond, trials…. if it floats.


The all-self-built assembly.


Showing lee board swivel mounting.


Inside. Flotation gap allows enough room for skipper’s nap below.

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27 Jul

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Pocket Yacht Palooza and Crooza



July 18th saw boats gather in Port Townsend for the fourth annual Pocket Yacht Palooza. In addition to the boats on trailers and along the waterfront, visitors were treated to a Q&A session with several Race to Alaska racers—including first solo finisher, Roger Mann. And that evening, small-boat designer John Welsford gave a stimulating talk on “Designing for Dreams,” which included his sharing details and photos of Howard Rice’s nearly finished modified adventure SCAMP and Howard’s plan to return and explore remote Tierra Del Fuego by small boat.

The next day more than 20 boats set off on the first ever Palooza Crooza, a scheduled 3-day cruise around nearby Marrowstone Island. What follows are photos from the festivities and cruise.


Palooza in full swing. Photo by Marty Loken


R2AK solo racer Roger Mann answers questions. Photo Marty Loken


The fleet setting off for Mats Mats Bay. Photo Helen Leenhouts


Danny Grunbaum of Seattle with his twin 13-year-old twins, Sam and Maks aboard their Core Sound 17. Photo Helen Leenhouts


Pete and Helen Leenhouts’ little tug called Blue Star. They served as escort the entire cruise. Photo Josh Colvin


Charles Silver at the helm of SCAMP #1. Joel Bergen’s Navigator Ellie in background. Photo by Josh Colvin


Tom Gale’s Bolger Old Shoe passing under bridge at Port Townsend Canal. Photo Debra Colvin


A pram parade of SCAMPs looking for wind. Photo Josh Colvin


Rick Proctor took this shot of another San Francisco Pelican from his own Pelican.


Lee’s Oughtred-designed Wee Seal called Opus. Photo Josh Colvin


Tom Carr’s Mirror Offshore 19 called Bluebird. Photo Helen Leenhouts


Simeon’s SCAMP #11 Noddy headed under bridge. Photo Debra Colvin


Lynn Watson and Katie Mae ghost into Mats Mats Bay. Photo Josh Colvin


A few of the boats moored at our gracious host’s private dock in Mats Mats. Photo Marty Loken


Sunset on Mats Mats. Photo Marty Loken


Kirk Gresham’s Crotch Island Pinky, and David Jones’ Oughtred Eun na Mara cruiser near Marrowstone Point. Photo Helen Leenhouts


Scott Marckx’s Welsford Rogue runs close to shore. Photo Helen Leenhouts.


Palooza Croozers at the dock at Fort Flagler State Park. Photo Marty Loken


Some boats used beach rollers to overnight at Fort Flager. Photo Marty Loken


Palooza coordinator, Marty Loken, catching a well-deserved nap. (George Holmes designed canoe yawl based on the Ethel design) Photo Helen Leenhouts

Filed Under: Blog, General Posts

24 Jun


Roger Mann on his R2AK Experience


Below is an excerpt from our interview with the indomitable Roger Mann—the first place solo Race to Alaska finisher who completed the adverse 750 mile course pedaling and sailing his Hobie Adventure Island sailing kayak.


Roger on transiting Seymour Narrows: “Heard that Team Un-Cruise did it at night, so took one last quick nap and headed out after midnight. Took much longer than I expected to get into the Narrows, so I hit it late and when I did it there was at least 20 knots on the nose, which caused severe conditions—worst that I had seen yet. I didn’t carry much sail into it, but used the current, staying in the middle and just rafting along, but the waves were so close together I ended up missing getting lined up for one big one with the pedal drive and ended up getting washed off the boat. I had my surfboard leash on and quickly got back aboard, climbing over and bending my tiller steering rods. I looked for a place to hide out but nothing came up until early in the morning about the time the tide was changing. I found a nice island to get behind and tied up to bull kelp.”

On pithchpoling at Cape Caution: “As I reached the Cape it was around 10 pm, dark, and swells were around 20 feet—I was not making progress very well. I reefed, lined up for a beach landing and went for the middle which I knew was clear, but the surf was just too big for the 16 foot boat and I planted the nose and the boat flipped over forward with the right ama hitting the ground, sheering the breakaway bolt and then folding back as the mast hit the sand and the wave crashed everything onto the beach.

“Everything that I had Johnstone had taken away.”

“My feet were working the pedals trying to keep the speed, so when we hit, one leg of the drive system broke off as I got thrown from the boat. I stood up in chest deep water and grabbed the mast and pulled it up and the boat popped back upright with the right ama folded as another wave crashed down. I had a large bag on the back storage area and many things attached to the hiking benches. The bag and right bench had gotten washed off and waves continued to crash and push us in. I noticed I had trouble moving and thought that it was undertow. Instead it was that I had left my fly zipper open on my drysuit and my legs had filled with water. I was pinned to the beach and couldn’t pull myself up and out of the water, so I got my knife and slit open the feet which let the water out and I was able to get up and drag the boat out of the surf…

“I took care of getting out of the wet clothes and warmed myself and felt Like I was now out of danger, and then started seeing how bad it was going to end up being. I was thinking the worst, and that the akas may be bent and I may need to call for rescue. But as I assessed the boat I did not find any major damage. I had replacement breakaway bolts so that was going to be okay, but I was missing a lot of stuff—mainly the Hobie seat. It was just plain gone. Plus the anchor and many other items.”

On one of many trip highlights: “My last night on the water. I had pushed very hard, was hallucinating bad, was pretty much lost although I knew about where I was, and just plain beat down, so I tied up to some kelp around 2 am to get some sleep. I was awakened by the snort of a huge whale only about 50 feet away. As I awoke his back slid slowly through the water with his tail coming way up and out of the water. It was huge—had to be as wide as an airplane’s wing—maybe 30 feet or so. It was foggy, misty, very calm and very cool and pretty magical. Just amazing.”

On surviving the straits: “Everything that I had Johnstone had taken away…I had a major personal moment with myself. I was very proud that I had made it in those conditions and having had so many things taken from me. I felt like I was broken down and reborn as a new stronger person that had confidence to take on big challenges and overcome them. It was a life changing moment for me. I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears of joy. It was very tough and challenging and I am very glad that it was, because it allowed me to learn a lot about myself.”

The complete interview and an R2AK recap article will appear in the next issue of Small Craft Advisor.—Eds

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