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Thread: Paul Johnson dinghy

  1. #1
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    In another thread (the one about Rex and the Northern Isles)PJWALSH mentioned that he had a tender designed by Paul Johnson. I remember seeing Paul Johnson (he was aboard his Venus, LuLu who owned the marine store in Gustavia had a Venus too, possibly called Pluto) in St Barths, he had a double ended boat of his own design that he used for rowing round Gustavia harbour. It was symmetrical fore and aft and could be split in the middle and nest on deck. He could really make that boat move and was able to scull it sideways when he came alongside a boat (there is a name for that action but I can't remember what it is). I seem to remeber it being larger than the one pjwalsh mentions, possibly about seveteen feet. I later met an old friend of his in Newport RI, I mentioned this boat to her and she told me that he was prouder of that boat than any other design. Does anyone know if Mr. Johnson is still around? is there a website that details his boats/ study plans etc.?

    [ 03-25-2003, 07:43 PM: Message edited by: Hwyl ]

  2. #2
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    Paul is still around,

    Presently in Carribean. I met him in 93'-94' when he was building a 38' Venus to replace his 42' footer that was lost in the Pacific. After the wreck he and crew member sailed about 1500 miles in the 17' dinghy to Australia (he called the 17' boat Big White i think). The Australians initially thought he was smuggling and confiscated the 17' boat.When Paul finally made it back to the states he could not bring the dinghy.

    The dinghy he designed to go with his new boat was the 14 footer. It is about the same type of hull as the 17', double ended, broadish beam, based on the 18' Shetland inshore fishing boats.It splits in the middle for stowing on deck. He has it rigged with a lugsail. The only difference is that he cut the last 12 inches off the stern to form a small triangular transom that is reminiscent of a dory. This gave a better place to mount the rowlock for the sculling oar.

    I built my version of it from the mold that Paul constructed (these are fiberglass hulls). I have never rigged it for sail though. It is a fabulous rowing boat, moves easily, and is not much slowed by chop. It also handles really well in waves and is great for landing in surf.

    I have not seen Paul since 1995 but I have heard through the grapevine that he is still sailing the Carribean. There is a website run by a Bermudan marine artist named Mark Boden that has some writing about Paul and some great pictures of the Venus boats. http://venusketch.cjb.net/
    river in summebr /> there is a bridge<br />but my horse <br /> walks through water

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    I thought I'd bump this thread from wayback, this is a great dinghy, I'm obsessed with it.



    This is Mark Boden's site now http://mark_boden.tripod.com/index.html

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    That's a really cool little boat.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Maybe I should bisect the stripper.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    With the kids in it? Like the magicians

  7. #7
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    Well they are early teenagers, so I'm sure they could be bisected and with half a brain they'd be twice as smart as they currently are. wha, ugh, wha? mmmmm, mumble.
    Couldna be any worse anyway.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    The pictured dinghy reminds me of John Hesp's rather nice 12' Skiff.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    No picture Brian

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Sorry about that, tried using google, I could see it but guess no one else could,but back to flicr


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Nice! Is there a sailing version?
    "Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors". African Proverb

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    It's designed as a rowboat and plans are available but we did look at putting a small sail on her. In fact John drew an Opi rig onto her for me but it is a gif image which I cannot post. Brian

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    I am anchored next to Paul right NOW!!.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I am anchored next to Paul right NOW!!.

    Tell him I like his dinghy, I remember seeing him row one in St Barts 30 years ago

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    http://mark_boden.tripod.com/
    mark boden runs this site, big fan of johnson. I'll ask Paul about the skiff/ availablility of offsets

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Any chance of a recent picture of the legendary Paul and his boat? JayInOz

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    This picture is from 10 feb 11 , yesterday

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    The dingy in post#3 is the boat I just fixed up in "a wigged out plywood skiff I am fixing up"
    The newly re launched dingy is in the pic. Paul on our left.http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-up&highlight=
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 12-04-2012 at 07:12 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Taken yesterday- I reckon that's recent enough Thank wiz-um I mean- Mr Bang- sir JayInOz

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/...type=1&theater
    Johnson in Carriacou just now, Sep 2011

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    I missed this update

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/...45580405.21229
    Just launched /built in Carriacou.
    "Mostly Harmless" in the background is also Johnson designed and built.
    I'll be back down there in January 2012

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    here is a new one, built by paul , in august 2011.photographed 3 days ago, feb 2012. that is my venus anchored onthe left.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 02-11-2012 at 08:10 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    They really are a nice shape.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    2 together. the sailer is pauls own.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Is Paul's own a nesting arrangement, looks like it.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    yes, Paul is keen on nesting , I am NOT.
    His 42 foot 20 tonner needs a nesting dink, my 34 foot 12 tonner carries 2 hard dinks , no nesting, go figure.
    nesting makes a dingy heavier, weaker, more expensive, more maintenance, leakier, and is usually a giant PITA. (imoho)

  28. #28

    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Hello Wizbang,
    I agree with a few of your points about nesting dinghies, however, there are some very good lightweight nesting dinghies that don't leak and are not a giant PITA (imho).

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Hey! Russel Brown! You have some nesters, no? How do you get em together without getting super frustrated?

  30. #30

    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Hi Wizbang, Well, it's all about alignment and hardware, but I can't talk about it here or I'll get thrown off the forum. Not sure I can even give the name of our website, but if you can find it, the assembly is even easier than it looks. It take 15 or 20 seconds in the water or out. Damm, I sound like I'm advertising. Am I in danger of being banished if I talk about our boat??? Forums are scary.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    I was just going to post that (Russell's url) as well, Gareth.

    You win.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    there you go , not a scary forum

  34. #34

    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    Thanks Carl, thanks Wizbang. My experience on the proa forums has made me a little timid and nesting dinghies are a product we sell, so I do want to be careful what I say on this forum. That being said, I have a bit of a thing for nesting dinghies and there are times when I feel it necessary to defend the concept.
    Our approach is quite a bit different than others, but I have looked carefully at lots of nesting dinghies and the Paul Johnson design is one of the prettiest I've seen.
    We made a pretty big effort on the PT 11 to keep the height of the nested package as low as possible so that the boat could fit on a cabin top, under the boom. The bow height adds directly to the nested height, so I had to get used to looking at a pretty flat sheer line.
    Boats are all about compromise and nesting dinghies are no exception, that's for sure.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    I watched the assembly vid.
    How do the mechanical bit work? you tellin me , no vice grips?!!!

  36. #36

    Default Re: Paul Johnson dinghy

    No Vice grips, Wizbang. Nice machined knobs on captive pins. They don't even leak when assembling in the water.
    Our stuff is kind of high end, but we are trying to appeal to serious cruisers. The kind of people who might otherwise need a hard bottomed inflatable and a 10 or 15 hp outboard. Our boat looks like a pretty good deal compared to replacing a rubber boat and motor every so often, even if it's a kit that needs to be assembled.
    I'm working on an article about my thoughts on the the compromises of dinghies for cruisers. I have used one nesting dinghy for about 25 years and done extensive cruising with this dinghy, so I have been thinking about the subject for awhile.

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