I name this ship PandA II …

The local canal was the site for the launch and first voyage:

It floated – the right way up – and with two or three people in it would track in a reasonably straight line:

With one person, it slides sideways, unless you heal it hard to dig one of the chines in.  The first voyage was 2km along the canal to Sainsbury’s for ice cream and then back again.

Lofting the canoe

The first step was lofting – well that’s what I grandly call it. It refers to the process of transferring the 3D boat’s lines to flat pieces of wood. In fact the designer has already done that and it’s just a matter of scaling up the A4 drawings to full size sheets of plywood.

We used a bit of plastic cable trunking that I had handy to form a spline, like this:


As the canoe is symmetrical fore and aft (as well as port to starboard!) both sheets of plywood will have identical cuts, so I clamped them together.  (Of course, that means I was risking ruining two pieces at once!)

Then it was out with the electric jigsaw:


Bateau.com recommends using a small circular saw to get smooth curves. Mine came out a little wiggly, but I don’t think that matters as epoxy glue fills in gaps quite nicely [as it happens, greater errors later on made my wiggly cuts insignificant].

Here are the resulting pieces of wood laid out on the ground:


Next step, stitching it all together – it might start to look like a canoe soon!

How it started

I have toyed with the idea of building a small sailing dinghy for a few years, in order to introduce my son to sailing and for me to learn some new skills.  Then my son said that he wanted to help, except he has loftier plans – a boat with a cabin – his ambition is to build a Pocketship.  Realising our limitations I decided to start with something simpler.

So, what are we building?  Well it’s something like a Bateau Cheap Canoe, a free plan that I’ve enlarged slightly.  In fact the designer has a slightly larger one called the Nice Canoe, but it’s a little too big for us.  I bought the ($10) plans for the larger one, just to check the scantlings would be sufficient.

Here’s the start back in April: laying out two sheets of 1.2 x 2.4 m 5.5 mm thick plywood.  It’s only cheap exterior grade, which I hope won’t matter, as we will be coating it in epoxy.  My able assistant is enjoying the spring sunshine.

Marking out the plywood
Marking out the plywood