Free Boat Design Resources
from around the Web
Updated 5th February 2010


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What's new

Cedar strip canoe plans based on traditional types
Paddlinglight is publishing a series of digitised plans for building cedar strip versions of well known traditional kayaks and canoes.

Barton skiff - plans for a 16ft plywood outboard skiff
Download plans to build a 16ft plywood outboard skiff designed for a small outboard motor with small fuel requirements

Free kayak design software.
New free software for designing kayaks.

Free plans for a lively sailing version of the 12ft Ella skiff.
Free plans for a 12ft stitch and glue sailing skiff named after my daughter.

Italian 10ft racers publish their plans.
Italians race development class of boats limited only by sail area and length limited by the standard (in Italy) 3.1m sheet of ply. The website's in Italian, but has lots of pictures and best of all one of the builders and racers has published plans for their boat - and it's a lot like a large sailing Mouse, such as the Eek. It's been going on for years apparently, but I've only just learned about it from Frank Baldry of the UK HBBR. Thanks Frank!

Free plans for a very simple 14ft stitch and glue rowing skiff.
Free plans for a very simple 14ft stitch and glue skiff drawn by myself (Gavin Atkin) and named after my mother. It's the third member of the family of small skiff designs I've been working on lately!

Free plans for a very simple 12ft stitch and glue skiff.
Free plans for a very simple 12ft stitch and glue skiff drawn by myself (Gavin Atkin) and named after my daughter, Ella.

Easy to build plywood flat-bottomed rowing skiff
A 12ft skiff that breaks down into three parts.

Easy to build plywood flat-bottomed rowing skiff for rowing
An easy to build light-weight 15ft 6in rower suitable for use on lakes and rivers, perhaps for exercise rowing but also usable for picnics on the river, fishing and the rest. And you might say it's ultrasimplicated.

The Black Skiff
Free plans for a yole-derived boat by Mark Wallace.

Plans for Thames skiff and punt
Plans for two boats - one extraordinarily beautiful, the other an extraordinarily eccentric racer.

Double-ended 10ft clinker-built skiff
A very sweet but difficult looking clinker boatbuilding project. If anyone builds this one, I've love to hear about it please!

Practical Boatbuilding for Amateurs
Classic 1889 boatbuilding book by Neison and Dixon Kemp.

A nicely-built example of my Cinderella canoe, adapted for rowing with some neat outriggers made from ply. The boat was built and photographed by the talented Martin Wellby. Get the free plans from the download.
Small boat plans by the talented and hard-working Radoslaw Werszko.

Ben Crawshaw builds the Light Trow
Ben builds the Light Trow - and writes a great blog while he does it!

Free designs for a very sweet ply camp-cruiser for one, or a cat-rigged sailing dinghy for more. - a blog about old boats
Not really about free boat designs - though there might be some later - but a new blog about boat restoratons, traditional boatbuilding, and traditionally-derived boats. Most are in the UK, but we will include some US material, not least because the author is an enthusiast for American boat types. Please visit!!!

Intheboatshed Search

Try our customised Google search designed to eliminated all the irrelevant junk you sometimes get!

Bean boat canoe
A little open-canoe for paddle-savvy kids who love the water, and aren't nervous in a tippy boat!

Classic outboard launch
I like this one from an old American magazine - built with some of the right period details, it could be a real head-turner.

Sharpie plans
Plans for a 12 Square Metre Sharpie - one of the more obvious European developments from the North American sharpie working boats.

Tubby dory
A slightly tubby-looking dory based on an old boat adapted for sailing as well as rowing. Again, I think it must have been copied from an old American magazine.

Kayaks, paddles etc
Still more on canoes. Why has the world gone canoe mad? Because they're a good thing, that's why...

Proa by Othmar Karschulin. Be proa-active, why don't you?

Optimist plans
Plans for building an Optimist. I don't know if they'd be accepted by the Optimist mafia these days though...

A canoe called Cinderella
My contribution to canoe madness here at FBDR. Not as simple as Joe's, but rather elegant and by no means difficult to make.

Swinging a ship
How to make a compass deviation table. Also, closely related pages discuss ratios and boat photography.

The kiteboard cookbook. Good eating, folks...

Malibu Outrigger
The Malibu outrigger...

Madura Jukung
Madura Jukung, 19ft long, complete with plans and lines.

Lepalepa Bugis Outrigger Sailing Canoe
Full plans and lines for this 12ft 9in outrigger canoe.

Very simple canoe
Simple little canoe drawn up by Joe Tribulato. Thanks Joe.

A new link about curraghs
At last - a new link about curraghs. Courtesy of Colm O'Gairbhith

Hulls to AutoCAD
Here's how to successfully transfer 3D files from the Carlson Chine Hull Developer into AutoCAD.

Stability essay
Our friend Hannu again, this time on the subject of stability.

The remarkable inventions of William Watt
Inventive individualist William Watt has some very interesting pages that small boat design enthusiasts should see.

Which glue do you trust?
Here's something to make you think hard about which glues you use...

Free designs
If you don't mind dimensioning these drawings for yourself, some of them are free. I must say that the sailing boats drawn with their transoms in the water look very odd to me, but some of the others look pretty good.

Free CAD
Alternative free CAD package

Powerboat plans
Some free old fashioned powerboat plans here.

Peter Vanderwaart's excellent labour-saving sail calculator has been getting better and better.

Fishing boats for Nepal
Wonderful United Nations FAO fishing boats for Nepal.

Clever and amazing small boat fun
The mighty Hannu has been adding more of his clever and frequently astonishing small boat designs. Look out for his latest - a paddling plywood Admiral's hat.

Design for a schonker
This might be for you if you're interested in this whacky traditional-style Dutch craft designed and built by a bunch of young people who are keen to bring back sail-powered cargo ships.

Hydrofoil primer
Learn about hydrofoils.

Two-sheet skiff, and electric power skiff
They're a bit too light on design displacement to my mind, but certainly worth a look.

Polycad and Yachtlines
I'm reminded that Marcus Bole's Polycad site offers some real treasures and not a few challenges for amateur boat designers, including Polycad itself and Yachtlines, which I'm told is very cool indeed - apparently you punch in a few hull parameters and out pops a workable hull. That's a scary thought...

Hullform updated
I gather Blue Peter's free software has moved on from the DOS version many of us tried a few years ago and is now available in Windows and Intel-based Linux version.

New Micro Mouse variant
I would never have guessed that there would be so many variations on the Mouse design - but I would also never have guessed that so many of these little boats would be built, and we're now up to 112 amazing launchings. This latest Mouse variant is designed specifically for younger children, and has a flat bottom for easy building. I've found that kids can cut timber and hammer nails into predrilled holes under close supervision, though I'd advise parents to keep them away from adhesives. Also, Micro Mouse has a big sister Flattie Mouse
that combines the looks of the curved sides of the standard Mouse (laughter off) with the ease of flat-bottomed building. Yes, I know it's called Mini Mouse in the file, but we're going to change that.

Tiny punt
My good friend Les Brown's 5-minute punt design. Even if you don't want to build a punt, I'm sure it'll make you smile...

Dark Ages boats
British boats of the Dark Ages.

Hjortspring Boat
An ancient and rather fabulous canoe found in a peat bog in Denmark.

Cedar strip dinghy
Lines for a very nice small dinghy from cedar strip.

More Russian plans
More Russian stuff - I hope some of you can read it better than I can.

Hulls to AutoCAD
Rick Malagodi's method for persuading Chine Hull Developer (aka Hulls) .dxf output files to work in three dimensions under AutoCAD.

Alternative small boat
Here's Thorbjorn Lee's radical approach to the one-sheet boat. Unconventional it may be, but T's pleased with its performance, and I think it's a very interesting idea.

Tiny punt
My good friend Les Brown's 5-minute punt design. Even if you don't want to build a punt, it should make you smile...

Hot Rat
Dig this - a 12 by 3ft flat-bottomed, flat-sheered Mouse derivative designed to be built in a weekend. With a 70sqft leg of mutton sail, it should give an adult or older teenager a fun wet ride. What could be better for the summer? And this could be the cheapest, simplest club DIY club racer seen since the Optimist.

14ft Expedition Mouse
Some call this a Mouse for grownups: I call it the Expedition Mouse, for it can be paddled, sailed and even slept in with the help of an airbed. I think it's novel and interesting compromise for the adventurous paddler, and it's still a very simple building job.

Gavin Atkin designs Yahoo group
A Yahoo group for people building and using my non-Mouse series designs. Join the race to be an early member ;-)

Scale explained
A teach-in describing some ot the mysteries of scale.

Two-sheet boat
An attempt at the maximum two-sheet boat, including some nice details.

Light sculling trainer
Plans for a nicely worked out light sculling boat.

Sail trimming etc 1
Articles, including material on main and genoa generic tuning.

Sail trimming etc 2
Article about how sails work and are cut.

Fun ideas
Inventions that time forgot - and which you might have mused about yourself.

Fun with jonboats

Instructions for designing and making your own jonboat.

Is this the ultimate one sheet boat?
The man behind these pages makes quite a large claim, but whether or not he's right the use of materials and the discussion are both well worth reading, particularly if you have ever tinkered with the one-sheet skiff idea.

Magazine designs
The excellent Svenson website has now been updated and improved with additional material and a user friendly presentation using thumbnails.

Tom Colvin essays on materials
Check out Tom's drawings and so on - but do remember you are also visiting to read his essays on building materials.

Classic Marine essays on metals and booms
Some valuable reference stuff here. Thanks Mr Bowlocks!

Folding dinghy!
A quick reminder that this link does exist.

Free plan for a tiny dink
Basic plans for an even more basic little boat.

Stitch and glue kayaks
Building info for two stitch and glue kayaks.

Kayak sail
A sail for a kayak.

Building an Ozark Johnboat
How to build an Ozark Johnboat in words and pictures.

Carene update
Carene free design software.

Wacky Lassie
I found myself thinking about the Wacky Lassie easy to build flat-bottom canoe the other day - and even though I think I've linked to it before, because it's a great little boat I thought I should put up this link again just to remind you all.

Gidge Gandy's Groovin Garvey
This is Sandspur - a great little garvey design from The Rudder. Once again, we have Craig O'Donnell to thank.

A fat little skiff
The building of a fat little skiff, with plans.

Fascinating hull design software.

Standard sail dimensions
John Kohnen - the man behind The Mother of all Maritime Links pages, etc - has begun assembling a catalogue of the dimensions of the sails designed for standard boats. His very reasonable theory is that second-hand standard commercial sails are the cheapest available, and that they should be used more often in home-built designs.

An index to the Ideal series
Also from John Kohnen is this tantalising index... Thanks to Jeff Gilbert for pointing these pages out to me.

Low-cost boat building with Polysails
Dave Grey, the man behind Polysails, has begun a project to provide more low-cost boat building material aimed at families and teenagers, and plans more. While you're there, do take a look at his articles about making sails.

1885 open cruising boat
A very nice 18ft open cruising boat found in an old copy of Forest & Stream by Craig O'Donnell. Thanks Craig!.

Swallows and Amazons new URL
This is the new URL for the Swallows and Amazons pages. Fancy designing and building your own boat based on the ones in Arthur Ransome's books? The Swallow has an interesting long keel...

A small land yacht
Build a small land yacht, and have serious fun.

UK Epoxy plans
UK Epoxy's offer several free plans for those who buy their glues and cloth!

Jay Benford's essays
If you haven't read them before now, check out Jay Benford's essays.

Pati a vela catamaran
Build a pati a vela catamaran, and read more about them here.

A hull design wizard - really!
This is an astonishing piece of work - a software wizard that asks a series of reasonable questions and in return spits out a Carlson Chine Hull Developer model of a proposed chine hull based on the recommended ratios and proportions spelt out by some of the best small boat design books I know of. Hulwiz's files should be regarded as a starting point, not as a finished product, and it is possible to create silly or even dangerous results by giving it silly inputs. Nevertheless, I think Lew's contribution in developing this piece of software has been terrific, not least because of the huge range of hull types it offers, including prams, double-enders, sharpies, dories, vee-bottoms and the rest. If you decided to play with it - and you should as it's a real treat - you'll be pleased to know that the latest version of Chine Hull Developer is available near the bottom of Gregg Carlson's home page.

Designing human powered boats
The theory behind successful human-powered boats.

Build your own hovercraft
Build your own hovercraft from these plans.

Handy software for people who make things
This is an amazing collection of calculators and other things that just might come in very useful one day.

Ice yacht
Build your own ice yacht.

Folding kayak
How to build your own folding kayak.

A canoe rig
A rig for a canoe or similar.

Designing models
This is about designing models, but I can't help thinking that there must be material here that could also be of use to people those working on people-carrying craft.

Conversion utility
A conversion utility you might find useful, for example when communicating across the Atlantic.

The argument for DIY boats
Why it's best to build your own boat. I'd say that the best argument is that it's fun, but there are other reasons...

Alternative materials and methods
Lots of non-mainstream (and cheap!) materials and methods from David Beede and others.

Fat little dory
A design from George Beuhler that makes a 9ft dory for one person. And he says you can stand up in in it!

Epoxy company gives away dink design!
UK Epoxies is offering a set of plans for an 8ft pram dinghy to people who buy a £75 epoxy pack.

Animated boatbuilding
UK Some nice animations of boatbuilding techniques.

Practical projects
Projects and tips including making windows and Dorade boxes from a bunch of Bertram 31 enthusiasts.

Classic Marine articles
A new address for the excellent Classic Marine articles.

How's your Russian? If it's good you might be interested in this site, which includes plans for the Krevetka-2. If like me you're all at sea where cyrillic characters are concerned, you might get at least some sense from Krevetka-2 - 1, Krevetka-2 - 2
and Krevetka-2 - 2

Linux hull modeller
A project to develop a Linux hull design package. Feed the Penguin!

Home-built cat
The story of a home-designed, home-built catamaran.

French-English sailing dictionary
If you're looking at French pages such as the dory pages, this might be useful.

Spray lines

The lines of the Spray which started life as an in-shore oyster boat, before Slocum took it around the world. Check out this boat's shallow lines. And here are some more Slocum links.

Small outboard boat
Corky - a tiny outboard skiff; there are a few other interesting things here too.

Interesting stuff about gondolas - I didn't know they were built with a bend to make them steer more easily.

New one-sheet skiff link
A new link for Herb Mcleod's one-sheet skiff.

Just about everything you could want to know about rowlocks. You say oarlocks, I say rowlocks, they say crutches. (sings) Let's call the whole thing off...

Win plans
Win a free set of plans for a beautiful kayak in Stillwater's prize draw.

US Navy materials study
The Navy considers materials for use in a sail training yacht. As a US citizen of my acquaintance remarked, now we can see why it's so expensive...

Thinking about lightning
Lightning deserves to be taken seriously.

Designing a sternwheeler
A page of design considerations when selecting a hull for a sternwheeler.

16ft pirogue plans free with epoxy
Jacques Mertens-Goosens is giving away plans for his 16ft canoe with each sale of an epoxy pack made up for the purpose. Why doesn't everyone sell glue this way? Maybe that's what I should do!

Dogsbody launched
A home builder in Denmark has built my Dogsbody outboard skiff from a kit suppled by a local boatyard, See the pictures here, and get the design from my Free Designs page.

New plywood coracle plan
William Watt cooked up these clever plans for a one-sheet plywood coracle after seeing Toby Churchill's. Thanks for sharing them William!

Small pram
A different take on the classic two-sheet dinghy form. See sketch here.

Backyard casting
Ever fancied casting your own boat parts? find out how here. And here. AND here.

Dory plans
Sign up with Spira International, and gain access to free plans for a 13ft rowing dory.

Mouse boats go open-source
Here's a radical idea - the Yahoo group mouseboats is now open-source. Anyone can design a Mouse-series boat and it will be included in the collection of designs if the ruling tribunal accepts that it embodies the spirit and features of a Mouse-derived boat. To be accepted, designs must also come with a good amount of design information sufficient for another amateur designer to adapt move the idea on in some way. Already there are a good range of free designs for small one-, two- and three-sheet Mouse-derived boats and I know there are more to come. I think this represents possibly the best opportunity to play with small boats the world has ever seen...

Build the Duckworks design comp winner!
This is the best link, complete with new pictures and extensive drawings and instructions. You may also be interested in some of the other designs too, as they are an excellent good bunch. Runner's-up

Pedal power prop
How to make a slow-speed propeller suitable for pedal-power.

Paddle choice
What kind of paddle do you need?

More magazine plans
I have linked to these pages of plans scanned from 'Science & Mechanics' and 'Boatbuilder Handbook' before - but the collection has grown so quickly I feel I should draw attention to them again. The designs include hydroplanes, runabouts, sailing craft of various types and sizes, cabin cruisers ranging from 15 to 21ft, a 25ft houseboat, and, tucked away in a section called 'Other excellent boat plans' two tunnel hull racers, a 'Sea Doo' and a canvas kayak. My favourites are the 8ft outboard runabout for kids, the 12ft JonBoat, and the 16ft dayboat and pocket sailing cruiser.

Still more magazine plans
The Polysails site also offers a range of interesting old magazine plans. Just recently I noticed a lively 18ft sloop I hadn't seen before - Corky.

More simple oars
Another set of instructions for making serviceable oars using diy skills. Not bad these ones...

Interesting FAQ
I thought this FAQ looked interesting.

Software links
Haven't linked to this page of software links for ages, but it's good if that's what you're looking for.

US coastguard rules
The rules for US-based boat users.

Plywood coracle
Gaze in awe at Toby Churchill's amazing plywood coracle. In fact, why not build one? Everything you need is here. Also, check out his canoe.

Foil simulator
FoilSim foil simulator from NASA.

Free TurboCAD link
TurboCAD have now gone back to offering a full featured but early version of their software for free as a way of locking-in users. But I don't care about being locked in - this is such excellent software I can stay locked-in for ever!

Ratios essay
Everything you ever wanted to know about ratios.

Rigging essays
Essays on rigging from Brion Toss.

Encyclopaedic site about knots, including sailing and boating knots. Did you know there was such a thing as knot theory?

Drawings of a traditional Netherland schonker, including the traditional style leeboard.

150 essays on surveying
Not directly about design, but extremely interesting nevertheless. David Pascoe's 150 articles about boat surveying.

Free plans at Turkish website
The range of plans available via this Turkish free boatbuilder's site is growing all the time. Look out in particular for plans for a tiny orange-box dinghy and the German Piraat racing dinghy - and I gather from the man behind the whole thing that he's expecting to add some old Practical Mechanics plans shortly, including a 10ft cat-rigged skiff and detailed instructions for a 25ft motor cruiser.

FAO wooden fishing boat designs
Two sizes of wooden fishing boats via the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation - there are lots of detailed instructions and nice design details here. There are also designs in ferrocement and fibreglass if you prefer.

Small boats for C19th boys
19th century advice to boys on how to build and sail small boats.

Epoxy mast
Building your own epoxy mast doesn't seem so bad...

A painting of your boat
How about a classy painting or illustration of the boat you built or designed? Wouldn't it be something nice to hang over your fireplace? Christopher Warner's undertaking commissions at what I believe are very attractive prices. Yes - I've broken my rule here and included something that's not free design information, but Chris is a talented chap offering something some of us will find useful.

Singlehander, sailboard attitude
Is this the ultimate Mouse series boat? Maybe! It's traditional to thumbs down narrow sailing craft, but the thumbs up sailing canoes - and that's one tradition that makes little sense to me. Still, if this is to be a sailing canoe, so be it. It should be lively and fun, and challenging to sail with its 63sqft sail (there's a polytarp-style sail cutting diagram) and optional wings for youngsters. The boat is just under 12ft long from three sheets of 1/4in and a quarter sheet of 1/2in ply. There's also a smaller alternative sail for those who prefer to stay out of the water. Until it's been built and proven on the water, it's certainly best to regard TheEdge as an experiment... But it might be just the right experiment for this summer. PS - if you can't print it at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

Sail area, CoE calculator
Here's a great sail area and centre of effort calculator cooked up (cookied up?) by Peter Vanderwaart, moderator of the Yahoogroup boatdesign.

pdfFactory Trial Version
pdf Acrobat-format drawings could become the format of the future for passing around boat plans, free or otherwise - the creator prints to this utility as if it was a printer, and the resulting file can be printed out by just about any print shop. Also, here's a utility that converts pdfs into 300 and 600dpi bitmaps. GSscript/GSview

Gaff rig explored
Here's a new link to these useful-looking pages of material on the gaff rig.

Stressed skin Moth
How to build a stressed skin Moth - perfect for those of you who like a little racing to complement your capsizing fun.

Modern rigs
Interesting essays on the design and construction of modern rigs.

Rigging a canoe
Advice on how to rig a canoe with a small sail and a leeboard. Also, get your top quality canoe sailing tips from the OCSG.

Sailing Light Trow
This is something I've been meaning to get around to for at least 18 months; a lively sailing rig for my Light Trow design.

Handy calculators
Calculators for chain storage, capsize risk, bobstays and hull speed.

Sailing canoes
Fabulous, almost encyclopaedic pages about sailing canoes.

Curve of Areas
Some standards that scientifically-inclined designers might like to compare to their own work.

Animated knots
Some nice animated knots.

Classic Moths
Material about Classic Moths, including some good design stuff.

Flying Pig
Poke about Bill Serjeant's inspiring site and you should find diagrams of an unusual small sailing dinghy.

Designing and building a Javelin two-handed development class skiff.

Alternative D4 rudder
An alternative lifting rudder for the D4.

3D modeller
An new 3D modeller. The free demo is of only limited use, but it's interesting nontheless.

Oddly there are very few links that I have been able to find that include design-relevant information about traditional British narrowboats. These pictures may help; also here are some pages about the design and building of the narrowboat 'Whisper'. Design and building of the narrowboat Whisper.

Viking canoe
Send an email to Gerrie Warner, and he'll send you plans for a small Viking canoe.

Wacky Lassie
A step-by-step guide to building the Wacky Lassie, from Fritz Funk Doesn't include intermediate frames, but does include the central mould.

French dory pages
Plans put up by a group of French dory enthusiasts. Interestingly, the collection includes Portuguese and French dories, as well as much more familiar Grand Banks and Swapscott types.

Turkish dinghy cruising portal
Download details of a micro-dinghy, the Piraat, and a new home-designed dinghy.

Planing hull maths
The mathematics of planing hulls expressed in Excel files.

Twin keels essay
The virtues of twin keels.

More on multihulls
A good place to learn about multihulls.

Make your own oars
Oar making links from Jacques Mertens-Goosens very popular pages..

General purpose outboard skiff
This is my attempt at drawing a general purpose 12ft outboard skiff. Of its type I think this is quite nice little boat but it must be regarded as experimental at least for the time being. If you can't print it at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop. If anyone's interested in building this little craft, please contact me at

12ft rowing boat plans
Sign up at the Dinghy Cruising Yahoo group to access plans for this simple 12 skiff.

Simple Boat Building
This on-line copy of Geoffrey Prout's classic book describes how to build a flattie dinghy, a vee-quartered sailing dinghy, and a very nice 8ft clinker-built praam dinghy that would look fabulous in epoxy ply. I believe an outboard will be described in the next chapter.

Sail area calculator
It does what is says on the tin, and in a very convenient and easy way.

Crab claw rigs
Is the crab claw a better sail for cruising than the rigs we've been using? While you're there, don't miss the rest of the Proafile site

Boat design ratios
A handy glossary explaining what all the numbers mean.

A 5-metre longboat
Sign up at this new Yahoo group to download plans for the graceful and fast-looking 5metre Cyber-Boat longboat.

Foil sections 1 and Foil sections 2
A veritable cornucopia over flowing with such gems of foil sections as Caesar never dreamt of - for those who like that kind of thing.

Mast-aft rigs
An essay about the merits of mast-aft rig designs.

New designs from Andrew Gibbens
This site now includes a punt, a sharp-bowed version of Andrew's original scow, and straight-sided rowable jonboat. Also, don't miss these drawings of an entertaining lug-rigged scow. Fancy a dip, anyone?

Homebuilt hydrofoil
How about some plans for a small DIY hydrofoil? They look a hoot to me.

More designs from old magazines
A series of runabouts and small skiffs, including a child's outboard runabout with a top speed of 10 mph.

McKenzie riverboat plans
All the plans you need to build a classic McKenzie riverboat. John has also asked me to point out that some rather more professional plans for similar craft are also available from Roger Fletcher at

How to design a Cherub
Build one of these and enjoy buckets of zarjaz thrillpower. Eeek!

More sewn boats
Further pictures of some amazing sewn boats.

Folkboat drawings
Interesting drawings of a thoroughly beautiful design.

Model Stevenson pocket yachts
Build a Stevenson pocket yacht from paper.

Build an International Moth
Some Australian geezers explaining how to build the International Moth - one of the most challenging and impractical boats I can imagine. It turns out that one of my neghbours sails one, and he insists that it's an exhilarating experience, despite being so wet.

William Watts' experimental canoes and boats
William's extraordinary imagination is at work dreaming up new ideas for boats and canoes that can be built on a shoe-string budget. He's been trying some out and intends to report after freeze-up, he says.

Skinny Mouse
My take on a flat-bottomed Mouse variant. I've kept this tucked at the back of a drawer for some time, but can't resist making it public any longer. It could not be easier to make - mark out and cut out the sides transoms and bottoms, attach battens around the sides and transoms, assemble, build in bouyancy tanks or struts to taste, add a gunwale and then attach the bottom. No epoxy and tape needed, unless you want to build a gold-plater. It's been pretty well tested and works well, and is even quite quick. It's more vulnerable to wave action, though, than a standard Mouse. If you can't print it at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

One-sheet Cubcanu
Another one-sheet canoe design, this time with less emphasis on stability and a little more on freeboard. We should have a race!

Steam bending and plank spiling
Gregg Germain's steambending FAQ and his instructions for spiling in a new plank.

Essex smacks - and a sail area calculator
Terrific drawings showing how the Essex (England) smacks were built. Glorious boats. Also there's a handy calculator here that quickly works out the area of a sail from its four sides - but I'm not sure if I believe that it can work...

John Bell's dory-like 11ft flat-bottomed rower is 'just so'.

My drawings of a two-sheet 14ft Mouse variant designed for fairly quick one-man rowing. As always, I've included a .hul file for those who wish to take a look at the hydrostatics, or to develop their own version. If you can't print it at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

18 foot proa
Go to the T2 link, and you'll find plans for a proa that's been built and tested.

Crocket-designed 21-ft sailing cruiser
Crocket-designed 21-ft two-berth sailboat found on one of the woodworking plans sites. Thanks Dennis!

alternative centreboard
John Perry's an interesting man, and in his boating an example to many of us. He's shown that it is possible to successfully design, build and sail your own boat, and he's also an inventive kind of soul. I was recently reminded about his alternative centreboard design idea (scroll some way down the page).

Lightweight launching trolley
Scroll down through this pdf of Optimist stuff and eventually you'll find some info on making a lightweigh launching trolley from plastic piping.

Kayak building shopnotes
Some great shopnotes for builders of strip planked kayaks. I imagine it will also be useful for builders of other strip-built craft.

Home-designed motorsailer catboat
The 'Froggy guy from Hell' has drawn up a single-sailed motorsailer, and I can't work out whether to take him seriously or not. You judge for yourself.

Home-designed cruising catamaran
David Roy is designing and builidng an 18ft catamaran for weekend cruising.

Tank volume
A utility for quickly calculating the volume of a tank.

Alternative CAD software
another CAD package some of you might like to try.

'Simple Boat Building'
Geoffrey Prout's classic book 'Simple Boat Building' is currently being serialised by the good folk of the Woodenboat Nz e-zine, and it kicks off with a chapter on designing flat-bottomed boats.

Payson on oars
How to make oars from Harold Payson, one of the heros of instant and backyard boatbuilders.

Greenland paddles
Everything you could want to know about Greenland Paddles.

Good article about making canoe paddles.

Amazing page about proas from Craig O'Donnell.

Unit conversion lookup
Handy unit converter - very useful for those working on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere.

Working out a catamaran
A glimpse into this chap's design notebook as he works out his catamaran - so long as you have the software to see the files.

Understand rigging
Reference data and articles from Moray McPhail's Classic Marine catalogue, including an excellent essay on rig loading, explanatory material about rigging, and some good advice on bouyancy in small boats.

Lightweight box mast
How to make a lightweight box mast, from Dave Grey of Polytarp sails fame.

Dink drawings
The nice people at Classic Boatworks have a new domain name. They mail out free plans for a small hard-chine pram to anyone who visits their site and emails them a request, and I gather their pages will shortly include a how-to covering the construction of their pram dinghy. Take a look at the rest of their site while you're there.

Building a replica rundgatting.

Construction drawing and Sailplan
Hull and sail plan for a 13ft catboat.

14ft sportster and Small outboard boat
Basic, but workable plans for a 14ft outboard sportster, and a 12ft 9in outboard boat.

Free plans for building a baidarka canoe...

Sewn boats
Amazing, wonderful sewn boats from Russia, and from before the era of epoxy. I wonder if stitch and tape inventor Barry Bucknell knew about them...

Oar length formula
An alternative formula for defining oar length, and other goodies.

Junk rig article
A nice article about the virtues of the junk rig.

DIY rescue throwbag
Dead easy to make throwbag for rescue situations. We should all have one, probably.

Old-style speedster
Rather basic plans for an old-fashioned outboard boat. Great fun, I'd say.

Notes on design software
Here's some notes I wrote on using the free boat design software that's available.

A bigger Mouse
The original small Mouse is proving popular - so here's another with a displacement of about 425lbs, or just about enough for two reasonable-sized people and their sandwiches, or for one person and some gear. It's 12ft long and is makeable from two sheets of 1/4in ply. If you can't print it at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

Conversion utilities
Useful conversion utilities, including Imperial and Metric lengths, and speeds. Thanks go to Lew Clayman.

Foam composites
Scary problems with construction based on foam composites.

Making a hatch
A handy hatch, from John Welsford and David Robertson's excellent web magazine, Woodenboat NZ.

Self-steering plans
Interesting self-steering plans.

Land yachts
Some great stuff about land yachts.

X-boats etc
Pages about some wonderful old one-design racers. Comes with line drawings etc.

New Jersey history
New Jersey's maritime history with additional information including pages with extensive information on steam bending and molds to bend it on. There's also a diagram and parts list for building you own steamer set up.

Mouseboats discussion group
There's now a Yahoo discussion group for people who are building or are interested in building the Mouse one-and-a-half sheet canoe, and its sailing sister the slightly larger FIying Mouse. There's even a short film clip of the first Mouse on the water! Both designs are free and can be downloaded via links here, at Yahoo, and at Duckworks.

Bray on twin keels
Interesting discussion of twin keels including some large claims.

Forest & Stream skiff launched
Above left: Some time ago, Craig O'Donnell emailed me a scan of some plans for a  handsome little skiff taken from an 1890s issue of Forest & Stream. I really liked this and used it for my rop-of-the-page logo, and re-drew it using CAD for the stitch-and-glue generation of a century later. Download a .zip file containing the .dxf and .gif files of the drawings and developed panels, and a few pictures of the finished article. Forest & Stream skiff or click here for just one picture. If you can't print this stuff at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

Stevenson Projects Mini Cup
Plans for Stevenson's fast lateen-rigged 12-foot board boat are now available free.

Almost free plans
David Goodchild offers a wide range of boat design plans in the form of pamphlets for just a few dollars each.

Small boat sailing rigs among the canoes
I have been struck that some of the best material about small boat rigs comes from pages devoted largely to canoes.

Design issues on buying a canoe
An insight into how canoes work - and it's not as simple as you might think.

Project to design and build a two-sheet sailing skiff
Will these people succeed? I hope so - they obviously enjoy their building and sailing their own little boats.

Choosing oars
An essay from John Welsford discussing oars provides just about everything you're likely to need to know.

Kayak and boat design software
Software for designing strip built kayaks and boats, and calculating drag.

Old boating projects for boys
Some rather basic descriptions of boating projects thought to be appropriate for boys of a century ago or so. Some of them look terrifying to me. Others might be an interesting challenge...

Electric boats
Electric boat design information.

14ft rowing dory
The South Haven Dory, a light and handy 14ft rowing dory designed and built by Paul Van Den Bosch. The plans are free and they're available via this link! Well done Paul.

Compare your boat
How does your boat measure up?

Building the Spray 700
Design information about a seven-metre 'minimum cruiser', and a lot of boatbuilding advice. It looks more sensible than many long distance cruising vessels I've read about.

Wild ideas
Some completely crazy design ideas including canting masts and rotating keels, from van de Stadt.

Free designs
An amateur designer publishes his attractive drawings, including a very nice 11ft outboard speedster.

Origami one-sheeter
Les Webster's highly original one-sheeter. Not quite free, but very nearly so.

Flying Mouse
My micro sailing boat. Take a peek - there are gifs as well as dxf files. Also, there is a discussion group for builders and users of the Mouse family, and for those interested in the designs at Mouse Boats. If you can't print this material at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

Cyber-Boat designs for free
The Cyber-Boat range of designs is now available free - the link above takes you to a Yahoo, and all you have to do is to sign up to the Cyber-Boat Yahoogroup and look in the files section, where you will find a nice selection of dwg files. There's also a link to the designer's home page, which itself has a link to IntelliCAD.

New TurboCAD link
IMSI keeps moving the link for downloading their free version of TurboCAD - TurboCAD 2D Lite. This is where it lives now.

Keel design essay
LIke the man said - it's an essay about keel design, from Vacanit.

Home Boat Builders in the British Isles
An attempt to encourage amateur boat building in the British Isles.

Wonderful canoe pages
These pages are on the way to becoming the best I've yet seen on canoes - lots of great historical stuff, on-line books and so on.

A replica Liberdad
A Slocum fan to beat them all builds and sails a replica of the Liberdad.

Boat design simplified
You may have come across Barend Migchelsen's name in the newsgroups. This is the best and clearest description of his easy to follow boat design theory I have yet seen.

DIY bilge pump
Dave Carnell's DIY bilge pump.

DIY drift boat
How to build a driftboat.

Cajun boats
How to build a Cajun skiff or pirogue.

Making oars pictures
A good sequence of pictures showing how to make oars from a plank... from Dynamite Payson. Check Jim Michalak's way-back archives for drawings of oars very similar to these - and for that link go to my favourite sites listed above.

Canting masts, rotating keels
There are some extraordinary design ideas in this boat. My thanks to Peter Vanderwaart.

Conor O'Brien's ideas
Some more unconventional ideas, this time from old-timer Conor O'Brien. Thanks to Craig O'D.

Plywood knowledge
Everything you need to know about plywood.

Aerodynamics knowledge
Everything you need to know about aerodynamics. Thanks go to Joe.

Curve of areas
Also for the scientific designer, a curve of areas table put up by Peter Vanderwaart.

Alternative sailing craft calculator
How stable, fast etc is your boat?

Duckworks Competition and other matters
I've been a bit hyperactive over the last few months - two of my designs came first and third in the Duckworks design competition for a small coast-wise cruiser. You can get the files direct from here: Bluestone files; Castles in the Air files. The zip includes frames etc for both lapstrake and chine versions - though only the chine version is dimensioned at present - I'm sorry, but my patience didn't run to dimensioning the lapstrake version's frames :-((. Let me know if you really really want them, and maybe one day I'll run them up for you. At the other end of the size range, my experiences with very small boats have led me to develop the Mouse, an amazing 8ft double-paddle one-sheeter that you can build for a few quid on your kitchen table: Mouse files. Also, there is a discussion group for builders and users of the Mouse family, and for those interested in the designs at Mouse Boats. If you can't print the plans material at a size where you can read all the information, you could take the files to a print shop.

Powering large hulls
The powering of large hulls. There's also a good glossary on this site.

Sculling and the yuloh
A guide to sculling and yulohs, from a highly respected New Zealand small boat designer. Please don't fail to look at his designs while you're there - you won't regret it.

Light, cheap wingsails
Huzzah - cheapskate boatbuilders can enjoy using sophisticated 21st century rigs. Here's a guide to making light, cheap and effective wingsails from polytarp.

Tyvek sails
Tyvek can also be used to produce low cost sails.

40s Boats is back!
Here's an amazing set of magazine plans for a selection of 1940s designs, including a 20ft V-bottom motor cruiser, a 22ft Chesapeake Bay Sharpie, a flat-bottomed 14ft cat-rigged knockabout, a 20ft sailing toothpick with a raisable bulb fin, a 15ft racing sloop, a 20ft scow, a 12ft V-bottom sloop, a dual use 8ft pram with a wheel and handles. a 10' sailing dinghy or tender, a 15' strip-built canoe, and a loopy 16' bicycle powered version of a Mississippi riverboat stern wheeler. Once seen, never forgotten. And do please take a look around Dave Grey's useful site about polytarpaulin sails while you're there.

Steambending on the Web
Gregg Germain's steambending FAQ gets a new web address complete with pictures.

Arctic kayaks
Interesting detail regarding the traditional kayaks of the Arctic regious.

Canoe for kids
Fritz Funk's 'Wackie Lassie' canoe for children.

New software source
Also notice that they're giving away free 3D software. I haven't tried it yet, but if any of you do, please let me know what you think. Thanks go to Rory McPhee for pointing all of this out to me.

Lofting lecture
Rory promises a new lecture on lofting here any day now; his pages are developing very nicely - and very usefully.

Crayfish two-sheeter
Here's Woods' Designs very appealing two sheeter - it's not free, but so cheap I felt I could break my own rule and include it.

Design ratios explained
Need to understand the important design ratios? Read Chuck Merrell's columns at the Duckworks e-zine immediately. Access is free.

The Rules updated
The list of experts' 'Rules' by which we should design and choose out boats - have been updated. It has been extended quite a lot with submissions from the excellent boatdesign and openboat Yahoogroups. You may find it essential reading; you might think about joining the groups, too.

A useful glossary of terms - but save it quickly if you think you'll need it, as I've got a hunch it may not be around long.

Quilla Price skiff lines and sailplan
This is such an old-fashioned and head-turningly beautiful boat, I just had to share it with you. Thanks to Craig O'Donnell for letting me in on the secret in the first place; those who interested in a muscular kind of old-fashioned boat, I'm in the middle of a project to draw up a plywoodised version.

The Ensign's gig
Crazy name, crazy... No! Wait a minute! Here's the design stuff for a little sharp-bowed two sheeter. It doesn't sound like the author has managed to balance the boat's rig particularly well and there's no bouyancy to speak of, but in other respects it's none too shabby. Must get my two sheeter finalised and published one day...

Rowing boat stability
An essay on the stability of rowing boats.

Tortured ply canoe - in Danish
Tortured plywood canoe plans in Danish. It sounds like another little job for Babelfish to me.

Yacht stability
Graham Radford talks turkey about stability. Is he right?

A classic skiff in ply
I have CADified a classic 13ft 6in skiff from the beginning of the last century. As usual for one of my drawings, there are some gifs and dxf files, and added a small sailplan that the original did not have. I think it will make a perfectly good general purpose boat for those who have access to rivers and lakes, and don't go far out to sea on a bad day... As always, please build a model before you build the boat!

Christmas dinghy
Chuck Merrell's very neat and attractice small dinghy.

Heaving-to aid
Did I ever tell you about the brilliant Huntingford Impeder? The Miracle Class Dinghy site includes a description of this simple and effective gadget for temporarily lashing a tiller where you want it to be when hove-to etc. I must make one for this summer.

Blue Foam dinghy
Here's someone building their own small boat design, and publishing both the design and their progress. Good luck to them.

Rethinking the proa
The proa has just been reinvented! Can it be true? See what you think.

Russian catamarans
The Russians sail home-made inflatable catamarans, says Vladimir Eremeev. I'm sure he's right, but the Babelfish web translator made a terrible and sometimes funny job of his favourite website on the subject. A search of Russian home-built catamaran sites by a human Russian-speaking boat design nut could be really good.Babelfish.

14ft kayak
Jacques Mertens-Goosens, the man who gave us the wonderful D4, adds another free design - a 14ft kayak made from two sheets of ply.

An almost free flattie design
A flattie skiff for rowing or a small outboard. The plans are free, but the designer wants $20 if you build it. Also, be warned that you will probably only be able to access these plans if you have Word 97 or later - Wordpad (the cheapie word processor that Microsoft throws in with Windows), and StarOffice just don't seem to work with this file.

Beautiful sailing canoe
The story of how a home builder adapted a 1910 sailing canoe design and built it in strip planking.

Classic Marine
Moray McPhail's Classic Marine sells an excellent range of fittings and rigging parts made from bronze, brass, gunmetal, galvanised steel, tufnol and wood as appropriate. An essential resource, if you're designing, building or already own what he would call a 'real boat'.

The Scheel keel explained
It's shallow, it's interesting, and it's different.

Mission statement
Here's someone explaining their approach to design. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? How much of this would you do?

Hebridean boatbuilding
Drawings of an interesting 19-footer from the Outer Hebrides, and some other stuff about traditional boatbuilding on Harris. I want to go there and see this now!

Dave Grays sail design notes
If you ever need some useful simple notes about sail design or about polytarp sails, do check Dave's site.

Another land yacht
Information about a land yacht from Gregg Carlson, of Hulls fame.

Another glossary
Good explanations of various bits of hullform terminology. It's rather oriented towards ships rather than small boats, but a lot of the principles remain the same.

More CAD links
Here's another list of CAD products and free downloads. I can't honestly tell you whether this lot is any better than the last.

Interesting schooner drawings
Schooner drawings - those who like this sort of thing will probably exhale softly with a gentle 'aaaah' in their throats. and adopt a faraway look.

22ft motor cruiser
Part of the design work for a veteran 22ft motor cruiser.

Land yacht
A neat land yacht using a sailboard sail.

Understanding boat designs
Ted Brewer has put up an excellent primer for those who want to understand boat designs, and the ratios often used to describe them.

Fast sharpie
Some drawings for a sharpie with a very great deal of zarjaz thrillpower.

Folding dinghy
At last! A folding dinghy! This for everyone who was wondering if only kayaks could be made to fold. Also, here's an alternative link to the folding dinghy, including a picture! Huzzah! Thanks to Chuck Leinweber for finding this, and many other things. Actually, I think this is a pretty good shape for a non-folding dinghy too... Folding dinghy with picture

Viking ship material 1 and Viking ship material 2
More material to read on these fascinating craft. I saw some in a museum in Oslo when I was a child, and I remember thinking they were still beautiful.

Cool kayak design software
Just what it says. Please let me know if you find it can do more - I find now need very, very good reasons before I'll learn my way round a complicated new software these days.

Epoxy technical info
A collection of how-tos for people using epoxy.

New folding kayak
The Eva is a new folding kayak design - the above link goes to a description hosted by Chuck Leinweber of Duckworks, and this will get you of Igor's plans: Folding kayak plans.

Yacht and ship modeller for PC and Mac
Here's a beta version of a yacht and ship modeller for PC and Mac. It's a fairly early version of a rather sophisticated tool (despite the small file size), and it's very interesting.

Mathematical tools
This link has online curve-fitters, an online Simpson's rule solver and other such stuff. Thanks to Lew Clayman.

Some CAD stuff I've found
Following a disaster with my hard disk, I've been installing new CAD packages, and this list at Ten Links looks pretty good to me. Sadly, none of them seem able to make much sense of the 3-D dxf files that Hulls produces. IntelliCAD 2000 looks pretty comprehensive to me, while CAD-Std is small, simple and fast. And people who like to model in 3-D might like to look at NURBS Modeller

Free Boat Design Resources gets its own domain
Free Boat Design Resources from Around the Web has now got its own domain and an exciting new address: Please change your bookmarks, and tell your friends. Don't worry anyone - it doesn't mean that I'm about to sell out to Yahoo!

International Canoe lines
You don't see many International Canoes these days (at least we don't here in the South-East of England) but they're a long, narrow singlehanded hydroplaning sailing racer with a sliding seat and a sloop rig. They're meant to be gazed upon with awe. Also check the this link, particularly the historical stuff at
Canadian International Canoe Association
. Finally, look out for this plan for an unusual canoe yawl . Thanks for the tip go to Jeff Gilbert.

Tiny dory at Duckworks
Plans for Ira Einsteen's tiny dory are now also available via Chuck Leinweber's excellent Duckworks pages. They can still be found, however, together with Ira's Herring Skiff, at Scotty's Free Design Pages.

Multihull Boatbuilder
Things have been hotting up at Multihullboatbuilder. Various design bits and pieces, but no complete free designs when I last had a chance to look. This is probably just a matter of time...

Shanty boat
How about a nice retro 1950s-style shanty boat? Drawings courtesy of David Beede.

Leeboards, and 'dipping' a sprit
Advice on how to set up an effective leeboard, and how to 'dip' a sprit to avoid the 'bad' side when going about. From Messing About in Boats

Plans for a fantastic 24-ft trikini. If any of you build it, please can I have a go? Please?

John Winters' canoe essays
What makes a good canoe? And, almost as important, how can I learn to talk as if I know a good canoe when I see one? An ex-pat Brit now in Canada, John explains a lot about canoes, and reveals that he's still got that British sense of humour.

George Buehler shows how it's done
George Beuhler shows how much detail he provides in his plans - and shows the rest of us how a professional presents his drawings at the same time.

Have you found anything I should add to this page?
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This page was assembled by Gavin Atkin. I have a policy of concentrating mainly on material likely to be of interest to the low-budget sailor. The links on this page DO NOT imply approval or endorsement of the products or services offered.

I would be grateful for constructive, do-able comments, links to free and low-cost designs you may have found or have put up on the Web or via FTP, or wish to put up, and also for any other information about free and low-cost designs and resources I can include on this page of links. In terms of designs, I'm looking for original work based on a new concept or on traditional ideas. Anything recognised as being too close to the work of a recognised current designer must be refused - and this has happened. This page is meant to be interesting, useful and fun, not a rip-off of those we admire. Email me at Do please let me know if you find these pages interesting or useful, and if you have anything to add.

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