Hello everyone -- I have been lurking here for several months and researching decked sailing canoe designs as best as possible over the internet. My boat building experience is limited to having constructed two pirouges several years ago. However, I am a patient learner and would like to create a simple, elegant boat (or at least break the ice for better ones in the future). I have several questions, but first, here are my functional and design criteria. Hopefully, the criteria are not too much at odds with one another.

Functional Criteria - I need to be able to transport the boat on a bicycle trailer that will be made specific to the resulting boat. I use a bicycle as my primary form of transportation and have good sailing and paddling water within easy bicycling distance from home. Second, the boat needs to be seaworthy enough for open water crossings on bays in Southeast Louisiana. I read with great interest the Howard Rice thread from a few weeks ago and know this is possible with the corresponding skill set. Third, must be able to sail to weather and must be able to deploy and stow the sail rig on the water without exiting the boat. Fourth, the boat needs to be equally proficient in sailing and in paddling. Rowing is not a concern. Fifth, for solo, extended trips, the boat needs to be large enough to carry camping equipment and a minimal amount of fishing and/or hunting equipment and still be large enough to sleep on. For day trips, I would like to be able to carry a second person.

Design Criteria - The boat needs to weigh under 100 lbs and have a minimum capacity of 500 lbs. I have access to many different woods, particularly cypress and ash, and marine plywoods but would prefer to learn how to plank a boat in contrast to using plywood. I can have cypress bead & cove milled into strips but am bothered by the waste, and if using strips, would prefer edge to edge construction. (Feel free to tell me why I should reconsider plywood or bead & cove strips). I prefer the aesthetics of a dagger board over a lee board but will also frequently be in shallow-water more suitable for a lee board and am good with that . . . The rudder must be deployable from within the cockpit and also kick up when encountering an obstruction. Most importantly, I must be able to self-rescue in the event of a capsize.

Designs Under Consideration -- Question -- Which of these seems like the best fit with my criteria?

  • Ian Oughtred MacGregor Canoe LOA up to 173 Beam 31
  • Michael Storer Beth LOA 164 Beam 31
  • Selway Fisher 50/50 Canoe LOA 15 Beam 35
  • Hugh Horton Bufflehead LOA 15 Beam 34
  • John Floutier Rushton Princess
  • Yakaboo II not sure where to find the plans
  • Chesapeake Light Craft Mill Creek 13.5 or 16.5
  • Duckworks Willie McGrath LOA 176 Beam 32
  • Clark Craft BK20
  • Gentry custom boats Chuckanut 15
  • Bryan Boatbuilding Fiddlehead 14

Other Boats of Interest

  • Melonseed Skiff
  • Barnegat Bay Sneakbox

Commercially Available Boats that Meet the Criteria (or come close)

  • Solway Dory Shearwater
  • Solway Dory Fulmar
  • Superior Canoes Expedition
  • Kruger Canoes Sea Wind
  • Kleppers, Longhauls, etc. -- the folding boats.


1) Am I biting off too much on what is essentially a first build by ruling out plywood and bead & cove strips?
2) Is carvel planking an acceptable construction method for the Macgregor? The boat will be dry-stored.
3) Would I be better off studying up on lapstrake construction instead of carvel planking?
4) I have basic hand tools, drills, jigsaw, and circular saw but no table saw, router, or band saw. What, if any, additional power tools should I be looking for just for this first build?
5) Have I left any designs out that should be considered?

I am at the point of ordering some plans but really need to narrow the field before ordering anything. Thank you very much for any suggestions and feedback you can offer.