Kaholo SUPs!

The Top Ten Boat Plans of 2013
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It was our biggest-ever year for plans sales, suggesting a lot of skilled wood butchers laying in plywood and epoxy and rolling out plans to build boats from scratch.  Here are this year's faves. -JCH

1. Kaholo Stand-Up Paddleboards - 12'6" and 14' 

330 of you bought plans to build a Kaholo SUP in 2013. Since Kaholo plans comprise full-sized patterns for every part, about 81 square feet per set, that comes out to over 6/10th of an acre of drawings just for Kaholos.  Or enough square footage for three-and-a-half J-class sailing yachts. Never mind the numbers---from the photos we're getting, a lot of those plans are turning into beautiful and unique stand-up paddleboards (below).  

Kaholo 14

CLC Oars

2. CLC Wooden Oar Plans 

Over the years I'd gotten about a hundred emails asking for plans for oars.  I did the best I could to refer folks to primary sources, but there wasn't much out there---just a few magazine articles and small-scale drawings.  So we spent six months developing a comprehensive how-to manual, with plans for eight oar lengths from 6'0" to 9'6".  It's been an enduringly popular set of plans.

 3. CLC Kayak/Canoe SailRig 

As I recounted here, the impulse to convert a kayak into a fast sailing machine goes way back.  The CLC SailRig converts any canoe or kayak into a fast trimaran.  An update in 2012 added a high-performance option, with a 70-square-foot sail guaranteed to bring hoots and hollers on the water.

SailRig on Mill Creek

Northeaster Dory

4. Northeaster Dory 

With full-sized patterns for every part and a choice of two sailing rigs, this is a soup-to-nuts package that will yield a beach-cruising machine of uncommon character and good looks.

Mill Creek 16.5 by Peter Yudkoff

5. Mill Creek 16.5 

It's hard to believe that these plans were first shipped 18 years ago.  At the time, I was still drawing with pencil on vellum, which does nothing at all to diminish the versatility and nice lines of this classic double-paddle canoe.  This winter we are updating the Mill Creek 13 and 16.5 plans with full-sized patterns for every part.

6. Wood Duck 12

Whereas the old Mill Creek was mostly an analog creation, it's hard to imagine the Wood Duck designs without Eric Schade's facility at the computer.  Full-sized patterns make this one a doddle for scratch builders.

Wood Duck 12 by Carl Steinorth

7. Chesapeake SeriesChesapeake series

The Chesapeake kayaks have never been off the Top Ten since they appeared in 1996.  Thousands of these award-winning designs have been built on six continents.

Matunuck Surf Kayak

8. Matunuck Surf Kayak 

The Matunuck makes a surprise appearance on the Top Ten.  As one of the very few surf kayaks you can build yourself, it fills a small, if vital niche, and we've heard back from builders all over the world.


9. Cocktail Class Racer

This is a 1939 design by the writer (and early plywood boatbuilding advocate) Charles MacGregor.  The original design had you setting up a strongback, temporary frames, and doing a lot of cutting and fitting.  Our 21st-century Cocktail Class Racer is pieced together from prefabbed plywood parts, with an "egg crate" frame dropped into the hull for massive stiffness on the race course.  

Cocktail Class Racer

10. Shearwater Sport 

I will say something bold here, without the slightest fear of exaggeration:  I think the Shearwater Sport is the best all-around kayak in our entire catalog.  Refined enough for experts to wring out in surfing conditions, yet stable enough for beginners, the Shearwater Sport manages to be nearly all things to all people.  If you were to just have one kayak, this is The One.

Shearwater Sport