View Full Version : Whats your favourite book of boat designs?

11-18-2002, 07:25 PM
Just curious to see which book of designs has the most fans. I guess mine would be 100 Boat Designs Reviewed, from the Wooden Boat Series, a close second would be the Chesapeake Marine Design catalouge. But I can change my mind real quick. I would love to see a book with all William Garden designs, it would probably keep me busy dreaming all winter. :D

Dave Fleming
11-18-2002, 07:58 PM
Daniel, there are several editions of 'some' of Bill Garden's work both in print and out of print.
Use DonnW aka LOON's advice on finding books in a recent post.

Bruce Taylor
11-18-2002, 08:25 PM
I don't know how Donn finds 2nd-hand books, but I use Abebooks.com .

I like the WB series 50, 40 & 30 Wooden Boats, and 100 Boat Designs Reviewed. I resort to them frequently. The Mystic collection, too (haven't got the newer one yet). I haven't seen the Chesapeak book. What do you like about it?

Scott Rosen
11-18-2002, 08:31 PM
I recently picked up two good books of boat designs. The Rudder, which is published by WoodenBoat and available through the WoodenBoat Store. And Boat Designs of Mystic Seaport (or something like that), edited my Maynard and Kathy Bray. I may have mangled the titles, sorry.

Both of these books have a lot of good motorsailor designs from the 30's, 40's and 50's.

Dave Fleming
11-18-2002, 08:49 PM
All I want for Christmas besides a case of El Dorado Rum is Volume 8 of the Motorboat series.
Modern Motorboat Designs and Plans.

Page 150 had the plans for Magpie a 46 foot Schooner rigged Motor Sailer bye Wm. Atkin.

Has sentimental value to me. Was the boat Les Hanson built and lived on and where he offered me an apprentice job helping build the Northead a Garden design.

Been searching for that for donkeys years and have yet to come up with a copy. Almost to the point of contacting the the son and see if I can buy a copy of the plans. Not to build well...maybe a model but, just to have and frame.

Ah well, time marches on and its 5:39 and me hand is empty! I haven't had a dram yet and' me troat is dat pached', that is my best Novi accent.

[ 11-18-2002, 08:50 PM: Message edited by: Dave Fleming ]

Bruce Taylor
11-18-2002, 08:56 PM
Dave, there's a copy at Vintage Books of Dunedin in New Zealand (not cheap, though... $73, plus whatever they'll charge for delivery).

"Publisher: Motor Boating, 1945; Very Good. 4to - over 9 3/4 " - 12" tall. 154p Reprint edition Grey-green cloth binding, black titles and decorations Slight rubbing top, bottom spine Fore-corners bumped VG - Near Fine A nice, tidy copy, Motor Boating's Ideal Series, Vol VIII, a collection of designs for motor boats, cruisers and sailing craft, with drawings, complete building instructions and hints."

http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&qi=Td5OGEsCIRAN.fABX7Hc,fES6Y8_406 3169473_2:6:38 (http://www.bookfinder.com/search/?ac=sl&st=sl&qi=Td5OGEsCIRAN.fABX7Hc,fES6Y8_4063169473_2:6:38)

At another location, there is a William Atkin title of the same name, but dated 1938 (must be a different volume in the series?)

Even more money, but it's in your neighbourhood:

Atkin, Willam
Modern Motor Boat Plans and Designs
NY: Motor Boating. 1938. Revised. NF Quarto, in tan cloth. Corners bumped. Clean, bright. Bookseller Inventory #kideF80A90
Price: US$ 80.00 (Convert Currency)
Bookseller: Tsunami Books, Eugene, OR, U.S.A. |


[ 11-18-2002, 09:07 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

Dave Fleming
11-18-2002, 09:02 PM
Holy Big Bucks Batman! $70+ USD for that copy and not even an original edition either. But thanks for finding it I am somewhat a dunce at(as well as a dunce about other things, sigh) using the search parts of some of used boat sites.

Bruce Taylor
11-18-2002, 09:10 PM
Heh he. Guess you're not that sentimental.

The 1938 listing in Oregon must be the first edition.

11-18-2002, 09:10 PM
Roger Taylor's Good Boat series. Chapelle's American Small Craft(?). Those come to mind. Not sure of the titles.

11-18-2002, 09:15 PM
The Sharpie Book, by Parker

Dave Fleming
11-18-2002, 09:20 PM
Well glass in hand I return and Bruce yes, that 1938 is the first pub date I know of.
But it is just up the road, so to speak, and I may have to do a 'song and dance' for SWIMPAL about that one.
After all she was there in the galley when Les made the offer. Hit on her sentimental side, eh? ;) ;)

Rob H
11-18-2002, 09:20 PM
I'd have to agree with Ishmael on Chapelle. _American Small Sailing Craft_ was the one that got me hooked in the first place and it's still a favorite.
L. Francis Herreshoff's _Sensible Cruising Designs_ has got to be near the top of my list, too.

Dave Fleming
11-18-2002, 09:55 PM
To un-highjack this thread, I have so many books on design I don't think I could pick just one.
But my first, as it was about the only one at the time, was Chappelles American Small Sailing Craft.

Bruce Taylor
11-18-2002, 10:15 PM
But my first, as it was about the only one at the time, was Chappelles American Small Sailing Craft.I just ordered a copy from a secondhand dealer, through Bibliodirect.

First editions of that one are over $70, too! (Needless to say, I bought the reprint)

John B
11-18-2002, 10:34 PM
Commonsense of Yacht Design LFH
Carrick's book on Alden. I can dive in there and not come back out.
Uffa Fox's series. I own 2 of 3 or 4. Sailing and seamanship and another( can't recall off the top)"Second book"?

11-19-2002, 12:38 AM
Trying to pick a favourite book of yacht designs is like trying to publicly state for the record which of your kids is your favourite - it depends on your mood and the time of day and who is standing closest and ... well, you get the point. However, my favourite book pertaining to boats is easy - Chapelle's "Yacht Designing and Planning", which showed me that I could really do that.

(P.S. - I cheated about the favourite kid bit. That's a no-brainer; Gwyn wins hands-down. Of course, she's my only kid, too. :D )

G. Schollmeier
11-19-2002, 01:17 AM
For me it is John Gardnerís, Building Classic Small Craft. Over 500 pages of pictures, drawings, offset tables, and other great information about classic small boats. A lot of dreams in that book.
Gary :D

[ 11-19-2002, 01:18 AM: Message edited by: G. Schollmeier ]

11-19-2002, 06:45 AM
Bruce, I like the CMD book because the boats all seem to have (in my eyes at least) very pleasing lines. I also enjoy the Selway Fischer book too, but it could use more information (ie: better pics, more detail)

Bruce Taylor
11-19-2002, 07:15 AM
However, my favourite book pertaining to boats is easy - Chapelle's "Yacht Designing and PlanningI found that one at a local dealer just two days ago. Wonderful book.

11-19-2002, 07:27 AM
Dave Fleming-
Magpie is not in the 1925 edition. You want the 1947 edition. Motor boating did this with several volumes. They reissued volumes with different designs included.

11-19-2002, 11:14 AM
Volume 51 of the Motorboating Ideal series. Its title is something like 363 Boatbuilding Designs. 363 study plans My guess is that 90% of them are Atkin designs. Aah....

I also love books from which one can build, like Gardner's books, Monk's 16 Designs (from which I built LUNA), and Atkins The Small Boat Book.

Dave Fleming
11-19-2002, 11:26 AM
Roger, the info I have from John K's Mother of Maritime links is:
Modern Motorboat Designs and Plans
Volume 8
Copyright 1938

page 150
Magpie a 46 foot schooner rigged motor sailer bye
Wm. Atkin

I have an e-mail in to the seller in Oregon confirming that their copy does indeed have that design in it, so far no reply.

I can see the confusion as the one in NZ is a different pub date but most all other info seems to match, arrgh.

11-19-2002, 04:59 PM
John Gardners Dory Book. Go ahead and laugh. I believe there is a definite correlation between how small ( under 20 feet) and simple a boat is a how much it is used which equals loved. If it isnt used what is the use in building it?

Bruce Hooke
11-19-2002, 05:22 PM
I hate to think what it would cost now used, but I probably pull out Pete Culler's Boats more often than just about any other boat design book I own.

Another great resource is Boat Design Quarterly

11-19-2002, 05:38 PM
Depending on the day, either PETE CULLER'S BOATS or the revised and expanded second volume of Bill Garden's designs. Culler's boats when I'm feeling a bit more "practical," if boatbuilding can be such an enterprise, and some of Garden's more whimsical stuff when flights of fancy are called for. But there's certainly a lot of crossover between these two volumes. In both books I get hung up on the scow schooners. And then I come back to SIMOOM before closing Garden for the night. But you knew that.

Dave Fleming
11-19-2002, 06:32 PM
I have a copy of Garden's book from when it was spiral bound, circa 1965, not as 'classy' as the later true bound ones, probably he self published that first one. That Tillicum Scow whilst not in the first one sure does make this old heart go thump thump when ever I look at it. I see it as a upscale house boat cruising amongst the San Juans, sigh.

11-19-2002, 06:40 PM
None of the above, nice though they may be.

Sorry, but there is no competition.

Dixon Kemp's "Manual of Yacht Design", 11th edition, edited by Linton Hope, published 1913. From sailing canoes to steam yachts to Americas Cup racers, to dinghies, to shoal draft, to details of ironwork specified by Fife, to rigging and masting plans by NG Herreshoff, all on beautiful large fold out plates and the text (separate volume) is just as good.

My copy has two plates missing, and it still cost more than I like to think about, but I don't plan to part with it!

11-19-2002, 07:03 PM

The Magpie is featured in Roger Taylor's "Fourth Book of Good Boats". This may be much easier to locate today. A number of drawings are presented, hull lines, layout, construction, etc. Bob Beebe also includes drawings of and discusses the design in his original edition of "Voyaging Under Power".

I agree, the Garden books are very good. I have all three and refer to them often. But Phil Bolger’s five books of designs are also some of the most intriguing and informative. Perhaps because all is not sweetness and light in his honest appraisal of his own work.

All the best, Tad.

11-19-2002, 07:49 PM
I somehow knew that I hadnt even scratched the surface with my small colection of design books/catalouges, but you can bet I am printing this page out and look forward to seeking out your favourites to add to my collection as well. :D

Lowell Bernhardt
11-19-2002, 07:58 PM
Well I have a few books. The WB 50,40,30 series, WB's Designs to Inspire, and 2 of Chapple's books.

You know the more I think about it I've come to the conclusion: No matter who the author, I've never come across a boat design book that I don't like. How about you. So long as there is something between the first and last page that can be made to float it's OK by me. :D


Dave Fleming
11-19-2002, 08:08 PM
Hmmmm, it seems that over night the 3 copies of Modern Motorboats Designs and Plans,listed in the used book engines have disappeared!

So who's hogging the market??????? :rolleyes:

Dave Fleming
11-19-2002, 08:10 PM
Tad, thanks for the heads up.

Bruce Taylor
11-19-2002, 08:35 PM
I think the copies are still there, Dave. It seems the bookfinder "search" expires after an hour or so.

Here it is again:


Bruce Taylor
11-19-2002, 08:39 PM
Bolger's eclectic collections make for fun browsing too.

I really have to get my claws on that Dixon Kemp reprint.


Yeesh. I just checked...even the Shellback reprint is $85.00!

I've got to get a cheaper hobby.

[ 11-19-2002, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]

11-19-2002, 08:45 PM
Bruce - the reprint (edited by John Leather) is a nice taster but far short of the real thing - get one if you can!

Jamie Hascall
11-19-2002, 08:52 PM
I've got to vote for Bill Garden's second book of designs since my sweet sloop Victoria is pictured there when she was the Fax II. :D Look under "Teal".

Bruce Taylor
11-19-2002, 08:53 PM
And the original sells for upward of $420.

I'll take the "taster," LOL.

11-19-2002, 09:00 PM
'The Long Distance Cruiser' by Bill Rothrock... 'Small Boats' by Phil Bolger...'Voyaging Under Power' by Robert Beebe...and 'Skene's Elements of Yacht Design' and 'The Best of the Best' by Francis Kinney.

Mark Van
11-21-2002, 09:53 PM
My favorites are Yacht Designs by William Garden, (still available), Small Ships by Jay Benford(also still available) and all of Bolger's books. Thare ara a few more books available from WoodenBoat that I may get for myself for Christmas.

Bob Cleek
11-21-2002, 10:19 PM
Well, I've been collecting wooden boat building and design books for about 25 years and I can't think of any I am lusting after at the moment, except to complete my collection of MoTorBoaTing's Ideal Series. There's maybe fifty of them, all told. Lots of good plan books out there. BTW, the first editions of Chapelle's American Small Sailing Craft (He also wrote "Small Sailing Craft" a different book) are worth the premium price. The reprint editions didn't reproduce the lines as crisply as the originals and are pretty hard to see. You need a microscope to read the offset tables!

If anybody is interested in collecting maritime books, the secret is to grab them when you can. There are maritime antiquarian book dealers listed in WB and you can get on their mailing lists. If you develop a relationship with them, they will let you know when something good comes in. You can haunt your local used book stores and the Goodwill. Once in a while, you can hit the jackpot at a garage sale. Like anything else, however, once you acquire the common stuff, the esoteric gets a lot harder to find, and a lot more expensive. Time was you could snag some of the collectables for nothing. Some of my Ideal Series volumes maybe cost me three bucks until they "got discovered." Now, yep, they run around $50 to $100 a pop. Not a bad return on the investment, though.

Now, as for the Holy Grails. Copies of LFH's "Commonsense of Yacht Design" (1974 Reprints from his Rudder articles) are scarce as hen's teeth. I've seen one offered for around $375. Then there is Worchester's "Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze." God knows what the orignial 1930's first editions (three volumes) are going for. Back in the 1970's, they were running around $300. The fairly recent Naval Institute Press reprint in one volume, a very nice quarto, is now fetching in the $300's. And, yes, the one book I don't have and would love to find, but not pay for (somebody please, do a reprint) is "Architectura Navalis" by Chapman, the first book ever written on naval architecture and construction. I've only seen reprinted drawings from it, but it is a goldmine reference, particularly for modelers if you are into seventeenth century boats!

Crazy hobby, it is. I keep telling my wife that the seven or eight hundred books lining the walls of my "captain's cabin" are my "retirement savings!" LOL Don't let the prices scare you off. Good boat books increase in value. If you spend fifty or sixty bucks on the design catalogs WB is now selling with Sparkman and Stephens, Crocker, Garden and Alden's stuff in them, you can bet that in ten or twenty years their value will probably be four times that. Easy. Forget spending money on "How We Sailed to Tahiti," "Celestial Navigation for Dummies" or "How to Build Cheap and Dirty Boats." Stick to the traditional construction and design stuff and it will always be in demand. Worth leaving to your kids, at least.

[ 11-21-2002, 10:23 PM: Message edited by: Bob Cleek ]

Mark Van
11-23-2002, 11:31 AM
I lucked out and got Herreshoff's Common Sense of Yacht Design for $30.00 from E-bay a few years ago. I have seen "junks and Sampans" at the StPaul MN public library many years ago, and fell in love with it, I would love to get a copy. Architectur navalis (or whatever) is reproduced on a web site, I forgot the address.


G. Schollmeier
11-24-2002, 08:59 AM
Letís not forget Boat Design Quarterly. These little jewels arrive every now and then. #24 just showed up yesterday. I always learn something and often add one more boat to the ever growing list.
Gary :D