View Full Version : Solo Canoe

David W Pratt
02-15-2016, 08:10 AM
I want to build a small, light canoe. any advice on plans greatly appreciated. Wee Rob and CLC's Nymph are currently in the running.

02-15-2016, 08:51 AM
I built Nymph from the table of offsets and the articles in WoodenBoat as an alternative to a plastic kayak for my 76 year old mom. I stretched it to 12 ft. Even though I used some brass and hardwood trim, the weight came out at 30 lbs. It is surprisingly seaworthy in chop and is a very speedy little canoe. My mom loads it on her Subaru by herself. There is a build thread here, but the photos were lost when a provider went under. The 12 foot version is good for a person <200 lbs. or so.

Build Thread:


Let me know if you have questions I can answer.

http://i1288.photobucket.com/albums/b489/fitzyknu/Building%20the%20Nymph%20Canoe/2668042030054321892panOiD_fs_zpsd2188feb.jpg (http://s1288.photobucket.com/user/fitzyknu/media/Building%20the%20Nymph%20Canoe/2668042030054321892panOiD_fs_zpsd2188feb.jpg.html)


Edward Pearson
02-15-2016, 11:12 AM
John Winters Kite. 14ft too much?


02-15-2016, 01:08 PM
In plywood, the late Thomas Firth Jones designed a nice one called the Chingadera. Free plans in one of his books.
And, the late Platt Monfort had about the smallest, lightest solo canoes you can make. http://www.GABoats.com

I've got plans for a few, too . . . .

03-04-2016, 08:59 PM
Did you choose something?


03-05-2016, 05:14 AM
while beautiful, none of the boats in the photos have had any gear .

03-05-2016, 07:08 AM
I built a 16' Bolger Yellow Leaf flat-bottom pirogue. You could do the same in a weekend and be messing about in it while you decide what else to build. With double wales and real epoxy and glass in the chines it would last a good while. Plenty of capacity for gear and the length can make it easier to handle, such as putting it on a roof rack one end at a time. See my old site here: https://sites.google.com/site/molepages/brick2


03-05-2016, 07:59 AM
Add Mac McCarthy's boats (http://www.feathercanoes.com/index.html) to your list.

This is his Wee Lassie


03-05-2016, 09:23 AM
while beautiful, none of the boats in the photos have had any gear .

They're generally designed as dayboats with lower freeboard a light displacement. That said there are plenty of designs in the 15 ft range (here the larger Kite and Ashes Solo) that can carry gear ... I recommend to my customers that we add a foot if they're going to be headed deep into the backcountry.

Mr. Loon
03-05-2016, 10:17 AM
I don't wish to transgress any boundaries here so I must ask, is it considered "advertising" if someone on this board asks a direct question, as is being done here, about what is available and I post photos of plans for several designs I sell professionally?

03-05-2016, 10:47 AM
The more I see the tumblehome amidship on a small double paddle canoe or kayak, the more I like it. I know my one little kayak could use the extra paddling room there. It is just on the edge of being too wide where I have to be conscious of my paddle strokes so as to not bang my hands. A future build will have the tumblehome built in.


03-05-2016, 10:50 AM
Check thomassons design...



Todd Bradshaw
03-05-2016, 11:28 AM
I think the first thing you need to do is to decide how far you plan to go in this potential canoe. The little Wee Lassie types are great for poking around in protected waters, but pretty slow and tedious if you really want to get somewhere. Likewise, kneeling or sitting on a raised seat (as opposed to sitting the bottom, kayak-style) opens up a whole range of performance that most open double paddle boats don't have. One of the toughest things to do when you are in the canoe selling business is to get people into boats (solo or tandem) that are actually long enough to really glide well and lift decently in waves. A little, light 12-footer may be perfect for exploring the ponds and backwaters, but if you're actually wanting to get somewhere efficiently, I probably wouldn't go shorter than 15'-16'. That's about what it takes to get into a boat where you aren't hindered by the fact that you are paddling alone.

03-05-2016, 12:19 PM
I agree with Todd. I am a longer is better guy. I gotta say, I was worried about the slow, pokie, bathtub effect with the Nymph. I didn't want Grandma struggling to keep up with her kayak friends. So I stretched it to 12 ft. I was also afraid of a small boat on larger waters and chop. She is a wise lady and would not venture out too far anyway, but so far all of my fears have been unfounded with Nymph. It scoots right along and is very seaworthy, in large part because the paddler is in the bottom. If anything, paddling sitting in the bottom (on a seat) can take a toll comfort wise, not unlike a kayak, I suppose.

Mr. Loon
03-05-2016, 12:23 PM
If you are around long enough you see the inevitable changes is "styles" of paddling and boating, just like everything else in life.

I've talked with friends who were outfitters who can't sell long boats these days. Many younger people wouldn't even conceive of the distances some of us have traveled under muscle power!

Canoes & Kayaks:

David W Pratt
03-07-2016, 08:34 PM
Thanks, all. Some beautiful boats, very inspiring, and a challenge to live up to.